Show: MTP DAILY Date: December 5, 2016 Guest: Hampton Pearson, Jamie Harrison, Daniella Gibbs Leger, Glenn Thrush
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: Al Gore is going to join Chris Hayes tonight to talk one-on-one about that meeting he had with Donald Trump today. You are definitely going to want to see that. "ALL IN" tonight, 8:00 Eastern.
And "MTP DAILY" starts right now.
PETER ALEXANDER, MSNBC HOST: Yes, it`s Monday.
Is President-elect Trump being careless or calculated?
(voice-over): Tonight, controversy calling. How President-elect Trump`s phone conversations with foreign leaders are rattling multiple regions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. CHRIS COLLINS (R), NEW YORK: I don`t expect he`s going to pay much attention to protocol.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDER: Plus, when fake news becomes really dangerous. The scary combination of an assault rifle, a pizza parlor and a Clinton conspiracy theory.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was thinking this is the product of all that fake news, and there are lots of crazy people out there with guns. And this is a consequence of a lot of ignorance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDER: And musical chairs. Can new leadership at the DNC snap the Democrats` losing streak?
This is MTP DAILY and it starts right now.
(on camera): Good evening, I`m Peter Alexander in Washington in tonight for my friend, Chuck Todd. Welcome to MTP DAILY.
We`re going to begin with the dramatic escalation of tensions between President-elect Trump and China. There`s a lot of saver (ph) rattling right now on both sides and it begs a significant question. What is Donald Trump`s end game and how can you have an end game without consulting your secretary of state which Trump hasn`t named yet?
So, what is he up to? Trump broke with nearly four decades of diplomatic protocol with China when he spoke to Taiwan`s president. China does not recognize Taiwan`s independence, views it as a renegade province. The U.S. frankly doesn`t either, not publicly.
And no president nor any president-elect has spoken with the leader of Taiwan since at least 1979. When China objected to Trump`s call, he escalated the fight with a series of tweets, going after China for its currency devaluation, its tariffs and its military expansion in the south China Sea.
China is firing back. An editorial in the "People`s Daily." That is the official newspaper of the Chinese communist party. And it comes with this warning to Trump, writing, international relations 101. China is an independent sovereign state with its own national interests. As a sovereign state, China sets its own policy and can retaliate if necessary.
So, what is Donald Trump doing? Right now, we`re getting some very mixed signals from Trump and from his inner circle. Just yesterday, Trump`s top aides crisscrossed the airwaves to insist that his call with Taiwan`s president was not a provocation with China.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: Chuck, this was a courtesy call.
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: Nothing new should be read into it?
PENCE: Well, I don`t think so.
CHRIS WALLACE, ANCHOR, FOX NEWS: Does this signal a change in policy or was it just a phone call?
KELLYANNE CONWAY, FORMER MANAGER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: It was just a phone call, at this point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDER: The folks inside Trump`s transition are leaking the opposite view. "The Washington Post" is reporting that Trump`s call was an intentionally provocative move, and it was planned weeks ahead by staffers and Taiwan specialists on both sides, according to people familiar with the plans.
Worth noting that, here at NBC News, we have confirmed much of the post`s reporting. But even the White House says it isn`t quite sure what Trump is doing, from a strategic standpoint. Here is spokesman Josh Earnest today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It`s unclear exactly what the strategic effort is, what the aim of this strategic effort is. And it`s unclear exactly what potential benefit could be experienced by the United States, China or Taiwan. But I`ll leave -- I`ll leave that to them to explain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDER: It`s not just China. Trump has made a series of call them unorthodox foreign policy moves which have rattled U.S. relations abroad. But the stakes are perhaps biggest with China. They`re our third largest trading partner, the single biggest foreign holder of U.S. debt, and they`re a nuclear power. All this fuss, of course, over a mere phone call.
In other words, you better know what you`re doing when it comes to foreign policy. I`m joined now by four-time U.S. ambassador, Christopher Hill. Ambassador Hill was also the assistant secretary of state for east Asian and Pacific affairs. He is currently the dean of international studies at the University of Denver and the author of "Outpost, A Diplomat at Work."
Ambassador Hill, usually, we see you via satellite. Nice to have you here in person.
CHRISTOPHER HILL, U.S. AMBASSADOR: A pleasure.
ALEXANDER: So, what is Donald Trump`s end game right now vis-a-vis China?
HILL: I don`t think he`s laid out an end game. I mean, what we know is that in his coming presidency, dealing with China is going to be one of the main issues. So, the question is, has he kind of picked a little fight with them?
Frankly, you don`t need to pick a fight with them, because we already have some disputes with them. We have differences over South China Sea. We have trade issues. We have intellectual property rights. We have North Korea to figure out a way forward. So, there`s plenty of stuff to do, so you do kind of wonder why add to that?
ALEXANDER: So, first of all, is there such a thing as a little fight with China?
[17:05:02] HILL: No, it`s a pretty big place. I mean, we`re talking 1.4 billion people. There are 28 million people in Taiwan. The U.S. has a very good relationship with Taiwan which is regulated through something called the Taiwan Relations Act. It`s an unofficial relationship.
But then, official relations with China are spelled out in a One China Policy and it works fine. So, the real question is if it`s not broke, well then why are we trying to fix it?
ALEXANDER: So, all this is happening just weeks after Donald Trump -- weeks shy of his inauguration. He just won the White House a matter of weeks ago. Can you have a clear strategy with a country like China without yet having a secretary of state?
HILL: Well, it`s useful to have a team there because, you know, we often talk about elections as being part of democracy. What`s really democracy is elections plus institutions. So, right now, we don`t seem to be engaging the institutions. And I think we`re getting ourselves into a bit of a -- bit of a problem here dealing with China.
The Chinese, well, they`d like to low-ball this. They know they got a lot of issues with us. They don`t want a big problem here. But, you know, if we keep coming back and saying, no, no, he wants to change policy, then we do have a problem.
And, by the way, there are plenty of ways to change policy. Once he`s president, he can call a meeting of his cabinet. He could have a so-called principal committee meetings, deputy committee meetings. He could have a lot of discussions and then finally end up changing the policy.
But we usually don`t do that with one person, because we don`t have a one- person rule in this country.
ALEXANDER: So, how does China approach Donald Trump? He`s unpredictable, some say volatile. This is, obviously, a country here in the U.S. he`s going to take over, commanding the largest economy, the world`s largest military as well.
North Korea has some lever -- excuse me, China has some leverage in this as well. We need them, in terms of the relationship with North Korea. How does China --
HILL: Well, I think the Chinese are trying to signal, look, we`re sovereign. And if you want to mess with us, we`ll mess with you.
And so, the question is do we really want to get into that, or do we want to find some way to go forward with the Chinese?
For example, on North Korea, we shouldn`t be outsourcing that problem to China. I mean, but if we`re going to solve the problem with North Korea, we need to work with China.
And I would kind of, you know, lay out your priorities with China. I think you`d put North Korea up there, what with them having what could be very soon a nuclear weapon.
And so, I mean, I`m sure the president-elect doesn`t want to go into 2020 having sat there while North Korea develops a deliverable nuclear weapon. So, I`d put that way up there. I`d put that South China Sea stuff up there.
But, you know, I understand the idea of draining the swamp. But frankly, the U.S.-China relationship, in terms of One China Policy, Taiwan Relations Act, that`s been on pretty safe and dry ground. So, why are we messing with that?
ALEXANDER: So, I want to ask you more broadly about some of these foreign relations moves in his early days as president-elect. Right now, there was the con -- the phone call with the leader of Pakistan and some complimentary language saying they`re fantastic people. It`s a fantastic country. And in fact, I`ll do whatever you need. Just let me know. Let`s keep the channels alive which, obviously, that risks upsetting India.
There are the conversations with Philippine president right now. This is a man who disparaged the president, President Obama`s mother, saying that he was the son of a whore. That relationship has, obviously, been heavily strained. The two of them speaking as well with Trump endorsing his campaign. The president of Philippines` campaign against drug dealers and the like.
What do you make of these regions as well? Pakistan, obviously, a whole separate part of the world and then the Philippines as well?
HILL: These are sensitive relationships. These are tough relationships. There`s one -- you know, the concept of coming in and sort of talking to them a little differently than we`ve talked to them in the past, I get that. But, you know, you ought to be properly briefed. There are whole rafts of people who want to help on this.
I mean, really, the State Department, they`re anxious to help. They really want to see our country go forward. And so, when they`re not consulted on this, you get these kinds of mistakes. And I -- that`s what I put them in the category of, mistakes.
Now, once he becomes president, you hope that he`ll be surrounded by some advisers who say, Mr. President, you can`t just pick up that phone. We need to have a little discussion about that. That`s what our democracy is all about.
ALEXANDER: The bottom line is you know well in diplomacy, words matter. I want to get your take right now on some of the secretary of state choices that he`s considering right now. John huntsman, one of the names most recently added to this list. What do you make of some of these individuals from Mitt Romney to Rudy Giuliani, even David Petraeus, potentially?
HILL: You know, some of these people are very qualified, no question. But I guess what`s strange about it is many of them come from kind of opposite ends of the spectrum.
And what normally you`d expect is a president has a particular kind of person in mind and starts getting lists of candidates who fit that kind of approach. Does he want someone who is going to put out fires, that has end crises so we can focus on the problems in our economy?
ALEXANDER: So, what does that tell you?
[17:10:02] HILL: It kind of tells me that he`s not really sure what he wants. And so, he`s bringing people through this -- through this, you know, system that is bringing people to have conversations without really a clear idea of what specifically he wants, at this -- at this point.
So, look, we need for this president to succeed. I mean, no one should play the role that some people played in 2008, that we want President Obama to be a one-term president. We want our president to succeed. And I can assure the people at the State Department want him to succeed.
But it`s hard to help when you`re not asked.
ALEXANDER: Ambassador Chris Hill, nice to see you. Thanks very much for your time.
HILL: Thank you.
ALEXANDER: We appreciate it.
On the issue of China, President-elect Trump sounds quite a bit like candidate Trump. Trump blasted China frequently on the trail. So, here is just a small platter, a sampling.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: This includes stopping China`s outrageous theft of intellectual property. They are the greatest currency manipulators ever.
China has no respect for President Obama whatsoever. They`re making it impossible for our businesses, our companies, to compete. They think we`re run by a bunch of idiots.
When China devaluates its currency, they take our guts out. And they do it so often.
China is responsible for nearly half of our entire trade deficit. They break the rules in every way imaginable.
They`re using our country as a piggy bank to rebuild China. What they`re doing to us is a very, very sad thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDER: Let`s bring in tonight`s panel. Daniella Gibbs Leger, with special assistance to President Obama, is now a senior vice president at the Center for American Progress. Rick Tyler was the communications director on the Cruz campaign, is now an MSNBC Political Analyst, and Glenn Thrush is the chief political correspondent at Politico. Thanks, you all, for being here on this night.
That conversation with ambassador Chris Hill struck me. I think I posed this to you, Rick, was the idea that he said, you know, he, sort of, chalks a lot of these things up as mistakes right now, early in the ball game as it were.
But what if the Trump folks, as is a lot of the reporting right now, don`t really view these as mistakes? They view this as strategic.
RICK TYLER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I don`t think it was a mistake. I do think he was briefed on Taiwan. I think he understands the One China Policy.
ALEXANDER: They say weeks in advance this has been a plan in place.
TYLER: Yes, and one thing that`s not being covered very much is that China flew two H-6 bombers around Taiwan in a very provocative move. And the response is to be provocative by taking a call from the Taiwanese duly elected Democratic president? So, who is being provocative?
ALEXANDER: So, Daniela, will voters cheer on a trade war with China? What are American voters saying to this right now? I think if you say to most of the voters, this guy, this president-elect is standing up to China, most of it in simple terms, he may not understand all the consequences. But they`d say, that`s what we voted for this guy for.
GIBBS LEGER: Well, I think his supporters, you should separate them out from everybody else in the country. His supporters are like, yes, he said he was going to stand up to China so this is right. But I think the rest of us are just a little bit concerned because there are consequences.
And, you know, when those -- if those consequences happen and it starts hitting people in their pocket books, I think you`ll see a difference response from even his own supporters.
ALEXANDER: Glen, what`s the end game? What`s Donald Trump`s end game here?
GLENN THRUSH, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, POLITICO: Oh, man, can we -- can we maybe figure that out? Look, the notion that he was thinking about this weeks ago, I don`t think is true because he didn`t know he was going to be president weeks ago. I think this is very consistent with his very stark policy on China. It`s really, really good politics.
And, by the way, when I hear him now, I hear the Alec Baldwin pronunciation of China every single time.
But there was a real moment in the debates that I thought was illustrative. He can only push this so far. China is the largest bondholder, the largest foreign bondholder, we have. If they chose to full up stakes, they could destabilize the economy and the world economy.
And there was a moment in the debates when he was talking about the tariffs and Jeb Bush challenged him on it. Jeb Bush, quite rightly, said, if you were to retaliate against China, they would pull out all of our -- of the exports -- all of the imports that they do from our agricultural products.
The stakes are very, very high. And as long as this doesn`t move beyond rhetoric, I think things are going to be OK.
ALEXANDER: So, Rick, what do Republicans say about the potential for a trade war or his position on tariffs? As we just indicated, Jeb Bush --
TYLER: No one would like a trade war, right? Because you go into Wal-Mart and people --
ALEXANDER: Let`s just focus on this tariff, then, more specifically. Right, 35 percent is what he --
TYLER: That`s right. And that`s what it would affect. It would affect low-cost goods.
But the problem is, and I disagree with Glenn a little bit, is I think China has as much to lose out of a -- the bad relationship or a trade war with the United States as we do. They have a burgeoning, huge middle class that would suddenly be unemployed. And that is a big, huge problem for China that China has not really -- would be ill equipped to deal with.
ALEXANDER: As -- Daniela, as Chris Hill just told us a second ago, he said, you know, it`s going to think out of the box. But sometimes the box is there for a reason. Is that the advice that someone needs to share with Donald Trump or is that why we elected this guy?
GIBBS LEGER: Well, yes, somebody should share that with him. I don`t think it will make a difference. You know, he`s trying to set his own box. And when you talk to diplomats like him and the others, they`re a little freaked out by what they`re seeing.
[17:15:03] And, you know, I think President-elect Trump needs to realize, or maybe he doesn`t care, that his words carry weight. His tweets carry weight.
And, you know, this is where we are right now. And he just -- you know, I`d rather him spend more time focusing on other things than getting into Twitter wars with China and "Saturday Night Live."
ALEXANDER: And one of the challenges going forward, the whole idea of business entanglements. We can debate another time whether his tweets are to distract our attention from some of the more serious issues that may involve his newly formed administration right now.
But how does Donald Trump do the people of the United States business with some of these foreign countries when his own business is trying to do some business with these countries and their businesses as well?
GIBBS LEGER: There are lots of problems.
THRUSH: And I think that is exactly the problem. "The New York Times" has done some really terrific work, Eric Lipton over there. There was this chart in the "Times" on Sunday that showed the various business connections involving the Trump kids and involving the president-elect. It looked like spaghetti against a wall. And that`s exactly the problem.
The issue here would be very much resolved if the Republican Congress would pass laws clarifying precisely how much involvement he can have in this. He says he`s going to give a press conference on December 15th. He has yet to say whether or not he will put this stuff into a blind trust.
I think the one way to clarify this is to put his assets into a -- the blind trust. And we had this extraordinary spectacle the other day of a government agency -- the government ethics office sarcastically tweeting, thanking him for divesting his businesses. We will see if he does that. I doubt that he will.
ALEXANDER: We`ll probably revisit this conversation later. But on the secretary of state talk right now, any of these names stand out to you as that would be an A plus choice.
TYLER: Well, given the provocative nature of accepting a call from a duly elected president, Democratic leader, Josh Bolton is looking -- I mean, John Bolton is looking a lot more likely or a Jon Huntsman.
GIBBS LEGER: Those are two very different people.
TYLER: But they both agree with him on -- they both agree with him on the China policy.
ALEXANDER: Well, you`re right. Jon Huntsman today said, yes, I think he made that call. It was -- it was OK that he took such a call.
TYLER: And Huntsman was a former ambassador to China under President Obama.
GIBBS LEGER: Right.
ALEXANDER: Not to mention the rivalry between Huntsman and Romney. Democrats -- what do Democrats say when they see this? Is there a winner the Democrats could say that could suffice?
GIBBS LEGER: I don`t know if there`s a winner per se. But I think people would look at somebody, like John Huntsman, and say, well, there`s an adult. There`s somebody we can work with. I don`t know that they would say the same about John Bolton.
ALEXANDER: Daniela, Rick, Glenn, stay with us. Appreciate it very much.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence is going to discuss the Trump transition tomorrow on "MORNING JOE." Of course, that begins at 6:00 in the morning Eastern time.
And coming up here next on MTP DAILY, the real impact of fake news. Pizzagate goes from viral to violent.
You`re watching MTP DAILY.
ALEXANDER: Nearly four weeks after Election Day, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory conceded the race today to his Democratic challenger.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[17:20:05] GOV. PAT MCCRORY (R), NORTH CAROLINA: Despite continued questions that should be answered regarding the voting process, I personally believe that the majority of our citizens have spoken. And we now should do everything we can to support the 75th governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDER: Governor McCrory and his allies had filed multiple election complaints, including a recount in Durham County that was still underway when McCrory released that video.
But Cooper`s lead has continued to grow since election night. According to the State Board of Elections, Cooper was leading by 10,200-plus votes this afternoon. That`s beyond the margin where McCrory could seek a statewide recount.
Cooper has already been working on a transition. He released a statement this afternoon, thanking McCrory for his service and saying he looks forward to serving as the North Carolina governor.
Both Donald Trump and Senator Richard Burr won in Carolina. McCrory`s loss is due, in large part, to a loss of votes in urban areas because of his support for the controversial HB2. That`s the bathroom bill. You may be familiar with that story.
Coming up next, another story you`ve heard a lot about. The fake story that almost had really dangerous consequences. We`ll have the latest. You`re watching MTP DAILY.
ALEXANDER: Welcome back to MTP DAILY.
Fake news collided with real life yesterday in dangerous terms. Just up the road from here in Washington, D.C., a man was arrested after discharging a firearm inside a pizzeria, that`s according to the D.C. police.
The arrested man told them he traveled to Comet Pizza from North Carolina to, quote, "self-investigate" an online conspiracy theory known as pizzagate. Hear about this? This theory, basically, was part of the whole fake news conspiracies peddled on conspiracy Web sites during the presidential campaign that claims Hillary Clinton and John Podesta ran a child sex ring out of this D.C. pizzeria.
The restaurant owner condemned the conspiracy theories as well as the people who pushed them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES ALEFANTIS, OWNER, COMET PING PONG: Let me state unequivocally, these stories are completely and entirely false. What happened today demonstrates that promoting false and reckless conspiracy theories do come with consequences. And I hope that those that are involved with fanning these flames will take a moment to contemplate what happened here today and to stop right away.
(END VIDEO LCIP)
ALEXANDER: Of course, it`s a stark reminder that the fake news stories that we spoke about often throughout this campaign actually have real consequences. According to police, a blatantly false story circulated on social media and conspiracy Web sites led a man to take a firearm into a -- take a fire arm into a crowded restaurant to see for himself.
And joining us now is my colleague Jacob Soboroff, who`s been following this story even before yesterday`s violence.
Also, Jacob, I know you`ve been focused more broadly on this whole idea, the impact of fake news. So, you spoke to the owner at Comet Ping Pong not too long back. What is your take and what does he have to say about this?
JACOB SOBOROFF, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: You know, it`s amazing, Peter, because we were scheduled actually to go meet James Alefantis tonight. We were going to fly out from here in Los Angeles and talk to him about, at the time, the limited real-life ramifications of this fake news which were bullying, harassment of himself and his employees, through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, all kinds of social media.
And when we reached out to him yesterday to confirm our appointment for this evening, he said, have you guys seen what happened? And, sure enough, the news that you just reported, somebody walking into his restaurant and unloading a firearm into the ground there occurred in the middle of a crowded room.
And, Peter, I mean, if you ask me what my take is, you have to look at the broader story here which is that fake news has proliferated to a point where, in the last three months, according to BuzzFeed of the presidential campaign, the top 19 fake news articles were seen more than the top 20 --
ALEXANXDER: Yes, that --
SOBOROFF: -- articles from real news, from mainstream media, from organizations like us at "NBC NEWS."
So, it leads me to ask the question, and I hope all of us and our viewers at home as well, why aren`t people trusting real news? And why are so many people turning to news sources like this?
[17:25:09] ALEXANDER: So, Jacob, (INAUDIBLE) how do these conspiracy theories, kind of, get turned into fake news that people believe? And the conversations I had, covering Donald Trump`s campaign for many months, you talk to people about this.
And there might be some little nugget of fact in there, right? But they never went back to the original source. They just, kind of, bought what they were told and said, hey, you know, who am I to -- who am I to complain, you know, or to doubt what I`m reading?
SOBOROFF: Well, it`s social media. I saw your piece this morning, Peter, about the tweeter in chief, Donald Trump, and how this man has reached out to so many people unfiltered using modern technology.
And I think there are so many people out there that are going to places like Reddit, where this story didn`t necessarily start but was spread like wildfire.
I also spent some time with the creator of another prolific fake news article out here in southern California about, again, totally fake, an FBI agent, or a fake FBI agent, who killed himself and his wife because they were connected to the Clintons. Again, totally fake.
And he said he did this because he could. People were out there. They would see these --
SOBOROFF: -- in social media and they would -- they would just pick up and spread like wildfire. And they make money off of them.
ALEXANDER: Jacob Soboroff. We appreciate it, Jacob.
I want to get back to our panel right now, Daniela, Rick and Glenn. So, just the bottom line. We witnessed, today, the danger of fake news. This is no longer just something that can impact an election. Ultimately, this could affect lives.
GIBBS LEGER: Yes, it`s not a joke. And I posted something on my Facebook page about how there`s a responsibility from all of us. When we see this stuff happening, when you see your friends post something that is obviously fake on Facebook, to challenge them and say, this isn`t real. Where are you getting this information from?
ALEXANDER: But let me challenge that right now. The bottom line is this becomes a vicious cycle right now. So, the media challenges Donald Trump for something he writes. Donald Trump says we shouldn`t trust the media.
And as a result, the people in this country are kind of divided, go to their own corners and they, sort of, take their own information as they desire it.
THRUSH: First of all, I think I know where I`m going to be having dinner on Sunday night which is Comet Pizza. The other thing about it is the sewage goes through a pipe. The social media sites are for-profit enterprises. You`ve got Reddit. You`ve got Facebook. And you have Twitter.
Explain to me why -- is there a constitutional right to put potentially inflammatory incitements of violence on these sites? Why aren`t Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter, and Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook, coming up with a -- with a more serious strategy for either labeling or banning groups that knowingly push false and hateful contents on their sites?
ALEXANDER: It`s a challenge to try to keep up with the pace of this information.
There`s a story (ph) right now, it`s worth noting for Reddit`s part, they banned the pizzagate discussion going forward.
But I`m curious for your take on this. Donald Trump, obviously, info wars. We`re familiar with that, sort of, popular Web site spewing off a lot of conspiracy theories as well. Even Alex Jones, the founder of info wars, you know, spoke proudly about how, man, I said something and Donald Trump spouted it just a couple days later.
TYLER: This is a bizarre story and it`s astonishing. The info wars, for me, was a great source for entertainment and a lot of laughs. But this wasn`t a funny thing at all.
I don`t know what the prescription is. I think maybe Twitter and Facebook could do something. But it seems chilling to me that we`re going to have - - people don`t trust the media, and probably from an ideological perspective. I don`t know that people think that they`re putting out -- the mainstream media is putting out fake news.
But what`s the answer? If the answer is somebody is going to decide what`s real and what`s fake is -- that`s --
THRUSH: I mean, the thing we have to realize, Facebook is not -- the Web is the Web. People can say what they want on the Web. That`s the larger pool. Facebook and Twitter, there`s no -- newspapers are curated. Television is curated. These are channels of information.
The question is, and we need to have a really significant national discussion on this, what is social media? What are the responsibilities of the owners of social media? And what are the ground rules?
ALEXANDER: But, at some point, there`s freedom of speech, right? I mean, you can`t dispute someone`s freedom to say whatever the heck they want to write. You`re allowed to burn the flag, for heaven`s sake. Although that`s a controversial --
GIBBS LEGER: You can do that but that doesn`t give you a right to do it over someone`s private platform which is what Facebook and Twitter are.
THRUSH: Exactly, yes.
ALEXANDER: Understood. Understood.
Glenn, Rick, Daniela, this is a conversation people are having right now at coffee tables and conversations at family homes even as we speak.
Still ahead right here, the fight for the future of the Democratic Party, that continues. We`re going to talk with one of the top contenders to lead the Democratic National Committee.
And opponents cheer the decision to block parts of the Dakota Access Pipeline but will their victory be short-lived?
PETER ALEXANDER, JOURNALIST FOR NBC NEWS: Welcome back. Opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline are celebrating the army corps of engineers` decision not to allow the pipeline to cross the Lake Oahe. But the company building the pipeline says it plans to fight that decision.
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe has vigorously opposed the pipeline among other things its proximity to their drinking water supply. The chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe praise the decision but acknowledged the upcoming transfer of power in Washington could impact whether that decision stands.
Just a short time ago, the Trump team weighed in on the matter. Trump spokesperson Jason Miller telling The Wall Street Journal, we`ll review the full situation when we`re in the White House and make the appropriate determination at that time. We`ll have more MTP Daily just ahead. But first, Hampton Person with CNBC Market Wrap.
HAMPTON PEARSON, REPORTER, CNBC: Thanks, Peter. U.S. stocks climbing today. The Dow hitting another record high. The Dow finished up by 45 points. The S&P closing up by 12. The Nasdaq ended 53 points higher.
Oil rose for the fourth consecutive day. The U.S. crude spiking to $51.79 a barrel. The price of oil hasn`t been this high since last summer. The surge comes after OPEC countries finalized a deal to trim oil production.
Big banks continuing their post election rally. Trading at their highest levels since early 2008. Goldman Sachs posting some of the biggest gains, surging 2.3 percent. That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide.
ALEXANDER: After a routing at last month`s election and the abrupt departure of the last chair, democrats are now scrambling for new leadership at the Democratic National Committee. The White House today said that President Obama does not plan to weigh in.
After former DNC chair Howard Dean dropped out of the running saying it`s time for a fresh face. There are three contenders now left in the race. Ray Buckley, chairman of the New Hampshire democratic party, Congressman Keith Ellison from Minnesota, and Jaime Harrison, the chairman of the South Carolina democratic party. Ellison was the early front-runner, receiving support from big names like Chuck Schumer, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders.
But he`s facing condemnation from the anti-defamation league over a controversial 2010 speech. Another hurdle is that Ellison may want to keep his seat in congress despite critics who say the DNC chair is a full-time job. He says he`s still weighing that factor.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
KEITH ELLISON, REPRESENTATIVE FOR MINNESOTA`S 5TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT: I didn`t think it was a problem, but I recognize we really are in a new age. But let me just tell you this. So I`m in the process of deciding this issue of whether I can perform both roles. But you asked me will it be my first priority? Absolutely. I am hearing from you and listening carefully. (END VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDER: Republicans hold majorities in governorships, state legislatures, as well as both houses of congress, of course. They`ll defend far fewer seats in 2018. So who will lead the democratic party as they defend and rebuild?
Jamie Harrison is the current co-chair -- we should say current chair of the South Carolina democratic party. He is running to lead the Democratic National Committee.
Jamie, nice to see you. Right out of the gates, I know you`re a South Carolinian. I just want your reaction to Michael Slager, this mistrial has been announced in that case involving the death of Walter Scott.
JAMIE HARRISON, CHAIRMAN OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA DEMOCRATIC PARTY: Yeah. Peter, thank you for having me on. Listen, I am heartbroken about the decision with Walter Scott. You know, in no way can I understand how someone can get shot in the back. The officer lie about the shooting and then there`s a mistrial for that.
You know, justice needs to be had for that family, for the state that has suffered so much with this shooting. And we will do everything that we can to support the family and make sure that we fight for justice in this situation.
ALEXANDER: So now we all await resolution ultimately in that case. Let me ask about politics if I can change topics so dramatically right now. You`re running against Ray Buckley and Congressman Ellison. What sets you apart? In simple terms, what separates you from those other candidates?
HARRISON: Listen, they are all -- Keith and Ray are good friends, and they would make great chairs of the DNC. But I think I bring a different perspective. As a 40-year-old who has been placed in a lot of leadership capacities over the course of my life, you know, I am able to bridge the gap between Washington, D.C. and what`s going on on the front lines and main streets and communities all across this country.
I understand for the past five and a half years, I`ve spent my time as a chair and vice chair of the South Carolina democratic party. And then I also worked in Washington, D.C. on Capitol Hill and also did work there. So I understand both worlds, and I believe that I`m the type of person that can bring us together. ALEXANDER: So bottom line here, do you think that DNC chair needs to be a full-time job? Obviously Keith Ellison, some have suggested, couldn`t dedicate himself fully enough.
HARRISON: It has to be a full-time job. You know, it`s one thing to have the president and the vice president -- and that`s how Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Tim Kaine were able to do that as members of congress and as a governor. But it`s another thing to have lost the White House, and now we have to commit full-time to working with our 50 states, our six territories, and the democrats abroad. It has to be a full-time position.
ALEXANDER: Let me push you on another criticism that Keith Ellison has been facing in recent days and weeks, the anti-defamation league. Are they justified in voicing their concerns about Congressman Ellison and his, as they describe it, ability to represent traditional democratic support for Israel as they put it?
HARRISON: Listen, I know Keith very well. I knew him when he was a freshman member of congress, and I do not believe those allegations against him. I think he`s somebody who can bring people together, and he`s a great member of congress and a good progressive fighter. And I just -- you know, I don`t want to weigh in on that, but I don`t believe those type of accusations.
ALEXANDER: Democrats obviously down in congress and in state houses around the country. You put it simply. What went wrong for the democrats? If make America great was the strategy for the republicans and for Donald trump, what should the motto be for democrats going forward, and what failed in this past election?
HARRISON: See, Peter, I don`t know if it`s so much of a message. I know a lot of people are concentrating on message. Listen, in the end, we got 2.5 million more votes than Donald Trump did. I think the problem is, is that we haven`t invested in the front line or the ground game in our states.
When you look at it, 33 out of 50 governorships are controlled by republicans. 69 of 99 bodies of legislature are controlled by republicans. That says to me that there`s a problem on the state party level. We haven`t invested in these state parties at the level that we need to in order to make sure that they function.
There are some state parties right now, Peter, who barely have $100,000 in the bank. And on 2018, they have to have races for governors or defend democratic seats. You can`t have that and expect these parties to get the vote out for them. You can`t have that and have them get the message out to the voters. You`ve got to go back and invest on the ground.
ALEXANDER: Jamie, you`re heavily complimentary of the other folks running for the same position here. But Howard Dean dropped out and one of the reasons was that he wanted to avoid sort of a Clinton versus Sanders proxy fight playing out in DNC leadership. How would you address that rift right now between the Clinton and Sanders wings of your party? HARRISON: Yeah. Peter, I think I bring unique perspective. You remember, I used to be the guy who had to get the 218 votes of a very diverse caucus, to get them to get those votes to pass legislation on the house floor.
I think we have to acknowledge the mistakes that have been made in the past at the DNC on all levels, and then we have to propose ways that we`d make things better. We can`t sit and fight the battle of 2016 over and over again because, you know, Donald Trump is moving forward.
And so if we want to fight about 2016, one side may win the battle, but we`re going to ultimately lose the war, and it`s about making sure we push back against Donald Trump and this radical agenda that he has.
ALEXANDER: Jamie Harrison, traveling today in Salt Lake City. Jamie, nice to speak with you. Thank you very much.
HARRISON: Same here, Peter. Thank you.
ALEXANDER: Still ahead, president-elect Trump giving new meaning to the term "team of rivals." He`s called his newest cabinet picks some pretty nasty names. That`s just ahead. And The Lid. Keep it right here.
ALEXANDER: Welcome back. You could call it a Trump test in Europe over the weekend. Elections in two countries tested the strength of the populist movement that led to Brexit and helped elect Donald Trump here.
In Italy, a win for the anti-establishment movement led by a comedian and a loss for Italian Primer Minister Matteo Renzi who said he will resign after the defeat of a set of sweeping reforms to that country`s constitution.
Renzi said he assumed all the responsibility for the defeat. Almost 60 percent of voters rejected the proposed changes that included reducing the size and power of the nation`s senate.
Meanwhile in Austria, voters bucked this populist trend. The country`s far right freedom party, whose candidate was anti-immigrant and whose campaign slogan was Austria first, was solidly defeated.
The new president-elect says his win was a quote, strong signal to other countries that it is possible to win elections with a pro-EU agenda. We`ll be right back with The Lid right after this.
ALEXANDER: Time now for The Lid. You might remember back before the Iowa caucuses when Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson were fighting for the republican nomination. There was some seriously bad blood there. Trump cut this Instagram video. You might remember it. Hitting Carson`s temperament.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had a large camping knife, and I tried to stab him in the abdomen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What? Does it fit with the guy you knew?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDER: We don`t need either as president, it read, but what about secretary of housing and urban development? Well, this morning Trump announced that Carson will be his nominee for that post. It comes just a few weeks after a top Carson adviser adviser, Armstrong Williams, told me that Carson made it clear that he doesn`t have the experience to run a federal bureaucracy.
With that, it`s time for The Lid. That always struck me, that conversation that I had there with Armstrong Williams, because the point was he just ran -- Ben Carson, HUD, for president, but said he didn`t have the experience to run a federal bureaucracy.
He didn`t want to have the HUD, any department. I just want to get your take on Ben Carson right now. Carson, HUD. Rick, is he qualified? Is this a good pick for Donald Trump?
RICK TYLER, REPUBLICAN PUBLIC RELATIONS AND POLITICAL STRATEGY ADVISOR, CONTRIBUTOR TO MEET THE PRESS DAILY: Good news is he`s not head of HHS. The bad news is he`s head of HUD, which arguably is the least important cabinet pick. I don`t think he`s qualified and I don`t think he`ll do a particularly good job there.
ALEXANDER: Appreciate the compliments from a republican here on this. Danielle, your take. What do you make of the Ben Carson pick right now and the sort of this -- I don`t know, I guess turnaround for Donald Trump?
DANIELLA GIBBS LEGER, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT FOR COMMUNICATIONS AND STRATEGY AT AMERICAN PROGRESS: It`s ridiculous. 2016 is the year of nothing matters. And I disagree that HUD is, you know, the least important. I think it is very important. There are a lot of people who was in subsidized houses.
LEGER: Okay, well, I`m going to argue.
ALEXANDER: Ben Carson had a tough experience growing up. He said he has familiarity with inner cities.
LEGER: Just because you live in subsidized housing doesn`t make you qualified to run this agency. And he has said things about cutting programs that people rely on in the past. I think he`s a terrible choice to run HUD.
GLENN THRUSH, JOURNALIST, SENIOR STAFF WRITER FOR POLITICO: I`m going to get on a soap box. I covered housing for 15 years. It`s an enormously complicated agency. Section 8 housing, people don`t know about this program, it keeps a lot of people off the street. If he`s serious about it, he clearly has the intellectual capacity.
He`s one of the most brilliant people to ever run for president. And he`s serious about this that it will work out. But I`m telling you, this is not a kind of run by itself agency. It really needs somebody who knows what they`re doing.
ALEXANDER: One of the most interesting things that happened today was Al Gore leaving a meeting with Donald Trump, walking downstairs to the cameras in Trump Tower, Rick, and he said, I was, you know, extremely interested in our conversation. To be continued.
Of course, this is Al Gore who the Clinton campaign brought out as a surrogate not just on climate change, but also on the value of voting, right? There was no better person to indicate how a few votes can affect an election. What do you make of the conversation of Al Gore`s visit?
TYLER: It`s got to make every conservative nervous, because Al Gore`s single issue is climate change and.
ALEXANDER: But even Donald Trump has softened his position. Initially in the past, he said that, you know, climate change...
ALEXANDER: . he`s told The New York Times, yeah, you know, I`m open to the conversation.
TYLER: I think every cabinet secretary will be really an undersecretary to Ivanka.
ALEXANDER: She`s it.
LEGER: God help us all.
THRUSH: Well, my colleague had a great story last week, which talked about how Ivanka is a lot more progressive on a lot of these issues and she wants to influence her father on climate change.
And let us not forget, when he made his application, was it the sea wall in Ireland for his golf course? He asserted in the application that climate change was going to threaten his golf course.
ALEXANDER: There, you make a good point there. And on Ivanka Trump, one thing, Daniella, I think that`s interesting we haven`t talked a lot about is sort of a conflict that she has, right?
So even if he sort of divests or whatever he does with his assets right now, she, who is seating in that meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister Abe, just a matter of days ago, right, is also, we now learned, I think, working on a deal with a giant apparel company in Japan, whose parent company, the largest shareholder, is the Japanese government.
LEGER: Yeah, it`s a really tangled web. And it`s why, to your earlier point, he actually has to completely divest and put it in a real blind trust. And that`s not giving it to your kids. It`s giving it to an objective third party and you know nothing that`s happening. ALEXANDER: The challenge for the Trumps is, no matter what divestment takes place, Trump`s name is still all over the place here, right? So there`s gonna be no simple way to remove him, as it were, from this equation.
THRUSH: Yeah, I think what people don`t realize is he has actually not necessarily been in the construction management business for 10 or 15 years. He sells his name.
I got off the loop in Chicago, ran into a Trump sign, and I think one of the really biggest issues is going to be this hotel that he`s renting, the old post office building on Pennsylvania Avenue, near the White House.
There is a clause in the contract that says no public employee, no government employee, can derive a profit from it. THRUSH: Which is owned by federal government.
TYLER: Federal government.
ALEXANDER: Bottom line is he as president, becomes his own landlord of the property, and he`s now renting.
TYLER: I`m worried about this because -- look, are we really saying we can`t have a successful businessperson or any businessperson because they do have these entanglements, global entanglements, business entanglements?
I don`t know. We`re in unchartered territory, never been here before, but I sure hope that`s not the case, that we can haven`t a business person become president.
LEGER: I think you can, I just think there are series of steps that you need to take. We`ll see what happens on the 15th, but so far, he hasn`t been willing to take any of them.
ALEXANDER: Lastly, democrats, Heidi "Hide" Kamp, we saw some other democrats walking through Trump Tower, Joe Manchin`s name has also been floated conceivably as someone who can join the cabinet. Manchin, if he joins a cabinet and other democrat follows his place in the senate.
Heidi "Hide" Kamp, if she does, from North Dakota, you get another republican. Is Trump trying to stack the deck here or is he looking to find the best people as he says? LEGER: I don`t know that he`s trying to stack -- I think he`s trying to throw a wide net and see what happens. ALEXANDER: Daniella, Rick, Glenn, nice to see you guys. Appreciate it very much. Former Vice President Al Gore will be Chris Hayes` special guest on All In. I didn`t even know that. That`s tonight at 8 p.m. that`s coming up tonight again at 8 p.m. After the break, the commander in tweet. Stay tuned.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: Oops, I did it again.
(LAUGHTER) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Trump, please stop re-tweeting all these random real people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re not getting any work done!
(END VIDEO CLIP) ALEXANDER: So, in case you missed it, president-elect Trump likes Twitter, likes it a lot. In fact, just minutes after that SNL parody about Trump as a compulsive tweeter, Trump tweeted. He blasted both the skit and the actor, Alec Baldwin, saying, quote, just tried watching Saturday Night Live. Unwatchable, totally bias, not funny, and the Baldwin impersonation just can`t get any worse, sad.
Days after being elected, Trump said, he will down back his tweeting, saying this to CBS 60 Minutes.
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`ll gonna do very restrained, if I use it at all, I`m gonna do very restrained.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDER: So, here`s the progress report. He has tweeted more than 90 times since that interview, including this one today. If the press would cover me accurately and honorably, I would have far less reason to tweet. Sadly, I don`t know if that will ever happen.
Well, there`s at least one thing he can`t pin on the press. Trump has tweeted more than 34,000 times about everything from his IQ to Kristen Stewart`s relationship with Robert Pattinson. That`s all for tonight. We`ll be back tomorrow with more MTP Daily.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END