Show: MTP DAILY Date: December 19, 2016 Guest: Hampton Pearson, Charlie Sykes, Anna Palmer, Karine Jean-Pierre, Michael Steel, Mark Murray, Ian Bremmer
CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC HOST: -- to investigate the Russian hacking.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This has to be answered not just to look back.
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JANSING: And Democrats` election autopsy. Why Clinton loyalists say timing is everything.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One can say that those things may not have been a coincidence.
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JANSING: This is MTP DAILY and is starts right now.
Good evening, I`m Chris Jansing in New York in for Chuck Todd and welcome to MTP DAILY.
We have brand-new results from our latest NBC-"Wallstreet Journal" poll out right now. It shows an electorate with historically high concerns about their presidents elect. We`re going to get to those in just a second.
But these results come amid talk of revolt, urgent calls for action, petitions, protests and drama around today`s electoral college vote. But the last-minute push to dump Trump has all but fizzled out. It was a fitting end, in many ways, to a year where the hash tag never Trump never worked.
But today`s electoral vote raises two enormous questions. One, what is the actual state of Trump`s opposition? And two, what is the mood of America? Do they want Trump held in check or do they want him unleashed?
There was virtually no unexpected results across the country, despite a tense atmosphere. Few electors said they have gotten death threats over their votes.
We`ve been monitoring the vote from coast to coast and no signs of an actual revolt against Donald Trump. In fact, one of the loudest affections came from the Democratic side when a Clinton elector from Maine announced he was voting for Bernie Sanders. Four Clinton electors in Washington defected as well.
So, bottom line, Trump will be president. But he inherits an electorate that is deeply skeptical about his abilities.
According to a new NBC-"Wallstreet Journal" poll out right now, 54 percent describe themselves as pessimistic or unconcern about Donald Trump`s presidency compared to 45 percent who describe themselves as hopeful or optimistic.
Here is how that hopeful, optimistic number stacks up historically. Twenty points plus below Barack Obama around the same time in the transition. Fourteen points lower than George W. Bush during his transition as well.
But there are areas where Americans see hope in Trump. 50 percent are optimistic that Trump will change Washington while just 25 percent are worried about that. 56 percent are optimistic that Trump will keep jobs in the U.S. Just 23 percent are worried he won`t.
But Trump`s temperament remains the country`s biggest concern. Only 36 percent are optimistic Trump has the right temperament for the job. 44 percent are worried that he does not.
So, let`s dive in. I`m joined by Mark Murray, NBC`s Senior Politics Editor. So, much fascinating stuff, Mark.
Let`s start with what you see, a sort of home rope does Trump have when you look at these numbers compared to numbers, you know, in the past. What is he entering into?
MARK MURRAY, SENIOR POLITICS EDITOR, NBC NEWS: Yes, Chris, this isn`t your normal post-election honeymoon glow at all where you end up showing some of those numbers for Bill Clinton, even George W. Bush, and certainly Barack Obama after 2008.
And Donald Trump really doesn`t have numbers like that which shows you just how divided and raw feelings are still in this country after the election.
As our pollsters put it, normally after an election, even one that`s really hard fought, the losing side tends to come onboard. The winning side reaches out and tries to win over those people. And we`ve almost seen none of that.
Chris, as you remember, you know, that Harvard post-election where you had the campaign managers from both the Clinton campaigns and the Trump campaigns turned into a sparring situation.
And I think that that`s, in a lot of ways, a microcosm or even like the epitome of where this country still is. Where this is a -- still a very divided country with a very unpopular person who is president-elect right now.
But still and the one thing that Donald Trump has in his favor right now is that people do seem to be receptive to him changing Washington, D.C.
JANSING: So, give us that, in terms of his favorability rating. Because when you talk about somebody who is unpopular, his favorability is the worst in our poll`s history.
So, explain why those numbers matter anymore. I mean, somebody could make the argument, yes, his number is historically low for a president-elect. Having said that, his numbers were awfully low when he won the presidency anyway.
MURRAY: That`s a great point, Chris. And I guess the one thing, when you have, like, popularity numbers, it does give you some margin for error to make mistakes. Have things not go your way.
You even remember Barack Obama in 2009, 2010 besieged by the BP oil spill and other crisis. And while that took a toll on him immediately, he still had a reservoir of good will to win re-election in 2012.
[17:05:00] Donald Trump, on the other hand, his popularity has gone up in our most recent poll. He`s now 40 percent favorable, 46 percent unfavorable. That`s a huge improvement of where he was right before the election. But it is the most unpopular rating for an incoming president- elect that we`ve had.
And so, Chris, I do think that, you know, if there are good fortunes, I do remember George W. Bush came in after a very hard-fought divided election. 911 happened and he became incredibly popular.
But when things don`t go your way, when there is a misfortune, all of a sudden, that`s when those polling numbers, likability and a reservoir of good will come in very handy.
JANSING: Yes. And I saw another really fascinating number. Because, at least anecdotally, when I go out, people seem to be paying a lot closer attention than they have in previous transitions to who is being nominated. And a number that really stands out here is just 43 percent say they`re pleased with Trump appointments.
So, I wonder if that`s low enough to give the opposition, to give Democrats, in particular, who are concerned about some of these nominees, some ammunition going forward?
MURRAY: Absolutely, Chris.
Now, one important thing for Donald Trump Republicans is that they control the U.S. Senate. And, as we know, after the filibuster ended up getting broken, four cabinet appointees in the tail end of the Obama era, that it really would just take a simple majority.
That said, you know, those numbers really strike me. You know, 43 percent say that they are pleased with Trump`s cabinet officials so far, compared to where it was for Barack Obama in the 60s, Bill Clinton in the 50s.
And, you know, if Democrats go after one or two people that they think that they might be able to go after, they might actually be able to score some points.
So -- and one other thing that really stands out to me, Chris, is that so many of the Republican Donald Trump picks so far have been very conservative Donald Trump loyalists. He really hasn`t gone across the aisle or gone for a centrist Republican.
Of course, he`s been wooing --
JANSING: Well, in the whole blow up Washington kind of thing, I mean, when you`re looking for somebody really outside of the mainstream, there are a lot of people in there who have been around for a very long time as well.
MURRAY: There are. There are some outsiders though, too, Chris.
But the one thing to me that`s kind of striking is that, you know, Donald Trump has, you know, obviously had Joe Manchin, the West Virginia senator. He invited him to Trump Tower. Heidi Heitkamp, the Democratic senator from North Dakota is under consideration.
But besides those two, we`re not seeing the same type of efforts we saw when Barack Obama was at this stage, where his defense secretary was Bob Gates, a Republican.
He ended up making an offer for Judd Gregg, a Republican to be his commerce secretary. He made John Huntsman his ambassador to China. And had Ray la Hood his secretary of transportation.
And so, there was a lot of effort to reach across the aisle. We`ve seen much less of that so far in the first month of Donald Trump in his emerging administration.
JANSING: Mark, fascinating stuff. Thank you so much.
I want to bring in tonight`s panel. Michael Steel, top aid for John Boehner when he was the speaker. He also helped run Jeb Bush`s Pac during the campaign. Anna Palmer is Politico`s senior Washington correspondent and co-author of the Politico "Playbook." Karine Jean-Pierre is a senior advisor with MoveOn.org. Good to see all of you.
Michael, let me start with you because I wonder what you make of these numbers. And how do you think it bogues, both for this president-elect but also for these confirmation hearings?
MICHAEL STEEL, FORMER TOP AIDE, JOHN BOEHNER: Well, I think the confirmation hearings are going to go fine. I think that you`ve got a Republican majority in the Senate.
And the president-elect has chosen people very much in that you would expect. Successful business people, military officers, experts in their field, like Betsy DeVos. This is a cabinet that he can be proud of and a cabinet that I think Republicans are going to support.
JANSING: Anna, is this something that Democrats would look out and say this is a cabinet he could be proud of?
ANNA PALMER, SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, POLITICO: Well, I certainly think you`re going to have Democrats that are going to try to pick off at least one or two of Trump`s picks. If nothing else, to really energize the base, right?
You have Democrats who are despondent that Clinton didn`t win. That she was able to win the popular vote but not the electoral college.
And you`re going to have a lot of activists looking at -- potentially at Scott Pruett it for the EPA, for example, who is really railed against environmental protection and is somebody who they could potentially look at trying to, you know, score some political points, get back on the offense. Whether or not they will be successful is yet to be determined.
JANSING: Yes. Karine, what do you see as the strategy here? What would you like to see a Chuck Schumer pursue? Because, for example, he has said he would like to, sort of, telegraph at least, that he`d like to try to work with Trump.
You know, that`s what we`re hearing. We heard it from President Obama that we need to make this a smooth transition. But, as you look at these numbers, do you see an opening for Democrats and where should they focus their efforts?
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, SENIOR ADVISOR, MOVEON.ORG: Yes, I do -- I totally see an opening for the Democrats. And it`s not surprising to me that voters are not very happy or the American public is not very happy with his cabinet picks.
Because what he`s done is he`s going -- he`s gone after the loyalists, right, the Trump loyalists. Bazillionaires, geez, gazillionaires.
[17:10:04] There was a -- there was a report that came out last week that said 17 out of -- 17 of his picks are worth $9.5 billion or more. It goes completely against the populist message that he ran on where he was supposed to be about the American people.
But yet he`s bringing in these very wealthy folks with extreme views, many of them. And also not very diverse. You see a lot of alpha white males, if you will.
And so, I think it`s not surprising at all. And I do believe that Democrats have an opening.
Just for an example, two weeks ago, I did a press conference with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi and Senator Bernie Sanders where we talked about Medicare and not privatizing Medicare which is really an important issue because we saw how successful the Democrats were back in 2005 when Bush and the Republicans wanted to privatize Social Security.
JANSING: Do you think, Michael, and when you look again, not just as these numbers but you look at what came out of this election. And we know this was the change election. We know people were fed up with what was going on in Washington, D.C.
How does Donald Trump approach this now? How does he take what he has which is this big victory in the electoral college but a loss and an almost three million vote loss in the popular vote?
Look at the split in the numbers that we`re seeing in polls like this that people still don`t like his temperament. How does he lead? How does he take this moving forward and who does he work with?
STEEL: Well, let`s remember that the popular vote is kind of like attendance at a football game. It`s a statistic but it`s not how you win the game.
And Donald Trump won the election. He has a mandate to change Washington. He`s put together a team to help him do it. I know that Speaker Ryan and Senator McConnell are ready to help him do it.
They`re looking at things like the Affordable Care Act, tax reform, things that the American people expect him to fix because they know that the economy right now just isn`t working.
JANSING: Where are they going to come together and where are the big problems going to be do you think, Karine? I do -- I just -- I want to go back to my original question which is where do you focus your time and attention? If you say, all right, I`m going to look at these issues and here`s the ones that we`re going to fight to protect.
JEAN-PIERRE: Right. I think that`s right. What -- I just want to -- for a quick second, the mandate thing. He doesn`t have a mandate. When you -- it should be one person, one vote. And when you lose the popular vote by three million or close to three million, that`s pretty significant.
And, you know, he -- we talk about the electoral college. Yes, Donald Trump is going to be president. But he -- the electoral college that he -- the margin that he won it by is one of the smallest that we`ve seen in U.S. presidential elections.
And so, he hasn`t done what he needed -- he needs to do which is bring the country together.
Instead, he`s refusing to do -- he`s refusing to do intelligence briefing. He`s not talking about -- we haven`t really gotten the sense that he`s really going to divest from his conflict of interest. And that could be a place, right there, where Democrats can certainly push hard on.
So, I think there`s a lot there because he hasn`t done what he needs to do to bring the country together. And, as we mentioned from the top of the segment here, it is a divided country right now.
JANSING: Well, Anna, where are the places that seems like Donald Trump and Congress could maybe get together? We`ve talked a lot about infrastructure, for example. And where do you see the early big fights stacking up?
PALMER: I certainly think infrastructure and tax reform. I think, at the end of the day, Donald Trump is a deal cutter. I think he wants to get through these big things that he promised done.
And so, I think you`re going to see him look to Chuck Schumer, in particular, to cut some deals there.
We had a story recently about how some Senate Democrats are already saying that they could look at, potentially, helping, you know, Republicans on an Obamacare repeal. Not an entire repeal but in terms of some of the replacement languages in some of the areas where Obamacare has struggled.
And so, when you`re starting to see that kind of language, you could -- you could see a really busy first hundred days where there could be some potential good will from Democrats who said, listen, we need to reach out to the rust belt. We need to, you know, show that we are actually interested in getting something done here.
I think that`s what you saw that in those polls was the optimism numbers. And in terms of that he`s going to be changing the way Washington works.
JANSING: Yes, changing the way Washington works. There are things that are going to take a little bit longer. Right, Michael?
I mean, you`re not going to change the economic circumstances of people who have left out from the -- in the recovery in the first hundred days, potentially. There are actions he could take. But things don`t happen with the economy in a snap.
But what are the things that people who voted for him you think are going to look for in those first hundred days that he`s going to need to deliver on?
STEEL: Well, I think the first hundred days is a great place to start. First, you repeal Obamacare which isn`t working. You got rising costs that`s burdening people who can`t afford it. You look at tax reform, getting the tax code so it helps create jobs in American rather than encouraging them to go overseas.
[17:15:00] You look at regulations that are stifling (ph) the energy sector, the manufacturing sector, those are real critical steps that Donald Trump can take in the first hundred days, the first six months, the first year that will help people.
JANSING: Karine, so much is spoken about Obamacare and about, you know, the dangers inherent in that when you look at the millions of Americans who would be affected by the repeal of Obamacare. Do you see this going forward as a repeal or do you see it as a negotiation where some of the things that even Democrats acknowledged aren`t perfect about the way it is now get fixed, essentially?
JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, I would love the latter Chris.
JANSIN: But realistically?
JEAN-PIERRE: Realistically, I mean, it sounds like what the Republicans want to do is -- the number one thing on their list is Obamacare to repeal it which, I think, as you just mentioned, 10s of millions of people are on Obamacare which a lot of them are those Trump supporters who voted for him.
So, I think it -- I mean, I think it`s just -- it`ll be interesting to see how it goes because it could be very detrimental to the Republicans and Donald Trump if they do repeal it and not fix it.
JANSING: Quick last question here, Michael. Who`s going to lead the opposition here?
STEEL: In terms of the Democrats or the --
JANSING: Within the Republican -- is there a group within the Republican Party that`s still unhappy about Donald Trump, the stop Trump people?
STEEL: No. I think --
JANSING: No, it`s done?
STEEL: No. I think that despite all of the kobolds (ph) and conspiracies, et cetera, our constitutional democracy worked as it was intended. Republican primary voters chose the nominee. The general election voters in the varies states chose the president. And I think that we`re all looking forward to working together to get big things done for the American people.
JANSING: Michael, Anna, Karine, stay with us. We`re going to talk more.
Coming up, some breaking foreign news. We`ll have the latest on today`s incident in Germany and Turkey.
And Senators on both sides of the aisle call for a closer look at Russia`s interference in our election. We`ve got new numbers from our NBC News- "Wallstreet Journal" poll about how Americans across the political spectrum feel about this issue.
JANSING: We`re following breaking news down in Germany right now. German police say nine people are dead, at least 50 were injured after a truck slammed into a (INAUDIBLE) Christmas market in the capitol city of Berlin. The incident occurred in the western part of Berlin near the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.
A spokesman for Berlin police says one suspect was arrested near the scene. A passenger in the truck was killed in the crash. It`s not known what their relationship was to the driver.
A police spokesman said the truck had Polish license plates but could not determine if they were real. The nationality of the driver is still unknown.
An investigation into the incident is underway and the big question is whether this was an accident or a possible act of terror. Berlin police said on Twitter there was no indication of any further danger in that area.
And the White House just released a statement saying, in part, the United States condemns, in the strongest terms, what appears to have been a terrorist attack on a Christmas market in Berlin, Germany.
[17:20:01] And, meantime, today tensions between Russia and Turkey rise after Russia`s ambassador was assassinated at an art show in Ankara.
Ambassador Andrey Karlov was giving a speech at the exhibit when a man in the crowd opened fire. Police shot and killed the gunman who was shouting god is great. Don`t forget Aleppo. Don`t forget Syria.
The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, called it a provocation aimed at derailing Russia-Turkey ties and the peace process in Syria.
Secretary Kerry condemned the attack and the U.N. called it a senseless act of terror.
We`ll have more MTP DAILY after this quick break.
JANSING: Welcome back.
Americans are divided along party lines when it comes to how concerned they are about Russia`s interference in the U.S. election. But on Capitol Hill, the outrage is more bipartisan and so is the push for an investigation.
Democrats Schumer and Reid are joining with Republicans McCain and Graham, calling on majority leader, Mitch McConnell to support a select committee in the Senate to investigate Russia election tampering.
So, here`s McCain over the weekend and what Senator Reid said to me this morning.
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SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: We need to get to the bottom of this and we need to find out exactly what was done.
SEN. JACK REED (D), RHODE ISLAND: This has to be answered not just to look back, but we have to be prepared for our following elections.
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SANJING: Well, despite a bipartisan called to action, the nation remains divided.
In our new NBC News-"Wallstreet Journal" national poll, more than half of Americans said the Russian election interference significantly bothered them. A quarter said it didn`t bother them at all.
Broken down by party, the contrast is really stark. Look at these numbers. 86 percent of Democrats say this is bothersome. Independents just almost exactly half. Only a third of Republicans.
Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group joins me now. I find those numbers fascinating, when you have Trump sending these, essentially, friendly signals towards Moscow, despite some growing pressure on both sides of the political aisle.
But when you look at those numbers and Trump, who seems to take a lot of his signals, frankly, from the audiences, do you see any movement there? Any change?
IAN BREMMER, PRESIDENT, EURASIA GROUP: Look, I mean, first of all, let`s recognize that it`s bipartisan issue, not only in terms of concern of what Russia`s doing, but also the fact that Trump doesn`t seem to care and Obama didn`t do very much.
When this was -- this was hitting under Obama`s presidency. And he said, look, I didn`t want to -- I didn`t want to go very hard because I didn`t want to be perceived as supporting Hillary.
Well, you know, perceptions of partisanship were less important than standing up for American national security.
And looking at Trump going forward, you know, you don`t care at all about learning about the evidence of attacks on the American national interest?
I mean, this is a cyber war. And, I think, unfortunately, right now, both of these characters are not standing up for the Americans.
JANSING: What can Congress do about it? So, you hear this call. I talked to Senator Reed this morning. He was pushing it really hard. What can Congress do?
BREMMER: Congress can make more transparent the actual acts that have transpired on behalf of the -- of the Russian government. I mean, it`s very clear that you can have statements from the intelligence community . It`s different than having Republicans and Democrats coming together and saying, wait a second, the election`s over. We know who won. But --
JANSING: And that`s not obviously going to change.
BREMMER: And that`s not going to change and that shouldn`t change. But we have elections coming up in France and in Germany. And we know that the Russians are targeting those elections and want to subvert the Democratic process.
They weren`t just about delegitimizing the U.S. They want to delegitimize and weaken Europe. That`s their Transatlantic relationship.
This is, in no way, aligned with American national interest. You have to react. And that`s going to have to be under president Trump.
Obama said he`ll react at a time of his choosing. You know what? The guy`s got four weeks left.
This is going to be done under Trump. And everything Trump has said so far about Russia implies that he likes the strong man, doesn`t care about the values, isn`t particularly bothered by these attacks on the American Democratic process.
[17:25:01] JANSING: I want to highlight another number from the poll. 31 percent of Americans believe Trump is too friendly with Vladimir Putin. Nearly a quarter believe the relationship -- don`t believe it is too friendly.
Does that play into this at all? Do you think that when you look at any incoming new Congress, you look at an incoming new administration, they`re going to prioritize issues? And some of that prioritization has to do with what did they promise people.
In the case of Donald Trump, it`s, for example, repealing Obamacare. It`s about pointing conservative Supreme Court justice. Does this get lost now that the election, essentially, has been pushed to the side?
BREMMER: Well, it`s not going to get lost if you have an investigation that`s made public. It`s not going to be lost when Obama has said we`re going to have this report from the intelligence community that clearly is going to end up getting leaked to the press. And so, you`ll end up getting a media cycle.
But the reality is we`re going to focus on where the crisis is. And, you know, today, the crisis is the Russian ambassador is gunned down in Turkey.
When Trump comes to power, the crisis may well be United States and China where he`s having a much tougher line against the different strong man than he is cozying up to Putin.
And if that -- if we find out the Chinese are not only rattling sabres (ph) but actually hitting American corporations, I promise you we`re not going to spend as much time on Russia. That`s just the reality of the situation.
JANSING: The president-elect has also talk -- has spent a lot of time talking about ISIS. He`s talked about the threat of terrorism. How he`s going to get tough on terrorists.
And now, we have in Berlin, nine people dead, 50 more injured. A truck attack. We don`t know exactly what happened. We don`t know who the driver is but it looks an awful lot like, doesn`t it, like what happened in Nice. And you have a statement now from the White House.
Have we become immune to this? Does it look to you like this is a terror attack? And what does it mean for the new administration going forward?
BREMMER: Well, everything`s faster. And that`s, in part, because we`ve seen a lot more terrorism and also because the social media news cycle means that, you know, our tension is five seconds long.
But the Germans are now entering their own (INAUDIBLE.) (INAUDIBLE) is a lot weaker not just because they`ve had economic crisis with Deutsch Bank and Volkswagen. But also, specifically, she said, we can take all these refugees. A million refugees come in. Their reaction is very stark.
And the alternatives for Deutschland party, a Eurosceptic party, has done better. Let`s make no question that this sort of an attack is a threat to Merkel`s strength and her continued rule in Germany.
And Trump may not be on the same side of that as Obama is. Let`s keep in mind that when Trump was elected, Merkel didn`t get on a plane like prime minister Abe did in Japan.
Merkel made a statement and said, congratulations. We`ll work with you if you support the values that we`ve historically enjoyed with Americans. That`s not the kind of thing that a German ally usually sends to the U.S. president.
Trump, I suspect, is going to have a rather different view of the German political outcome than you would`ve seen from a lot of other people that might be in the American presidency.
So, this is a very politicalized issue and it`s --
BREMMER: -- deeply tragic that Berlin has to suffer the way they are in the middle of it.
JANSING: And not the only major breaking story that we`ve had just this afternoon. Obviously, you have this shooting in Turkey in Ankara where Russia`s ambassador to Turkey was assassinated.
We`ve just heard from Vladimir Putin branding the killing a cowardly attempt to disrupt the normalization of Russian-Turkish relations. What are the implications of this assassination?
BREMMER: Both sides are going to use this assassination as an excuse to go harder after terrorists. The only problem is they define terrorists in somewhat different ways.
In the case of Turkey, they`ll clearly expand the crackdown that had mass - - even the terrorism in France is bad or in Germany. It`s nothing compared to what the Turks have experienced over the last year.
Erdogan has not been able to get a solid hand on his domestic security environment. And he`s going to go harder as a consequence here. The Russians as well, fighting who they define to be terrorists in Syria as well as at home in Chechnya north caucuses. It gives them a freer hand.
But the Russia-Turkey relationship, itself, very different from what it was like before that failed coop when the Turks shot down that Russian plane. Actually, it`s reasonably aligned right now.
And one thing I can tell you is that neither Erdogan nor Putin have to worry a lot about the domestic opposition right now. This isn`t the United States.
So, if they want to work together in spite of what happened today, they`re going to work together. And that`s what we`ll see.
JANSING: And that failed coup, as I recall, happening on the same day as the truck next Nice.
JANSING: Ian Bremmer, thank you so much for coming in. I appreciate it.
Still ahead, where the right went wrong, according to a Republican. We`ve got that coming up. Stay with us.
CHRIS JANSING, NBC SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Do we note electoral college day? We are just getting word out of Texas. There are 38 electoral votes and 36 have gone to Donald Trump and that meas he goes over 270, the number needed to officially certified his election as president of the United States. More MTP Daily just ahead. But first, Hampton Pearson has the "CNBC Market Wrap." Hey, Hampton.
HAMPTON PEARSON, CNBC REPORTER: Thanks, Chris, how you doing? Stocks begin the week higher. The Dow climbing by 39 points, the S&P up four, the Nasdaq rising by 20 points. GM plans to idle shifts at five auto plants next month. The company says facilities will be idle from one to three weeks. Chairs finish virtually flat today.
And Disney was the winner. That`s today. Star Wars movie film "Rogue One" pulling in $155 million at U.S. box offices over the weekend. The second highest December opening ever. It made over 290 million worldwide. That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide.
JANSING: Welcome back. As we told you just before the break, Donald Trump now has the 270 electoral votes he needs to be certified as president. The electoral college vote will be officially announced on January 6th in a special joint session of congress.
Meanwhile, one of the most outspoken critics of president-elect Donald Trump is ending his radio run. He has called Trump narcissistic, bombastic, fundamentally unfit to be president and he is a republican. Radio talk show host Charlie Sykes, a leading voice in conservative radio retired his very popular show today. Before hanging up his mike, Sykes penned a New York Times op-ed this weekend on where the right went wrong.
He cautioned that republicans shouldn`t be so quick to give in to Trumpism and that the stark division between parties is leading the country down a dangerous path, writing, quote, as our politics have become more polarized, the essential loyalties shift from ideas, to parties, to tribes, to individuals. Nothing else ultimately matters. Even among republicans who had no illusions about Mr. Trump`s character or judgment, the demands of that tribal loyalty took precedence. To resist was an act of betrayal.
Charlie Sykes joins me now from Milwaukee. He is also currently working on a book titled "How the Right Lost Its Mind." Charlie, it`s good to see you. I cannot believe this was your last show today. But, wow, what a run. Congratulations. Let me.
CHARLIE SYKES, CONSERVATIVE RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well thank you and I got to write the book. JANSING: Yeah, that`s the hard part, right? The show you got. Now the hard part starts. Look, you are not alone. There obviously was a pretty strong stop Trump movement, but you also point out rightly that a lot of the people who were very vocal against Trump have now gotten on board. So does there need to be a part of your party that still stands up and says this is not who we are? And if so, Charlie, who leads that?
SYKES: Well, the answer is yes, obviously there does. And I think this is, you know, part of the problem of the Trumpier (ph), you know, will there be principled conservative who will say okay, we will support you when you are right, but you don`t speak for us on everything. The question is who is going to lead that? And I honestly don`t know.
I mean, there is going to be a period right now where I think, you know, people are going to want to go along with the president-elect. There is, you know, winning absolves a great number of sins and I think you are seeing a coalescing, but at some point, you have to recognize there is a distinction between ideas and principles and this new tribalism that requires you to go along no matter what.
So I am hoping it`s going to be -- it will be principled conservatives. On my last show today, I had a really interesting conversation with Speaker Paul Ryan. We were reminiscing about the power of ideas, you know, and how far he has come from a guy that, you know, spent most of his time in a peanut gallery to where he is right now.
JANSING: Well, frankly.
JANSING: . Wisconsin, if I can say, Charlie, you are somebody who championed him. You are somebody who.
JANSING: . for a lot of the high profile people who have come out of Wisconsin including the president-elect`s new chief of staff, Reince Priebus, the former RNC chief. You are somebody who has I would say helped them along the way. I want to play a little bit of your conversation with Paul Ryan who you know well from today.
(START VIDEO CLIP) PAUL RYAN, CURRENT SPEAKER OF THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: We really have an energetic battle of ideas here. You can`t just rest on laurels and assume everyone listens to the same shows and thinks the same thing because they don`t here in Wisconsin. You have to constantly be energetic and persuasive and really attune to your principles and your convictions and show how those applied to problems come up with better solutions.
(END VIDEO CLIP) JANSING: There is nobody who knows Speaker Ryan who doesn`t think that his principles and his convictions are very different in some areas than the president-elect. And yet he has pledged to move forward, to do the best that he can for the country. What role does he play in all this and what do you think he is going to do? Because he has got a difficult line to walk and has. SYKES: It`s going to be one of the most fascinating story lines of 2017 and beyond. I think what he is going to do is he will work with the new president on the agenda item where they agree. But he is going to have to draw the line now. The point he was making was actually very, very interesting.
He was talking about getting out of the bubble, actually communicating ideas outside of the ideological silos that we have. And he was talking about how the fact that in Wisconsin, we actually have to do that. I thought it was a very interesting point that Paul Ryan was making that you just cannot keep preaching to the choir.
That we have to make the case to the larger population which, you know, again goes against I think this increasing tribalism of American politics we have right now. So I thought that was an interesting point that he made.
JANSING: Yeah, but when you talk about drawing a line, I mean, you are somebody who did draw a line. You drew in early.
JANSING: You drew it consistently, and then people were photo shopping your picture into a gas chamber. I mean, the political will isn`t there even with somebody who I know you admire as much as the speaker.
SYKES: I hope so. I hope so. Right now, so we are never Trumpers, are essentially excommunicated, we`re not only in the wilderness in a very, very small desert island, but there is gonna come a time where again the ideas that animated us, the people remember you`re in politics to do something what is it, it`s not just to win elections. So, there may be a long period of time before this plays out. I hope the answer to your question is yes.
JANSING: I want to ask you finally about fake news. Because it has been in the news, the mainstream news if we can say that, a lot lately we`ve heard the president, the current president talking about it. You lay blame at a lot of republicans because -- and I know this, that people call in to your show with fake news and you try to stop them. They don`t want to hear it, Charlie.
JANSING: They don`t want to hear it.
JANSING: And your ratings were hurt as a result of this you said. So where do we go with that?
SYKES: I`m sure they were. Well, I don`t know. You know, I think this is one of those where people need to step back and do introspection on both sides. The mainstream media has to ask itself what did it do to contribute to the loss of credibility? And you know, fake news is a problem.
But the larger problem is the number of people who are gullible enough to believe the fake news, that we`ve actually destroyed our immunity to false information because of these alternative reality silos, because we don`t trust media outlets.
So somehow, we are gonna need Manhattan project of credibility for the media or some sort of an agreement. What is true and is truth important? Because this is not a media problem. This is a problem, fundamental problem for democracy if we go into a post fact era in which you get to choose your own facts and your issues.
And you have a president who has made it absolutely clear that he is prepared to manipulate that. He is prepared to push back on all of that because facts should matter, truth should matter. It should be a bipartisan issue.
JANSING: Facts should matter. Truth should matter. Should not be up for discussion.
JANSING: Charlie Sykes, again, congratulations and good luck with the book. When is it coming out? SYKES: Thank you. I hope next fall.
JANSING: Okay. We`ll look for it. Thank you, Charlie. Good to see you again. And coming up in "The Lid," the democratic blame game is getting more aggressive. Stay tuned.
JANSING: Welcome back. A surprise revelation on "Meet the Press" yesterday. When I heard it, I was like, did I hear that right? Former Clinton campaign chairman, John Podesta, sat down with Chuck for his first interview since the November election. You got to hear what Podesta said about the FBI`s response to his e-mail being hacked. Take a listen.
(START VIDEO CLIP) JOHN PODESTA, FORMER CHAIRMAN OF THE 2016 HILLARY CLINTON PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: I will share this with you, Chuck. The first time I was contacted by the FBI was two days after WikiLeaks started dropping my e-mails.
CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR, "MEET THE PRESS DAILY" SHOW HOST: Let me pause.
PODESTA: The first -- the first.
TODD: Two days after?
PODESTA: Two days after. So October 7th. Let`s go through the chronology. On October 7th, the "Access Hollywood" tape comes out. One hour later, WikiLeaks starts dropping my e-mails into the public. One could say that those things might not have been a coincidence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JANSING: And then Podesta told Chuck that was the first, last, and only time he heard from the FBI about the hacking. He has not gotten an update on the investigation since. He also claimed Russian involvement distorted the democratic process and blamed Clinton`s election loss on both FBI Director Comey and Russian hacking. We will be back with more on the democratic blame game in just a moment.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
PODESTA: A foreign adversary directly intervened into a democratic institution and tried to tilt the election to Donald Trump. I think that if you look back and see what happened over the course of the last few weeks, you see the way the votes broke.
You know, I was highly critical of the way the FBI, particularly the FBI director managed the situation with respect to the Russian engagement versus Hillary Clinton`s e-mails. I think that all had an effect on the election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JANSING: That was Hillary Clinton`s campaign chairman, John Podesta, adding his voice to a chorus of Clinton loyalists, pointing the finger at both the FBI and Russia for Clinton`s defeat in last month`s election. The candidate herself blamed her loss on FBI Director James Comey and Vladimir Putin while speaking to donors last week.
And now, according to Politico, former president, Bill Clinton, spoke to a local newspaper reporter near the Clinton`s Westchester, New York home and said, James Comey cost her the election. It`s time for "The Lid." The panel is back. Michael Steel, Anna Palmer, Karine Jean-Pierre. Anna, is this getting the democrats anywhere as we -- as they look to see, how do we make sure this doesn`t happen again?
ANNA PALMER, SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT FOR POLITICO: It certainly isn`t a looking forward moment right now. I think there are a lot of raw emotions among democrats that are still kind of grasping to try to figure out the new reality that Donald Trump did win. What we saw today with the electoral college, what you saw with John Podesta, and what we had this morning with Bill Clinton blaming James Comey for her loss.
I think there is a lot of soul searching, particularly among members of the Democratic Party. Lawmakers who are saying, you know what, we aren`t going to win again if we just keep blaming Comey. We actually need to think about, what`s our message, what are we doing in terms of a ground game and in terms to actually energizing people for what is going to definitely be a tough 2018 election.
JANSING: Karine, is that what the democrats have to do? Understandably, they`re upset about this. Understandably, this is not a situation that they wanted to be in. There`s still investigations that both sides say need to happen, about Russian hacking. Having said all of that, and acknowledging all of that, is it time to look forward?
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, SENIOR ADVISOR AT MOVEON.ORG: I think it is time to look forward. Look, it`s important to do a kind of a deep dive and look within and see what happens. It`s always important, having worked on many campaigns, to do that. Because you need to do that in order to move forward. But, yes, 2018 is right around the corner, it`s going to be a tough election, mid-term cycle.
And I think it`s important to figure out, look, you know, what does the party look like? Who`s going to run the DNC? How do we want to move forward? What does our messaging look like? And I think that is really important to start focusing and trying to figure out what is the resistance going to be.
JANSING: Michael, you worked for a long time for a guy from Ohio. You know a little bit about what`s going on out in the country. You`ve talked to these folks, you`ve traveled, you certainly traveled with the speaker. And I wonder what`s your sense of this. Would you acknowledge that, certainly, this played a role in Hillary Clinton`s loss? And if so, how much of a role do you think it played?
MICHAEL STEEL, FORMER BOEHNER ADVISOR: Well, I think Washington democrats, particularly in the Clinton high command, are struggling to come to grips with the fact they lost a very winnable election. And they did that because they didn`t make any positive argument for Secretary Clinton to be the next president of the United States and how she would help people who are struggling in this economy.
I think that`s something that they really need to deal with as a party, and blaming the FBI director, blaming the Russian president, doesn`t help them figure out what went wrong and how they lost a very winnable election.
JANSING: Karine, I`ve heard a lot of democrats say the same thing that we just heard from Michael, which was that there wasn`t a clear enough, strong enough, pointed enough message, and that in a change election, where Hillary Clinton was associated with everything that was, that people didn`t like, she wasn`t clear enough about how she was going to change the country.
If that`s true, and again, i`ve heard a lot of democrats talk about that. What is the message? Because as you point out, two years from now comes awfully fast.
JEAN-PIERRE: That`s exactly right. Look, Chris, I think -- could she have spent more time and should she have spent more time in Wisconsin or actually gone to Wisconsin? Spent more time in Michigan and Pennsylvania? Absolutely, yes, of course. Did the Comey letter and the Russia hacking affect the election? I think, yes, it did. I don`t think it`s one or the other. I think it`s actually both.
And if the hacking or the Comey letter affected one voter, then, yes, it had an effect on the election. So that`s actually a really important thing. And this hacking thing, the Russia hacking, is actually is an attack on our democracy. And it is very serious and potentially really dangerous. And so we have to take that seriously and so should the president-elect, Donald Trump.
JANSING: You know, there are a lot of people, obviously, and we are hearing from four senators who wrote a letter to Mitch McConnell, Anna, who feel very strongly that we need to learn more about this. There`s been a lot of talk about what should be declassified, how much more information the American public has a right to know.
Obviously, there were some electors who would have liked to -- at least a small group of electors, who would have liked more information today before they went in to cast their votes. What do you see happening on Capitol Hill? How is all of this, all of this talk, all of the angst going to eventually play out?
PALMER: I think this is going to be an issue that is going to play out for the next several months. The real question right now is, is it going to be a committee that`s already there or are they going to create a select committee? Either way, I mean, you`re talking about hearings, you`re talking about an investigation, a final report.
Certainly, I think what you see with Mitch McConnell and other republican senators that are really focused on this saying, listen, it was the democrats this time, but next time it could be republicans. And so, this is going to be something where, so far, there hasn`t been as much partisan politics in the senate on this. I think both sides are saying they`re ready to look into this more.
JANSING: Anna Palmer, Michael Steel, Karine Jean-Pierre, thanks to all of you, great having you here. And we`ll have more "MTP Daily" right after this.
JANSING: Before we go tonight, chances are you didn`t miss the fact that Zsa Zsa Gabor died at the age of 99. But you may have missed what the life of this Hungarian immigrant turned Hollywood starlet says about American politics today. Just bear with us here, darling, as she would say.
Zsa Zsa was one of the original celebrities for celebrity`s sake. She embodied glamour and she was a reality TV celebrity before that genera existed. Now, in that sense, you could make the argument, some within the MTP family have, that she paved the way for Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Anna Nicole Smith, and maybe Donald Trump, too.
Think about it. Sure, yeah, Trump did build a real estate empire, but not all real estate titans are a reality TV stars. Zsa Zsa was a tabloid cover regular, married multiple times, was sued and sued others again and again. And she showed you could grab news headlines if you favored the flashy. Nothing was too over the top.
That`s all for tonight. We`ll be back tomorrow with more "MTP Daily." Ari Melber picks up our coverage right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END