Skip to main content

tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  December 15, 2016 6:00pm-7:01pm PST

6:00 pm
judges to accomplish that. >> all right. thank you for your time tonight. i really found the op-ed fascinating. thank you. >> thank you. >> that is "all in" for this evening. the rachel maddow show starts right now. happy thursday. thanks for being with us. thanks for joining us for the hour. all right. here's a story. do you remember 1999 new year's eve? when the 1900s turned into the 2000s and we went from december '99 to january '00, there was a big freakout in this country and a lot of countries around the world about the y2k problem. remember that? computers and all sort of electronics kept dates in this format and we were all very worried -- in the format of, you know, two digits for the day, two digits for the month, two digits for the year and we're all very worried that when those electronics of all kinds over the world flipped over from 99 being the last two digits to
6:01 pm
that next number and that looked like 00, we thought how are the electronics, how are the computers going to deal with that? maybe all the lights will go out. maybe toasters will start, you know, talking, maybe airplanes will fall out of the sky. it was a strange almost distraction. i mean, i'm not saying it wasn't a real concern. but the flipping of a calendar into a new millennium was a heck of a milestone to live through. you thought it would have been an occasion for a lot of awe and wonder maybe even spiritual if not just numerological reflection. but mostly we were just really freaked out about y2k. that was kind of the experience of december 31st, 1999. but it's interesting. one very large country where they didn't end up freaking out all that much about y2k on december 31st, '99 while america and the rest of the world was worried about that problem, one place this they ended up not all distracted by that problem, they
6:02 pm
ended up not freaking out about that as the clock ticked toward midnight, was russia. because russia was distracted by something else on december 31th, 1999, they had something else totally crazy happen to them at the turn of the millennium. new year's eve is a huge holiday in russia. it's a huge party there. everybody that day was gearing up for the celebration even bigger than usual because it was '99, but then shock and surprise, with no warning, at noon on new year's eve, 1999 in russia, their president got on tv, it was a surprise broadcast, and he said good-bye. he said good-bye. i'm quitting effective immediately. boris yeltsin randomly quit as president of russia on new year's eve, 1999. it was a total shock. i mean, that said, russia had been through a lot of shocks at that point, 1989, of course, the berlin wall fell, 1991, the soviet union collapsed. that year 1991, boris yeltsin
6:03 pm
had been elected president of russia. before that, all soviet leaders had just been picked by the communist party. they had just been chosen internally yby the party up to and including mikhail gorbachev. he was elected as the leader of the new russia after the end of the soviet union. yeltsin was a fascinating i think sort of frequently underestimated figure. in the west, i think we disproportionately remember him for being publicly drunk especially at inappropriate times. but he was a formidable person. he was occasionally brilliant, he could be incredibly cunning and intimidating and he was the first democratically elected leader of russia and that made him the first russian leader to have the problem that democratically elected leaders have all over the world, which is if you get elected democratically, one you're elected, you got to get re-elected. yeltsin got elected in 1991,
6:04 pm
1996 he was up for re-election. this is a new problem for a russian, right? but it turned out his re-election was really something to worry about. the country was kind of a mess, the government was broke. yeltsin was broke in terms of the assets and money he needed to mount his re-election campaign. and by '96, by the time he was running for re-election, there was this ongoing process of the former soviet union selling off what had been government-owned enterprises. they were deep into the process of privatizing what had been a totally state-run economy. but in order to finance his re-election in 1996, which he was very worried about, yeltsin came up with a particularly terrible scheme. for turning this ongoing dodgy privatization process into something that would specifically result in him getting cash for his re-election effort. and the scheme was basically an auction scheme. through this auction scheme, banks would loan the yeltsin government money, cash, and as
6:05 pm
collateral for the loan, what the government put up was big stakes in big government-run businesses. and then when the government didn't pay back the loans -- the government didn't pay back the loans -- the bank got these big stakes in bank-run businesses, multibillion dollar stakes in companies. and the way it went down is legendary. it basic cpeakcal basically cha of modern history. not only was t a terrible plan to give away these national assets that rightfully belonged to the people of russia, not only a bad process, by the time it got to the 1996 re-election effort and yeltsin trying to get cash and get re-elected, by that time it was a totally rigged process. the guys who ran the banks in russia rigged the process so these state-owned properties came up for auction, the banks who were running the auction arranged things so that miraculously they themselves won
6:06 pm
all the bidding. you know, they're competitors who also wanted to bid on something just didn't have their bids accept or they got lost in the mail. the banks themselves are running the auctions. they win the bidding themselves and boy, did they get great deals. a big russian oil company was auctioned off for something like $350 million through one of these rigged auctions. within two years of it being sold for $350 million in 1994, by 1996, two years later it was worth $9 billion. so think about that. you're running a bank. you can scare up a loan to yourself to buy an asset like that. within two years you can pay back the loan to yourself and pocket over $8 billion in pro t profit. that's more than a nice deal. that is a crime on a history changing scale. that's how we got the russian oligarchs, right? and it happened with oil, it happened with gas, it happened
6:07 pm
with nickel, it happened with copper, it happened with platinum. it happened with all the giant russian-state-owned properties, to suck all the assets out of the grounds and out of the mountains. it came out from the pockets of the russians and went to these people. all the assets of the russian people out the window sold on a fraction of a penny on the dollar to the guys who riggeded the system so they could buy everything for cheap. and boris yeltsin did get the cash he needed for his government which was not that much in the grand scheme of things, but he was able to spend money the way he needed to to get himself re-elected in 1996. kind of a pyrrhic victory, in part because the privatization, particularly the luridly corrupt privatization that he oversaw obviously just gutted his own country. and then the universe has a way of the taking care of these things. right after he got re-elected
6:08 pm
yeltsin had a massive heart surgery. he spent most of his second term in office in and out of the hospital. he was increasingly rarely seen. when he was seen he was thought to be increasingly erratic. there were increasingly worries about the drunk boris problem. then surprise, new year's eve 1999. americans are all worried about y2k and russians are worried about do we have a democracy? and this was their first democratically elected president. but yeltsin had a plan for his succession. he announced that he wanted his prime minister to take over. and that happened. and now those of us who follow, you know, world affairs and world history, we don't have to worry about learning or memorizing a succession of russian names of all the russian leaders that have come to power since the collapse of the soviet union because there isn't a big,
6:09 pm
long list. there was just boris yeltsin, then the next guy he pick to go after him, his prime minister, to whom he handed over power after he surprisingly stepped down on y2k, his prime minister was that sad-faced little devil, vladimir putin. vladimir putin had been prime minister under yeltsin from '99 to 2000, then on y2k yeltsin poofed, vladimir putin became president. to 2008, then went back to being prime minister, and he's been president since then and will run for re-election as president in 2018. this is russia's post -- this is it. this is russia's post soviet leadership. it has been 25 years, but that's all you have to remember. yeltsin for a hot minute and it ended weird and now putin forever. that's it. but it's interesting. putin very clearly learned from some of yeltsin's experience. he decided that he didn't need
6:10 pm
to cook up some complicated scheme where banks got involved as auctioneers and bidders and favored rich guys got good deals in state-run business so he could get kickback cash from them, he learned from what happened to yeltsin and decided it didn't have to be nearly as complicated as that. he decided that he would cut out all the middlemen. what putin is believed to have done since he's been in power is he's just taken for himself secretly but he's just taken for himself ownership stakes, big ownership stakes in all of russia's partially state-owned companies. all these massive former soviet enterprises. they're some of the biggest individual companies on earth that control in some cases they have almost monopoly control over some of the elements that we use for things on earth. and they're huge companies. if you hold a stake not in just one or two but all of them and your equity stake mysteriously gets a little bit larger every year that you stay in power and you stay in power for 10, 12,
6:11 pm
13, 14, 15, 16, how long is this going to go on, how many years, that starts to add up over time. being president of russia pays $136,000 a year. that's considerably less than a half of what the american president gets paid for a salary, but unofficially being president of russia pays very, very, very well. let me put it this way. you know that clothing company zara? yeah, me neither. but there's a clothing company called zara, closely held by a spanish guy that's considered to be maybe this generation's world retail genius. apparently part of the magic is not that he owns the whole company but owns it all the way down the supply chains. i don't necessarily understand all that stuff but that's made him, according to forbes annual ranking, the second richest man on earth. the zara guy worth $67 billion. warren buffett is close. he's considered to be the greatest investing genius on
6:12 pm
earth. he's like $61 billion. carlos slim, telecom, he's at $50 billion. forbes says the richest billionaire on earth is officially bill gates. he pips them with $75 billion. but u.s. intelligence agencies now say as best they can tell bill gates is actually way behind as is the zara guy and warren buffett and carlos slim and all the rest of them. they're way behind. u.s. intelligence agencies have now started to count up all of vladimir putin's secretly held assets, and they say they believe that vladimir putin is clearly, by far, the richest man on the face of the earth. with assets totaling, in their estimation, $85 billion. i have no idea if yeltsin saw this coming, but when he handed off power to his little prime minister in that surprise tv announcement. what he was doing was laying the
6:13 pm
groundwork, making it possible for this one man to amass the greatest fortune in humankind. and the reason u.s. intelligence agencies have that number now, the reason they're working on tracking his secret assets, the reason they've come up with that $85 billion number is because nbc news reports they're basically doing contingency planning for a financial attack on him. they're basically doing contingency planning for how the united states government might retaliate against russia in a way that actually hurts. fo their attacks on the u.s. elections. nbc reported that intelligence agencies concluded it wasn't just generic action of the u.s. governme -- russian government to target the u.s. election. it was micro managed by putin himself up to and including how hacked material from democrats would be leak or otherwise used. so yeah, if you're trying to figure out how to retaliate not with just another country messing with your election, but
6:14 pm
an individual foreign leader messing with your election, you might want to hit him where it might hurt him, hit him in the money. and so it would help to know where his money is and how much of it there is. so that's why we've now got that number. that's why we've now got a new entry for the richest man on earth. beyond retaliation, beyond knowing what his fortune is what the u.s. government might go after, that is an incredible testament to how well he's used the power of political office to siphon money out of his own country and into his own pocket. if you want to know why he's held on to political power for so long, obviously part of the incentive here is that he's figured out a way to turn high political office, political control, he's figured out a way to turn that into a firehose of money directed at himself. he has made himself literally the richest man on the face of the earth and it is his hold on political office that has allowed him to do that. and that is an art. that is what we call the art of
6:15 pm
kleptocracy. using political power, using high political office to steal, to get money, to get resources, to get assets, to get control of remune rattive things, to get business advantages that you could not get if you didn't have political power. kleptocracy. pause. did you see today that they formally announced the latest cabinet pick for the incoming administration? we've been told this pick was coming, but now we have the official announcement that the nominee to run the department of the interior which controls a lot of national assets like, you know, oil and gas on federal lands and stuff, the pick will be this man, a first term congressman from montana. we previously had been told that the pick for this job was liky to be cathy mcmorris-rodgers, longtime political leader in the house who has had some subject area of expertise in this matter. but it be this relatively
6:16 pm
unknown guy from montana. he was reportedly chosen for the job because donald trump's son, donald jr. likes him. they've gone hunting together. don jr. likes him so that's why we're getting him as secretary of the interior. donald jr. famously will also be running his family's business empire along with his younger brother while his father retains his ownership stake in the company but busies himself with being president. the president handing day-to-day control of his businesses to his sons, that will put some sort of cushion, some sort of distance between the running of his business and the running of our government, but one of the sons who is running the business is also apparently picking the cabinet. and it goes both ways. i mean, imagine you're a fair to middling real estate company that has real global ambitions, what would you give, how much value would it be to your company to have one of your high profile executives take a personal meeting with the ceos of apple, google, facebook,
6:17 pm
amazon, intel, cisco, microsoft, ibm, oracle, should i go on? think about that. if you're in your meeting, would a meeting like that be of value to your business, an ambitious american company? would it value you to have facetime with all of these companies? after sitting in this week on a transition meeting with the heads of all of those companies and more, donald trump jr. tweeted afterwards, quote, honored to have sat in on this meeting. the most impressive group of minds i've seen assembled. the new president is inviting multiple executives from his company to sit in on top level government meetings including with all of these ceos. he's also reportedly having his business executives pick members of his cabinet. today was the day the president-elect was to give a major press conference detailing how he would stop what is now an ongoing process of him using the presidency to benefit his family
6:18 pm
business, you know, leveraging his political office to enrich himself and his family. today was the day we were supposed to get a big press conference to hear about his big plan to stop doing that, which he's already doing. that press conference, that announcement was canceled several days ago. it's now been rescheduled for the 15th of never. they keep telling us it will happen, but there's been no announcement. all we get from the president-elect is repeated insistences that he doesn't have to separate himself from his business at all. but come on. kleptocracy is hard to spell. and the united states is not russia. the u.s. government certainly is not russia. there's no putin here. there's not just one man in charge. even if you've got a president who can't bring himself to stop trying to cash in on his office for himself and his family, right, even if you got that craziness going on at the top, could be a source of comfort that, you know, in our system, the u.s. government's a big thing. maybe the professionalism, the
6:19 pm
experience, the subject matter skill of the people working around the president, i mean, we're in uncharted territory here, but maybe that, the people around him, that could be a kind of mitigating force for professionalism and civic responsibility and just experience and gravitas and heft for the new government. in addition to the new cabinet secretary who was reportedly chosen by donald jr. today the transition announced that another fox news commentator will be a deputy national security adviser, that's her on the left, it was reported that another fox news commentator is the leader to be the white house press secretary. another cable news commentator, someone who recently worked at cnbc is in line to chair the council on economic advisers. and today they decided to add some new heft to their -- the transition team with this person who you might recognize from season one of "the apprentice,"
6:20 pm
they added her to the team. they've got a formal announcement that the manager of the nuclear stockpile, the oversight of our laboratories the and the cleanup of nuclear contamination nationwide will be this guy. because why not? i said a minute ago that it was a relief to not have the remember the names of a lot of russian leaders after the collapse of the soviet union because it was just yeltsin, now putin permanently. but under putin we've also not had to memorize and familiarize ourself with a lot of different lower level people in the russian government because put opinion has looted his country for 16 years and counting now, used the power of his political office to yank the guts out of his country and make himself the richest man on earth, he has also systematically miniaturized or disappeared all other potential locuses of power in this iz country. there used to be under the
6:21 pm
soviets a western where everybody studied who figure out who really held power and what the soviets were going to do next. that's now vestigial art. you don't have to do criminology under putin, it doesn't matter. nobody matters, it's just him. that's worth keeping in mind as the obama administration runs out of time to strike back at russia and putin before obama leaves office. it's also worth keeping in mind as a private business moves into the white house and starts conducting its business on the letterhead of the united states of america. steve call is here tonight. we've got a big show. stay with us. walked around the shelter, no intention of adopting. he was the very last kennel in the very last row. emaciated. he was skin and bones. usually what you see in neglected dogs. it was one of those complete, meant-to-be moments... i totally fell in love with him. (avo) through the subaru share the love event,
6:22 pm
we've helped the aspca save nearly thirty thousand animals so far. get a new subaru, and we'll donate another two hundred and fifty dollars to help those in need. ♪put a little love in your heart.♪
6:23 pm
ways wins. especially in my business. with slow internet from the phone company, you can't keep up. you're stuck, watching spinning wheels and progress bars until someone else scoops your story. switch to comcast business. with high-speed internet up to 10 gigabits per second. you wouldn't pick a slow race car. then why settle for slow internet? comcast business. built for speed. built for business. so we have a lot to get to here tonight. steve kaul, one of our nation's capital g, capital j can great journalists will be here shortly for the interview. this has been required reading
6:24 pm
for everybody interested in and concerned about the incoming administration's new cabinet. and this is brand-new, actually. we've just in the last couple minutes gotten in tape of president obama speaking directly, i think pretty much for the first time, about what he's planning to do with russia trying to disrupt and influence our elections. he's just made these remarks. we've just gotten the tape in house. i'll have it for you when we come back. stay with us.
6:25 pm
esurance does auto insurance a smarter way. like their photo claims tool. it helps settle your claim quickly, which saves time, which saves money. and when they save, you save. that's auto and home insurance for the modern world. esurance, an allstate company. click or call. esurance does insurance a smarter way, which saves money. like bundling home and auto coverage, which reduces red tape, which saves money. and when they save, you save. that's home and auto insurance for the modern world. esurance, an allstate company. click or call. here is that breaking news i just referenced. we've got the tape in now. president obama's just done an interview, just made new remarks about the russian government trying to disrupt our election hacking into the servers of
6:26 pm
political campaigns and we've only got a little piece of it. this is the president speaking with npr. you'll hear it here. he says the u.s. will take action, quote, at a time and place of our choosing. we don't have a longer snippet from the interview yet, but we do have this. check it out. >> i think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections, that we need to take action, and we will, at a time and place of our own choosing. some of it may be explicit and publicized, some of it may not be. but mr. putin is well aware of my feelings about this because i spoke to him directly about it. >> that's all we've got so far. that's all they've put out. but that full interview set to air tomorrow morning on npr's "morning edition." tomorrow afternoon president
6:27 pm
obama will hold his final end of the year news conference. whether or not you usually pay attention to presidential press conferences, the end of the year one is usually the good one. it's usually long. he usually takes questions on everything and anything. but both of those things are going to happen tomorrow. that interview on nbr where he talks about what we're going to do to russia over this election thing and that press conference where he will take questions from the press corps at the white house. expect the president to be making a ton of news tomorrow. much more ahead. stay with us. [burke] at farmers, we've seen almost everything,
6:28 pm
6:29 pm
so we know how to cover almost anything. even a rodent ride-along. [dad] alright, buddy, don't forget anything! [kid] i won't, dad... [captain rod] happy tuesday morning! captain rod here. it's pretty hairy out on the interstate.traffic is literally crawling, but there is some movement on the eastside overpass. getting word of another collision. [burke] it happened. december 14th, 2015. and we covered it. talk to farmers. we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two. ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪
6:30 pm
6:31 pm
this is mikhail korda kovski. he's russia's richest man. believed to be worth 15 billion. listed as one of the ten most powerful billionaires in the world by forbes. but that same year he got himself arrested. >> the richest man in russia, one of the richest men in the world is behind bars tonight. mikhail khodorkovsky was arrested when one of his jets stopped in siberia today. he's accused of fraud and tax evasion. he's considered a political opponent of russian president vladimir putin. >> as a political opponent of vladimir putin, mikhail khodorkovsky decided to put his money to work for what he wanted in this country, put his money to work against the man who had him arrested on that siberian tarmac. he decided to use his vast fortune to fund and lead an opposition to try to topple
6:32 pm
putin and so predictably putin had him arrested again, put back in jail. then putin ripped his guts out financially speaking. >> with a blow of the gavel, a russian auctioneneer succeeded on dismembering russia's foremost private oil company. the auction of the corporation's biggest subsidiary, a key oil producer is being seen as one of the most significant steps backwards in russia's 12-year chaotic march towards capitalism. >> people are scared. they're scared this is not just yukos, this is other companies. they're scared that property rights are flimsy in russia. >> russian president vladimir putin has cracked down on freedom of the press and eliminated many local elections and now he's staring down some of the country's biggest private businesses. top of his list is mikhail khodorkovsky, russia's richest man. and founder of yukos.
6:33 pm
he's been in jail for a year on tax fraud charges. and the company has been hit with his own tax bill. the action was ordered to clip his wing. but it was won by an unknown company. following weeks of speculation that the kremlin controlled the world's largest natural gas company would walk away the winner. >> vladimir putin arrested this billionaire who had dared oppose him. then he seized the oil company that made that guy so rich. seized yukos oil. they took yukos and said you're owned by a criminal, we're taking you. they took it and pretend sold it to an unknown oil company. who is this company that's buying it? days later the kremlin-owned oil government rosneft got it for 100 rubles, which is approximately $29 at the time. that's how much they got the oil company for. and the guy who heads up rosneft, the guy who ran that whole scheme to take yukos for
6:34 pm
29 bucks and absorb it into his own company, and make rosneft with its kremlin ownership the biggest company on earth, that guy is putin's best friend. they worked together in the intelligence services back in the soviet day. they call him putin's shadow because in way too many pictures there's putin, then he's the only guy right there next to him. in this picture, he's the guy standing to putin's left in this same picture, if you look at the other side of it, the guy to putin's right who is shaking his hand, that's the ceo of exxonmobil who is donald trump's nominee to be secretary of state. here they are again. trump's pick for secretary of state and putin's shadow. this time without putin because sometimes it's fun hanging out alone. our secretary of state nominee rex tillerson, he knows the head of rosneft. he knows him very well. he signed a ginormous half trillion dollar deal with him to drill the arctic. that got cut short when russia
6:35 pm
invaded ukraine and annexed part of ukraine and the u.s. sanctioned russia. he was one of the people that we placed sanctions against. really put a crimp in that deal. rex tillerson was invited to st. petersburg russia and with other oil execs from the u.s. by this summer, we had as this country a very serious beef with them invading ukraine seizing parts of other country. because of the sanctions our government put on them, the state department reached out to all the executives that got invited to that expo in russia and the state department asked them to please not go, that it would be against the interests of the united states of america, it would be against america's interests, it would be bad for our country if they went. guess who went? the guy who donald trump has nominated to lead the state department. >> given that a number of the sanctions on russia related to
6:36 pm
oil and natural resource exploration, does the idea of a major american energy company send pg its top official undermine the sanctions you think in any way? >> look, again, we communicated our policy on russia to the u.s. business community in multiple forms. ultimately each company's leadership needs to make its own decision. most companies recognize that attending this forum sends a poor message out there about the acceptability of russia's actions. >> most of the companies, most of them do, exxon doesn't. the ceo of exxon, our secretary of state in waiting, he went to st. petersburg. he told the state department, screw you, we're going to make money. it's going to hurt you?
6:37 pm
boo whoo. he sat across from putin's shadow. one point they got a big hearty laugh at the expense of the united states. mr. tillerson got a question on how exxon was squaring their commitment to russia and the united states sanctions against russia. he got asked that question. this is how he answered. the best thing to watch for here, the guys who are hearing this in russian have to wait for the translation. there's a little bit of a delay. but as they get the translation and they hear what he's saying, watch for the thumbs up here. watch. >> well, okay, thank you. as to the sanctions questions i'll use the same approach my friend mr. sechin took and that's a question for the government. so if there's a u.s. government official that would like to respond, i'm happy to toss it to them. so let me move to technology. i think one of the most underappreciated aspects of the oil and natural gas business --
6:38 pm
>> that's the guy from rosneft. that's putins a best friend. he waits for the translation to come through. oh, the u.s. government. good one, my friend. he's the guy that had sanctions personally levied against him by our government which exxon doesn't care about at all. way to go, buddy. steve coll, the man who wrote the definitive work of modern journalism on the power and the outlook of exxonmobil joins us next.
6:39 pm
6:40 pm
♪ as soon as i became a parent i changed as a person, drastically. ♪ i tried hard to quit smoking. ♪ but when we brought our daughter home that was it. ♪ now i have nicoderm cq. the nicoderm cq patch with unique extended release technology helps prevent your urge to smoke all day. it's the best thing that ever happened to me. can you say thanks nicoderm cq? every great why needs a great how. my dad called them up and asked for "the jennifer garner card"
6:41 pm
which is such a dad thing to do. after he gave his name the woman from capital one said "mr. garner, are you related to jennifer?" kind of joking with him. and my dad was so proud to tell her, "as a matter of fact, she is my middle daughter". so now dad has the venture card, he's earning his double miles, and he made a friend at the company. can i say it? go ahead! what's in your wallet? nice job dad. joining us tonight for interview is steve coll. his book private empire exxonmobil and the american power will have to go into reprint. now that rex tillerson is chosen as the next secretary of state. the private empire before even the tillerson factor i think is one of the best works of modern journalism about power. one of the best explanations about power and its different
6:42 pm
manifestations in our american system that i've ever read on any topic. steve coll is now the dean of columbia school of journalism. thanks for being here. >> thanks for having me. >> since tillerson has been nominated to be secretary of state, "a," a lot of people will be reading your book, but "b" a lot of people are trying to extrapolate from the way exxon has operated in the world to understand how the u.s. government might now operate in the world if their ceo is going to move over. is that the right way the look at it? >> yeah, i do. it's an unprecedented situation. beef never had a skt with no government service, no writing about foreign policy independent from his role managing exxonmobil's interests in the world which are different from those of the united states as your reporting on russia amply demonstrates. the thing is he's not had a role in which he's been asked the obvious questions. is accomodation with putin in the interests of the united states? should we defend ukraine against
6:43 pm
russia and aggression? should we defend the baltic states as part of the nato alliance even if it ruptures our relationship with russia? what about russia's brutal conduct in syria in alliance with the assad government? when are we going to challenge him about his, you know, his interventions outside of russian borders? and normally even when someone comes from industry, they've had jobs in government before, they've written for foreign policy journals independently, they've given speeches as a public leader not just a corporate leader. and this is a case where there is no record. >> one of the things that is unique and fascinating and just, i think, sort of almost an endless source of incredible stories is exxon's involvement in countries around the world that are failed states or fragile states. you write about how that's kind of a specialty of theirs, is extracting resources in places where they're way bigger than
6:44 pm
the government and way bigger than any outside source of certainly income or stability than anything else happening in that country. >> they were driven into these environments because they were running out of the ability to find oil to replace what they produced each year. the oil was often in weak states that needed outside corporations to get the oil out of the ground, didn't have the national capacity to build their own oil company or to build up their own private oil industry. so they ended up in places that were quite fragile, often wracked by conflict, a place like chad, one of the poorest counties in the world, equatorial guinea, a family dictatorship off the coast of africa. so this was a contradiction because exxon is essentially risk adverse, then their business model drove them into these political and military environments that were wracked with risk and coups.
6:45 pm
and it was a real conundrum. but its power was always understood as independent from any state. they really are a transnational sovereign of their own. their revenue is about the size of the economy of south africa. but i was surprised as i reported on them because i didn't know much about them before i started the project, i started to think, oh they're kind of an independent sovereign in the world. then i discovered that's how they see themselves. and they behave that way as your example with the st. petersburg visit illustrates. >> even towards the united states. when there's a government in the united states that doesn't have -- isn't pursuing things this exxon likes it just assumes it will outlast this government. governments come and go, administrations come and go, american interests wax and wane. >> washington is just one capital among five dozen in the world that really matter to them. and they manage it defensively, they manage it independent i had. but that example of going to russia when asked by the state department not to do it, that's
6:46 pm
an example. there was another case where the policy of the obama administration was the only encourage oil investment in iraq through the baghdad government in order to preserve the iraqi state. exxon decided to go their own way, made a deal with the kurdish regional government, didn't tell the obama government in advance, set up a conference call after they'd already broken with u.s. policy and tillerson said i had to do what was best for my shareholders. that's a business imperative that people in business can understand, but the idea of moving from that kind of sovereignty those policies that are really about promoting exxonmobil's interests in the world to managing the policies of the united states on behalf of all americans, its values, its ideas in the world -- >> that's a huge leap. >> that's a huge leap. >> steve coll, will you stay for one more moment? there's one more specific aspect of this i want to ask you about. >> sure.
6:47 pm
6:48 pm
enjoy your phone! you too. all right, be cool. you got the amazing new iphone 7 on the house by switching to at&t... what??.... aand you got unlimited data because you have directv?? (laughs to self in disbelief) okay, just a few more steps... door! it's cool! get the iphone 7 on us and unlimited data when you switch to at&t and have directv. only new alka-seltzer plus justfree of artificial dyes and preservatives liquid gels delivers the powerful cold symptom relief you need without the unnecessary additives you don't. store manager: clean up, aisle 4. alka-seltzer plus liquid gels. joining us once again is
6:49 pm
author and reporter steve coll who has written a book called "private empire exxonmobil and the american power" which is newly required reading because of the nomination of rex tillerson, exxon ceo to be secretary of state. one thing i wanted to ask you about. t donald trump said when they announced the tillerson nomination is one of the reasons he picked him is he likes tillerson has relationships all over the world with people we don't like. this is getting back to that issue of exxon operating in places where there are dictatorships, failed states or fragile states. because of what exxon's imperative is, because they operate in places like chad and equatorial guinea and all these other places, would it be fair to say that what they are always doing in those places in terms of anything that looks like foreign policy is that they're trying to shore up whatever government is in place that they did a deal with to get the oil out because they want stability
6:50 pm
in that country so they can keep pumping oil? hasn't that been their unitary goal? >> there's a practical reason for it. they invest huge money in oil production and the payoff is in 20 and 30 years. as it happens, dictatorships and authoritarian regimes can offer that kind of stability if they're not built on a tinderbox. exxon mobil's official approach to this is what you saw in that footage in russia. they follow what used to be called the prime directive. we're here to get the oil out of the ground, we'll take our part, you'll take your part, and the rest of it really is not our business. as he said, sanctions are a question for government. that has been the way exxon mobil has lived in the world, and for a leader who spent four
6:51 pm
years at the corporation, grew up there, sha shaped his ideas , then spent ten years as the leader of the corporation to now start approaching those kinds of environments with the values of the universal human rights and defense of free societies against dictators and the speaking up for isolated activists or minorities in places, you know, as obscure as burma or equatorial guinea. >> they are the most important place. and not just speaking for human rights but funding them, building networks through embassies around the world, people may not understand, there are a lot of place in the world where american power is actually the last bastion in a troubled
6:52 pm
capital in a support for freedom activists, human rights researchers and obscure opposition parties or small, minority religions, so if you're not kind of comfortable speaking about that and defending and investing in it then america's place in the world will be seen to change, it will change. >> this is one of the most important points that people have not absorbed, what you just described in terms of what the secretary of state speaks up for in terms of american values and the universal values of freedom in other countries. what tillerson has done and exxon has done is they've just fed hundreds of millions of dollars, no strings attached to the dictators so they can keep pumping, they have been the opposite of the united states government in those places. i think this is almost an
6:53 pm
unspeakably radical nomination. thank you. steve call's book is called "private empire." we will be right back. stay with us. ♪ see ya next year. this season, start a new tradition. experience the power of infiniti now, with leases starting at $319 a month. infiniti. empower the drive.
6:54 pm
did you know slow internet can actually hold your business back? say goodbye to slow downloads, slow backups, slow everything. comcast business offers blazing fast and reliable internet that's over 6 times faster than slow internet from the phone company. say hello to internet speeds up to 250 mbps. and add phone and tv for only $34.90 more a month. call today. comcast business. built for business. emergency law making sessions? secret agendas, protests, mass arrests? loud hissing, booing, people yelling "shame, shame, shame", one u.s. state house is burning the late night oil tonight. is a very dramatic story, it is
6:55 pm
ongoing this evening. that story is next. stay with us.
6:56 pm
6:57 pm
when a moment spontaneously turns romantic, why pause to take a pill? or stop to find a bathroom? cialis for daily use is approved to treat both erectile dysfunction and the urinary symptoms of bph, like needing to go frequently, day or night. tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and medicines, and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sex. do not take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, or adempas for pulmonary hypertension, as it may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. do not drink alcohol in excess. side effects may include headache, upset stomach, delayed backache or muscle ache. to avoid long-term injury, get medical help right away for an erection lasting more than four hours. if you have any sudden decrease or loss in hearing or vision, or any symptoms of an allergic reaction, stop taking cialis and get medical help right away. ask your doctor about cialis and a $200 savings card.
6:58 pm
the hissing and hand signals, we're going to clear the gallery. we're stand at ease. [ crowd chanting "shame, shame, shame" ] >> large members of protesters tonight have been arrested in the north carolina state capital, raining jeers and chants of "shame, shame, shame" on the republican-controlled legislature. they are using an emergency surprise session to pass a whole bunch of bills to strip power from the incoming democratic governor just before his term starts on january 1st. it's a remarkable thing they're doing, they're fast-tracking a bill to take away the governor's
6:59 pm
power of state board of elections. they'll give republicans control in even numbered years when there are elections and democrats would be in control in odd-numbered years, when there aren't lek slelections, oh, tha nice. they're also trying to cut down the number of people the governor appoints from roughly 1500 to more like 300. north carolina's republicans are trying to re-write whole sections of the state's governance right before they lose unilateral control. a lot of north carolinians are not having it. they say they'll be back tomorrow and the next day and the next day for as long as this out of the blue radical session continues. the incoming democratic governor for now is the state's attorney general and is describing this as an unprecedented power grab. many of these bills may be
7:00 pm
unconstitutional and says he's ready to challenge them in court. there's been no word from the outgoing governor whether he will sign away the powers. but the republican lawmakers are doing their best to rush those bills to their republican governor's desk while he still has a desk. they're waiting late into the night having thrown all the protesters out of the cal gallery. we'll keep you updated. >> we've got braki breaking new. the blareaking news is that president obama has just said the united states will retaliate against russia for interfering in the election, but we'll talk about the story that donald trump does not want to talk about, the story that he had promised would be the biggest story of the day today until he decided that he just couldn't talk about


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on