tv MSNBC Live MSNBC February 18, 2017 11:00am-12:01pm PST
good afternoon. i'm keir simmons, live from munich, germany. a global campaign underway this weekend to overcome that difficult week for president trump. this evening, the president himself rallying supporters in florida, after giving a surprise news conference on thursday, and appearing before supporters yesterday in south carolina. while here in germany, an international charm offensive in the buildings behind me. all meeting with world leaders here. trump's secretary of state was in europe this week, but do they speak for the president? i asked vice president pence
that question earlier today. mr. vice president, nbc news, sir. are you and the president sending the same message, sir? >> yes, exactly the same message. >> reporter: more of my exchange with the vice president later. but it's a big day for the trump administration. on twoaj fronts today, my colleague, lucy kafanov is here withe in munich to discuss the trump administration's charm offensive on european leaders, while we're hours away from the president's campaign-style rally in melbourne, florida. and that's where we start joined by mariana atencio. >> reporter: this you see behind me, this line you see behind me, this is a campaign event for president donald trump. so 30 days into the president, donald trump is already campaigning for the 2020
re-election. that is exactly 1,354 days before that 2020 election, kier. as we also saw during the campaign, president trump gets his energy from talking to the crowds, from talking directly to his base. and that is what he is expected to do here today. i wanted to talk to some folks to say why they're out here, what they're expecting to hear. john, you told me you drove all the way from -- came all the way from atlanta? >> we came to show our support for trump. and we're excited at his movement in the campaign to store america. but we also wanted to talk about how hard the media has been on trump, msnbc, i think nbc is who you represent, cnn, and abc and cbs and "washington post" have all been very hard on donald trump and it's hurting america to see the level at which these six corporations that own 90% of the media be so hard on this
movement that we won this election. we won it very handily, 302-232. 306-232. >> reporter: thank you so much, john. so his supporters, the fake news argument the president talked about in his first press conference this week, it speaks to them, and they' also here because of that. >> a lie. a lie. >> reporter: the president had a very tumultuous week, one of his cabinet picks fell through. also his national security adviser was fired. with this event, kier, he also tried to recapture some of the energy from his campaign as well as turn the tide in his 30-month-day presidency. >> all right, mariana atencio in melbourne, florida. thank you so much. joining me now is nbc correspondent, lucy kafanov. lucy, while the president is getting ready to hold that rally in florida here, the vice president has been trying to
reassure european leaders. has he managed to do that? >> absolutely. i think the atmosphere and the body language in the room is probably a good indicator as to whether vice president mike pence managed to sell his message or not. as you know, kier, we heard fairly thin applause, especially during the portion where he called on more nato allies to cough up more cash on defense spending. but he offered all the right platitudes, assuring allies that the united states is firmly committed to nato, to european defense, saying european and american defense are inexplicably, permanently linked. he did also, perhaps, more importantly, have some tough talk, semi-tough talk on russia, calling on russia to be accountable, to do more starting with the situation in ukraine, to escalate -- de-escalate the violence there, with which was pretty important. a lot of folks were waiting to see what the trump administration's message would be on that issue. but i think the former deputy of the nato -- deputy secretary to the nato alliance summed it up
well when he said, the question in this hall is whether this is the real policy. mike pence said a lot of right things, but i think it's the action that's going to speak a lot louder here. >> and the most important leader in europe, angela merkel speaking just before her. they were sitting together smiling, but what was her message for the vice president and the president? >> her message is this alliance, nato is important. you have a europe that has been incredibly rattled by the messages that they've heardro both candidate and president trump. he has called the the nato alliance obsolete. he's questioned the merits of the european union. he's praised vladimir putin at a time where russia is quite literally redrawing the border. all of these messages worried allies, and they don't know whether vice president mike pence speaks with one voice with donald trump. i know he told you in that interview that he does, but i think the jury is out on that one in munich. >> lucy kafanov, thank you so much for being with us here. and while insuring the united states' commitment to the nato alliance, the vice president touched on two other tenants of
the trump administration's foreign policy vision, u.s./russia relations and the destruction of isis. >> today on behalf of president trump, i bring you this assurance. the united states of america strongly supports nato and will be unwavering in our commitment to this transatlantic alliance. the fates of the united states and europe are intertwined. your struggles are our struggles. your success is our success. and ultimately, we walk into the future together. this is president trump's promise. we will stand with europe today and every day, because we are bound together by the same noble ideals, freedom, democracy, justice, and the rule of law. and know this. the united states will continue to hold russia accountable, even as we search for new common ground, which as you know, president trump believes can be
found. isis is perhaps the greatest evil of them all. it's shown a savagery unseen in the middle east since the middle ages. as president trump has made clear, the unid states will fight tirelessly to crush these enemies, especially isis and its so-called caliphate and consign them to the ash heap of history where they believe. [ applause ] >> for more, i want to bring in msnbc contributor and former ambassador to the russian administration, andrew fall. when we hear from the vice president, from other members of president trump's cabinet here, reassuring world leaders, is that the real message from the administration? is it trump's twitter feed that's the real message?
is it in the circle, in the white house? >> well, we don't know the answer to that, obviously, the very fact, by the way, that the vice president has to reassure the allies that we agree with nato, in and of itself, is news. nobody used to come to this conference to reassure people. but second, as you were just talking about earlier, and this is with more people than just the vice president. he says one thing, the president says some other things. just in your clip right now, he used the word, freedom, democracy, and rule of law. i don't remember candidate trump ever talking about our commitment to freedom and democracy abroad. so it is a question, who is really speaking for this administration? >> and inside the state department, there are plenty of report suggesting that they feel iced out, if you like. that they don't feel part of the process. is that what you're hearing? is that the way you think it's developing? >> well, absolutely. what process? i mean, i could be wrong about this, but to the best of my knowledge, there has not been one single national security
council meeting with president trump sitting in the white house situation room with general mattis, secretary mattis, and secretary tillerson by his side. >> is that unprecedente i was part of the obama administration. by this time in our administration, we woul have had at least half a dozen of those meetings. >> the question on nato, president trump has a good point, doesn't he? more should be spent on nato by europe. the american people want it. and yet, european leaders don't seem completely convinced they have to deliver it. >> he has a good point. it's actually the policy of the obama administration. they agreed, everybody should spend 2% of their gdp. he made that message today. there were grumblings, but i think everybody understands, it's time for everybody to meet that commitment. >> and with russia, do the russians now change their policy again? are they getting the impression that the u.s. is backing off this idea that we saw during the campaign, that a trump administration would be warmer towards russia?
are they worried about that? >> well, again, both the secretary mattis and the vice president today said messages about a russia that was very consistent with obama administration policy and at odds with candidate trump. >> but we don't know whether they are -- >> exactly. i think there's confusion in moscow about what really is their policy. >> should we worry, though, just to play devil's advocate, what happens if it does end up with a clash between the trump administration and russia. how does that play out. that doesn't look good either, does it? >> nobody wants a clash with russia. and nobody at this conference wants further clashes with russia. but what they do want is they want a policy that stands up to russian aggression, whether it's in ukraine, syria, or at our own country. by the way, there's been nearly no mention of russian intervention in our elections that is strikingly absent of all the speeches. but they want a policy. they want to know, what is the u.s. policy towards russia. and it strikes me today,
listening to the speeches from the administration, they haven't quite figured it out yet. >> ambassador fall, thank you very much for being here in the cold with us. well, now we - more on my one on one with vice president pence on the other side of this break. ♪ hey, bud. you need some help? no, i'm good. come on, moe. i have to go. (vo) we always trusted our subaru impreza would be there for him someday. ok. that's it. (vo) we just didn't think someday would come so fast. see ya later, moe. (vo) introducing the all-new subaru impreza. the longest-lasting vehicle in its class. more than a car, it's a subaru.
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right now, demonstrators in los angeles are making their way to city hall, calling for the end of i.c.e. raids, deportations, and more to fight president trump's immigration policies. over 20,000 people online expressing interest in atte attending. the invitation explicitly says, rain or shine, we will march.
this rally adds to a list of protests scheduled across the country into presidents day weekend. i'll bring in nbc's gatotty schwartz who is out there now. >> reporter: there were a lot of questions about people would show up, but the crowd is very, very large. thousands have showed up here. and here in los angeles, we're seeing a lot of signs that say sanctuary now. there's been a little bit of confusion as to los angeles is actually a sanctuary city. some people assume that los angeles is a sanctuary city. and the mayor here has said that is a city of sanctuary, but mayor eric garcetti has also said they don't officially deem this sanctuary city, because it's kind of nebulous. sanctuary cities still haven't been officially defined, so, one of the things that people out here want is for los angeles to be deemed a sanctuary city and for the city to stand up to the
federal government, something that eric garcetti, the mayor here has said he would do. but it also comes with the threat from president trump of $500 million in federal funding. -- so right now, we're actually being cleared out of here. the police are asking people to get on the street. so we're going to jump back down here in just a second, kier. i'm going to bring you some of what people are saying, but we're going to move down. back to you for right thousand. >> all right, gadi, look out for yourself there. nbc's gadi schwartz in los angeles, thank you. right the now southern californians are assessing the damage caused by one of the worst storms to hit the area in more than a decade. while in northern california, another storm system could threaten the already weakened oroville dam. the latest on both storms, after this break.
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in the dark. the heavy deluge opened massive sinkholes, swallowing cars and killing at least two people. officials remain on high alert today for mud slides, runoff, and high stream levels. but it doesn't end there for the golden state. another storm threatens to rip through the northern region, and residents fear the impact this storm could have on our nation after nearly 200,000 were evacuated earlier this week because of damaged spillways. let's turn to meteorologist bonnie schneider with more. bonnie, what's the latest of the storm's movements? >> well, kier, it's interesting to note that officials have made quite a bit of progress from where we were one week ago with the oroville dam. the current levels have been reduced by about 45 to 46 feet as of this morning. hopefully they'll continue to do that, before the next storm gets closer, because we are anticipating more rain. we already have the first in a series of storms hit southern california yesterday. these are all record rainfall amounts. into santa barbara through santa maria and lancaster.
quite a bit of rain. as we look at the current radar picture, you can see rain scattered about from l.a. and santa barbara down through san diego. but more heavy rain is in the forecast. another storm this time, impacting areas like oroville, into lake tahoe, where we'll see some snow and san francisco. we could see 2 to 3 inches of additional rain in and around the san francisco bay area. what a wild month this has been so far with more wet weather in the forecast. so, with that, we're also watching the risk for flooding. the storm that came through california earlier today and into yesterday is now bringing moisture and a flood threat all the way into arizona. so 20 million people still at risk for flooding. another concern, of course, is debris flow from the burn areas with all that rain coming in. looking into this afternoon, arizona, we'll look for rain, but a bigger flood threat emerges in a whole another state. texas, watch for this, houston. by monday morning, we'll be watching out for heavy rain to come through. really the southwest portion of the country is going to be impacted by these storms going
forward, and we even run the risk for flooding with heavy rain, possibly up to 5 inches in parts of southeast texas. a lot of flooding for a good portion of the u.s. >> kier? >> and more heavy rain for those folks out west. that's tough news for those folks. bonnie schneider, thank you so much. now, german's defense minister hitting the trump administration over relationships with european allies and russia, while vice president pence earlier today here in munich urges those european allies to make a firmer financial commitment to nato. i'll talk to germany's defense minister after this break. a 401(k) is the most sound way to go. let's talk asset allocation. -sure. you seem knowledgeable, professional. would you trust me as your financial advisor? -i would. -i would indeed. well, let's be clear, here. i'm actually a deejay. ♪ [ laughing ] no way! i have no financial experience at all. that really is you? if they're not a cfp pro, you just don't know. find a certified financial planner professional whs thoroughly vetted at letsmakeaplan.org.
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and we're also seeing protesters gathering there in minneapolis. weather also the story in southern california. at least three people have been killed in one of the worst storms to hit the region in years. heavy rains have led to enormous sinkholes. authorities are also concerned about potential mud slides. right here in munich, defense ministers are meeting on the future of nato as president trump continues to cast down on the military alliance. i spoke with german defense minister, ursula von lion earlier today. she opened the security meeting by calling for a more globally committed united states. but the trump administration says it's european countries that need to take on more financial responsibility for nato. here's those comments from the german defense minister. >> we have to carry a father share of the burden. german comes from a long period of growing peace around us, but since 2014, with the annexation of crimea, and the beginning of the war in eastern ukraine and
the appearance to have daesh, we realized we had to make a turnaround. >> many americans don't agree that you are spending enough. and you had some tough words, seemingly, for president trump in your speech. you said the words he uses can have an impact on the cohesion of europe. but what the vice president says is that germany defense spending is eroding the alliance between america and europe. >> i didn't hear that from the vice president. >> he didn't specifically say germany, he said, not meeting the target on defense spending. >> it is good that we agree once again. in 2014, all heads of state of government in the alliance said we have the goal until 2025 to meet the 2%. >> reporter: you will meet 2%? you will do that? >> absolutely, that's the goal. the heads of state of all 28 have committed themselves. so we want to stick to our word, but therefore, you also have to
admit that there is a plan we fulfill together. for more on nato and growing tensions over defense spending, i'm joined by nbc news and msnbc contributor and world news editor of the daily beast, chris dickey, and the former chief of staff for secretary john kerry. so senator john mccain said this in munich yesterday. >> what you've heard here, is that reassuring you'll get what you want? >> i'm very encouraged by the response, but i wanted to make it clear that our, president trump's commitment to nato is strong, it's stouhistoric, it's important. but to sustain that commitment -- >> i think that the flynn issue, obviously is something that is -- it shows that in many respects, this administration is in disarray and they've got a lot of work to do.
>> so that was vice president pence and then john mccain speaking there, john. what kind of a message does this send to america's allies? >> well, i think, you know, the new administration is not wrong to be asking europe to carry a greater degree of the burden of defending the alliance. secretary of defense bob gates during the bush administration and the early portion of the obama administration somewhat famously put a lot of pressure on his europe counterparts to sort of step up their contributions to the alliance. and that continued throughout the obama administration, as well. what's more complicated now is the context. because we are asking of our european partners and putting increasing pressure rather than increasing reassurance on the license at a time when russian meddling in parts of alliance, countries during the context of their elections is increasing, and it happened in our country, as well, and a context in which there are really serious questions being asked about the new administration's relationships and plans for the u.s./russia relationship.
>> chris, the trump administration is calling for european countries to commit more money and troops to nato. are european countries pulling enough weight? >> well, they can certainly pull more. and john's exactly right. in fact, vice president pence is right. they need to spend more on their defense. that's not really the issue now. that's what the white house wants to talk about. it's an issue the obama administration and bush administration talked about. and as the secretary of defense of germany said, it's an issue where there's a plan and at last way forward, where eventually germany and other countries, five of them already do, but other countries will be spending 2% or more of their gdp on defense. but that's not the problem. the problem, as articulated by mccain yesterday, is that people are beginning to think that the western alliance itself is falling apart, and indeed, that the idea of the west is falling apart.
and donald trump is a big part of that, especially the way he seems to cozy up to putin at every -- the russian president, at every opportunity. and i think that's being talked about a lot there until immuin . i think you know that. in fact, the russian foreign minister, sergey lavrov, said we're looking for a post-west world order. he said that today. i think that's what's at play. and it's a lot more than just who's going to pay the bills on nato. >> and german chancellor angela merkel, who is trying to push against that kind of tide, that they're talking about there, she talks here in munich about the quality of american reporting after president trump threw out multiple criticisms to the media this week. she said, she advocates for a, quote, free, independent press. and has high respect for journalists. she said this to an audience that included the president, the
vice president, mike pence. is europe viewing the president's attacks on the media as an affront to european ade ideals? >> it's interesting, vice president pence gave a very important message, i think, for european partners to hear, that the united states is still committed to those values. but his comments really were belied, both the day before, and almost immediately after by tweets that were sent by president trump, in which he referred to the mainstream press as enemies of the american people yesterday, and sort of doubled down on the criticism, just after pence got off the podium by saying, you know, charges of fake news against the american press yet again. you can forgive our european counterparts for being somewhat confused by the very mix signals that are coming out of washinon. not just on those values questions, but on a number of big foreign policy questions. what is the u.s. policy right now towards russia? you have some administration officials signal ing that we're going to revisit our sanctions
against russia, which is in place because of what's going on in ukraine, which haven't improved. you have some saying those sanctions have to stay in place. in every major policy area, you have senior administration officials making self-contradictory remarks and even contradicting the president. >> john, who is running american foreign policy? is it bannon? jared kushner? is it the people who are here representing the president? >> well, you won't be surprised to hear they don't exactly confide in former obama officials about how they're running the show. but in a normal administration, the president would be giving the direction and the national security adviser would be the one charged with bringing the cabinet together, you know, knocking heads together when necessary, and reaching a set of common positions. right now that job is vacant. not surprising in some ways, given everything that's happened, that they're having some trouble filling it.
that seems to be the most important order of business. to get a clear set of policy positions on key areas of policy out and start explaining to the public. by the way, another problem here is that the state department, which normally is responsible for doing public diplomacy, for telling the world what it is the u.s. is doing and why, has not done a briefing for reporters since january 19th. the day before inauguration day, when the obama administration was still in office? chris, just crucially, germany and france are facing national elections this year. it's important to remember that outside of the politics in washington, that there are politics around the world at play. how is the trump presidency affectinthose elections? >> well, with i think it's sewing a lot of fear here, but not as much fear as the possibility that marine le pen will become the next president of france. that possibility seems to be growing because of a lot of internal political issues here. she's committed, essentially, to
breaking up the european union. if you break up the european union, that also grievously undermines nato. and marine le pen's campaign, it's no secret, has been partially financed by the russians. so there's a lot of consternation here at the possibility that she may be the next president. in germany, the situation is a lot more complicated as the rising stars of social democrat. but the marine le pen presidency is a real possibility here and a very scary one to a lot of people who are committed to the old, traditional ideas of what the west is all about. >> and "the washington post" just wrote about how american lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are concerned about trump's words affecting american diplomacy. a growing roster believe that president trump's pugnacious rhetoric and unpredictable behavior threaten to diminish the united states' standing around the world and do real
damage to fragile diplomatic relationships and may even weaken global stability. what specifically are lawmakers most concerned about? >> i think there are a lot of people who watched that press conference the other day and saw a message being sent to the rest of the world, that's, by the way, not inconsistent with other things the president has said and done. and are looking at the way the rest of the world might be perceiving some of the tone, the tenor, and the substance of the president's comments and are concerned about the way our country is being perceived. i will say, so far, it's been mostly democrats who have been outspoken in their criticism s o the administration and the president. but if you see a growing chorus of republicans, maybe that will finally start to break through and penetrate a white house that has so far effective live decided to ignore the criticism that's coming in. >> that may be. chrisly dickey and former chief
of hostage, thank you both for joining us. up next, we'll talk to australia's former prime minister, kevin rudd. then we'll turn to the search for a new national security adviser. after the break, david petraeus apparently out of the running. why the former cia director reportedly withdrew his name from consideration. and jacob soboroff will be with you next hour. he'll have much more on the protests the taking place across the country today.
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current prime minister of australia. how would you have handled a phone call like that? what would your reaction have been? and what is the reaction of australia now? >> i probably would have responded by using various words in the anglo-saxon language. i'm not fan of the current prooiprime minister, that's blocks. but australia like the united kingdom are very old, continuing allies of the united states and frankly, that's no way to treat an ally. >> and does a call like that make a difference? or does an australian prime minister just kind of take it in his stride? does his administration just kind of say, let's move on, let's be diplomatic and get the best we can from an ally like the united states? >> i think australians, political leaders have fairly broad shoulders. we're fairly rough with each other. >> known for it. >> but that's one thing, where the danger lies and how the damage lies is how that flows through to australian public opinion. and by tension, to other allies,
have they the same experience. the and the bottom line is this. not only did this occur, but it was briefed by the white house that this occurred. that's a very odd way to treat a very close ally. as i said, i'm not particular fan of the current australian prime minister, but i'm speaking as a country, if you like, and someone who's been in the trenches with the americans literally for a hundred years. >> and the vice president's trip here and other members of the trump administration is being interpreted as an attempt to sort of calm the world, to reassure people. do you feel reassured? >> well, i'm not in office, so i'm not around to be reassured. but i thought the vice president spoke well. i don't know the vice president. i think the honest reflection of the room, though, and i was in there while he spoke, is that people were asking themselves from whichever country they came from, does he speak for the president, given that the president is known for changing his posture. i'm the kind of person who is a
chatter analyst by training. that's what i did before i got into politics. and the flip-flop flap that we've seen on the one china policy is pretty spectacular. so therefore, it's not an unreasonable question more people to have in the back of their mind in an conference such as the munich security conference, which i've been coming to for years, and where the united states is treated with great respect to say, is the vice president really speaking for the president on nato? i think the other thing is, most of the europeans noted the fact that the eu didn't rate a mention. >> and aside from that kind of politics, if you like, in your region of the world, one of the big issues is north korea. and we've seen just this past week another missile test, allegations that the north korean leader's brother was assassinated by the north korean regime. do you think that north korea is going to present a serious foreign policy crisis for the president in the next four
years? >> on the balance of probabilities, yes, and it won't just be a foreign policy crisis, it will be a national security crisis. strip away all the politics, this is a technical question. when do the europeans cross the threshold -- sorry, when do the north koreans -- not europeans -- cross the threshold. i've just been sharing a panel in that building there on north korean programs, nuclear programs. and south korean foreign minister said within two years, that's a mixture of how many nuclear bombs have they got, how accurate, and what's the range of the missiles and can they miniaturize the bombs on to the top of a warhead. that's a question of technical progress. and we're getting close to one minute to midnight. so forget about whether pr president trump's nice to anyone or not on the telephone. this is a real clear and present danger. the question for the americans, the chinese, everyone else is, how can we arrest this at one
minute to midnight? that's the real foreign policy and security policy challenge. >> a really sobering thought. former prime minister of australia, kevin rudd. i think the right way to say thank you is say, thanks, mate. >> well, on your cover. >> thank you very much for joining us. okay, and back in the u.s., the search for a national security adviser continues. former cia director, david petraeus is no longer in the running to replace michael flynn after petraeus reportedly insisted he would be able to choose his own staff. joining me now to discuss this and more is retired four-star general and msnbc military analyst, general barry mccaffey. keith kellogg and john bolton are some of the names being considered. why is hiring a national security adviser such a problem for this administration? are they looking at the right candidates, asking the right questions? >> well, i think part of the problem is the intellectual heavyweights of the defense community and the republican
party all denounced the president during the campaign. so the pickings are sort of slim. having said that, there are good people out there who i'm sure would consider serving. the problem is the acacrimoniou the disorganization inside the white house and for that matter, with among the government, is so proud that a lot of good people are going to be hesitant to risk their career for public service. the good news is, w still have secretary mtis at defense. i'm sure secretary tillerson will find his position. and the cia director is very sound. so we may see cabinet government keeping us afloat. >> and another role, dan coats hasn't been confirmed as director of national intelligence. what signal does it send to the european counterparts that this role and the role of national security adviser aren't filled? >> well, i'm -- i would not be
unsurprised to see senator coates withdraw his name. there was a lot of talk about putting in other unqualified people in the administration and in the intelligence community. he may not stay with them. i think right now, nato, which is the center of our defensive security for the united states and canada, it's nato. it is in disarray. by the way, it's not just president trump calling it obsolete. the problem is the germans essentially disarmed -- they used to have a massive powerful, well-trained, well-equipped conventional air and ground forces. so did the french, so did the brits. a lot of that is gone. and so, now, we've got, you know, one u.s. brigade rotating to europe. i might add, we pulled out during the clinton and the bush 43 era the peace dividend forces. we almost totally left europe,
where there were too light empty b ga brigades and limited air power. this is a central threat to europe, not isis. although isis is a huge domestic threat that's best dealt with through intelligence, special forces and law enforcement. >> what's your take on pence, mattis, tillerson's tour abroad this week? >> well, secretary tillerson has been slow off the mark, i must admit. he doesn't have his team in place, they firedd all their existing ambassadors and a lot of the senior people in the state department. i'm surprised he didn't come to munich. and only had secretary mattis and the vice president there. but part of it, look, in the background, you've got the president of the united states with unmistakable messages
calling nato obsolete, not quite sure he supports a european union and calling for closer relationships with russia. the europeans now understand, particularly poland, the baltic states, ukraine, that russia is a threat to western europe. so the message out of the white house is contradicting everything that vice president pence and secretary mattis says. >> generalccaffrey, thank you for joining us. >> good to be with you. straight ahead, new details in the mysterious death of north korean leader kim jong-un's half brother. another arrest made and a fight over where his body should be taken. plus, what does a death say about the status of the north korean regime? before fibromyalgia,
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north korean leader kim jong-un's brother. a north korean man was taken into custody friday night. it's believed he and three other people are in custody, being held at this police station. the new arrest comes as north korea tries to block a second autopsy on kim jong-nam. the north korean ambassadoro malaysia saying it's not needed, since he died of a heart attack. >> they are colluding with outside forces who are interest ing to demonstrate the measure of our republic. >> joining me now from new york, here's gordon challenge, "forbes" columnist and author of "nuclear showdown: north korea takes on the world." gordon, you say the assassination suggests that the north korean regime is unstable and its leader is desperate. kim jong-un has ordered the deaths of hundreds of people since taking power in 2011. how is this different? >> what we've had during this month are three instances of instability in the regime. there's the assassination of kim
jong-nam, which is important, because remember in north korea, the legitimacy of the government is dependent on the kim bloodline. so killing a brother, even a half brother, it really is a heinous act. but also in the beginning of the month, we had news that the minister of state security was purged and also on sunday's missile launch, the head of the strategic rocket forces was not present, indicating instability at the top of the important north korean military. put all of this together, february has been a very bad month for the regime. >> i was there in career at this week and the south koreans are certainly convinced it was north korea. the man arrested last night is the first north korean to be arrested with the death and north korea doesn't want an investigation. how does that play for you fl terms of whether this really is an ablct by north korean regime.
>> it's a confirmation. north korean officials showing up at the mortuary, demanding the body, why would the north koreans do that unless they had a hand in the murder of kim jong-nam. clearly, north korea is involved. there have been 140 officials killed by kim jong-un since he took over in 2011. you add in the junior officials that have died in the camps. you may have a death toll approaching 500. this is a bloody regime. and when you start killing people, it creates instability, because blood demands blood. and what we have right now is really macbeth with nukes. >> and we've seen the missile tests, does all of that suggest a ratcheting up of the north koreans, that's going to in time trouble the new president? >> i think so.
and the reason is that killing this half brother is a serious event. that means that kim jong-un's risk threshold is very low. you know, we always assume that kim jong-un's not going to do things like launch a missile, because that would invite an overwhelming response. but we don't know how much risk kim jong-un is willing to take. if he thinks he's going to die anyway, he may do what his father told his grandfather, and that is, if i lose, destroy the world. and kim jong-un has three missiles that can hit the lower 48 states. he can't get a nuke to them yet, but that's something they'll able to do in three or four years. this is getting extraordinarily dangerous. >> all right. "forbes" columnist, gordon chang, thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> and that's it for me this hour. i'm keir simmons in munich. thanks for joining me. jacob soboroff will be you on the other side of the break. he'll have much more on president trump's rally set for this evening in florida.
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...what you love. ensure. always be you. good afternoon. i'm jacob soboroff at msnbc world headquarters. it is 3:00 p.m. eastern time, here in new york. and in melbourne, florida, where president trump is expected to hold a campaign-style rally, just two hours from now. it is a rally that we will carry live, right here on msnbc. while the president speaks to reporters here in the u.s., vice president pence as well as defense secretary james mattis and secretary of state rex tillerson are overseas in germany, trying to ease our allies' concerns over the new administration and its so-called america first approach. meanwhile, for the fifth straight weekend, anti-trump rallies are taking place all across the country. we'll go live to one of those rallies just minutes from now. but we begin, just two hours fr