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tv   MSNBC Live With Ali Velshi  MSNBC  August 31, 2017 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT

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heat the are you able of a six-story believe. it's believed to have collapsed this week because of a soggy foundation. in niger, since june -- look at this picture. imagine if this was how your kids are to walk to school every day. there's also pakistan. three days of nonstop monsoon rains there have flooded the port of occur aech. the sobering reality of all this from june to september, it is monsoon season and in recent years especially harvey like flooding and much worse, in fact, has become the new normal for much of the world. that will wrap things up for me this hour. ali velshi picks things up right now. i'm afraid you're not going to get much of a show today. >> you're seriously handing it over to me where a press conference is starting in 30 seconds. don't you still have clint here? >> i am here ready to answer any questions. >> i appreciate that. i mean, honestly, indicatedy.
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>> stop doodling. do your show. >> i will handle it for the next 30 seconds until we have to go to the white house. clint, particular around, you know, there might be stuff to talk about. as katy was saying, we've been around here for a few minutes. we have been expecting to go to this white house press conference, press briefing that is supposed to have started about a half an hour ago. i would suspect that it is about to start within the next ten seconds because there is sarah huckabee sanders. >> good afternoon. i know most of you and more importantly the american people have many questions relate to hurricane harvey and as you all know, the president was in corpus christi and austin earlier this week and today at the president's direction the vice president, mrs. pence and five cabinet secretaries are back in texas meeting with local officials and storm survivors and thanking many of the first responders and other volunteers. the president's team here has been working around the clock to support state and local authorities following the storm. and now i want to bring up tom
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bossert, the president's homeland security adviser to pri an update on the administration wide effort to support the recovery and relief efforts in the wake of hurricane harvey. he'll make a few opening remarks and then stay to take questions specific to the storm and what the administration is doing to help the state and local authorities and the people of texas and louisiana. and as always, after tom speaks and takes your questions, i'll be back up here to take questions on other topics. thanks, guys. >> thanks, sarah. let me see if i can start by addressing maybe some different audiences. we've got international audience, national audience, state and local audience and i want to speak to each one of them on a brief update. from the international perspective we've had heads of stated from a lot of different countries, in particular i would stress stress, yesterday the heads of state mexico and canada called to express their condolences, their prayers and thoughts but also assistance if
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they could lend anything to the effort. we very much appreciate that. and the president was deeply touched by those phone calls. i joined him for the call from justin trudeau just moments ago, and we appreciate the neighborly gesture. quite seriously, and it's an international expression of what we're seeing here at a very local level, we've got neighborhoods helping neighbors in texas and louisiana, but also neighbors that aren't in close proximity, internationally expressing help, so our international neighbors of canada and mexico are also offering their condolences and we very much appreciate it. we're seeing deployed assets now from a lot of states. i know we've got 28, for instance, search and rescue teams and task forces from i think 16 different states all sending down their support to texas. that's a pretty large activation. in fact, i believe that that's the first time we've activated all the task forces sings nine 11. so this is a all hands on deck operation. the it's not just a federal one. there are state and local
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officials from all walks, even from pennsylvania where i'm from. there are people now addressing this problem by getting their hands dirty and going right down to texas to help so we want to stop and say thank you to them for that. if i can move to the mags. many of you are watching this and you want to hear from us what we're doing. you should continue to have confidence in what we're doing as a government. there are significant come oddty numbers and numbers of personnel and material moving into this affected region and it's an increasing number every day as we move forward. but i would be remiss if i didn't stop and say that none of that matters if you're in an affected individual. so 10,000 liters of water doesn't matter if i don't have the one leerlt i need to drink right now. and so ific, i'd like to stop and give a message or two directly to the people who need the assistance. and if i can this might sound a little bit mundane, if you're in need of assistance and you have access to a functioning computer, if you can get to a shelt r or someplace that you can do this.
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wwww dot zaser assistance dot gov. you can find what you need there to register for the assistance you immediate need. 1-800-462-7585. again, 1-800-462-7585 h. there's another number 621-3362. i'm going to clarify that i think 6213362. that's the number. 3362 spells fema. that second number of 7585 is the tty number. i want to make sure that people use those numbers and use those resources to register. i'd also like to give them the advice that it's never too early to call your insurance adjustor. make sure you've got that process under way. it can take some time. there's going to be a high volume of calls. so that's where we stand right now. i'd like to go through a few additional messages. life saving and sustaining
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operations are still under way. we've seen some hospitals suffer some damage in beaumont. the dod and the hhs officials responsible for coordinating the federal response here are actively figuring out and deploying resources to help move those patients to better definitive care locations. so we will see probably upwards of 7,000 estimated patients moved into better and safer definitive care hospitals elsewhere in texas. and we'll see that happen expeditiously. secondly, a little word of caution. a lot of lost lives and in this time zone right after a response. we lose unfortunately some lives in an immediate disaster, but then in the immediate response and recovery phase people will use chain saws, people will remove debris, people will be stressed. the elderly when they're stressed, you heard doctor for you chicago say tend to get sick. that sickness can lead to death, unfortunately. so unfortunately we will see
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additional losses of life if history is any precedent here or if that history is any prologue. we will see additional loss of life. so please try to avoid, try to avoid strain and stress. try to get to where there's food, water and shelter and take care of yurgs so that you can then take care of others. with that, i'd like to suggest that from the fema perspective they're continuing that operation, but from the white house, it's important that we look at the cost of these events and that we look on the horizon a little bit about what's next. as we look into it, these are estimates at this point, but it looks like roundabout a hundred thousand affected homes. that's a big number. we're going to have a hundred thousand affected homes, all with different degrees of insurance. some with insurance, uninsured, under insured. i want to put a scope and magnitude on this. we're also going to have damage to publicly owned infrastructure. we're going to put together a responsible supplemental request
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for congress, appropriations request. we'll make that request shortly. we'll make that request based on the information that we have now and what we'll do then is come back later for a second supplemental request when we have additional information that would make a more informed total for congress to consider. so i'd like to stop on that point and take a few questions. >> question for you. obviously some -- after hurricane sandy some money flowed fairly quickly, but the big bill didn't happen until two months after the hurricane hit. how important is it, do you believe, with texas for congress to get that money through faster? the president promised it would happen quickly. >> yep. so three things here. first you have to look at the health of the disaster relief fund which is fupding most of this operation. that was a relatively healthy fund. it had about $3.6 billion in it heading into this storm of the that allowed us to get through the initial response operations. that drawdown rate is something we keep a close eye on.
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we're going to need to go up and ask for a disaster supplemental shortly. we also secondly heading up into the end of a fist cal year so any available money is running out. the end of the fiscal year is upon us, and so congress had already planned to provide us some replenishment into that fund through the regular course of operations frmgt and then thirdly, if there are and there will be needs for additional funding in the future as those drawdown construction numbers become more clear on the recovery phase, we'll be able to look at them and ask for a third, you know, kind of bite at the apple on this. so that's where we stand. and i'm not worried at all that we don't have the money right now for the operations under way and the operations that we foresee in the next month. >> thank you. you mentioned the office of the assistance from the leaders of canada and mexico. will the president be accepting any of those offers of assistance? >> sure. you know, the answer here is that the president didn't get into the specifics and neither did the heads of stated calling.
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i think their primary purpose was to express and extend their prayers and thoughts and their condolences to those that lost their lives. what we'll do is turn over to fema, the department of state to accept that request for additional concrete or tangible assistance. they'll figure out how to integrate that with the operators. if we have unmet needs that they can offer some valuable supply for, we'll take that. but there's no reason not to take that assistance. >> can you let us know exactly what -- >> i would say yes, but i would highly encourage you to ask fema how that's unfolding because you have to look at that there a very specific perspective. i've done that before and they have to integrate something very carefully into a logistics chain that is complex. >> you talk about what's next for the recovery. there's obviously going to be not just months but years. this is also an administration that's proposed some pretty significant kutsds to fema. are you encouraging the president to rethink those
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budget cuts? you've been in emergency management awhile. >> the core operating function at fema is going to be well funded under the president's proposal. the disaster relief fund, those things will be all well funded through the disaster relief fund. but what you will see are responseable proposals for reduction in some homeland security grants. those grants, i was around for their creation. they were never meant to be permanent and what with he need to do is to reduce state level dependency on that money. we need to do it in af responsible way. you'll see not just a request for a cut in money in the president that the president put forward but you'll see some additional details that allow the states to responsibleel develop a glide path to get off of their grants and their dependence over them. i would say understanding that's important for the american people to know that the president wasn't irponlel
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cutting any money he would doing something that would further empower state and hols. and i would come back to reiterate the fact that the fund is strong. we're going to ask for some very responsible sur blast supplement alice. >> could you talk to me about the issue of those who are displaced. temporary housing is a big issue. what can you tell us about what's happening over at had you had, what's happening with this administration as it relates to this. it was a big issue during katrina and it was a major problem. are you looking at issues of finding and designating vacant locations for some of these people to -- some of these victims or survivors to go into? >> so i many et with the chiefs of taf of all of the cabinet today, and we talked about housing quite a bit. what's happening now is had you had in cooperation with fema and state and local officials are starting to get together the available housing stock, both available rental stock, manufactured housing which often fits a need in this type of disaster, but also available housing stock for those who have
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received assistance under had you had programs, section 8 in particular. so we're trying to put all those housing stock solutions and all those government programs together, think through what's available and how people might utilize that. right now fema is doing that in a planning section but their operators are focused on saving lives. if i could, one additional point there. this will be a housing challenge, but i don't want to concede any kind of housing lack of coordination. what we'll have to do is allow a lot of this stuff to unfold. when i say a hundred thousand, some portion of those homes were affect with two foot of water or less and then eight. you'll have to look at a case by indicate basis, whether they're underwater financially, actually and we'll have to work with the mortgage lenders and others as we address those problems. >> during katrina there was a big issue of when the people received temporary housing, rent prices went up dramatically. is there any kind of safety net or safeguard that that will not happen, that these survivors
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will be able to get out when they go into these temporary housing separations. >> you just used a great word. gouging will not be tolerated. anybody that's going to go out and try to take advantage of a disaster victim ought to expect the law enforcement to come down with them with a hammer. that's not acceptable on a regular day. it's certainly not acceptable when people are suffering. we'll use the latitude under the law and provide a fair market value, rental rate that's a little bit higher than a 100% to accommodate the natural p demand and supply, you know, attention. >> the follow-up on april's question about housing, what about gas prices? is the administration looking at that in terms of national pricing against gouging for profit? >> yeah. gouging is a problem if it exists and it happens at all levels in every vertical market. fuel is a good question. we had at one point in the peak
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here somewhere around 4% of our oil shut in in the gulf due to the rigs having to pull themselves in. that number is going to come back online. but again to take things back to housing, to bring back all the business operations in the houston pet chemical triangle we need to make sure the employees down there are responsible and safe housing. while there might be some affect to our fuel pricing as a nation we're hoping it's not large or sustainable. what we'll also do is look for the health of the pipelines. so remember there's still rain falling. texas is not experiencing any rain today, maybe some small storms but not any major storm. now louisiana and the rest of the tennessee valley and the middle of the country are starting to see rainstorm of the colonial and the plantation pipelines, we'll keep an eye on that. we talked about that today at our meeting and if we have any update that -- >> on this cross by chemical plant that's on fire. the local sheriff there says the plume is not dangerous to the
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community. the fema director says by all means it's dapg us, which is it. >> if you were there it's dangerous, but the good news the people around that facility had been evacuated already because of the storm and because of the notice that we had on the pending implosion. some really responsible reporting, of a public partnership took place on that facility and what we saw was that the electric power that went into the pumps into the maintenance systems shut out. we couldn't responsibleel get that power back, so the temperature rose in a concealed tank and then -- confined tank and we ended up having an explosion. they're testing the air quality as local responders, but they don't know of anyone yet that's in that area of plume that would be affected. so if they were there, it would be dangerous and they have to keep an eye on it and make sure they take it seriously, but for right now the people don't seem to be there. >> there are 575,000 undocumented immigrants in houston. does this white house believe they should be eligible for long-term federal rory assistance? >> no. i think illegal immigrants and
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that issue has come up a number of times. if if you've committed a crime, that's the priority for the department of homeland security. i think you've heard john kelly say that pretty clearly, the head of immigration and customs enforcement. what i would say, though, is in terms of immediate life saving, no individual human being should worry about their immigration status unless they've committed a crime on top of coming here illegally when it comes to getting food, water and shelter. so the authorities won't be conducting any routine swipes or searches inside those shelters. those are shelters for food, water and providing, you know, kind of insulation against exposure. that will happen and we won't go -- we don't want to scourge that. subsequently, our priority will be illegal immigrants that have committed crimes, they're going to be rounded up as they always are and taken out of this country. i think that's pretty clear. >> oil refineries went off line
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as a result of the hurricane. is it your understanding that they've gone back online? is this a concern for you? are there any thoughts of tapping into the spr because this represents 25% of u.s. oil refining capacity? >> so i don't have an answer for you right now. certainly the president will make that decision. you don't want to tap into the reserve if you don't have the refinery kablt to handle that. so i haven't checked today on the status of the refineries, but i know people have and i can get that answer back to you. we worry that, but for right now i'm not aware of any major damage to the refineries, and so that's why i suggest that to the earlier question we might have an effect to fuel prices, but it shouldn't be a huge one. don't hold me to it. we'll come back tomorrow and give you a better answer. can i go right here. >> two questions. first off, super storm sandy, the federal recovery packet was around $60 billion. governor abbott had suggested this might exceed 100 billion.
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does his estimate sound reasonable that this will exceed a hundred bill and the second question is we've received a lot of sanguine reports from federal state and local agencies chlgt can you give me one or two challenges where that coordination may require some improvement. >> sure. so on the first question there's nobody that's wrong on estimates right now. i don't have any information to challenge anyone's estimate and i don't think that they have any reason to think their estimates are wrong. so we're in the estimating game right now. and as a result what we'd like to do is not get into second-guessing anybody, in particular the governor who has got the firsthand knowledge of what's happening. but what we'd like to do as a strategy is figure out the predictable burden for the response operations and put up a responsible supplemental request to congress so that they can meet those needs quickly. so that's the bite at the apple i suggested. we'll go up to congress and get them a sound supplemental request number. we'll add to it. i think we've got some internal
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numbers that we're thinking but i don't want to get out in front of director mulvaney. there will be some regular funding coming in here as a matter of plan because we're headed up to the fiscal year as it is and then we'll have a supplemental request later when we have better p understanding and when we've got a better handle on the damage, we can come back with a responsible last so to speak supplemental request and get the congress to give us an informed amount of money. sir. >> the second part of the question. >> i'm sorry. >> were there any areas where coordination has been wanting, where you've seen a need for improvement? >> no. you know, i think at this point the message is that coordination is happening better than any storm that we've seen before, and so stressing on anything that's not working well really is especially from this podium going to be ill informed 6789 i'm seeing nothing but positive. i'm seeing nothing but appropriate coordination. if there is a problem somewhere, brock long is going to get his handle around it and he's going to fix it. that's my perspective. not to be political on that answer, but i don't have a negative word on coordination
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right now. >> i was going to ask you about the strategy petroleum reserve. 500,000 barrels were pushed out today. the energy department says during katrina that on a loan basis it was nearly 10 million bairlgs. so we're talking so far just a fraction of what was put out during katrina. what is the administration's thinking going forward as to how the spr will be used and is what we saw today just a start of what might happen going forward? >> yeah. like i said, i'll come back to you on where we tanned is after talking to secretary perry. i don't have the numbers right now. again, though, i'd caution comparisons between storms. every disaster is different. every emergency mrk knows that. where the storm hits, what it hits and who it affects constitute massive changes in how we respond to those storms. so in terms of your structural question, though, i think if any need for that strategic petroleum reserve manifest, i think we'd be very comfortable in tapping into that resource.
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>> there's some talk about attaching supplemental to a debt ceiling increase, some talk about rolling an increase into an overall continuing resolution from an emergency management standpoint, how important is it to your thinking to get a clean supplemental? >> well, i think everyone wants a clean supplemental. as we tie -- hopefully we get a responsible budget, right, and the congress comes together and finds a way to take the president's request and meet it. that would be an ideal answer. ufr prosupposing that we're going to have a continuing resolution. we might have a cr. if that happens, that's fine. i think it will also -- not fine but less ideal. but nevertheless fine to my needle as an emergency manager here looking for the drf supplemental. clean should focus right now on replenishing the disaster relief fund and any other ancillary needs that might come for other departments and agencies for repairing roads and highways of that nature. but i think that will be separate and distinct from the
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debt ceiling. i think we have every reason to believe that that's going to happen in a responsible way as well. from my perspective now and from the planning session we had this morning, i don't think there's going to be any particular problem in our approach to the congress in this fall. that's at least my sense. >> can i ask you -- i'm a little bit confused about your answer on documented immigrants getting long-term funding. was that a yes or a no. >> yes or no to what question. >> undocumented immigrants eligible for long-term relief help? >> what happens when they -- >> number one, eligibility standards range across a number of different programs and the point here would be that if you're an immigrant that has committed a crime you're going to be removed. if you're looking for assistance that's eligible for citizens you're not eligible in this case. but that doesn't mean that we're going to let somebody starve or die of thirst or exposure. i don't think there's too much of a problem there.
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i'm not sure where they were living before they got into a shelter. i would beic maing some pretty gross subpoena pigsz at this point that i'm not able to answer. >> coming to the u.s. illegally as a crime. >> it is. >> and so you're saying that the priority is still to deport people who have committed a crime on top of that. >> that's correct. >> and so you are an undocumented immigrant and you did have a home and a home was destroyed in a flood and you are in a shelter, what happens? there's a loft fs there and i'll figure that out as i deal with them. from my perspective the priorities couldn't be any clearer. i don't think that i even know how to begin to hans that question, but i will say that there's no waiving here. it's pretty clear our position on immigration. so hopefully that answers your question. i don't think there's going to be a lot of benefits going out to illegal immigrants in terms of the american taxpayer. but i will say that he's also made to the point that those who have come to the country and committed crimes constitute the priority offense that we need to
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feek us on. i believe he also said that that's not a victimless crime. the focus on gangs and everything have everybody pretty well busy right now and the focus on saving lives and providing food and shelter have everybody pretty well busy right now. the good men and women of i.c.e. are providing assistance not only to the good citizens of texas but anyone that need food waufrt and shelter. if i could, i would like to leave it at that because that's the clear message that i want to leave behind. no disrespect suspended be skournld from going in and finding something that would save their life. that's the message for today. >> the flood insurance program. $25 billion now this. the question is should homeowners who are in flood zones have to pay even more than they already have been paying in premiums to fund the program or should this be a problem that taxpayers help solve? i mean, at this point this disaster proves that even if you're not in a flood plain, you
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still run the risk of having your house fld. >> so a couple of questions here and i'm going to give you a question of answers first. just for clarity because there are people right now that are suffering that are looking for immediate answers. if you have flood insurance policy and you've been paying your premiums, call and get your claim in. there is no problem, there is no shortfall. we have enough money to meet those claims and you're going to get what you've got coming to you on your poll. so that's the first i think answer here from the national flood insurance program. the second one for people watching this, you have to understand that that flood insurance program is kolg up to be reauthorized. it's not to expire. it's going to have to be reauthorized and i have every confidence that congress will do that. how much money is left in that fund under the borrowing cap or boring rogue authority and the answer is enough, i think it's $8.6 billion to get through this round of claims and then some. it will push us into the late fall, wintertime frame when we have to get into discussing what the forecast projections are.
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and then the last part of your question is a future policy discussion. i think that this administration has been pretty clear that we'd like to see some responsible reforls to the program. i don't think now is the time to debate those things as we need to help people that have pending claims. but we'll debate that late fall here as we come up with good policy ideas to help move that back into a risk based private sector hopefully suspected solution. but fema has been pretty clear how to do that and do it responsibleel so as not to throw anybody off on that current program. for anybody you can't buy a flood program that's not under written by the united states of america. that's a public private partnership that's been, woing since the reagan administration, but at the end of the day, that standard flood insurance policy that you have, sfip that you have is under written by the federal government. can i go back in the back. >> the question about undocumented. the president is reported to be poised to make a decision about the daca program. right now the dreamers who were
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in that program believe that they are documented, that they are documented to work, have work permits, et cetera. those who are in the pipeline who applied for extension or new applicants. it in the time going forward, what is your advice to them about their risks of being deported in any of those three categories under the daca program? >> so the question is on deferred action against childhood arrives, and i think what you'll see is that my position today is that the administration is still reviewing the policy. on the second part of your question, what happens to people that are in an illegal status that require assistance, i'd refer you back to how i answered the first question. anybody that's here illegally that subsequently committed a crime is going to get caught and tloep out and anybody in between has to wait for a decision or at least a policy announcement from the administration on how we're going to handle deferred action moving forward. >> do you believe that that is likely to be revealed in the days that are coming up now in
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which you're trying to manage that emergency? >> i don't know the timing of that, but as soon as the president is ready to announce the result of our policy process, he'll do so. >> have you been consulted on the decision? >> i haven't. >> [ inaudible ] >> say that one more time. >> the lawsuit from the state attorney general sent a letter to the doj. will that affect the decision at all. >> it won't affect the policy decision, but it will affect the timing of it. we certainly have to watch the lawsuits and how they matriculate through the courts and when the deadlines will be. it won't affect the policy decision. if i could now, i think it's been -- i see sar is standing up. i think we have skype questioners, not that you folks in washington, d.c. don't matter to me, but for the rest of the
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people watching. i'd like to turn -- where do i turn? we've got skype questioners. where do i go. okay. so i think first is it somebody from texas that's going to ask a question from skype? and how do i get that, sarah? here we go. sir, you're on. go ahead. >> okay. graying brewing in, fox 26 in houston. >> greg, we got you loud and clear. >> we have in the houston area, we have in the houston area army corps of engineers reservoirs that are frankly ailing. we've been examining that situation. is the administration considering adding additional resources to the -- >> i think -- did everybody hear that question? i think just to repeat if in case we're not wired up right here. i think the question, good one, is that people in houston are worried about the two reservoir systems that the army corps of engineers maintains. they've been pictured on
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television over topping. they've been in a controlled release environment, allowing a lot of water through the affected populated areas of houston. and you want to know if they're safe and if there's any additional funding needed. was that the question? okay. i'm going to answer that question. i think that's a question. so the answer is and it just so appears that earlier this morning almost before i came out here i was in contact with general, the commander of the army corps of engineers. three answers here. first, he's got engineers monitoring those systems right now for structural integrity. so what you don't want to have happen is water come over the top and then eat away at the other side of the wall and have the structural integrity undermined in that fashion we've seen in previous events. as of an hour ago, there was no structural integrity determined by any of the engineers that are standing there watching the facility. and so that means that nobody is in immediate damage -- i'm sorry, in immediate harm's way of damage and additional property loss. but then lastly, the question is
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do we need additional money to shore those facilities up. so i would turn and answer that a little bit differently. we're not going to get into a position of saying they're safe or not safe or asking for more money or not more money right now. what we'll do is continue to controlled release. the the reason that controlled release is good is it's the alternative to an uncontrolled release. and so it seems like you're dumping more water on people that don't need more water, but if you don't do that, you'll end up with this structural integrity fail ayou're that i just referenced a moment ago. as soon as the water goes down and it's rapidly going down right now. we're still going to have some flooding for some time, but the big large heavy masses of water are flowing in a way that will allow us to get in and do an engineering assessment. and if there was structural integrity problems caused by the storm, we'll assess that, put together a responsible number, estimate for repair and then we'll put it forth to congress. and then very last on that, we'll do it in a way that thinks
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through in a mitigation perspective. you just don't want to rebuild it for the way it was before and then have it undermined again. so when you put federal dollars into a project like that, you want to make sure you do it smartly. so that's the way that process will go. it will take a little time for the engineers, but the good news right now for the people in houston is both of those reservoir systems are holding up and there's engineers sitting there watching them on a 24/7 basis. thank you for that question. and thank you for doing what you're doing down there. i hope your home hasn't been affected. all right. do i have another questions? is there one more? all right. sir, you're on. >> hi. this is justin some berg with ktrk out of houston. how are you? >> i'm doing well. >> what will you guys do differently, i mean, we've had disasters all over before. how do you reassure the people
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of texas that real help is coming and it's coming quickly? >> how do you reassure that help is coming and help is coming quickly? well, there's a real short answer to that. we send help and we send it quickly. and i don't mean that quickly. when we get requests from the governor, from the mayors, we send in as much as they ask for or more and make sure they're there to meet those needs. the reassurance mark comes in the pudding. so if we're not getting to where we need to get, we need to hear that. and i'm not immune to criticism and neither is brock long or the local officials there. the mayor has stood up and taken a great deal of smart criticism, but he's also taken a great deal of smart action. and from my perspective what you have to do is hold us accountable, and what i think this president is doing, president trump is holding me and brock long and elaine duke and the rest of his cabinet accountable. and when we're not telling him what he wants to hear, he's going right down to the governor and find out if we're doing it right from his perspective. so that's the answer.
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i think it's pretty straightforward. is there anything that's unmet from a need perspective right now that you want to inform us of? if you do have something, i'm 20 yards from the president. we'll take it to him. >> i mean, not as of yet. but there's a lot of communities that have been devastated here and there's going to be a lot of needs really quickly. >> yeah. let me pick up on that and use that because that's a great point to wrap up my remarks here today. we are still in response mode, and that means life saving life sustaining. there are still people up to their wastes in water. there are still -- the elderly and the infirmed that require our immediate attention. there are still hospitals in need of evacuation and relocation. we've activated all of those forces from dod and from hhs to move those patients. but we're soon going to move into a long, frustrating recovery process. and the important message for me to leave to the american people and to the people of texas and
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louisiana at that point is that we're not going anywhere and all this talk about smemt alfunding, it's about having the money in the reservoir, having that money in the fist for us to help you as you rebuild and get you back into your homes, jobs and get your kids back into their schools. that's what makes america great. we're going to have houston and texas bigger, better and stronger than it was before this storm, and the resilient nature of the american people is just awesome. i couldn't be any more proud to be in this job and i thank you for your time and attention. that's going to be the last question. a local gets it, i'm sorry. and i appreciate your time. thank you. >> thank you, tom. finally, before i open it up for further questions, i wanted to be sure and highlight a major step forward in the fight against isis. earlier today the iraqi prime minister declared that after a nearly two weeklong military
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operation the city of at that lafr fully liberated. this victory represents the loss of a very important isis stronghold, the hometown of a number of top isis commanders. we congratulate the iraqis on achieving this big milestone and will continue to support them in their fight to take their country back from radical islamic terrorism. with that i'll take your questions. >> one follow-up on tom's remarks. he said that the white house would be putting together a supplemental. do you have a sense of when he will submit that to congress. and then secondly, can you confirm reports that the president is leaning towards or deciding to end daca and what are the ramifications of that for the dreamers? >> i'll take the first question in terms of supplemental funding. as tom said, we're working with congress. we're not going to get ahead of director mulvaney. he is working where them around the clock to mack sure that process moves forward quickly and effectively. in terms of daca, echoing again
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on what tom said he shallier. final decision on that front has not been made and when it is, we will certainly inform everybody in this room. >> the president said that dreamers shouldn't be worried. so can you stand here today and say dreamers should not be worried? >> once again, when we have a final decision, this is under review. there are a lot of components that need to be looked at and once a decision is made we will certainly let you guys know. >> sarah, there's a specific report out by fox that talks about that says essentially a decision is made to roll back the program by the end of this week and that there will be provisions allowing dreamers within the country right now to stay until their work authorization expires. are you specifically denying that report? >> no offense to your colleague from fox news, but i think i'm a little bit better informed than they are in terms of when the white house has made a decision. and as i just said a moment ago, it has not been finalized and when it is, we will certainly
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let you know. >> two questions. can you talk about the timeline here. september fifth is when you will be getting this court action. that's obviously the tuesday after labor day. does that mean that some decision will be coming down tomorrow before the holiday weekend? can you at least talk about the timeline for this for those folks who are wondering what their status is going to be. >> again i'm not going to get ahead when a decision hasn't been made. we don't know when the final review will be completed. false timeline -- >> you guys -- >> there are a lot of conversations around the timeline and when that has to be made, and again, that hasn't been fully reviewed and vetted and decided. >> sarah, there's obviously been people all around the country. you've seen people lining up to volunteer. you've seen people donating tens of millions of dollars. can you speak to what the president and his family have done regarding donation for harvey relief personally. >> yes, i can.
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i had a chance to speak direct with well the president earlier. and he would like to join in the efforts that a lot of the people that we've seen across this country do and he's pledging a million dollars of personal money to the fund and he's actually asked that i check with the folks in this room since you are very good at research and have been doing a lot of reporting into the groups and organizations that are best and most effective in helping and providing aid and he'd love some suggestions from the folks here, and i'd be happy to take those if any of you have them. but as i said, he'll pledge proudly a million dollars of his own personal money to help the people of both texas and louisiana. >> thank you, sarah. previously the president had said that he may return to texas and may also go to louisiana over the weekend. do you have an update on the president's travel schedule we know that vice president pence is there today. if he is going where might he
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go. >> the ppd and the first lady will be traveling both to texas and louisiana on saturday. the specific cities and locations are being finalized. hopefully we'll have that information for you later today. i believe as of right now tent til he plans to be in the houston area of texas and possibly lake charles, louisiana. but again, you know, varying on conditions that may change a little bit. that's the tent ti plan at this point. >> yesterday the president went to missouri to push for tax reform. he has said the administration has said that they'd like to see a bill before the house of representatives in september. but there's differences between where the administration is and where house gop leaders are. do you still expect that to happen in september? >> as we've said before, this is going to be a big priority for the administration. certainly moving through the fall the biggest part is that we make sure we get it right and that we provide tax relief to
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middle class america and that we help americans across the board. that's the goal. and if we can do that by september, that would be great. blake. >> sarah, picking up on that, with the president hitting the road yesterday he made it seem as if this should be a simple bipartisan fix. however, does the president believe that the wealthiest 1% deserve a tax break. >> the president laid out clearly what his big priorities were yesterday. i'll be glad to repeat those. permanently reducing tax rates, encouraging entrepreneurs to invest, simplifying the process, incentivizing american companies to bring back jobs and profits. the president is focused on helping all americans across the board. the biggest priority he has is on helping middle class americans and making sure more of those people keep more of their money. >> does the white house think working with democrats on this is reasonable or likely? i mean, they're already laying down the marker for where they
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stand. you just said for all americans, presumably that includes the top 1%. >> i would love for democrats to want to help all americans. i don't know why they would ever want to be against that. certainly helping more americans have more money that they worked hard to earn in their pocket, i don't know anybody that would want to be against that. so hopefully they will be reasonable and want to come to the table. >> thanks, sarah. i have a tax reform question, but first just quickly about that charitable donation. will that be coming from trump personally as opposed to the trump foundation or the trump organization? >> i know that the president, he said he was personally going to give. i don't know the legal part of exactly that. but he said his personal money, so i would assume that comes directly from him. >> and on tax reform, if i may, secretary mnuchin said earlier that the administration is going to release a blueprint on tax reform that will then go to congress. when can we expect that? how much detail will that go into and is that a change from letting congress take the lead on drafting legislation.
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>> again, as both members of the administration and the president have said our job is to lay out the core principles. it's congress's job to lejts late. so we want to work through that process and allow them to actually do their jobs. we're going to do our jobs and lead the conversation, set the table, set the priorities and let them do their job and legislate, get it passed so had that the president can sign it. >> when will we see that blueprint? >> i think we'll already been laying out a lot of principles. that's the foundation and we'll continue to add to that. >> is this push for tax reform the priority for the president and the administration right now, have you put the repeal and replace efforts aside for the moment to focus exclusively on your tax reform proposals? >> as the white house, i don't think you ever get to exclusively focus on only one issue. it's certainly one of the top priorities for the administration moving into the fall. but as we've said many times before, we can walk and chew gum at the same time.
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and we plan to push through a lot of different things throughout the fall. john. >> sarah, if i may, on repeal and replace, as you know, you receive no democratic support, either the house or the senate. as far as tax reform is concerned, are you expecting a different result? do you think you can get democrats to support some sort of legislation that comes forth from both houses of congress? >> as i said a minute ago, i would certainly hope so. i don't know why any democrat would be against wanting to provide tax relief for hardworking americans, particularly those in the middle class. i think it would be a very sad and a big mistake. john. >> yeah. thank you, sarah. just one question. >> just one. >> just one. politics. the president gave a very strong endorsement through twitter of senator luther strange in his bid for nomination in the
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special election. the run-off is coming up in september 26th. there have been published reports that the president is backing away from that endorsement and not taking sides, which would make him the first republican president in 47 years not to back an incumbent senator for another term. is he as committed to senator strange or has his position changed since the original primary? >> due to the legal restrictions that i have, i cannot answer anything political from the podium. so i'd have to leave that to outside folks and the president himself to answer that. kathryn. >> today in interviews said, was asked about -- he was vague in his answer. during the campaign the
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president called this pure political correctness. is the administration reversing those plans to change the $20 bill? >> i'm not aware of any policy change. i'd certainly have to he can which into that. peter. >> daca -- >> sorry. i promised i'd come back to you. >> on daca, in february the president said he would treat dreamers with heart. does the president stand by his statement to treat dreamers with heart? >> absolutely. the president stand by his statement. right now this is currently under review both from a legal standpoint primarily and until that review is complete, again, as i answered before, we don't have anything to add further on that front. >> with rescinding daca be treating dreamers with heart. >> again, i'm not going to get into a back and forth --. >> russia for a moment. the decision to -- >> see. he jumped in there for you. teamwork. >> by the state department on closing three facilities in this long tit for tat that has been going on with russia.
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a lot of analysts now say that relations between the u.s. and russia are at the lowest point since the cold war. do you agree with that and if so, whose fault is it? >> right now we're requiring the russian government to close its consulate general in san francisco, a trade annex in washington, d.c. and a trade annex in new york city. these closures have to be completed by the september 2nd. we've taken a firm and measured action in response to russia's unfortunate decision earlier this year. and we want to halt the downward spiral and we want to move forward towards better relations. we'll look for opportunities to do that. but we also want to have equity in the decisions and anything beyond that -- anything beyond that i would refer you to the state department. >> are our relations worse since they've been since the cold war or decades? >> i don't think so. >> he came in determined to improve relations with russia and they've gone downhill. >> as i said we're going to look for opportunities to do that, but we're also going to make sure that we make decision that are best for our country.
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>> sar a thanks. senators grassley and graham revealed today that they have evidence suggesting that former fbi director comey made a decision to not charge hillary clinton several months before the investigation actually wrapped up and before they interviewed hillary clinton. does the president know about this and does he believe that that adds weight to his decision to fire comey? >> i'm not sure if he is aware of that revelation, but if it is as accurate as they say it is, i think that would certainly give calls and reason that jim comey was not the right person to lead the fbi and hopefully all of your cloogz will follow suit in covering that story. zeke. >> you mentioned the president laid out a bunch of core principles one of those presumably the effects of the tax plan on the position. has the white house taken a position on whether the tax plan needs to be revenue new traul or
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the white house willing to accept a tax plan that would -- that would essentially -- the president has talked a lot about the deficits over the course of his campaign. is he laying down the marker there? >> not at this time. i don't have any further announcement further announceme. fred? >> thanks. a couple questions on obamacare. some governors today came out in favor of sustainability approach. it's been talked about among some republicans in the senate. i want to ask you, would the administration outright oppose any type of obamacare bailout for insurance companies? >> i can't imagine that would be something we would want to be involved in, but i would have to refer you to hhs specifically on that question. >> and secondly, the president tweeted in july i believe talked about taking away the obamacare exemption for members of congress and staff.
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is there anything that would stop him from taking that action now? i mean, is that something that could be done executively? >> i think that's something he is certainly still considering. alex? >> -- on the policy, the u.n. said that last week saudi led coalition in yemen killed 42 civilians. is the president concerned about the humanitarian situation in yemen? >> something that we're certainly keeping an eye on and i would refer you back to them for anything further at this point. >> sarah, the kuwaitis are saying today that the emir will be here next week to meet the president, i was wondering if you can confirm that. on the russia diplomatic move did the president initiate this? >> this was a decision made by the made by this. on the kuwaitis i'm not ready to make an announcement on that. i have to check on the specifics of that. >> sarah, the president has made clear that all options are on the table when it comes to north korea and he seemed to indicate that the military option is
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among them. but is negotiating still on the table? >> absolutely. all includes all. so i think that would certainly include diplomatic, economic and military options. >> one quick follow-up just as we are getting closer to friday. can you tell us whether the president still has confidence in gary cohn? >> yes, he is working hand in hand with gary and the rest of the team on tax reform. as i said several times earlier today that's a big priority for the administration moving into the fall and gary is an integral member of the team leading that effort. april? >> sarah, on the issue of repeal and replace, this president is so dead set on trying to make sure that he replaces and repeals obamacare, what's happening with the website? is there still active enrollment on that website? >> as far as i know, i'm not aware of any reason that it's not, but i'd have to certainly check into that. i'm not checking into the obamacare website daily so i'd have to look into that. >> you're not actively
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encouraging people. you're more so saying repeal and replace? >> i think that everybody in the country knows that obamacare is collapsing. and that something still needs to be done and the administration is still very much committed to putting a health care system in place that actually works because we know obamacare doesn't. it's not sustainable so yes we're continuing to move forward and look for ways to help all americans receive better care. >> hbcu conference is it possible -- i asked last time, can you give us the list? because we're still hearing more and more from other colleges and universities in the hbcu community who are saying they're not coming and you say it's at capacity and you have a waiting list. any way you can share some of the names? >> yeah, i think the department of education is housing that but again, i will try to look into that. i meant to do that last week. thanks so much, guys. i hope you're having a great day. >> that was sarah huckabee sanders at the white house. the briefing there just wrapping up. it went very long because we started with tom boss serts the
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homeland security adviser largely with an update on hurricane harvey, the storm survivors, the relief efforts, the federal money that is coming into the region. so he did that for more than half an hour. and then sarah huckabee sanders stepped in to take a -- take some questions. i want to get you caught up on harvey, it's headed for the ohio river valley but it's left behind a path of destruction that has some people in a desperate situation. the storm related deaths have risen to 31. beaumont and port arthur were pummelled by up to 30 inches of rain and that caused flooding and in beaumont, the residents are trying to find fresh water. the national guard and hospital workers evacuating patients earlier today due to a lack of safe drinking water. and in port arthur, helicopters were still rescuing stranded
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residents a short time ago as flood levels in that city remain high. i want to get a quick visit from nbc's hallie jackson who was in the white house for that briefing where we talked about hurricane harvey -- the storm now, as it's become just a storm. but after that, there was a lot of talk with both sarah huckabee sanders and tom bossert about the role of immigration was a big topic today. one of the things that i thought interesting tom bossert said i.c.e. is not going through shelters and places like that and looking for undocumented immigrants. but that there's no policy change in terms of the federal government's position on up documented immigrants. >> that's correct. >> after this, they may get no federal aid and if they were scheduled to be rounded up they're going to be. >> and he was pretty clear on this, ali. i know you had e-mailed me in the middle of the briefing and i
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should have written you back, but let's have the conversation now rather that over e-mail. because he said that he wanted to focus on the undocumented immigrant, was if they needed food, water or shelter they would get it. that's the priority. they will not be turned away. he actually seemed a little bit concerned as he said he -- you know, no disrespect to the questions but i want to make sure that people don't feel discouraged from getting the help they need right now. i think the question we were getting at what happens after right now? what happens down the road for some of these folks who are going to be needing assistance that are here in this country as undocumented immigrants and that is when you heard his response there. he had some interesting statistics to share. 100,000 homes potentially affected. that is a massive number. he talked about all of these task forces rather now activated for the first time since 9/11. you heard reped questions about daca, the administration
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repeating it says it's not made a decision, at least not one they're ready to announce publicly and all signs point to the president likely to be ending that program. the details still murky. >> and peter alexander was trying to get that question answered but they weren't giving any specifics on it. great to see you. we'll have the conversation on tv if you don't answer the e-mails. always a pleasure. the other big story is the russia probe and there are significant developments. nbc news has learned from two sources that paul manafort who is a part of that june 2016 meeting took notes that included the word donations near a reference to the republican national committee. these references were undisclosed before this afternoon. manafort's notes on the smartphone were turned over to the house and senate intelligence committees and a special counsel robert mueller did not respond to a request for comment and today a source with direct knowledge of the matter tells nbc news one of the russia lobbyists involved in the meeting has testified before mueller's grand jury.
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i want to remind you that paul manafort has not been found guilty or held responsible for anything. joining me now is bill browder, the authority of "red notice" and ceo of hermitage capital mortgage. he's testified in front of congress about the magnitsky act. it's named after this man's lawyer who was arrested and died in a russian jail. sergei magnitsky had uncovered information about a multimillion dollar corruption scheme tied to the russian government. unfortunately because of that press conference we have only a minute to talk about this. we have gotten news that the united states state department has expelled some russian diplomats. they have ordered the closure of some facilities in the united states. what do you make of where we are right now? >> so we expelled 35 people when we discovered that the russians were hacking the election and they responded by expelling 755 people. 20 times as many. so from the u.s. embassies in
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russia. and so the fact that we are closing down a couple of their consulates seems like an appropriate response since they went 20 times as big as us. >> what's your sense that the fact that manafort may or may not be involved in the russi russian -- the allegation of russian hacking into the u.s. election, they seem to be putting a lot of pressure on manafort. i guess the idea is he knows a lot of russians and he knows donald trump and he might be able to give us some useful information. >> well, on this particular meeting that we're discussing there were eight people present at trump tower. there was natalia veselnitskaya the russian agent and rinat akhmetshin and six other people. and seven of the eight people in the meeting are under u.s. jurisdiction and the fbi and mueller are going through and interviewing each one of them and asking for their documents and every little fact, every little statement and every little circumstance is going to be picked over well to see who's consistent and who's inconsistent with one another. and the most important thing i can say is that the russians
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didn't come to that meeting empty handed. the russians came to the meeting and they wanted to repeal one of the most important pieces of human rights legislation out there, the magnitsky act. and they would have come with something to offer. we don't know what that is, that's what they're trying to get to the bottom of. >> i think that for your time. i'm sure we had to cut it short. bill browder author of "red notice." that wraps up this hour for me. thank you for watching. "deadline: white house" starts right now. hello, everyone. it's 4:00. i'm kasie hunt, filling in for my friend nicolle wallace. new this hour an exclusive to nbc news. what's been described as quote cryptic notes from paul manafort taken at that controversial trump tower meeting with russians in 2016. two sources briefed on the notes tell nbc news that those notes which were t


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