MTP Daily, Transcript 12/30/2016

Guests: Beth Fouhy, Susan Del Percio, Michael Waldman

Show: MTP DAILY Date: December 30, 2016 Guest: Beth Fouhy, Susan Del Percio, Michael Waldman

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: If it`s Friday, pay back for Putin puts Trump on a collision course with his own party. Tonight, cyber showdown. President- elect Trump says move on, but his fellow republicans disagree. Will his first fight in office be with his own party? Plus, spy games. What was really going on behind closed doors at the Russian retreats?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a fantastic estate. Let`s be clear.

MELBER: And the 2016 campaign didn`t just break all the rules, it demolished them. So, what does that mean for 2017 and a Trump presidency? This is MTP Daily and it starts right now.

Good evening to you. I`m Ari Melber in for Chuck Todd. Today on MTP Daily, the big story tonight in global diplomacy is also the big story in American politics. The battle over Russian hacking. The biggest confrontation in the immediate future won`t be between the U.S. And Russia. Not yet. The first real battle is shaping up in the wake of Obama`s retaliation pitting Trump potentially against his own party. And that`s because even if republicans called for tougher sanctions against Russia than the new measures announced by Obama, Donald Trump ran in the other direction potentially under cutting the current sanctions by praising Putin for his decision to delay any retaliation.

Here`s what Donald Trump wrote on Twitter. "Great move on delay by V. Putin. I always knew he was very smart." Trump`s tweet this afternoon comes after he said last night, it`s time for our country to move on to bigger and better things. Although he did commit to a meeting with U.S. intelligence community on these issues. Meanwhile, Putin says, he`s not retaliating now, his emphasis is on waiting to work with the incoming administration as the outgoing administration dolls out punishment ahead of Trump`s expected push for a reset with Russia when he takes the oath of office. But is it in the U.S. Interest to move on after a major adversary tried to distort American elections at least according to the C.I.A. and what will happen under a Trump administration?

Right now it appears the republican-led congress and Trump are on a kind of collision course. They want Putin punished and he doesn`t. Top republicans have praised the actions by the White House against Putin`s Russia for interfering in the U.S. Election. McConnell calling them a good initial step. Speaker Ryan saying they`re. Senator Rubio calling to strengthen the penalties along with senators McCain and Graham who are valuing to impose stronger sanctions.

And then here come the hearings. McCain`s committee will hold a hearing next Thursday, just three days into the new congress. U.S. Intelligence chiefs including the director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Cyber Command in Chief Mike Rogers and Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Marcel Lettre are scheduled to testify. And we want to be clear, other committees have vowed hearings as well. Let`s bring in NBC`s Kelly O`Donnell who`s in Florida covering the Trump transition. What is the latest where you are?

KELLY O`DONNEL, NBC NEWS POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, good afternoon. We know that Donald Trump held four meetings with announced guests who came to talk about issues that could relate to cabinet positions that remain open. But 10 meetings in total with staff and others taking phone calls. The work of setting up the administration going forward. On the issue of Russia, I talked to senior transition officials who said the tweet that you read speaks for itself not offering any further context or clarification about what Donald Trump is saying about Vladimir Putin in the wake of President Obama`s actions to bring about sanctions and to expel Russian diplomats.

So they are letting the President-Elect to use Twitter to be a way for him to sort of keep this issue open and in fact raising more questions by again praising Vladimir Putin in the wake of what is taking place about his decision not to expel Americans from Russia. So, now that we are upon another holiday weekend, our best estimate from talking to advisers is that there isn`t anything planned on the President-Elect`s schedule to do anything in addition about this issue.He is going to commit to that meeting with intelligence officials and I`m told that is not the typical presidential daily briefing which we know he has not taken on a regular basis, President Obama authorized that Donald Trump and Mike Pence could have access to the daily briefing.

They have done that sporadically but not on a daily basis. I`m told that the meeting that is scheduled for early next week will be with very high level intelligence officials and it will be focused solely on this issue of what did Russia, what was the extent of hacking. What does the U.S. in terms of evidence and background and it`s in some ways surprising that the President-Elect already doesn`t possess this information but they`re pointing us towards that meeting as being pivotal and his understand of what is taking place and perhaps there will be some further comment or position after that point. Ari?

MELBER: Kelly O`Donnell, thank you very much. We want to turn now to Republic Congressman Luke Messer of Indiana. A member of the Republican leadership and chair of the House Republican policy committee. Appreciate you joining us tonight. Happy new year to you.

REP. LUKE MESSER (R), INDIANA: Happy new year, Ari.

MELBER: I`m sure you`ve seen Donald Trump`s statement there today saying Vladimir Putin is very smart. Your reaction?

MESSER: Well, I think What Donald Trump saying is we have to do both. I mean, we have to move on and we`ve got a lot of work to do when the New Year brings in but I also agree, we`ve got to get to the bottom of this. We can`t have outside influences trying to impact our elections. I think you`ll see congress work on the those efforts. Frankly, even though Donald Trump is good, you know, good on social media, I`m not anything, he`s tweeted in the case that he thinks that we have to step back from the sanctions. Ultimately Russia needs a strong response. I wish the Obama administration hadn`t waited seven years and eleven months to try to get tough with Russia.

MELBER: Your belief based on Donald Trump`s statement today is that he might continue or expand these sanctions?

MESSER: Well, I mean, listen, when you say he`s a smart guy and I think it`s smart for the Russian leader to not make new policy with America when you`ve got a outgoing president in the waning days of his presidency. But I think the idea that somehow Donald Trump is going to be softer on Russia than President Obama has been is almost laughable. I mean, Russia, everything we know about Vladimir Putin is he responds to clarity and strength and I think he will get both of those from the President-Elect when and he has sworn in the office in a few weeks.

MELBER: Well, there`s what Donald Trump`s going to do and then there`s also what he believes or what he has concluded about these hacks as you well know, he has repeatedly questioned whether Russia was behind them even as more information has come out. And he`s also often uses sort of rhetorical device of saying, "We don`t know," which came sound reasonable enough although in this case there are intelligence officials who disagree with that. Take a listen in here talking about what we don`t know.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT-ELECT: I think the computers have complicated lives very greatly. The whole, you know, age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what`s going on. We have speed and we have a lot of other things, but I`m not sure you have the kind of security you need."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: He says nobody knows but do you agree with that or do you think that there is knowledge that Russia was involved here?

MESSER: Well, I think and I mean entirely probable that Russia was involved in trying to embarrassed Hillary Clinton and her campaign team. I think the President Obama has known this for months and didn`t act until the waning days of his presidency. I think part what seems to be bothering the President-Elect is that this is being used in some way to undercut the legitimacy of his election. And frankly, I do think for the president to act only now in the waning days of presidency is highly political. That doesn`t change.

MELBER: When was it--let me ask you about that because we`ve heard that point and it is a difficult balance. If the foreign espionage is targeting an election, right? And the current administration is obviously has a view on that election, that becomes a difficult pickle to be and no matter what. You`re saying you don`t think this timing was potentially appropriate. When would have been the more appropriate time, before the election?

MESSER: When the president knew the facts. If he knew the fact that is the Russians were trying to interfere with elections, he should have come forward then. He didn`t. Listen, what`s important now is we got to get to the bottom of the facts here. It--we should know the truth about outside influence in our elections. We need to respond harshly if Russia was targeting American interests here, and frankly again, I think a strong posture towards Russia has been long overdue and I`m confident in the new President-Elect that you will see strength and clarity in dealing with Russia which is what we need in that relationship.

MELBER: Do you think there should be a larger price for Russia to pay before a reset or a kind of normalization in a new administration?

MESSER: I think if the allegations are true and every indication is that they are, we need to have a strong response and we need to get to the bottom of what can we do to make sure this never happens again. I mean, I think it`s also important that we`d be clear about what the true allegations are, I mean, there are allegations that they hack in the emails and try to embarrass Hillary Clinton and her campaign team. There are no allegations that they somehow hacked in the voting devices or anyway to impact the election results and it`s important that we`d be clear about that as we have this conversation.

MELBER: Congressman Messer, thanks for your time today.

MESSER: Hey, thank you. Happy New Year.

MELBER: Happy New Year. I want to bring in the panel, Beth Fouhy, NBC Senior Politic Setter, Susan Del Percio, Republican Strategist, and Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice and a former chief speechwriter for President Clinton at the White House. Given your white house experience, what do you think about where we are now and what is your view (INAUDIBLE) about the President-Elect`s statements about Putin.

MICHAEL WALDMAN, PRESIDENT, BRENNAN CENTER FOR JUSTICE: Well, the President-Elect can tweet that the president still has the power to act. These sanctions were important and it`s really to me breathtaking to have the next President of the United States in effect siding or sneering at the action of the American Government. This hack of American political institutions is very serious and you heard the congressman say that and members of congress of both parties have been saying that.

It`s a real test now I think of American governing institutions can look into this in a serious way. Can we ask the difficult questions not only that it happened but who knew was happening? We know the Trump Campaign changed the Republican platform to make it pro-Russia in the middle of all of this. How are we going to address that in the media I think has a really significant role too because this was public, this was out there and this was not covered as much as the content of those emails. Susan?

SUSAN DEL PERCIO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, it`s certainly a difficult time for governing right now when you have a President-Elect so active, but that shouldn`t come as a surprise, this is typical Donald Trump. And a lot of people make the mistake of assuming that he`s unpredictable and we don`t know what he is going to tweet next. Instead of realizing--he`s also very strategic in when he does things. He is now going in with three weeks left with someone who never had any governing experience as dealing with three major countries. Israel, Russia, and China. He is building up the image of being presidential and I actually think that`s part of why he`s doing so.

MELBER: What about this do you think was presidential? Because in the past and we`ve run the tapes here on-air, it`s not really a part of something. George W. Bush would say, "Well, we have president at a time," Bill Clinton said that, "The handoffs were always done that way for good reason because they`ll have four years to speak for the U.S. with power.

DEL PERCIO: And I happen to agree with that approach. That`s the way I believe governing should be done but that`s-Donald Trump is now trying to just raise his profile with the American public as the next president and really show some foreign policy chops.

MELBER: Beth, I want to wind it also to some of the contrast we`re seeing between Trump and his own party here. When you look at free trade, government spending, these foreign policy issues, the GOP primary process and Russian hacking where you could see the list is piling up. Now, this may be one of this attributes for voters who were actually souring on the Republic (INAUDIBLE) but what do you-what do you think we`re seeing shaping up here?

BETH FOUHY, NBC SENIOR POLITIC SETTER: Right. That certainly was a large part of what he was able to win the election. But now he has to--he has to work with these GOP leaders. All of who-you have to agree as Republican strategist, are probably aghast at what is going on here. The Republican party, Republican leadership are not in favor of playing footsie with Russia. Russia is not our fiend, John McCain, Lindsey Graham of course, some of the biggest Russia critics but they said that repeatedly and it`s opinion that shared largely by the republican leadership.

So all of these things, this posture towards Russia, we`ve have known from the campaign, his position on free trade and entitlements, very out of step with the republican leadership and yet, he is their guy, he is the leader of their party. They have to step back, they have to wait, they have to see how they can work with him under the--under the offices in fact that we really don`t think that Donald Trump has a whole lot of fixed principals. So can they then work with him and kind of bring him around to the--to their point of view on these issues?

DEL PERCIO: Well, on leadership you bring up a really good point because we have to understand that 75 percent of the Republican majority have never governed under Republican president. Which means that they have always been able view President Obama as their punching bag if they want. They always got to go against something. Now that they`re going to have to be a governing body and that`s a big difference.

WALMAN: And we need to see as been suggested whether the checks and balances work and it`s just not Republicans, the voters tend to not like it when one party has control of both the presidency and the congress. Whether it`s a democratic president like Obama or republican president like Bush. When they`ve actually gotten to enact what they want, the voters tend to say, "Wait, that`s too far." So, if nothing else, the republican leadership will now own some of the policies that they previously keep trying to complain about, but not actually have to--have to put out like-- something like privatizing Medicare. They actually try to pass that, they might come to regret that politically.

FOUHY: Or the infrastructure build it that President-Elect Trump has talked quite a bit about, I mean, we now look at the Obama presidency that that was valiantly opposed by most republicans in the house in the senate. Now President-Elect Trump is talking about want to do a big infrastructure plan, even bigger than the one that was passed under President-Elect-- President Obama in the--in 2009.

How are they going to square that? They--republicans have come out saying they don`t believe that the government should be used to prime the pump around roads, bridges employment. Government isn`t supposed to be doing that. And yet, this is a major priority of the leader of their party. So, what are they going to do?

MELBER: Beth, Susan, Michael, stay with us. The panel continues in MTP Daily. Coming up, we`re going to look inside those palatial Russian retreats that are on American soil. What was going on behind closed doors on the compounds? Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Welcome back to MTP Daily. A potentially big development in North Carolina this afternoon. One of the series of laws that democrats called a partisan power grab has been temporarily blocked by a judge in North Carolina. And this law introduced by the state`s republican super majority is one of the a handful pass two weeks ago in that dramatic special legislative session. The laws were aimed at stripping various powers away from the state`s incoming democratic governor.

This specific law that`s being temporarily blocked as of this news this afternoon would change the makeup of the makeup of the state`s election board and was set to go into effect this Sunday, the same day governor- elect Roy--excuse me, Roy Cooper will be sworn in. Now, Cooper told lawmakers during that special session that he intended to sue if his team did find the laws to be unconstitutional. He followed through on that threat and that is what led the judge today to temporarily block this law ruling it could be a risk to free and fair elections. The judge plans to further review the law next week. And we will be back with more MTP Daily in just a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: The sanctions levied by the Obama administration yesterday included an e evacuation notice. They ordered Russian diplomats, this is by noon today to get out of two giant vacation homes, one along island in new york and one on the eastern shore of Maryland. And there had been suspicions especially from neighbors for years about just what was going on inside this palatial estates, was it only diplomacy or more covert actions as well. Let me bring in my colleague Cal Perry who has been tracking all the developments today. What do you got?

CAL PERRY, MSNBC BROADCAST JOURNALIST: So the first of the two compounds is outside Maryland, it`s about two miles outside on the eastern shore. As you said, really nice piece of property, it was worth three million dollars in 1992. Here`s how it`s described. A dozen cottages with four apartments. The compound in its whole and its entirety and here you`re taking a look at here, it`s going to be some aerials of it. It can--it can take up to 40 families at any given time. So a lot of the diplomats would travel there with their family members. Christmas, New Years, and we expected a New Year`s party at this compound this year which we understand is probably going to upset a lot of people who were basically as you said evicted.

Four-lighted tennis courts, here is some insight shots of it. Four-lit tennis courts, a swimming pool, and a soccer field all right on the eastern shore. In 1992, when the Soviet Union broke up the associated press did a local story. They talked to a woman who lived nearby and she said, they don`t cook their crabs correctly. She said, they stab them with a screw driver, they break the back shell off, they clean them off and then they boil the body which is not what you do at the eastern shore. So residents claiming that was the giveaway as they said, Ari.

MELBER: Well, you know, that`s a important custom.

PERRY: I mean, on the eastern shore it`s all about crabs honestly.

MELBER: Yes. That`s going to be--that`s going to be noticed. What about in New York?

PERRY: All right. So Brookfield, New York. This is 1954, it was bought for $80,000. We don`t know as much about this compound yet, we`re still putting together a profile on it. I can tell you it was nicknamed Norwich House, very similar in its setup as you can see, very similar in the setup to the house in Maryland. The state department took control of this compound at noon today but the residents very similar story, they talk about helicopters getting out of this compound, they say they knew this was being used by the Russian government.

The Russian government didn`t try to conceal that it was using these compounds, they were using it in the open. One of the questions about these compounds is what happens to them now financially. This one was bought in 1954 as I said for $80,000. I cannot imagine what it`s worth today.

MELBER: And briefly, what are about the FBI wanted list?

PERRY: Two people that were keeping our eye on. The first one, Aleksey Belan. He was named by both treasury and the FBI. He hacked into E- commerce companies, we`re talking about ordinary companies that you would have used. He downloaded information from those companies, put them on a personal server and then sold that information. He was last seen in Athens. The second person we`re keeping an eye on, Evgeniy Bogachev.

Now, this person, this individual here, three-million reward, that`s the biggest reward ever offered for somebody in cybercrime. He put mal wear on over a million computers, he stole bank information, passwords, usernames, and then sold that information. His last known location, the Black Sea as our Tom Winter has been reporting all day. It`s going to be very difficult to get these guys back.

MELBER: Cal Perry. Thank you as always. And still ahead on MTP Daily. Donald Trump ran an unconventional campaign. He says the voters rewarded it. So, how unconventional will his style be when he enters the White House? Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Welcome back. Here`s something that you don`t want to miss. This Sunday, Meet the Press is kicking off the New Year with a special hour focused on the press and Donald Trump. Chuck Todd will talk to the top editors in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times about the future of journalism in the Trump presidency. Plus hear from former White House press secretaries on how this new administration will and should handle the media. That`s coming up this Sunday on your local NBC station. And stick with us. There is more MTP Daily ahead. But first $Kate Rogers has the CNBC market wrap.

KATE ROGERS, CNBC ANCHOR: Thanks, Ari. Well, stock and today lower, but it was actually a winning year. The down shed 57 points today, but did 13 percent for 2016. The SPP sank 10 but rose more than 9 percent this year. And Nasdaq top 49, saved it and jumped over 7 percent in 2016. Crude had quite a run as well again, they whopping 45 percent since January. The best performance since 2009. And a top session for outdoor retailer Cabela`s, share sank after regulators asked for more information about its merger with bass pro shops. That`s it for CNBC, first in business worldwide.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ARI MELBER, MSNBC`S CHIEF LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump was unlike any Presidential candidate in the modern era. In a while, many of the most experienced, even famous people in politics from both parties decried his style and behavior. It`s also part of what`s secured his Electoral College victory. Now, hindsight is 20-20 and so it`s -- with that victory in mind, that it can be pretty revealing to look back on some of what Donald Trump told Chuck Todd over the course of this unusual campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC MEET THE PRESS HOST: I sort of was amused about this little excerpt from your Playboy interview in 1990. The question are asked, what is all of this - meaning talking about your yacht, the bronze tower, the casino; what does that really mean to you? And you replied, "props for the show." And they said, what show is that? And you replied, "The show is Trump, and it is sold out performances everywhere."

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: And it has been for a long time.

TODD: Is this - is this - are we all part of a show? I mean, there is something --

TRUMP: No.

TODD: -- you know that some of the criticisms, some that we all feel like we are in a - are we in a reality show?

TRUMP: No. This is not a reality show. This is the real deal. Our country has to be --

TODD: But, you did smile when I read the show stuff. Is it resonating with --

TRUMP: I think it`s fine. I mean it`s - look, my life has been an interesting life. I`ve had a lot of fun.

TODD: People call you a lot of names. Some of it`s positive and some it`s negative. I want to throw some by you. Let`s see, some people are calling you the music man of this race, Kim Kardashian, Biff from Back to the Future, George Costanza, P.T. Barnum. What`s - any of those you consider a compliment?

TRUMP: P.T. Barnum.

TODD: You`ll take the P.T. Barnum?

TRUMP: P.T. Barnum. Look, people call you names. We need P.T. Barnum a little bit because we have to build up the image of our country, we have to be a cheerleader for our country. We don`t have cheerleader.

TODD: Transparency in the White House. Will you commit to releasing the names of everybody you meet with as President to the public?

TRUMP: I would have no problem with it. You know, transparency is a great thing. If Merkel, wants to come over from Germany, I`m not looking to embarrass her. You know, if she wants to have a quiet meeting; I`m not looking to go wild, I want these people to like Trump and to like this country. So, you know, I don`t think that`s the most important thing. I do think having to do with campaign financing, everything should be released that should be very open, but having to do with that, I want to make a country coming to the White House feel comfortable. As far as, people coming in from our country like business people, a 100 percent.

TODD: President Obama tried to put a ban on lobbyist ever worked in the administration. Will you do something like that?

TRUMP: Well, that`s a pretty good idea, because, you know, these guys get out and they almost immediately - almost immediately go to work for a company and they have power that they shouldn`t have. The lobbyists and the special interests and the donors have 100 percent.

TODD: So, no lobbyist will work in the Trump administration? You know, like a ban?

TRUMP: I don`t work. I would certainly have a ban. Yeah, you can`t put a lifetime ban, but you can certainly make it three, four years.

TODD: Right now on Twitter, there is a trending re-tweet of yours. You re-tweeted somebody from Il Duce 2016, it was a Mussolini quote but you didn`t know it was Mussolini when you re-tweeted it said, "it is better to live one day as a lion, than 100 years as a sheep." It`s a famous Mussolini quote, you re-tweeted it. Do you like the quote? Did you know it was Mussolini?

TRUMP: Yeah, it`s OK to know it`s Mussolini. I looked Mussolini was Mussolini, it`s OK to - it`s a very good quote, it`s a very interesting quote. And I saw it - I saw what - I know who said it. But what difference does it make? Whether it`s Mussolini or somebody else it`s so certainly a very interesting quote.

TODD: Well -

TRUMP: That`s probably why I have followers in Facebook and Twitter, 14 Million people some people know and some people don`t.

TODD: Mussolini is known fascist.

TRUMP: It`s a very interesting quote and people can talk about it.

TODD: Do you want to be associated with a fascist?

TRUMP: No, I want to be associated with interesting quotes.

TODD: This violence in the campaign trail, it`s got a lot of people concern and I guess, why won`t you go up on stage and ratchet it back. I mean, you`ve used rhetoric about Islam hates us, surveillance of certain mosques, calling Mexicans immigrants rapists. What did you expect? A lot of people say, you`re reaping what you sow here. That the reason there is so much tension at your rallies, is you`ve used such divisive rhetoric. Do you have any regrets?

TRUMP: The reason there`s tension at my rallies is that these people are sick and tired of this country being run by incompetent people that don`t know what they are doing in trade deals. Where our jobs are being ripped out of our country, Chuck. They`re being ripped out. On ISIS, well we can`t even beat ISIS with our military. Our military is not being taken care of. We can`t even beat ISIS. On our vets, where - who are being treated horribly, frankly, they are being treated worse than illegal immigrants. The people are angry at that, they`re not angry about something I`m saying. I`m just a messenger. The people are angry about the fact that for 12 years the workers in this country haven`t had a pay increase, Chuck, in 12 years. They haven`t had an effective pay increase and that`s what they`re angry about.

TODD: So, you will not call for ratcheting back the rhetoric - you will not call for it?

TRUMP: Well, I haven`t said anything, that I`m just expressing my opinion. What have I said that`s wrong?

TODD: Why not release the tax returns that aren`t involved in the audit?

TRUMP: Because it`s a link, I have very big tax returns I`m sure you`ve seen the picture with the returns. Literally, from the floor to up to here. They`re extremely complex.

TODD: You think you can do it before the election?

TRUMP: I get audited - I hope so, I`d like to I have no problem with (INAUDIBLE) with tax return.

TODD: Do you pledge to do it before the election?

TRUMP: Excuse me -- sure. If the audit is finished. I`ll do it as fast as the audit is finished. Remember this, I`ve already given my financials and my financials show I`m worth more than $10 billion by any stretch of the imagination, has tremendous cash, tremendous cash flow. You don`t learn much from tax returns, but I would love to give the tax returns, but I can`t do it until I`m finished with the audit.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MELBER: Let`s chop it up with the panel, Beth Fouhy, Susan Del Percio, and Michael Waldman. Look, he is going to redefine the bully pulpit just as he redefine the way to handle campaign controversies. Michael, you wrote speeches for a President, before we jump on some of the obvious problems there and I think there are those we could talk about -- with hindsight that this guy did secure the Electoral College victory, something that comes out there was the ability to pivot from something that someone else said was wrong with him, to what voters were mad about. You saw that repeatedly there, and for a campaign that has been derided as lacking issues in substance, Michael. You saw him turn those questions around and talk about jobs, and trade, and ISIS, those are issues.

MICHAEL WALDMAN, PRESIDENT FOR BRENNAN CENTER FOR JUSTICE: He had great clarity and great anger in his message, and of course, it was not only Trump in the United States, but the shocking victory for Brexit in England. The rise of a - sort of conservative right-wing populism all across Europe. We are seeing - and the Sanders campaign, in the democratic primary the past year has shown a lot of people something they didn`t really realize was there which was the depth of public anger and he`s given voice to that in a way that no candidate has in a while, in a way that it`s disrupted, that has called on racist tropes and all sorts of other things that we`ve just not seen in a general action.

You know, I worked in two of these inaugural addresses as you know with President Clinton. Every four years as January 20th approaches, I`d talk about what it`s like in these inaugurals, these are traditions of them, there`s a majesty - it`s a moment to bring the country together. I can`t pretend to know what he`s going to do with something like this. It could be a very, very different thing.

MELBER: Beth, the other thing that jumps out throughout those interviews across, different moments in the campaign -- anger, he seemed genuinely anger. We all know him to be a performer he`s proud of being performer.

BETH FOUHY, NBC NEWS SENIOR POLITICS EDITOR: Right.

MELBER: To the extent you can tell, and I went out to the rallies as you do, we all covered this. He did look genuinely angry repeatedly.

FOUHY: He was channeling his audience. He knew what - he was expert at that, he knew exactly who his base was, and he was channeling their feelings - very effectively. That last, the quote -- that spike that we saw in that - in that collection where he was just ripping. He was, like, they`re not mad at the other people in the rallies. Because Trump was asking him about the violence and some of the anger - manifestation of anger that went on at some of those Trump rallies. People getting punched in the face, people getting forcibly ejected -

MELBER: And Donald Trump saying, he would cover legal fees for people who conducted criminal assaults.

FOUHY: Right. And then he - and then he -

MELBER: I mean, Chuck was asking a serious question about serious claims made by that candidate.

FOUHY: And that candidate managed to pivot it back to say it`s not about the rhetoric inside the rally, it`s not about me, it`s about the fact that this country is not treating these people well. He was so good at channeling that and I think a lot of us didn`t realize that the audience for that message was as large as it was, and large enough to deliver him the Presidency. He was - he caught the (INAUDIBLE) very well.

SUSAN DEL PERCIO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: But he was also able to do one other thing, which was be forgiven by the people who supported him time and time again when it came to actual facts. He really was kind of loose with the information that he put out there.

MELBER: Loose.

FOUHY: Frackery.

DEL PERCIO: Frackery. But what he was able to do is kind of try and fix it with the tweet that we get covered, and then the most outstanding thing that I found during this cycle was he had all this people who said, "Well, what he really meant was this," the fact that very few times during this campaign he came out with serious messages. Clean on the first try out of his mouth, were very rare. And the fact that his campaign was able to keep kind of tacking it back to the voter, to his supporters was amazing.

MELBER: That goes to the (INAUDIBLE) problem with some of the clips we just saw, Michael, because hindsight is 20-20, right? But if you had a time machine and the voters knew as they watched his anger that he was about to stack a cabinet with more Goldman Sachs officials than the past two administrations, right? That no middle class small business owner or main street economics labor type person was going to have a home in this cabinet. That it would have the highest net worth of any cabinet in American history, any one of those things individually, maybe. Together you have a view that it does not look like - tell me your view, a cabinet that is about to just reverse every Wall Street trade deal that ever occurred.

WALDMAN: Well, you know, with his gift for puffy compression, drain the swamp is one of the phrases we remember from his campaign. He said don`t hire - he wouldn`t hire the lobbyists. He`s hired the CEOs for whom the lobbyist worked. This administration --

MELBER: You`re saying that he went up.

WALDMAN: And it went up. I mean, this administration, as you say, has a level of billionaire saturation that is unlike anything we`ve ever had in the history of the country. And the question is, do his voters think this shows he knows business? And know how to make America prosperous or they feel at some point, a bait and switch.

MELBER: Susan, very briefly.

DEL PERCIO: I think it`s the first - it`s the first thing, the fact this is that his supporters say and they buy his message. Do you want me to hire the unsuccessful people or the most successful people in their fields? So, we did.

MELBER: All right. We`re going to pause here. Beth, Susan, and Michael, though, do stick around. And ahead in the late, we`re going to look back at the year that broke all the rule and what it means for 2017. And next, learning the big names in politics and the people who cover them, who passed away during this eventful year. Please, stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: As we approach the end of the year, we want to take a moment to remember some of the big names in politics in media who passed away this year.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You love to argue law, don`t you?

ANTONIN SCALIA, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just love the law. I love to think about the law, I love to argue the law.

GWEN IFILL, MODERATOR AND MANAGING EDITOR ON WASHINGTON WEEK: Tonight, on Washington week in review.

ELIE WIESEL, POLITICAL ACTIVIST: We must take sides. For neutrality helps the oppressor and never the victim.

MORLEY SAFER, CORRESPONDENT FOR CBS NEWS: This is what the war in Vietnam is all about.

JOHN GLENN, UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM OHIO: It`s just so beautiful up there. You can`t help but look out and you get teary eyed almost.

FIDEL CASTRO, CUBAN PRIME MINISTER: Will am I going to hate for the people in United States? I don`t hate anybody, including my enemies.

MUHAMMAD ALI, AMERICAN PROFESSIONAL BOXER AND ACTIVIST: My intention is to box, to win a clean fight. But in war, the intention is to kill, kill, kill, kill and continue killing innocent people.

NANCY RAEGAN: AMERICAN ACTRESS AND THE WIFE OF THE 40TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is a big wonderful world out there for you.

RONALD RAEGAN, 40TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Thank you for all you do. Thank you for your love, and thank you for just being you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Welcome back to the last "LID" of 2016, a year that will be remembered for shattering so many campaign norms. Usually experts agree, for example, that winning presidential candidates must match or beat opponents in buying T.V. ads, fund-raising. Trump though, unified republican votes in the end but he sure did it without many big elected endorsements and normally you need to stay on message, you need to have that good convention, you need to at least be perceived as doing pretty well in debates, if not, winning them. Successful candidates rack up endorsements from newspapers were told that keep their rhetoric in check and of course, they avoid gaffes. That`s how you win or is it? The candidate who did none of those things will be sworn in as president three weeks from today, in defiance of the things that people like us so often say. Can Trump afford to keep breaking the rules in 2017? The panel is back. Beth Fouhy, Susan Del Percio, and Michael Waldman. Beth, if you were writing up the story for the A.P., where you used to work, or NBC News, it would be black letter law, we would all agree at the start that you can break one or two of those. You break too many of those, you lose.

FOUHY: Yeah, I mean, he broke every convention that we`re used to and, you know what, that`s what his people wanted and frankly, that`s what a lot of Americans are sort of happy to see even if they didn`t support Trump necessarily. Politician`s politics not very popular in this country. Some of those ingrained norms are kind of irrelevant to a lot of - a lot of Americans who don`t understand why you need to raise $2 billion to win a presidential campaign. So, the fact that Trump was able to beat back some of that is very refreshing. My big concern, Ari, as a reporter, is how you broke the norms around press coverage and how -- and whether he`s going to continue that going into the White House. The fact that he hasn`t had a press conference since July, the fact that he doesn`t take people on his plane - reporters. He does it -- he`s resisted having a press pool. That may sound very arcane to a lot of people but it`s important. The press are there as proxy for the people and if the press aren`t there, the people aren`t there either.

MELBER: But Michael, didn`t in doing that, didn`t Trump illustrate that norms and the legitimacy of an institution are inherently linked? So, if you believe that the American Medical Association is a legitimate institution that looks after the health of Americans, right? And you see that your doctor is in good standing with them, that means something to you and likewise, bad standing means something to you, right? The institutions that we`re setting these norms this year, right, the press, the political parties, government in Washington, if you want to call it that, all of those Trump exposed, at least with his voters, don`t have a lot of standing. So, their norms didn`t matter.

WALDMAN: He was able to take advantage of what was basically, in a lot of ways, a hollowed out political system that had lost legitimacy with so many people. So many people felt their interests weren`t being heard, so many people felt big money or big interests were dominating. And he was able to smash through all of that. The really scary thing, to me, is a lot of these norms are not just quaint customs. They`re the unwritten rules by which a democracy governs itself and now he`s moving into real power. And we need to all stand up and say, these norms are there for a reason. That kind of accountability to the public, to the media, to congress, those are there for a reason. Giving you example, press conferences. Might say, well, why didn`t we need press conferences in this day and age? William Safire, Richard Nixon`s former aide, who was a conservative columnist always made the point. It was the act of preparing for the press conferences that often made a president ask the people on his own government, "Hey, what`s really going on? What`s really going on?" And so, there`s a reason we have these things, that`s what`s alarming to me.

MELBER: But Susan, the Trump voters, and I talked to a lot of them during this year, they felt there was a fundamental media myth here on this. They thought, you know, the media says they`re referees and we think they`re players on the field. And not just this so-called certain parts of the media. Megyn Kelly, Fox News, right. It wasn`t even just the traditional criticism of certain corners. It was the idea that any media, that any Fox anchor should be a referee. They really said, that`s wrong, and they like that he rebutted that.

DEL PERCIO: Well, they also like that he didn`t break just two or three rules. He broke every single one. I think if he only broke a couple, that would have been problematic for him.

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: Is that the new rule? The one exception is break them all at once?

DEL PERCIO: I think he had to break them all, because it showed his commitment to saying, "I say it the way I see it and I will represent you. I am not beholden to anybody." And when it came to the media, I think this cycle was very unusual and that we went from what we typically say sometimes is an uninformed public, to a misinformed public. Not just because of traditional news medias, which definitely report the news and do it well, but because there`s so many other websites and blogs and other information that`s constantly skewed in --

MELBER: Which circles - which circles to what Beth was saying, that is, is it a part in your view of his political strategy to have a misinformed populous?

FOUHY: The really interesting thing about Trump is that Trump loves media attention. Probably more than any other person who`s ever served as a political candidate or as president. He welcomes it, he craves it, he loves people paying attention to him. However, he knows how to channel his base. His base is very mistrustful of traditional media and doesn`t mind being misinformed, as long as they`re sort of sitting in the same silos, you know, ideological silos where all their friends are sitting, they will take that incoming information and process it based on that and not whether it`s actually factually accurate or not. Trump knows this so he`s going to continue to sort of play to that and he`s also going to continue to tweet. That`s the way he`s going to get out his message.

MELBER: He can`t stop tweeting. That is something that we know is a norm, a new norm that will stay. I want to thank Beth Fouhy, Susan Del Percio, Michael Waldman for our panel time. And after the break, wrapping up the year in politics with a pretty special twist, I`m told. I haven`t seen it yet. Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Tonight, in case you missed it, 2016 proved beyond a doubt that American politics can be really hard to understand. And in case you missed it, the MTP DAILY producers noticed, I`m told, that in 2016, I kept going back to a certain lyrical source of wisdom to help understand all the twists and turns. So, I haven`t seen this yet, but the producers told me to play it. Here we go.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: No greater authority than Jay-Z`s song "99 Problems", when he says, "My glove compartment is locked so is the trunk and the back. I know my rights so you going to need a warrant for that."

Let`s be clear, there`s an old saying, "After the party comes the after party." That`s where you go Thomas from the after party to what we sometimes call, "The Hotel Lobby". It`s something that`s often called "The Jay-Z Test", who famously said, "I`m not a businessman, I`m a business, man."

Folks, he just channeled Aubrey Drake Graham to basically say, "You could thank me now."

Ice always said, "Stop, collaborate, and listen."

I sort of feel like Donald Trump is hitting the Diddy test. He famously said, "Don`t worry if I write rhymes, I write checks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Thanks guys. They look different when they`re all stacked right up together. But hopefully they were illuminating. All right, I guess the year 2016, we say, that`s a wrap. Thank you for watching, that is it for tonight in 2016. But if it`s 2017, Chuck Todd, will be back with more MTP DAILY here on MSNBC. And from everyone MTP DAILY, happy New Year.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END