tv First Look MSNBC December 20, 2018 2:00am-3:00am PST
don't, all of them. former president barack obama bringing cheer to those who could use it especially this time of year. that is our broadcast for this wednesday night. thank you so much for being here with us. good night from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. headquarters here in new york. we've beaten them and we've beaten them badly. we've taken back the land. >> to those who say we have defeated isis in syria, that is an inaccurate statement. to say they're defeated is an overstatement and is fake news. >> senator lindsey graham is just one of the republicans blasting the president for his sudden decision to withdraw troops from syria immediately without consulting allies or even the pentagon. now even basic questions about what's next are going unanswer. today the house takes up the measure, but what about the wall? ♪
good morning, everyone. it's thursday, december 20th. i'm ayman mohyeldin alongside yasmin vossoughian. we begin with the president's decision to announce that he was ordering the withdrawal of all u.s. ground forces from syria within 30 days, writing, we have defeated isis in syria, my only reason for being there during the trump presidency. that was followed up with another tweet including a video which was shot by a government camera without any press being present. >> we've been fighting for a long time in syria. i've been president for almost two years and we've really stepped it up and we have won against isis. we've beaten them and we've beaten them badly. we've taken back the land and now it's time for our troops to come back home. these are great heros of the
world because they fought for us. but they've killed isis, who hurts the world. we've proud to have done it. >> that's the president's claim, that isis is totally defeated. it actually does not appear to be backed by evidence on the ground. just last week president trump's special envoy to syria told reporters at the state department that it would be, quote, reckless to simply declid declare victory and leave. he also stated there was months of fighting left. >> we are now down to the last 1% of the physical territory. we're prepared to maintain the stabilization effort in iraq and syria. this will take a period of years. that will take some time. we also have other interests in syria. but the military mission is the enduring defeat of isis. we know that once the physical space is defeated, we can't just pick up and leave, so we're
prepared to make sure we do all we can to ensure this is enduring. i think americans will remain on the ground until after the physical defeat of the caliphate. >> the president's announcement came days after president trump had a phone call with turkey's president erdogan. that call came a day after the turkish president vowed to launch a military operation and remove the u.s. allied kurdish forces if necessary. also yesterday the state department approve add $3.5 billion arms sale to turkey including 140 missiles. turkey has also agreed to buy russian missile systems. >> in that video the commander in chief who never served himself and has not visited any of america's troops fighting in an active combat zone has this to say about one of his reasons for the withdrawal. >> i get for saddened when i have to write letters or call
parents or wives or husbands of soldiers who have been killed fighting for our country. it's great honor. we cherish them but it's heartbreaking. there's no question about it, it's heartbreaking. i'll tell you they're up there looking down on us and there's nobody happier for more proud of their families to put them in a position where they've done such good for so many people. so our boys, our young women, our men, they're all coming back and they're coming back now. we won and that's the way we want it and that's the way they want it. >> so there are at least two major backers of president trump's decision, the russian embassy in the united states tweeting its support of the commander in chief's withdrawal. the foreign ministry called it a, quote, milestone story that could lead to a real prospect for a political solution. and turkey's u.s. mission
retweeted four u.s. quotes on it. it's interesting, this development yesterday to say the least. because we see this chasm happening in washington, d.c., there's really no plan for what's going to take place after the withdrawal of the troops. and then there's this concern of the power vacuum for russia and iran to fill. >> that's the central point in all this. we've seen in the past that terrorism, instability, chaos, they all thrive in a vacuum. one of the things that the u.s. has had by having a foothold inside syria is a little bit of stability and kind of keeping everyone in check not allowing russia, iran and turkey to just run amok. with the u.s. out -- >> plus the fact that we didn't have a significant troop
presence there, only 2,000 or so on the ground. >> but the strength of the u.s. military is not in its size, in its ability to project power. by being able to project large amounts of power, they're able to keep everyone at bay. >> i wonder what bashar al assad is thinking right now because iran and russia are supporters of assad. >> over the past couple of months, he's become more emboldened. he feels he's won the war in syria and likely we're going to see him expand his footprint over the territorial control of the country. if there was any opposition, it's likely that the syrian government will go after those small pockets of resistance with the backing of iran and russia. >> a lot of analysis i see in
this is that president trump is more in line with obama on this than ever before because it sealed like proseal -- seemed like president obama had the same thought process that we shouldn't really have troops on the ground in syria. >> let's bring in heidi priszyba przybyla. >> some of the biggest congressional backlash to president trump's withdrawal is coming from within his own party. air force veteran adam kinsinger tweeted that trump's claim that isis has been defeated is simply untrue. >> that video is very disturbing. for the president to point to the sky and say they want this, the president can't speak for fallen american soldiers. i'm not sure the fallen american
sie soldiers want us to declare victory against a foe we haven't defeated yet. >> the decision to withdraw an american presence in syria is a colossal, in my mind, mistake, a grave error that's going to have significant repercussions in the years and months to come. i don't know who advised that this decision be made, but it's a terrible mistake and unfortunately i think we're going to pay a price for it if it's not reversed. >> i've seen the president tweet. in my view, isis is not defeated in syria and iraq. i was there just a few months ago. if we do in fact withdraw, the biggest winners are going to be iran, isis, assad. if you're tired of fighting radical islam, i understand it.
they're not tired of fighting you. if you don't get that, you're making a huge mistake. 2200 troops is a very small footprint. it's an insurance policy against isis coming back. i want to defend the nation against threats and i want allies. and what you've done if we withdraw, you're going to make it harder to find allies. >> in a statement senator ben sasse writes, today we're leaving. the president's generals have no idea where this weak decision came from. they believe the high-flying winners today are iran, isis and hezbollah. a lot of american allies will be slaughtered if this retreat is implemented. >> is this more of the president's strategy of going it alone without input from the
military or allies? how would you try to explain the strategic decision that the president took here? what is driving him to have made this decision if everyone that we've kind of surveyed, whethsas was not a good idea? >> the backlash was pretty swift last night. we got early indications there was no consultation from the state department, the pentagon or critically, like you said, our allies. early indications were that this was a unilateral decision made between president trump and the leader of turkey amid that arms deal. we've got no timeline. white house reporters spoke on background with white house officials. they were given no details about this as if it were a well thought out strategy. most importantly, as you mentioned, our allies on the ground -- this comes as turkish leader erdogan has made clear
that there is an offensive coming. our allies could be slaughtered. what is the message to local troops that we need to be fighting with on the ground and other places like yemen? a quick programming note. adam kinzinger joins "morning joe" later this morning. lawmakers in the house could take up a short-term spending bill to keep the government running today. that would punt the battle over president trump's border wall demands into next year. funding the government until february in order to avoid a partial shutdown ahead of tomorrow's midnight, deadline. the bill must also be signed by president trump. the spending measure does not include $5 billion for the border wall that the president demanded from congress.
that battle now shifts to the new congress, featuring a democratic majority in the house that will have the power to stop any wall funding from being approved. during a meeting with republican lawmakers yesterday, vice president pence would not firmly say that the president absolutely back the continuing resolution but that president trump would be open to sign it. yesterday the white house also disputed claims the president is softening his demands for border wall funding. >> people who voted for him and want the wall and went to the polls to vote for the wall, they want to know how he's going to do this and why he seems to be softening his stance this morning. >> the president is not softening his stance. he has a responsibility to keep the government moving forward and he has a responsibility to get border security. if he could do it by himself, he would have done it already. >> the "wall street journal" has uncovered two sworn statements
from president trump where he claims to have a deep understanding of campaign finance laws, which could be critical if investigators pursue him. trump signed a four-page affidavit in june of 2000 outlining his familiarity with laws governing corporate contributions. in 1988 trump testified, i have gone through federal campaigns and frankly it's the best thing that ever happened to me because you're limited to $1,000 contribution. in recent years president trump turned his understanding into parts of his stump speech. >> i give republicans, democrats. they call. i used to have a sentence. it's sort of funny. senators call. i say don't bother coming in, senator.
you're allowed to give like $2,000. they come in, you go see them. the greatest thing that ever happened is campaign finance haweha laws. >> so regardless, president trump's attorney rudy giuliani has argued that the president had limited understanding of campaign finance laws. in fact, giuliani contends in an interwed that whether or not the president had detailed knowledge of campaign finance law, the hush money payments for which michael cohen was charged didn't actually break the law. still ahead, markets tumble after the federal reserve raises interest rates for a fourth time. we're going to tell you how stocks are doing this morning. legal action is taken against facebook as it struggles to secure users' privacy. ♪
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welcome back. stock futures here in the u.s. are signaling another tough day ahead for wall street after the federal reserve once again raised interest rates. the fed announced yesterday that as the market had expected, it was raising its benchmark rate a quarter of a point, marking the fourth increase this year and the ninth since three years ago. the fed says it is now projecting two more rate hikes next year, down from the prior forecast of three. that move comes as president trump continues to hammer the central bank over its rate hikes. the markets face waves of volatility including all three indexes here in the u.s. sufficienting big losses after the decision yesterday. the dow, s&p 500 and nasdaq all hit new lows for 2018 with the dow giving up a 381-point gain and closing 351 points lower. not good news before the
holidays. facebook stock was down 7% as it got hit with its first major legal action for failing to protect user data. the attorney general is suing the social network for violating consumer protection laws. the lawsuit comes nine months after a whistle blower outed facebook for allowing cambridge analytica for harvesting the data of 80 million users. the ftc is investigating facebook, but it is unclear where that probe now stands. in fact, the company says it is reviewing the complaint brought by d.c. officials and looks forward to discussions with attorneys general in d.c. and elsewhere. >> you think we figure out everything that facebook has been doing and more and more stuff comes out. hopefully we have another game today.
>> with bill karins? what have you got? >> no pressure. >> any fun games? >> you guys liked that yesterday, huh? yasmin wants to be right. >> that's always fun. >> rare, but fun. >> oh. >> this huge rainstorm in the southeast. the rain and thunderstorms continue in areas of central and north florida. this is our big rainstorm we've been talking about for days. we have 71 million people under flash flood watches. we've just had so much rain lately. we could see some isolated flash flooding. that's the concern. as far as the severe weather goes, if we're going to get any
damaging storms today, most likely central florida could get a couple tornados out of this. it will sweep down toward south florida late tonight. as far as the rainfall goes 1-3 inches. as far as the wind go -- this is why we were saying if you have friday morning air travel, look at these wind gusts. not only do we have the heavy rain but we have really strong winds. that's why i don't expect a lot of flights to get off the ground. saturday and sunday look fine. if you can change your flight, now is the time. >> always fun to call any airline to change your flight. >> you make it sound so easy, bill. >> seven hours later and $150 -- >> with two kids.
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27 points. let's move to the pro courts. in houston where the rockets set a new nba record with 26 three-pointers. last night's 136-118 win over the wizards. james harden had six of them. michael carter-williams hit 26 with only about 20 seconds to play. finally chiefs rookie quarterback patrick mahomes received his first pro bowl selection on tuesday. now he's got his first high profile endorsement deal. take a look. ♪
♪ >> i'm disturbed but i'm not really sure why yet. that video from the company announcing mahomes joining hunt's kechup, with the line who would you rather have passing you the kechup? the quarterback revealed his affinity for the condiment. >> it was a retro commercial. >> didn't really know where it was going. >> it was like rocky meets -- i have no idea. still ahead, president trump who's getting blasted by members of his own party this morning. s. what happened to you?
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♪ welcome back, everybody. i'm yasmin vossoughian alongside ayman mohyeldin. it is the bottom of the hour. in a surprising announcement, the trump administration has revealed it is withdrawing u.s. troops from syria with president trump declaring that isis has been defeated in that country. >> despite the president's claim, pockets of fighters remain there and the move has left many in congress and the
pentagon quite literally caught off guard. richard engel has more. >> reporter: it's one of the most secretive and most successful military campaigns in modern history, the u.s.-led fight against isis in syria. and the white house says it's over, mission accomplished. president trump releasing this white house-produced video on twitter. >> we have won against isis. so our boys, our young women, our men, they're all coming back and they're coming back now. we won and that's the way we want it and that's the way they want it. >> reporter: u.s. forces have beaten isis far back. u.s. officials say the group has lost 99% of its territory with more than 60,000 fighters killed. when are the roughly 2,000 u.s. forces in syria coming home? it's unclear. the pentagon issued a statement saying the campaign against isis
is not over, but is transitioning to a new phase, but gave no specifics. we were on the front lines in syria last spring with u.s. and kurdish troops after they took back the isis capital raqqah. this is the main square in the center of raqqah today. isis used this place for public beheadings, even crucifixions. u.s. commanders told us repeatedly, unless isis is completely defeated -- and it is not yet -- the group could return. >> if trump withdraws from syria and they do come back, like i think they will, he'll be one of the reasons they came back. >> reporter: what happens to our partners, the kurds? the commander told us an aamerican abandonment would be a betrayal. a u.s. official told nbc news this decision came quickly in the last 24 hours, quote, right from the top. now the u.s. military is
scrambling to figure out how to implement it with grave concerns about isis and our allies. meanwhile the chairman of the senate foreign relations committee bob corker told reporters yesterday that the white house cancelled a long-planned meeting with president trump while the senator was sitting in the look waiting for him. senator corker held nothing back when discussing trump's syria withdrawal. >> honestly, this makes what obama did in iraq -- it's replicating that, but in many ways it's even worse, because here we're in a situation where we're very close in the euphrates river valley to finishing clearing out. it's a terrible thing for our nation. it's a terrible thing for the allies we've been working with. it's hard to imagine that any president would wake up and make this kind of zwidecision with t
little communication, with this little preparation. my understanding is we're beginning to move out right now. >> entirely? >> yes, entirely. i've never seen a decision like this since i've been here in 12 years where nothing is communicated in advance and all of a sudden this type of massive decision takes place. it's obviously a political decision. >> president trump's attorney was forced to walk back a statement that the president did not sign a letter of intent to build a tower in moscow during the 2016 election campaign. the letter proposed a development that would be known as trump moscow signed by donald trump himself, who on that same day appeared center stage in the third republican debate just three months before the iowa caucuses. rudy giuliani told cnn there was a letter of intent to go forward, but no one signed it.
yesterday he told the new york daily news, i don't think i said nobody signed it. giuliani went onto tell the daily news of course trump signed it and it was a bull expletive letter because that was the end of it. court filings in the indictment of michael cohen claim that discussions about the project continues for another eighth months, nearly up to the 2016 republican convention. a new report from robert mueller's office appears to indication more action could be just around the corner. for those details, let's bring in heidi przybyla. >> people familiar with the request tell the "washington post" that the special counsel's office has asked the house intelligence committee on friday for an official transcript of trump advisor roger stone's testimony, a potential sign that prosecutors could be moving to charge him with a crime. it is the first time mueller has formally asked the committee to turn over material from the
panel and its investigation of russian interference of the 2018 campaign, according to post sources. the move also suggests that the special counsel could soon finalize his months-long investigation of stone and whether the political operative had advanced knowledge of stolen e-mails, offering insight into those in president trump's inner orbit knew. as you see here, the squeeze on additional people within donald trump's inner circle in addition to michael cohen and general flynn. >> let me ask you about this focus now that is coming out of the mueller investigation on roger stone. does that suggest that action is imminent? how does this fit in with previous patterns of mueller and why it would be significant to look at any potential action taken against roger stone? >> the special counsel has hrd had an informal transcript of
stone's testimony before congress. in order to proceed with charges, he would need to obtain an official copy. that's what he's done here. we do know that he is looking at whether those in trump's inner circle would have perjured themselves in congress. we're told we could know the answer in weeks. >> i suspect that robert mueller already knows the absolute to so many questions he perhaps wants to seek from the transcript. >> you're also wondering if roger stone knows this to be imminent. >> he's certainly been talking that way in the last couple of weeks. >> you look at what happened with michael cohen, who didn't necessarily fully cooperate with the southern district. he gets three years. you see what took place with michael flynn just the other day who did in fact cooperate but was basically sent back and said
your heathring is going to be delayed because you need to cooperate even further. >> so roger stone's testimony will, i think, set a precedent, because you've got other people here who may have perjured themselves as well. if you talk to folks on capitol hill, they say for instance trump junior's testimony. steve bannon was hauled before the panel as well. i think this definitely will be an indication. and what we've seen here really is that the special counsel post-election is moving at light speed in terms of tightening his grip on charges against those in the inner circle. the question is what have they told the special counsel about president trump? it really was curious the other night when rudy giuliani was on television and he was asked whether roger stone tipped off president trump about wikileaks. he had a very curious long pause on that before he said he really just didn't know.
>> thank you. house speaker paul ryan has delivered his farewell address to congress. in his speech, ryan urged his fellow lawmakers to a more civil tone in the nation's discourse and encouraged them to tackle some of the country's most difficult problems despite divisive politics. >> if we do these three things, make progress on poverty, fix our immigration system and confront this debt crisis, we can make this another great century for our country. look, i recognize that these challenges are ones we haven't made much progress on in recent years, but i am confident we still have it in us to solve them. i leave here as convinced i was at the start that we face no challenge that can be over come by putting pen to paper on good sound policy, by addressing head on the problems of the day. the state of politics, though,
is another question. frankly, that's one i don't have an answer for. today too often genuine disagreement quickly gives way to intense distrust. we spend far more time trying to convict one another than we do trying to develop our own convictions. being against someone has more currency than being for anything. still ahead, after decades of trying, the senate finally takes toox masteps to make lync federal hate crime. and bill karins back with a look at your holiday travel forecast. h a look at your holiday travel forecast daddy diaper duty...
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so shark invented duo clean. while deep cleaning carpets, the added soft brush roll picks up large particles, gives floors a polished look, and fearlessly devours piles. duo clean technology, corded and cord-free. welcome back, everyone. the senate unanimously approved legislation making lynching a federal hate crime after nearly 100 years of failed attempts to
pass a bill. the bipartisan legislation could punish those found guilty with a sentence of up to life in prison. harris thanked her fellow senators for passing the bill yesterday, tweeting lynching is a dark and despicable aspect of our nation's history. we must acknowledge that fact lest we repeat it. tim scott said, quote, i am glad the senate passed this important bill today and i am hopeful that the house will do the same and send it to the president for his signature as soon as possible. let's take a turn here and get a check on your weather now with nbc meteorologist bill karins. >> two concerns today, severe storms and the risk of some flash flooding. we're not talking anything about ice and snow. it's just too warm. here's the severe weather threat for today. this is very typical of el nino
winters. that's what we're in right now. severe weather can happen in fl florida in these situations. this area of orange is the greatest risk of tornados. on top of that, we have 71 million under flash flood watches. that just means there's the potential for it. that goes all the way through the northeast as we go through tomorrow. this morning it is raining about just as hard as you'll see in sarasota up through tampa, it will start arriving in orlando shortly. this is a huge storm as advertised, a lot of travel impacts. the most significant will be in atlanta all the way through orlando, miami maybe late tomorrow. once we get through saturday, we clear it out. friday's the bad day in the northeast. by the time we get to sunday, a little bit of mix in ohio
christmas eve. i don't see any issues for everyone of the rockies after we get past friday. donning a santa claus hat, former president obama made a surprise visit to a children's hospital in washington, d.c. yesterday. >> i just want to say thank you to all of you guys. i got a chance to talk to some of the wonderful kids and their families at a time that obviously is tough folks. >> that's pretty incredible. >> heartwarming moment. >> he spent time with the families of the kid who are spending the holidays in the hospital, which is not easy to do at all, handing out gifts he and his staff had collected. he also recorded a holiday message on the hospital's tv system for the patients he was not able to visit. it was his first visit to the
hospital since leaving office. pretty cool. >> a beautiful moment this holiday season. >> it's always interesting, i have to say, to see former presidents kind of in their casual sweater. >> looked pretty dapper. still ahead, facebook tries to do damage control in the wake of its latest scandal over user data. stocks do a 180. details on the stories driving your business day ahead. driving your business day ahead. - [narrator] the typical vacuum head has its limitations, so shark invented duo clean. while deep cleaning carpets, the added soft brush roll picks up large particles, gives floors a polished look, and fearlessly devours piles. duo clean technology, corded and cord-free. and fearlessly devours piles. with my bladder leakage, the products i've tried just didn't fit right. they were too loose. it's getting in the way of our camping trips. but with a range of sizes, depend fit-flex is made for me. with a range of sizes for all body types, depend fit-flex underwear is guaranteed to be your best fit.
welcome back, everybody. markets revolting and fell to record lows after federal reserve chair jerome powell -- r- day might be on the horizon, as well. let's break all this down. juliana is joining us live from london. good morning to you. quite a day ahead, or it could be, feasibly. how is powell defending his decision, considering what took place? >> well, it was, indeed, a tough day for markets yesterday, a tough day inet asia overnight a a tough day again today here in europe. jerome powell did, indeed, raise interest rates, but dialed back expectations for more rises next year, but not to the extent the market wast hoping for. in his defense, powell has said while conditions have worsened,
they have noten changed enough change the fundamental jo look. they will continue to monitor financialue and global economic developments. but he stopped short of offer any more concrete support of language and that is what has driven this ripple through markets. people are concerned about global growth next year. >> we're always following the tech giants closely. there's been some fallout for facebook as that company continues to attempt alleged data access agreements that weren't enough to contain investor and user concerns. what's the latest on that front with facebook? >> well, facebook under fire yet again. it feelsr like every week ther is a new negative headline around this company. this time, the negativity came following a "new york times" investigation that revealed facebook shared even more than previously thought amounts of data with companies they called partners. this included spotify, and
included access to private messages. facebook has admitted they did allow certain companies access, but they said a lot of this was done within the data permission. basically saying they have not done anything outside the bounds of what people permitted them to do withle their data. bottom line, regulators say we need more transparency. facebook saying we'll try to do better and shareholders saying we're notre happy. >> explains why i guess netflix knows what you want to watch next, right? i love this show, watch it. all right. ju i ana, thank you. coming up, axios lass a look -- has a look at this morning's one big thick. and more on president trump's decision.
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>> welcome back, everybody. joining us from washington with a look at axios a.m., editor and chief nick johnson. talk to us about axios' one big thing today. >> trump's lame duck debacle. president trump hasn't had a great six weeks since the midterms. a lot of errors that have anchored republicans and emboldened markets. and markets. most recently yesterday the president's sudden announcement that he was withdrawing troops from syria saying isis had been defeated was followed by swift condemnation. marco rubio mockingly retweeted the russian government's approval of the move.
lindsey graham said it was an obama-like mistake. on the hill, republicans are furious about trump caving on the $5 billion for the wall. the internet headlines were trump caves, pelosi victory. his allies on the house are calling i on minimum to veto this bill. same on the shutdown issue saying he would take credit. call it the trump shutdown. democrats loved the sound of that 3 that. finally, the ongoing efforts on the chief of staff. president trump didn't get who he wanted. a bunch of people said no made it seem like no one wanted the job. in the end, mick mulvaney took it on an accountiting position. >> we should have had a scroll going while you were talking. >> glad i republmembered it all.
>> with all the challenges trump will be facing next year, will things get worse before they get better? >> i think that's very fair to say. all of these last six months are, like you said, before democrats get control of the house, there are stacks of letters and subpoenas on top of democratic lawmakers desks that will go into the mail demanding documents, commanding meetings, calling folks before congress and i think it's going to get worse before it gets better for the president at this point. >> nick, while we have you, i want to talk about this facebook story. user data being shared once again. could next year be the year that we see some regulation on a company like facebook? >> i think it continues to pile up-and-up. mark zuckerberg likes to have a new year's resolution every year. for this year, it was fix facebook. and this is the year that he found out facebook couldn't be fixed. a lot of the problems are
intractable. uber went through a similar period before, they ended up switching ceos. there is no sign on doing that and that means the pressure will increase a lot. there's one thing that republicans and democrats agree on and that's the dangers of big tech. >> thanks, nick. >> and we will be reading axios a.m. in just a bit. you, too, can sign up for the newsletter. >> that does it for us on this thursday morning. "morning joe" starts right now. >> he has a responsibility to get border security. if he could do it by himself, he would have done it already. >> nobody knows the system better than me. which is why i alone can fix it. >> if he could do it by himself, he would have done it all right. >> i alone can fix it. the. >> the white house says the
president needs help from congress for his border wall. but when it comes to war policy in syria, the president seems perfectly content to go it alone. ellel we i know more about isis than the generals do. >> no, actually, you don't. the consequences will be pretty devastating. >> we have mike barnacle, steve ratner, heidi prisbella, david ignatius and retired four star navy admiral james devritis. >> we're going to get to syria in one minute, but rupert
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