Show: MTP DAILY Date: November 17, 2016 Guest: Chris Jansing, Richard Haass, Beth Fouhy, Katy Tur, Debbie Stabenow, Kate Rogers, Caitlin Dewey, Sheera Frenkel, Steve Kornacki, Katy Tur, Beth Fouhy
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: Yes, it`s Thursday. Is President-elect Trump actually assembling a team of rivals?
(voice-over): Tonight, figuring out Trump`s foreign policy while we still don`t know what direction he plans to take us.
Plus, fake news, real influencer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There`s so much active misinformation and it`s packaged very well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: How misinformation is spreading faster than ever before.
And what`s missing in Michigan? How Democrats lost touch with a huge chunk of that state`s voters.
This is MTP DAILY and it starts right now.
(on camera): Good evening, I`m Chuck Todd here in New York and welcome to MTP DAILY.
In 64 days, Donald Trump will be come in the most powerful military force the world has ever seen, that includes the most potent nuclear arsenal on earth.
But yet given all that awesome power, we still don`t know the direction of Trump`s foreign policy, at all. He campaigned on a mess of foreign policy contradictions.
And so, far, the names being floated to fill his cabinet are a study in contradictions. Will we get some clarity or will his picks continue to confuse us? As they say in reality T.V., you`ll have to tune in to find out.
But here`s the latest float. A source close to Trump says he`s considering Mitt Romney as secretary of state. Yes, that Mitt Romney. The embodiment of everything Trump campaigned against. It`s either a giant peace offering to the establishment wing of the Republican Party or a reality T.V.-style twist to build intrigue around the pick.
Which is it? We don`t know. It`s always worth keeping track of where these scoops actually come from and where they are. It may just nothing be -- be nothing more than just simply a head fake, to change subjects. But we`ll find out soon enough.
Trump is also considering General Michael Flynn as his national security adviser. We told you yesterday how critically important that role is. But we should caution, nothing is a done deal inside this transition until Trump publicly says it is.
Flynn himself is a fascinating study in contradictions. He`s a registered Democrat with a lengthy service record. He was the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Obama. And that`s where he began clashing with everyone around him.
Now, he`s a Trump guy. So, what would a Flynn pick say about Trump`s foreign policy? Would it mean he would run a mission-centric and ISIS- focused national foreign policy like you would expect from a lieutenant general? We don`t know and likely won`t know until Trump announces more picks.
For all we know, he might pick a John Bolton at state and Tom Cotton at defense, two guys who come from the Dick Cheney school of foreign policy. Or maybe he does go with a Jeff Sessions and a Bob Corker at defense and state to fill those roles, two senators who do both envision a more cautious and more pragmatic foreign policy.
Or he could continue to confuse us, like he usually does. And, remember, when it comes to national security, he has Trumpeted that idea, that he doesn`t like people knowing what he`s going to do. Then, he thinks that gives him an advantage and that could be what this is all about.
But in Germany today, President Obama had some not so subtle foreign policy advice for his successor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My hope is that he does not simply take a real politic approach and suggest that, you know, if we just cut some deals with Russia, even if it hurts people or even if it violates international norms or even if it leaves smaller countries vulnerable or creates long-term problems in regions like Syria, that we just do whatever is convenient at the time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: And here`s White House national security adviser, Susan Rice, in an interview with my colleague, Chris Jansing, urging Trump to rethink his willingness to work with Syrian President Assad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUSAN RICE, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: He`s been slaughtering his own people and with extreme brutality. Most of his effort is not directed against ISIL. It`s directed at the domestic opposition.
And so, for the United States to throw in our lot with Assad or the Russians absent a political transition, absent an understanding that our efforts are actually focused on the terrorists rather than on the opposition, it doesn`t make a great deal of sense, in my estimation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: All right, let`s dig deeper into all of this. I`m joined by Richard Haass, who is president of the council on foreign relations. He`s served in the State Department, the White House. And was an aide in the Senate. He`s author of the forthcoming book "A World in Disarray."
[17:05:07] Mr. Haass, always a pleasure to see you, sir.
RICHARD HAASS, PRESIDENT, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Thank you, Mr. Todd.
TODD: Let`s start with what do you feel like you know about the direction of Donald Trump`s foreign policy? Where is he taking us? Look, we don`t know the personnel yet. Everybody thinks they know with General Flynn but that hasn`t been announced.
But from what either conversations you`ve had with people close to him, where do you feel like the direction is headed here?
HAASS: I actually come out where you came out which is we don`t know. There`s never a direct or 100 percent correlation between campaigning and governing. We`re in the, what, first 10 days of transition. Every single transition is messy.
HAASS: And as Joe Biden said yesterday, no administration is ready on day one.
So, I know everyone is reading every tea leaf with extreme intensity. But I actually think it`s time, a little bit, for taking a step back, for taking a deep breath. Let`s see the totality of the team.
And then, we have to remember, the team is advisers. There`s only one president, one commander in chief. And he gives direction more than he receives it.
TODD: You know, and, look, the state and defense are sort of the flashy titles. But as we went through this yesterday, the national security adviser will tell us more than either state or defense. Is that fair to say?
HAASS: I think it is. The national security advisers have two critical roles. One is you`ve really got to make the entire process work. He`s got to be the honest broker, the traffic cop.
And, particularly, if you end up with different kinds of voices, it`s essential that they trust him and work with him rather than, say, through the media.
And then, secondly, he`s got to be a counselor, a private adviser to the president. But what`s tricky, Chuck, in this job is he can never allow the private adviser or the counselor to get in the way of the honest broker role. And I`d simply say, not too many people, historically, have been able to get that balance right.
TODD: You know, and another thing about General Flynn, and I don`t want to get into specifics on him, but he has the profile as a former military guy. And I`ve noticed -- you tell me. But I feel as if it`s perhaps Brent Scowcroft is the exception, not the rule here.
But if you look at James Jones struggle in this. Do you think it`s tougher for a high -- former high-ranking military officer to be in that role of national security adviser?
HAASS: I don`t think it`s the military background. And, again, as you mentioned, Brent Scowcroft is widely seen by Democrats and Republicans alike as the gold standard. And he was the national security adviser. I was lucky enough to work for him.
I think it`s important that someone has time in the State Department or the intelligence community or the Pentagon. It`s very hard to come into this role without knowing, really, how government works.
TODD: You know, it`s interesting. We got a -- Senator Jack Reed, who`s probably the most important voice on the Democratic side, in national security and foreign policy in the U.S. Senate these days. His office jumped the gun on a -- on a release, sort of talking about his reaction to General Flynn.
And he talked about his great background. But then, at the same time, said, you know, he`s got -- he was troubled by some of the rhetoric that General Flynn used during the campaign and hopes that is just sort of an anomaly.
Is that going to be the general reaction from some -- Jack Reed, essentially, was saying he looks forward to working with him. He praised his background. And, obviously, if General Flynn can`t get along with Jack Reed, he`s not going to be able to get along with anybody.
HAASS: Fair enough. But also, one thing, this job does not have to get confirmed. This is a presidential appointment, unlike secretary of state or secretary of defense.
And more importantly than getting along with Congress in that job is you`ve got along with your colleagues. You`ve got to pick a good staff, a capable staff. And, again, you`ve got to be someone who your colleagues are willing to work with rather than go around.
And the president has to make it clear that this is the role he wants his national security adviser to play and he won`t brook any exceptions to that.
So, the -- what you really need, then, is the right person in the job, but the president has to have his back every inch of the way.
TODD: What would you say -- as Donald Trump has said it time and again on the trail, and I actually think this is how he is trying to put together his foreign policy team which is he wants to have confusion out there. What is the upside and what is the downside for sending mixed signals about your foreign policy philosophy?
HAASS: Well, the only upside is probably that it keeps your adversaries a bit off balance. But the downsides are that you confuse the American public. You confuse your allies. Because predictability and reliability are the coin of the realm for a great power such as the United States.
So, I think there`s one thing to say, you want to have a process where not everyone, necessarily, is working from the same page. The president would hear a wide range of views. I think that`s actually healthy. A group thing can be really dangerous.
[17:10:00] But once a policy is selected, then the United States has to act in discipline and with discipline in what it does and what it says.
TODD: All right. Richard Haass, I will leave it there. Your counsel always important to our viewers, let alone anybody who does call you up and actually get it. Good to see you, sir.
HAASS: Thanks, sir.
TODD: You got it.
Let me bring in tonight`s panel. Beth Fouhy, Senior Politics Editor at NBC News. Katy Tur, of course, has been covering the Trump campaign since day one. And Steve Kornacki is, of course, an MSNBC Correspondent and Anchor and my (INAUDIBLE) geek pal over here.
KORNACKI: You and me versus the board.
TODD: Exactly. Exactly. And the board always wins.
KORNACKI: It does.
TODD: Katy, I`m going to start with you. You were on the phone working sources. First of all, we -- there`s still no General Flynn announcement. Just like Jack Reed`s office did and they jumped the gun, and they admitted that. They apologized for it. But why? Why don`t we have this announcement? It`s surprising that this announcement hasn`t been made yet.
KATY TUR, CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS: I don`t know why we don`t have this announcement because all signs have pointed to General Flynn as national security adviser.
TODD: There`s really no number two.
TODD: There`s nobody else expected.
TUR: He`s the person we have had our eye on now for nine days, nine-10 days, since we started having these conversations. So, it is surprising that that confirmation or that announcement has not come out yet. What that means, I don`t know.
But I was talking to an intelligence officer, a former intelligence officer, a few of them today, actually. But the one I talked to most recently, I asked him a little bit about Flynn. I said, do you think he`s qualified for that position? I got a hard no. I said, do you think he has the temperament for that position? I got a hard no. I said, do you think he has the strategic judgment for that position? I got a hard no.
And I`m getting that across the board, pretty much, for everybody who`s willing to speak, at least anonymously, on this, because they don`t feel like he has shown or proven himself to have the ability to have the scope of judgment that that requires.
TODD: Beth, I do think -- I`ve noted, ever -- particularly when you look at the role Jerry Kushner is playing, the role Mike Pence is playing, they are on the lookout for red flags. And they`ve been very careful. I feel like all of these floatings about new secretaries of the states are really a message to Rudy Giuliani, stop applying. Very subtle, but hey, stop applying. And not naming Flynn tells me they are looking for somebody else but maybe the president-elect hasn`t been satisfied.
BETH FOUHY, SENIOR POLITICS EDITOR, NBC NEWS: Well, one thing we know is that all of these names, at least initially, and as -- even as they flatten out a little bit, are names of people who Donald Trump has a comfort level with. And he started with that core -- tiny core group: Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, those folks. Mike Flynn certainly in that -- in that category. I mean, he was somebody who was out there, you know, campaigning hard for Trump.
TODD: When nobody else would.
FOUHY: Yes, exactly. Exactly.
TODD: I mean, there is a loyalty. And I think -- I think, in Trump`s mind, he owes him.
FOUHY: And Trump was kind of a pariah. Right. When Trump was almost a pariah, he was out there. He didn`t let the pressure get to him. He was drumming up, you know, law corrupt against Hillary Clinton.
So, Trump, you know, does feel like he owes him something. Perhaps this isn`t the right job. And that perhaps that is -- maybe he will place him in another role. But he clearly doesn`t want to just push him out yet.
TODD: But, Steve, it is important. If a president -- I go back -- look, I was there. James Jones on paper had this great resume and there was just no connectivity. There was no bonding between President Obama and him. And they didn`t see eye to eye.
And, eventually, he went to national security advisers that he personally stumped (ph) for, even deputies. Dennis McDonough became a favorite of his. And then, eventually, he became (INAUDIBLE) chief of staff. He was a deputy under Jones. It`s important that the president and this national security adviser have that personal connection.
KORNACKI: And that`s the tension here because it`s so unusual with Trump, obviously, that that sort of inner circle you could call on, who you were within the campaign, who could then be part of your administration, is so much smaller, so much tighter with Trump.
And so, the Giuliani thing is so interesting to me, too, because it`s that question of loyalty and how much he rewards him. Because if loyalty is the standard, there is no one who is more loyal in this campaign than Giuliani. I mean the "Access Hollywood" tape comes out. Giuliani doesn`t flinch.
TODD: He went out on the Sunday (ph) shows when nobody else would.
KORNACKI: He stayed there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When Kellyanne Conway wouldn`t.
TODD: That`s right.
KORNACKI: And, I mean, he went -- and think about that. If this reporting were seen today actually is true, and there is a debate here between Giuliani and Romney. And on the question of loyalty, you couldn`t be farther apart.
FOUHY: But it does show the difference of world view that we`re seeing. I mean, we`re seeing a Donald Trump who said he wants to kick the (INAUDIBLE) out of ISIS.
FOUHY: But he also wants a smaller view as footprint overseas, and he wants a better relationship with Russia. And all those people that they are - they are talking to are, sort of, sending conflicting signals on those three key issues.
TODD: Katy, Steve Bannon was making calls to Capitol Hill trying to calm people down, even before he got -- knowing he was going to be a political firestorm. And he was trying to calm the waters, trying to reassure people. Any evidence that General Flynn has been making similar calls yet?
TUR: I have not had any evidence of General Flynn doing that so far. That`s not to say he`s not. I just haven`t seen it.
I just think when you -- when you speak to Richard Haass and when you talk about somebody who`s got to be an honest broker, somebody who`s got to play all the sides and understand the personalities involved. I just -- even though people like General Flynn and they respect him, I haven`t come across somebody in my reporting that believes that he`s a good person for that job.
[17:15:14] You noticed that Richard Haass said one thing in particular, somebody that doesn`t go to the press. And I`ve been hearing that a lot of that with General Flynn, this complaint that he goes to the press too much and back channels.
Also, the idea that he was out there leading the lock her up chant. That`s something that`s very unseemly to folks.
But, again, you know, Donald Trump is not -- he didn`t win office by saying that I`m going to put the same old folks in these jobs.
TODD: And that`s what makes, to me, the idea of Mitt Romney out there that -- I don`t think he owes the establishment anything, Beth. He owes -- he actually owes his core. And if he goes the establishment way, that`s what they voted against.
FOUHY: Yes, and who has a completely different view of Russia than --
TODD: Well, the Russia thing, right. I mean, like, totally opposite. I mean, you can`t get more polar opposite.
FOUHY: You can`t. But you know what? Maybe Donald Trump is something of a grown-up and sees value of uniting a party that has been driven apart by this campaign even though they ultimately won.
TODD: All right. Well, we will pause there.
Another packed show coming up. Coming up, we`re going to talk Democrats. How have they lost touch with a huge chunk of a country that used to be theirs? And can they win these voters back?
If they don`t, our next guest, Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, won`t be able to keep her job in 2018. So, stay tuned.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TIM RYAN (D), OHIO: I, personally, don`t believe that we can win the House back with this kind of leadership. I just don`t think so. And I hate to say it, I love Nancy Pelosi, and -- but I just don`t think we can do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: There you go. That was Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan this morning just hours before he announced that he`s challenging Nancy Pelosi to be the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives. A position Pelosi has held for over a decade. In a statement, Ryan said, leading leadership unchanged would lead to more disappointment in future elections.
At her weekly briefly this morning, Pelosi stressed unity in the Democratic caucus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), DEMOCRATIC LEADER, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: Yesterday, I formally wrote to my colleagues to ask for the continued honor of serving as House Democratic leader. House Democrats must be unified, strategic and unwavering. Those same attributes served us well in 2006 when we won the House. And I`m hopeful that -- I believe they will do so again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: Ouch. Harkening back 10 years is a tough thing to pitch.
House leadership elections for Democrats on November 30. It`s still more than likely Pelosi remains in power. A leadership challenge underscores a level of strain within the Democratic caucus. Keep an eye on the congressional black caucus and the congressional Hispanic caucus. Do they break from Pelosi? That would be the sign that she would be in trouble. If they don`t, she`s going to have this thing wrapped up.
Coming up, another electoral challenge for Democrats. Winning back the industrial Midwest.
TODD: Michigan, Michigan, Michigan. No, that`s not an Ohio State chant these days. NBC News still hasn`t called the presidential race in Michigan, technically. But the fact that the vote there is so close says everything. Michigan was supposed to be part of Clinton`s big, blue firewall in the industrial Midwest. It hadn`t voted Republican since 1988.
Macomb County outside of Detroit tells the story, one of the big three stories, of this election. It was once known as the home of the Reagan Democrats. President Obama won the county himself in the entire state twice. Trump beat Clinton in Macomb county by 12 points. Welcome to your swing voters.
Folks, Macomb is full of the types of voters Democrats have to win back if they want to win the White House. And, frankly, if they ever want to win House -- the House majority ever again. These are folks that are working hard but finding it tough to stay in the middle class.
They were looking for change when they voted for Obama. And when they didn`t get it, they chose to give Trump a chance.
My colleague, Jacob Rascon is in Macomb County for us right now. And, Jacob, those Obama-Trump voters, those are, to me, the most fascinating voters for all of us to spend more time talking with. What have you learned?
JACOB RASCON, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: So, we spent the day at Fryer`s Kitchen and Bakery here in Warren. Macomb County, as you mentioned, went for Obama twice. But then went to Trump more than -- or nearly 50,000 votes.
And what I would say is a couple of things that we found walking around and talking to folks. We did meet those who were very disappointed that Trump won and those who were very excited that Trump won.
But in the middle and the biggest thing we found were people who were persuadable. They were willing to be persuaded by either side. And most simply said, they were not persuaded by Hillary Clinton, not genuine enough. And they felt that, as workers, people in the auto industry and others, that Trump was going to be their fighter. Here`s a few examples.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I looked at the two candidates, and Hillary did not seem genuine to me, too many lies in the making. Trump said a lot of things I wanted to hear and my vote counted. Security, jobs, the economy is important. I`m all good with lowering taxes. So, the issues hit home for your average joe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obama promised in 2008 there will be a change. And he promised us this, that. That never came.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Resurgences of a Reagan Democrat, you know, in the 1980s, people were -- these voters were scared about the decline in the auto industry. And they`re scared about it today. There is a despair about, you know, how can our -- my economic situation improve? Trump glommed on that, talked about economic issues and he proved to be a fighter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RASCON: So, again, we met mostly people who said that they were willing to go for the Democrats but didn`t because they weren`t persuaded by Hillary Clinton. A lot of the independents, most of them, say we don`t just stick with one or the other. And this time, Trump was going to provide the change that we really wanted. And, really, it was economics, as you heard there from some of those folks.
TODD: No doubt. Jacob, appreciate it. Nice work there.
Joining me now is Michigan Senator, Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow. She`s also the incoming chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. Senator Stabenow, always good to see you.
SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW (D), MICHIGAN: Great. It`s good to be with you.
TODD: So, I`m want to read something to you that Joseph Stiglitz is writing in -- he just wrote in "Vanity Fair" today. And it was his diagnosis of why Democrats failed, progressive economists. He writes this. The system was unfair. It was rigged, to use Trump`s term. Though he was talking about something else, perhaps.
But it was a situation waiting to be exploited. He calls it the trilogy, Senator. Inequality arising from an unfair system with a government that pretended to be the defended of ordinary individuals but was just the opposite. And it provided the perfect conditions for the emergence of Donald Trump.
[17:25:10] Is Joseph Stiglitz onto something?
STABENOW: Well, Chuck, first of all, there`s no question about it. And in Michigan and across the country, there are people who have not felt the recovered. I fight for them every day trying to hold onto the middle class, getting to the middle class.
When I look at what Donald Trump has said, a lot of it, I could pull out in legislation that I`ve introduced and tried to get past a number of times that the Republicans have consistently blocked. Whether it`s closing tax loopholes and bringing jobs home, currency manipulation, the whole effort to do an infrastructure investment, to create good-paying jobs.
So, yes, he was talking about something. Ironically, something that, in fact, we have been trying to do that have been consistently blocked by the Republicans. So, it`s going to be very interesting now, I hope, and to the extent that he`s willing to actually follow through on those things that will help people in Macomb County and in Warren. And support the things that I`ve been pushing and other Democrats, then we`re willing to work with him to do that.
It`s going to be very interesting, to me, to see the position of Republicans who have consistently opposed those things.
TODD: But if -- so, if your bills that you`re just talking about and you`ve got a president Trump that, with a few changes here or there, is willing -- is willing to go this way, you`re willing to vote with president Trump on some of these things that you`re talking about.
Whether it`s infrastructure spending, whether it is closing a corporate tax loophole that you think might bring a job back from overseas. I know not everybody agrees that that will be the actual outcome, but that -- in some form of that. If he proposes legislation like that, you`ll sign on to it?
STABENOW: To the extent that he is willing to support those things, then I`m willing and my Democratic caucus is willing to do that. And, in fact, my Bring Jobs Home Act stops us from paying for the move -- the cost of the move.
Right now, under the tax code, a company that`s leaving the United States can actually write off on their taxes the cost of the move and the workers and all of us have to pay for it. So far, I`ve had this in, I think, six years and Republicans have filibustered it every time.
So, to the extent that president Trump will work with us on those things, count me in. If he`s going to be continuing to keep the system rigged for the wealthy and well connected and continue to pit people against each other, then count me out.
TODD: Let me ask you this, though. I think, you as a Democratic officeholder, you`re probably going to feel pressure in two different directions politically. I want to read you something that Paul Waldman wrote in the "Washington Post," and essentially it was an excerpt in "New York Magazine." Why Democrats need to fight Donald Trump from the moment he takes office.
Their mistake is the apparent belief by many Democrats that they can burnish their reputation for economic populism by joining with Trump. This would be a sensible way to conceive of the choice if voters judged the congressional party independently of how it judged the president. The single accountability mechanism by which the public makes its choices is the president. If the president is seen succeeding, voters will reward his party.
Essentially, the point is, don`t help him because if you help him politically, you doom the Democrats. What do you say to Democrats who wish you would just fight him on everything even if you agree?
STABENOW: Chuck, you know, this is a very difficult thing, because there`s no question that the Republicans, for eight years, fought President Obama on everything. Once Wallstreet was fixed, they were done. That was OK. They didn`t care about working people when all the things that we were trying to do to complete the recovery.
The challenge is that we really do care about the people that haven`t been affected by the recovery and about our country. And to carry that scenario out, that means nothing would ever happen in our country.
STABENOW: And so, what we`re saying is, to the extent that he`s willing to focus on things that help people, OK. But there`s a whole long list of things that he`s proposed that won`t do that.
And I want to just stress one other thing, Chuck, if I could. And that is, you know, Michigan is the consummate ticket splitting state. And we have the closest thing to a tie in Michigan. About 13,000 votes right now and it`s not set yet.
But what`s interesting is then the House legislative -- the state legislative races, more people voted for Democrats. And so, if it wasn`t for redistricting, we would have taken back the House.
My only reason for saying that is when people went in, more people voted for Democrats at the state legislative level. So, it`s an interesting thing to analyze. I think what people want is action and change and they want their lives to get better. And that`s what I`m all about.
TODD: Bottom line is you think you`ll get punished if all you`re known as is somebody that won`t work with Trump on anything. Do you think that would punish you in Michigan?
STABENOW: I think that the people I represent would be punished and that`s why I`m here, and that`s what we`re about. You know, it`s not about just keeping power, getting and keeping power. That`s what it is for a lot of folks on the other side.
We are actually trying to make things better for people. And so if he is willing to do that, then we`re willing to work with him. But if he`s willing to do what he talked about in his campaign, to divide people and hurt people, absolutely not.
TODD: Senator Stabenow, democrat from Michigan. Appreciate you coming on and sharing your views.
TODD: Thank you very much. Tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern, my colleague Chris Hayes will have an exclusive interview with the outgoing senate minority leader, democrat Harry Reid. The future of the democratic party under president-elect Trump. One thing you know about Harry Reid is he doesn`t sugar coat anything that he says. You obviously don`t want to miss that.
Still ahead on "MTP Daily," the really impact of fake news on Facebook. We`re going to follow how a phony new story goes viral and sometimes reaches more people than actual news. Stay tuned.
TODD: The upcoming fake news debate. How does it make it in? But first, Kate Rogers with CNBC Market Wrap.
KATE ROGERS, REPORTER, CNBC: Thanks, Chuck. Stocks rise across the board today. The Dow has 35 points, the S&P up 10, while the Nasdaq is up 39 points. Chair Janet Yellen testifies before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress saying a rate increase could be appropriate relatively soon next month.
Walmart shares sank 3 percent today. The world`s largest retailer reported earnings that beat estimates but revenues fell short. Same stor sales were also slightly below. That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide.
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BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In an age of social media where so many people are getting their information and sound bites and snippets off their phones, if we can`t discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: President Obama in Germany today speaking about what appears to be a growing problem of fake news. Here`s an example of how a false headline makes the rounds. So back in March when Corey Lewandowski was Trump`s campaign manager, he tweeted out what appears to be an article from ABC News. The link led here though. Donald Trump`s protester speak out. I was paid $3,500 to protest Trump`s rally. As you can see, that`s not ABC News.
And reporting in the actual article, back and forth between attribution to ABC News and associated press. Here`s the gist. The story is totally bogus and started out in the mind of this guy, Paul Horner. For the past few years, he`s actually made a living off of viral news hoaxes. And that fake news went out to Lewandowski`s thousands of followers.
He later deleted the tweet, but seven months later, Donald Trump`s son Eric tweeted out the exact same fake story. Eric, too, ultimately deleted it, but not before his hundreds of thousands of followers could see it and maybe take it for fact, let alone who took the link and re-posted it on their own Facebook feed.
I`m joined now by two reporters who were trying to unravel this fake news situation. Caitlin Dewey of "The Washington Post" interviewed the writer I just talked about behind that fake news story that had made the rounds twice now. And then Sheera Frenkel is at "BuzzFeed." She is also following Facebook. She responds to this fake news item.
Caitlin, let me start with you. You interviewed this guy. Tell me more he makes a living doing it. Explain his job.
CAITLIN DEWEY, DIGITAL CULTURE CRITIC, THE WASHINGTON POST: It`s a really fascinating business model. Essentially it works similar to how any media site makes money online in that he runs display advertising, which he buys through the Google ads on his program. He then hopes that many people will read his stories, and he guarantees that by making up outlandish things that people want to share and click.
Then when they do share and click those stories, he makes ad revenue. So Paul Horner is the name of the gentleman who wrote that story. He told me that he is currently making about $10,000 a month from this scheme, which is more than a lot of legitimate journalists make. TODD: That is something else. All right. Sheera, I know Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg said the following. He was pretty defiant right after the election. I think the idea that fake news on Facebook, of which it`s a very small amount of the content influenced the election in any way is a pretty crazy idea.
And then a few days later, the stats come out in the last three months of the campaign and we saw the top, according to your guy`s analysis, top 20 performing false election stories generated 8.7 million engagement. The top 20 best performing election stories from actual major news sites, 19 major news sites, generated 7.3 million. That says it all. Does Facebook have a problem or not, and is Zuckerberg aware of it?
SHEERA FRENKEL, CYBERSECURITY CORRESPONDENT FOR BUZZFEED NEWS: You know, the guys I spoke to at Facebook really took that quote, that statement made by Mark Zuckerberg, as a sign that the top executives were not taking it seriously.
I think if Zuckerberg hadn`t said just that, that it was a crazy idea, they wouldn`t have come forward and told the journalists they were forming these secret top forces to confirm fake news and to tell the company that they thought this was an issue that they need to take seriously.
TODD: You know, Caitlin, the success of this, obviously Paul Horner is not the only one. How many organized fake news sites are there that you`ve been able to get your hands on?
DEWEY: The frightening thing is that we really have no idea, right? I suspect that a lot of journalists and indeed a lot of academics as well as Facebook itself will be digging into this as time goes on. But you know when I first started writing about Paul Horner in 2014, we identified about two dozen major sort of industrialized fake news operations that worked off his business model.
And since then, I mean, anecdotally, it would seem like those figures have really exploded. BuzzFeed has done some amazing reporting and finding that there are fake news operations ran out of Macedonia and their suggestions that there are a lot of these organizations, these hoaxers based in Russia who are targeting U.S. audiences. We really have no idea how big it is, but I suspect those numbers will be coming out soon.
TODD: I guess I`m curious, Sheera. You know, look, the first amendment is the first amendment, you know? And people have freedom to do this. What is Facebook`s responsibility here? I go back and forth myself. Twitter has decided to ban a lot of outright people who then now are going to go off and start their own and have their own conversations somewhere else. Getting into the game of censoring, is it a difficult proposition?
FRENKEL: Look, it`s at the crux of so many things right now. It`s at the crux of what we want our online wall to look like. The people at Facebook I spoke to said they`re not looking for Facebook to start deciding what`s news and what`s not. I don`t think that they want to see Facebook to be the arbitrator of fake news. What they`re saying is why can`t we verify real news sites.
So the same way they would verify a person on Twitter or verify someone on Facebook, you can go through and say, right, the "New York Times," "BBC," these are news organizations we know and we`re letting you know they`re known for producing news. And then having other sites that don`t have that kind of same tick mark or something on them to let them know this is something you can trust. This is the problem here in the United States.
We have news organizations that have been established for years, but you can imagine in the rest of the world where Facebook is making a huge push right now to get people online, where there aren`t established media organizations, what kind of nightmare that is going to cause for people as they come online, don`t know which news sources to trust, and are suddenly faced with a barrage of items both real and fake and don`t know which ones they can really look at as a source of real news.
TODD: And Caitlin, it`s obviously a lucrative business. What you just described, you know, somebody is probably going to try it.
DEWEY: Absolutely. I mean, it`s so lucrative and it`s also so easy. I mean, you can set up one of these news sites if you have any amount of technological savvy. You can set one up in 30 minutes or less and you can be making a profit within a few weeks. You know, I think it is heartening that the moves that we`ve seen Facebook and Google make so far have gone after the monetization schemes that these web sites are using.
And we know Google recently announced and Facebook followed them and saying that they were no longer going to allow these sorts of sites to use their ad networks. So we don`t know exactly what that`s going to look like, how are they going to make those sorts of calls, but certainly my friend Paul indicated to me that was something that would be concerning for him as a hoaxer so maybe it will apply to others as well.
TODD: Very interesting. I`m out of time on this for now, but I think this is a topic I want to delve back into. Caitlin Dewey, Sheera Frenkel, very interesting, very enlightening and just the beginning of what is going to be a fascinating few months as social media figures try to crack this code. Still ahead, why I`m obsessed with everyone`s obsession for being secretary of state. Stay tuned.
TODD: Tonight, I`m obsessed with the secretary of state decision, more precisely why everyone wants to be secretary of state. The names are dropped daily. Rudy Giuliani, Nikki Haley, Mitt Romney. You don`t have the most power as secretary of state. That probably belongs to attorney general. The national security adviser has the president`s ear. You don`t get that.
You wind up flying around from timezone to timezone and doing a lot of meetings. So what is the big deal? Well, here`s one. You`re treated like a head of state wherever you go. You get your own plane all the time. Yes, there is some restriction. Most important, you probably get your own place in history.
Just think of some of the people who have been secretary of state. Hillary Clinton, Henry Kissinger, William Jennings Bryan, Thomas Jefferson for goodness sake. He has got an actual monument in Washington. How many head secretaries have monuments in Washington? How many head secretaries can you name? All right. I won`t wait any longer.
Look, you don`t need a degree, you don`t have to be a lawyer or have military experience to be secretary of state. You don`t even have to have oversees experience. You just have to get picked and know how to handle jet lag. In other words, if Donald Trump calls you up and offers you this job, you take it and ask questions later. We`ll be right back.
TODD: Time for "The Lid." That means the panel is back. Beth, Katy, and Steve. All right, Steve, I told you I literally got this question from a viewer after watching the fake news segment and it`s a fantastic question. What is the difference in fake news and politicians lying to their constituents to get their vote? Steve, do you have an answer?
STEVE KORNACKI, POLITICAL WRITER AND TELEVISION HOST: It`s a great question. It gets to the heart of -- I think the citizens that`s out there and the voters we`ve been hearing from since last week. Big picture, they just believe the system is broken, they want to blow it up and that gets to it.
TODD: And that`s where I think all of this fake news stuff, and it`s a problem. There`s no doubt. But, voters are sitting there. I`m sure there were some that were watching the segment going, yeah, I don`t believe what I get out of the mainstream media.
Now, it is part of that has been a concerted campaign by the right and some on the left to discredit real journalists. I get that that`s their goal here. But that`s what they`ve created. There are some people who critique the media, who have created this fake news problem.
KATY TUR, BROADCAST JOURNALIST, CORRESPONDENT FOR NBC NEWS: And you get something where you walk up to someone and I had this so many times in the campaign trail, where they would just say that President Obama wasn`t enforcing immigration policies. And I would say, you know, he`s deported more undocumented immigrants than his predecessors.
I don`t believe you. It`s a fact. Where can I find it? Google any -- Google NBC News, Google Washington Post, Google New York Times. I don`t believe them. I can`t argue with you if you`re not going to accept.
TODD: That`s what`s made fake news so easy to take hold. Why it taken hold, is this campaign that`s taken place over 30 years, arguably, there`s been some pretty -- to discredit journalists.
BETH FOUHY, SENIOR EDITOR, NBC NEWS: Sure. Yet, I want to go back to the heart of your audience members` question. I`m going to sound a little pollyannaish here. But I think ideally, voters know that when politicians send them news, it`s their promoting themselves.
It`s propaganda, essentially. And that real news is in the business of finding truth. Perhaps, we are in a state now where we`re post-truth. Where people just don`t believe anything that...
TODD: That phrase.
FOUHY: Exactly, we`re in the post-truth era. And the other thing, and you alluded to this, Katy, is that people are living in their own news bubbles, and silos. So when something comes in that contradicts their world view, they don`t bother to pay attention to it, if it reinforces it, they do. Which is why fake news, if it reinforces your world view, you`ll buy it.
TODD: I have family members, thanks to a fake news story about why is President Obama no longer honoring eagle scouts anymore. It was some fake news that went around, turned out that wasn`t true, the office of the president doing these things. It had just circulated on the Facebook as it sometimes said to me.
I want to change subjects to Tim Kaine, announced today, not a candidate for president in 2020. Here`s why I was surprised by that decision, Steve. I`m not surprised -- maybe he doesn`t run and it`s one thing, but he has a platform that he just decided -- you can argue, he just gave up a large platform that he had earned just simply by being the running mate.
KORNACKI: However the defeated vice presidential candidate who turns around and runs...
TODD: It`s not easy.
KORNACKI: But yes, it`s a bigger platform than he would have had if he would have been the candidate. Who the heck knows who`s going to run. But is interesting seeing some of the names that are sort of probably going to be in the mix for 2020 start to react...
TODD: I want to put up the graphic, my producer said he figured people would throw stuff at their T.V. screen once we put up the graphic of 2020 candidates. But there`s your first look. There`s your first look at the field. Go ahead and get mad at us for thinking 2020. Beth, were you surprised that Kaine just went ahead and said...
FOUHY: Yeah, I was a little surprised, but it made me think that perhaps, the experience that he`s been through, it`s not worth going through again. Just even those three months and already being picked as Hillary Clinton`s V.P., he didn`t have to go through that grueling primary. And basically, it was awful.
He campaigned all over the country, did what he was supposed to do, still lost. He might be the politician who says, I don`t need to do that again.
TUR: And the progressive voice is getting so loud in the democratic party, he`s just -- in the scale -- for the folks who really wanted Hillary Clinton to pick somebody outside of the norm, like Elizabeth Warren or, you know, maybe pick Bernie Sanders, if they could have their way. He just didn`t fit that mold for them. He wasn`t far enough to the left for them.
TODD: Well, we`ll see. I`m also not convinced that anything you say in 2016 truly does apply.
TUR: Didn`t Hillary Clinton say that she wasn`t necessarily running.
FOUHY: She did.
TODD: Thank you, guys. Appreciate it. After the great, mapping out another fascinating electoral divide. That`s right after the break. Stay tuned.
TODD: In case you missed it, this country is deeply divided and it turns out we`ve got a road map for that division. Thanks to my republican buddy, Brad Todd, who you see on this show, he noted this. I-5 is the main corridor up and down the west coast pretty much from Mexico to Canada. Get this. You count up the votes from all the counties that touched the freeway or are between I-5.
In the pacific, Clinton`s winning margin is about 3.9 million voters. And the same story in the east, where it`s I-95. that`s the main highway from Florida to New England. Count out the counties touching the highway and all the way to the Atlantic Ocean, Clinton wins about 3 million votes. What about the rest of the country? In the teeny tiny 3,000 miles between those very blue highways of I-5 and I-95.
Well, you know where I`m going here. In between I-5 and I-95, Trump is the winner. The big winner. You add up all of those counties, in other words, the rest of the country, and Trump`s margin of victory in between the two major inner states is more than 6 million votes. Anyway, sometimes a road map does tell the story. That`s all for tonight. "With All Due Respect" starts right now.
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