tv MSNBC Live MSNBC May 13, 2017 2:00pm-3:01pm PDT
so you can travel the world better. good afternoon. i'm melissa rehberger live at the msnbc headquarters. and the fallout continues after the unexpected firing of james comey. the search is underway with at least six candidates attending intervi interviews today. as the search is going, one california lawmaker is calling for a special counsel now that the man who was leading the investigation was abruptly fired. >> and awe group meeting in san diego concerned about what happens to their coverage if the obamacare replacement bill is passed in the senate. what will be their strategy? and we start with a washington where a search for new fbi director is being conducted right now. president trump is eager to move
past a week of turmoil, the firing of james comey and the changing stories of why that exactly happened and the fallout over his suggestion of a secret tape from a january dinner with comey. now, it calls for a special prosecutor are growing louder as a search for a new directorm raps up. kelly o'donnell has the latest from the white house. kelly, what is the president saying about the fbi search today? >> well, he is saying that he wants to have it resolved quickly. we don't have an exact time line on the president's mind, but he said that it could happen as early as this week, although it may take more time than that, and today is round one of interviews, and six perhaps seven by the the end of today, and we are told that there is a list of roughly a dozen names consider considered by the white house, and today's first round of interviews is being conduct ed by the attorney general and deputy attorney general, and pulling people from law enforcement, backgrounds with legal and political careers, and people whose professional lives
are sort of suited for consideration to be fbi director. the fbi agents association which represents 13,000 current and former agents have offer ed ther own endorsement today and they are naming mike rogers the former house intelligence chairman, the michigan congressman until he left congress, but he was also an fbi agent earlier in his career, so they are weighing in with the suggestion that mike rogers is their choice. we don't know exact ly when the president is going to begin doing his own interviews, but he is tauklking about the process that he had a little bit of the conversation with reporters on air force one today, and smaller version of air force one going only to lynchburg, virginia, and not very far and talking about what he is looking for and how quickly he can get this done. >> do you think that you might make a decision or announcement before you leave for saudi? >> there are outstanding people that are very well known, and the highest level, and so we can make a fast decision.
>> reporter: before the week trip next week possibly? >> possibly. almost all of them are very well known, and they are vetted over their lifetime essentially and well known and highly respect and talented people and that is what we want from the fbi. >> and that reference to saudi arabia, and the president is going on his first foreign trip this coming week, and leavinging friday and he'll have several count countries, and he is going to be gone for more than a week. that could be a marker in time where they might want to have a person named prior to that date, and they could also choose to have an interim director name and then continue the search for a full-time director who would need to be confirmed by the senate. so the president is at least projecting that he wants it to move quickly, but obviously, there are a lot of things involved, and lot of scrutiny on this, and a lot of different interest, and so it may take some time,ed aed it is a full saturday of interview, and still going on at this hour, and based on what we know and may go for a
couple more hours before they call it a wrap for this day. meliss melissa? >> thank you, kelly o'donnell so much. the democrats have called all week for a special council to investigate the russia connection, but it seems that impeachment is on the mind of capitol hill. and brad sherman who is a democrat of california who sits on the board of foreign affairs and financial services committees. thank you so much for being here today. you have already called for a special council, and why is one necessary, and do you also support impeachment? >> well, i have been calling for a special counsel since early january, and loretta lynch explicitly declined to do so after i asked. had loretta lynch appointed someone, that person would have had credibility. the reason that we need a special counsel is because the biggest issue facing the democracy now is whether the trump campaign colluded with the
kremlin, and we need an answer to that question that we can have some faith in. and the best way to do that is with the special counsel. and as to impeachment, we don't have facts yet. we need to do the investigation. the one possible argument is that the reason, one of the many reas reasons that was given, and you know, there is so many disorganized lies coming out of the trump white house if he fired comey for the purpose of derailing this investigation, that is obstruction of justice, and he has made some comments that would make you think that s is the reason that he fired comey, but on the other hand, he has made other h contradictory statements, and so i don't know if we have got a case yet for obstruction of justice, but we have a reason to investigate. >> and to your point, we hear reports now that rod rosenstein,
the deputy interim says there is no reason for one right now, and what do you say to him as you were saying a moment ago considering the conflicting claims from the administration just this week even and with some saying that the firing was a justice department idea, and then when the president told lester holt of nbc that it had been his idea. >> the people of this country need to have faith in the investigatory process of the great question of whether trump colluded with the kremlin and they won't have that faith except with the special counsel process, and the fbi director reports to a department of justice and ultimately to attorney general sessions who is a very strong trump partisan and so an independent counsel is going to give us some faith that it is an investigation, and even if we get an outstanding and independent investigation, we
may never know, because even if there were contacts between the trump campaign and russian officials and russian a agentsie won't know the content of those discussions, so we will have to see what we can learn. certainly at this point, if it is shown that people close to trump were meeting with russians, that would make us all very suspicious. >> a conservative commentator erick erickson writes in "the new york times" that the odds are that the president comes out of russian investigation unscathed. do you agree with that? >> oh, i don't think unscathed. he has been scathed already. i would have to say at that point the odds are that he emerg emergeds from this unimpeached and the presidency goes on.
i would like, you know, as an american, i would hope that we don't have a president who conspired with the kremlin during his election campaign. we will just, and we need a credible investigation if we are going to have confidence. >> and impeachment if that is the end result, what does unscathed really mean as to the pow er to govern with what is going to be at least a significant drop in credibility? >> he is down to 36% approval. that that is the lowest any president at this stage of his presidency has been. my republican colleagues are very, have to, are very much questioning whether they want to be a part of the trump team, and so, i think that he's going to have to push through his agenda or to have the respect and the confidence of the american people has suffered significantly. >> all right. representative brad sherman,
thank you. >> thank you. and in the wake of the comey firestorm this week, the president is taking aim at his press team and up happy with the defense of him. "the wall street journal" is reporting that president trump is looking for a shake-up and possibly replacing press secretary sean spicer and he may cancel the press briefing airing tonight on fox news. >> i actually said that we shouldn't have them because sarah huckabee. >> it that has been 100 years that we have done it. >> and no action like this, and this is crazy. they are getting higher ratings on those press conferences -- >> would you seriously consider stopping these press conferences? >> no, we do it with a different way with a piece of paper with a perfectly accurate remark. >> and joining us is emily and
jorge, and emily is shaking up the president's team the way to pass the blame on to them? >> yeah, it is to me shooting the messenger, and they sent sean spicer and sarah huckabee out there to give the message and they were relying on the information initiated from the department of justice and when tr trump gave the interview to nbc, he shifted expectations, and i don't know how you can blame the press secretary or the press secretaries for you changing your explanation of you giving for firing the fbi director. >> and lauk lycklin, the communication was changed, and listen to president giving his story to the nbc reporter lester holt. >> you had recommended the -- >> oh, which was going to fire regardless of the
recommendation. >> and you just -- >> i said to myself when i decided to do it, you know, this russia thing with trump and russia is a made-up story, and it is an excuse. >> and so what impact has admitting that russia was a reason for the firing had to do with the invest fwags? >> well, if you remember, it is not just the white house press team that was saying that it is the result of consultation with the justice department, and vice president mike pence had gone out, and seven times on wednesday said that, you know, made that same towing the administration line on that narrative and the president was contradicting are the entire administration there, and not just the top press aides, but it is going the fuel if not the investigation itself, and then calls for special counsels and addition a al steps for maching this investigation a little bit more independent, and we have hearded from the congressmen certainly before this. and so those calls are only going to increase, and you know, what could make the difference is if you are seeing the folks like senator dean heller or barbara comstock, and the folks
facinging the tough re-election fights next year are the ones to watch, because if you want independent counsel, it is going to require action by congress to make sure that it is a truly independent post. >> and emily, the administration is rejecting a independent pros cue to, but after this week is a independent prosecutor likely? >> i don't see it happening, because you had the majority leader of the senate and the house speaker paul ryan both rejecting that proposal. richard burr who heads the senate intelligence committee which is kon duconducting their bipartisan investigation has rejected it. there are a handful of republicans saying they are considering supporting it, but until you can see the ground swel frrepublicans in congress supporting the shift, i just don't see how the democrats can build enough of a coalition there to support appointing a
prosecutor. lt >> lachlin, the president is saying that he may have a nominee by next week, and so how li likely to pick someone like john cornyn who is more directly loyal to him? >> well, that is going to create some pit political pitfalls for especially senator cornyn which could open up a special election seat in texas which could turn into a competitive contest if you are believing a lot of the poll numbers coming out these days, and mike rogers is a probably more likely pick, and someone who has had direct experience in the fbi, but i am not ruling out someone like congressman trey gowdy who really impressed the president with his quote, unquote prosecution of democratic candidate hillary clinton last year. >> and all right. emily and lachlin, thank you. a cyber attack hit nearly 1,100 countries and through the britain health care system, it
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we are following developm t developments out of london this hour where the officials are grappling with a massive cyber attack that disrupted businesses as and crippled the health care system. it is a software that is holding systems ransom. to date, 100 companies were affected and fedex was the company in the u.s. and today, companies are working to keep their systems online. kelly cobiella has the report. >> reporter: organizations with big outdated computer networks like britain's health services are paralyzed. the bug caused emergency rooms in scotland and england to stop, and stop surgeries. >> we have no access to the records, and we have no access to electronic prescriptions or
investigati investigations on patients. >> reporter: millions of computers in more than 70 companies have been affected including the russia's interior m ministry, and chinese universities and tennessee-based fedex and although it is based in the u.s., they largely dodged bu bullet. the spam is called wannacry. and the it is vastly expands across the company, and demands 3$300 in bit coin to gain acces. they say that the virus is going to exploit holes in software security first identified by het national security agency and then leaked by hackers. the goal ist not patient files or data, but just money. >> it is making the files on the system unreadable, and so really, the only way to unlock the files is by paying a sum of money. >> last year, a hospital in l.a. paid $17,000 to unlock their
firls. and then in january a a hotel in austria was hit. the department of homeland security warned the u.s. users to protect themselves by updating systems with latest patches and not opening up strange e-mails or links. and back up your data. and joining us is a correspondent from london, and this is a massive attack, and how do you go about finding who is behind this and how can you go about trying to trace how they want to be paid in bit coins, and is that possible? >> it is very, very difficult. bit coin is designed to be anonymous, and so it is hard tole follow the money trail, and secondly, the people who were behind this they could be anywhere, and they are obviously using all sorts of digital shields to hide their own identity. it is going to be very difficult to find them. >> and this ransomware holds this system hostage, and that is what we understand, and so what happens if the victims in this
case, and many hospitals don't pay? >> they are going to lose their data. it is the computer that is simply the hard drive is going to be locked up, and they won't have access it to, and they have to reinstall a operating system, and that is why it is just utterly critical to always back up your information and put it on a separate system. >> what do we know about what the program is in general intended to do? >> well, these ransomware p programs are simply made to make their victims feel so frustrated that they are willing to go out and buy bit coin and pay the ransom. the perp tetrators are generall going to keep the amounts that they ask for not so high that people just insist that they will not pay. $300 for some people is, you know, they will value the data enough and want it to pay and get the data back. >> and in this case, in some of the cases they are hospital
systems. do patients get put in danger in something like this? >> absolutely. there is many ways in which these ransomware attacks could harm human life, and put people in danger. hospital, and medical clinics and many medical clinics in the united states that have rekrecey been targeted with these ransomware attacks. >> that makes it a high priority, and so who exactly is in charge of investigating? separate for each companor coun? >> yes, there is no international body to investigate these attacks. here the fbi goes after them aggressively, but there are so many attacks now that it is a plague. it is a scourge. it is going to be very difficult to slow the impact of what they are doing. >> and well, if microsoft took steps to update the software to prevent this type of hack, why are there so many people who are
vulnerable? >> microsoft has done a great job of creating the patches for the vulnerabilities, but unfortunately, a lot of people were using outof date software and they don't update when they should. companies have i.t. departments that may be underfunded, and they are not updating the entire system, and individuals with the laptops and the home computers and just have not been keeping up to date with the software, and with the updated versions. >> interesting. tim johnson, cyber and national security correspondent from mcclachey newspapers and thank you for the valuable information. >> you are welcome. and the fired fbi director james comey, and the following debate. the gop leaders are meeting in san diego to plan their future party, and will the strategy change? in case you missed lester holt's
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how long are you and your fellow republicans going to defend this american nightmare! you, mitch mcconnell, how long? open your eyes. as you can see, that is an angry constituent confronting tom mccarthy over his vote to repeal obamacare. and gop members are feeling out the fallout across the country, and excuse me, and anger and frustration are boiling over as millions fear losing their health care, and leaderses of the republican party are meeting in san diego this week, and could there be talk or reset in the face of such voter outrage. for more on this, i am joined by msnbc's von hilliard, and hello there. and vaughon, are the republican members concerned about the reaction of the health care, and what is it to say that some are not showing up to meet the constituents at all?
>> hello, melissa, exactly. this is going to be the way that the republican national committee and the republican gone gre congressional committee, and others were here at hotel dell kor gnaw doex and this is supposed to be the reception period for the republican party, anded they won the senate, the congress and the presidency, and what you are seeing here in the town halls is that they are not mostly held in their home district, because what you have seen in tom mcarthur's district in new jersey is what we are seeing around the country. over here in california, we have video here from the beach while some tof the members were meetig here at the hotel dell coronado, and there was a protest of 300 people here on the beach protesting donald trump, and calling for the continued investigation into russia's potential collusion with the trump campaign, and they are also calling out darrell issa, the congressional district is 45
minutes to the north of here, and suddenly, the issue for the republicans is the message and the health care bill, and 20% of the americans approveded of the bill, and they don't have a tax reform bill, and there is very much in terms of the legislative accomplishments that they have to come back to home districts to show. >> and that said, how do they expect to address the dissatisfaction ahead of the midterm elections? >> exactly. so this is pretty much the launch here this week for the rnc of what are we looking at in terms of 2018. in terms of figuring tout messaging, and i asked several rnc members to what extent is the donald trump drama over there at the white house getting in in the way of the message and they said, hey, you have to wait 18 months here at this point until the midterms of november 2018 take place, and they said in october 2016, people thought that the trump campaign was doomed and then a month later, he is looking at the white house. so caution, let the senate take up what could be a health care
bill of their own, and see if they can work out something with the house. in the meantime, they are going to continue to push forward and see where this goes. melissa. >> all right. vaughan hillyard , enjoy that sun. >> new details emerging with that dinner that the president had with the former drirector james comey and what we know so far and how it relates to the russian investigation is coming up up. >> and dramatic changing coming to the justice department following drug financials after trek or the sessions called for tougher sentencing. use the chase mobile app to send money in just a tap, to friends at more banks then ever before. you got next? chase. helping you master what's now and what's next.
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welcome back. i'm melissa ra beilissa rehberg msnbc headquarters and this is what we are following. britain's health systems are on the mend after a cyber atk that that hit nearly 100 countries. britain's interior minister says that 90% are now back to working normal, and so far, no one has claimed responsibilities. president trump is giving
his first commencement address since taking office. he was in lynchburg, virginia, where he encouraged students. and james comey invreplacem is in high gear. tr trump said earlier today, that he expects to process the move quickly. new details are emerging today about president trump's dinner meeting with the former fbi director james comey. the meeting taking place one day after the white house was warned that general flynn could be compromised by the russians. for mon othis, is ken delanian, and ken, president trump characterizes the circumstances of the dinner meeting in one way, but what are you learning about the timing and the circumstances of that dinner? >> melissa, people close to james comey say that he was summoned to the meeting on short
notice. as you mentioned, it happened one day after acting attorney sally yates came to the white house to warn them that then national security adviser mike flynn had been lying about the contacts with the russians. and so comey is summoned to a one-on-one private dinner with president trump and at that dinner as james comey says that he was asked for his loyalty, but comey said that he could not pledge loyalty, but honesty, and comey said that he was uneasy to have the dinner, because he wants to have the appearance of an independent fbi, and he did not want the people of the rank and file the know that the dinner had taken place. so taking a step back on the day after the acting attorney general warning the white house about a national security adviser in the crosshairs of the fbi, and the fbi director is summoned to the white house and asked to pledge loyalty, and that is how comey tells it, but president trump is disputing that he asked for his loyalty and intimated that comey suggested the meeting.
milissa. >> we are on to breaking news. where the north korean regime has appeared to have launched another projectile. and keir simmons is tracking that. what is being released on the latest test? >> well, milissa, two officials are confirming that north korea launched a projectile and the assessment by the u.s. officials is ongoing. reuters saying that in the last hour that north korea fired on sunday an unidentified projectile from a region of the southeast coast, and according to reuters to korea's military, and the nature of the projectile is not immediately clear. south korean military official told reuters by telephone if this is, milissa, "the case that another missile has been launched by north korea, it is the fourth time this year that, that country has done it, and every month, february, march,rif
this is turning out the be a missile test. and clearly, also a test of the new president of the united states. people have been waiting, milissa, for the see whether north korea would conduct a n e nuclear test. that it has not done. and it is conducting the fifth nuclear test last year, and it has not done that since then. a and so that is september last year, and president trump has not faced that kind of a challenge yet. but this is looking as if it is another are provocation by north korea. >> and in washington, what are u u -- what are you hearing?
>> no detail yet, but that it is looking like north korea launched something, but the early report is that it is off of the west coast of the country and they had launched a kn before, and so this is not unprecedented. there is recent intelligence assessments that they were maybe preparing for another launch, but frankly, we hear for it all of the time, and every week or other week from the pentagon or the intelligence officials that they are maybe preparing for one. we don't know whether yet it is a medium or the short-range as we been seeing lately, and we don't know whether it actually launch and flew or failed as the recent ones have. and so the military is in the early assessment phase, and we are hoping to know more in the coming moments hopefully. >> courtney, please stay with us, because we are going over to fo former ambassador christopher hill for your reaction of this. we know that it is not entirely unusual, and we don't know everything about it yet. and what is your impression? is he making another sort of a bluster at the world around himmhim him, or is this significant in some other way? >> well, it is significant for at least a week or so the north koreans seemed to have at least throttled back some of the
testing program. and the so, here they are going at it again. i think that it is going to be a challenge for the trump administration, and the trump administration has a tendency to sort of claim that they were kind of on the right track with north korea, and here they are going at it again. now, it is interesting, because we have not heard any plans for having the sixth nuclear test as of yet. they have seemed to be ready for that, but they are also on kn notice of from the chinese who are making it clear that whatever you are doing, no nuclear test, so they are thinking that they are still flying below the radar screen so to speak, and so it is a something that the trump administration will have to in some way react. >> well, kim jong-un is a man that president trump referred to recently as a smart cookie has been doing this a while. and he took over for his father, and i think that he has made the country a little bit more
visible to the rest of the world especially recently, and what specifically do we know about him? >> well, he's since coming into office some five years ago, he has had very busily try to consolidate power, meaning that it is not quite accepted in north korea that a 30-year-old, a millennial in effect, was going to be running that country. in consolidating the power, he has executed some 370 people. he has been very brutal, and from the point of the view of u.s. interests, he has been quite clear that he has no interest in any negotiations that would aim at nuclear disarmament. so we have a problem. i mean, we have someone who is not interest ed in what we have to say, and by the way, he has not been at all interested in what the chinese have to say, and the chinese, for their part, they have never even invited him to beijing. so i think that it is a sign that he thinks this is the way to be a very tough guy in his system, but i want to stress,
too, that these are not all tests of us, but they are test of the military programs, and so he is going to be getting pressure from the military to say, look, if we are going to be keeping this kn-15 program on schedul schedule, we need to do a test. so i think that it is a, you know, he is very much focused on a deliverable nuclear weapon, and getting there as soon as he can. >> all right. let's go back to nbc's courtney cubii, and courtney, you are experienced in covering all of this, and how long do these assessme assessments take? >> it depends. a launch two weeks ago friday and two weeks ago yesterday, and it is a surprisingly long time before we got any real i.d. of what was launched, and in that case, the test failed soon after it went, the missile failed soon after it was fired, but oftentimes we will know within the first hour, the u.s. military's early assessment, and
they should know by now whether it is anything that flew in a long range. and just a very early read that i am getting from the military intelligence officials that i have spoken to in the first few moments, they don't seem, and nobody is seeming particularly concerned, and it does not seem as if they believe it is an icbm, a sort of intercontinental ballistic missile. this is seeming like a scud mis misle is that we have seen launched over the last few years, but over the last few month, we have seen dozens la launched off by the north korean leader. >> courtney, stay with us. we want to go to colonel jack jacobs, military analyst for nbc and msnbc, and thank you for being with us. what if any kind of military actions could or should follow things like this?
both by the united states and within that own region? >> well, it may very well be that those in the region, as others will show force that we are paying attention as to what at the end of the day north korea is after. they ship in ships closer to north korea, and the likelihood of that is extremely small, because both we and others in the region recognize that the only way to solve the north korean problem is for, for there to be some multi party effort, and have the north koreans to stop what it is doing, and that is going to require negotiation, and participation with the chinese in particular, as well as the united states, but the longer it goes on, the longer the more time that the north koreans have to develop a delivery capability for nuclear weapons, the more difficult it
becomes for our friends and allies in the region. japan, philippines and even vietnam are getting very, very concerned about our and the chinese inability to affect the arc of north korea's development of deliverable nuclear weapons. i will say one other thing of significance along these lines. we are constantly talking about how in a matter of maybe months or perhaps a year and half or two years, the north koreans will have a nuclear weapon that will be deliverable to the united states, and the western coast of the united states which is terribly concerned about that of course. >> you think they have that capability that soon? >> well, there are a lot of people who say that is possible, because they are working very assiduously to do that while
they are building up a nuclear arsenal, but it is important the know that our friends and allies in the region are already threatned be i what north korea are doing, and asking us and the chinese to do something about it, but nothing will be done about it until the united states and china agree on a route to convince the north koreans to stop what they are doing. for their part, the north koreans don't want to stop what they are doing, and that going to put us in a difficult position since both we and the chinese have been ignoring the problem for so long, and that is the reason that we have the problem that we have today. >> in the interest of just understanding this reclusive and mysterious country just a little bit better, we have been talking about them more and more lately, because of things like this, and oftentimes, you know, they will fire something off, and oftentimes it will fizzle, but it gains a lot of attention. kim jong-un saying that he does not want to negotiate, but he wants to create the massive
weapons, weapons, and so what is his intention? what is his end game? >> well sh, i mean, he is happy develop nuclear weapons if we and the chinese let him do it, and to have lots of them on tap to develop the capability to put a nuclear weapon on top of an icbm, and they want to be, and they certainly want to be a formidable power in the region, and they want to preclude capability of countries like china to influence what north korea does. we have to look at north korea, and a lot of people do, as pretty much a continuing criminal enterprise. you have a relatively small number of people at the top of the food chain in the military establishment who control absolutely everything. north korea were subject to the rico act, the government would take everything that they own. 40% of the gross domestic product in north korea goes to
the military, every time there are shipments of food and medicine and son to north korea, it is going directly to the military. they have more than 1 million people under arms in north korea, and it is a military state, and run by a relatively small number of people at the very top of the military echelons of power, and it is extremely difficult to dissuade them from what they are doing. for their part, north koreans have said they want to have bi-lateral talks with the united states, but we won't do that, because we can't make any deals with north korea without the assistance of china, because everybody in the region, and the strongest power in the region, china has to sign on to it. so it is a difficult situation. i have to reiterate that the reason that we have this problem now is because the united states and china, we have both ignored the problem for decades, and now it is almost intractable.
>> let's go back to msnbc's courtney kube, and what is the status of the u.s. armada that the united states sent to that region? >> so the "u.s.s. carl vinson"strivinson " strike group is off of the peninsula, and they will generally stay south of the 38th paralle parallel, and stay off of the south korea coast as opposed to being towards the north korean coast, and presumably far enough, and a safe distance a wway from any potential projectile coming from north korea. and one thing that is also interesting is that it is seeming in the very early moment moments of the launch that it is seeming like it could have been another short or medium-range missile, and a u.s. official thinks that it may have been a kn-17, and potentially kn-15, but it is looking like a kn-17, and what that means is that it is a shorter medium-range and we
have seen them launch them the before and they launched one weeks ago and it failed. what is particularly interesting about some of the more recent launches, and it is showing how north korea has been making advances in the ballistic assault program is that in the past last year, and early on the 2017, their launches would always involve a liquid fuel. so what that means is the u.s. could see, and they would tend to know when north korea is going to launch something, because it just takes time to put the liquid fuel in the missile before they launch. what they have been doing recently doing is solid fuel laun launches, and this is a little bit more concerning, because they launch off of the missile rockets that are fueled and they don't need a lot of time to get ready, and it creates the element of surprise for the international community who may
be monitoring north korean's ballistic activity, and we don't know whether it is a liquid or solid fuel, and the early indications is that it is a kn-17 which is a short or med ymedium ranged missile. >> i want to say that up on the screen where you can see the fig fighter jet taking off is the "u.s.s. vinson," which is in the region. and often these missile launches are misattributed in terms of what they might have been, and to me, though, the
most important factor has not been mentioned yet, and regardless of what kind of missile it was, and we have the election of a new south korean president on tuesday of this week, and he is someone who by his temperament and history and by the policy programs, president moon j, in has said that he would like to revisit the policies with north korea and have an assessment of the legitimacy of the u.s. thadd deployment taking place in south korea, and so kim's testing of the missile here whether it is for developmental purposes or political demonstration is going to make it much more difficult for moon jai in the new president of south korea to make initiatives towards the north that he was talking about, because, you would think that kim would have very much wanted
to have opened up the doors because it might lead to renewed economic assistance to the north, and so forth, and it might break down the coalition that has been put together among all of the operative and relevant countries, and so that is the puzzle of this particular test. i would agree with the ambassador hill when chris said that this might have been for, you know, sort of the ongoing developmental purposes, and not really as a political statement, but unambiguously, the very fact that the missile has been launched within days of moon jai in assuming power in south korea and laying out the agenda that is very, very different from the two preceding korean presidents is at a minimum a puzzle, but the good news there is that it makes it far less likely that south korea is going to be thinking about options that create more independence from what the broad contours of the u.s. policy and the policies of
others right now. >> well, it is curious to say the least that south korea's new president would take that stand no matter how popular it may be considering that these sort of things, these launches happen so frequently. and so, considering what you have just said that he just did this again how that would affect his politics in south korea. >> well, it does, and let's just say that it is not helpful to put it mildly to the agenda of those in south korea who believe that they should revisit the policies of the past, and reopen the special economic zone and in kaesong and take other steps to try to reengage with north korea. and now frankly, the fact that he was advocating the courses of action in the campaign was certain certainly a factor that really causeded some disquiet on the part of many people, myself, included i might add, but certainly on the part of u.s.
officials if in effect he is giving north korea more breathing room here. but kim, one way or another, this is perceived as a statement that the i believe it is going to be making it much more difficult for moon jai in to be forward leaning in any way towards north korea under the circumstances where they are proceeding ahead with the programs and the activities. so, to be fair to president moon, he had indicated that he, too, was troubled by all of the tests tests, but the real issue here is north korea had an opportunity to inject itself in the alliance politics between the united states and south korea, and he's taken away the option which i think should be a sobering sign to the leaders of south korea, the new leader of south korea about how he has to make very, very sure that the cooperation between the u.s. and south korea is not in any way
eroded even if the broad policy objectives of the new government are different from those that preceded it. in this respect, it is very, very good news that within a matter of days senior u.s. officials responsible for u.s. policy towards korea are going to be in seoul to plan for what is anticipated in an early meeting from president trump and president moon and perhaps some time in june, and so the timing here, actually, it sets a context if in fact there has been a launch, whether it is succeeded or not, we don't know, but it will put in play, in any discussions that the visiting american officials from a national security council in particular might have with the counterparts in seoul. it is reinforcing that north korea is very, very determined to go down the path of missile
development, and indeed, with one of the current vice foreign minister was threateninging a few weeks ago that they are going to be testing the all of the time, and every week, every month, every year, and whether it was an idle threat or not, we don't know. but having not proceeded with the things that people were worried about a sixth nuclear test, and the possibility of the long range missile test, this would go against the grain of the believing that north korea is going to hold back for many continued developments in the areas, and it is going to be certainly nice to know that we have more information on what they did in fact just launch. >> well, we are hoping to find that out very soon. jonathan pollack, expert on north korea, and thank you very much. we go live to the nbc chief correspondent and of course s, e host of andrea mitchell live on nbc, and andrea, thank you forring being with for being with us. what do you know so far, andrea?
>> i strongly agree with the analysis of jonathan that it is undercutting the tendencies and the campaign statements of the new south korean president moon for engagement, the reengagement and the sunshine policy that was canceled by george w. bush that had been initiated under the end of the clinton administration in fact. this is undercutting reaching out to north korea. that is also going to undercut by the way, the rather casual comments from president trump that i will meet with everyone, and why wouldn't i meet with him without some preconditions that had been made a couple of weeks ago. so it does reinforce continuation of the policy of takinging a strong stand, and the military options are for preemptive strikes are just non-existent according to military exer perts with whom we speak, and john mccain and norse the senate and contrary to, again, casual comments coming out of some white house officials, and some people even
opining for other buildings in washington, because there's no preemptive strike to take out the nuclear facilities that are buried so deep underground, and we have very little insight as to where things are that would come completely take out to a facilities and not permit some kind of launch. secondly, the artillery from north korea is awesome, and the million man army and that artillery istrained on 20, 25 million people in seoul, and as well as the troops right there on the border and throughout south korea, so there is no preemptive strike that would not have a horrendous casualty count, and in the retaliation, and obviously, we have to have military options if he is stepping it up, and a relief is that there was no nuclear test, but the problem with some of the failed launches is that they are learning something from every launch. and if he is keeping this pace
up of weekly or monthly tests, from every launch they are learning something for their military, and learning something about the trajection, and fig e figuring out what went wrong. what we don't know if some of the failures and the launches that have blown up shortly after the launch or on the launch pad or they are blowing up because of some scyber attack similar t what the u.s. and israel was widely reported directly to do to slow down iran's nuclear program leading some suspect leading to the negotiations to putting a freeze on the nuclear development. >> and so he is bent on perfe perfecting the missiles and opotentially and eventually nuclear missiles with the f far-reaching capability and at the same time rejecting negotiation s wi negotiations with the neighboring countries, and the question is always with this mysterious man kim jong-un, and what is the end game? what is the plan?
>> the end game is survival, and the nuclear advances that he has made are exportable first of all, and he is aimed at getting a long-range missile with the intercontinental ballistic misles that he does not have yet, but they could reach the continental united states, and many with the warheads to be lifted and targeted on such long-range missiles, but the end game is survival. he saw what happened with khadafy that gave up his nuclear program, and other dictators, and saddam hussein, by what we now know gave up his nuclear weapon, and biological weapons as well. they are gone. so, he is simply looking at survival and consolidation of the power and survival of his regime, and until and unless china does something differently, we don't have an end game here. many people are now talking about a much tougher sanctions regime against china, and that is remaining to be seen if the u.s. is willing the do that and
if this administration will do it to yuse the secondary sanctions against the chinese banks to stop them from propping up pyongyang, and there have to be told according to the experts, you have a choice, either continue financing north korea, or trade in dollars in the banking system internationally through the rest of the world. north korea or the rest of your economy, because these banks are obviously part of the world economy, and if we are shutting them down at the mid level range and then keep steping up the pressure as we did with iran, that will get china's attention. it is a tough strategy, but many people believe it is the only non-military strategy. >> so as a it is standing now, and if i am understanding this correctly, one of the reasons that china and japan are especially china is not more motivated militarily or in any way to put a stop to all of this or at least slow it down is money? >>
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