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tv   MSNBC Live  MSNBC  May 21, 2017 6:00am-7:00am PDT

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can pweush the offer online? brian, i just had a quick question. brian? brian... legacy technology can handcuff any company. but "yes" is here. you're saying the new app will go live monday?! yeah. with help from hpe, we can finally work the way we want to. with the right mix of hybrid it, everything computes. good morning, everybody. good to have you with me. i'm thomas roberts. breaking news this hour, big news for president trump. anytime he'll be delivering this major speech in saudi arabia. it is framed as a message to muslim world and it will touch upon the fight against terrorism. we're looking at live imamgs from a short time ago. the president arriving to the king abdullah international convention center. this is where he is meeting with a group of islamic world leaders.
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and president trump is boiling it down in this speech to the simplest of phrases, a battle between good and evil. that is just one of the excerpts provided to nbc news from the white house prior to trump's remarks before the leaders of more than 50 muslim nations. nbc's halle jackson is in riyadh, saudi arabia, this morning, traveling with the president. what do we know about this speech and the mood and the impression the president has of how he's been treated by the royal family in saudi arabia? >> warm all around is what i would say, not just the temperature in riyadh, thomas, but the reception that the president has received from saudi leaders specifically. the headlines of the papers this morning, i meant to grab some on the way up, were all about president trump being here in saudi arabia, meeting with king salman, receiving the highest honor that the saudi kim king can bestow on somebody else. it is potz tif, i think the white house views this positively but a lot of eyeballs and the spotlight will be on what's happening 20 to 30 minutes from now, the president
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addressing this group of middle eastern leaders that have traveled to riyadh. he's held one-on-one meetings already this morning and a couple of notable things have come out of those. one, the president noumgsed plans to travel to egypt soon in a meeting with president al s i sisi, a meeting in which by the way he commented his shoes. he's talked about holding a press conference when he gets back to the united states in a couple weeks norld to talk about the fight against terror. that is going to be, as we look ahead to the speech this morning, one of theentral tenets of this. the ide of this speech, accordinto senio administration officials and according to the excerpts we've seen so far, is to try to unite the muslim world around the fight against terror. the president, at least in these prepared excerpts, is not going to say the fratz "radical islamic terrorism." this is something we heard from him quite a bit on the campaign trail and even in his administration. i think back to that joint address to congress a couple months ago where he used that phrase as well. instead he'll talking about
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fighting the crisis of the islamist terror groups and extremism. he will also say that this is not a battle between different faiths, different sects or different civilizations, this is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to blat rate human life and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it. this is a battle, he says, between good and evil. this is the framing the white house had been talking about for the last several days. and i think it's fair to say a it's a step back from the rhetoric the president has used when he's talked about the muslim faith and islam. it will be interesting to see how this speech is received here and what the rest of the speech entails as well. we know that the president has made the fight against for terror a central focus of his administration and this is going to be a crucial part of this trip. after this, of course, he heads to israel and that will be fraught with itswniplomatic land mines give than the president just revealed some
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sensitive information gathered by the israelis to the russians in a conversation in the oval office about a week and a half ago. i think for today the highlight will be what does the president say in really his first lengthy public remarks his entire trip. yesterday we saw him a lot but didn't hear much from him. that changes today. >> hallie, we know during the joint address to congress, the first of president trump's, he used that phrase, radical islamic terrorism. susan miller, the architect of that speech, is also the architect of this speech. it's h.r. mcmaster who said that that phrase isn't helpful. and we know that h.r. mcmaster along with miller are both there for this trip. is this an indication that h.r. mcmaster is having an impact in expanding the president's international and opinion toward muslim unity? >> reporter: we know that general mcmaster has taken the lead along with jared kushner in the planning and preparation for this trip.
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steven miller, while he has been the president's speech writer for quite a long time, is now part of the apparatus of a bigger picture, a bigger and ebs panding inner circle than what you saw from the president originally, and if not expanded, at least a different makeup. you have not just general mcmaster but dina powell. both have been at all the meetings this morning with secretary of state tillerson and kushner himself. it is clear given the location of where the president will be gichg the speech here in the middle east, the message he wants to deliver, there may have been a discussion about dialing that language and rhetoric back given the audience. >> hallie, when we think about the reception and the treatment, royal treatment that the president has been receiving there, explain how the headlines here at home are being received abroad and how that can be playing into the president's mood. >> reporter: i will tell you this. the president, as you know, flash back to friday, he goat on air force one and minutes later
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these bombshell reports dropped. another one from "the new york times," another from "the washington post." when he landed that was kind of the theme of yesterday, will these growing controversies at home threaten to engulf his trip overseas. i'll be honest, i don't know that we have an answer to that just yet. again, we have not heard from the president. we heard briefly from secretary of state rex tillerson, who held that news conference with the saudi foreign minister yesterday. but he wasn't asked about the many issues that have come up domestically, so i think it is still an open question as to how that is impacting the president here and i think we won't really know until we get to israel, until we get to jerusalem, and we see how the interactions go with israeli officials who have been reportedly very angry to hear about these sensitive information that is shared with the russians. so that is going to be a real test for the president. this may be the most sort of comfortable potentially he feels all trip. he has been warmly received. he has been received in a setting that is almost trump toweresque in its sort of
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opulence and lavishness. it's palatial. these settings are stunning and historic. he also then has to go to israel with the information sharing concern. he heads to the vatican after his fight with the pope, heads to brussels for a nato summit after his flip flom on nato, then heads to italy to talk economics with his past statements about, quote, up fair trade policies in the spotlight. he'll have some tough questions to answer moving forward. here i think you've seen a warmer reception. >> we know there have been some changes with reince priebus coming back to the states, leaving a little bit early, also is there any improvisation taking place with how you're laying out the trip ahead considering the fact that that sensitive information had to deal with our allies in israel? >> reporter: it's not clear whether the chief of staff, reince priebus, had been set to only attend this trim for a short period of time or if that is something new. we're working to find that out. we do know according to a white house official he's expected to get back home tonight into tomorrow because, remember, back at home, they've got a budget rollout this week too that mick
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mulvaney has been instrumental in that you'll see vice president pence talk about a lot this week. that's what they're dealing with domestically on the policy front. as far as improvpization, this is a tightly corhoreographed an tightly scheduled trip. there isn't a ton of room to change things. this is really only day two for the president on his first international trip of his administration. we'll see how this unfolds. it is still not clear, i will say this, whether we will hear from the president in a news conference setting or not. and that is going to be interesting. traditionally that is something the presidents will do on foreign trips is interact with the u.s. media that has come with them, so we'll see if that happens. other than that, it's a matter of getting the very small group of reporters that is able to be close with the president on a regular basis to see if they can kind of shout questions at him in these settings and so on. we'll see how the rest of the trip unfolds. i wish i had my crystal ball
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out. but it will likely be a news-making ride. >> we do from have a reporter's notebook and i've been following along reading your posts about this. >> reporter: thanks. >> the impressions you're hearing from international journalists you're getting to meet and the type of questions that they have for president trump and his administration. >> reporter: intense interest. i will tell u that just befo i walked in i was looking at somenformationhat's coming in from some of the.s. media who is over actually at that conference center where the president set to speak in about five or ten minutes, and apparently when the president was about to walk in, there was a crush of international journalists scrambling to get in place because they did not want to miss u.s. president trump coming in to riyadh here and his entrance. so i think that the spotlight is absolutely on president trump. he's the front page of a lot of english language newspapers here in riyadh and that scrutiny will not abate anytime today. >> hallie jackson, great work as always. travel safe and we'll talk again
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soon. >> thanks. i want to bring in senior editor of the business insider, msnbc contributor, josh, and the former fbi double agent and author of "how to catch a russian spy." good to have you with me. josh, let me start with you about what you expect today. is it basically the contrast of an introduction of a new president trump? >> yeah. i mean, looking at the excerpts of this speech and what we've been hearing in the last few day, what strikes me is how kind of normal the speech is. a lot of what the president is intending to say is similar to what either barack obama or george bush would say about the global war on terror. he talks about setting up a principled realism based on common interests and shared values with other countries. i think trump intend that to indicate a turn against the more idealistic foreign policy that we had, especially against george bush, a rejection of the idea of trying to spread american ideals around the world, rather working together
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with countries to fight common problems like terrorism. d the u.s. is a long-standing ally of israel, that's always been a relationship based on realism, not ideologil alignment. the u.s. and saudi arabia have common concerns about the iranians, about terrorism, about the global oil market. i think the view he's at least intending to lay out in this speech is not terribly large a break with u.s. policy over the last few decades. >> as we are just a few minutes out from this speech, and we'll take everybody there as soon as president trump begins this, we certainly have a lot of questions about what the feeling is and the impression is for the people hosting the president. when we think about that and the interest in the russian investigation, mueller being announced, his new role, how difficult does that make it for
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the president's credibility on the world stage? >> i think it makes it quite defendant. these countries, they have their intelligence services looking at this, they're watching the news and their questions are like ours. is he even going to be in office that much longer. saudis are much more interested in iran as josh said than they are in l isis. they're engaged in combat in yemen and they're concerned about the proliferation of iran into syria. that is much more important to themha the terms of whatever rm the president decides to use for extremism. that's what they're concerned about. they're less i think interested in isis, but that being said, in terms of policy, how much can they really gain from this president? i think they're much more looking at short term, i mean, they got their weapons deal, they're much more interested in sort of stopping the huetis, the
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iranian proliferation into yemen. i think they'll look at short-term gains. i think long term questions are tied to how long the president's going to be in office and how much credibility he has domestically. i don't think any foreign state thinks that's a good way to go right now. >> just want to give everybody an update. we're getting new information about the president's speech, they have pushed it by roughly about 40 minutes so it will be closer toward 10:00 a.m. as opposed to anywhere within this half hour as it was set to begin. josh, will this be the new benchmark, the word that are going to be used here, really the new delineation line for this president to be held accountable to? >> well, the problem with trump is he'll say something this week and who know what is he's going to say next week. as hallie was note, the worlds radical islamic terrorism are not expected in this speech. i think there are excellent geopolitical reasons for leaving that out. he frames the struggle against terrorism as something that
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unites people of all faiths against people who would kill them. that's the right approach to take. the problem is the preside has made comments in the past saying islam hates us and he may well say things in the future and just because he doesn't say them on saudi soil doesn't mean he won't alienate people in the middle east when he makes those comments in the future. i think this sets out officially for the administration they're taking a more normal approach to building a global coalition to fight terrorism. but i don't think it erase what is the president has done in the past and i don't think it means he won't screw it up in the future. >> real-world, when we think about what's taking place in the real world, one of the lines from the excerpts is we will make decisions based on real-world outcomes not inflexible ideology. we will be guided by lessons of experience, not the confines of rigid thinking. and wherever possible, we will seek gradual reforms, not sudden
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intervention. you mentioned iran. we have the re-election of r rouha rouhani, who will be staying in power. he was there during secretary kerry's negotiations of the nuclear deal. how much of that is basically in fear of being killed at this point because of the feelings that president trump has pushed toward that even though rouhani would stay as custodian of seeing that they'll execute it? >> we just reaffirmed the i'm not mistaken the iranian deal with some slight add-ones for additional testing. for region, if you asked saudi arabia and israel, they're very much aligned in this. their major concern for the region is iran, not isis. they view that as -- especially a nuclear arnold iran. i think as he travels to saudi arabia today and goes to israel this week, those are going to be the major concerns express told him. now, ok the president's in a position are he needs to get
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support for the ongoing, you know, aumf against isis, so it is important to build this coalition as josh mentioned. the wording and phrasing does matter in regards to that. i have to say they're probably very much afraid about iran and they're afraid that that deal will be killed. they're afraid of iran starting a nuclear program again. and if it does happen what do they do? what do they do? are we going to back them um? do we have the political capital to do so? that has a real chance of destabilizing the region much more than frankly isis does. i think the major concern. >> gentlemen, stick around. we'll take a quick break. still ahead for everybody, the three things that you should be looking for with the president's speech when it comes to muslim unity and the international coalition needed for that, why some worlds you've heard on the campaign trail most likely are not going to be uttered in saudi arabia. this is a story about mail and packages.
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welcome back, everybody. a very busy morning. live images coming to us out of riyadh, saudi arabia. this is where president trump is expected to deliver this big speech to islamic leaders of muslim countries. and as soon as that speech begins we're going to bring it to you, but this is a reset about the president's vision for muslim unity around the world and against terrorism. joining theonversation sll is naveed jama, former fbi double agent and author of "how to catch a russian spy" and josh barro, msnbc contributor. we're getting a better idea of timing on this, being pushed back a touch for the moment. we'll update everyone before the president's remarks. when we think about how the president is doing this, naveed, and the headlines taking place
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at home and the issue of credibility for this president is a big one, but he's being treated very well by the royal family in saudi arabia. is that because of that $110 billion arms deal sor is it something else really to give him a helping hand at heft? >> well, i think, thomas, you're exactly right. i think part of it is a lot of the real work has been done before this speech. we had the weapons deal that was secured. i'm sure that the president gave private ashurnlss about iran. but the reality is these world leaders and states have learned if you're going to appeal to president trump, appeal to his ego. the visuals of the sort of fete they put on for him when he landed, large displays on the buildings and the colors, it really was an appeal to sort of his ego. i think that's probably what they're trying to do. we see "the new york times" has rted that world leaders
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saying use small words and try to appeal to his ego. i think that's part of it. i think they've closed the big deals already. as long as he stays on script, the mission will be accomplished. >> politico has this story saying that the saudis treat trump like a king saying that president trump had to travel to someone else's kingdom to get the respect that he has always craved. the other interesting thing is tony schwartz, the person who wrote "the art of the deal," was talking about most of the behavior of president trump when it comes to a lot of the chaos and instability was basically predictab predictable. so based on what this moment is for the president and this large foreign trim that he's taking, do you think that this is a moment for him to regroup and guide through the negativity back here at home? >> well, the problem is he's
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eventually going to have to come back, right? it clearly drives the president crazy that he faces so much criticism, that he doesn't get the credit he feels he deserves for his amazing electoral victory, and we've seen reporting that it's not just like the president doesn't like being criticized. nobody likes being criticized. but he really thought that he would start getting more credit from people, that the media would be nicer to him, that people -- he would be more beloved once he was president. and so going to a country that is an undemocratic country, that -- where it is possible to be basically treated like a king because it is literally a kingdom, i think this is how he would like to be treated at home in the united states. but not only is he not going to get that here, he's not going to get that on the rest of the trip. i think the israelis will treat him well because despite the disputes that they've had over the last few days withhe intelligence leaking and whether the western wall is inisrael, the israelis have high hopes what they'll kwet out of the trump administration.
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but when he gets to europe he'll be dealing with a lot of peopler who are skeptical of trump, come from political cultures that are similar to the united states and criticism of president trump trump is even more intense than it is here. politico had an interesting feature on this where he's basically considered a laughingstock and you have all these instructions to people at the nato meeting about the need to not speak for more than two or four minutes because the president has such a short attention span and you have this acute awareness or sense that maybe he's not going to be president for all that much longer and that he's so weakened domestically by all of his own scandals that his power to do whatever he might do that would be hostile or difficult for the european union is reduced. so i think, you know, the joy that he's going to get from the reception in saudi arabia is going to be short lived. >> when we think about -- as you characterize that, you know, impression of being a laughingstock, it's one thing for the media here at home to hold the president accountable, and this is not personal, this is politics, but it's not thing
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for the impression of america to be so demeaned abroad because it's one thing for us to talk about our own president and hold his feet to the fire, but it's another thing for folks around the world to think so little of him. don't we have naveed some responsibility to our own president, our own loyalty to make sure if they do consider him a laughingstock we need to help him not be a laughingstock? >> i mean, look, the president -- the actual office itself, of cour. you know, whatever president trump has sortf heaped on himself has been done by him. i mean, you know, the words that he used and i'll take my sort of objective sort of hat off for a second, first generation american, i find what he campaigned on deemly offensive, especially as someone who served in the military. those words do matter. that being said, going back to the political side, you know, i
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think exactly as josh said, you know, there are domestic political things each of these countries have to respond with. there is a press pool that will certainly ask him questions about what's happening back home, but nonetheless, i think there are goals this these countries want to achieve. as such, they're going to play towards trump's ego to get those short-term things passed. the israelis, as josh pointed out, do have high hopes, had high hopes for the trump administration coming in. the saudis have gotten what they want. i think, you know, europe is going to be the same thing. there are certain short-term goals they want to achieve so they'll make a point of appealing that. they're not going to try to confront him. and i think it's the press and the question they asked that will be interesting in telling. >> gentlemen, thank you very much. naveed and josh. stick was. back in a moment. one of the other things i want to talk about coming up is this new piece out by andrew mccarthy for the national review and how he characterizes why it was such a problem for president
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we are now approaching the president's speech from riyadh, saudi arabia. we have excerpts of that speech. in part he says he's not here to lecture or tell other people how to live. we'll take a look at what else is coming up this hour. back in a moment. sure we could travel, take it easy... but we've never been the type to just sit back... not when we've got so much more to give when you have the right financial advisor, life can be brilliant. ameriprise oscar mawe went back toig the drawing board... and the cutting board. we removed the added nitrates and nitrites, by-products, and artificial preservatives in all of our meat.
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welcome back. 33 past the hour. the president is overseas in saudi arabia and we're expecting shortly the president will be delivering that highly anticipated speech to leaders of more than 50 muslim nations who are assembled today in saudi arabia. want to take you to that country's capital in riyadh. hallie jackson and kristen welker traveling with the president. it was h.r. mcmaster who
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appeared earlier today on "this week" and we don't have the sound queued up, but i want to say what he had to say. he said i think what the president does is he listens to people, listens to people in the region and a big part of this, this isn't america just on transmit in the middle east. this is the president asking questions, listening, learning, and of course the president will call whatever he wants to call it. that was in regard to that phrase radical islamic terrorism. both of you have been traveling with the president from the very beginning so kristen, let me start with you. with the president asking questions anliening and learning, how much do you think that will be included in the speech based on the hours and amount of time he's been on the ground? >> oh, i absolutely think it will be, thomas, and i think it will be reflected in the tone that you hear from the president when he speaks today. we're expecting it to be a softer tone than we have heard in the past. he's really laid out quite an ambitious agenda, though, for this speech. he wants to use it to help him to start to reset with the
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muslim world. he also wants to call on the muslim and arab worlds to get more engaged in the fight against isis. his message, we are told, is going to be pitting this as a fight of good versus evil and of course he does have a somewhat steep challenge. this is a candidate who called for a muslim ban. he said that he thinks that muslims hate the united states. he has shifted his tone as president certainly, but of course his policies are refle reflective somewhat of that. he wants to enact that controversial travel ban that targets predominantly muslim countries. white house officials say this is a president who is focused on action, not words, so i think you're also going to see that reflected in the speech today. just to give you a sense of how he's being received here, though, they are incredibly optimistic about this president. they see him as a chance for a reset here. they felt as though under former president barack obama there was too much leniency with iran, for
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example, particularly in the wake of the iran nuclear deal. they see a president trump as being tougher on iran, their enemy, and so i think you're going to see a real opeess and willingness to receive his message today, thomas. >> and so, ladies, we have now the sound of mcmaster appearing on "this week." i want to play it real quickly. >> i think what the president does is he listens to people, he listens to people in the region. a big part of this, this isn't america just on transmit here in the middle east. this is the president asking questions, listening, learning, and of course the president will call it whatever he wants to call it. >> hallie, we know that the president will call it whatever he wants to call it, but when it comes to what we know has happened in saudi arabia with this munitions deal, north of $110 billion, when it comes to their commitment to what the president's vision is, have you heard from any of your white house sources how receptive they
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are to not just having those munitions in stockpile in perpetuity but using them in coordination or in an effort with what the president wants? >> well,ly say this. i think that there is overall a sense that this trip at least the first day or so of it has gone fairly well. you i've heard a lot of discussion from white house officials about not just the arms deal that you're referring to but other deals that have been worked out, they call them memorandums of understanding between the saudi -- saudi arabia and the united states regarding, for example, infrastructure, regarding some other economic issues too. so you're seeing administration officials point to that as sort of tangible things that the president can take away when he leaves saudi arabia and head to tel aviv and then jerusalem tomorrow morning. i will say that there is a question, right -- you talk about the president's phrase and you heard general mcmaster, his national security adviser, talk about it, and kristen welker, my colleague, makes a great point that the president obviously is
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switching a lot of what he had to say on the campaign trail. one question if you look ahead after the speech will be what then will be the message he delivers on this specific topic, on the muslim world, to an american audience when he ip evidentably and ultimately does that when he gets back to the united states? is it going to be that same softer tone or will the president revert back to the tough language that we have heard from him so far regarding the fight against isis? and i think that certainly is going to be something to watch for. >> hallie jackson, stand by for us. again, we're ramping up to that address from the president. joining our conversation now a panel assembled includes once again naveed jamali, a former fbi double agent, also joining us is a former state department adviser, republican strategist steve mchan, democratic strategist and josh barro, an msnbc contributor and an "insider "senior editor. i left before the commercial
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break kind of leading up to that piece in the national review by mclachey. let me ask you about that quickly because it talked about the fact it wasn't such a bad thing in terms of the president's language about comey but that that language was used with the russians, that basically president trump was talking about that about comey to the russians. was that the biggest pitfall in the language of characterizing the former fbi director as a nutjob? >> so much to unpack there, not to mention the fact this occurred less than 24 hours after he fired him and he's under the offices of potentially interfering or trying to obstruct justice or certainly as we wall>> caller: in the military undue command influence, that is to say to shape the direction of the investigation. yes, the russians are one of our biggest alleged ver sayres and to speak like that, not to mention the fact he disclosed information about an israeli source and operation against isis, which, you know, getting
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someoninto isis is incredibly hard to begin with, think that it shows -- it sends a message not just -- forget about what he did with the russians but it sends a message to the rest of the world that perhaps questions where his judgments and alignments are and the rest of the world does not look towards russia with a kind eye. most of our allies certainly don't. so it won't help the israelis, when he goes back to europe, the saudis as well, it won't help things in terms of whether they want to share information or how they'll deal with president trump. i think it adds a lot of question. >> noel, andrew mccarthy writing for the national review saying the problem is what president trump said to the russians, comey is one of us, there is no excuse for a president of the united states to run down an american for the consumption of our russian adversaries, particularly an american fighting against russian operations against our country. it is indefensible. do you think the speech we're about to see coming up is in any way going to help the president
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be steered toward more positive headlines and away from the addiction we all seem to have to trying to fimd out information about what's going on with this russian investigation? >> absolutely. i think this speech will be one of unit ti. i think a lot of people are going to give a thumbs up for trump. look, he's representing us. he's representing the united states. you know, it's not like trump by himself. i know a lot of people wish he wasn't representing the united states, but he is. i think he'll give a speech that recognizes what the united states stands for and some of the things that we want, and he's already stated he is not going to push our values, push our way of life in this cntry i thought it was fabulous he's been rolled out the red carpet. i know a lot of people have kind
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of joked and said that, you know, people -- they're rolling out the red carpet because they're playing to his ego, but i really think that it's a heart felt welcome, especially when you have the 81-year-old leader come out and actually greet him. that's not fanfare. and i really feel like visiting saudi arabia first i think is sending a message that we are ready to deal with isis and we are taking this very serious and we need their commitment to deal with terrorism. >> nair, playing off what noelle is saying there, how do you think they are committed to backing the president with the vision that we expect to see laid out in this upcoming speech in the fight against international terrorism? >> sure. the saudis are certain ly -- i would say personality in they tend to rule as family, tend to keep their family members close
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in positions of important government power, and then they also look at business interests. the saudis are known -- this family in particular came to power because of oil, and they are expert at how to make money. so there's a common personal interest there. the question will be will this translate into a common public interest. the saudis unfortunately are not considered the most progressive in the muslim world or actually in the world at large. they are, in fact, oppressive to women, oppressive to labor and the working class, and they are going to be struggling in terms of human rights. that's what we call now i guess moralizing, but that has tritionally been the u.s. spear, the tip o the spear is leaning forward on american values of freedom of press, freedom for women, equality, and that's going to be the challenge, is how does this translate into a roim that actually helps the public good and is not about advancing individual business interests. >> well, i think the characterization that you make comparing the trumps to the
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saudi royal family is going to make a lot of people's skin crawl, because that's basically almost the distinction of a p plutocracy of trying to insulate yourself, your political powers and unify that to cash in. but when it comes to human rights, we had both secretary of state rex tillerson and senator marco rubio appearing on the sunday talk shows and this is how they characterize the trump vision. >> there are efforts under way to i think improve the rights of women, the participation of women in society throughout the region, but, you know, the primary reason we're here today is to confront this threat of terrorism. if we do not defeat these forces of evil, there will be no conditions under which we could even hope to improve the human rights for all the people in the region. >> different approach on the issue of human rights. much more forceful and open and
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vocal about criticizing whether it's egypt or saudi arabia for its human rights rerd. the white house is convinced they can get better results by addressing tse issues in private, one-on-one. >> steve mcmahon, how does this pick um maybe the baton from where an obama administration left off or is it distinctly different? >> well, i think it's a unique challenge of the president of the united states to find the right balance between american values and american interests. it's something frankly that president obama struggled with at times, that george w. bush struggled with at times, and i think what you're seeing in president trump right now is he's in some ways on this first foreign trim growing into becoming president in ways that he hasn't really back here at home. he's apparently not going to use the term radical islamic terrorism, which he's been using throughout the campaign and for several years now, and mocking other politicians for refusing to use. he's not going to push the human rights records in these countries in the same way that
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president obama did. he is trying to emphasize america's interests, the interests in fighting isis and in securing that region and in our country against terrorism, and creating american jobs. that's something where he said, you know, we're going to do that at the expense of pushing on mesh's values. and we'll do it privately. i think it's a difficult thing for any president. it was difficult for the president before him and for george w. bush before that. i am glad, though, to see that he is taking a softer tone with respect to his inflammatory anti-muslim etoric and i think that's a step forward. >> we om have so far about five excerpts coming in advance of the speech. looking at live images of president trump lining up with the leaders that would categorically be classified here maybe as the class picture in advance of the speech that's going to take place. josh, let me ask you, in reference to steve in talking about what president trump is willing to settle for, you know,
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the expense of what president obama may have been trying to achieve in human rights efforts, one of the excerpts is we're not here to lecture, we're not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, how to be or how to worship. we are here to offer partnership based on shared sbrets interests and values to pursue a better future for all. when it comes to a trump administration and shared interests, what are they and what is that leverage? >> yeah. i mean, i think it's really clear that global human rights is not a priority for this administration. that doesn't fit within the rubric of america first. if you're trying to work with foreign countries on finding shared interests with the u.s., the rights of the people in those other countries isn't on that list for the trump administration. we saw we have the president of turkey here this past week. his bodyguards beat up a bunch of pro kurdish protesters on embassy row in washington, d.c., and the administration's been very muted about that. the president invited the president of the philippines to come visit him at the white
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house. this is a guy who has a terrible human rights record in a country that, you know, is not a lost cause on human rights. and so i think you know, what he'll try to get out of saudi arabia is going to be much more about american interests in the region, trying to get them to devote more resources, be more helpful in the fight against isis. this has been a struggle for administrations in the u.s. for a while trying to get the saudis to cut off the flow of funds for terrorist organizations. and i think it's something that several administrations have struggled with. the other fact on the ground is just, you know, we had the arab spring and we had all of these revolutions and changes of regime in these countries that did not work out as well as we might have hoped that it would have a few years ago. so i think in general it's not just trump. there's a reduction in how hopeful people are about human rights initiatives in certain parts of the world. i'm not sure that's a reason not to try. >> what josh is pointing out, where is the hotspot that the
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trump administration could focus on to actually make a difference where these, you know, described shared interests would be of value? >> well, this is what's interesting in talking about shared interests. going into the speech, there's an assumption that state-sponsored terrorism is -- fighting is that is a shared interest. unfortunately, you have several country, their leaders in that room, even in that family photo, who behind-the-scenes support terrorism. they see it as an opportunity to control their own populations. and the saudis with their really conservative, literal interpretation of islam, talking eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, their knee theology is the underpinni for what is a lot of isis networking. so that's goi to be a technology is getting all these people to assume amend agree that fighting terrorism is a shared interest. another example you have, the head of pakistan is in that country. they support the taliban.
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they house the taliban in their country, which then goes over into afghanistan border and attacks u.s. troops. so this is going to be a speech i think
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>> do you think it's fair to characterize the interests of saudi arabia with the democrats? right now the democrats feel that the administration is based on complete deception of russian collusion and -- >> i'm doing the comparison as working together with different beliefs, meaning, you know, the human rights issues, meaning women's rights and oppression. you know, they're so vastly different. looking at what the democrats believe in. looking at what a lot of the democrats -- you know, the feelings towards health care, feelings towards taxes. and looking at the very divided
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differences among the party and among you know, let's just say saudi arabia. not comparing the two, not saying that the democrats are just like saudi arabia, but i'm trying to say that, you know, trump has a very difficult task until trying to navigate around people that have different policies and bleaches. >> steve, to noelle's point, let me get you in here, to thread that needle, how difficult is a job for this for president trump? >> well, i certainly hope he has better luck with the saudis than he's had with the democrats, because if that's the approach he's going to take, we're going to have a long four years. i mean, i do think -- i'm encouraged, and, listen, i'm as critical of donald trump as anybody out there, but i'm encouraged with what he see in these excerpts of this speech. it may just be you know, something to make everybody happy, but it does represent -- if he follows through and doesn't use the terms he's been using to enflame the muss limb world, it would represent a significant shift in his rhetoric, a significant move
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toward thinking about the region and the challenges in the region more like barack obama and george w. bush before him than candidate trump. and i think that is a maturing -- i think it's a good ing for the country. i think it's a good thing for the world pip think he's been a disaster as a president at home, but this speech, which, you know, somebody gave him to read, if he reads it and if it is as it's been sort of indicated in some of these excerpts that have been released before hand, i think it's going to be a major step forward in the normal -- i hate to say this again, in the normalization of donald trump as a president because he's moving in the direction of barack obama and george w. bush with respect to his -- the way he's entering the conversation in this region of the world. there's no question that human rights and women's rights and all the things that represent and reflect america's values are things that we need to continue to stand for and speak for. the administration is saying they'll do that privately instead of publicly. i home they do.
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but that has to continue to cur. but the way he's approaching these problems and the way he's moving in the direction of obama and bush rather than candidate trump is encouraging to me. >> would you agree with that, the maturing and this is the potential repositioning of a platform of a president trump and his administration and their outlook? >> he certainly does need a reset. i think we can all agree with that, particularly given the relationship with the russians and how that's been dominating domestic news at the expense of being able to solve domestic challenges. but the maturing is an interesting word to use, given i guess the threshold we're starting from. maturing would be would be receiving the daily intel briefing and getting an understanding of exactly what each of the people in that room that he's meeting with right now. there is the head of sudan, a
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genocidal dictator, now given the credit of standing and taking a photo with the leader of the free world. these are the types of nuances that may not resonate back here in the united states but that send a signal to everybody else in the worl we're no longer under the trump administration going to be the advocates and supporters of dmmsy. >> the one thing about that, the ideas and language we've seen from president trump since being inaugurated and prior to that on the campaign trail certainly lends its to a lot of saber rattling. this is more about peace and stability. >> absolutely. he really hit the nail on the head here. when we think about what this plays domestically in the united
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states versus internationally, look, everyone is focussed on this concept that the united states is looking for support in its battle against isis. the reality is most of those countries don't care about isis or syria or iraq. they're more interested in their own personal national interests. the saber rattling, when we have a president that has said such inflammatory things about muslims and immigrants, that plays domestically. i don't think this audience cares that much about it. i think the deals have been struck before the speech, t weapons deal. the reality is this is his race to lose. as long as he sticks to the script, as long as he doesn't say anything inflammatory or depart from the words someone else wrote for him, this will go without a hitch. look, the reality is the focus that we have domestically on isis is not the one that most of these states share. >> let me ask you when it comes to steven miller, the person
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that wrote this speech also wrote the speech for the president when he gave that joint address to congress and using the words radical islamic terrorism. how much effort and approval do you think the secretary of state rex tillerson, input that he's delivering to nuance the speech? >> well, rex tillerson is also coming from a position of being a ceo, running a private sector company, so he has a steep learning curve as well, along with the president. so this is not a situation the president can lean on a secretary of state who has 40 years of government diplomacy behind him. >> but even with his background leading exxon and the shared interests of saudi oil with exxon and its international place in this world, how do you think that tillerson would be advising or helping to nuance
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language in this speech not to jeopardize those other money making opportunities, business opportunities between being allies. >> that's exactly the shared interest here. again it is not combatting terrorism, it is no advance business deals hopefully on behalf of the american public. but rex tillerson certainly comes from a perspective of being willing to deal many different types of leaders to advance business deals. so the idea of will this lead to more jobs in the u.s., will these be business deals that benefit the public at large, not specific into a company. so that's a learning curve it seems like for everyone in this administration, is how to work for the public good, rather than individual narrow company interests. steven miller has emerged as the thinker in all of this. he's pushing for the aggressive tone domestically.
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and this team knows how to play to an audience. they probably know how to work this type of room as well. and that's why you see the term radical islamic terrorism as scripted will likely not come up in this room. but this is again, not a president who is about working off of a script. he works off the cuff and he'll get a feel for the room and we'll see what he actually ends up saying. >> we've seen improvisation by this president. josh, let me ask you, though. to what the public image that we're about to see, certainly a deep contrast to the information that we're getting behind the scenes of the inner circle for donald trump. what have you been hearing, if anything, because they left. those two big stories dropped as air force one was wheels up. but we already knew there was a lot of turmoil behind the