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tv   News Nation  MSNBC  September 4, 2013 11:00am-12:01pm PDT

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developing right now on "news nation," pulled over again. george zimmerman stopped by police. new reaction from ariel castro's family to his prison cell suicide. plus, one man's battle against the justice department. he's an undocumented immigrant who graduated law school and even passed the bar, but the government says he cannot practice. i'm tamron hall. the news nation is following breaking news. two significant developments in the push to get members of congress to support the president's plan for military action in syria. live at this hour, the senate foreign relations committee will vote on a resolution to consider authorization for the use of military force. also right now, the house foreign relations committee is hearing testimony from secretaries john kerry and chuck hagel as they spend a second day on capit hill making the administration's case. >> the world is wondering whether the united states of
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america is going to consent through silence, to stand aside while this kind of brutality is allowed to happen without consequences. >> and during the hearing, committee chair ed royce, a republican from california, accused the obama administration of waiting too long to seek authorization. >> the administration syria policy doesn't build confidence. for over two years, u.s. policy has been adrift. over a year ago, president obama drew in his words a red line. yet, only last week did the administration begin to consult with congress on what that means. >> but earlier today while in sweden, the president was adamant the red line is not his alone but the entire world's. >> my credibility is not on the line. the international community's credibility is on the line.
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and america and congress' credibility is on the rien because we give lip service to the notion that these international norms are important. >> the senate authorization considered a safe bet after yesterday's hearing was dealt an unexpected setback today. senator john mccain telling nbc news he does not support the authorization, quote, in its current form. mccain has been one of the most vocal supporters of action in syria and a key player in getting other republicans behind the president. in a three-hour meeting, committee members worked on changes to the resolution to get more senators on board. meanwhile, take a look at this. two new polls show the president faces an uphill battle in getting the american public to support the strikes. those are the latest numbers there. let's talk more with nbc news capitol hill correspondent luke russert, who is in washington. luke, as mentioned, we're watching two major developments here. this is all moving at a rather rapid pace despite the fact some
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military officials say the timing here may not necessarily impact their strategy if this strike does take place. >> reporter: yeah, it is moving quickly, tamron. what you're seeing out of the senate foreign relations committee is they're having this deliberation where they're trying to craft a perfect resolution. where is support for this type of resolution going to come from? it's going to come from hawks like john mccain and other folks who feel the united states has a moral imperative to strike syria in order to prevent chemical weapons attacks. however, when you have those two sort of folks on each side, they have to have a union here, and this resolution has to be tough in the sense that it would affect the momentum on the ground, to quote john mccain, but not be an endless sort of struggle, which a lot of people worry about with the hangover of iraq still very much over this congress. so that's what they're figuring out in the senate foreign relates committee. they will vote and most likely it will come out. in terms of testimony john kerry has had today, he's faced a lot
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of skeptical members in the house of representatives. some folks have said we don't want to have this elongated commitment to syria. there are other folks who say we should do this because of the relationship between iran, hezbollah, and syria, and we node to show the world we are ready to act. tamron, we've had this conversation so many times before. this is going to come down to the house gop at the end of the day. i spoke to a house gop leadership aide that said they were sort of speaking to members today, not whipping by any means, but getting a lay of the land of the conference. there seems to be right now real opposition to american involvement in syria coming from house republicans. that's going to be the block to keep an eye on as we move forward here. and i was speaking to some today, tamron. one reason that was mentioned to me, that president obama has not kept the military well prepared because of the sequester. i think there's a lot of people that would say that's not accurate. however, that's something that's going through some of the rank and file now in the house gop conference. so we can talk about the hearings all we want.
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that's the group to keep an eye on. >> absolutely. and what the first read team points out, and i think you've talked about it as well, these members of congress know that this vote as was the case with iraq and the authorization in 2002, these votes live on and on. what you're looking at, for example, liz cheney, she's running for office. at an event, i believe yesterday, she was cheered on by members of the tea party because she said she would not, if elected, support this authorization if she happened to have been a part o coness at the time. so it is quite interesting. people that w evolved over the last few years, something that i think ten years ago no one would have ever thought possible. >> all right. thank you very much, luke. let me bring in now nbc chief white house correspondent chuck todd, who's in stockholm, sweden, traveling with the president. i've been watching your reports all morning long. i think one of the headlines you've presented, at least close to this hour, is we will likely hear from the president in some type of primetime address here
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very soon, you think. >> reporter: i'd be surprised if we didn't. i mean, you talked to members of congress. they're lobbying the white house. they believe the president needs to help them provide the cover. it would be -- when you consider how much the president has on the line with this congressional vote and how much you hear members of congress talking about the constituent calls they're getting are not running -- it's not a 50/50 vote. it's running more against than for. we've seen public opinion on this. it's either mediocre or bad depending on your point of view when it comes to the president's position on syria. all signs point to it. it would seem odd considering everything he's got on the line politically with congress on capitol hill that he wouldn't do it. frankly, he's got plenty of people telling him he needs to do it, that he needs to make this clear for a vast majority of americans who may just be sitting there paying a little bit of attention to syria, the way any sort of working family,
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you know, working parents or adults might pay attention to a topic, but they haven't been following it day to day. they're looking at this going, okay, why is this our problem? the president needs to lay out that case in a way that isn't just designed for the political intelligence, which is all they've been focused on right now. out in america, out in the heartland. >> and chuck, it is interesting talking about the presentation today at this press conference. the president at least how he chose in tone and wording to address what we've heard over and over again. people bringing up the notion that it was the president who said this red line existed, saying this red line does not exclusively belong to his administration or the u.s. >> reporter: well, this is about depersonalizing. they're aware. luke brought up the house republicans. there are many house republicans that if the president is for something, if president obama is for it, they're against it. they know they have this issue.
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even if it philosophically runs into something that they -- you would think they would normally be for. so this was an attempt by the president to depersonalize this a little bit and say, no, no, no. there was a question i'd asked some senior aides when they did a back ground briefing saturday. i said, would we be here if it wasn't for the president's red line comments? they've been adamant that they would be. aides believe that there might even be -- we'd be in the exact same place that we're in today. some form of who's going to police this issue for the international community. if the u.n.'s not going to do it, it usually falls on the united states. the point is, the president knows -- the white house knows this idea at his credibility or the credibility of the united states that's on line. they wanted to put forth this argument, no, this is the world's credibility that's on the line. anybody who signed that chemical weapons treaty, it's on the
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line. he put it through to congress and said congress ratified that treaty, so congress' credibility is on the line, too. i think it all points this, tamron. the president is only going to go forward if he has congress. i think he's also making it pretty clear he's not going to go this alone, even though he has left that open as an option. it would seem pretty difficult for him to do that. >> all right. chuck todd, thank you very much for the update. joining me now, "daily beast" special correspondent and former state department officer joel rubin. let's pick up where chuck left off regarding credibility. in his estimation, this is not just the credibility of the administration, it's also members of congress, especially those on the right who traditionally would be behind effort using the military and now saying that they will not support this president, which brings us back to this typical partisan, if obama's name is on it, whether it's obama care or this effort, there's an instant no. >> exactly right.
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the arguments that chuck just laid out are exactly the ones -- i think he laid them out very well -- they're exactly the ones the obama administration has to make. this isn't about barack obama. it's about the united states. it's about this century old taboo. it's about how we act as a global community. i don't know how far that's going to travel, though, in right-wing tea party circles. it's just going to be automatic. a certain number of house republicans are just going to be against it if obama is for it. talk radio hosts are out there whipping up that frenzy. john boehner and eric cantor, although they've said, of course, they personally are going to vote for -- >> and let me interject by saying quite passionately from speaker boehner yesterday saying he would support the president here. >> oh, yeah. i was very surprised -- >> but we know he's not popular with members of the tea party who cheered on liz cheney when she said she would not support military action. >> exactly. i was surprised how early and passionately boehner came out for this, but i don't think it necessarily has a lot of effect
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on his right flank. the question we don't yet know the answer to is how many members large is that right flank right now. >> and let me bring you in, joel. a big part of the conversation today is this senate resolution. 60-day authorization, 30-day extension possible, no ground forces for combat operatives. secretary kerry during his testimony yesterday before the senate foreign relations committee was adamant, no boots on the ground here. the lingering question still exists. first of all, will a limited air strike work? that's what our first read team -- and we talked about this extensively yesterday. and we have since this development. as well as, what happens if there is retaliation? i think that's something that, to chuck's point, may need to be answered in a more clear terms and visuals for the american people skeptical of what they're hearing. >> tamron, this is really a three-dimensional chess game we're watching. the politics are very diverse
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and dynamic. the operational questions about will this be effective and general dempsey laid out a scenario where he argued that they could be effective at deterring chemical use, but there are also significant unknowns. then, of course, the question of the diplomacy and the surrounding environment, russia, iran, how does this influence the region? it's a real hot potato. we're seeing that on the republican side on the foreign relations committee. there are too many opinions one can count. only bob corker seems to be clearly in favor of the policy right now. it's stressing the republican side. that's really remarkable, especially considering that not so long ago they were very much unified on these types of issues. >> michael, let me bring you in as we watch live pictures from the senate foreign relations committee, the chairman mr. menendez there. we'll go into that for a second, but let me bring you in with something you wrote here. i want to read it. the headline was "why obama's i
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might bomb syria anyway stance could backfire." the administration can and maybe will proceed with the bombing even if congress votes against it. i think this posture invites an avalanche of no votes. can you elaborate on that for me? >> sure. well, imagine yourself a member of the house of representatives, whether a right wing tea party member or a liberal member. in both cases, the mail in your district is coming in nine to one, ten to one against doing this. so if i'm sitting there and i'm that member and i hear the president of the united states saying, well, it doesn't matter what you do, i might do this anyway, i think, why am i going to stick my neck out for you on something that 90% of my constituents oppose? that's what my thinking was when i wrote that column. i was glad to hear chuck say just before we came on -- and i agree, having watched obama's remarks this morning from stockholm -- that he's soft
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pedaling that angle now and not saying that as insistently as he said it saturday. i think it would be very difficult for him to move if the house votes against it. i think we probably all agree the senate is probably going to support this. the question is the house. >> yeah, absolutely. and house republicans specifically. let me play, though, a bit of what donald rumsfeld said this morning on the "today" show. he's been quite critical of the president and the administration's actions up until this point. let's listen in. >> either you do something that's worth doing or you do nothing at all. the danger of doing something that's not worth anything that results in nothing, that leaves assad standing, it seems to me is that it makes the united states look like that's what we prefer. >> joel, i think even people who have been critical of donald rumsfeld might see some validity in that question, perhaps not his presentation, but the question of the goal here, if it is not to take out assad.
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you leave him in power, and do we end up perhaps, as has been pointed out in it the past, a situation as with gadhafi when he was bombed before and then eventually the inevitable happened. his regime was toppled by his own people but with assistance from the united states a decade later. >> well, that's a reminiscent line of the knowns and unknowns. one goes into wars with army they wish they have. it's really confusing rhetoric. the administration has been very clear that it views chemical weapons use as deplorable and response is needed. we're seeing that in text in the senate. it is narrow. it's capping the level of american military involvement. the dates, the times. wherever one comes out on this debate, one can be clear that president obama and the congress are not going to go forward with anymore than very limited target strikes. will it be effective or not?
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that's key and essential, but that's the objective they've laid out. i think that's a very clear objective. >> and michael, i want to go back and circle over the president today reiterating that this line, this red line is not one established by his administration or the united states and really calling on the world and not taking the heat off what he said initially but certainly reminding people this is not a go-it-alone cowboy attitude, at least from this administration. >> he has to go before the american people, tamron, in a primetime address, probably, as chuck was saying, and explain the history of chemical weapons because a lot of people are asking, why this, why not the previous 100,000 dead? there's a reason. there's a reason that chemical weapons have special aprobe ree yum before the world community and have since world war i. he has to make that clear and tell people, as joel just said,
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this strike is only about chemical weapons. we're going to leave regime change off the table for the time being. we don't need any advice, thank you, from donald rumsfeld on that point. >> thank you, both, for your time. i hope to talk with you soon. still ahead, developing news. george zimmerman symptomed by police again. the second time in two months. what police are saying today. plus, new details about the suicide of cleveland kidnapper ariel castro a death that one official called a final slap at the victims. did the prison drop the ball? we'll talk with a correspondent from my new show "deadline crime." you can join our conversation on twitter. find us @tamronhall. my team is @newsnation. [ male announcer ] if she keeps serving up sneezes... [ sneezing ] she may be muddling through allergies. try zyrtec®. powerful allergy relief for adults and kids six years and older. zyrtec®. love the air.
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developing now, a new run-in with the law today for george zimmerman. he was pulled over for speeding just a short time ago in lake mary, florida. in fact, this is police video of that stop. the officer cited zimmerman for going 60 in a 45-mile-per-hour zone, issuing him a fine of around $250. zimmerman was also stopped for speeding in texas a month ago but was let off with a warning. all of this comes less than two months after he was acquitted of killing trayvon martin. and we're following new developments in the death of ariel castro, the man who held three women captive inside his cleveland home. the coroner's office has completed the autopsy on his body. they confirm i hhe died by hang himself. castro's uncle says he thinks his nephew had no choice.
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>> that was a show that they put up. all right. it was in the books, but that wasn't even necessary to read it. so because of that nonsense, i think -- well, i'm sure he had to do it sooner or later. >> the three women found inside his home are not commenting on his suicide, but the prosecutor in the case released a statement saying in part, this man couldn't take for even a month a small portion of what he had dished out for more than a decade. let this be a message to other child kidnappers. there will be a heavy price to pay when you are caught. nbc's john yang is in cleveland. he joins us now. as i understand it, there were supposed to be regular rotations, someone checking on ariel castro every half hour or so. what are investigators saying happened? >> reporter: well, investigators aren't saying much, tamron. they're going to look into all of this.
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they are trying to figure out what happened. he was under protective custody, meaning he was in a cell by himself. as you say, guards were supposed to be checking on him every 30 minutes in a staggered rotation, so he didn't know exactly when somebody was going to come by to look in. the prison officials say this is all going to be investigated. he was found hanging in his cell about 9:52 last night, taken to a hospital in nearby columbus. the facility where he was held was southwest of columbus. taken to a hospital in columbus where he was pronounced dead about an hour later. his attorney also wants to know why he wasn't under suicide watch when he was being held here in anticipation of his trial. jail officials wouldn't even give him his reading glasses because they were afraid he might use them to harm himself. no suicide watch once he got into prison. the attorney also wants to know about psychological evaluations,
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what had been happening with that. you know, castro wasn't even actually in prison yet. he was being processed in. this was sort of an intake facility where he was. now this is actually where his house stood. this neighborhood was very happy to see the house come down. i have to tell you, tamron, there is not a lot of condolences for ariel castro in this neighborhood right now. as one person told us, he did everyone a favor. tamron? >> all right, john. thank you. aphrodite jones, host of "true crime," is here with me now. in the commercial break, we were talking. you've got strong feelings about this. i think when i read the official say this was another slap in the face of those women, those three women and that child -- >> we talk about crimes against women and how they need to stop, and here is a -- probably the
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most heinous crime against women that we can think of in recent history. this man tortured, imprisoned, allowed these young women to live under circumstances that are beyond comprehension, and he somehow got away with that for ten years, yet he could not face his own sentence. >> let me play what his attorney said this morning on the "today" show after this news, of course, broke late yesterday. let's play it. >> i understand that the public in general is probably going to say, well, good riddance, but this is a human being. we are in a civilized society. and we expect that the person will be protected when they're institutionalized. so there is an obligation on the part of the prison -- >> your reaction? >> i tell you, we are in a civilized society. i think he did many of us a favor by killing himself, personally. however, you know, there's another side to the coin, which
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is perhaps justice hasn't been served because he should have rotted in hell in jail in prison for the rest of his days. >> which is what michele knight, one of the survivors said, when he was being sentenced. she said, you took 11 years of my life away, and now you're going to spend 11 years in hell. more than that. he was ultimately sentenced to 1,000 years. he's not now. he's not going to suffer daily thinking about what he did. >> and that's the problem here. in essence, he was able to allude justice by being some kind of a mastermind, getting through prison walls and taking his own life. he left a suicide note, you know, at the house when he was arrested back in may. so he already had that in mind. like he'd been caught, he was going to take the cowardly way out. >> thank you very much for coming on and your thoughts on this. a lot of people discussing the impact and still wishing the best for those three survivors
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and that child. >> absolutely. >> and you can see my new show "deadline:crime" sundays. thank you so much. congratulations on your wonderful show. still ahead, one state's national guard now denying benefits to same-sex spouses despite orders from the pentagon. we'll look into that. plus, the army private once knowned a bradley manning makes the case for a presidential pardon. what she wrote in a letter to the government after being kiktrd in the nation's largest ever classified information leak. but first n today's money minute, a look at how wall street is doing right now. the dow up over 100 points. we'll be right back. [ male announcer ] these days, a small business can save by sharing. like carpools... polly wants to know if we can pick her up. yeah, we can make room. yeah. [ male announcer ] space. yes, we're loving this communal seating. it's great. [ male announcer ] the best thing to share? a data plan.
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deadly violence at a texas school. that tops our look at stories
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around the news nation. authorities say a 17-year-old student was stabbed to death. three others were also injured during a fight this morning outside a houston area high school. police say all those involved were students. three others described as persons of interest were being questioned by investigators. and the army private who used to be known as bradley manning is now seeking a presidential pardon. documents released today say chelsea manning acted, quote, out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others. she sent classified information to wikileaks. the white house said last month, any manning request for a pardon would be considered like any other. manning is serving a 35-year sentence for crimes. and we continue to monitor developments from capitol hill. these are live pictures as a senate committee considers whether to authorize military use in syria while the administration takes its case to the house. plus, we'll talk to nbc's jim maceda, who's calling new
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let's go what's in your wallet? as the white house makes its case for intervention in syria if front of congress and to international leaders, there's growing concern from syria's neighbors about possible retaliation. nbc's jim maceda is in turkey near the syrian border with reaction from the region. before we get to that, as i understand it, some people believe that there could be a breakthrough, a potential breakthrough in recent comments made by vladimir putin. >> reporter: that's right, tamron. it could be a breakthrough, or it could be more classic putin bob and weave. the comments were unprecedented, that's for sure. the same man who called the western evidence against syria foolish nonsense told the associated press today that if, and it's a big if, he's shown
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concrete proof that assad's military actually did use chemical weapons, that he would consider -- that was the translation -- he would consider a u.n. security council vote in favor of air strikes on syria. again, is he playing a game? is he serious? we'll now see if president obama shows putin some classified intelligence, which would be unusual, thinking about the cold war days, at the g-20 tomorrow in st. petersburg. the russians have been complaining for some time that the u.s. hasn't been showing them much more convincing than the declassified intelligence. they want to see something obviously a lot more concrete. putin did say, however, something more in character in that same interview. he said that any strike that doesn't have security council approval would be considered an
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aggression. back to you. >> all right. thank you very much. former president bill clinton went to bat today for president obama's signature health care law. it was the first in a series of high-profile events the administration plans before october 1st when enrollment in health care exchange begins. now, speaking at his presidential library in little rock, arkansas, the former president defended the law, which republicans of course are vowing to repeal. >> number one, as i'll try to demonstrate in a minute, it's better than the current system, which is unaffordable and down right unhealthy for millions of americans. number two, it gives states the chance to devise programs that work best for them and their populations. this does give us the best chance we've had to achieve nearly universal coverage, provide higher quality health care, and lower the rate of cost increases, which we have got to do in a competitive global economy. >> and we'll get more to that in a second.
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i want to take you right now to the senate foreign relations committee, voting right now on this resolution to use military force in syria. let's listen in. >> mr. mccain. >> [ inaudible ]. >> mr. barasso. >> aye. >> mr. paul. >> no. >> mr. chairman. >> aye. >> 14 ayes, 5 nays. the amendment is tabled. >> let me bring in nbc news senior political editor mark murray. mark, we're just joining this, but it is tabled for now despite some of the specifics that were in this resolution, which would include setting a 60-day deadline, 30-day extension, no
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boots on the ground. what are we seeing here? >> is all going to take time. the big battlefield, of course, will be in the house of representatives. there does seem to be unanimous -- situation in which you have bob corker, who's the ranking member. you have bob menendez, the chairman. they seem to be on board. out of all the hurdles, the senate foreign relations committee should be the easiest. >> we've talked a lot about that. it's interesting, mark, that this -- and again, they're voting on amendments here. this is interesting it's following the same course we've seen with every legislation where may it be the conversation on guns and laws to impact the number of guns available to people, to health care. we're seeing this over and over
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again. how might the american people react to it if we are able to separate the seriousness, of course, of what's happening in syria with these other also important issues? >> well, you just look at all the public opinion polls right now. there's a heavy american public skepticism about intervention. there are many arguments people have had from the administration and their allies on why there needs to be force taken in syria. it's going to be really interesting. i think having the house of representatives decide this is going to be fascinating. we've seen town halls where people have shown up and say they oppose syria. on the other hand, members of congress, united states senators who have access to all the classified intelligence who say there needs to be something done, it makes for a fascinating debate. you know, we don't have necessarily direct democracy. we have representative democracy. i think when it comes to the culmination next week, we'll be at a great political exercise. >> i just got this in, mark, as
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well. according to senior white house official, the white house will hold another conference call for members of congress at 2:00 p.m. on thursday. this call will be a replica of the standing classified interagency briefing for all members. according to the official, just like the one this past sunday and yesterday, the same briefing team will be there on hand. so this continues, these conference calls all leading up to lawmakers returning from their break. >> this has just been an amazing lobbying blitz by the obama administration to really put their shoulder to the wall on this. holding conference calls, having assembling old campaign allies people over at the white house, to start whipping this. this is the administration putting its full weight into this matter. we'll see what ends up happening a week from now. >> all right, mark. appreciate you very much for joining us. transitions from the topic of bill clinton, which we'll get to at another time. coming up, an undocumented immigrant who graduated law school and passed the bar now fighting to practice. more on what the aspiring
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welcome back. an undocumented immigrant's fight against the government for his law license could soon end up before the supreme court. today california's supreme court began hearing arguments in 36-year-old sergio garcia's request to be certified. while waiting for his green card for over a decade, garcia went to college, graduated from law school, and passed the state's bar exam four years ago. now, while california's attorney general and the state's bar association are supporting him, the justice department says his request violates federal law. nbc news justice correspondent pete williams joins me now. pete, i think as has been pointed out in a number of articles, some are surprised by the administration's position in this case. >> well, the justice department says it has no choice here, that it believes giving him a law license would be illegal. first of all, the government cites a federal law passed by
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congress in 1996 that restricts what kind of benefits can go to people in the states who are undocumented or in the words of the government, who are here illegally. it says that includes giving them professional licenses. secondly, the government says it would be illegal to employ him, even if he did get his law license. for both of those reasons, the government opposes this. now, as you pointed out, the state of california takes a different view. the attorney general there has told the state supreme court that who gets a professional license is absolutely a strictly state decision, that it's not up to the federal government to determine if the state wants to give him a license, it can. secondly, she says that the whole point here is to make people to be productive members of society and allowing him to get his law license and practice law would help. as for employing him illegally, he said he could always work pro bono. he could work out of the country
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advising people on u.s. laws. there are lots of options for him. so she says it's entirely legal. it will be up to the state supreme court. other states are still -- are just beginning to grapple with this. there's a similar case in florida. so depending on what happens here, the parties here, whoever loses, might ask the supreme court to take the case. if it's percolating enough among the states, the supreme court might get involved or it might decide to let the states decide this one for itself. >> that would be incredible. back to the obama administration's position as it was pointed out, because the administration recently adopted the program that shields people who were brought to the united states by no mistakes or decision of their own, allowing them to graduate high school, if they keep their record clean and go on to avoid being deported, that this man would somehow fall into that. but is it because of his age here? >> well, it is. he's too old for that program. he's been waiting for a visa, though, for 17 years. his father is now -- he is like
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many of those people. he was brought here at a young age by his parents. most of his siblings now are citizens. he's been waiting for a visa. he estimates it's going to take him another six years to get his visa. he basically says, you know, time is moving on. i want to start practicing law. >> all right. pete, thank you so much for joining us on this story. i'm sure we'll be talking about it more. thanks a lot, pete. >> you bet. still ahead, big tobacco back on the air more than 40 years after having its cigarette ads banned from tv. should the e-cigarettes that i'm sure you're seeing all over the place be subject to the same regulations? this is a hot topic out there. it's our "news nation" gut check.
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and right now, get this limited edition hoveround america travel mug free with your hoveround delivery. call or log onto right now! there's a lot going on today. here's some things we thought you should know. the texas national guard says it will not provide benefits for same-sex couples despite a pentagon directive requiring the
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military to treat all marriages equally. the guard's commanding generals said that the texas constitution and the state's family code deflikts with the department's policy. his directive came in response to the supreme court's decision that overturned a key provision of the defensive of marriage act. today the fbi director robert mueller's last day on the job. he's stepping down after serving his original ten-year term, plus an extra two years at president obama's request. his successor is former deputy attorney general james cohen. and it's time now for the "news nation" gut check. for more than 40 years tobacco ads have been banned from tv, but big tobacco has slowly been making its way back to tv screens due to the rise in popularity of these electronic cigarettes. >> here's what i don't love. a kiss that tastes like an ashtray. i'm jenny mccarthy. i finally found a smarter
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alternative to cigarettes. blue e-cigs. blue satisfies me. i get to have a blue without the guilt because it's only vapor. >> okay. that could all change next month when the food and drug administration is expected to weigh in on e-cigs. a report this week from the financial services group clsa america says the fda will likely propose a ban on tv ads. joining me now, michael smerconish. apparently i don't watch enough tv. we all know i watch plenty of tv. i really didn't know an onslaught of these e-cigarette ads. then go online and google, ads are all over the place. is there a distinction between those ads that were banned 40 years ago and what we're seeing now? >> well, i think there is. i traveled this summer -- we traveled as a family with my brother and sister-in-law. she's a heavy smoker and is now an e-cigarette, what would i say, vaporizer. i don't know how it is for her
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health. for everybody's health traveling with her, it was a heck of a lot better. you don't have that emission the way you do with a conventional cigarette. i think if every person currently smoking a normal cigarette converted to an e-cigarette, society would be better served. so i'm fine with the ads. i think if it's an apples for apples comparison, we'd be better off going with the new version. >> well, i think the issue that some people have beyond the exposure to smoke or second-hand smoke here is that these ads, many of them featuring very popular, cool celebrities, and this again glamorizes, critics say, smoking as would some of the ads before marketed toward teenagers or children when we would see cartoon characters, if you will, as mascots for some of these cigarette companies. >> i get it. if the e-cigs all of the sudden become fashionable with young americans when they get turned on to this kind of cigarette,
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then it's a negative. i think for smokers, there's -- the lack of second-hand smoke. you also have the ability for individuals who are smoking a conventional cigarette to dial down the nicotine with the e-cig. although the science doesn't seem too deep, it generally seems like there's a consensus that as compared to a conventional cigarette, e-cigarettes are better. >> e-cigs contain tobacco. that gives the fda a jurisdiction. it's already a billion-dollar business. thank you, michael. we'll see what our audience has to say about it. what does your gut tell you? should e-cigs be banned from tv? go to to cast that vote. that does it for this edition. see you tomorrow. "the cycle" is up next. [ male announcer ] these days, a small business can save by sharing.
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i'm krystal ball. john mccain is getting all maverick-y on us get. his committee is set to vote on syria. hillary clinton has jumped into the game on syria. today, many political strategists are scratching their heads. plus, i spy a surveillance program that rivals even the nsa's. this hour, the secret's out. ♪ at what point do we say we need to confront actions that are violating our common humanity. and i would argue that when i see 400 children subjected to gas, over 1400 innocent
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civilians dying senselessly, the moral thing to do is not to stand by and do nothing. but it's difficult. this is the part of