tv Morning Joe MSNBC December 21, 2022 3:00am-6:00am PST
u.s.'s sanctions. and a sense, omnibus bill to get the spending package through and the government funded? >> reporter: right. about a nine or so amendments that have been introduced so far. mostly from more conservative republicans who want to slow down this entire process. obviously many house republicans want to see this process derailed entirely, but i think once this clears the senate, hopefully sometime today or maybe even tomorrow, the house can pass it quickly, and lawmakers can get out of dodge in time for the winter storm set to bear down on washington ahead of christmas. >> certainly perhaps get it done, maybe, before zelenskyy addresses congress tonight. we shall say. great reporting. thank you for joining us this morning. great reporting. thanks to all of you for getting up "way too early" with
us on this wednesday morning. "morning joe" starts right now. i will absolutely give my return, but i'm being audited now for two or three years so i can't do it until the audit is finished, obviously. >> it's under order. i'll release when the order is complete. >> my tax returns are very simple. they're under a minor audit, routine audit, as they have been for many years. every year i get audited. >> the appropriate time i will release them. nobody cares. >> nobody cares about my tax returns. >> you don't think the american public is concerned? >> i don't think. . i won. i mean, i became president. no. i don't think they care at all. >> ah -- no. he was -- not under audit. he was lying. that was donald trump lying repeatedly explaining why he could not or would not release his tax returns over the years. now congress is expected to release them in the coming days. we will have more on that, much
more, coming up. plus, ukraine president volodymyr zelenskyy set to arrive in the u.s. today in his first known trip outside of ukraine since the war began. the january 6th committee set to release its full report today. we'll explain what else we could learn. also, elon musk says he will resign as head of twitter after users voted for him to step down, but he's not giving up control completely. more on that. and a big acquisition by the new york mets. free agent carlos carrera is now headed to queens after his contract with the giants falls through. good morning, and welcome to "morning joe." it's wednesday, december 21. you guys know it's the first day of winter? and it's just a few days until christmas. so everybody needs to get ready, but first we've got a lot of news to cover. with us msnbc contributor mike barnicle. columnist and associate editor for "washington post" david
ignatius and presidential historian jon meacham. we begin with the developing news from overnight. ukrainian president volodymyr zelenskyy is en route to the u.s. he tweeted at 1:00 a.m. announcing he will attend meetings in d.c. today, meet with president joe biden and deliver a speech to congress. while he's here a senior biden administration tells nbc news president biden will announce the patriot missile battery ukraine has wanted for its defense, will be includd in a new aid package to the nation, training ukraine force in another country before the patriots are deployed in ukraine adding u.s. troops will not be involved at that point. the senior biden administration official says this trip by zelenskyy had been in the works for the past few days, with the president extending a formal invitation on the 14th.
zelenskyy accepted, and this past sunday, while the u.s. consulted with him on security parameters for the trip, the decision was made for him to come. zelenskyy has not publicly left ukraine for any reason since russia invaded in february. david ignatius, explain the significance of zelenskyy coming to the united states of america. >> mika, this will be a dramatic visit. it's rare to have somebody in the middle of a war, a brutal war, leave his country to explain to the united states and the world just what he's fighting for, and i think he'll be passionate in explaining that. i think the significance of the trip is that politically it should really lock in bipartisan support for continued u.s. military assistance to ukraine. it should, i think, galvanize our nato allies to work closely with the u.s. through what will be a difficult winter. i think most of all this is,
just a defiant gesture towards russia, which is pounding ukraine every day. trying to weaken the country's infrastructure. trying to break the will of its people, and to have their president, zelenskyy, received in washington. celebrated as the person who embodies the aspirations, i think, of the west for freedom, for standing up to bullying from vladimir putin and russia, will be, will be dramatic and have a consequence that ukraine's path through this difficult winter i think will be a little bit easier. the ukraine people, i think, will sense the support they have from the world. i was just in kyiv two weeks ago, mika. it's a startling feeling to be amid people who show that kind of defiance, courage, refusal to buckle under what's mounting russian pressure as they try to
break the heating and power systems throughout the country. we'll get a chance to experience a little of that secondhand and we listen to zelenskyy talk about his country, talk about his fight, and i'd be amazed if there are many republicans who after that speech aren't seeking to identify themselves with zelenskyy or trying to support his war with the additional u.s. weapons that president biden wants to send. >> yeah. the impact on republicans should be pretty powerful. i think, also, it's a chance for volodymyr zelenskyy to really show americans and tell americans personally from his heart that ukrainians are fighting and dieing for the safety of the world, ultimately, and jon meacham, your thoughts? is this solidifying any chilling parallels here? >> hmm. absolutely. with a great sense of theater and a great commitment to the hard, hard, hard work.
unimaginable work for most of us of defending your country from a superior power, zelenskyy is very much acting in the churchillian tradition. churchill didn't come to the united states during world war ii until december 1941, after both pearl harbor and hitler's declaration of war on the united states. it was at that point fdr said to them we're all in the same boat now, and it was a boat, like zelenskyy, churchill had been in largely alone since the spring of 1940. and we had been fighting this battle that we're fighting again. this is the thing to think about today, and tomorrow, as people watch these events. this is one of our oldest and most difficult battles in the united states. it's between engagement in the world and isolationism. the false sense that because of our, the gift of geography of
the united states of america, that somehow we are, to paraphrase churchill, not involved in the agonies and the triumphs of the old war, but we are. and i think president biden has led with immense skill throughout this crisis. it's reminiscent of the senior president bush during the first gulf war and then back to the great world war ii leadership, and i say that without, people can mock that, perhaps, but david can check me on it. the way he's managing these alliances, the way he is trying to enable america to project power without going too far and yet without falling short, and that's in many ways, of course, the great test of diplomacy, and i think that will bring all of this top of mind in the next 24 hours. >> yeah. this is going to be an incredible 24 hours. we're going to have a lot more
on this major development in just a moment. jonathan lemire will join us with new reporting how this visit came to be and exactly what is at stake. our other top story this morning shows something that a lot of folks have been waiting for for a long time. it proves that hillary, hillary clinton, was right all along. nancy pelosi was right all along. chuck schumer was right all along. the democrats were right all along. reporting from the "new york times" was right all along. "washington post," too, was 100% correct all along. donald trump was not under audit. donald trump was lying. he was desperate to hide the truth from americans that truth, that far from being a shrewd businessman, he was, in fact, the biggest loser out of the 300 million americans who filed their taxes with the irs. the man lost more money than any
other american at a time writing the "art of the deal" this was happening and worse than that the fact his own treasury department under the bumbling hands of steve mnuchin refused to audit the president after trump got into the white house. that's usually done. so that lie continued, and continued, and continued until last night. after a six-year battle to keep his records shielded from the same scrutiny that every president has faced since the 1970s, house democrats have voted to publicly release former president donald trump's tax returns. members of the house ways and means committee cast votes along party lines last night following a four-hour closed door hearing on the matter. although the full documents are not expected to be released for several days, the committee has already come out way 39-page summary of its findings. here are some of the takeaways.
in four of the six years reviewed trump report add negative income to the irs. his income was in the green in 2018, after his first full year as president, and, again, in 2019. before falling back into the red in 2020, in three of the six years reviewed trump paid $750 or less in federal income taxes that includes 2020 where he paid 0. the committee also raises questions about irs scrutiny of a substantial number of declarations made on the former president's returns. despite claiming millions of dollars in deductions from charitable donations, the committee writes that the irs made no efforts to verify the legitimacy of trump's claims "even when no supporting documents were provided." those and other alleged failures by the irs to scrutinize trump's
returns are outlined in another new report from the committee. there lawmakers write that the irs only conducted an audit of trump's tax returns once, despite it being mandatory every year for sitting presidents. only after the committee launched its investigation into trump's returns did the irs take any steps to look further into the filings. in an internal memo the agency claimed it did not have enough resources to examine all the potential issues in trump's returns. that's one thing that definitely is true. there are issues. a lot of issues here. let's bring in pulitzer prize-winning journalist and washington correspondent for the "new york times" charlie savage. charlie, what are we learning so far? i know we have a 39-page summary, we'll learn a lot more soon, but is it perhaps the biggest thing he was hiding, that he was the biggest loser in
terms of people who filed taxes? or is it more? is it sources of income that we're looking at? >> well, we only had some top-line numbers from those tax years starting in 2016 that the which the provided in this report. this is very preliminary. the raw documents are going to be put out sometime today or tomorrow, and i think tey're going to be a big way to make sense of it. the early cutality these numbers do show as you just showed on the screen that of this four years in office, he basically paid no taxes for the first and fourth year. he did have some income in 2018 that allowed him to pay about $1 million in taxes because he had sold off some properties and had capital gains taxes. without, throughout that period was reporting making large charitable donations in cash, and the committee is flagging whether there is substantial support to show he actually made
those contributions or just putting numbers on the page. wanting the irs to look at that. i think a larger takeaway here, though, is the other part what you were getting into, which is the irs has rules that say that sitting presidents and vice-presidents must be audited every year. the irs under the trump administration's control did not do that in 2017, did not do the that in 2018. and only started looking at the first of his tax returns in april 2019, the very same day that house democrats on the ways and means committee sent a request to the treasury department for data about his taxes and any associated audits. there's clearly deep dysfunction at a minimum at the irs in this auditing program, and one of the reasons that's important is because committee democrats had said they were looking for these taxes because they needed to assess whether that program was strong enough, whether it needed to be strengthened or was doing its job, and all along trump's lawyers and republicans said
that was just a pretext. turns 0 ut there was something big there that they discovered. >> so, charlie, dysfunction is one thing. could you explain the tenure of charles reddick, a california tax lawyer donald trump appointed to head the irs who recently left the position. maybe it was forced out of the position. whatever. but could you explain his role, his potential role in this, if any? >> so we don't know. we talked last night to the commissioner of the irs in 2017, who was returning the agency when they should have done their first audit of trump's taxes, because he was the sitting president in 2017 and he disclaimed knowledge. didn't know about that program or wasn't involved. could not explain why there was no audit that year. and the gentleman you mentioned took everybody over in 2018. writing an article defending trump's refusal to make public his tax returns as a presidential candidate, which
broke with modern precedence, postwaternorms all presidential candidates release finances, all sitting presidentses do. trump famously wouldn't. this guy said, great. shouldn't have to, and then trump put him in charge of the irs. he certainly is going to probably face questions from the senate. i doubt that house republicans, when they take over the chamber will be interested in calling him starting next month. >> washington correspondent for the "new york times" charlie savage. thank you very much. we'll have much more on this ahead. quickly, david ignatius, i mean, republicans have definitely laid their bet -- they stand, some of them, by donald trump through dinners with kanye west and white nationalists and stolen documents and saying the constitution should be, whatever, redacted, gotten rid of. it doesn't matter, but he was -- it does prove he was lying from the get-go.
will it move the meter? >> so, mika, those bland statements over and over in 2017, 2018, i can't release my taxes, i'm being audited, i'm being audited, to see now that that was, as you said sharply earlier on, that that was a complete lie, and not only that, that there's reason to ask whether the irs was being pressured not to audit him, not to do what they normally would have done, i think brings us back into sharp focus. more generally, you just feel week by week the air going out of the balloon that is donald trump. his arguments don't hold up. whether it comes to mar-a-lago documents, whether it comes to events of january 6th. whether it comes to issues about his taxes. how he ran his business in new york. you just have a feeling of this, this edifice crumbling brick by
brick and i'm struck in the way in which republicans are finally get backing away from defending him. i didn't -- people rushing to defend him? no. they're going to put out the returns and tell the american people what people demand to know. he is not different from anybody else who took that office. so how this plays into the larger story of trump's political future as he hopes to be a candidate in 2024, it's too early to say, but do you have this sense that all around him, the pillars he's rested on, the lies that he's rested on have begun to fall away. >> yeah. it's been pretty brutal for donald trump this week with the four criminal referrals and now this. we'll return to our major stories in a minute but want to tell you about a major winter storm that is threatening to impact travel across a wide swath of the country as millions
of americans are set to travel for the coming days for the holidays. let's go straight to meteorologist angie for the forecast. >> a lot to deal with, mika. start in the midwest and parts of the great lakes where we go to minneapolis. you can see still dark and early there. eventually start to see snow falling in that area and blizzard conditions widespread. here's the storm we're dealing with. snow stretching from the rockies to midwest through the day today, eventually moving into parts of the great lakes, could see anywhere from maybe a foot to two feet of snow and blizzard conditions long-lasting. half of the northeast, rain, washington, d.c. to new york and boston. mainly going to be a rainfall forecast, but still flooding potential is there and then we have a quick dip in temperatures that could lead to flash freezing. with a lot of travel, people on the roads, there's going to be problems getting out there in that ice that's forming in a hurry. there's snowfall forecast. you see blizzard conditions we're expecting. down winds of the lake.
headed to detroit, chicago, all of those locations are going to see major travel impacts. there's the rainfall accumulations. oh, by the way, coastal flooding that we'll deal with along basically anywhere from parts of virginia up to boston is going to be immense. we'll see a storm surge with strong winds. the strong winds are going to be problematic, too, when it comes to power outages. not what you want to see heading out for the holidays maybe gathering at homes. seeing winds anywhere from 54 miles per hour in detroit. 48 miles per hour in new york. buffalo gusting up to 58 miles per hour. widespread outages expected on top of all the travel trouble and power outages temperatures dipping into subzero conditions is not going to be great even as far as 34 degrees in new york by sunday. >> goodness. angie, thank you very much. and still ahead on "morning joe," more on ukrainian president volodymyr zelenskyy's
visit to washington today. including a look at what he plans what he wants to achieve from his meeting with president biden. plus, the latest from the southern border as the white house fights to end pandemic-related immigration restrictions. also ahead, the house select committee investigating january 6th is set to release its full report today. we'll talk about the legal implications of that, and what it means for the justice department moving forward. you're watching "morning joe." we will be right back. research shows people remember commercials with nostalgia. so to help you remember that liberty mutual customizes your home insurance, here's one that'll really take you back. it's customized home insurance from liberty mutual!!! only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
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about. i think in coming to america it would also help strengthen the spine of our colleagues in europe. they're, they're about to take a -- a walk through hell in terms of the winter, and even if they get through this winter without, without shortages they've got to worry about next winter, and we've got to all stick together on this. >> the horrors that we could not imagine, or don't want to imagine, they've endured, and they're winning. i think anytime someone can speak of that valor, that's a good message for the american people to hear. >> yeah. republican senators john kennedy and bill cassidy weighing in on the significance of the ukraine president, volodymyr zelenskyy's visit to washington today. where he's expected to meet with president biden and address a
joint session of congress, and joining us now, white house bureau chief at politico jonathan lemire, host of "way too early." also with us from london nbc news chief international correspondent keir simmons. we have david ignatius and jon meacham standing by. jonathan, start with you and your reporting how this entire trip came together. >> president biden is one of the few western leaders who has not made a trip yet to kyiv american officials citing security concerns but hopes to have a face-to-face meeting, a talk might have happened at the g20 in indonesia but president zelenskyy opted not to go to bali and not left his country since putin invaded. and president biden invited him to washington and it came together quickly. over a matter of days only finalized this past sunday did zelenskyy agree to come to washington today with a real
element of risk. needs to safely get out of ukraine and then get back into his home country afterwards with, of course, the invasion still very much ongoing. a couple target audiences here when zelenskyy and president biden meet. first, their day, meet at the white house. have private meetings. meet with the national security team and then address reporters for a joint press conference late in the afternoon and then zelenskyy goes to capitol hill to talk to congress, and this is meant as a sign of solidarity of american support as this difficult winter begins, trying to reassure nervous european capitals about the economic impact of a lengthy war as well as very clearly targeted at republicans to keep this money coming to kyivs specially with the gop about to take over the house. we will expect the president to talk about getting new weapons, nearly $2 billion in military assistance announced just today including patriot missile and americans being able to train
ukrainians in a third country how to use those and still disagreements, too. zelenskyy and ukraine want weapons with longer range, to be able to strike deeper into russia, and the u.s. is still very reluctant to give those over. there will be some points of tension today amid what is clearly a sign of solidarity. keir simmons, i wanted to ask you how this trip, do you anticipate this trip being received in moscow? the u.s. has been so careful to avoid further provocation of putin, anything that would trigger a larger response. how do you think zelenskyy's covert trip to washington will be perceived in the kremlin? >> badly, i suspect. putin won't be pleased to see it. you said how quickly put together. fascinating. it shows us it isn't just moscow that sees washington where the access is. it's kyiv as well.
i think it indicates real concern with ukrainians they need to maintain support from particularly congress with this aid package, real concern that support might waver. you mentioned difficulties in europe. frankly they're in political turmoil right now with allegations of bribery against european politicians, by states in the gulf. so europe is struggling, obviously, politically, and, you know, ukraine needs washington to continue to support. up know, jonathan, i think one of the aspects of this, again, is that that idea that it's not just russia that thinks that america is key to all of this. it's ukraine as well. it brings you to a question we don't know the answer to yet. what has jake sullivan been saying when meeting with nikolai pattrochev and yuri, the two
advisers to president putin? you know meetings what has he been saying or stretching the idea the u.s. won't negotiate with russia, that that's up to ukraine? because i think in moscow, to answer your question directly, we've said this many times. president putin is looking at playing the long game. i think this, frankly, is likely to be a long conflict, and, therefore, what ukraine needs is long, ongoing, consistent support from washington and that's what president zelenskyy is trying to achieve right now and exactly what president putin doesn't want to see. >> so, david, ignatius, given keir and lemire's reporting, i just wanted you to comment, if you could, on the timing and the risk, geopolitically.licationim. also here in the united states, if anybody can sway the apathetic it might be volodymyr zelenskyy? >> so, mika, general milley,
chairman of joint chiefs of staff since beginning of this conflict is likely to quote something napoleon said. he said in war the moral is to the physical as three is to one. meaning the figure of this brave, defiant ukraine leader standing sometimes seems alone against russian pressure, has an affect that really is more powerful in the arms on the battlefield. and i think we'll feel that today watching him at the white house and addressing joint session of congress. the sense of an embattled leader who represents the values that i think most americans really cherish. independence. standing up to bullies. i do think for republicans who resisted additional aid to ukraine, this could be more difficult to justify now, with the personality of this, you know, magnetism, coming to the united states to make his case.
i think for europe, people have wondered, can we hold together? despite russian energy cut offs? russian energy pressure. this will, again, be a moment of reassurance. i don't think the united states, i don't think president biden, is prepared to significantly increase the amount of aid that he's giving to ukraine. the ukrainians would love to hit targets inside russia. i think the message from these meetings will be, no. the unite wants to avoid a direct conflict with russia, and the same limits that have been there before will continue. patriots will be reassures symbol of american support. how much difference they'll actually make when the iranian drones, cheap drones, are being flown into kyiv and other cities i'm not sure, but it will be an important piece of symbolism. but the main thing i think people should take away from today is the physical presence of this extraordinary person who
embodies the resilience of ukraine, standing up to -- to this reckless and illegal invasion and i think people will identify with that. especially at christmastime. people will say here's an emotional symbol of something we really cherish during the holidays in terms of that individual toughness in spirit. >> jon meacham, we come to you at conclusion of this discussion for your thoughts on the tapestry of this war, the complete tapestry of this war. we are active participants from afar in a 21st century version perhaps of -- led in this assistance by a president whose skill level is quite high in international relations as he deals with a war that's destroying a single country, ukraine, a vital enemy that has
been our enemy for decades, russia, and a continent, europe, that is in complete dysfunction. when you look at it, and you think of the president's role in this, tell us what you think. >> i think that we're a very fortunate country, despite what we do almost all the time, to test our good luck, that president biden is where he is now. i'll make the usual disclosure here. he's my friend. i help him when i can. so take this for what it's worth, but i believe this. that he has a particular skill set that is -- particularly important in a moment like this. as mika just said. and david just said. this is not a straight -- the issues are straightforward, but our reaction to them can't be. that's just the reality of it. right? and so what we're having to do
is provide aid that is important, hopefully dispositive, all while avoiding walking into a direct conflict with russia, and so it's this interesting combination of the oldest kind of war. right? vladimir putin saw something he wanted. so he is trying to take it. that's the oldest human impulse. that goes back to adam and eve in the garden. right? you see something, you want it. but this is unfolding in a more, in a complicated diplomatic and nuclearized world in which any misstep on our part, any mishap could lead to world war iii. so it's this -- never actually played three dimensional chess but i imagine this is what it's like. where the president has to aid someone but do so in a way that
is done with care and concern for theuinely unthinkable. the reason joe biden is where he is is because the unthinkable is all too thinkable. one final point here. president biden's theme about, that we are in an era, perhaps even a century, in which democracy and autocracy are standing against each other. that is a battle that was unfolding to some extent in world war i. clearly in world war ii, clearly through the long twilight struggles, president kennedy called it the cold war and president biden argued i think successfully that's what's unfolding now both abroad and at home. and so we face threats against the constitutional republic here and we face the appetites of autocrats abroad. it is, to use winston churchill, who came in december of 1941 to
spend christmas at the white house, running on cocktails and cigars which is the way diplomacy should run, actually. worked out for them, anyway. what we have to do is remember that the price of greatness is responsibility. that was what churchill said about the united states. and we can't rise to this level of power without understanding our responsibility to the world, and there are voices on the right, voices on the right in the united states that are curiously pro-putin, and we should remember that a lot of people are hearing that as this unfolds. saying ukraine doesn't matter. ukraine matters, because, as we've learned again and again, the lesson of the 20th century is that a threat to freedom anywhere become as threat to freedom everywhere. >> wow. jon meacham, thank you very much. jon's latest book is entitled "and there was light: abraham
lincoln and the american struggle." nbc's keir simmons, thank you as well for your reporting. of course, full coverage of all that transpires today, tomorrow on "morning joe" with ukrainian president volodymyr zelenskyy, and coming up, we'll be joined by pulitzer prize-winning investigative reporter who discovered is supply chain with u.s. tech products flowing into russia, despite war-related trade restrictions. plus, elon musk says he's looking for a new ceo for twitter. but will that person have any actual power? we'll dig into that. next hour joined by both democratic senators from new hampshire who are ready to fight the white house's efforts to change the primary election calendar. all that straight ahead on "morning joe."
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43 past the hour. elon musk says he will resign at ceo of twitter as soon as he finds a replacement. this after musk asked twitter in a poll if he should step down. more than 57% of the respondents on twitter said, "yes," he should. yesterday musk replied to the results saying he will resign once he finds "someone foolish enough to take the job." still, musk plans to keep control of the software and servers teams at the social media company. key areas that will allow him to control product decisions and perhaps tweet. sam bankman-fried is set to fly to the u.s. where he faces multiple criminal charges tied to the collapse of his bankrupt
cryptocurrency ex-changes ftx. prison officials tell nbc news he signed extradition papers in the bahamas yesterday and is expected to be returned to the states today. according to the "new york times" his lawyer told reporters that his client had agreed to extradition voluntarily, defying the strongest possible legal advice, the 30-year-old m.i.t. graduate faces eight federal charges including wire fraud, securities fraud and money laundering charges. the charges carrying maximum sentence of 115 years in prison, if convicted on all counts. and a parade in argentina's capital to celebrate the world cup champions was cut short yesterday as millions of people poured on to thoroughfares, highways and overpasses in a chaotic attempt to catch a
glimpse of the national team. so many fans swarmed the city the players had to abandon the open-top bus transporting them, and board helicopters for a capital fly overthat the government billed as an aerial parade. that is excitement and jonathan lemire, you have news of a stunning turn of events in mlb free agency news. >> absolute bombshell. this morning carlos correa will no longer join the san francisco giants. the star shortstop reached and overnight deal with the new york mets on a 12-year $315 million contract. correa last week agreed to terms on historic 13-year $350 million deal to play in the bay area. giants scheduled to announce his signing in a news conference yesterday. however, the team postponed the announcement over the associated
press said an medical concern. mike barnicle, instead correa goes to the mets on a spending spree and my calculations, payroll $1.2 trillion right now. what do you think about this move? >> a stunning move that will have to take, i think, preoccupied attention of major league baseball today because carlos correa, we don't know all the details, he underwent a physical, a flag raised by giants because of the physical. something within the physical. interim, not yet signed the contract. agreed verbally to go with the giants. in the interim, sis super agent, scott boris, represented a number of major league stars in this off-season free agency and made over $65 million for his
company, in -- in representing these major league baseball players, in the interim, scott boris went to the mets and they agreed to sign carlos correa as probably their third baseman instead of their shortstop. the development of this, the way it happened. i would think major league baseball will ask a few questions. >> i think so, too. >> and mets playing left side of infield, i say this not just because our red sox refused to sign anybody but i get from mets fan so close to the world series, me as a baseball fan. i don't think it's great when one team spends that much more than everyone else. yankees first. >> pay roll is? >> what it is? >> over $350 million. >> wasn't great for the game when yankees did it, dodgers did it, not great when mets do it. i know it's in the rules. >> and don't you love the red
sox to do that? >> i would take anything. we're disappointed. joe, too. back to you. still ahead what we might learn from a full report on the capitol attack investigation expected to be released by the january 6 committee today. plus, joined by two members of the house ways and means committee that voted yesterday to publicly release donald trump's tax returns. he was never being audited. "morning joe" will be right back. waiting. sometimes it's just inevitable. but if you're over 50 or live with a chronic condition, waiting could be deadly. because conditions like heart disease or diabetes raise your risk of serious illness or death from untreated covid. and if you don't get treatment within days, you may not be able to get treatment. so, got covid symptoms? get tested and get treated right away.
ci had no idea how muchw i wamy case was worth. c call the barnes firm to find out what your case could be worth. we will help get you the best result possible. ♪ call one eight hundred, eight million ♪ welcome back to "morning joe." a beautiful sunrise in washington. gorgeous look at reagan national airport, of all places, and a lot of cars moving. people headed to work. welcome back to "morning joe." joining us now, pulitzer prize-winning investigative
reporter with reuters, steve who has been looking into billions of computer and other electronic components that have flowed into russia, despite a western blockade of the items. so as we have volodymyr zelenskyy with his high-stakes, high-risk trip to the u.s., you have reporting, steve, how russia is finding ways to get around the sanctions. what are they getting and who's helping them? >> great to be with you, mika. reuters has been looking at this since, you know, after the invasion in february when the white house on the day of the invasion itself announced it would cut off russia from cutting-edge technology. particularly semiconductors, and most of the major semiconductormakers in the west, particularly in the united states, like intel, texas instruments, others, all announced they were going to stop all shipments to russia. we've been looking for months at
russian customs records, and found, in fact, despite these export restrictions the flow of chips to russia has continued, and the reason this is important is, the russians are very reliant on western technology for its weapons systems, like cruise missiles, drones, other systems used in ukraine right now. so what we found, for example, between april 1st and october 31st, 777 million dollars worth of, of western components, computer components, chips, have all flowed into russia, despite the restrictions. >> david ignatius? >> so, steve, i just want to ask you what lies ahead? the promise when sanctions were imposed on russia was that these would be crippling and that the russian war machine would be exhausted and unable to continue
to fight this war. certainly come end of this year, and that doesn't seem to be happening. where's this stuff coming from? and are there ways in which the u.s., if tougher about enforcement, could make the crippling sanctions actually crippling? >> well, what we found was a galaxy of obscure companies in places like hong kong, turkey, elsewhere, that sprang into action after the invasion. we found companies, for example, registered in april and suddenly there was one in russia set up in april, and suddenly it's importing over $100 million worth of, of chips. mostly from the west. we found a company in, in germany that had been exporting western shipments into russia stopped. set up a company, the same person was running it, sets up a
company in istanbul, and within a few weeks is sending millions of dollars worth of chips into russia. you know, i've looked at sanctions for years, beginning with iraq, and then with iran, and it -- there's a whole cottage industry of companies that immediately, you know, exist to -- to get around it, because so much money is to be made, and the russians have had a procurement now in place, including in the united states, for years. so to me it's not surprising. you know, it's kind of a whack-a-mole thing that once you sanction one company or one individual, immediately someone else, like springs up, and starts doing it. how you avoid that, i -- i really don't know. >> global investigative reporter at reuters. thank you very much for your reporting this morning. and coming up, we're going
to speak with national security council spokesman retired rear admiral john kirby ahead of the visit by president volodymyr zelenskyy. plus, from the january 6 committee's final report to years of the former president's tax returns, we have a lot of trump-related headlines to get to. bad week for donald trump. straight ahead on "morning joe." a must in your medicine cabinet! less sick days!
after my car accident, ♪ call owondnder whahatmy c cas. eight million ♪ so i called the barnes firm. i'm rich barnes. youour cidedentase e woh than insurance offered? call the barnes firm now to find out. yoyou ght t beurprpris donald trump's business and personal tax returns to this committee, i think you're breaking a law. you have no legitimate legal rationale. your reasons for stonewalling our requests you never cite any superseding legal basis. the only thing you suffer is smug rhetoric and staggering
lies. >> i find it offensive you're telling me i'm breaking the law in staggering lies. i never lied -- >> i asked you to tell me why you're not breaking the law. there's the law right there. >> just to be clear, there's a third branch of government and courts that interpret things. this is in the courts and courts will deal with it. in all due respect i am not breaking the law. you have a different interpretation you're not a jump and this will be determined by -- >> neither are you. >> yeah. steve mnuchin. congressman and house ways and means committee member bill pascrell accusing then treasury secretary steve mnuchin a breaking a law ober his refusal to turn over trump's tax returns during a congressional hearing back in march of 2020. this morning, we will have the big takeaways from the impending release of former president donald trump tax returns, as a preliminary report questions why he was never under audit, even though he said that many times,
he couldn't release his tax returns because he was under audit, and highlights hundreds of millions of dollars in questionable tax deductions, mnuchin, of course, could have proceeded with the audit, every president gets one. i think he was taking a lot of pictures with money, and following donald trump's direction, but finally, the tax returns will be coming to light in full after some redactions, social security numbers and other private information, but there is a 39-page report kind of summarizing what's in there, including the fact that he lied repeatedly, over and over again, about being audited. welcome back to "morning joe." it is wednesday december 21. joe and willie are off. still with us, launching second hour of "morning joe" and start with the house select committee investigating january 6th.
expected to release its full report to the public today. the committee release add summary monday, but there is still a lot would could learn from the full report including from the yet to be released transcripts. the report should also include additional evidence the committee collected during its 18-month investigation, like emails, text messages and phone records. the full report may also provide details about potential acts of witness tampering. meanwhile, we've learned the committee is fully cooperating with the justice department. the panel already started handing over doimts and transcripts to the doj. bring in nbc news legal analyst andrew weissmann. the former general counsel of the fbi and served as lead prosecutor in the mueller special counsel's office, and nbc news justice and intelligence correspondent ken dilanian. ken, start with your reporting. what's the latest in terms of
what one should be looking for, key things, key elements, when the transcripts are released? >> good morning, mika. so many things. i'm particularly interested in the transcript of the interview with former secret service official and former white house official tony ornato, because you remember that one of the key moments in these hearings was when former trump aide cassidy hutchinson testified that ornato conveyed to her that famous anecdote donald trump went ballistic inside the presidential limo and tried to grab the steering wheel because so intent going to the capitol that day, as the riot was unfolding. that's a key moment, if you consider any possible prosecution of trump, because it speaks to his state of mind and that anecdote has been questioned and the executive summary doesn't really 100% corroborate either way whether trump grabbed the steering wheel, didn't grab the steering wheel. what it does corroborate, trump
was very angry and wanted to go to the capitol. ornato apparently told the committee he didn't recall saying any of this to cassidy hutchison and the committee did not find his account credible. very interested to read his transcript and the transcript of any other witnesses speaking to that particular anecdote, just to try to get the full picture of what potentially the justice department could prove about what happened there. >> all right. so curious what you will look for and also just curious, is it possible some high-level members of the trump administration are already working with the doj? we know that these referrals are not legally binding and doj can completely ignore them, or look at it as part of a path to follow. they may be on their own. and i just wonder if there are any indications to you by whose name, for not complying to subpoenas and whose not -- that might be indication the doj is already on a trail?
>> yeah. i'd say that's a great question. there is a very tantalizing comment in the executive summary. it's hard to call it that, because it's 160 pages, but in that executive summary there's a reference to why the department of justice may not have sought to charge mark meadows and dennis covino with contempt. both referred for contempt failing to comply with a subpoena and one of the things the reported says, sort of speculates, but odd that it said it may be that they're already cooperating. and with mark meadows, that would be huge. i mean, he is in the place to know everything. so obviously if not cooperating already, there is a ton of pressure that is going to be put on him, and to answer your
question of what i'm looking for, expands on ken's excellent point, which i think department prosecutors will look at this release of documents, not so much for the trump information, but for underlings who may be able to be charged and flipped. so, you know, tony ornato would be one of them, but they're going to look very, very closely for any information that could help them charge people with either making a false statement or perjury or obstruction of justice to see if they can get them to be cooperating witnesses. >> yeah. andrew, actually go right back to you on that point. so much of the report, headlines generated by what happened in the days leading up to and on january 6th itself. what should we look for in here about things investigators found during the course of their investigation? people's refusing to cooperate or perhaps perjuring themselves, where do you think that could take us?
>> well, as i said, i do think it could lead to trying to make a case on sort of false statements and perjury or even contempt. i have to say, one of the things i'm very interested in is whether the report talks about sort of the reason for the lack of evidence. we've all heard about the secret service destroying reams of documents and whether the report has gotten to the bottom of that. there 180 or so minutes where trump is at the white house where there's -- complete absence of reports. again, if i were department prosecutor i would look very closely at that because it could lead to obstruction charges, to your point. those are the kinds of things that can be charged and cause people to flip. that i think is the name of the game here, but it's going to be a treasure-trove for the government to pursue all sorts of leads and avenues, and try to get people to cooperate and if you're a defense lawyer now,
you're going to be reading it with the same care and having very hard conversations with your clients about their prospect of being charged. >> and, ken, that brings us to the question of the number of witnesses who either took the fifth or were told, in the summary report, and also witnesses who continued to reply to questions of prosecutors that they did not recall, and urged by a lawyer, or some adviser to indicate when they could recall, to say they do not recall, where does that stand? >> that's an interesting question, mike. there was a hint. it wasn't an outright criminal referral but the committee clearly says believes potential witness tampering particularly with cassidy hutchinson's and a particular lawyer said she didn't have to remember something when in fact she did. an open question whether the justice department can look at
that. those are hard allegations to prove, as andrew knows, and you have to have a lot of evidence to do that. look, a lot of these defendants who were able to get out of answering questions before the january 6 committee, i don't mean defendants, witnesses, will have a lot more trouble before the federal government in a criminal grand jury setting. you can't claim executive privilege successfully and a lot of these people whose memories were hazy and in terms of claiming the fifth, the government can immunize witnesses they don't think they need to charge and compel their testimony. the justice department has more powerful tools to elicit testimony and cooperation from witnesses than the january 6 committee had, mike. >> nbc's ken dilanian and nbc news legal analyst andrew weissmann. thank you both. we will be following this. and another top story we're following this morning after a six-year battle to keep his records shielded from the same
scrutiny that every president has faced since the 1970s, house democrats have voted to publicly release former president donald trump's tax returns. members of the house ways and means committee cast their votes along party lines last night following a four-hour closed-door here hearing on the matter. although the full documents are not expected to be released for several day, the committee is already out with a 39-page summary of its findings. and here are some of the key takeaways -- in four of the six years reviewed trump reported a negative income to the irs. his income was in the green in 2018 after his first full year as president, and again in 2019 before falling back into the red in 2020. in three years, three of the six years reviewed, trump paid $750 or less in federal income taxes, that includes 2020 where he paid
0. zero dollars. the committee also raises questions about irs scrutiny of a substantial number of declarations made on the former president's returns, despite claiming millions of dollars in deductions from charitable donations. the committee writes that the irs made no efforts to verify the legitimacy of trump's claims "even when no supporting documents were provided." those and other alleged failures by the irs to xruntize trump's returns are outlined in another new report from the committee. their lawmakers write that the irs only conducted an audit of trump's tax returns once, despite it being mandatory every year for a sitting president. only after the committee launched its investigation into trump's returns did the irs take any steps to look further into the filings. in an internal memo the agency
claimed it did not have enough resources to examine all the potential issues in trump's returns. joining us now, one of the democrats that voted last night to release donald trump's tax returns, congressman don beyer of virginia. congressman, thank you very much for being on the show this morning. have you had a chance to look at the full, the full spate of donald trump's tax returns? >> yes. spent time monday in the capitol and in rayburn going through page by page by page. summary, was excellent. as a long-term business person i was amazed you could report 100 million in income and have a tax under $1,000. >> yeah. that's one of many wonderful nuggets that have come out of this, but my question to you is, when you look at the full tax returns, what interested you the most and was there any sources
of income that seemed inappropriate in any way? >> well, the first thing is, as you know, this was all about checking the audit procedure. so the notion that they didn't audit -- audited one of six returns, and that, only when the day received the chairman's letter. very upsetting. put one irs agent on this, dramatically understaffed. no way to go through it carefully. jumped out at me almost $300 million worth of unsubstantiated deductions. s that how you get to pay no taxes. gave $30 million here, $27 million there and no documentation to support any of it. >> what about the fact that he wasn't audited during his presidency? does that indicate any wrongdoing? >> well, not necessarily on his part. you know it will be interesting. we'll figure out what's in the tax returns. the wrongdoing was the fact that
the law, the rule, is very clear that every president's returns are subject to a mandatory audit. in fact, every president going back to richard nixon voluntarily released his returns. trump promised to do that and never came through. >> you indicated that you spent monday, i think you said monday, going over the tax returns. must have taken you a couple hours to go over these tax returns. but, and i don't want to get you in trouble with your chairman, chairman neal. when going through the tax returns can you give a conservative estimate of the number of times you were looking at the tax returns and said, wow! >> well, the least six times i said wow when you saw the summaries of the different returns. summaries. how much was coming in and going out. emphasize, the whole idea led by chairman neal was to check the audit procedures. which are obviously broken and
in failure, but with a broken audit procedure you're not going to be able to go deeper to find out why does somebody with $100 million with revenue pay less than $1,000 in taxes. >> congressman, you mentioned a minute ago you didn't necessarily blame trump. that there wasn't the representative customary audit every year as president, but it does raise questions about the irs and the department of treasury. should, what sort of scrutiny should be applied to them right now? should congress look into further oversight how they handled this matter and presidential tax returns going forward? >> yes, absolutely. one of the things that happened yesterday was chairman neal introduced legislation which seemed to have support from republicans to make this mandatory audit in the law with lots of oversight. you know, one of the things we have to do, too, is recognize oeshg are the last ten years our republican colleagues have starved the irs and continued to strengthen the budget. a lot smaller than it was ten
years ago but for the addition made this past summer. >> congressman beyer -- go ahead. >> just -- you can't do it if you don't have the resources. and we're trying to overcome that. >> right. okay. so i'm curious. now that these are going to be released, we already have the summary, and you've got the -- the full tax returns, it's clear donald trump lied about being audited. and it's clear there is really interesting ways he did his taxes to avoid having to pay taxes. but why does this matter at this point? >> i think the fundamental idea for us is that no one should be above the law, and especially a president of the united states. you know, some of our republican colleagues worried about the weaponization of the irs, but we're never after private citizens. this is, you know, for in our years the most important person on the planet and really important that we know that he's telling the truth in his tax
returns and that the audit, it serves the function intended to do. >> member of the house ways and means committee, congressman don beyer, thank you very much for coming on the show this morning. more to come on this as the full returns will be revealed in the next few days. and still ahead on "morning joe," national security council spokesman john kirby joins the conversation ahead of ukrainian president volodymyr zelenskyy's visit to washington today. we'll also bring in the "washington post" david ignatius to talk about the state of the war. plus joined by transportation secretary pete buttigieg as airports across the country brace for a massive winter storm ahead of a busy holiday weekend. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. it's nice to unwind after a long week of telling people how liberty mutual customizes your car insurance so you only pay for what you need.
taking a group of mighty foes who seek our ruin. here we are, together, defending all that to free men is dear. >> that's a portion of british prime minister winston churchill's address to a joint session of congress in 1941. rallying americans for what was to come in the war against nazi germany. tonight, nearly 81 years to the day, ukrainian president volodymyr zelenskyy will do the same, only this time it is russians threatening safety of the world. just yesterday that president zelenskyy traveled to the war-torn city of bakhmut. it's located in ukraine's eastern donetsk region where some of the conflict's most brutal fighting has occurred. the wartime leader making the trip to boost morale.
shaking hands with ukrainian soldiers thanking them for fighting for their country. joining us now, national security council coordinator for strategic comm communications, admiral kirby and chief analyst for nbc news as well. admiral kirby, set the scene for us. what will americans be able to see today of this visit and what is the intention of it? >> it's kind of three big muscle movements today, mika. first will be a bilateral discussion with the president in the oval office. they'll be sort of two sessions. a smaller meeting and larger with more staff involved. then both president zelenskyy and president biden will come out and address the media and a short press conference after that bilateral discussion and then, of course, president zelenskyy will make his way up to capitol hill for a joint session with congress, an
opportunity to talk directly to our nation's lawmakers about the continued support that the united states provides ukraine. this visit comes at a very, a very precarious time in the war, mika. i don't think i need to tell you, sort of in a new phase as russia continues to step up air attacks on civilian infrastructure, civilian targets and the civilian population and why we're focused more keenly provides air defense capabilities. you're hear more about that from the president today as winter approaches these attacks against infrastructure are changing the face and character of the war and the president felt it was important to have this face-to-face meeting with president zelenskyy to discuss the way forward. >> admiral, david ignatius, i want to ask you, in the conversations today, in the white house, do you expect that the issue of diplomacy, some diplomatic path out of this terrible war, will come up between the president, president
zelenskyy and president biden, and, second, president zelenskyy has long wanted more weapons that can reach deeper into russia, that can take the fight to russia. is that going to come up, and do you have any indication that president biden is prepared to give him more than he has been in the past? >> david, i absolutely think that diplomacy will be on the agenda. no question about that. i suspect both leaders really want to talk about this idea of a just peace and what that looks like trying to find a diplomatic way to end this war. that said, gets to your second question. mr. putin showed no interest at all in trying to find a path out of this war. in fact, quite the contrary. he is stepping up his attacks now against civilian infrastructure. i absolutely do believe that a key part of today's visit will be security assistance and what the united states has done over the last nine going on ten months, hard to believe, and what the united states will do going forward. i don't want to get ahead of the president in terms of decisions
he has yet to make about what that security assistance will look like, but clearly we're going to make sure that president zelenskyy, when he leaves this country, knows that he's leaving with full support of the united states going forward. >> let's go to the other admiral. admiral, let me ask you potential requests for new weapons systems. more sophisticated weapons systems, longer-range weapons systems. that would seem to indicate the need for extra -- extra training for the ukrainians. so my question to you is, how important would the extra training be, and in your view, coming from your past position as nato commander, where would this training take place? could it take place within ukraine or have to be in another country? >> good morning to my fellow admiral, and i want everyone to notice i have my ukrainian tie on today, with the right colors in honor of the president's
visit. mike, the logical place would be in europe. of course, in addition to supreme allied commander of nato, commander of u.s. european command in charge of all u.s. forces we have the most extensive network of training ranges in the world. all over europe. principally in germany. i think that's probably where it could go. you know, one other element to president zelenskyy's visit that's worth mentioning, and it's the messaging. it's what he's trying to communicate, and he showed that great clip of churchill who could summarize things so beautifully. i would say what president zelenskyy wants to convey to different audiences, to the u.s., gratitude. to the ukrainians reassurance. to the europeans solidarity, and to russia and putin defiance and scorn. i think his messaging will be a big part of this. you put it alongside, mike, the
training that we can afford and i think a brilliant decision to apply patriot missiles, i think it will put russia on the back foot a bit. >> admiral kirby, jonathan lemire here. obviously this trip is so significant in part because it comes at such risk for president zelenskyy. we don't want you to get into specifics but can you give broad strokes how the u.s. is ensuring his safety to washington and then back home to ukraine afterwards? and then secondly, what is the degree of concern as to how this moment reassurance of allies, may provoke moscow? >> good morning, jonathan. you're right. i'm not going to want to get into too much of specifics in terms of his travel plans. i can tell you that the u.s. is in support in various ways of helping him get here to the united states safely. he is en route right now and obviously because he has to get back into country, we're going to be careful in terms of what
we talk about. but as for the question about russia. look, the only provocateur, the only aggressor is russia and mr. president. he started the war, the one decided to carry it on in a brutal way against the civilian population of ukraine, and what we've been trying to do, and today's visit will reinforce this again, is make sure that ukraine can defend itself and defend itself against a range of threats. when the war first started, you know, battle of kyiv, everybody says three days. now 300 days in this war, but the focus was on javelin and anti-tank missiles and stinger short-range air defense. that moved over time to more artillery and highmarhighmars an the way russians choosing to do the war. and it's going to change going forward. the united states will stay at it with ukraine. keep this iterative evolution of
support going forward. >> and vladimir putin went to belarus a couple days ago to supposedly convince the belarus people and army to join him in this venture. can you give an update on the status of the belarus army? how sophisticated are they? >> first, remember belarus has already been at it, already involved, engaged. they have allowed russia to use their airspace and their ground space to invade ukraine. now, belarusian troops haven't been physically involved, but belarus is a country very much involved. this is an army that is very much in the russian-style, ex soviet style. we don't have complete visibility on every asset and unit in belarus but we don't believe that the belarusian military is certainly anymore advanced or capable than what we see from the russian army on the ground in ukraine. that is to say they would, they had their own struggles with respect to logistics, support,
manpower, training, those kind of things. again, really important to make the point we have not seen them indicate any willingness to come into ukraine or physically help the russians on the ground. >> admiral over the weekend significant impressive reporting in the "new york times" talking about putin and moscow's army, and on one hand unveiled yet again staggering depth of corruption in the military that led to, in part led to its weaknesses and struggles on the battlefield and suggested putin may be willing to sacrifice another 100,000, 200,000 men to try to accomplish his goals. what's your read on that and how concerned about how much longer that could prolong this war? >> this is the russian way of war. it has been so for 1,000 years. they are willing to throw men at the battlefield, and to break them on the wield of combat.
you know, if you want to read about russian sense of dealing with that kind of situation, put down the cia report and go read the novel "one day in the life of ivan demeese vich" by solzhenitsyn. russian are people that will throw a lot more casualties, lose a lot more equipment. having said all that, picking up a point from john kirby. when you really look at the level of confidence on both the russian side and the belarusian side, they're all trained in the same old soviet system. they don't have the innovation. they have deep corruption. that's really the card putin has left to play is simply throwing man power at this combat situation. i don't think it will play, and if we can shut down with air defense the skies over ukraine, he's really out of cards to play at that point.
>> and admiral kirby before you go, i'd like to ask you about the situation in afghanistan, where the taliban has announced it will not allow women to go to college. >> yes. >> among the many challenges for women there, and then, of course, the news that two detainees, americans, coming home from afghanistan, clearly there's contact between the u.s. and afghanistan. so -- what are we supposed to make of the timing of these, of that announcement and the release of these hostages, or they call them detainees, and what more can be done? >> there's no connection at all, mika, between those two events. obviously we're glad these american detainees are able to come home and that they've been released and we do have communication channels with the taliban, of course, but we have also very, very strenuously in
the state department condemned this new edict from the taliban women not being educated. they want to be a part of the global community and want to be recognized as governors of afghanistan, well, then, they have to meet those requirements. they're going to have to stand up to actually do the things they promised they would do, and one of the things promised they would do, not close down opportunities for women and girls in afghanistan. what we're seeing is quite the opposite. >> okay. national security council coordinator strategic communications at the white house retired rear admiral john kirby. thank you. we'll look for more information on that and retired admiral, final thoughts before you go? >> let us take a moment and say that the united states has stood and responded here to vladimir
putin powerfully, and i give a lot of credit to this administration for doing so pragmatically. this moment of zelenskyy coming to speak in front of our congress ought to, indeed, provide echoes of winston churchill. it's a fine hour for both the united states and ukraine. >> we'll be watching this unfold today. coming up, we'll hear from two u.s. senators from new hampshire pushing back against changes that would strip the state of its first primary nominating status. democrats jeanne shaheen and maggie hassan join us next on "morning joe."
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beautiful sunrise in washington, d.c. as we get a live look at the nation's capitol at 41 past the hour. welcome back to "morning joe." the new hampshire democratic party continues to push back against planned changes to the 2024 democratic nominating process that would strip the state of its first in the nation status. the proposal removes iowa as an early voting state and places new hampshire and nevada on the same day. it's a move the party claims intended to give a diverse group of voters an early say in the process. in a letter to dnc chairman jaime harrison, the head of the new hampshire democratic party said the changes amount to an undue burden. writing in part this -- it is our hope that the people of new hampshire are not penalized by arbitrary and unfair requirements placed on
them by the dnc, and that these requirements do not punish our democratic delegation and president biden in the elections to come." joining us now, democratic senators from new hampshire, jeanne shaheen and maggie hassan. i know you heard me in the tease and thinking, brzezinski, get it right. it's hassan! it's good to have you both with me this morning. >> nice to be here. >> curious. start with senator hassan. what is the punishment or the burden that these changes would impose on the state of new hampshire? >> let's just take a step back, mika, and thanks for having us on. ever since pushing the nominating process out of back rooms and into neighborhoods new hampshire has gone first and really vetted candidates on an equal basis regardless of war chests or name recognition. right? and we have a state law that says we will go before any other state's primaries.
so the concerns that we have raised in our letter to the dnc is simply that they are telling new hampshire that in order to comply with their proposal, our officials have to break state law, and we agree with the goal of, that the dnc has articulating, increasing geographic diversity in the primary but including new hampshire as the first in the nation state and increasing diversity aren't mutually exclusive. end of the day, this is about making sure when new hampshire has its primary democrats are on the playing field in a very purple state with four very important electoral votes. >> senator shaheen, can the legislature work, change, modify the law? i mean, what's, again, the burden on the state of new hampshire? doesn't this plan, according to the dnc, sort of help with the process?
isn't this good for the democratic party? >> well, again, we agreed with the idea that diversity is good for the party, but we think the party could have done both. could have left new hampshire where it is, where our state law says we must be, and moved up additional states to provide that diversity. the fact is, we have a republican legislature and a republican governor and they're already attacking democrats and the dnc for the effort to move the new hampshire primary. the republican calendar is already set. we know they're going to be a lot of candidates coming through new hampshire as part of that republican calendar, and so we don't think because they've already told us they're not about to change the law that that makes sense. we need to comply with the law, and we think new hampshire will continue to provide a great venue for candidates who may not be well known, may not have big war chests, may not be
establishment candidates to come through and really engage with voters who pay attention to the candidates as they come through here. >> so senators hassan and shaheen, both of you are former governors of new hampshire. both of you have been participating in new hampshire politics for quite some time. i'd like each of you to take a crack at the following question -- what makes new hampshire and the new hampshire primary so special, so unique that it should be singled out as the first in the nation democratic presidential primary? senator hassan? >> oh, look. we engage with candidates on a retail basis. essentially in new hampshire when candidates come through, all politics are local again, because we are a small state. you can travel the length and width of our state in a day. you can be in urban areas, you can be in rural areas. we have a highly, highly engaged
electorate and shown compliment to doing this and doing it well and making sure as jeanne just said that regardless whether you've got a big war chest or high name recognition, you have an equal shot. and this vetting process creates better candidates and creates better presidents, and it's something that grand stators have been committed to since they first had the idea to pull the nominating process away from backroom deems and into the communities in our state and across our country. >> you know, we've had that 100-plus years of creating a culture where voters really engage in elections. we have probably as many elections as any state in the country. everybody except the united states senators run every two years including the governor. we have town meetings at all of our communities except for our 13 cities. every other community has a town meeting once a year, and the
presidential primary has been an opportunity for voters and particularly independents who really take the contest seriously. they will go see republicans and democrats and then make a decision, and i think that kind of vetting is really important to the process. one of the things we need to do as a democratic party is to be able to attract independents to support our candidates, and new hampshire gives them an opportunity to see how those democratic candidates are going to fare with independents. >> senators jeanne shaheen and maggie hassan of new hampshire. thank you both very much for coming on this morning. we'll watch what happens. up next, pharmacies limiting sales of some medicines in part because of pandemic-style hoarding. we'll have the latest on the tripledemic and the medicine problem. also ahead, a live report from capitol hill where there is a lot happening today. ukrainian president volodymyr zelenskyy is set to deliver a speech to congress, and the
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proposed to the governor a return to mask mandates indoors and on public transportation, saying in part, not everybody will wear a mask if there is a mandate but significantly more people will, making indoor spaces and transit spaces safer for all of us. meanwhile cases of the flu, rsv and covid are on the rise. >> this morning kroger is joining other major pharmacies struggling to keep up with the tripledemic. they are now limiting sales on medications. many shelves nationwide empty,
stunning doctors. >> i never thought i would see anything that in my lifetime. >> it was scary and frustrating, and it was infuriating. >> ashley from memphis went to five different stores trying to care for her 18-month-old son. >> he could not find his cough medicine, and he had a fever and a cough. >> you just want relief for your children. >> the tripledemic has led to a 65% increase in sales of pain and fever meds last month. >> i think in terms of some of your medications and stuff, if you can find chewable tablets, we could use chewable tablets for kids. >> rsv has dropped off in the last few weeks, but flu and covid rates keep rising.
>> use high quality masks when indoors and public settings. this is especially important for people who are getting together with people at risk for covid or the flu. >> and ashley decided to celebrate only with her immediate family, and she suggests reaching out to your neighborhoods for help if you can't find the medicine you need. >> talk to your neighbors and friends and try and work together as a community to say, hey, i checked this store. >> that was next's gabe gutierrez with that report. we want to turn back with our top story. ukrainian president zelenskyy is on his way to the united states as we speak and will meet with president biden today and tonight he will address congress. this is his first known trip outside of ukraine since the inflation began. with that, david, you have new reporting and analysis in the
"washington post" this morning on the state of the war at this moment. can you share that with us? >> mika, i was just in ukraine this month, just ten days ago, and i want to give viewers a picture of what that country looks like as you watch president zelenskyy give his speech to the joint session of congress. have in mind a battlefield in the east that is as brutal we have seen since world war i, and trench warfare, and not a tree left standing and buildings in rubble. it's a kind of primitive warfare we imagined disappeared in europe. further west in kyiv, the city faces intermittent bombing and drone strikes, but it's extraordinary how ukrainians and kyiv go about their business. and when i arrived there was a
traffic jam, people out on a friday night getting where they were going and you couldn't book a table at a restaurant, and people keep moving forward with this sense of determination. we'll hear that in the voice of president zelenskyy when he speaks to the country in this joint session of congress today. it's an extraordinary moment. we all wonder what it would have been like to talk to londoners during the blitz in london, and we will hear that in his voice, what it's like to stand up to an overwhelming tyranny and reckless attack from somebody who is living under those bombs himself, president zelenskyy.
welcome back to "morning joe." it's wednesday, december 21st, as we launch the third hour of "morning joe." mike barnicle here, and joe and willie are off today but we got this. ukrainian president volodymyr zelenskyy is headed to washington right now to visit with president joe biden and other u.s. officials. he's also expected to address a joint session of congress. and senators are racing the clock to pass a $1.7 trillion spending bill. the legislation would fund the government through next fall and
includes a re-write of election laws aimed at preventing another january 6th-style attack. who would be against that? in the house, the january 6th committee will await its long awaited report on the attack. meanwhile, the house weighs and means committee voted yesterday to make public former president trump's tax returns. it turns out he was lying about that audit the whole time. and then when he was president he forced his treasury director to make it to where he does not get audits even though all presidents since the '70s have been audited, and he was never
audited. never audited. so much going on capitol hill today, of course this incredible joint session of congress should be quite powerful with zelenskyy, but there are other things to deal with as well. >> yeah, mika, and it's hard to know where to begin with. yes, he is expected to speak in a joint session of congress, and reports on the ground suggest fears of a russian offensive and the united states is looking to pass $25 billion in much needed weapons and aid and economic security as well as part of the massive government funding bill, and it could get a vote in the senate by today, and it has to pass both chambers by friday in order to avoid a shutdown. and then speaker pelosi said, and i will quote, the fight for ukraine is the fight for democracy itself. we look forward to hearing your inspiring message of unity,
resilience and determination. unquote. this comes as the house of representatives is flipping from democratic control to republicans where speaker in waiting, possibly, kevin mccarthy, has not said whether he will continue the ukraine aid. there are questions whether this could be the last major charge of u.s. assistant going to ukraine, and that $1.7 trillion government funding bill in the senate has to overcome a bunch of objections from conservative senators who are opposing it. they might be demanding amendments in order to vote speedily. and on the trump tax returns, there's so much to go through here, mika, that the committee released a number of reports. the tax information and over the next few days, we are expected to get the tax returns themselves after they are redacted to remove personal
identifying information. the big takeaway from this from what i read is this program in the irs that subjects every president's tax returns to mandatory review was dormant for the first couple of years for the trump weighs and means presidency. this gets to the heart of why they requested the tax returns is they wanted to make sure this program was functioning correctly under a president who was the first in 40 years not to voluntarily release his tax returns, and they wanted to make sure they were not unduly influencing it, and the case that is built is yes, this program was not operating as it should under the first couple of years of trump's presidency, not until they requested that information, and then there are questions about loans to trump's kids, when they were gifts in attempted to avoid the gift tax.
so much to go through here. >> yeah, for those who have been looking for years, trying to get a sense of donald trump's tax returns and get answers on his financial decisions and lies that he might be making like on being audited, they got a christmas present. thank you very much for your reporting this year. you mentioned the spending bill, and joining us now, senator tester from montana, and he's chairman of the defense appropriations sub committee. and jonathan has the first question for you, senator. >> great to see you. let's start right there about the national defense portion of this spending bill. i know you are the chairman for the defense appropriations sub committees. talk to us about what funding is most important? >> why this is important, first of all, overall, is certainty.
if you have uncertainty, which a continued resolution would have done it and it has not served the country at all. what is in here that i am happy about is it allows us to continue to move forward to keep this country safe in the land, sea and space, and that's very important. this bill is robust in all those areas. i think considering where china is today and what is going on in russia and north korea and iran, and it sends a signal out to everybody in the world that we could actually function. this is not passed yet and i don't want to assume it will, but i think it will. if we don't pass this bill it sends a signal of weakness to the whole world. what has gone on in the last few weeks is very important for this nation's security, and i think the bill meets the needs of the country very well. >> senator, today washington is
getting a visit from president zelenskyy of ukraine. if this bill were to pass, and as you say, not quite done yet, but it includes quite a bit of money for ukraine to help them in their struggle against russia. how important is it to get this done now considering the uncertainty that may come after the first of the year when republicans control the house of representatives? >> once again, you touched on that word, uncertainty. this does give ukraine some certainty and the world some certainty that we are going to be there and promote democracy and watch how ukraine has utilized these dollars. there will be strict oversight on how this money is spent, but make no mistake about it, as zelenskyy said in a conference call or a video call we had with him six or eight months ago, ukraine wants to be like us. they want our freedoms and they have been under the thumb of
russia and know what it's like and are willing to sacrifice for it. i don't know what is going to happen in the future, and i don't know if the obstructionists will stop funding for ukraine, but the bottom line is we will make the case and work together if more funding is needed later on, and keep supporting ukraine. i think it's really important for the world and incredibly important for this country. >> this is a big bill. $1.7 trillion. you might remember an event that took place a couple years ago when a sitting president of the united states tried to bag a legitimate election in his favor. part of the component parts of the bill have to do with the electoral reform count. tell us about that? >> once again, i think it's a very important part to be put in the bill. it was done in a bipartisan way, and it's going to stop the kind of stuff we saw on january 6th where a sitting president tried the take the election and become
dictator of this country, quite honestly. this will stop that. it's an important piece of legislation, and it was worked on in a bipartisan way that i think will help secure the elections moving forward and that's very important. who would have ever thought we would have been in this situation five or six years ago, but we are and we need to make changes and i applaud congress for that. >> what do you think about the release of donald trump's tax returns and some revelations already from them? >> so look, nobody should be above the law, and even the president of the united states, and especially the president of the united states shouldn't be above the law. to have a sitting president once again say the rules don't apply to me, and they apply to everybody else but not to me is
totally unacceptable. the truth is that after all we saw come out of the january 6th commission, and i will tell you, i was here on january 6th and i didn't realize the full extent of what was going on because i didn't know the backstory. the commission has done that. we have heard about audits of taxes for president trump for a long, long time, and now we are hearing more of this backstory, that he did not get audited as president, the first time in 40 years. we need to make sure everybody is held accountable and nobody is above the law, including the president of the united states. >> senator john tester, thank you very much for being on this morning. have a good holiday. thank you. >> you do the same, mika. thank you. >> take care. airlines are preparing for a massive winter storm ahead of the christmas holiday. nbc news correspondent, tom
costello, has the latest from chicago's o'hare international airport. >> reporter: this morning countdown to bullseye at the nation's third busiest airport, chicago o'hare chalked full of passengers. determined to beat the winter storm now taking aim at the midwest. ord, a critical hub for american and united with the biggest presence here. >> it's a hectic day, flights are delayed and a few cancelation. >> we have 500 staff members who are ready to work 24/7, and 350 pieces of snow removing equipment. >> in the united states ops center here they watch every flight to make sure it's crewed, catered, fueled and on time.
united is using a new computer program called connection saver, calculating how long they can hold a plane's departure for late connecting passengers without delaying the flight. at gate c-9, agents held the door for 18 passengers. >> were you hoping to get here on time? >> yeah. >> good news you made it. >> it's not inconveniencing the rest of the folks on the airplane. >> hopper.com reports the busiest days to depart will be this thursday and friday. the busiest return days, december 26th and january 2nd. most travelers, 102 million in all will be driving this holiday, and many are hours away from braving heavy snow or rain, wind-swept highways and bitter
temperatures as mother natures tries to opt end this december's getaway. >> nbc's tom costello with that report. let's bring in u.s. transportation secretary, pete buttigieg, mr. secretary, and how bad will it be? what can the government to do to ease what looks like a horrific week of travel ahead? >> yeah, we had a great thanksgiving week with minimal disruptions. unfortunately it's not going to be that way going into christmas. we don't have just a large portion of the country affected by the winter storms, but that includes some of the key hubs for many of our airlines. there are things you can do, certainly a good idea to check frequently with your airline website. a lot of airlines have been offering and waving the change
fees. we have seen the airlines make a number of improvements on so-called blue sky delays where the weather is fine and there's a staffing issue, but nobody can control the weather and that's going to be causing disruptions, and good idea to allow extra time and to have a backup plan. >> the worst we can expect is cancelations with the storm, and there are delays, for sure, and i know some people have been waiting already in airports for many hours, but could there be a massive disruption of air travel depending on what the weather radars are sharing right now? >> yeah, a lot of times when it hits a hub you will have a knock on affect, and so even though it looks good where you are the aircraft on its way to you may
have been caught up in that, and you may have seen an e-mail even early this week saying if your travel plans are flexible, we will change your flight for free. and we have family members coming in to see our kids, their grandkids, and took advantage of the fact that you could make a free change and travel earlier than planned to beat that weather. and as the story of just aired showed, in addition to the air, a lot of people are going to be on the roads. it's really important to take your time, to make sure your car is set up for winter driving. we have tips on our website like driving with a car seat. if you have little ones traveling for the holidays, that's a great thing. you want to make sure coats and stuff are outside the seat belt so it fits snug, and there are
things that can help things a little smoother and safer as we deal with the winter weather that unfortunately, none of us can control but can respond to. >> and the weather is not only what looms, but there's covid, and there's an issue with pilots and other staff not able to do their job because of the shortages with the outbreaks. how concerned are you about that that airlines are simply not going to be able to put their planes in the air due to staffing? >> well, the staffing picture is better than it was over the summer or last winter, but this is going to be an issue. i think airline operations need to take account for this. we're taking a look at the affect it could have on our towers, because sometimes we don't have the staffing margin to handle -- to easily handle if multiple people get sick in the
same traffic control tower. that's here in the u.s. as i look at what is happening in china where there's a reported major, major surge there, there's a potential that that could be the latest curveball affecting our supply chains. certainly as we go into winter, and as we have learned, as we have experience with the virus is when you tend to see the most infections with people indoors, and we are light-years better than where we were a year or two ago, we are looking at the movement of goods and passenger travel being affected by the ongoing covid-19 issue. >> u.s. secretary of transportation, pete buttigieg. thank you so much for coming on the show this morning. we will hopefully talk to you again soon and get the latest. now to the latest on the migrant crisis at the southern border. the biden administration is asking the supreme court to end a pandemic-related immigration
policy, title 42, and it has allowed the federal government to expel more than 2 million asylum seekers on the grounds of the spread of covid. chief justice john roberts allowed title 42 to stay in place following a request from 19-republican led states last night. the justice department responded from that order from the chief justice and acknowledged the end of the policy would lead to a temporary increase in illegal crossings, but it argued that the solution is not to extend a public health measure that has out lived its justification. the doj is asking the court to lift the policy a week from today in order to give the government time to get more resources to the border. meanwhile, the department of homeland says it has used title 42 to remove nearly 10,000
migrants from el paso, texas, over the past week. the agency says more than one-third of the migrants were expelled to mexico or put on flights back to their home countries. the others were moved to facilities while they go through the immigration process. dhs also says daily encounters with migrants are down nearly 40% this week from nearly 2,500 a day to roughly 1,500. it's credit the work with its partners in mexico to discourage illegal border crossings and to stop human smuggling migrations. there's still hundreds of migrants sleeping on the streets of el paso. the city is under an emergency order as it works to find facilities to house the influx of people. this comes as president biden is set to travel to mexico next month to attend the north
american leader submit. according to white house spokesman, john kirby, biden will meet with mexican president and canadian president, justin trudeau. they will discuss economic security and immigration. this will be president biden's first visit to mexico since being president, and vice president kamala harris visited last year. we will be joined by former homeland security, jeh johnson. plus, we talk about the significance of ukraine's president zelenskyy visit to washington today amid the war going on in his country. it's the first known visit abroad he has made since the
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not be involved at that point. senior biden administration says the president is extending a formal invitation on the 14th and zelenskyy accepted. the decision was made for him to come. zelenskyy has not publicly left ukraine for any reason since russia invaded in february. david ignatius, explain the significance of zelenskyy coming to the united states of america. >> i think this will be a dramatic visit. it's rare to have somebody in the middle of a brutal war leave his country to explain to the united states and the world just what he's fighting for. i think he will be passionate and explaining that. i think the significance of the trip is it should lock-in bipartisan support for continued military assistance to ukraine,
and it should galvanize our nato allies to work closely with the u.s. through what will be a difficult winter. i think most of all, this is just a defiant gesture towards russia, which is pounding ukraine every day, trying to weaken the country's infrastructure and trying to break the will of its people, and to have their president zelenskyy received in washington, celebrated as -- as the person who many embodies the aspirations of the freedom and to stand up to the bullying, and ukraine's path through the difficult winter will be a little easier, and the ukrainian people, i think, will sense the support they have from the world. i was just in kyiv two weeks ago, mika, and it's a startling feeling to be amid people who
show that kind of defiance, courage, refusal to buckle under what is mounting russian pressures, and trying to break the heating and power systems throughout the country. we will get a chance to experience a little of that secondhand as we hear zelenskyy talk about his country and his fight. i would be amazed if there are many republicans who, after that speech, are not seeking to identify themselves with zelenskyy and trying to support his war with the u.s. additional weapons president biden wants to send. >> the impact on republicans should be pretty powerful. i think also it's a chance for volodymyr zelenskyy to really show americans and tell americans personally from his heart that ukrainians are fighting and dying for the safety of the world, ultimately. jon meacham, your thoughts. is there solidifying any
parallels here? >> with a great sense of theater and a great commitment to the hard, hard, hard work, unimaginable work for most of us of defending your country from a superior power, zelenskyy is very much acting in the churchillen tradition. churchill did not come to the united states in december of 1941, after both, pearl harbor and hitler's declaration of war on the united states. it was at that point that fdr said to them, we are all in the same boat now, and it was a boat that like, zelenskyy, churchill had been in largely alone since the spring of 1940. we have been fighting this battle that we are fighting again, and this is one of our oldest and most difficult battles in the united states.
it's between engagement in the world and isolationism. the false sense that because of the gift of geography of the united states of america, that somehow we are, to paraphrase churchill, not involved in the agonies and the triumphs of the world. i think president biden is led with immense skill throughout this crisis. it's reminiscent of the senior president bush during the first gulf war and back to the world war ii leadership. i say that without -- people can mock that, perhaps, and david can check me on that, and the way he is managing these alliances and the way he is trying to enable america to project power without going too far, and yet without falling short. that's, in many ways, of course, the great test of diplomacy.
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keep his record shielded from the same scrutiny that every president has faced since the 1970s, house democrats have voted to publicly release former president trump's tax return following a four-hour closed door hearing on the matter. although the full documents are not expected to be released for days, and here are some of the
takeaways. in four of the six years reviewed trump reported a negative income to the irs. his income was in the green in 2018 after his first full year as president. again, in 2019 before falling back into the red in 2020. in three of the six years reviewed trump paid $750 or less in federal income taxes, and that includes 2020 where he paid zero. the committee also raises questions about irs scrutiny of the substantial number of declarations made on the former president's returns, despite claiming millions of dollars in deductions from charitable donations. the committee rights the irs made no efforts to legitify
that. despite it being mandatory every year for sitting presidents. only after the committee launched its investigation into trump's returns did the irs take any steps to look further into the filings. in an internal memo, the agency said it did not have enough resources to examine all the potential issues in trump's returns. that's one of the things that is definitely true, there are issues, a lot of issues here. let's bring in our journalist and washington correspondent for "the new york times," charlie savage. what are we learning so far. i know we have a 39-page summary and we will learn a lot more soon. sit perhaps the biggest thing he was hiding is was the biggest
loser in terms of people that file taxes, or is it more, is it sources of income that we are looking at? >> well, we only have top-line numbers from the tax years starting at 2016 the committee provided in the report, and it's very preliminary. the raw documents will be put out today and tomorrow and there will be a big effort to make sense of it. the early cut of the numbers showed on the screen that of the four years in office, he basically paid no taxes for the first and fourth year. he did have income in 2018 that allowed him to pay about $1 million in taxes because he had capital gains taxes. throughout that period he was reporting making large charitable donations in cash, and the committee is flagging whether there is substantial support to make sure he made those contributions or whether
he was putting numbers on the page, and wanting the irs to look at that. the larger takeaway here is the other part of what you were getting into which is the irs has rules that say that sitting presidents and vice presidents must be audited every year. the irs, under the trump administration's control did not do that in 2017, and did not do that in 2018, and only started looking at the first of his tax returns in april 2019, the very same day that house democrats on the weighs and means committee sent a request to the treasury department for data about his taxes and any associated audits. there's clearly deep dysfunction at a minimum at the irs in the auditing program, and the reason that is important is because committee democrats said they were looking at the taxes and needed to look at the program to see if it's strong enough and all along trump's lawyers said
it was just a pretext, and it was a big error they discovered. >> can you explain about the head tax lawyer that left the position, and maybe he was forced out of the position or whatever, but could you explain his potential role in this, if any? >> we don't know. we talked last night to the commissioner of the irs in 2017 who was running the agency when they should have done their first audit of trump's taxes becae was t sitting president in 2017, and he disclaimed knowledge and could not explain why there was no audit that year. and then the gentleman you just mentioned, he defended trump's refusal to make public his tax
returns that broke with modern precedence, and trump famously would not release his president. and this guy said he should not have to, and trump put him in charge of the irs. he certainly is going to have questions from the senate, and i doubt house republicans when they take over the chamber will be interested in calling him starting next month. coming up, we will go live to capitol hill where members of congress will hear directly from the president of ukraine, volodymyr zelenskyy. he's making the high stakes trip to washington right now. a full preview of that straight ahead on "morning joe."
president zelenskyy needs to look the american people in the eye and explain in a larger sense what the struggle was all about. i think in coming to america it would also help strengthen the spine of our colleagues in europe. they're about to take a walk through hell in terms of the winter, and even if they get through this winter without -- without shortages, they have to worry about next winter, and we have to all stick together on this. >> horrors that we could not imagine or don't want to imagine, they have endured and they are winning. i think anytime somebody can speak of that valor, that's a good message for the american people to hear. >> yeah. republican senators john kennedy and bill cassidy weighing in on the significance of ukrainian
president volodymyr zelenskyy's visit to washington today where he is expected to address a joint session of congress. joining us now, the host of "way too early," and with us from london, nbc chief international correspondent, keir simmons. we have david ignatius and jon meacham standing by. >> president biden is one of the few western leaders who has not made a trip to kyiv, and there have been hopes to have a face-to-face meeting. some talk that might have happened at the g-20 last month in indonesia, but president zelenskyy had not left his country since russia invaded. and he was invited to washington and it came together quickly,
and sunday zelenskyy agreed to come to washington today with the element of risk here. he needs to be able to safely get out of ukraine and get back into his home country afterwards with, of course, the invasion very much ongoing. there are a couple target audiences here when president zelenskyy and biden meet. first they will meet at the white house and have private meetings and meet with the security team and then address reporters and then zelenskyy goes to capitol hill to talk to congress. this is meant as a sign of solidarity and american support as the difficult winter begins and trying to reassure europeans. we will expect the president to talk about the giving of new weapons -- nearly $2 billion in military assistance announced
today, including the patriot missile batteries and americans training ukrainians in a third country on how to use the batteries, and there will be disagreements, too. zelenskyy wants weapons with longer range to strike deeper into russia and the u.s. is still reluctant to give those over. there will be points of contention amid a sign of solidarity. keir simmons, do you anticipate this trip being received in moscow? the u.s. has been so careful to avoid further provocation of putin in order to trigger a response, and how do you think that will be received at the kremlin? >> reporter: well, badly, i suspect. i don't think putin will be pleased to see it, to say the least, jonathan. i think your reporting about how quickly this was put together is fascinating because i think it shows us that it isn't just moscow that sees washington as
where the action is. it's kyiv as well. i think it indicates real concern with the ukrainians that they need to maintain support, particularly from congress, with this almost $50 billion aid package. real concern that support might waiver. and you mentioned the difficulties in europe. i mean, frankly, europe's in political turmoil right now with allegations of bribery against european politicians by states in the gulf. so, they're struggling honestly, politically, and you know, ukraine needs washington to continue to support, you know, jonathan, i think one of the aspects of this, again is that that idea that it's not just russia that thinks that america is key to all of this. it's ukraine. as well. brings you to a question which i don't we really don't know the answer to yet and that is, what has jake sullivan been saying when he's been meeting with
nikolai petrachov and those two key advisers to president putin. how far has it been, and has he at all been stretching the idea that u.s. won't negotiate with russia, that that's up to ukraine? because i think in moscow, to answer your question directly, we have said this many times that president putin is looking at playing the long game. i think this, frankly, is likely to be a long conflict. and, therefore, what ukraine needs is long, ongoing consistent support from washington. and that's what president zelenskyy is trying to achieve right now. and that is exactly what president putin doesn't want to see. coming up, a look at the new probe in washington that could spell trouble for the white house. and, no, it's not hunter biden. republicans are looking into the u.s. withdrawal from afghanistan. and it could pose some political problems for the president. we'll break down that reporting in "the washington post."
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i will absolutely give my return, but i'm being audited now for two or three years so i can't do it until the audit is finished, obviously. >> it's under order, i'll release when the audit is completed. my tax returns, very simple, they're under routine audit. as they have been for many years, every year i get audited.
>> nobody cares. >> the only one that cares about my tax returns are the reporters. >> you don't think you do? >> i don't think so, i won. i became president. i don't think they care at all. >> lo and behold, we find that the irs overseen a trump appointee, steve mnuchin not only failed to carry out those audits but failed to carry out its proper and designated oversight duties. once again, donald trump is lying. he was not under a minor auditor any audit. of any kind, when he answered those questions. welcome back to the fourth hour of "morning joe" on this wednesday, december 21st. it is a big day on capitol hill. ukrainian president volodymyr zelenskyy will address a joint session of congress in person, in washington, d.c. he's headed to the u.s. right now to meet first with president
joe biden and speak with lawmakers. meanwhile, the senate is also expected to vote on a massive spending bill to keep the government running. the january 6th committee is set to release its full report and the house ways and means committee is set to make public donald trump's tax returns in the coming days. so, everybody can see exactly what was going on there. let's get right to our reporters, nbc news capitol hill correspondent ali vitali, and nbc news white house correspondent carol lee. carol, i'll start with you. what do we know so far about how this trip, volodymyr zelenskyy, making his first known trip outside of ukraine since the invasion began -- how this trip was planned? and what's at stake and what's on the schedule today? >> sure, mika. well in terms of how it was planned, the white house officials say that this is something that's been in the works for about ten days. that president biden raised the issue about president zelenskyy
visiting washington in a call on december 11th. then followed up with a formal invitation on december 14th, just this past sunday, president zelenskyy accepted that invitation and said that the u.s. and ukrainians have been figuring out security things and issues and how to get him here safely. obviously, this is something that comes with a tremendous amount of risk. as for what's on the table for discussion, a number of other issues. first, president zelenskyy is expected to arrive at the white house around 2:00. there's at least two hours blocked for the president and president biden to have their meeting, they're expected to have a joint news conference then. and then president zelenskyy will do that joint address to a joint session of congress. now, for zelenskyy's part, we're today, you know, he's expected to thank the americans for the support. they've provided the ukrainians so far. to try to keep up that momentum, as there's some questions in congress about whether or not the spendingil