tv MSNBC Live With Hallie Jackson MSNBC December 26, 2018 7:00am-8:00am PST
a bigger immigration package kicked around back in the spring. now the president is talking about $5 billion for a wall. a couple of days ago he started talking about steel slats. then there were comments yesterday, a wall or a fence or whatever. democrats essentially feel like the less they say, the president is already starting to come down on his demand here, although there are x factors here including this 115 miles of border wall the president announced in a tweet on christmas eve he was ordering to be built somewhere in texas. nobody i could talk to at the white house over the last two days could point me to where it was going, who was going to pay for it, who was going to build it, any information. so democrats, as you could see in a largely empty building here behind me, feel that the president needs to come to them with an offer that will get the government back open, and they do not feel appreciate jury to bend here. the pressure the democrats have been seeing, if any, has come from the left, from progressives, from liberals saying, we don't want this wall, we don't want a win for this
president, hold firm. >> garrett haake there on the hill. let me get over to chance nichols on the north line of the white house. hans, the president had lengthy remarks related to this. i think the bottom line for him, shut down, dug in. that's it. >> reporter: it is clear the president wants to get something. now, what he actually wants, whether it is a fence with slats or an actual wall, the president when you listen to what he said in those remarks a couple of days ago, it is clear he is willing to keep the government shutdown for some time. >> i can't tell you when the government is going to be open. i can tell you will it is not going to be open until we have a wall, a fence, whatever they would like to call it. >> reporter: hallie, on those mysterious 115 miles of wall, we have been asking around town, especially at the pentagon to see if there's any ability there to build something without congressional authorization, but no one seems to know just what the president is talking about. hallie. >> hans, there's always another story making a lot of headlines this morning, and that relates
to the devastating tale, story of a little boy from guatemala who guide on christmas eve in the custody of customs and border protection. what can you tell us? >> reporter: weal, we hall, we detailed timeline from cpb down there letting us know how it happened. of course, it is a tragedy and as you mentioned earlier we don't want to necessarily bring the two issues together because totally complete and separate issues. what is clear on the border that they weren't prepared for this number of migrants and not prepared with this number of migrants with families coming over, especially if they have detention facilities, run by hhs, full. so you heard the head of the cpb earlier today talking about the need for more resources, actually having more facilities down near the border to handle what seems to be a new influx. hallie. >> hans, see you at the white house as soon as this show is over, my friend. thank you of. let me bring in philip rucker who is here with me for
the next little bit. eugene scott, "washington post" political reporter is joining us as well. phil, you are writing about what happened with this eight-year-old boy in new mexico who died minutes before christmas essentially. tell ulgs a litts a little bit you heard from your reporting and i want to talk about a comment the american immigration lawyers association gave to you as well. >> yes, this is a tragic case obviously. the experts my colleague goes and i were talking to yesterday about the case said they're not totally surprised by this, that it was bound to happen because you have so many families, so many children who are making that long trek to the border, trying to get into the united states, trying to get asylum and they become mired in this situation here. >> ruby powers said to you and your team, quote -- and she is a member of the legal association. there's a lack of ownership of the detainees, thinking they won't be in their hands very long, moving them along to the next location. that is where the lack of care can occur. i know i'm supposed to be
shocked, but knowing everything i know i'm not shocked. >> i was actually talking to people on christmas eve after the news broke and christmas day who said that this is just a continuation of some of the issues people have with the children in cages. it suggests that when it comes to kids, this administration doesn't care as of as they say they do and want to put these kids in the best situation possible to get the help that they need. there's just no proof of that. >> there are those i think at dhs and cbp who say, of course we want the best for the kids. new, overnight we learned about what the agents did in the case of the little boy, who has been identified by members of congress but not officially identified by the trump administration. there are instances where cpb says, listen, we detained this family, this boy and a his father on december 18th, was taken to the hospital with what seemed like a cold, had a fever. we were giving welfare checks, released with prescriptions. the father declined care later because he said his son was
feeling better. eventually the boy began feeling nauseous, vomiting, was taken back to the house. cpb all along described what they said were the welfare checks that they did and what appears to be this sort of overnight crisis control here saying, hey, we did what we could, waking up this morning -- i did the story for the "today" show, for example, with new details of what exactly went down. >> yes, and the other thing we learn in the timeline is the boy was transported from facility to facility, sort of a long journey wout a lot of stability, without the same people providing care. we are hoping to learn a little bit more this hour. the department of homeland security is doing a briefing call and we may have some information later today in terms of what happened. >> yes. >> at these facilities. but a very difficult situation. >> our julia ainsley, by the way, on that. hope we can get more information. she will join us when she has it. i want to talk to you both because you're both experts in this area as well, government shutdown. we're in day five. >> shutdown experts. >> congratulations on that new title. this thing could stretch, i think the expectation seems to
be from people i talk to, we're going into the new year. nancy pelosi will end up getting to say, democrats, quote, unquote, reopened the government, i did it. what is the president going to say then? >> well, we have to see. congress is back tomorrow. >> right. >> presumably there will be some discussions between the president or at least representatives of the administration and congressional leaders to see if they can find common ground but the president is totally dug in as you said at the top of the show. >> congress is back tomorrow, so what? i hate to sound cynical, but does it mean anything? >> no. the only thing i think that would get the government to reopen before january 3rd would be if the president came down from his $5 billion request. >> right. >> there have been indications from mick mulvaney, the acting white house chief of staff, there was wiggle room there, but it is not clear how low the president would go and frankly whether the democrats are willing to give it at all. >> i don't think the democrats are willing to give based on staffers i spoke to because they have no reason to. >> no insent he have.
>> think don't want the wall, they didn't campaign on the wall and they don't want american taxpayers to pay for it, certainly considering the president said mexico would. >> you are writing about the sort of yuletide storm the president unleashed. and what was the line, other than the disgrace happening to our country. >> the nation's a disgrace, but other than that, merry christmas to all. >> do you think it is a reflection of his frustration heading into the new year, knowing there will be divided government for the first time since he has been president? >> i do. there are so many mounting pressures on president trump and you look at the bad news, the markets are in decline, have been for weeks now. he is preparing for the investigations in january, not just the investigations into corruption in the administration by house democrats but the culmination perhaps of the mueller russia investigation. he is under other federal criminal pressures up in new york, and it is just a lot to deal with. at the same time he lost his
defense secretary, a ton of acting positions in the cabinet. this is really a government in disarray at this hour. >> what is a bit fascinating about this is none of this happened overnight. everything has been moving in this direction for a while. we knew that these investigations would pick up if democrats took over the house. we knew that the criticism he is receiving for some of his policies and ideas and frustration and chaos in the white house, none of this just began this week. but to see him pretty of crack and just express so much frustration suggests that maybe it did just hit him very recently. i think it is surprising to a lot of people who have been paying attention for a while. >> i'm going to ask you two -- go ahead. oh, you took a deep breath. i didn't want cut you off. >> shutdown expert. >> i'm asking you both to stick around for a little longer. we are following continued negotiations later this week on the shutdown and we are looking to see if we get any more information from the department of homeland security on the death of the little boy, eight years old, from guatemala, who died on christmas eve in
government custody. as we watch that, we are watching the president who announced repeatedly the defeat of isis, but a u.s.-led coalition said it carried out air strikes in syria, calling the terror group a real threat. has the u.s. really won against isis as the president says? we are talking about it next.
strikes and coordinated attacks against the terror group last week, targeting their financial centers and other facilities in eastern syria. a deputy commander state it, isis presents a very real threat to the region, something that sounds different from what president trump has said over the last few months. >> we've essentially just absolutely obliterated isis in iraq and in syria. >> you look at syria, we've wiped out isis. >> they are virtually knocked out entirely in syria. >> we have won against isis. >> that claim, of course, leading the president to withdraw u.s. troops from syria. joining me, douglas elafant, now a senior national security fellow with the new america foundation and a friend of the show. phil rucker and eugene scott are back with us as well. doug, what do you make of the mixed question. we had general mark on earlier. he said, i wouldn't make too much of the differences in
messaging from the president and his folks on the ground. do you agree? >> i'm going to agree with my friend mark. >> okay. >> i think we have here -- the president is saying something that's true. >> he said isis is defeated. >> as a territory-holding force that's true. then you have the coalition, which has a longer view and is still concerned about isis as a terrorist threat to the region and wants to essentially pound them into nothingness, until they are no longer even a terrorist threat. but they are no longer the ground-holding caliphate that we saw several years ago. >> the president's discussion of isis in syria and the coalition-led strike now, does it signal to you, what you have seen from the coalition, things have not changed as of as the president said? >> if and when the troops withdraw from sear yayria, it w a change. we can see them doing this, carrying on this coalition
strategy. again, what will really have changed will be the absence of u.s. troops in the north when and if that happens. >> and this is all happening at a time when the pentagon is going through a leadership change. >> they are. >> i haven't spoken with you since secretary mattis, it was announced over the weekend, is going to be leaving i think tuesday. that's january 1st, right? >> on new year's. >> he will be leaving on tuesday and the deputy will step in to take the role. >> that's right. >> surprising to you? >> that he's leaving earlier than he originally announced? no. this is -- these things happen. certainly once someone announces that, i'm leaving the administration and does it in a way that can be seen as a backhanded slap to his executive -- you know, if you did this at texaco or exxon or wherever, you might be asked to clean out your desk and carry your stuff out that day. so no, i'm not terribly surprised by this. we'll see mattis carry on through the end and then have the deputy take his place. >> multiple defense and administration officials say
president trump didn't tell mattis, it was secretary pompeo who made the call to inform him that -- just like as doug's point, at texaco you are out the door earlier than you thought. >> trump grew so angry at mattis because of the news media coverage. he spent the weekend watching tv and reading newspapers and was furious with the narrative around mattis's resignation, with the interpretation of his letter, with the sense mattis was the last adult in the room, sort of the human guardrail protecting america from donald trump's ideas and instincts, so trump decided to get rid of mattis earlier than expected but did not have the courage to tell him to his face. he had mike pompeo, the secretary of state, place the phone call. >> we know this is a president who for all of his "you're fired" catch phrases does not like to fire people in person. we've seen it again and again. >> that is not something new. what is few is perhaps the amount of attention this is getting compared to perhaps some of the past ones because mattis was someone that trump really did praise and really did believe could carry out his ideas for what he wanted to see
happen in the middle east. now we know that mattis says he cannot. i think the question many people have is will his replacement be able to do what trump wants to do or will he also respond the same way. >> particularly given it is a time when the president is not just planning to pull troops out of syria but talking about the withdrawal of troops from afghanistan as well. >> right. certainly the deputy secretary, mr. shanahan, is perfectly capable. what he doesn't have is this personal legitimacy, this ambiance -- actually, his own connection to the public. mattis in his own way has his own constituency, certainly among the marines and defense community. but i think also out there in the mix we saw the reaction of the crowds when president trump would announce that "mad dog" mattis was handling this. >> a nickname he hated, by the way. >> which he hated, at least never used. >> right. >> so it will be different. mattis, for -- and he is a human. he puts on his pants one leg at a time like all of the rest of us. >> so you assume, doug.
>> but all of that said, he was a somewhat larger-than-life figure in this cabinet who did give assurances to the american people, assurances to the allies that things were okay. he never directly contradicted the president, but it was always this symbol that was there. his personal legitimacy out there in front, and now it is no longer there. >> his final message to the people who he leads came out on christmas day, his holiday message over the last 24 hours, storm clouds loom, yet because of you your fellow citizens live safe at home. >> i wouldn't read too much into that. i think it would have been the same letter three years ago. >> i'm just reading. it is the letter he put out. >> what do you make of it? >> it is a dramatic moment at the pentagon. >> eugene? >> absolutely. i actually spoke to some folks in the military wondering what will happen after this, and none of us know right now but all eyes are on it and waiting to
see. i guess we will have the wait, too. >> doug, thank you for coming on. >> it was a pleasure. >> nice to see you. phil and eugene, stick around. more to talk about coming up after the break, including new details about this mystery case that presumably involves the special counsel investigation, a case so secret an entire floor of the courthouse was cleared of reporters for a hearing. now a potential robert mueller subpoena is headed straight for the supreme court. we're going to bring you what we know after the break. >> yeah, wait and grin. grin i'm ray and i quit smoking with chantix. smoking. it dictates your day. i didn't like something having control over me. i wanted to stop. the thing is i didn't know how. chantix, along with support, helps you quit smoking. chantix reduced my urge to smoke to the point that i could quit.
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so there's this really interesting court battle playing out here in washington, but it is playing out shrouded in secrecy. it seems to involve special counsel robert mueller and an unidentified foreign state-owned company and now it has made its way to the supreme court. nbc's pete williams has more on the mystery. >> reporter: this mystery presumably involves robert mueller's investigation based on observing the lawyers. the fight during the summer went to unusual lengths to keep it secret. this of is certain, a foreign company identified only as a corporation owned by country a is fighting a grand jury subpoena, arguing it is beyond the reach of u.s. law.
but the company, whatever and wherever it is, was found in contempt of court for refusing to comply with a subpoena and ordered to pay a fine for every day it resists. the company appealed and chief justice john roberts has now put everything on hold, including the fine. he ordered the government to respond. >> i am more interested in this than most kids are in what they are getting christmas morning. this is absolutely fascinating. so the intrigue, the cloak and daggers, the secrecy of the entire case. >> reporter: president trump said mueller's investigation is pointless. >> millions and millions and millions of dollars of wasted money. there's been absolutely no collusion. >> reporter: next step, the federal government, presumably robert mueller, must file its response by new year's eve and maybe then this mystery will be involved. pete williams, nbc news at the supreme court. >> joining me, robert bianchi a former prosecutor and defense attorney, as well as danny
cevallos. let me start with you, danny. in your mind, why all of the secrecy? why do you think it is? >> it is to preserve the grand jury secrecy, that's the overriding for factor here. but because it involves robert mueller's investigation, take factor is multiplied by another factor, and that's why you have the extremely rare occasion of closing off an entire floor of a courthouse. the rules of procedure require secrecy in grand jury proceedings, but when it is this important they have to take extraordinary steps to protect that secrecy. >> robert, "politico" talked about this a little bit and sort of reflecting pete's reporting from the story you saw, saying when the case was argued at the d.c. circuit last week, the courtroom was closed to the public. court personnel went to unusual lengths to preserve the secrecy, ortderring journalists to leave the floor where lawyers were presenting their position. that's obviously not standard operating procedure.
what do you understand about the importance of this thing? >> listen, i agree with our guest. it analogize it to christmas for a lawyer. it is like when you are opening up all of your gifts as a kid but your parents say, you can't look at the last one in the box there. all you want to do is get into the box to see what it is. >> right, get at that box. >> reporter: get to that box and you're looking and saying, well, it doesn't look like this is in the box but it looks like this is in the box. this is a big deal. i have never seen them do such secrecy and it could be potentially the first time, hallie, that all of the filings with the court, all of the briefs including the arguments could be completely at this time shielded from the public and the media. so i suspect in addition to what danny is saying, which is true about grand jury secrecy, if i were doing this as the head of an agency when i was the prosecutor, there's something that could be a wow factor here. i just hope we don't open up the box and find out it is just another pair of socks. >> who knows though? it could be socks.
we don't know, right? danny, i will say that this company, whatever and whoever and wherever this company is, is going to great lengths, right, to keep this information -- to not submit to this subpoena essentially. is that an indication to you about what this might mean? >> the secrecy of this case is only one part of the excitement. the other part is the court testing the contours of the foreign sovereign immunities act, and this company, whatever it is, we can reasonably assume it is so connected to a foreign government that they are considered the same as a foreign government. it raises the question of whether or not united states courts can even bring a foreign sovereign nation into our courts for jurisdiction. the courts are going to have to figure that out. yes, you are absolutely right. the defense here, the corporation, is going to extraordinary lengths, claiming first its own laws require it to decline to comply with the subpoena and, secondly, even arguing that u.s. courts don't
even have jurisdiction over that foreign country. the foreign sovereign immunities act says generally that foreign countries cannot be dragged into court, into united states courts, but it is one of those laws where the exceptions swallow the rule. you saw it with otto warmbier's family where there's a hostage exception and here there is a commercial exception. if you do business as a commercial entity, that may be an exception to your sovereign immunity. >> danny, robert, i appreciate you both coming on this holiday week. see you soon. >> pleasure. we want to turn to other news coming out of the court. nbc news confirming supreme court justice ruth bader ginsburg is back home after surgery for lung cancer. she was released from hospital according to a spokesperson yesterday and is recuperating at home. she had two malignant growths removed from her lung in new york city. again, she is home and resting today. we have news coming out of
the white house about the economy. hans nichols is joining me now. we had the discussion about the markets reopening after that terrible, no-good, very-bad day on christmas eve. the economic adviser to the president and head of the economic council is coming out and saying, chill out, we're okay. >> it is one of the calming interviews that white houses try to do to let everyone know to chill out and don't check their 401 cans too many times during the day. number one, he said steve mnuchen's job is entirely safe. the president has full confidence. he is in those meetings all the time. the president is not upset with steven mnuchen. he also said the same thing about jerome powell. why is that interesting? well, because so many of the market fraught right now has been about the potential firing of jerome powell, the fed's independence. when pressed on this, he said that his job is safe. as we know with the white house, the only one who can determine
that someone's job is safe is the president of the united states, and we have not heard from him. finally, hallie, on the shutdown, he indicated -- kevin h hassett indicated there wouldn't be long-term effects of a government shutdown, saying for at least a couple of weeks there's no effect to the overall gdp growth. that's an indication the white house is prepared to go of longer on a potential shutdown, and it could be weeks if not even months. hallie. >> and, hans, in your conversation with what we call the stakeout of the driveway there with kevin hassett, he seemed kind of relaxed it sounded to me from reading it. >> reporter: kevin hassett is always upbeat and cheerful. i don't know what he will look like if he has to deliver bad news, but i think it is part and parcel. this is a serious parcel about him, is he has his finger on so much economic data, he is very circumspect about betraying that in public. when he has, say, the jobs numbers the night before, he
won't go out in a public forum where people might be able to read his mood. you don't want to tip anything off to a bunch of traders on wall street that are working hard over the long weekend or this holiday week, trying to give them an indication of which way the market is going. one quick note is they're saying holiday sales are strong and that the secretary of the treasury was just trying to get some real-time market data and some feedback about those calls. there's no hidden liquidity crisis. f hallie, now we finally said hidden liquidity crisis on air. >> oh. despite him saying that, we're goi to talk about it because it was interesting about steven mnuchen making phone calls over the weekend to big banks asking about liquidity when there didn't seem to be a problem with it, and it freaked out the market on monday and we're talking about it again. >> it is not just that but the president's tweets and comments.
>> about jerome powell. >> we know from our reporting, despite what president's advisers say that he is furious with powell. i interviewed him at the end of november and he said he's not the least bit happy with the fed chair and thinks it is one of the worst decisions he made as president, appointing jerome powell. he is concerned about the economy going in the wrong direction and what it means to him politically. >> because he tied so much of his success to economic success as well based on his own words, phil. you also had, i think it was interesting in the festive airing of grievances on christmas day in the q & a with reporters, he was asked if he had confidence in jerome powell, and he said, we'll see, but eventually he got around to say, yes, i'm happy with him but, dot, dot, dot, i'm not happy with the rates. >> one of the things he campaigned on is that the economy is better under him. >> right. >> these are promises that he kept. he is constantly noting job growth and talking about how
well people's 401(k)s are doing except now it may not be the case, at least long term, and he will have a hard time getting people to vote for him based on the economy he has. >> it seems kevin hassett has been sent out to try to soothe the waters. stick around because we're talking about 2020. that's right, we're thinking about it with to 19 just days away. while everybody may be watching bernie, biden and beto for signs of life, no democratic candidate has jumped in. we'll get into how that may be affecting the party coming up. ye affecting the party coming up.
so we've got a couple of days left until 2019 but the clock is ticking down to 2020 with several democrats debating that age-old question, to run or not to run. nbc news reporting today everybody is watching the three b's, bernie, biden, beto, looking for signs of life in iowa and new hampshire, signs they might run in 2020. other democrats are drinking about a run in a very, very crowded democratic field. senators kamala harris, cory booker, elizabeth warren are looking for office space. but they're all waiting for some kind of an indication from the three b's, so-called, before committing to a candidate. joining me, jim kesler, former legislative and policy director for senator chuck schumer and cofounder of third way.
we have republican strategy joe watkins and our panel back with me as well. jim, joe, thanks for joining phil and eugene. jim, let me start with you. so our correspondent that put the piece together didn't just pick the three b's because it is a catchy headline, right? it is because they're the ones that democratic staffers are watching. >> right. i think it is really interesting. you are looking at, say, bernie sanders right now and in polls in iowa and other places he is not doing real well, so they're looking for some sort of replacement. beto, moderates hear moderate, progressives hear progressive with him right now. biden, there's -- you know, we were just down in south carolina and people there, they love him. >> right. >> biden, there's just a lot of well spring for him. it is obviously very, very early but those three are making the news. >> you think it is kind of a coin flip between biden and beto as to who might get more support from the party or is it a divisive line? >> there will be a long primary. front-runners don't stay
front-runners for a long time. there will be no coronation, that's the prediction. >> forces loyal to senator sanders are waging and increasingly public war against beto o'rourke, but the main line of attack according to one of the pieces on our website is that he's not progressive enough -- this is o'rourke, he has been too close to republicans in congress, too close to corporate donors. joey, is that good news for your party? >> well, i think at the end of the day there always will be fighting. you have 34 democrats that would like to be the nominee for president and you have the big three, of course, the three b's that are slugging it out right now. of course, bernie sanders is realizing that beto o'rourke has real star power. i mean he did so well in the texas run against ted cruz and was able to attract so many different kinds of voters to support him. so clearly the bernie folks see him as a threat. bernie did so well in the 2016
run that -- i mean you can't discount him. you can't discount his strength. i mean he's an original. he is somebody that speaks truth to power, and from the standpoint of donald trump, i'm sure he wouldn't mind running against any of the three of them because at the end of the day donald trump is going to say, well, if you are going to talk about the economy or national defense or any of the things people care about, i will be able to say that i stuck to what i promised americans. but bernie would be tough. joe biden would be the toughest i think. beto o'rourke is also very strong. >> the new hampshire democratic party, jim, chairman tells nbc news it is highly unusual for us not to have someone of such significance they don't automatically dominate the field. we don't have it this cycle. is that an advantage or disadvantage? >> there have been coronations in the past, al gore in the 2000 and he lost to george bush.
i don't think the ease of winning the nomination is necessarily the best path to the white house, but there is no real front-runner right now. joe biden is the closest thing you have to it. this will be a chaotic race and i think voters will be heard. i think there will be a lot of surprises. >> we've said it before, eugene, the idea -- because i'm sure -- i haven't looked at twitter. i'm sure i'm getting smoked, why are you talking about 2020. this is when people are staffing up, that's legitimately true. i talked to one person who said, listen, this is when they're hiring, campaigns are looking at who they want involved, which strategist. this is a key time when people go home over the holidays to think about it and talk about it with their families. we will see some movement next year. >> indeed. we see a lot of people in the base among the voters talking about 2020. they are looking at these three individuals but also looking at how they will choose for running with the office with them. they want to see someone who has been very helpful and been very
significant in rallying the base for the midterm. we will be looking at people who choose a woman or a person of color or maybe even a millennial. so i think who takes the lead from there will definitely depend on that. >> you also have on the republican side, joe, of course the president running his reelection campaign and that seems to be certainly ramping up in a big way. senator bob corker who is on his way out, as you know, was asked about what he thinks about donald trump come 2020. this was the response. >> you know, i don't know. i mean, look, we'll see. i think this next three months could well determine whether he decides to run again or not. >> now, the president has already ostensibly decided to run again. he's running a reelection. why would corker say that, just to stir the pot? >> i think maybe to stir the pot and to kind of open it up to some of the people that might want to run against him like the former governor of ohio, john kasich. i don't think -- i know donald trump is going to run for reelection, and i think it is going to be hard even for kasich
or any of the others that might try to challenge him to really make serious headway in 2020, at least as it looks right now in 2018. >> yeah. phil, quick final thoughts to you. >> yes, this democratic primary as the candidates start to position, it is all about trump right now. it is sort of what kind of style do you take to the president. are you going to be aggressive? are you going to confront him or offer sort of an alternative, up lifting message? all of these 30-some-odd democrats are trying to find the sweet spot and it is up to the voters to decide. >> nice to have you onset. joe, glad you're back in philly. i was just there. >> thanks, hallie. >> thank you, sir. we will be back with of more after the break. after the breakg the best of geico ? i sure am, linda. they've been saving folks money for years. and now they're re-airing some of their all-time greatest hits. with classics like... hump day. caveman airport. and even... celebrating squirrels. this crudité is great, but those geico ads are even better.
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its retailers over eleven years. (girl) thank you. (boy) thank you. (old man) thank you. (granddaughter) thank you. so we are now getting in as we shared with you earlier new details about the death of an eighth-year-old boy from guatemala who was in u.s. custody at the time he died. we talked about the conference call happening with the administration. nbc's julia ainsley was on it. she is joining us. what are we learning now from custom and border protection and the officials looking into the little boy's death? >> reporter: hallie, a lot of questions stemmed around why the hospital released him when he showed 103-degree fever. remember, he came in because he
appeared to be showing signs it could be strep throat. they tested him for strep and did not see that. they were about to discharge him but they held him back because he had 103-degree fever. later that day they changed course and released him with ibuprofen and prescription for an antibiotic and he was taken to a highway check point. it is unclear who made the ultimate decision to discharge a boy, an eight-year-old boy with 103-degree fever from a hospital to a highway check point where they do not keep emt or emergency medical professionals. in fact, he was just subject there to welfare screenings, which is a pretty cursory check. >> i assume this question came up. what did officials on the call say? >> reporter: they wouldn't go there. they said it is under investigation right notice. there's an internal investigation by cbp as well as an inspector general investigation. i asked could the hospital be investigated for malpractice. that's an area they didn't want to go into that has a lot of
legal ramifications but they said all medical decisions were being investigated. we will look into that. we want to know did border protection somehow play a role in getting him discharged. another detail that came up is even before he went into the hospital for that first time, they asked i.c.e. to take him in. this would have been in a family detention center that has medical professionals. there's more space, things like this get noticed earlier, but they didn't hear back from i.c.e.. presumably that's because they were full. >> julia, what was the tone of the administration officials who were on this call? because it has seemed since we woke up this morning there has been an effort to put out more information to try to get some of this timeline out to members of the public, this detailed timeline we have been talking through. what was your sense of how they planned to respond moving forward? >> reporter: well, hallie, unfortunately a lot of the calls are become too common, where we basically have one person who is from the more political realm of things, a political appointee telling us we should be blaming congress and the courts, that they are putting in magnets
attracting these people to make these dangerous journeys. then we hear from one person who is a career official, someone on the ground who says, we need more resources. they've reached out to the coast guard for out to the coast guard for emergency officials and reaching out to the department of defense. that's an area they're thinking of. they need more people with medical experience on the ground. they say they were just not equipped for the populations they're seeing now of children and of families making these journeys together. another thing we learned from the career official is that these families are now exhibiting more illnds. we're hearing about the ones who die. there are more people showing illnesses. they've asked the centers for disease control to look into that. julia, staying on top of this from our washington bureau. thank you for that. we want to get to news breaking also just in this hour. russian state media is reporting the country's military has successfully tested a hyper
sonic missile. a missile russia says can carry nuclear and conventional warheads. vladimir putin hailed this test as a complete success in a government meeting today. the new missile system is one of several announced by the kremlin in march. we're welcoming a senior national security fellow with the new american foundation. phil and eugene are also with us. your initial thoughts, doug. you said they talked about this in march. it sounds like vladimir putin is pumping up the first successful test. what does this mean moving forward? >> it means they have this capability. i think the u.s. defense establishment has already factored this in. this is not news. putin announced these in january and march stating they had these. they announced they were putting them into pruk. may -- production. maybe this is not a specialized custom version, but off the production line. that's not clear. but what this means for russia's nuclear adversaries, the united
states and also china, let's not forget them. it's not totally clear. this is a hyper sonic missile that can dodge, that could counter any missile defense system. so i'm sure the nuclear experts of which i am not one, are working very hard to figure out what this means. we'll see. >> your point, which is well taken is this is baked in already to the u.s. defense strategy. >> exactly. we've known about this for i'm sure the intelligence services have known about this for years but it's been publicly announced since spring. >> putin has a habit to make semi dramatic announcements like this one. i think back to the video released showing this -- saber rattling toward the united states a little bit. >> from a geopolitical sense, it seems to be another act of russian aggression. it was a couple months ago when russia seized those ukrainian
vessels at sea. it was an act president trump spoke out against. the u.s. has not taken a big sort of long-term approach to punish russia. this seems to be another step where putin is trying to show the world that russia has military might and that he's not to be messed with. we'll see what washington does in response, if anything. >> i was going to say that's what i was thinking. it will be on trump to see how he responds. there's been frustration throughout his presidency that trump has not taken a consistent hard line against russia and hardline as people would like. what he does, i think, could be either a turning point in all the negative coverage he's getting or just another pile on of all the bad news coming toward the white house. >> i want to thank you eugene, phil, and doug for coming on on this holiday wednesday. thank you for joining the show. we'll be back with more on what our sources are saying in today's big picture. today's big picture. i've always looked forward to what's next.
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time to get a check on what our sources are saying. eugene, the government may be shut down. members of congress are in the in washington. there's discussion about different legislative efforts. >> one of them being the first step with the big bipartisan agreement reached last week on criminal justice reform. >> they say it fell short on quite a few areas. in terms of addressing the private prison industry which is largely held responsible for the mass incarceration complex, and
lastly the tense relationship between law enforcement and black americans and just wondering what will be done to just if i can those issues. >> that's interesting. phil, what are you hearing from your sources? >> we've had so many changes the last couple of weeks in the president's cabinet. in the staff there's an acting white house chief of staff, acting defense secretary. acting epa administrator, acting attorney general. there could be more. my sources say keep an eye on two people. wilbur ross and kiersten nielsen, homeland security secretary. . >> who is scheduled to go to davos at the end of next month. she's at list of people joining the president. >> the president has had so many frustrations with her through the year. they've reached a pretty good rappo rapport. things seem to be good. she's always on his list for people who could be axed at any moment. >> that's not a list you want to find yourself on. >> that's the naughty list.
>> thank you. we'll end with today's big picture. we'll head to afghanistan where men in uniform celebrated the christmas over the past 24 hours. look at that smile. ear to ear as they spend the holiday far from home. the soldiers are taken a well-deserved break from duty. there are nearly 200,000 troops serving around the world. 14,000 of them in afghanistan. we're thinking of them today and every day and thanking for them their service. as always, we'd love to hear your thoughts on facebook, twitter, snapchat and instagram. i'm heading over to the white house. right now more news with craig melvin picking it up. >> nice picture. thank you. a good morning to you. craig melvin here, nbc head quarters. we're following several developing stories right now
including the government shutdown entering day five. president trump demanding congress reach a border wall deal and digging in. >> i can't tell you where are the government is going to be open. >> lawmakers are seeking answers after a second young child dies while in custody of u.s. customs and border protection. cpb ordering medical checks on every child in it custody. >> this is extraordinarily rare. this is devastating for us. >> and after several days of brutal losses, the markets looking to rebound today. but what does all of this volatility mean and will it end soon? we'll dig into that soon. we start with the ongoing government shutdown. thousands of federal workers are either staying at home or working without pay. i have a great team to help me explain what's going on. first the backdrop for all of this. quite extraordinary. the reaso