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tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  October 17, 2019 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT

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the honorable elijah cummings gets tonight's last word. the 11th hour with brian williams starts now. tonight the white house chief of staff goes before the press core and completely reverses what the president had been saying about ukraine. hours later he attempts to mop it up, but the damage is done, part of a bad day for donald trump. overseas despite perhaps his most serious face ever, vice president pence gives turkey virtually everything they wanted in a deal that assures the end of kurdish lands. but back in washington, mitt romney roars to life, tore into the trump administration. now people are wondering if we'll hear more of that. meanwhile, another insider tells congress what he saw and another cabinet secretary is leaving,
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part of an 80% turnover at the top as the 11th hour gets underway on a thursday night. well, good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 1,001 of the trump administration. it was a bad day for the trump administration. and in plain english here's why. the president's chief of staff speaking outloud in front of the press core in the white house briefing room reversed everything the president has been saying about the call with ukraine. he said military aid was held up over politics, said they do it all the time, said we should get over it. he confirmed rudy giuliani has been all over foreign u.s. policy. he said the president's own golf resort has been selected as the host location for the next g-7 while at the same time the vice president was overseas in essence giving turkey what they want and cementing the end of
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the kurdish homeland. but let's start at the beginning. here is mick mulvaney who enjoys the title acting chief of staff confirming what we have seen happen, the president holding back aid to pressure ukraine into investigating the democrats. >> he also mentioned to me the corruption that related to the dnc server, absolutely. no question about that. but that's it. that's why we held up the money. >> so the demand for an investigation into the democrats was part of the reason that he wanted to withhold funding to ukraine. >> the look back into what happened in 2016 was part of the thing he was worried about in corruption with that nation. >> withholding the funding? >> yeah. i have news for everybody, get over it. >> what you just described is a quid pro quo. it is funding will not flow until the investigation into the democratic server happened as well. >> we do -- we do that all the
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time with foreign policy. >> mulvaney's remarks undercut what his boss has been saying all along. >> there was no quid pro quo at all. >> there is no quid pro quo. >> there was no quid pro quo. >> there was no quid pro quo, unlike biden. >> there was no quid pro quo. there was nothing. >> now, keep in mind, mulvaney also runs the office of management and budget and had a hand in blocking the aid to ukraine. >> was involved with the process by which the money was held up temporarily. okay? three issues for that. the corruption in the country, whether or not other countries were participating in the support of the ukraine and whether or not they were cooperating in an ongoing investigation with our department of justice. that's completely legitimate. >> not long after that briefing, a senior justice department official told nbc news, quote, if the white house was withholding aid from ukraine with regard to any investigation
quote
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by the justice department, that's news to us. trump's counsel also distanced himself from mulvaney saying the president's legal counsel was not involved in mick mulvaney's press briefing. one trump ally called the news conference, quote, an unmitigated disaster. this evening, mulvaney pivoted away from his comments saying, quote, let me be clear. there was absolutely no quid pro quo between ukrainian military aid and any investigation into the 2016 election. the president never told me to withhold any money until the ukrainians did anything related to the server. there was never any reason on the flow of the aid related to the matter of the dnc server. all of that would be fine had he not said all of that aloud in front of the press core today. trump told reporters he didn't
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see the briefing, but trump, quote, agreed on the need for mr. mulvaney to walk back his comments and personally approved his chief's statement and blamed the media's handling of the press briefing, not mr. mulvaney. trump did give mulvaney his endorsement. >> i think he's a good man. i have a lot of confidence in him. >> that was it. on capitol hill impeachment investigators spent over nine hours interviewing trump's ambassador to the eu who was also tapped to help deal with ukraine. his opening statement indicated giuliani had a direct role in carrying out trump's policy on ukraine, a decision he said he disagreed with but carried out nonetheless. however, some house members told nbc news while he did have some gaps in his recall, he did corroborate much of the whistleblower's complaint. today we also learned trump will host the 2020 g-7 summit of world leaders at his golf resort
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near miami. we'll have more on this just ahead. and amid all of this, the administration is now congratulating itself for a five-day cease fire they say they have negotiated with turkey and its attack on the kurds in syria. an exceptionally stern faced mike pence negotiated the agreement in which the white house agreed to hold off on imposing new sanctions. the kurds were not part of those negotiations. the deal essentially gives turkey what it wants, control over that land. as our own richard engel put it tonight, trump gave away the homeland to the kurds sworn enemy. today mitt romney had clearly had enough. he went to the senate floor and suggested the administration may have been bullied into this deal. >> it's been suggested that turkey may have called america's bluff, telling the president they were coming no matter what
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we did. if that's so, we should know it. for it would tell us a great deal about how we should deal with turkey now and in the future. was there no chance for diplomacy? are we so weak and so inept diplomatically that turkey forced the hand of the united states of america? turkey? >> here for our lead-off discussion on this consequential thursday night, white house correspondent and associate editor over at "politico," jeremy bash, former chief of staff of the cia and the pentagon, former chief counsel to house intel and greg miller, national security correspondent for the washington post, also happens to be the author of "the apprentice." greg, i'd like to begin with you. what did mick mulvaney just agree to today? >> so, you know, between his two statements, i mean, at the outset, he basically admitted
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from the white house podium what the white house has been insisting was not the case for weeks now, that there was a quid pro quo that the united states government was withholding $400 million in aid from a country that desperately needs help in fending off aggression from russia on the condition that ukraine have to investigate what amount to conspiracy theories at this point relating to the election interference of 2016. it was an astonishing thing to watch. >> anita, why do you think a guy like mulvaney would walk into that briefing room and in effect light himself on fire on live television? >> well, obviously he was september osent out there with a specific message about the g-7 being at
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the trump golf course next your. he knew he would get questions about ukraine. he was briefed and ready for those questions and he was supposed to stick to that message, the message we have been hearing for weeks. but he had a lot of questions and a lot of relentless questioning and eventually said this. and of course we saw him quickly backtrack on that. and, you know, i think that initially i had heard that from a lot of people that trump was initially pleased with how he had done. he liked his attitude. he was sparring with reporters, talking back, saying it doesn't matter, who cares. get over it is the line he used. but when he saw the publicity this was getting and realized what had happened, obviously he was the one that said he had to get there and fix it. but the damage is done and members of congress will be using that statement in the coming weeks. >> jeremy bash, because of what we saw transpire today, because of what we heard with our own
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ears, did impeachment just take a giant step forward? >> i think it did, brian. essentially what mick mulvaney said today was, we did it, get over it. so in essence by admitting the quid pro quo, by admitting this, i think we see now the outline of four main articles of impeachment that the house would likely consider, first seeking interference in the u.s. election, undermines national security, third, lying to the public about it based on the clips that you showed of president trump denies the quid pro quo and obstructing a congressional investigation. i think those four issues are going to be the main issues in some way, shape or form as this heads to the house within a matter of weeks. >> jeremy, i have got to ask you. did it just get easier for republicans to consider impeachment, and did mitt romney give some folks some air support
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today with his comments? >> well, that's hard to know, brian. it is a little hard to know the way this is going to all shake out on capitol hill. but i do think that senator romney's quite principaled statements today, particularly his statements about the syria situation will give voice to others on a bipartisan basis to really say to the president, mr. president, you are undermining american national security. you have done it in the context of this syria discussion. we are gravely concerned about how you handled the ukraine matter and there is cause and reason to believe that this abuse of office, if left unchecked will continue. >> greg miller, this white house is now left off balance after what we witnessed today. is there every possibility they will send someone up to pay the price? >> there appears to be, you know, suggestions that that could happen. people are already coming out of this white house and quite
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enthusiastically pointing fingers at others inside the administration. we had the eu ambassador in before the impeachment probe today basically saying that trump and his lawyer were put in charge of u.s.-ukraine policy and that america's diplomats were to take their orders from giuliani in their discussions with ukraine. so there is an aspect to this story now where you are seeing people turn on one another in a very direct way. >> anita, suzanne glasser has just posted a piece in the new yorker tonight that is a reminder. aside from what happened today and in a way it was a big shiny object. yesterday's dust-up in the cabinet room with the speaker of the house, this slow march of testimony continues on in
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congress, wracking up some real tonnage by now. >> yes. i mean, the thing that we're seeing, despite finger pointing and people saying slightly different stories here and there who is to blame, the big picture is the same. largely a lot of what the whistleblower has said has come to fruition. we have seen largely the president's personal attorney rudy giuliani was directing ukraine policy. so some of those big issues are there. everybody is seeing the same things that we're seeing. this is creating a picture for us of what has happened over these last few months. >> jeremy bash, because of your experience at the pentagon, i wanted to mention the piece written for "the new york times" by admiral mcraven, former head of all special operations in this country, the guy that presided over the mission to get osama bin laden. the headline itself is so bracing given who this guy is
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and his history with our country. our republic is under attack from the president. jeremy, what should people take away from this? >> i urge everybody to read admiral mccraven's sering indictment of the president and his approach to the presidency. i have worked with the admiral. he is among the most decorated, most principled, most fearless and heroic leaders of our country's military. and what he says in this piece is jarring. he says that the way the president has approached the presidency is that he has abandoned the ideals of america. he has decided he does not want to stand with our friends. he does not want to stand with our allies. he's undermining the very reason why people would join the military. the reason why people would fight and depend our country. if nobody joins the military, who is left to defend us? >> our great thanks to you.
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thank you all. and coming up for us, trump invites the g-7 leaders to one of his places down in florida, but don't worry, the white house insists the trumps won't profit from it. rachel maddow is here with us to talk about it tonight. and later, the news we woke up to this morning, that a lion of the house, congressman elijah cummings is gone. the 11th hour is just getting started on this thursday night. ] how are we doing? fabulous. ♪ i wonder how the firm's doing without its fearless leader. ♪ you sure you want to leave that all behind? yeah. stay restless, with the icon that does the same. the new rx crafted by lexus. lease the 2020 rx 350 all wheel drive for $439/month for 36 months. experience amazing at your lexus dealer.
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is is there any value sending a message to the world given all that happened with attempts at foreign interference that this president and this country is not open for the kind of self-dealing that happens in other countries? is that not an important message to send when you're inviting the world to come here to the united states? >> no. do you have a question? >> well, what are the chances the white house has chosen president trump's own golf resort in florida to host next year's g-7 summit of world leaders? the white house insisted of course the president would not profit from the meeting. david from the washington post shares a by line on the report that says the club is a major part of his portfolio. the post reports it provides him more revenue than any other club and he look out $125 million in loans to buy it. in recent years, this keystone property has fallen into decline with profits falling 69% in
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three years. an expert hired by the trump organization blamed the drop on trump's politicized brand. we are pleased that rachel maddow is here with us on the late shift. she happens to be the author of the new book "blowout." our conversation about the book is forthcoming. first of all, welcome. thanks for having me. >> thank you for having me. >> did things change? >> today it felt -- i don't know if you saw the opening of my show today, but it came out differently than i intended it. i rattled myself a little bit. i do feel like the wheels are coming off. for the energy secretary to resign, two cabinet secretaries resigned already, one of whom, the current one resigning
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tonight, does appear to be involved in the scheme, at least on a couple of different levels. we have got the white house chief of staff who was sent out today not only to make the, yes, it was quid pro quo yes, we did it, which was bracing, but then to take it back, simultaneously announcing this self-dealing, which is something more blatant than we've ever seen from any president in u.s. history. >> i want to read you the former watchdog of this kind of thing on twitter tonight. in case it's not clear from my freaking out, this g-7 thing is an escalation. it may look from the outside like it's been corruption all along, because it has been, but participating in a contract award to yourself is different by orders of magnitude. this is a red line crossed. do you think we will see commensurate public reaction, or is this, as i keep describing
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it, that frog boiling experiment that is still kicking around youtube? >> you know, had they never said they were going to do this, had the president not previewed this, talking it up and saying that it was the only property in america that should be hosting this, i mean, this is -- the summer at the g-7 he was already floating this, and you saw the response. people thought, oh, he's kidding. the president's supporters were like, he's kidding. democrats and other critics saying, that would be a terrible thing if he did it. to float it, to have that reaction and then to go for it feels like both an act of desperation and an effort to blow through what we otherwise might expect to be the envelope here. i do feel like this is a make me do it kind of situation for this president. and to force the white house chief of staff out there to explain it, president trump announces a lot of things himself. to instead make the white house
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chief of staff go out there and there has been reports he may be the person being blamed, he may be in trouble for how this impeachment is being handled so far by the white house, to make him go out there and announce it, and, no, he's not going to profit from it. he's just going to do this at cost. that is -- you see that like in mob movies, right? like when you make somebody go out and use their face like that. it usually doesn't end up well for the person that gets used in that way. >> you and i spend so much of our air time describing the qualities behind the stories we're describing that night. what would make mulvaney walk into that briefing room today and set himself on fire like that? is it an uber kind of gaslighting? is it the trump reaction where
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he often wants to own the very worst thing so it doesn't seem like the very worst thing two years from now. and for mulvaney to come back and say it was misconstrued. it was construed. >> it was construed. for him to specifically say we did not make the aid contingent on the dnc server, what his exact phrase was, yeah, the dnc server, that's why we held back the aid. i am assuming that mr. mulvaney was essentially told to walk the plank. i didn't think he didn't understand what he was saying when he first went out there and said, yeah, we did it. it's a quid pro quo. what are you going to make of it? get over it. many thought this would be effective in the way of the president is bragging about things. it's not going to work for somebody other the president. it is not going to work for the president much longer. in order to stay close to this president, you have to show that you are willing to proverbial
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kill for him, you have to show you will stick your neck out for him and essentially commit to the same kind of things for which he is being accused. i don't think it works for anybody other than this president. you saw that when mulvaney had to pull it back. you see that in the hallowing out white house, the hallowing out upper echelons, even the state department, the sorts of folks where you otherwise have other people who brought other equities to bear. they're just not there anymore. >> to our viewers, rachel has agreed to stay with us over the break. when we come back, put it this way. "the new york times" nonfiction best seller list is a tough neighborhood. demi moore is at eight. bill o'reilly is at four. but when we come back, we will talk to the author of the number one book on that list. of course i have- ever since i started renting from national. because national lets me lose the wait at the counter...
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all roads seem to lead to the president, though. isn't it so? >> i have concerned about all roads leading to putin, which again all roads lead to putin. the list goes on and on. >> i also pointed out to the president i had concerns that all roads seem to lead to putin. >> in fact, nancy pelosi believes that is the very point she was making when she stood up to the president prior to walking out in the now famous photo that, while it might have been tweeted out by our president, has certainly broken
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the other way in terms of public opinion. just look at the men at that table and their unambiguous body language. but we digress. back to vladimir putin and specifically the question of what motivates him. rachel maddow explores that in her book and makes a case that the oil industry is a huge part of the answer. it is essentially a big casino that can produce power and great gobs of cash. that equation invites gangst gangsteri gangsterism, and the sorts of folks that enjoy these hobbies. happens to be number one on "the new york times" best seller list. talk about the business -- the business networks talk about
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roi, return on investment. talk about the initial russian investment in screwing up our elections, how cheep it is, how vulnerable we remain right now tonight. >> that was why i ended up writing this book. i had no native interest in the oil and gas industry. i was not setting out to write a book of any particular kind. but having spent so much time covering the russian attack and stuck on why it made sense for them to do it, why the risk and reward balance made sense. and it was a very strange attack, right? it was sort of mcgyvered together thing. this guy who is an oligarch who has catering contracts and also runs mercenary armies sets up a weird social media factory in st. petersburg where people get paid to pretend their americans and then there is a military intelligence hacking effort targeting democratic institutions and then they
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invent this to send it out. it was a weird thing to do. it's also very, very cheap. it also was a very desperate if i think thr thfor them. they thought hillary clinton was going to win as much as people in this country did. she was already a hawk on russia coming into this. if she had been elected president after russia had taken this wild swing at her, imagine what that would have meant in terms of the power a new u.s. president could direct russia's way. but yet they still saw it as worth it. i think the reason it was still worth it for them is because they were so desperate. and the reason they were so desperate is their economy is such a disaster. and the specific way in which their economy is a disaster is about oil and gas and it is worth to almost to try anything to get out from the u.s. sanctions that have precluded western oil majors for helping
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them drill what they need to drill to keep their economy going. >> i also say the economy of texas is larger than the economy of russia. >> yes, that's exactly right. russia is 150 million people. their economy is smaller than texas, smaller than italy, smaller than south korea. they have one industry, and that was a putin decision because he really wanted to use oil and gas as a weapon. so he didn't want a diversified economy. he consolidated it all within its own power. that's fine for a while. but eventually you get to the end of the road. >> in a dirdworld addicted to dinosaur juice, how should oil companies be? they wake up every morning to fulfill our addiction to oil and gas. what should they be doing? how should they be behaving that
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they have not been? the thing that is interesting to me in the big picture for this book is that i think we really underestimate oil and gases geopolitical influence. for example, if you can imagine the climate activists get everything they want, america and every other big economy on earth says, you know what, we're turning off oil and gas. we're going to renewables. they will lose all their market share, lose a lot of their power. i think we should see the boundaries of countries change. the oil and gas industry is propping up terrible governments all over the world. it is because the way they operate, which is convenient for them is nontransparent, often brings out the worst in democracy and is counter democratic because it works for them. if u.s. regulations on oil majors that either operate here or are headquartered here force them to be corporate citizens,
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they would be bribing fewer decemband working in government environments that were answering more to their citizens and less to the industry. those kinds of changes are within our grasp. they're within our grasp if they change here in the united states. >> but it is not like we're naming oil company ceos to secretary of state or anything, something i heard you say in an interview recently in effect that you still have not gotten other. >> no. rex tillerson is an amazing character. but he did a half trillion dollar oil deal with russia that was put on ice because of foreign policy. putin gave him a medal. even though donald trump and rex tillerson had never met other and didn't get along, all of a sudden rex tillerson ended up being the next guy in charge of u.s. policy. it is a really, really weird thing that we still don't expla
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good as i got to know rex tillerson over the course. >> thank you, my friend. thank you for hanging out later than your normal shift. >> it's all right. >> here is the book. it is called "blowout." nothing to see here, obviously. it's author has been kind enough to hang out with us tonight. coming up, there are already cracks in the announced cease fire in syria. we will talk with a retired four star attorney general who has called this president's actions a compulsive arrogant betrayal of our kurdish allies when we come back. introducing even more value from fidelity.
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seeing what people left behind in the attic. well, saving on homeowners insurance with geico's help was pretty fun too. ahhhh, it's a tiny dancer. they left a ton of stuff up here. welp, enjoy your house. nope. no thank you. geico could help you save on homeowners and renters insurance. i do not think, however, this is going to end the conflict. i think it might be a pause. it will end the conventional phase of this war. but i think afterwards you can see a long, protracted ground floor, a long protracted civil war, an ethnic war that i think
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will follow this period. >> this announced cease fire today following president trump's decision to pull troops out of parts of syria is under fire tonight from both parties. vice president pence said this agreement would end the violence. but "the new york times" is reporting tonight, quote, turkey's foreign minister immediately contradicted the description of the agreement saying it was not a cease fire at all but merely a pause for our operation. he added that as a result of our president's skillful leadership, meaning urd wan, we got what we wanted. indeed, it appears that is what has happened here. there are already reports tonight that the bombardment by turkey has continued. any pause is simply time for the kurds to try to run before the slaughter continues. today trump said turkey needed its border cleaned out. he used that phrase. just tonight in texas, he said
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as a result of what happened today, quote, turkey is going to be happy the kurds are going to be happy. back with us again tonight, retired four star u.s. general barry mccaffrey, a decorated army combat veteran of vietnam. he is also an msnbc military analyst. general, what just happened today, or should we take turkey's word for it that they got what they wanted? >> we're in an astonishing situation. mr. trump seems to have single handedly and yun latunilaterall precipitated a crisis in the middle east. at the end of the day he green lighted the turkish invasion. the five-day pause is probably a good thing. maybe it will reduce the number of people murdered by arab militias following the turkish
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army. where they are supposed to go is beyond me. but, you know, the instant take on this is you allow assad to e re-enter the kurdish areas, allow aryan yan dominance in the region and let them abandon outposts. it is an astonishing outcome. why didn't he move an additional 500 u.s. soldiers into the northern region and tell him don't cross the border. you will be attacking a nato ally. this is inexplicable behavior. >> if we can't protect the kurds, it seems to me, if we were the country we were five years ago or even a month ago, wouldn't we be trying to air lift kurds out of harm's way. >> i think we could be deterred
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turkish advance. i don't think there is any chance if we had said, look, we are going to maintain our presence there, i thought seriously that turkey would have considered the option of encountering in combat u.s. forces. and if they did, the russians attacked us last year and we killed several hundred of them. so the point of military power at its best is dedeterrence. that's what mr. trump took away. the kurds have nowhere to go. the iraqis tortured them for the last three generations. they're in a terrible fix. and again to remind our viewers, they were the essential part of dismantling the isis threat to europe and the united states. they took massive casualties supported by u.s. special operations and air power. so we have thrown them to the wolves and we didn't get
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anything for it. >> death toll of 11,000 at our sides the entire time. general, i want to show this headline again from admiral mcraim mcraven and run a little bit of what he said to cnn this afternoon about this piece he has written. >> i've had the privilege and honor of working with a lot of presidents. i didn't always agree with him. i always believed they were men of principle. they were trying to do what was right by the country. i don't see that in this president. >> general, i want to underscore for our audience, you gentlemen who have had multiple stars on your shoulders don't do this, you don't willingly or readily pop off about your commander in chief. this is no ordinary time. what mcraven is saying is what you have said this week on a damn near daily basis about this president. i know you don't come to it quickly or easily.
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>> no, that's right. look, admiral mccraven i have known for 15 years. he is one of the most heroic figures, along with jim mattis. near universal worship levels by the combat forces of the u.s. armed forces. for him to make this a categorical statement underscores a growing sense among national security and foreign policy experts that mr. trump is placing us at significant risk. brian, i can't get over the letter. it wasn't the fact that it was sixth or seventh grade english. it was an example of the muddled thinking, of the impulsivity, of the lack of foresight, of the lack of focus on u.s. national security interests on mr. trump. so, again, this is a very tricky situation for the armed forces. i'm not quite sure what mr.
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trump is -- has as his goals. his -- somehow his deference to putin is astonishing. rachel maddow mentioned it. they're basically a second or third tier country. their armed forces have no strategic power except for a lot of oil and gas. what is he doing? he's offended almost every alliance we have. nato being the centerpiece of u.s. national security, the j japanese, the south koreans. he has been just a blowtorch on u.s. partnerships globally while catering to these thugs, north korea, the pihilippines. >> when we come back, more on where u.s. foreign policy might stand tonight. here we are 1,001 days into this
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without spilling a drop of american american blood, not one drop of american blood. [ cheers and applause ] we've all agreed on a pause or a cease-fire in the border region of syria. and it was unconventional what i did. i said they're going to have to fight a little while. sometimes you have to let them fight a little while. then people find out how tough the fighting is. sometimes you have to let them fight. like two kids in a lot, you got to let them fight and then you pull them apart. >> one man's view of combat tonight. this was the president at his rally in texas. we remain with journey barry mccaffrey. when you commanded the 24th and fighting saddam's forces, is it
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accurate to say you were like two kids being pulled apart after you fought for a while. >> it's a remarkable statement. you probably can't find a place on the face of the earth that has seen more blood shed more clearly understands the consequences of warfare than syria and iraq, jordan, the israelis. assad has killed a half million people in syria. the kurds understand that they're facing not just ethnic cleansing, but assad is going to go door to door to find the kurds and kill them sooner or later. this is a childish understanding of the brutal realities facing our allies, the kurds. again, the question in my mind is, what caused mr. trump's behavior toward turkey? why would he agree to something so egregiously harmful to our own national security interests?
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that question needs to get asked. but, look, our armed forces have been at this for a long time now. they're pushing a generational warfare. they've had 60,000 killed and wounded. and so for mr. trump to be making these sort of impulsive gestures to include in afghanistan as opposed to coming up with a strategy using diplomacy and covert action to get us out of there, it's just astonishing. the armed forces have had a heavy burden to be dealt with in this manner. >> general, you have pointed out to our audience so many times that jim mattis is one of the great soldier scholars of our time. he served with distinction under donald trump as defense secretary. tonight he was the keynote speaker at the al smith white tie charity dinner here in new york city. to our audience, one reminder.
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he is not a headliner at the comedy store, but tonight he held his own talking about the contrast between donald trump and himself. here's a part of that. >> some of you were kind during the reception and asked me, you know, if this bothered me. i wore my spurs on the battlefield and donald trump earned his from a doctor. >> that was after the general pointed out that the at it had called him the most overrated general in the world. general mccaffrey, we can't underscore that man's resume enough. >> yeah. you know, it's sort of interesting. i think mr. trump warmed to him because of his, quote, mad dog, you know, moniker. he's very ferocious tactically military commander with a lot of combat time. but mostly jim mattis is a
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defense intellectual. he's a thoughtful guy that understands the value of allies and understands the value of american character. and so he ought to be off limits to mr. trump. this isn't going to come out well. >> generally barry mccaffrey, always a pleasure having you on. thanks very much for helping our conversation along here tonight. coming up for us, remembering the man who was thrust by his life's work and the 2016 election into a powerful position of holding people to account. of course i -- ever since i started renting from national. because national lets me lose the wait at the counter... ...and choose any car in the aisle. and i don't wait when i return, thanks to drop & go. at national, i can lose the wait...and keep it off. looking good, patrick. i know. (vo) go national. go like a pro.
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congressional district. it's also true that despite his ultimately fatal health challenges, what congressman cummings saw as the outrages of trump policies, both enraged and invigorated him. this exchange came to mind with the head of homeland security on the subject of family separations and the treatment of migrant children at the hands of the united states. >> you feel like you're doing a great job, right? is that what you're assigning? >> we're doing our level best. >> what does that mean? what does that mean when a child is sitting in their own feces? can't take a shower. come on, man. what's that about? none of us would have our children in that position. they are human beings. and i'm trying to figure out -- and i got tired of folks saying, oh, oh, they just beating up on
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the border patrol. oh, they just beating up on homeland security. what i'm saying is i want to concentrate on these children, and i want to make sure that they are okay. i've said it before and i'll say it again. it's not the deed that you do to a child. it's the memory. it's the memory. and so -- and i told head of border patrol the other day, i said i want to know what's happening in the meantime. we are the united states of america. we are the greatest country in the world. we are the ones that can go anywhere in the world and save people, make sure that they have diapers, make sure that they have tooth brushes. make sure they're not laying around defecating in some silver
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paper. come on. we're better than that. >> indeed, elijah cummings believed until tend of his life just this morning that we are better than that. he was 68 years old. that is our broadcast for this evening. thank you so much for being here with us. defined from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. it is almost impossible to believe that democratic congressman elijah cummings as has died. he was just a giant in the congress, a giant in this era of american politics. at a personal level, i can tell you that he was one of the few, like, genuinely and "humblingly" inspiring people that i have ever personally interacted with from the world of politics. i say "humblingly." it's sort of inarticulately there. what i mean is it was humbling to meet him, to engage with conversation about work, politics, and the country.

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