tv MSNBC Live With Stephanie Ruhle MSNBC January 6, 2020 6:00am-7:00am PST
john heilemann, good weekend but a bad weekend for jonathan la mere. the patriots lose. >> i have to say bad weekend at my household, too, new england spouse. in the end, successions, dominance, way more important than anything on the football field as far as i am concerned. brian cox justly rewarded. >> will brady return? >> tom, i think he will. not a guarantee, the fact that it is not a guarantee upsets me deeply. >> all right. >> that was pathetic. >> that does it for us. stephan stephan stephanie rule. thousands fill the streets
of tehran, a sea of mourners, marking the death of general qassem soleimani. they chanted over and over death to america. at soleimani's funeral, iran's supreme leader wept as he prayed over the body of his top general. soleimani's death led to a series of dramatic escalations in recent days, fears that the situation may spiral out of control. in just the last 24 hours, the iraqi parliament approved a symbolic resolution calling for all u.s. troops to leave their country immediately. iranian government says it is stepping away from the nuclear deal, abandoning limits on production of nuclear fuel. this is serious. the u.s. military said it was being forced to suspend operations against isis in order to focus on protecting u.s. bases against growing threats. i'm going to get to our chief foreign correspondent, richard engle in northern iraq. richard, you tweeted this yesterday, that the middle east
is a mess. you have been following the region for decades. tell us what you're seeing today that is so disturbing. >> reporter: so let's start with iran. you're seeing the biggest demonstrations in iran in decades, the biggest mass mobilization of people since the funeral of the islamic republic founder, ayatollah khomeini. this is a seminal moment. there were demonstrations in iran against the government, a lot of young people out on the streets, they were met with a violent response. now you're seeing iranians, young and old, uniting behind the republic. so if the president and this administration wanted to isolating iran, try to convince people to go out on the streets, that seems to have back fired. here in iraq, we're seeing a movement to drive u.s. forces out of this country,
particularly from shi'a militia groups. you saw that vote in parliament by shi'a members of parliament to ask the government to kick out the roughly 5,000 u.s. troops in this country. and the way this is going forward, there's now a unified message coming from iran and coming from iran supporters. they say, they're now saying what they want, what they think is the appropriate response to killing qassem soleimani. doesn't mean this is their only response, but they say the appropriate response is to expel u.s. forces from the middle east, but primarily from iraq. that is their short term goal. they started in parliament, i wouldn't be surprised if they now take that to the streets with the very powerful shi'a militia groups in the country launching some sort of uprising, some sort of potentially violent mobilization against the u.s.
presence here. >> thank you. the images, live pictures of tens of thousands, possibly millions of iranians in the streets. that's what this means to them. now we have to get into what all of this means to you at home here in the united states. retired army four star general wesley clark served as supreme allied commander for nato. doug last ole vant, served as director fof iraq at the national security council during the bush and obama administrations. currently senior vice president of manted international which has financial interests in iraq. general, you spent decades leading troops and assessing threats around the world. assess this one for us? >> i think the u.s. troops in iraq, if they're under continuous pressure like this are pulled back. that's the right posture.
this has to be resolved politically. i am sure the u.s. ambassador is working with the iraqi government now, it puts huge strains on the iraqi government. i think it is a very real possibility that we may withdraw most of the u.s. troops in iraq, probably hold onto the embassy, keep enough forces there to protect it. this is the first opening move in all of this that's going to unfold in coming days and weeks. >> what does it mean if we do, doug last. holding this vote saying u.s. troops should get out. do we have to, and if we do get out, what does it mean? >> it is deeply unclear what that vote means. the iraqi constitution is a poorly written and fluid document and exactly how binding that vote is is still being gate -- being debated. there are two aspects about which the iraqi people are
deeply sensitive, that trigger them. one, their sovereignty, which is understandable. we occupied their country for awhile, the british did that decades before. they're deeply touchy about foreign bodies interfering in their politics. the second is sanctions. they lived under sanctions in the wake of the first gulf war through the entire '90s, decimated their economy and educational system, caused death of many pregnant women and children, they're touchy about sanctions. we managed to push both issues in their face in the last 24, 48 hours. it shouldn't be surprising to us that their political leaders feel they have to respond politically to the provocations. >> if iraq is forced to choose between iran and the united states, who do they go with? >> i think they'll probably choose iran because although they would prefer to choose the united states as a partner,
we're not -- we don't live next door. we are proving once again we're not the most reliable allies given that we didn't trust the iraqi government to tell them about the impending strike on soleimani, and so if they have to choose. one important distinction on the parliamentary vote, it wasn't specific to withdrawing united states forces, it said all foreign forces. it shows that even though iraqis are worried and upset about the american military strike, they also are worried and upset about iranian influence, and that's the irony of assassinating soleimani, which is that his strategy of creating strategic depth for iran by using militia was beginning to fail, and public protests in iraq and iran demonstrated that. >> general, if iraqis say we have to go with iran, iran is
next door, what do you say to american people that say fine, great, let's get out, not our problem. why is this our problem? >> because iraq is a critical piece of real estate and its government and its people are very important in the region. it is kind of the linchpin of the region. when we took down saddam hussein in 2003, we opened the door to greater iranian influence in the region. we more or less tried to stop that. we're back in iraq. we tried to work against isis in syria and work against the iranian movement into syria. we need that presence in iraq to do this. we need the intelligence, we need the ability to train, we need the ability to run special ops if necessary to counter iran's growing efforts in the region to dominate the region and threaten our ally israel. having to pull out of iraq, it would be a big deal. we don't want to do that if we
don't have to. >> iran saying it is stepping away from the nuclear deal agreement, what does that mean? >> i think it means they'll restart processing nuclear fuel and will accelerate the program towards nuclear weapons. i think that's a predictable outcome of this choice. but it might have been the direction iran would go even without the killing of soleimani because with the american withdrawal from the nuclear agreement, iran has been ramping up its return to the nuclear business. >> so is anything different with that regard if we were headed there in any case? >> well, i think that's the challenge that opponents of the killing of soleimani have to answer which is wasn't iran already at war with us? wasn't iran already doing the kinds of things like orchestrating the attacks on the american embassy? and infiltrating the iraqi
security services, i think these were likely to happen with or without the killing of soleimani. >> if iran was already doing that, let's talk about what we're doing. i want to ask you about cultural sites. the president threatening to attack them again last night. here's what he told reporters. they're allowed to kill our people. they're allowed to torture and maim our people, use roadside bombs and blow up our people and we're not allowed to touch their cultural site. it doesn't work that way. the average american might not understand this cultural site issue, but it means a lot to iranians, muslims around the world, right? >> it does. and while we're having all of this rhetoric, this is not a real issue. as the general knows far better than i do, the process that goes through for any type of strike always has a lawyer in the room. no lawyer is going to allow the u.s. military to strike a cultural site strictly because it is a cultural site.
if people inside that site are posing imminent threat to americans, there would be a discussion, but no cultural site will be bombed by our pentagon because it is a cultural site. >> general, we talk a lot about geopolitical risks. december 24th, where was iran on your list of global threats and where is it now? >> i think it is reached the top of the global threats. i think there are other challenges around the world, certainly ukraine, new york, south korea, these are important. people look at australia and climate change, saying somebody has to do something about climate change, it is urgent there. if you look at where is the next strike going to be, where's the next killing going to be, where's the next explosion that will rock the world's financial markets and cause great powers to come together to try to resolve it, it is iran. it is iran, it is the united
states now. and president trump's tweets helped mobilize world opinion to focus on this issue. so there's meetings today going on between the iranians and europeans to work something out. maybe something good can come out of this. on the other hand, there are many in the united states and i'm sure kori and doug know people better than i do that for a long time wanted to go in and use military action to eliminate the iranian nuclear threat. so as we're watching all this, we have to keep in mind where this is going, possibly to a military strike on their nuclear facilities. >> thank you all so much for getting us started on this important morning. we're going to leave it there. up next, top democrats are demanding to know what imminent threat the president is using as legal basis for the strike on soleimani. president trump now saying he is giving future notice to congress with a tweet.
is twitter ready for this awesome responsibility? foreign policy is now the forefront on the campaign trail as a new poll shows a three-way tie in iowa. later, impact on impeachment. congress back in session this week. when will the impeachment trial actually start? stay with us. we have a lot to cover. us we have a lot to cover ♪ things are getting clearer, yeah i feel free ♪ ♪ to bare my skin ♪ yeah that's all me. ♪ nothing and me go hand in hand ♪ ♪ nothing on my skin ♪ that's my new plan. ♪ nothing is everything. keep your skin clearer with skyrizi. 3 out of 4 people achieved 90% clearer skin at 4 months. of those, nearly 9 out of 10 sustained it through 1 year. and skyrizi is 4 doses a year, after 2 starter doses. ♪ i see nothing in a different way ♪ ♪ and it's my moment so i just gotta say ♪ ♪ nothing is everything skyrizi may increase your risk of infections and lower your ability to fight them. before treatment your doctor should check you for infections and tuberculosis.
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center stage, pushing impeachment and other things to the sidelines. speaker pelosi announcing the house will vote on a war powers resolution this week, taking its first step to limit exactly what actions the president can take when it comes to iran. this comes as we learn new details on what was going on behind the scenes in the white house. and down in palm beach where the president was in days and hours leading to the air strike that killed qasem soleimani. "new york times" says top american military officials put the option of killing him which they viewed as the most extreme response to recent iranian led violence in iraq on the menu they presented to president trump. they didn't think he would take it. one of the reporters behind the piece, eric schmidt joi, joins now. take us in the room. secretary pompeo said we couldn't do nothing, but options weren't nothing or air strike. take us through how the
president got to this decision, the most extreme. >> that's right. you have to go back to what triggered this, the initial trigger was the death of an american contractor december 27th in northern iraq. the president after that conferred with secretary of defense mark esper, chairman of joint chiefs of staff, they decided response could include air strikes against iranian backed militia. one of the other options presented at the time to the president was killing qasem soleimani, the top iranian general. at that time the president decided the most proportion at response to the attack on the contractor and other attacks was a more measured response. couple days later as he is in mar-a-lago, he is stewing as he sees images of protesters violently attacking the american embassy in baghdad, also hearing about a new stream of intelligence threats, qasem
soleimani is going to be directing attacks against american interests throughout the middle east, iraq, syria, lebanon, and says to advisers i want to revisit the options and i want to go after soleimani now. >> how significant is it none of this took place in the white house, in the west wing. you said all of this went down while the president was at his resort in florida. >> well, obviously the president can get direction from top advisers, and esper and others traveled to mar-a-lago to confer with him. he was also in close contact with secretary of state mike pompeo, vice president pence, other national security officials. it wasn't the normal process in washington in the situation room. he made the call last thursday about 5:00 p.m. as soleimani was arriving at the baghdad airport. our understanding is soleimani got off the plane, orders were if he was to be greeted by
friendly iraqi government officials, the strike was off, if not, the strike was on. the president got word that soleimani was met at the airport by shi'a militia commanders, so the strike was on as of late thursday night. >> eric, thank you so much. quite a piece. i want to go deeper on this. joining me, phil rucker, white house bureau chief for "the washington post," former congressman from florida david jolly, and former state department senior adviser from the obama administration. mr. rut gger, the president picd the most extreme option but took time to get there. was this decision more of a process than we normally see from the president? >> it is a little unclear, steph. we understand from what the president has said and reporting coming out of the administration they reviewed intelligence, that they waited until they had the general in a sort of target of
opportunity, so to speak, then the president made that order to launch the attack. they wanted to make sure there were not allied iraqis in the motorcade with the general as he left the airport in baghdad. what we don't have clear visibility into is what exactly the intelligence was about soleimani, what attacks he had been contemplating against american bases or american people or other american targets, and the president has indicated, including last night with reporters aboard air force one, he may consider revealing more information about the intelligence, but we don't have that yet. i expect over the next few days there will be pressure, especially from democrats in congress, to examine what the intelligence was, and whether the president had been making a sound decision last week when he authorized the attack. >> are we to believe that the president, the white house is suddenly reliant and trusting of the intelligence agencies as
relates to iran and soleimani? the president is dogging the intelligence agency as relates to russia and the 2016 election. does it surprise you that something as serious as this, he is now trusting his agencies? >> you're absolutely right, steph. this is all part of the trump administration trying to build a narrative for something that they have been contemplating, taking a hard line stance against iran. we know the trump administration does not run a proper national security process of talking to the generals and diplomats, intel community, the fact that the most extreme option that was rejected by george bush as president, rejected by president obama, that was even put on a decision memo in front of the president of the united states to me seems odd. i don't think that would have made it through a normal yu national security process. this president is more motivated by shock and awe, looking strong, all narratives we heard
for the iraq war, we're hearing that. there's a threat to the united states, no evidence of that. it seems this is more of attempt to engage militarily with iran, john bolton and other architects of the war have been advocating quite some time, they'll find whatever narrative they need to fit around that. the convenient one saying intelligence sources, but could easily be appealing to america's interest of looking strong, being policeman for the world. >> congressman, the president does what he wants. explain this to us. speaker pelosi says the house will vote this week to limit the president's actions on iran. you, yourself were tasked with updating the war powers resin the 1990s. what does all of this mean? >> the war powers resolution was enacted in '73 over nixon's veto, it essentially tries to put some restraint on a president's ability to engage in military actions like we saw in
iran. i will tell you, steph, the vote by house democrats will be of little constitutional consequence. the constitution gives great and awesome powers to the executive branch in matters of national security, and if the president says this is to protect american lives or american interests, that largely satisfies that test. but congress always, always, regardless of party acts to try to constrain that authority where they think perhaps the president is being too aggressive. one thing politically does, it allows house democrats in tough districts in 2020 to say look, we did our best to put constraints on the president. it also sets up ground work for a lawsuit. in the late '90s when bill clinton was engaging in military action in kosovo, the house failed to pass an approval resolution because they had a vote, but it didn't pass, so they went to courts to say we want to enforce this against the president, and the course said no, we're not going to weigh in
here. the real focus needs to be on democrat republica senate republicans, where are they demanding the intelligence referred to. the nation needs to know in this critical moment, particularly in the impeachment cycle, did the president do this because we were under imminent attack, a fair question that every republican, that's where the focus needs to be, every republican needs to be asking that today. >> mike pompeo defended the president's actions yesterday, and put the blame on somebody else. watch this. 2015. the obama, biden administration handed power to the iranian leadership, acted as a quasi ally by underwriting them and the militias that killed americans, the resources, money they had to build out the forces was provided to them by the nuclear deal. we allowed europeans to do business there, provided them $150 billion, piles of cash, all these things are the challenge that the trump administration had to correct.
>> how political is this? >> it is very political. president trump throughout his presidency has been trying to best obama, his predecessor, especially when it comes to iran, trump is motivated by desire to show himself to be a stronger, more decisive, morl more lethal commander in chief than obama was. it is a motivating force, for mike pompeo, for john bolton, hawkish former national security adviser, and the other people who have been in the president's orbit in the last few years, advocating a tougher stance with iran. >> congressman, what do you think? >> i don't think we can believe mike pompeo, anybody. he was misleading and evasive on muhammed bin salman, and when asked by cnn, what was the imminent threat, he was
completely evasive again. that's the critical question that republicans in the senate fail to recognize. we're not living through a normal presidency. this is bigger than donald trump. it goes to mike pompeo as well. and the risk is that if republicans simply accept donald trump and mike pompeo's leadership without question, we could be putting the nation in greater danger, not less. >> thank you so much. the president just yesterday notifying congress that twitter, twitter is the medium he would be using to let them know what's going on, but you also have to remember this, as we move forward with this escalating situation in iran, i want you to keep this in mind. today marks the 301st day since a white house press secretary held a formal briefing with reporters. the recent gathering took place march 11th, 2019 at the james e. brady room in the west wing. we have an escalating situation
with iran, and the president is letting people know what he is doing via twitter, but there's no press briefing in over 300 days. the only chance for the white house press corp in an organized fashion to question all that's going on. fashion to question als goinong you have a brother in the second battalion? yes sir. they're walking into a trap. your orders are to deliver a message calling off tomorrows attack. if you fail, we will lose sixteen hundred men. your brother among them. we need to keep moving. i can't see! you keep hold of me! come on! what the hell are you doing lance corporal? trust me!
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welcome back. the impeachment impasse could be on the verge of breaking, not the way that house speaker nancy pelosi hoped. lindsey graham says republicans are prepared to go ahead with impeachment trial, even if pelosi refuses to hand formal articles approved in the house. >> i hope she sends them over soon so we can get on with the trial. if she does not, i urge senator mcconnell to change rules of the senate to proceed to the trial without nancy pelosi being involved. my goal is to start the trial in the next coming days, not let pelosi take over the senate. >> and geoff bennett is on capitol hill. what are you hearing about this possible scenario? >> reporter: on friday, senate majority leader mitch mcconnell
made clear senate rules prevent the upper chamber from moving forward with impeachment trial until the house speaker sends over articles of impeachment. that's the reason you heard lindsey graham say no use waiting around, let's change senate rules, get on with it. the reality is that senate republicans likely won't have to take that major step. democrats have made clear the house speaker is not going to withhold articles of impeachment in perpetuity. one of the reasons we're told she delayed transmission is because she was trying to give time and cover for chuck schumer to work out some sort of deal, if he was going to work out a deal, with mitch mcconnell. the two week holiday break came and went with no new breakthroughs. it appears pelosi has seen what she was waiting for, wanted to see what the structure of the senate trial will look like. appears mitch mcconnell that votes to get the trial he envisions, fast, forgettable, as
quick as two weeks. we expect pelosi will meet with colleagues in leadership, they'll have a conversation, and perhaps as early as this week she could do two things, name house managers and send over articles of impeachment which would kick things off formally. >> thank you. i want to bring in chris lu and matt miller. former chief spokesperson for the justice department. matt, talk about the strategy from lindsey graham. does he mean it? >> i think this is more posturing. the big proposal in the senate is what trial you have, whether it is a quick trial like mcconnell and graham want or full, fair, open trial where house manager can present witnesses to the senate, including witnesses that have not yet been available. i think what you see is graham fighting to move things over to the right. you have a lot of pressure schumer is putting on people like lisa murkowski, cory
gardner, mitt romney, senators that made noises, in close districts or made noise about witnesses. graham proposes not only will we not have a trial with witnesses, we'll have a trial without prosecutors. i think trying to shift things back a little to the right, be counter weight to what schumer is offer which is full, fair, open trial. my guess is he won't have the votes for that. no way 51 votes in the senate to have a trial where you open it without the house managers present the case, seems absurd. this is about trying to get the trial they want, one where you don't even have witnesses. >> talk about focus. chris, this morning, the president tweeted this. quote, to be spending time on this political hoax at this moment in history when i am so busy is sad. he is obviously talking about what's happening in iran, trying to paint the picture that the impeachment situation is nonsense when there's national security at risk. this is obviously the
president's plan. do you think americans will start to see it that way? >> i mean look, this is the message the president has consistently pushed, whether it is on impeachment or the moouelr investigation. the only person distracted is him. his own fears and concerns he will be impeached, what it means for him politically and what a senate trial looks like. i don't think it effects the mood of the american people. you've seen polls come out in the past week that favor more witnesses being included in the senate trial as well as strongly, strong public sentiment the senators be impartial in the process. i think a lot of delay in the past couple weeks is much ado about nothing. i suspect a trial will begin. what's important to understand, we've seen the last couple weeks key pieces of evidence come out, additional documents. i think shows the tip of the iceberg about what other witnesses and other testimony could be out there. >> we have seen the key pieces. we're talking about unredacted
emails, more conversations being had about the president's possible ties to russia. but what the president does know how to do is control a narrative. at this very moment as we're talking about this, he tweeted again. he put out this tweet. the impeachment hoax just a continuation of the witch hunt that started before i won the election, must end quickly. read the transcripts. see the yukian president's strong statement. no presh ir, get this done. it is a con game by the dems to help with the election. while the impeachment hearing is going on, republicans have been able to raise a whole lot of money for the president's re-election campaign. >> i am not surprised they can raise money, impeachment in flames passion on the most hardcore partisans both sides. not surprising that republicans are able to raise money for the base. look, if the democrats really wanted to use it as political
advantage to weaken the president, if it wasn't about trying to remove him from office and uphold their constitutional duty, they wouldn't have ended the inquiry. they had more than enough cause and reason to keep the investigation going for months. there are a lot more witnesses they wanted access to and documents they wanted access to and they didn't. they wrapped it up quickly, i think they made the call that number one, they didn't want to carry this inquiry too far into election year, it would be unfair to the president, whether people agree with that is another question. and number two, they had a constitutional duty to act to remove him from office immediately. so look, the president will say what the president will say. democrats have to come and make their best case to the senate. if the senate fails to convict and remove him from office, that is their decision, but democrats need to do what they believe is the right thing, present the best evidence they can. >> all right. thank you both for joining me this morning. we have big news on the 2020 campaign trail.
who julian castro is now endorsing. we have that on the other side of the break. we have that on the other side of the break y more. so you can bring your vision to life and save in more ways than one. for small prices, you can build big dreams, spend less, get way more. shop everything home at wayfair.com but maybe not for people with rheumatoid arthritis. because there are options. like an "unjection™". xeljanz xr, a once-daily pill for adults with moderate to severe ra for whom methotrexate did not work well enough. xeljanz xr can reduce pain, swelling and further joint damage, even without methotrexate. xeljanz can lower your ability to fight infections like tb; don't start xeljanz if you have an infection. taking a higher than recommended dose of xeljanz for ra
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♪ when you use location technology, you can see where things happen, before they happen. ♪ with esri location technology, you can see what others can't. ♪ how about more breaking news this morning, this one from the campaign trail. julian castro who ended his bid for the white house last week announcing moments ago he will endorse senator elizabeth warren. just now on twitter, he writes this. elizabeth and i share a vision of america where everyone counts. i am proud to join her in the fight for big, structural
change. joining me to discuss, chris lu and eddie blog. eddie, how big is this endorsement? >> i think it is significant. not sure what it will mean in terms of senator warren's attractiveness to latino voters, she got a powerful surrogate. what we know is that julian castro just signaled to everyone where his politics are, he is on the leftwing, he is doubling down on the progressive side. that's an interesting moment giving how close we're moving to iowa. >> chris, warren may have gotten this endorsement, but bernie sanders had a big weekend, had a huge week. we saw huge fund raising numbers, recent polls from iowa show him basically in a three-way tie. >> i think that's right. he has shown to be far more formidable than people thought. the challenge is whether he can
move consistently above this 23, 25% that he is getting. it is important to understand when you look at the democratic electorate, it is split in third between moderates, liberal, very liberal. i think the candidate to reach across into another aisle has the ability to wrap up the nomination. i'm not convinced bernie sanders has the ability to have that crossover. i would point out with regard to endorsement of julian castro, it is significant. castro served with biden when he was vice president, and he is the only latin the race, makes a difference. that said, didn't get a huge amount of traction. not sure how much difference it makes other than a one day news story. >> what does it say, as someone that served as part of the obama administration, and obama endorsement would be massive, castro saying we need big structural changes. he didn't feel that way or did he when he worked with obama? >> he now has a chance, an opportunity to express his politics, not necessarily the
politics of barack obama. i think this is a good thing. he understands that the crisis we face as a country isn't just reducible to donald trump, it is really about a whole swathe of policies that in some ways he was part of during the obama administration. he says we need to go beyond that. >> when we talk about the crisis we face as a country, how difficult an argument to make, if the economy continues to chug along, and the president is sitting in office during in theory a strong economy, maybe not one for everyone, but look at the numbers, a strong economy. can democrats win on the idea that we're in crisis when we might not be in economic crisis? >> i think so. we have to begin to unpack it. i am not getting into your wheel house, you know it better than i do. you think about the gig economy, folks at uber, lyft, delivering amazon, what they have to do to put food on the table, you think of kitchen table issues around education, cannot pay for college, you think about health
care, what will happen to our household if one of us got sick, you begin to think of issues, it is not just what's happening in the stock market. in other words, what we have a problem with in this country, stephanie, we have a bunch of folks that are greedy, selfish, while the country at its core seems to be losing its way. if the democrats can message that, and bernie sanders is trying to do that, he is peaking at a good moment in iowa. >> is this a good time for bernie sanders to peak? 20 days before iowa? >> what's revealed is bernie sanders' ground game is serious. what we don't know, we look at the iowa poll, we see that the biden numbers are soft, who's the second choice, sanders. buttigieg, who's the second choice, sanders. he is appealing in interesting sorts of ways from the progressive wing into moderate wing. it is interesting to look at. >> chris, is this going to be an election ultimately about inequality? the president pushing a narrative, if you vote for any
democrat, the economy is going to tank, and democrats are looking at a narrative saying i hear you. the economy isn't working for you, let's try to resolve it. >> i think that's exactly what the debate should be about. eddie makes some of the important points. income inequality at historic highs, wages that are stagnant, people without health insurance rising, hate crime rising as well. we need return to normalcy, need a government that works for everybody. that's a compelling message that democrats can push. i think the narrative that the economy is strong, the economy generally helps the incumbent has been discredited in recent elections. not sure how much credit people give to donald trump for state of the economy, and there's a basic fairness and equality message that democrats can successfully push. then layer on top what's happening from foreign policy perspective, having good experience, good judgment.
all of this will play into decision not only of democratic voters but general election voters. >> does the air strike, killing of soleimani, change priorities in this election? remember, seth molton put farm policy front and center, didn't get traction. does that change with the situation with iran? >> i don't know if it changes, it rises to a different level of concern. part of the rejection of clintonism has everything to do with rejection of her hawkish nls, rejection of the hawkishness of that wing of the party. what we have in this moment, we need to listen for this as candidates debate, opportunity to see how they distinguish themselves with regard to exercise of military power abroad. i think that's real important. >> 28 days to iowa. things are shifting quickly. thank you both so much. we have to talk about australia for a moment. we need a more significant word than devastating.
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the courthouse. 80 women have accused weinstein of various offenses but the case against him today centers on just two. why is that? >> that's exactly right, stephanie. you know, he has been under investigation here in new york, l.a. and london. these are the only criminal charges that he faces and we don't know what went into the strategy for prosecutors here in new york to pick these two women and their allegations to be the center of these charges. but they are the only ones. but it's important to note that among the charges and among them are reign and sexual assault. one from a production assistant who used to work at weinstein's company in 2006. her name mimi halay and a jane doe who said she was reigned in 2013. but this proceeding is not only about their testimony. on top of the testimony it will be three alleged victims who will take the stand and talk
about their own experiences to establish a kind of pattern of behavior. on top of that, we will hear from annabelle sciorra who appeared in "sopranos." she is expected to testify that in '93, '94 she was raped by harvey weinstein. she is critical to the prosecution's efforts to prove predatory sexual assault. it is the most serious charge that harvey weinstein faces and if he's found guilty of it, he could be behind bars for life. now, he has pleaded not guilty. he has long said that he never engaged in nonconsensual sex with any woman. he denies the charges and is fighting them. >> he's long said it through lawyers. any chance weinstein takes the stand? >> it's a possibility. we spoke with his defense attorney and she told us that he's ready to take the stand. she did not say he is expecting to take the stand. but there's no definitive decision on that yet.
>> all right. stephanie gosk down at the courthouse in lower manhattan. we'll keep our eyes and ears peeled as the day advances. thank you. coming up, he was the man who once commanded u.s. and nato forces in afghanistan and helped halt the growth of isis. in the next hour, four star general john allen weighs in on what's happening in iran. l john what's happening in iran when it comes to using data, everyone is different.
that wraps up a very busy news hour. i'm stephanie ruhle. see you again at 1:00 p.m. with ali velshi. coming up, more news with hallie jackson. >> thank you much. something we haven't seen in more than a generation. hundreds of thousands of iranians in the streets. a massive show of unity for the funeral of their general, qasem soleimani. our reporter on the ground called it the biggest gathering since the death of the ayatollah decades ago. president trump made a threat of his own. standing by the suggestion he may break international law and target cultural landmarks if iran retaliates. on capitol hill, democrats demanding answers about the intel that led to the strike on qasem soleimani and nancy pelosi is trying to limit the president's military actions. our nbc news team is on the ground in iran, iraq and here at home. kristen welker i