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tv   MSNBC Live  MSNBC  February 2, 2017 7:00am-8:01am PST

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towards another nation, this one a friend. so just what happened on that phone call between the president and the leader of australia? and we have another day of confirmation chaos, republicans jumping ship. possibly another boycott on the way. >> i was trying to get to yes. >> i certainly cannot support her confirmation. >> all of it as president trump wraps up talk at the national prayer breakfast. ali arouzi is in at the ron. andrea, you are at the state department. what do we know about how this incoming secretary of state is going to handle everything on his plate within the first 30 minutes essentially of getting on the job where you are? >> as you can imagine, this is a very tough challenge for any incoming diplomat. he is not a diplomat, he's a business executive.
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but that said, he's got a lot of connections. he understands the world. there was concern, as you know, among critics that he's potentially too close to vladimir putin, but actually the counterargument is he has real life relationships and might be able to use those relationships to not only expand american diplomacy but perhaps persuade the president of the united states not to precipitously tweet or pick up the phone at times and roil troubled waters, even friendly waters, as you alluded to the australian phone call. it remains to be seen what fights he might be wanting to pick, probably avoiding a lot at the first, but he didav lunch with the president yesterday. then about an hour after that lunch, rex tillerson was confirmed by the senate, a divided senate, 56-43, that's not a typical vote. in fact, it's unprecedented to have such divisions for the top diplomat. usually it's much more by
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acclamation. there are hundreds of people behind me, career civil servants, the diplomats, the staff, all awaiting a leader because they have been home alone and they've seen dramatic elements of these executive orders, the visas, the green cards, people waiting in refugee camps, king abdullah of jordan is in washington this week telling people just how overburden jordan is economically and politically and the process takes 18 months to two years, it is a long-standing process by the human rights commission. we're listening to an announcement. tillerson is probably on his way
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from the prayer breakfast. we're going to bring all of it to you live, hallie. >> andrea mitchell, thank you very much. i know some folks are starting to speak behind you now. we understand the secretary is on his way, if i can read the lips of the person at the podium. while we have a minute with you here, if you don't mind, stay with us because you made an interesting point earlier. i'm being told by a senior administration official that the tone of the conversation between the leader of australia and president trump was, quote, blunt, the australian foreign minister -- or the prime minister described it as frank. is that just diplomatic code for sort of rough, tough? >> this was very argumentative and it was extraordinary because it was the conversation between two leaders of the closest allies militarily. the australians are dying in afghanistan, 42 of them have lost their lives there. it's not their war. they're doing it out of
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consideration, out of frankly answering the appeals of the united states to join that coalition. they are among the best fighters we've had anywhere in the world. they've been with us in every war since world war ii. vietnam was not their war but think joined it willingly. and they key actors where china is exerting economic strength. so with them in iraq, which is certainly not their war against isis, in the largest numbers of coalition, the prime minister of australia could have expected friendly outreach from president trump and instead what he got was pushback that really benefited both countries that was negotiated by the obama administration but it was taking in 1,250 refugees from island nations where they are in a
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stable situation, where human rights abuses have been alleged against australia and it was basically doing it as a favor to the u.s. in many regards. there was a quid pro quo there that president trump clearly was either not briefed on or was not aware of. >> andrea mitchell there at the state department. thank you and i know you're gracious enough to stay with us when we hear from secretary tillerson, which should happen really any moment. one of the things he's going to have to deal with on day one of his first day in office is this idea that iran is now on notice, according to the trump administration. that nation of course reacting now. and we are joined now with a live report by nbc news tehran bureau chief ali arouzi. as we keep an eye for rex tillerson to show up, tell us about the iranian leaders. they seem unfazed, right?
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>> absolutely, hallie. there's been tough talk today out of tehran, the iranian defense minister said the missile launch was successful, despite claims from the u.s. said it wasn't. the adviser to the leader said this isn't the first time an inexperienced person is threatening iran and iran will continue with its missile capabilities and warned america not to make empty threats to iran saying iran was the most powerful region in the country. just recently the deputy commander of the revolutionary guard, that is the most powerful entity in this country, they call most of the shots he, he said if our enemies are frightened of our missiles, they should seek shelter and they should know that iran has a jungle of missiles full of thick trees. he went on to say if powers such
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as america and israel weren't so scared about iran's missiles, they wouldn't make such a big deal about it so they're fighting back very hard. there's also a sense of uncertainty in iran. i think they thought they had wrapped up the nuclear deal and they didn't think things would go so uth so quickly here. they don't know what holds with the trump administration and they're worried about a nuclear deal. i heard the deputy foreign minister is going to go to russia next week to discuss the nuclear deal so they're obviously very jitte as ty step into the unknown with the trump administration >> thank you much. i want to go now to the trump administration, or at least the white house, where peter alexander is with us. we're going to talk about foreign policy in a minute. i want to get to a little bit of new developments coming off of this national prayer breakfast. we heard president trump talking about not just issues of faith but also matters of ratings, if you will, when it comes to
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arnold schwarzenegger and now a response from arnold schwarzenegger? >> you heard donald trump saying about the bad ratings for "the apprentice," the producer introducing him, donald trump basically said we should pray for arnold schwarzenegger. it was not met by a lot of applause or laughter in the room. schwarzenegger just tweeted out a video he just posted saying why don't we switch jobs. more notably, a more significant policy matters is the basis of this conversation with the australian leader, prime minister trumball and we spoke to a white house official who said he thinks the way this is being framed is, quote, overblown, the president himself, donald trump, addressed it a short time ago at that breakfast, hallie. >> when you hear about the tough phone calls i'm having, don't worry about it. just don't worry about it. they're tough. we have to be tough. it's time we're going to be a
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little tough, folks. we're taken advantage of by every nation in the world virtually. it's not going to happen anymore. it's not going to happen anymore. >> so bottom line that was president trump speaking on this issue just a matter of moments ago. there are so many different foreign policy issues, not all crises, iran a crises, australia you could argue a tiff but nonetheless, it's more than a tiff according to -- they have been fighting and giving lives in places like afghanistan right now and it has a lot of people raising eyebrows. >> wouldn't it benefit the trump administration to downplay what might have been this very testy phone call with the australian prime minister, with other foreign leaders? it sounds as though you and i have both been told by administration officials that the tone was blunt, but there was no yelling, that the president didn't hang up the
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phone right away, that the call was shorter than expected at 25 minutes but there was no abrupt ending to it. let's be clear, the administration is trying to ease concerns with the australian prime minister, no? >> kellyanne conway said it was not a leak from the white house. but it does mean it was like live leaked from somewhere. it demonstrates the dissent that exists. we know that nearly a thousand, if not a thousand diplomats world wide have signed this dissent letter in reaction to president trump's first actions as president, most notably that executive order, that temporary travel ban taking place. i think that's one thing that's notable. on one hand they're putting iran on notice, there are people in their own administration putting them on notice saying we're watching you and we're have some real issues with the way you're handling some of these
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relationships. >> good perspective, peter alexander, on the white house lawn. >> i want to bring in msnbc's chief international security and diplomacy analyst. it is quite the title. thank you for being with us, admiral. let's start and jump off where we ended with peter and this phone call with australia. and everything that rex tillerson is going to be dealing with on day one. whats going to be his number one priority, if he were to rank iran, mexico, australia, as issues he's got to shuffle through and deal with now? >> i'd put them in two baskets, ali. one is the immediate crises of the day, that would be mending the fence with australia. as all of your correspondents have pointed out, they're terrific allies. i visited with their forces many times. that's a fence that i think that
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needs to be mended. the big one is mexico and the tone of that conversation, the reporting is all over the place. if it's remotely as bad as reported and there was talk of american trips going south, who knows what was actually said. but i think those are two immediate ones. and that's our allies. so on the opponent side, i think iran is the top of the list given this ballistic missile trajectory and lurking in the background is north korea. those are things he'll want to address on day one. >> and clearly tehran isn't backing down off of this. when you put iran on notice, is the trump administration also trying to force iran's hand as well in this situation? does this put the trump administration in a box if iran doesn't comply with what they're asking for? >> i think the use of the term "on notice," which is pretty ambiguous gives them a lot of
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room. this is not a red line, this is not, iran, you must do this or the nuclear deal is over. i think what the general was conveying was be ready, there will be options on the table for the new president. >> the president, this is, had more to say about iran on twitter this morning. let's pull up that tweet saying iran was on its last legs and ready to collapse until the u.s. came along and gave it a lifeline in the form of the iran deal, $150 billion. this is the first step to try to dismantle of iranianuclea deal? >> my instinct isno. as i look at our european allies, the israelis who have an important voice, russia, i don't think we're going to have the international support to just take that deal apart. what i do think will be on the table is a ratcheting series of steps against iran that will probably start diplomatic, go to economic, maybe some additional u.s. sanctions and then cyber special forces, the potential for strikes. this could move very quickly up
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that ladder. i think that's what general flynn was trying to convey without being specific, without nailing a red line. >> lurking in the backdrop to all of this of course is still the relationship with russia, particularly given the fighting between pro-russian rebels and ukrainian forces. how does that pull it into what rex tillerson has to handle, with those four issues on the top. >> i think the hat overall is russia, especially in ukraine where they've annexed crimea. secretary stitillerson does hav real connections in russia. i think he'll use those to open a dialogue to say to the russians, we're going to confront you where we must but let's find zones of cooperation, counterterrorism, counterpiracy,
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afghanistan. i think he's going to take a nuanced message to russia, which will be potentially helpful. >> we are watching what is happening at the state department with the arrival, it looks, of secretary tillerson getting ready to speak with staffers there. they have all gathered. they are waiting from the address from the new secretary of state. we been waiting as well. it appears there was a bit of a delay while it appears the national prayer breakfast was wrapping up. andrea mitchell will provide perspective as we get a glimpse of these remarks as the secretary will deal with unprecedented dissent, real concern from long-time staffers as to where the department goes from here. we'll listen to rex tillerson addressing his new department. >> good morning, y'all. we apologize for being late. it seemed this year's prayer breakfast, people felt the need to pray a little longer.
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[ laughter ] but i certainly welcomed them all. so thank you for such a warm reception. it's a pleasure to be here. obviously i've been anxious to be here. i'm so pleased to have my wife of more than 30 years and she has been just steadfast through this process, encouraging me on and reminding what this is really all about. and so thank you. [ applause ] >> i also want to thank acting secretary tom shannon, who has just been superb through this entire process. tom, thank you so much. [ cheers and applause ]
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it was truly and indeed an honor that tom joined us in the oval office last night for my swearing in and appreciated he was there. i also want to recognize and thank all of you here at headquarters of our state department, our staff and partners around the world who have faithfully performed your duties regardless of who was in charge. it was so important. i know many of you have assisted ambassadors and other officials during the senate confirmation process and indeed some of you have been through it yourself, having just come through it for the first time, i can assure you the senate still takes it as serious as ever. they're as energetic as ever, they're as thorough as ever, but we're here. [ applause ] so in the days and weeks ahead, we're going to plenty of opportunity to discuss in more
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detail the goals, the priorities and the strategic direction for our organization, but for now i really want to take a few minutes to communicate my high regard for the men and women of the state department and share with you some principles for all of us to live by as we pursue our shared mission. the individuals who comprise this department are among the finest public servants in the world. many of you serve our nation abroad and have served our nation abroad. state department staffs are in the field are not just conduits for policies and plans are you are our emissaries of our nations and the ideals we stand for. when people see you, they see america. when i wake up each morning, the very first thing i ask myself is are all of our people safe? the safety of every single member of our state department family, regardless of where he or she is posted, is not just a priority for me, it's a core
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value and it will become a core value of this department. [ applause ] this means the state department family here in the u.s. and all those agencies serving under chief of missions abroad, including civil service, foreign service officers and specialists, locally engaged staff of host country and third untrynationals, interns, fellows, support contractors and implementing partners and not least of all the family members who support us at home and in our service to our country overseas. but foreign service is not the only component of the state department. the civil service work force at the state department plays an indispensable role in all we achieve and we cannot attain success without the mission critical services that you provide. but we often live in a world of headlines working outside of the
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public eye does not make you any less essential to our operations. your dedication, your intelligence and your sound judgment are the brick and mortar elements of all we do. we all depend on your good work and i know it will continue. [ applause ] one of the great challenges and thrills for the state department staff is deciding how to confront changing conditions in every corner of the world. and i encourage all of you to use your natural and well-developed skills to adapt to changes here at home as well. i know this was a hotly contested election and we do not all feel the same way about the outcome. each of us is entitled to the express of our political beliefs. but we cannot let our personal convictions overwhelm our ability to work as one team. let us be understanding with each other about the times we
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live in as we focus our energies on our departmental goals. as secretary, i will deploy the talent and resources of the state department in the most efficient ways possible. that may entail making some changes as to how things are traditionally done in this department. change for the sake of change can be counterproductive, and that will never be my approach. but we cannot sustain ineffective traditions over optimal outcomes. i will gather information on what processes should be reformed and do my part to make sure we are functioning in the most efficient way possible. we must all be focused on the undertakings in front of us. our duty is to faithfully represent our nation in the arena of foreign affairs. if we stay focused on the work before us, i promise i will work
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to ensure you achieve your own personal success and your professional satisfaction in what you are do. for every individual who works at the state department, i ask what we adopt a few core principles. first, i believe that any organization runs best when all of its members embrace accountability. from the mail room to the board room, every member of a team has a job to do. i know nobody will always be perfect and that certainly includes me, but i ask that everyone strive for excellence and assume responsibility for their actions and their decisions. the new england patriots have signs posted all over their team facilities that simply say "do your job." it is a brief message but one with profound importance. if we all do our jobs and embrace a willingness to be held accountable for our performance, we work better as a unit, move
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closer to attaining our goals. it's worked pretty well for the patriots over the years, as i must admit. secondly, i want us to be honest with one another. we're on the same team. we share the same mission. honesty will undergird our foreign policy and we'll start by making it the basis of how we interact with each other. lastly, we're going to treat each other with respect. no one will tolerate disrespect of anyone. before we are employees of the state department, we are human beings first. let us extend respect to each other, especially when we may disagree. what i ask of you and what i demand of myself i will embrace accountability, honesty and respect no less than anyone. before president trump called me, i thought i'd be entering retirement this spring after four decks aids of business
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experience. rinda and i were ready to head off to the ranch and enjoy our grandchildren. but when i came back from my first meeting with president trump and he asked me to do this, rinda said you didn't know it but you've been in a 41-year training program for this job. [ applause ] so despite our own dreams, she said you're supposed to do this. well, my first day is here, i'm on the job. hi, i'm the new guy. [ applause ] as such i will depend on the expertise of this institution. there are over 75,000 members of the state department workforce, both foreign and civil service
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employees with an average of over 11 years of service in the department. i have 25 minutes. you have accumulated knowledge and experience that cannot be replicated anywhere else. your wisdom, your work ethic and patriotism is as important as ever, and as your secretary, i will be proud to draw upon all these qualities in my decision making. i ask that you join me in upholding high standards of ethics and professionalism, committing to personal accountability and honesty and respecting your colleagues. there will undoubtedly be times of victory, but there will also be many times of difficulty. let's go forward as a team through all of it. let's make the american people proud of what we do in this building and beyond. inscribed on the walls in this lobby are the names of fallen service personnel, who in the
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word of abraham lincoln gave their last full measure of devotion. they died in service of causes far greater than themselves. as we move forward in a new era, it is important to honor the sacrifices of those who have come before us and reflect on the legacy that we inherit. in closing, i'm honored to be serving alongside each of you as i serve our nation as the secretary of state. so now i'm going to take a moment, pay my respects to those individuals that are memorialized on this wall and then i ok forward to making the rounds and greeting you personally. it may take me a few days, but in all sincerity, i do hope to have the opportunity to shake the hand of every one of you that's here. thank you so much. [ applause ] >> and that was the new secretary of state rex tillerson addressing a lobby full of staffers essentially from the
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state department. at times light-hearted, joking he's the new guy, at times much more serious. i want to go to our chief foreign affairs correspondent, andrea mitchell, who is in the room, as the applause begins to die down. what stood out to you as we heard from secretary tillerson? >> reporter: he was saving all the things they wanted to here. if i had to categorize the opinions here in this building and around the world, the people who are globalists and believe in interactions and have intimate contacts with the islam world in particular clearly there are a lot of people here who did not support donald trump, but he acknowledged that and asked for respect and professionalism. the fact that he's a former ceo
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is apparent and he's a leader. after his wife told him with his first meeting with donald trump, you just spent 41 years in training for this job. he appealed to the patriotism, the professionalism and the collegiality of this group. as i said they've been home alone, waiting for a leader and feeling very left out of the important conversations with these executive orders and the talk about steve bannon and others taking prominent roles in foreign policy. they want to know he's at the table. the best advocate he has is a close relationship with donald trump. if that persists, if he gets into the oval office and has the president's ear, that's going to be the most important thing. hillary clinton came as a celebrity, a lot of excitement about her.
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and this man comes with none of that but he comes with they certainly hope the ear of the president of the united states, something that neither clinton nor kerry enjoyed when it came down to the big decisions. now right away you've got the iran controversy, the threat or the statements that were made by mike flynn. there's certainly a hope here that that can be put in context, that that can be molified and that the allies can be brought into it. i think there would be a strong feeling here to try to preserve the outlines and the central core of the nuclear agreement that, this is not the first step towards abrogating that or announcing the american withdrawal, a six-month withdrawal process from that. >> two quick questions as we're watching secretary tillerson
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making his way through that room. you heard him say he's trying to shake the hand of every person that. looks like he's trying to get a good start on this. we saw him near the wall of the names of the state department employees, staffers, who have been killed on the job. can you describe the atmospherics in the room? was this polite applause for the secretary or did you get the as soon as folks are excited to see him? and the second question, how do you see the relationship developing between rex tillerson and donald trump? is rex tillerson going to have the ear of the president? >> reporter: that's the unknown question. so far yes. james mattis and tillerson, john kelly, the two generals and the ceo have credentials. they come to the president on equal standing almost with the billionaire non-governmental president, the generals he
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respects because of their military service. tillerson he respects as almost an equal because he led the largest energy company in the world, the largest private energy company in the world, rivalled only by the iranian company. as the former exxon/mobil ceo, six continents, this is somebody who can talk turkey with donald trump. does he get through the first two weeks remains to be seen. you have the son-in-law in the office off the oval office and steve bannon who has access to the oval office. there are going to be areas in which tillerson does not agree.
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he has deep experience in the arab world and he does not share the same suspicion and dark view of islam that certainly bannon has expressed and that donald trump as you know better than anyone spoke often of in his cam pan rah -- campaign rallies. that has to be moderated. this man does not build walls, he builds bridge foreign policy by twitter has got to be a little bit uncomfortable if not a the lot uncomfortable, he believes in hierarchies and chain of command as do the military leaders in the department. and he would not pick a fight with our military ally of australia. and he would understand why we have to be wary of iran encro h
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encroaching on warships. three allies died over the weekend. we've seen the iranians approaching u.s. flagships and kuwaiti flagships in the straits back in 1987 under ronald reagan. a lot of presidents have had to deal with iranian aggression. the question is what is the tone, did mike flynn take the right tone, how apprised was rex tillerson of what was unfolding. he hadn't yet been confirmed or sworn in. we have to see in the coming days how it evolves. you asked about the mood here. it is so welcoming. this crowd could not be happier to see this man. they may have had some partisan differences with donald trump but they are hoping he will be their advocate at the cabinet and national security security
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council. >> we have kristen welker over at the white house. the call with middlesex co, now saying that a comment that president trump made about hombres was meant to be more lighthearted than was reported. remember on capitol hill democrats were no shows yesterday? guess what, democrats again boycotting the epa vote, scott pruitt. we're going to head over to the hearing room with the latest. stick around.
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okay, check it out. this is a live look of that hearing room where they're supposed to be voting on epa pick scott pruitt. but look what they're doing. milling about. no democrats in the room, by the way. if we were to pull the camera out, you'd see all the democratic seats are empty. it's apparently day two of this
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boycott. kasie hunt, what we saw yesterday with one of the boycotts was betsy devos was the republicans blowing through the rules and pushing through this confirmation vote anyway. ishat wha we'rebout to see with scott pruitt? >> hallie yesterday it was the finance committee so it was steve mnuchin and tom price for hhs. the republicans got fed up, they pushed it through anyway and it looks like that is what is going to happen here today for scott prosecute to head the epa. we have not seen any democrats go through this door where senators have been entering into the committee room. we did speak to john bar rasso, the chairman of the committee, he said he's going to force this through. we'll see how he manipulates the rules. he called it a employ that senator schumer is using to delay these nominees. this has been the tactic the
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democrats have takenin wake of the executive order over the weekend that sparked protests all over the country. we've gotten some questions to senators who have come by on those questions. i asked bob corker about that reported phone call between donald trump and the prime minister of australia that apparently got heated and that donald trump has been tweeting about this morning saying that the u.s. should potentially not take refugees it had agreed to accept from australia. that's what we talked about just a few minutes ago. take a look. >> generally speaking, it's important for continuity, you know, when agreements are made between allies, it's always best your default position should always be to follow through on what's been committed to. on the other hand, this could be one of those things that so out of line and so bad that maybe it
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needs to be looked at. but i just don't know enough about it. >> senator corker did say that he wasn't entirely aware of the details of this agreement between the united states and australia so he didn't want t comment much further than that but he did say this is a very important relationship we should be careful with. >> kasie, we will be checking back in with you throughout the morning and afternoon. another very busy day. up next, we're looking at troubling new reporting raising questions about that deadly raid in yemen and the idea that it's, quote, doomed from the start as some have said. did poor planning put lives at risk? we're going to talk about it after the break.
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today we're learning more about that seal team 6 raid in yemen over the weekend that left
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one officer dead. >> he died in defense of our nation. he gave his life in defense of our people. our debt to him and our debt to his family is eternal and everlasting. >> hans nichols is handling all of this. central command is saying there may have been more civilian casualties than originally thought. what are you hearing? >> they don't quite have a firm number and won't for some time on the number of civilian casualties because air strikes were called in. here's what happened with the operation. planning, it was months, it started in the obama administration. the obama administration according to military officials decided to let the new administration make the final decision on whether or not to go ahead with this because that's just where it fell in the lunar calendar. they wanted to wait for a
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moonless night. once they got there, the operation was under way. they encountered heavier fire power, it was described as 360 degree fires and importantly female, they weren't expecting females to be firing. they brought in air strikes and had to call in some medivacs, which were in the air and air strikes were also in the air. it's unbelievable casualties weren't higher, yes, a navy seal did die and an osprey had to be destroyed, a $75 millionaire plane but they did get the intelligence they were after. he retrieved a lot of hard intel. that's what they're sifting through, as well trying to determine how many civil
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casualties there are on the ground. this was a joint operation with the united arab emirates. >> there has been reporti th this makes was plagued by potential poor planning. it sounds like the planning did go on for weeks prior to the mission. can you shed light on what the real deal was? >> i'm hearing the plan was months in advance, they were encountering some resistance. maybe the level of resistance did surprise them. i'm hearing a fair amount of grousing that there is a lot of monday morning quarterbacking going on, this was a difficult mission, the stakes were very high. a lot of the back and forths they're saying is easy criticism the day after. everyone has a lot more reporting to do and we need more information from officials on how many times civilian
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casualties there were. >> let's take a live look back at capitol hill. remember that hearing we were talking about, the committee vote where no democrats showed up? turns out now republicans are set to force a vote, even with no democrats in the room, they're trying to trigger this to move forward on the nomination pick of scott pruitt. there are no democrats, just republicans ready to blow up the rules. but then i realized there was. so, i finally broke the silence with my doctor about what i was experiencing. he said humira is for people like me who have tried other medications but still experience the symptoms of moderate to severe crohn's disease. in clinical studies, the majority of patients on humira saw significant symptom relief. and many achieved remission. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis.
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here's what you missed in the last three minutes during that commercial break. republicans right now voting to basically blow up the rules and force through the confirmation vote for epa pick scott pruitt. that vote just happening, 11-0. no democrats in the room. remember, democrats boycotted this as we told you earlier this hour. republicans are essentially making this rules change to move
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this through. what does this mean now? it means that scott pruitt now goes to the full senate for a confirmation vote, no scheduled date on that just yet. all of this again happening in just the last five minutes. as if this morning were not busy enough. joining me to talk about it is no former naacp head and let's pick up where we've seen right now, which is this boycott that we've seen a couple days in a row now and with the republicans blowing up the rules. is this the right move for republicans to suspend the rules and bull doze this thing through? >> i think it is. the democrats look like children who aren't getting their way. i just don't think politically that looks good. and the dichotomy, hallie, between what trump is doing and the democrats are doing, trump's doing things and the democrats
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are having a hard time keeping up and they're almost left in the wake almost every hour complaining and whining about what he's doing. i just don't think that's good look for them. >> ben, there's a counter argument here, right? >> the counterargument here is that this is the about the fate of our world and the dems look like they're the only ones with the thinking of say 99% of scientists on the planet. this epa pick is against virtually everything that the epa stands for. there's good reasons why dems would not want to have anything to do with him. if donald trump wants to pick somebody who will destroy the epa and frankly further imperil our planeting he'll need to do it by himself with his party. >> let's talk about the news that developed out in california overnight. the president tweeting about the protests at berkeley. he said if u.c. berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent
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people with a different point of view -- no federal funds? this happened overnight, this was ball game milo yiannopoulos was set to speak. >> u.c. berkeley, the birthplace of the free speech movement used violence last night to shut down speech. if a conservative speaker can't speak on a college campus receiving federal dollars, absolutely those dollars should be yanked. the college administration should make sure that all voices are heard. i think it was great thing trump said that. >> i'd like to get your take on this because there are some questions about milo yiannopoulos and some of the
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inflammatory things he said in the past. what do you make from this threat of president trump? >> i'm all for having all views, especially at ourublic universities. having that said, presen trump, there really is no end to his pettiness. we would prefer to have our president focused on our world safer and more prosperous and not being on twitter. the students should have let the guy speak, all points of view should be represented but the president really needs to stick to his knitting and actually be president. >> ben, you're talking about the sort of twitter misives that the president fires off. i'm thinking of some new reporting from my colleague
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kristen welker about the phone call with mexico. ben, when you look at the phone call with mexico and the phone call from australia that got even as the administration acknowledges, blunt, testy, if you will, the tone of these conversations, is this just donald trump being donald trump? >> look, you know, he also took time at the national prayer breakfast to dish former governor schwarzenegger for his performance on tv. i would really have donald trump back on the apprentice and arnold schwarzenegger as president than what we have right now. he is the least presidential president we have ever seen. quite frankly, mr. schwarzenegger doesn't set a very high bar but as governor of california, he was a lot more of just a stable presence than president trump, who comes across frankly in his conversations with world leaders and in his pushing of china, you know, he comes across as dangerously unstable. >> i imagine supporters of the
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president would say this is donald trump being donald trump and sort of representing america's interests. >> gosh, hallie -- >> he needs to be president. let me let joe have the last word here. >> he's our first citizen president. he was elected to shake things up here and abroad and that's what he's doing and he's doing it in a city that's not used to this kind of thing. but regular americans love what he's doing, hallie. >> i'm sure that all of our presidents have been citizens, joe. >> not like this. >> we have to leave it there, gentlemen. we want to do a quick programming note before we hit break here. chris matthews hosting that special live town hall on president trump's first days in office. it's happening right here in washington. chris is looking at how president trump's aggressive agenda is already reshaping life in america. we're talking everything from the supreme court nominations to
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the huge protests after his executive actions. do not miss "power and the presidency" with chris tonight. or fill a big order or expand your office and take on whatever comes next. find out how american express cards and services can help prepare you for growth at open.com. i've got a nice long life ahead. find out how american express cards and services big plans. so when i found out medicare doesn't pay all my medical expenses, i looked at my options. then i got a medicare supplement insurance plan.
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>> that does it for this hour of msnbc live hereon capitol hill. i'm hallie jackson. we have much more with my buddy chris jansing in new york. >> thank you, my friend. this morning the president escalates tensions with iran saying the country is formally put on notice for firing a missile. but what exactly does that mean? and there's that combative call with the australian prime minister and a call reportedly made to mexico's president. all of this on the play of rex tillerson to kick off his first day as secretary of state. our political team calling it the toughest job in the world today. and violence the u.c. berkeley

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