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tv   MSNBC Live With Hallie Jackson  MSNBC  May 9, 2017 7:00am-8:01am PDT

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defense secretary wrapping up a news conference. we've learned president is considering sending more troops to afghanistan. no final decision but a senior white house official tells us that could come soon. more on the possible options and possible outcomes overseas. at home. no welcome mat for republicans on recess. r 13 senators set to meet in the next few hours to start to figure out a way forward. later this hour we'll be joined by the number two democrat in the chamber. senator dick durbin of illinois. also, more arhinements raig the hazing death. why did witnesses at the frat wait 12 hours to call for help. hans nichols, kristen welker at the white house. on set. former undersecretary of defense under president obama. washington burrow chief susan page. and "new york times" reporter
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and msnbc contributor, jeremy peters. hans, starting with you. what we're learning about numbers, locations, possible additional forces in afghanistan. break it down for us. >> the numbers, the range is 3,000 to 5,000. that's what we're hearing. i just got off the phone with a senior administration official. they're stressing this is still in the deliberation process. no final decision has been made. and president trump is asking some questions about this proposed policy. what we know about the policy, more troops to fight directly against the taliban. bolster the afghan national army. what trump is asking about is what's the regional approach. he is asking these questions namely because it's difficult to see a solution in afghanistan unless you have some sort of approach to pakistan. the hostages. the network holds them in pakistan. a great deal of fighters that go back and forth. remember, a couple of weeks ago it was the secretary mattis went to kabul. i was there with them. they're talking about more than 20 or some 20 international
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terrorist groups. some are cross-border groups. they're also talking about the flow ofussian arms, what russian small weapons are doing to the fight. again, this is a review, this has not gone to the president for a final decision. he has some pointed questions about what the overall strategy may end up being. hallie. >> hans, stick around for a minute. i want to go to kristen at the white house. unsurprised that the president is looking at all of these options here. that's what senior administration officials have been telling us including just this morning. what do we know about any kind of time line for a decision from the president? >> we anticipate it's going to happen somewhat soon, hallie, but no firm deadline. the president is going to make up his mind when he believes he has all of those questions that hans was talking about answered. we do think that the most popular plan, the plan that's getting the most focus right now, would be what hans was talking about, adding additional troops to the region. but look, this would mark a major policy shift for the u.s.
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under the former obama administration, the policy was to try to scale back engagement in afghanistan. so why the reason for ramping up now? well, pentagon officials, white house officials believe they want to take on an increasingly emboldened taliban, get them back to the bargaining table and bring stability to that region. this is, of course, america's longest war. the president on the campaign trail talked about if there was any action at all it needed to be strong and swift. this could also mark a potential shift for president trump and his america first foreign policy, hallie, that he talked about on the campaign trail. this is a tweet. in 2013. it's a marked difference from what we're talking about right now. he tweeted, we should leave afghanistan immediately. no more wasted lives. if we have to go back in, we go in hard and quick. rebuild the u.s. first. so is this a president who is, yet again, justing adjusting to
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realities of his office. no firm time line. no official events yet on the president's schedule. >> kristen welker on the white house noh lawn. thank you. i want to bng marcell, susan and jeremy. marcell, starting with you. kristen talked about how this could be seen as a contradiction to the president's america first policy. could also be seen as a president looking to get a win. get in, go hard and get out. is there such a thing as a win in afghanistan? what would it look like? >> this wouldn't be the first time we looked at adding forces to afghanistan. under president obama we had two additional force movements in, one at the beginning of the administration and one about a year and a half later. one thing that is certain, whenever you do add u.s. forces into the mix, they'll make progress on the security front. the challenge, though, is that ultimately the success will come in afghanistan through a political, diplomatic and economic approach. a wholistic, whole of government approach.
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the challenge here is that that has been tough to do over the last 15 years. it's made even turf undougher u trump budget with 30% cuts to state department, diplomacy and to the international work that's helpful to these causes. >> condoleezza rice this morning talked about the wholistic approach on the "today" show. i want to play that for you. listen. >> the president will have to look at a wide variety of things, not just troops but what is the strategy for increasing troop strength. it doesn't make sense just to increase troop strength to keep doing the same thing. >> have you seen evidence, marcell, that he has a strategy, that the president is working to unfold a strategy on afghanistan to fight not just the taliban but isis and other terror groups as well? >> not yet. that's a pattern that's played out in other challenges. russia, syria, the fight against isis and al qaeda. what we need to see over the next couple of weeks is an
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articulation of the strategy, to what end will we actually be engaging in afghanistan. what objectives are in mind. if he has the opportunity with the nato later in may to use that as an opportunity to articulate the strategy and bring on the allies in the international community to support it. >> i want to talk about what we've seen from secretary mattis. he was overseas this morning. he did not say much about troop buildup. he was in copenhagen saying in afghanistan we are up against a determined enemy here. when a government wins the affection, resuspepect of afgha people no enemy can win against them. this is clearly, susan and jeremy, discussion that's being had frequently. secretary mattis. h.r. mcmaster. secretary tillerson and the president himself. trump seems to have had an evolution. in january he said let's get out of afghanistan. our troops are being killed by the afghanis. we train and waste billions
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there. nonsense. rebuild the u.s. in september of 2012. 84% of troops wounded. 70% of our brave men and women killed in afghanistan have all gone under obama. get out of there. >> this is a debate that not just president trump has had. it's a debate that president obama and george w. bush had. the idea, going in hard and fast and getting out of afghan has not proved to be possible for any of them or for other nations that have gotten involved in afghanistan. that's what makes it such a hard question for the trump administration. clearly, if he goes for a troop buildup in afghanistan, that is at odds with what he campaigned on. the america-first policy, not just in afghanistan but elsewhere. his decision recently to do the bombing in syria was also a step away from what he campaigned on. and while it was widely praised in foreign policy circles, among some of the people who voted for donald trump, that's not what they thought they were voting
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for. >> go ahead, jeremy. >> exactly right. there are a few problems here. number one, ask any number of nations that have tried to intervene in afghanistan how that went. and if it's a place that president trump is looking for a political win, it seems like a curious place to do so. not that i think that he is being that callous and politically calculating that he would send troops into afghanistan just because he wanted a win. i don't think his generals would let him do that either. susan raises a good point. a significant chunk of americans voted for president trump because they believed he would end what they saw as military adventurism overseas and refocus the nation's resources on itself. that's not this. that's why you are seeing the deliberation in the white house. there are many advisers to president trump arguing as we speak, this is not why you were elected. this is a betrayal of what you said you would do. on the right, on the conservative blogs and on the radio you are starting to hear fierce push-back. >> nobody wants to get out over their skis on this.
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hans said it at the top of the show. no decision has been made yet by the president. he has questions. he is asking the questions of secretary mattis, people like his national security adviser. i wonder, though, when we look at the potential decision to send more troops to afghanistan -- hans, i want to bring you in here, we know it's likely that secretary mattis will end up getting the authority, the approval, to determine troop levels. as is currently happening in iraq and syria right now as well. explain why that is significant. >> instead of having a strategy to the troop level number, you'll have a strategy and then the troops will fall in line in that. they changed those authorities for iraq and syria, so they got away with this technical term i'll give it to you. it's called the force management level. for iraq and syria it was a little bit north of 5,000. there could have been as many as two times the number of troops in there and they were just there on a rotational basis. what the pentagon has wanted in syria and iraq they're likely to potentially get in afghanistan where they just have more leeway
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to move troops in and out without worrying about the fml which is currently 8400. one quick point on adventurism and nation building. it's important to note in afghanistan you have resolute support, the nato mission. supporting the afghan government and national army. that's three-fourths of the american troops there. two-thirds of troops are part of sentinel. they're going after al qaeda and isis. the rangers who died a couple weeks ago as well as where they dropped the moab. trump campaigned on defeating isis. >> let's talk timing for a second. thanks, hans. e infamous iraq surge announced by former president bush ten years ago this week. a key figure in that, hr mcmaster. appears to be a key figure in this discussion as well. is that a fair comparison, fair
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discussion about what his role is in the process moving forward? >> it shows that despite the press over the last day or two, questions about hr mcmaster, he is one of the most astute, most seasoned and most experienced strategists and practitioners of counter insurgency and counter-terrorism that we have in place today. it is good that the strategy development is in his hands. one thing i would say is that afghanistan is another area where president trump, i think, is realizing that, as he engages on the strategy and the strategic questions, things are a lot more complex than first might meet the eye. this is one where, because of the threat of al qaeda, of isis, instability in afghanistan, a pretty complex strategic situation that he will have to think his way through carefully. >> marcell thaenk you very much for being here. the white house now pushing back against new questions about why it took 18 days to fire then national security adviser mike flynn even after warnings he could have been compromised by russia. we're taking a look at the time
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line from the former acting attorney general, sally yates and her long awaited testimony. what you may have missed in the story line moving forward. ever after the break. standby. hey katy, let me show you how behind schedule we are. yeah. are those the pyrotechnics that are gonna startle me from a distance? yep. and my impractical wardrobe changes, those all set? not even close. oh, this is probably going to shine in your eyes at the worst possible time. perfect. we're looking at a real train wreck here, am i right? wouldn't it be great if everyone said what they meant? the citi® double cash card does. it lets you earn double cash back with 1% when you buy, and 1% as you pay. the citi double cash card. double means double. take 5, guys. tired of your bladder always cutting into your day? you may have overactive bladder, or oab. that's it! we really need to get with the program and see the doctor.
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so if you thought sally yates' testimony yesterday might answer all the questions you have about mike flynn, think again.
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here is chris murphy on morning joe today. >> are there other individuals inside the white house who have had conversations with the russians that the white house knows about and simply haven't been let go only because the public hasn't found out about it. we have to ask if we're just scratching the surface of indivials in the white hse who are -- have been knowingly compromised through connections to the russians. >> who knows. >> senate murphy added so far he hasn't seen a smoking gun that the trump campaign colluded with the russian government. yates revealed more about her warning to the white house about now fired former national security adviser michael flynn. bringing in ken dilanian and former cia military analyst tara maller. and back with me, of course, susan page and "new york times" jere jeremy peters. ken, in addition to sally yates' testimony we heard something
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interesting from james clapper. he was asked by lindsey graham about any kind of concern about trump business interests. anything from president trump's business that might have a tie to russia. clapper said he can't comment on that because that impacts the investigation. it was a moment that raised eyebrows. i want your take on that. >> my take, hallie, is we need to be cautious about that. clapper also said he hasn't been briefed on the fbi counter intelligence investigation and he only learned about it when comey disclosed it publicly. i am not sure what to read into clapper's statement there. there has clearly been a series of allegations that the russians have tried to influence trump through business deals. now, trump, of course, denies doing business in russia, but there are well documented instances where russians have invested in trump properties. just recently, a golf writer claimed that eric trump told him that trump was financing his golf courses with russian money. eric trump has subsequently denied that. but there is a swirl of
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allegations and a lot of interest in what -- to what extent are russians investing in trump real estate in the united states and elsewhere. that's something maybe donald trump's tax returns would answer. >> let me play one of the key moments here from the former acting attorney general sally yates. listen. >> the national security adviser essentially could be black-mailed. you don't want your national security adviser compromised with the russians. >> explain to us how serious that was and what that could have exposed our government to. >> it was a key moment. you heard from sally yates, two real areas of concern. not just that the underlying contact was problematic but she was concerned that general fly was compromisable or subject to black-mail by the russians potentially because he was lying to the vice president and lying to people internally within the administration but also we're not sure, there might actually be more there there. a number of responses yates gave said she couldn't delve into specifics because it would have
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gotten into classified information. there could be intelligence from the russian side of the equation. their intentions with flynn. content in the conversations which was not made public during the open hearings yesterday because of the classified nature. there could be more there about the problematic nature of the content and the intention of the russians to perhaps manipulate or compromise flynn in some way. we didn't see that in intelligence yesterday but undoubtedly behind the scenes democrats and republicans on the committee are probably pressing for more information on that. >> where does this go from here, tara? what's the biggest question you still have after listening to the hearing? >> two big questions here. one, why did it take as long as it did when the information -- there were repeated warnings, repeated red flags. this is the national security adviser. this is not some low-level defense or intelligence official somewhere in the chain of command where it took a while sitting on this information. that's question one. why was president trump defending flynn until the end, even at the point of
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resignation. the other main question here is the purpose of this investigation and the purpose of this hearing is to look into collusion with russia. these other story lines are all relevant and important, but the question is, why were there so many questionable series of contacts with the russians? was there potentially information being exchanged that was potentially illegal or corrupt in some sense? or was there on a larger scale, any sort of collusion. there was no smoking gun on collusion yesterday, but there are still a lot of outstanding questions about the nature and reasons for the covering up of a lot of contact with the russians that were not reported, including in flynn's case payments that were not disclosed. >> susan and jeremy, chris christie went on tv and talked about what he perceived as red flags about michael flynn. listen. >> he was not always my cup of tea in terms of style. i madehat clear to the candidate at the time. but not red flags concerning something as specific as that. >> you did warn the president about making him national security adviser. you didn't think he should be
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slotted for that. >> my advice to the president is my advice to the president. i don't talk about it publicly. suffice to say general flynn and i didn't see eye to eye on some things. >> is that a little monday morning quarterback? >> somebody who assumed he would have a larger role in the administration than he does. chris christie is saying something that's absolutely true. there are deep misgivings inside trump's inner circle about how to deal with michael flynn. and a lot of pushback. where chris christie and barack obama agreed that michael flynn was unfit to be national security adviser. trump ultimately, because he prizes loyalty for flynn. still does. this gets back to the point we were discussing earlier, which is why trump waited two and a half weeks before firing flynn, despite the reputation he has as a firm, decisive, swaggering chief executive, he doesn't like
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to fire people. that's what happened. >> is that the key question, susan? flash forward to 1:30 today when sean spicer takes questions from reporters. will the key question be what's up with the 18 days? what happened? >> the specific esti is 18 days, tell us your side of that. we haven't heard that. there is a bigger question from yesterday's hearing. which is, just because we've talked about it for a couple of months, let's not forget what's happened here. the top national security adviser to the president of the united states had problematic conversations with a russian ambassador, lied about it to the vice president, prompting the attorney general to go talk to the white house about it, and ultimately forced his resignation. that's one of the biggest scandals in decades -- biggest potential scandals in decades in this nation and it's one that will still be explored. i can guarantee you this won't be over in months. it will head into next year and beyond in terms of the investigations at the fbi and on capitol hill. >> you know who wants it to be over, president trump. does he regret his association
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with michael flynn? >> you would be hard pressed to find president trump saying he regretted something over the course of his campaign. no. i'll tell you how this is playing with trump supporters. i have been talking to them. i sat in a few focus groups in the last couple of weeks. >> you've been on the road. this is why you're back here. >> thanks for having me back. this is why -- i will tell you how they see this. they see this as controversy that is drummed up by the fake news media. >> and how does -- what do you do about that? anything, nothing? keep reporting it. >> you keep reporting it. the thing that's problematic for trump supporters who i agree feel that way and feel this is not something that affects their lives. an fbi investigation that is not imperious to political calculations but pretty independent. it will be continuing in secret, not a lot of leaks from the fbi investigation. this is not going away. >> well, this is how trump supporters caveat it a little
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bit. this is how they see it now. you're right. as it drags on and there are more investigations. >> the perception might change. >> sure. >> thank you. coming up in aewhours, we are talking about more members of penn state fraternity facing a judge after the death of a 19-year-old pledge. we are live in college park with newly revealed 911 calls. giving details about what happened before anybody asked for help. ♪ ♪ here's to breaking more glass ceilings.
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we're back with a look at this morning's headlines. in south korea liberal candidate is set to be the country's new president. moon has pushed for more dialogue wh north korea and criticized the u.s.eployment of an anti-ballistic missile defense system. also overseas. former president obama wrapping up a two-day trip to milan. he key-noted a summit on climate change and food security. have you seen this video? check it out. major fight at a florida airport after nine flights got canceled. that's what triggered this brawl. hundreds of passengers stranded. nobody was hurt, fortunately, video shows three people being taken away in handcuffs by security. today, eight more students
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from a penn state fraternity will be arraigned in court on charges related to the hazing death of a 19-year-old pledge. stephanie gosk is instate college pennsylvania for us. there is a newly released 911 call. give us more details. what can you tell us? >> reporter: yeah. we are hearing the 911 call for the first time. it's quiet on campus. it's the spring semester that is over. summer break is beginning. it's normally a happy time, not for the 18 frat brothers who lived at beta theta pi in this house behind me. eight, as you mentioned, will be arraigned today. we are hearing that 911 call with new details. and the question that a lot of people have on their minds after hearing it and learning about the time line is why did it take so long to place that call. >> we have a friend who's unconscious. >> by the time a fraternity brother called 911, timothy piazza was in bad shape. >> he hasn't moved.
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he has cold extremities. probably going to need an pamer ambulance. >> was there alcohol or anything involved? >> yes. >> reporter: so much alcohol that piazza's blood alcohol content was four times the legal limit when he tumbled down a flight of stairs 12 hours before the 911 call. just 19, piazza, an engineering student, was pledging to join the penn state chapter of beta theta pi. >> instead, what he found was a culture of depravity and debauchery. >> reporter: the indictment reveals whatrocursall a coverup by the fraternity. fraternity president brendan young instructed daniel casey, the active pledge master to make sure the pledges clean the basement and get rid of any evidence. young and casey are facing a combined 401 charges, among them, involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault. he says.
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what happened to mr. piazza was the exception, not the expectation. young's attorney did not respond to our requests for comment. in the days after piazza's death, prosecutors say text messages between uncharged pledges acknowledge they participated in a hazing ritual. one pledge writes the gantlet, dude. it's like technically hazing. a second responds, like, if you think about it, it never would have happened if they didn't forcefully get us hammered. that's just how people will look at it. a third pledge asks later on, how will you describe the gauntlet to police? a fourth responds. i am just hoping we don't have to. >> a fll it would have taken iso have one person stand up and have the courage to do the right thing. >> reporter: the eight fraternity brothers being arraigned today are looking at lesser charges. evidence tampering.
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reckless endangerment. the others are facing more serious charges, they were arraigned on friday. they are looking at invol intun manslaughter and assault. the assault could get a maximum sentence of 10 to 20 years. >> disturbing story out of state college. thank you for joining us. coming up, we'll focus back on politics and talk about how the latest senate working group plans to tackle health care. here is the list. we'll tell you why some senators are not too pleased about who is in and who is out. new push-back for house republicans on their home turf. we'll break it down with our political panel on this sunny spring day in washington. . with unitedhealthcare, you can get rewarded for all kinds of things... like walking. hey, honey. dad, where's the car?
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watch. >> i am representative shaun patrick maloney. where is your congressman? if you're going to change people's health care and you're proud of it, stand up and explain it. answer basic questions. >> congressman faso says a scheduling conflict prevented him from attending but he dismissed maloney's event as a rally. >> in the past hour. nbc news learned these 13 members of the senate's health care working group will be getting down to business. that's set to happen about 90 minutes from now as they try to figure out the path forward in the senate. you can see the makeup of the group there. more about that later in the show. mike and chris, former chief of staff to senator joe manchin and we're joined by elise jordan. former adviser did the rand paul presidential campaign. walk us through the new details,
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mike, about what we expect to see from today's meeting on health care. just the start, right? >> that's right. hallie. actually, this group has been a smaller group that's been meeting informally led by ted cruz over the last few weeks. this is the first meeting of the expanded group announced by mitch mcconnell just after the tumultuous house vote last week. you see there are 13 members. notably all male, all white, with the exception of ted cruz, a hispanic american. on the docket for the first meeting led by mitch mcconnell and the republican leadership, john corner, john thune and others is medicaid. this is a touchy issue. turns out the medicaid expansion within obamacare has turned out to be quite popular even in the red states, even those led by republican governors. rob portman, who is on the group, from ohio, concerned about the $880 billion cut slated to occur in medicaid if the house bill were to become law which nobody is expecting right now. but front and center on the agenda today.
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texas has expanded medicaid. florida expanded medicaid. georgia expanded medicaid. a lot of red states. that's a sensitive issue. on the town halls. it's fascinating to see the trolling. democrats going into republican districts. that's something you rarely see. the gloves are really coming off from a political sense here. those 20 republicans who voted -- i am sorry, 17 republicans from districts won by hillary clinton considered to be very vulnerable now. democrats smell political blood in the water. 24 million people, we understand, even though we don't have an updated cbo score. 24 million people stand to lose their insurance. it's a volatile issue even a year and a half out from the mid-term elections. >> mike, thank you much. he brings up a good point about how heated this has become and how much it's playing into the political process. chris, i'll ask you. we talked about what was described as a little bit of
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trolling from democrats into into republican districts. are these stunts or do you expect more progress on moving forward for a health care compromise? >> i don't see a lot of room for health care compromise. the senate will go through the motions. >> it's done. why even bother, then? >> you see the working panel, the sea of diversity. i have a hard time understanding how they're going to really appreciate the health care concerns the american people have. they'll go through it because they have to do something. at some point they'll try to work it out, but i don't see how that happens. this is where the house republicans and the senate republicans are in a political pickle. that is, how do you now deal with an issue where you're taking something away. those 24 million people who may lose health care, we call those motivated voters. they're going to come out and they're going to be angry. >> elise, if you're advising some of these republicans chris is talking about, what would you tell them? how do they thread the needle? >> i think that, first of all,
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the optics of what the event bill -- they've already shot themselves in the foot by not including a woman on the panel. we know that women's health issues will be hugely contentious as part of the rewrite of the ahca. so i feel like they just, coming out of the gates are setting themselves up with poor optics. also, they perhaps could have included senator tim scott, one of the largest insurance brokers in the state of south carolina. but it just -- it seems to me that some fundamental steps are missing in this process of just understanding how visceral, you know, the rries are among constituents around the country and that these casual statements by representatives who say it doesn't matter about access to health care, it certainly doesn't help to allay the public's fears. >> get out your crystal ball and look ahead. what will we end up with in x number of months as far as a
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health care bill out of the senate? what does it include? what doesn't it include? what seems most likely right now? >> i think they're going to try to delay, delay, delay, first of all, to try to push the ball down the field for as long as possible and to avoid actually doing anything. but i do think that the high-risk pools, that's going to be the big issue that i am watching to see how the gop fiscal conservatives will reconcile that with the public's, you know, demand for ensuring that preexisting conditions are still covered. i think that's going to be the big -- the big hurdle for these republican senators to come -- to overcome within themselves. >> so chris, i want your take on that. because you know the senate. you have been in the halls over there. what, to you, is the thing that you are most looking at on the republican side? you have already said you don't think compromise will happen, fine. but what's the headline for you five months from now?
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>> i think they are at an impasse. unless you can bring republican -- i'm sorry -- democrats over to republicans into a working group to address this issue, how will you pass anything? how are you going to actually present a bill to the american people that says, yes, there is some bipartisan approach to this. this is what frustrates the american people. it wasn't that obamacare couldn't be made better, but the idea that you're going to repeal it and not replace with anything that makes it better but makes it actually worse. when you look at, for example, my old boss, senator manchin. talked about 170,000 west virginians who will lose health care under the house bill, how do you pass that in good conscience to the same voters that you supposedly were reaching out to. i'm talking about house republican ands donald trump. this is the problem that republicans have. they've now put themselves in a position where they're actually going to be arguing against the
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very people that supported them. >> chris kofinis and elise jordan, thank you both for your perspectives. see you next teime. coming up, talking about all of this with the number two democrat in senate. dick durbin. he'll join us to talk health care, afghanistan, donald trump, russia, flynn and more. stick around. before fibromyalgia, i was active. i was energetic. then the chronic, widespread pain drained my energy. my doctor said moving more helps ease fibromyalgia pain. he also prescribed lyrica. fibromyalgia is thought to be the result of overactive nerves. lyrica is believed to calm these nerves. for some, lyrica can significantly relieve fibromyalgia pain and improve function, so i feel better. lyrica may cause serious allergic reactions... or suicidal thoughts or actions. tell your doctor right away if you have these, new or worsening depression, or unusual changes in mood or behavior. or swelling, trouble breathing, rash, hives, blisters, muscle pain with fever, tired feeling, or blurry vision.
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we are back on what has turned i a very busy news morning with plenty to talk about with senator dick durbin of illinois who is joining me now live from capitol hill. senator, thank you very much for being with us. there is a bunch to get to. i want to start with some of the news coming out this morning on afghanistan. the president according to our reporting, considering a strategy to add thousands more troops, giving the pentagon the authority to make determination on troop levels. are those the right moves? >> it's time for us to ask some hard questions. we spent billions of dollars, we've lost thousands of american lives. we have been engaged in this war for every 15 years and we are still struggling to determine how it can end favorably for the best interests of the united states and the afghan people. we sent thousands of our best military adviser and the afghan
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military is still unable to defend its own nation and to really take control. we have to ask ourselves a question. how long will this go on? how long will it be a battle, and when does it become a permanent occupation? that's a question congress needs to face. >> that's the question for congress. the question in front of the president is what does he do with american troops on the ground there? do you agree, if he makes this decision to send more troops there as part of a surge, do you agree with that strategy? >> well, it's hard to argue for or against it without more detail. we have tried this before. we have tried to fortify our effort in afghanistan under republican and democratic presidents, and the fact is we are still on the situation where the taliban controls a massive part of the territory. we need to have an honest answer to the question, will the afghans ever be in a position where there is less corruption and less incompetence and they're able to stand up and defend their own nation. it's time for honest answers. >> is there anything you are seeing in these reports out about what the president, what the administration is
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considering on afghanistan that you would agree with, that you would encourage the president to move forward on? >> i still have many questions that are unanswered and will certainly address those in the committee structure. but no, solid information that tells me just a few more troops for a few more months will make any difference whatsoever. >> do you have any expectation that the president or some of his top staffers will come to congress and brief you on what's going on? >> i hope they do. ultimately, with the power of the purse, congress decides whether or not to fund the efforts. >> let me ask about health care, senator. some of your republican colleagues in the chamber will be meeting in an hour or so. talk about your involvement. do you expect to have any interaction with that working group as they hammer out the plan for health care moving forward? >> no. i think it'll be a partisan meeting. at least the first meeting. if they expect to really come forward with a bill that improves our health care system rather than increases the cost of health insurance and takes health insurance away from millions of americans, it needs to be a bipartisan effort.
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if they want to sit at the table, take repeal off the table and have a constructive, bipartisan conversation about making health care better and more effective in america, i'm ready to pull up a chair. >> let me ask you broadly about the messaging that we haveeard frublicans on this. there's not a lot of convertion, at least now, about smaller government, about personal responsibility. some of those conversations that we've heard in the past. do you feel that republicans are trying to maybe take the democrats potential high ground when it comes to health care in the way they are communicating about their plan moving forward? >> no, i don't. if you listen carefully to what the republican members of the house said about their vote, they were basically keeping their promise to end obamacare as they call it and ignoring the consequences. that's why every major medical provider organization in america came out against the republican repeal of the affordable care act. the hospitals, the doctors, the nurses, the pediatricians, the disabled community, even the american association of retired persons. when i look at my state of illinois, i can't find a single
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medical provider that supports what all of the republican congressmen voted for in the house of representatives last week. >> we just had a republican strategist on last segment, senator, who talked about the makeup of this working group in the senate. asking why there were no women. the senator of west virginia told a producer, you know, those are choices that were made. you know, i don't know. as a woman, i'm going to be participating very loud addly. as a republican woman, she'll be participating in the discussion of the new republican health care bill. is that enough for you, the loud participation? >> i would hope senator connell would be more sensitive to theac he's picked a dozen men on his side. there are certainly some very competent women he could have chosen. i'll start with susan collins, who has been working on repairing the health care system for some time now. i mean, there are many people he could have turned to to have a more balanced approach to actual
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reform and repair of the system. >> let me ask about the hearing, very high profile hearing a lot of folks were looking at with sally yates and james clapper on the hill. first, there is a report at one point, you audibly groaned at senator cruz when he claimed yates was being partisan. >> he spent his entire period of time attacking hillary clinton, huma abedin, susan rice and sally yates instead of asking the basic questions about general flynn and his connection with the russians. i might say at the end of the question, when he challenged sally yates on a statute, i'm sure he wishes he had that to do all over again. she quoted the same statute. i don't there is any question who won the exchange. >> how did you -- i want to get your take away from that hearing. what big questions do you have left after a hearing from those two yesterday? >> what happened for 18 days? when the president of the united states was warned by the white
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house council that his top national security adviser had been compromised and could be blackmailed by the russians, and they continued to leave general flynn in place for critical national security decisions, including sitting in the same room with the president when president trump was speaking to vladimir putin. i mean, these are questions which, you know, defy any reason. this was a serious national security breach. >> your colleague said he didn't see a smoking gun when it came to collusion. do you agree with that? >> no, those are two different things. the question about flynn's misleading the american people and the vice president, his connections with the russians, all of that needs to be explored. whether or not there was collusion between trump or the white house or campaign operatives and the russians during the campaign is still being actively investigated. let's let the facts come out on those. >> senator dirk durbin of illinois, thank you for joining us here on msnbc.
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i'm sure we'll speak again soon. >> hope so. i want to bring in susan and jeremy for take aways from what you heard. frankly, a lot of topics to discussion. >> dereliction of duty on behalf of the president is strong words from one of the senior senators on capitol hill. if you're hearing about, what will we hear about at the white house briefing today, it'll be what happened during the 18 days. why did it take so long for the white house to act after they heard this very problematic news about general flynn. >> i think to that point, with this white house, what you've often found is the correct explanation is often the simplest and the least complicated. in this instance, as i said earlier, trump is not somebody who likes to fire people despite his apprentice persona. that's what you have here. a matter of personal loyalty, the president not wanting to dismiss one of his closest advisers and somebody he had a -- quite an affection for. >> jeremy and susan, thank you for joining us on set. nice to have you both back in town. i appreciate it.
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sean spicer isn't the only one with a lot of questions to answer. so does president trump. he will do so in this exclusive interview with lester holt, one-on-one, coming up thursday only on nbc nightly news. we have much more ahead on msnbc live. we'll be right back. you totaled your brand new car. nobody's hurt, but there will still be pain. it comes when your insurance company says they'll only pay three-quarters of what it takes to replace it. what are you supposed to do? drive three-quarters of a car? now if you had liberty mutual new car replacement™, you'd get your whole car back. i guess they don't want you driving around on three wheels. smart. with liberty mutual new car replacement™, we'll replace the full value of your car. liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance. p3 planters nuts, jerky and i like a variety in my protein. totally, that's why i have this uh trail mix. wow minty. p3 snacks.
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that does it for this hour of msnbc live. you can catch me any time online. for now, i'll turn it over to my
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colleague chris jansing while i pop back over to the white house. hi, chris. >> see you there later. thank you, hallie. now on msnbc, a major shift in the u.s. strategy in afghanistan. the president considering new options, including sending in thousands of u.s. troops to take out the taliban. no final call has been made, but the consequential decision could come soon. plus, president trump hits back following new revelations on what brought down michael flynn. the former acting attorney general in dramatic testimony says flynn's lies made him vulnerable to blackmail by russia. and nbc news first to report it was the trump administration's second warning about flynn. also ahead, former president obama's return to the global stage this morning. warning the world about the impact of climate change. what he is saying about president trump's policies on that issue and life after the white house. we'll have a live report from milan, italy. good morning, everyone. i'm chris jansing in


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