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tv   Craig Melvin Reports  MSNBC  October 18, 2021 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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protection, for members of parliament when they meet with their constituents. of course, being able to have access to the public is a very important part of the political system here, so that's going to be a very difficult decision to be made, but, of course, this is the second mp to have been killed in five years in a similar fashion. >> ali in london. thank you very much. that wraps up the hour for me. you can always reach me on twitter and instagram. be sure to follow the show online. thank you for the privilege of your time. chris jansing picks up with more news right now. good monday morning. i'm chris jansing in for craig melvin. we start with the breaking news. the death of an american hero. former secretary of state colin powell died this morning of
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covid-19 related complications despite being vaccinated according to his family. we are watching for reaction from the white house. we've already seen tributes start to pour in for the man who served in high level positions for four presidents. a man who put country first. rejecting blind party allegiance and division. he was a national security adviser to ronald reagan, chairman of the joint chiefs to president george h.w. bush and president clinton and he finished his career in government as secretary of state under president george w. bush. president bush this morning says powell was such a fair of presidents that he earned the presidential medal of freedom twice. he was highly respected at home and abroad and most important, collin was a family man and friend. joining me now, kelly o'donnell at the white house. nbc's chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell. also with us, michael sing who served as assistant secretary to -- special assistant to
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powell from 2004 to 2005. he was a former senior director of -- and managing director of the washington institute. also joining us this morning, jack jacobs, medal of honor recipient and msnbc military analyst. thanks to all of you for being here on a day we're all remembering a towering figure in american history. kelly, you covered his career for decades. take us through what we're learning today about his death. >> well, what an extraordinary american life. and one that brings together people from a wide political spectrum who have admired his public service when you think of colin powell as a young soldier, in combat, in vietnam, then commanding other soldiers in the first gulf war, and then advising presidents in both parties and reaching the pinnacle of public service as secretary of state. and then continuing to have
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influence as a role model and a voice on national and international affairs throughout his life. what we have learned about his passing is that he had been hospitalized at the walter reed national military medical center in bethesda and had been ill, treated for a form of cancer multiple milo ma, and then covid. his family indicates that he was fully vaccinated, and yet, complications of covid brought his life to an end. a very sad thing for his family. his wife, alma, married nearly a half century. their children and grandchildren, and many admirers in both parties are voicing respect for his service and his calm voice. and his expertise, and the kind of leadership and humility he projected in public life for such a long time. those who remember the first gulf war remember he became a household name, a fixture in
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american living rooms as he reported on what was happening with the first gulf war after a long period of time when the u.s. had not been actively enfwajed in a hot war. and colin powell then was a voice on the international stage urging america to use its military might with restraint, and we know that during the second gulf war, the iraq war of 2003, that was a complicated period for him, acting as secretary of state where he had delivered the remarks to the united nations about weapons of mass destruction in iraq that proved not to be true. and colin powell sober and self-reflective about that in the time since. i think washington is really struck by the personal nature of his legacy that he was a person with great confidence, great ability, breaking through barriers, but always with a sense of humility and a sense of
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kindness that really came through, and that's so much of what i think is striking people today, a man with an enormous impact, but one that was delivered with a very genteel spirit. chris? >> andrea, there are so many wonderful things being said about him today. in person, there was a certain stature, a charisma you witnessed time and time again as you covered him. again, over the decades both with his deep roots in the state department and the defense department. i was there when president obama gave him the medal of freedom. he was in a room full of celebrities and yet, in many ways you couldn't take your eyes off of him. there is something about the role he played in america. decorated general. nation's top diplomat. how is he being remembered today? >> for all those things. dignified, a statesman, the charisma when in 1996 many people wanted him to challenge
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bill clinton and run for president against him. a lifelong republican who on meet the press declared his support for barack obama and broke with the republican party in 2008 with tom brokaw. i think most importantly, a man who was so true to his principles, who was booed from the floor at the 2000 convention in philadelphia by republicans, fellow republicans, because he spoke out in favor of affirmative action. and this is part of his evolution. someone who had lived through the jim crow south, when he was courting his wife alma in alabama going back and forth to his home and having to drive through as we know from books and from films since, what it was like to drive through and not be able to stop for hotel or for food or bathrooms, because of the jim crow south for fear
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of being attacked. and still, this as a veteran, as a soldier, coming back from vietnam, not being able to be served in fort benning, georgia where he trained as an infantry soldier. named by dick cheney but falling out with them later in the bush '43 white house because he privately opposed the iraq war. and fought against it internally, but privately, which was his want. and then i was with him, of course, at that february 2003 u.n. speech where he lent his credibility to the u.s. and to the world, unwittingly. and i know this for a fact. i was with him before, during, after, when he had gone to langley for two days, for the weekend before that speech in new york and had gone through all the evidence with george tenet and believed he had, as he put it, scrubbed the speech he
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was about to deliver, but it was not true. and i've been getting messages from one veteran in particular of the iraq war who had suffered a loss of a buddy. and she said you know, don't you remember that? i do remember that. but in the communications with her since, he regretted it his whole life, and still, at the end of his life, i think what he was proudest of was the colin powell institute at ccny. as the son of immigrants and jamaican immigrants in the bronx, the fact that he started an institute to help educate fellow immigrants and first generation americans, people of color, and others who could not afford to go to an ivy league school, he was so proud of that school and everything it achieved. he did so much for historically black colleges as well, for howard university. this man, i interviewed i think the last one on television with him was during the george floud protests and also i think back
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on what he did in afghanistan after the u.s. invasion, this was in 2002, we were in afghanistan. he was secretary of state, and the powell doctrine. he reshaped -- rebuilt the american military post vietnam and was able to have the wisdom to say among others, don't go in to iraq after that first gulf war, and argue against the second gulf war and the powell doctrine of the pottery barn doctrine, if you will, if you break it, you'll have to fix it. you own it. >> you break it, you bought it. >> all that. >> and a man of such great humor and dignity. loved by family. adored by family. his wife, we think of her and of his children and grandchildren today. >> we do, indeed. >> his long-time colleague, i want to mention peggy safrino at his side throughout. >> andrea, i know you'll have
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more on secretary powell coming up in your hour. i know you have to go get ready for the noon hour. thank you for talking to us. michael, you knew him very well. secretary powell was famously not tied down by party. he served under presidents bush, but then both presidents bush. he was endorsing president obama. i want to play that moment. nbc's meet the press october 2008. take a listen. >> he has met the standard of being a successful president. being an exceptional president. i think he is a transformational figure. he is a new generation coming into the -- on to the american stage, and for that reason, i'll be voting for senator barack obama. >> a huge moment for the senator. and future president, obviously. michael, in the time you spent working for him, what did you observe about his guiding principles, his greatest strengths as a leader? >> well, chris, you know, colin
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powell was a celebrity by the time he became secretary of state. he was a rock star, and it was intimidating for a lot of us, especially i was 25 when i was working for him. to work for him. but what you saw immediately as you were around him was that he was such a decent and remarkable leader who really cared about the state department as an institution and cared about all the people working for it. he would really empower his staff and work through them in a way that few secretaries of state would do. he didn't just sort of rule through an inner circle or separate himself in the institution. but he tried to really work through the institution. he would work reasonable hours so that people could themselves go home at normal hours. he would slip out of his office, sort of alluding staffers were trying the keep tabs on him so he could go downstairs and sort of talk to a lot of the workers in the state department and get a ground troops from what was happening in the institution
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that he ran. he was beloved at the state department. he had just the respect and loyalty of everyone who worked there and it had nothing to do with policy or politics. it had everything to do with who he was as a man and as a leader. and that was -- i think just remarkable to witness firsthand and something which really stuck with us. he had all sorts of principles and rules which he lived by and which he expected all of us to live by, but what was really instructive, i think for those of us in policy positions working for him was he held himself to account far more stringently than anyone else. i think that was an object lesson for anyone who passed through his orbit. >> colonel jacobs, you share the vietnam experience with secretary powell. you both served. what are your feelings this morning about this loss, and what will you remember most about his leadership?
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>> well, great sadness. he was a towering figure. you know, he went to college, city college in new york, and studied geology. he was introduced to me when i was a battalion executive officer when i was a major. i think he was still in brigade command as a colonel. by the time commander introduced to him, my battalion commander went to school with him at city college. colin powell studied geology. i asked him, how did you go from being a geologist to being in uniform. he said, he had gone through rotc and decided at that time that he wanted to find his life by service to his country. and this was a long time before he became a household name. he was a mentor to a lot of us. he always started at the end and worked backwards which is why he
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wound up -- how the powell doctrine, he formulated it. decide what it is you're trying to do first, before you allocate resources particularly scarce resources in order to get it done. michael talked about how he went down to talk to the people who were actually doing the work. that was his mod us on randy. he said he learned going to meetings as a high ranking officer you learned nothing. the way to find out what's going on is to go down where the people are actually doing the work, following the orders and instructions that have been given down through the chain of command. and talking to the people who are at the bottom of the food chain. he said that's how you find out whether or not your orders and instructions are worthwhile, whether or not they're being carried out, and how the people who are doing the work are
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fairing. and he taught that to all of us. i'll tell you something else about him. he was a heck of a poker player. >> you know that firsthand? >> yes. i do. i lost plenty of money to colin powell playing poker. he had a genuine poker face. you couldn't tell at all what he had in his hand. but most of all, he was an educator. and he had -- he was not -- he was not focussed on himself at all. if you wanted to embarrass colin powell, put him in an environment in public where -- in which you're singing his praises. he was very, very uncomfortable about people talking about what a great man he was. but trust me, chris, he was a great man. >> he was the first black joint chiefs chairman as we've said. he was the first black secretary of state. andrea interviewed him in the summer of 2020. we were in the throws of the coronavirus lockdowns, protests for racial justice.
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i want to play part of what he told her about his personal experiences, andrea touched on this, growing up in the jim crow era. >> for america to be america, the kind of america i love, the kind of america i served for most of my adult life, we have to make sure that we're opening up that america and the opportunities that exist in america to every person who says they're an american or an immigrant, for that matter. i'm the son of immigrants. my parents came here in banana boats from jamaica, and all they said to me was do your very, very best, and always make sure that you love this country of ours now that we are members of this country of ours. >> michael, in the time that you worked with him, did his place in history, did his personal story weigh on him? did he see in it opportunity? both? >> well, you know, he was an inspirational figure for so many of us. i'm the son of immigrants as well. to see what he accomplished
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really was as i said, inspirational for so many of us. but the thing about general powell was that he didn't just preach it. he lived it. he spent 35 years in uniform, and then even after retiring from the military was given over almost entirely to public service as jack mentioned, he invested in -- through america's promise, same organization he founded in the center for leadership at the city college of new york. and in so many other ways, young people in minorities, in immigrants, in the causes he believed in, he was -- i think sort of in addition to being a pioneer that he was, he was a type of leader which seems to be fading from the scenes these days, ils to say. someone motivated by love of country, by principle. and not really by partisan politics or by ideology. and you can see that every day with him. you can see that in the way he treated people, in the way he
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sought out expertise and the respect he had for professionalism, the professional military, professional foreign service. you know, i think all of that sprang from who he was as a person, and how he came up from childhood through the ranks and into this remarkable positions he had. >> michael, kelly, and jack jacobs, thank you for your expertise, your thoughts this morning on the extraordinary life of colin powell. we'll continue to follow reaction to colin powell's death this morning. we're also tracking a lot of other developing stories. including a kidnapping in haiti of 17 members of an american missionary group, including children. what we know at this hour. plus jury selection just getting underway for the three men charged in the murder. what we're seeing in court. and a special look at the mental health toll facing police officers. the widow of a d.c. officer who
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took his life after serving during the january 6th attacks is demanding answers. and official recognition that he died in the line of duty. >> and you think that his death is directly related to what happened to him on january 6th? >> i do. i believe that if he did not get hit, and his demeanor did not change, that he would still be here. be here but then ray went from no to know. with freestyle libre 2, now he knows his glucose levels when he needs to. and... when he wants to. so ray... can be ray. take the mystery out of your glucose levels, and lower your a1c. now you know. try it for free. visit wealth is breaking ground on your biggest project yet. worth is giving the people who build it a solid foundation. wealth is shutting down the office
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in haiti involving members of an american mission group. people are there to assist the state department in the release of the 16 americans and one canadian taken by a dangerous street gang in port-au-prince on saturday while they were visiting an or fa naj. five are children. where abouts unknown publicly. sam brock is tracking all this from miami. sam, what more do we know about what's being done to find the missionaries and get them home safely? >> reporter: chris, good morning. good to be with you. it's not clear how much the u.s. government can do here. when you're talking about one of the most dangerous countries on the planet, where there is no government structure, where police, military, or anything that people could go to for
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refuge. we're waiting for more clarity from the state department and white house. the state department yesterday only last night confirming the actual kidnappings. we were waiting all day for the confirmation. the white house appears to be deferring to the state department. there's a briefing at 2:00 this afternoon. you never know what's going on behind the scenes. the wave of kidnappings in haiti which was already turbulent to begin with, is extremely disturbing. the u.n. study documenting about 330 or so kidnappings reported in the first eight month of the year. about 100 more than all of 2020. there's research out of haiti that shows the numbers are probably significantly lower than the reality. that group believes it's more like a 300% increase in kidnappings in the last quarter with gangs running rampant throughout the country. we spoke with a woman who was the co-executive director of the florida immigrant coalition. they're gathering over my shoulder. they're protesting a number of things. one of them is the condition in haiti right now. here's what tessa told me.
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>> it is like living in a war zone. you don't know when you're going to get shot at, kidnapped. they have been kidnapping everyone from merchants on the side of the streets to children going to school. so yes, i believe it's been -- >> reporter: chris, that is an everyday occurrence. right now another topic of conversation hear in miami, not just the kidnapping of the 17 missionaries. 16 americans, five children. but the deportation of haitians trying to get to the united states. you remember the images. thousands of people stacked up at the texas border a couple weeks ago. obviously a number of factors at play. that's been going on a long time. these folks out here today are saying why are you deporting people back into an environment where children do not know day-to-day what kind of violence they're going to face and where kidnappings are this violent and this common place all throughout the country. chris. >> sam brock, thank you for that.
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i know you'll stay on top of this story for us. also this morning, jury selection has begun in the trial of three men involved in the death of ahmaud arbery. arbery's death like george floyd's has been a flash point in the country's latest reckoning on race. the 25-year-old was shot as he jogged through a neighborhood in brunswick, georgia in february of last year. authorities say father and son, gregg and travis mcmichael chased him in their truck and opened fire. according to police, the third suspect, joined the chase and recorded it all on his phone. the mcmichaels claim they thought aubrey was responsible for a string of thefts in the area. all three are facing murder charges and have pleaded not. earlier this morning arbery's mother joined us to share what she's feeling as the trial begins. >> all three defendants -- ahmad was a young man who chose to go jogging on a sunny sunday
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afternoon. ahmaud was my baby boy, a brother, an uncle, a grandson. so sum it up, ahmaud was loved. >> katie beck joins us from brunswick, georgia. what do we know about the jury pool? >> reporter: well, it's been a slow start this morning. they are actually still having some motions that they need to get through before they can start the selection process j sort of laying out ground rules on what questions will be in bounds to ask potential jurors. the defense asking if they can ask jurors whether or not they support bhm -- blm, and their thoughts on confederate flags. they're trying to come up with ground work plans. the judge says he has concerns about how long the selection process might take. that's because the case got so much media attention, sparked so much outrage nationally, it's hard to stack an impartial jury.
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that's why they cast a wide net and have brought in a large jury pool. there are 600 potential jurors today. there's another 400 that are going to be on stand by if they don't find sufficient impartial jurors in the first pool. this will be an extremely long process. it -- they are going point for point in there this morning on the motions. so it could take some time before that process even begins. we're told it could be one or two weeks before this jury is seated. >> 1,000 potential jurors. katie beck, thank you so much. former president donald trump under oath right now. he's facing questions from lawyers, but not for anything that happened while he was in office. the details of today's deposition next. ay's deposition next. plus cold reli. dissolves quickly. instantly ready to start working. so you can bounce back fast with alka-seltzer plus. now available for fast sinus relief. bogeys on your six, limu. they need customized car insurance from liberty mutual
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right now former president donald trump is answering questions under oath and on tape. it's part of the case brought by protesters who say trump's body guards assaulted them during a demonstration in 2015. tom winter is here with the latest. what exactly are the lawyers hoping to get out of this? >> i think they want to establish that donald trump knew what he was security staff was up to. that they were, in fact, under his direction, and that he has some sort of a tie to this. one of the things they brought up in there, and these are the attorneys for the people that
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are bringing the lawsuit. they've brought up in the legal filings. they're not commenting publicly. this idea that in law, there's a theory that look, if they're working for the body guards, working for the trump administration, working for the trump campaign, working with them, that the president may have personal liability here which opens up the president to punitive damages. opens up the trump organization to significant payment, if, in fact, the jury decide and awards the payments as a result of this. they want to try to find a way to day the president personally knew this was what his team was up to, and they were authorized to use the force and be guards for him, and they did this action which they think is in violation of the law on the civil side of things. they did it at his behest. that's what i think they want to try to establish today. that's based off the legal filings. it's going to be important. eventually we might see this in court. >> what are the chances? >> you know, if this goes to a
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jury, actually, pretty high, because they're going to want to show the questions and the answers that the president responded to when they bring this to court. >> and i know you'll follow it all the way, tom. great to see you in person. >> yes. >> tributes to colin powell pouring in from across the country and around the globe. up next, his impact on the u.s. military and on the world stage. here is lloyd austin on powell's impact on him personally. >> i lost a tremendous personal friend and mentor. he has been my mentor for a number of years. he always made time for me, and i could always go to him with tough issues. he always had great counsel. we will certainly miss him. i feel as if i had v a hole in my heart. a hole in my heart
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america to the rest of the world as secretary of state. this morning he died of covid complications, though he was fully vaccinated and tributes continue to pour in. here's u.s. defense secretary lloyd austin on powell's legacy and this tremendous loss. >> the world lost one of the greatest leaders that we have ever witnessed. first african american chairman of the joint chiefs. first african american secretary of state. a man who was respected around the globe and will be quite frankly, it is not possible to replace a colin powell. >> nbc's richard engel is in london following the latest international reaction to this. kourtney is at the pentagon for us as well. richard, what have you been hearing so far? >> reporter: well, the german foreign minister just tweeted out that colin powell was a great man, that he was a
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transatlantic bridge builder, and that his loss will be felt around the world. he had a tremendous international reputation. he was beloved when he was in power. he was remembered as being a strong general, a strong leader, a steady set of hands during the bush administration. but there is also a flip side of that coin. he is also remembered not just for his leadership during the first gulf war, but for his famous speech at the united nations when he laid out the bush administration's case based on faulty intelligence for invading iraq and overthrowing saddam hussein, and that was a speech that led to u.s. into war, helped lead the u.s. into war. secretary colin powell later said it was a blot on his reputation, and it convinced other nations to join the united
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states on the path to overthrowing saddam hussein. he is seen as a great man. it was a dignified leader, a statesman, a general, but who also has this undeniable past in which he was leading the campaign in front of the world, using his own credibility to talk about saddam hussein and connections to al qaeda even though there were no connections to al qaeda, and the faulty intelligence that iraq and saddam hussein were -- had an active nuclear weapons program, although none was ever discovered. >> as richard points out, he had an extraordinary influence abroad as well, of course, as at home. what are you hearing about the pentagon this morning? >> that's right. well, we've already heard of secretary of defense lloyd austin. he's traveling overseas right now. i think what we heard from him is the kind of -- the kind of statements we should expect to hear in the coming hours and
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days about general retired general colin powell. secretary austin calling him a mentor and friend. someone who turned to even in his time in this job now as general powell was older, was retired from the military for nearly three decades. he turned to him for advice and counsel. i expect we'll hear from more current and former general officers and military leaders about them having the similar relationship with colin powell. of course, you know, as i said, he retired nearly 30 years ago, 1993. his last job here was as the chairman of the joint chiefs under president george h.w. bush, but people may not realize he spent about 35 years in the military. he was an rotc candidate in college in new york city. and then when he graduated when he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the army, he did two tours in vietnam as a young man before coming back to the united states. and he served in a number of positions here increasingly more
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senior positions here in d.c. including as department national security adviser and three star general. he moved up in the ranks, but one way he will be remembered in the military, as someone who blazed trails for other young african american men and women. as i said, he joined, and he was commissioned into the military in vietnam. throughout his more than 30 years in the military, he continued to break barriers. he continued to shatter glass ceilings. and attain these increasingly more senior positions that black men and women had not attained in the military to that time. that is how he will be remembered. also as secretary austin said today, i know we will hear from another senior officers, people i've been talking to this morning who said they continue to seek his advice and counsel even into the more recent weeks and months. >> kourtney, richard, thanks to both of you.
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we just haven't been properly introduced. say hello to the place where rolling hills meets low bills. where our fields, inside and out, are always growing. and where the fun is just getting started. this is iowa. so, when are you coming to see us? ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ downy's been taking you back, since way back. with freshness and softness you never forget. feel the difference with downy. this morning miami's police chief art acevedo is out. houston's former police chief has been officially fired after
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six months in his new role. acevedo claims he was fighting krupg in the department. but communities and city leaders questioned his choices. gabe gutierrez sat down with art acevedo for an exclusive interview. gabe, what did he tell you? >> reporter: even in a city known as rough and tumble politics, this clash between the commissioners and the police chief was epic. on friday art acevedo was fired after it was said he lost the trust of the rank and file police officers here. as you mentioned, he gave the national profile. he led departments in california, in austin, texas, and houston where he famously marched with protesters following the murder of george floyd. but he claims he was fighting corruption here in miami, but among the controversial things he said was that the police department was run by, quote, the cuban mafia. as you can imagine, that didn't sit well with many people in
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miami. he has been fired. we won't say where he'll go next, but he will not take the five-month severance offered to him that would allow him to sue the city. this morning we sat down with him for his first television interview since his firing. >> never give up, and there's no quitting. some people say what, you just take -- just take the five months and move on? i'm not a quitter. my mom and dad didn't come here for us to be quitters and i don't plan on quitting on being a voice for this profession and being a voice for the good police officers in this country, and a voice for those that are disenfranchised by bad police officers. and we'll see how i end up being able to serve moving forward.
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>> clearly he was emotional during parts of that interview. i asked him what his biggest regret was. he acknowledged that he didn't go do his homework. there were a lot of political mine fields in miami he did not anticipate. for his part, his leadership st, but chris, this is part of an unusual turnover across the country. over the last two years, acevedo now becomes the 40th police chief of a major city to depart from the role either through a resignation, retiring, or just leaving the post. so he was known nationally as a reformer. now he's looking for a new job. chris. >> gabe gutierrez, such a great interview, thank you. and you all can watch the rest of that interview with art acevedo tonight on nbc "nightly news." meanwhile, on -- oh, let's go to the state department, secretary blinken. >> we lost today colin powell. secretary powell was beloved
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here at the state department at c. street, and at our embassies and consulate thes around the world. he came to the state department after a long and extraordinary career in the u.s. armed forces. he was general powell, former chairman of the joint chiefs. when he walked into the oval office to be sworn in as our nation's top diplomat. after that he was mr. secretary. he gave the state department the very best of his leadership, his experience, his patriotism. he gave us his decency. and the state department loved him for it. secretary powell trusted the career work force here. he empowered them. he made sure that the desk officer who knew a particular country or issue most deeply was the one who got to brief in for the president. he told his staff that hay didn't need to worry about getting his fancy lunches, hamburgers and hot dogs were just fine. when he hopped onto the elevator
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he'd pull others on with him. he didn't bother with formalities, and he wasn't overly concerned with hierarchy either. he wanted to hear from everyone. he walked around the building dropping into offices unannounced asking what people needed, making sure they knew he was counting on them. secretary powell was simply and completely a leader, and he knew how to build a strong and united team. he treated people the way he expected them to treat each other, and he made sure that they knew he would always have their back. the result was that his people would walk through walls for him. secretary powell's career in the u.s. military is legendary. as a teenager at the city college of new york not far from where he grew up in the south bronx, he joined rotc and after graduation became an army officer. for 35 years he was a professional soldier.
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he started in the infantry, served two tours in vietnam, was stationed in south korea and west germany, and oversaw operation desert storm in iraq. by the time he retired from the military, he was arguably the most respected and celebrated american in uniform. at that time, he received a second presidential medal of freedom, this time from president clinton who said at the medal ceremony, today a grateful nation observes the end of a distinguished career and celebrates 35 years of service and victory, a victory for the united states military that gave young colin powell a chance to learn and to grow and to lead. a victory for the military and political leaders who continue to elevate him based on their complete confidence and sheer respect. a victory for a nation well-served, and in a larger sense, a victory for the american dream, for the principle that in our nation
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people can rise as far as their talent, their capacities, their dreams, and their discipline will carry them. after that career, colin powell could have enjoyed a quieter life, maybe dedicating himself full-time to the organization he founded, america's promise to help young people from underrepresented communities like the one where he grew up. instead, he started a new career in diplomacy, and i believe secretary powell's years as a soldier are what made him such an exceptional diplomat. he knew that war and military action should always be a last resort, and to make that so, we need our diplomacy to be as robust and well resourced as possible. he called for increased funding for state, which then, as now, was just a fraction of the pentagon's budget. he modernized the state department putting a computer on every desk, and he believed deeply that america was an exceptional nation, that we
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could and should lead with confidence and humility and that the world was safer when the united states was engaged and its allies and partners were united. future military leaders and diplomats studied colin powell's work, like the powell doctrine that hammered out criteria for when and how the united states should use force, and his support for expeditionary diplomacy, diplomats and military working together to bring stability to high threat environments. he was a man of ideas, but he wasn't ideological. he was constantly listening, learning, adapting. he could admit mistakes. it was just another example of his integrity. as is probably evident by now, i was a huge admirer of secretary powell's. i always will be. and he was very generous with me. this past 4th of july, we spent a few precious hours together talking about the state department, discussing all the challenges we're confronting
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around the world. two things were clear, secretary powell's depth of knowledge about world events was unmatched, and he loved the state department and wanted it to thrive. so today is a sad day for us here at state, especially for all those who worked for and with secretary powell and will never forget the experience. our thoughts are with alma powell and the entire family today, to everyone who loved him. colin powell dedicated his extraordinary life to public service because he never stopped believing in america and we believe in america in no small part because it helped produce someone like colin powell. thank you, mr. secretary. >> secretary antony blinken remembering the man who held his
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job many years ago, colin powell who died today as an exceptional leader in and out of government. back with us, michael sang who served as a special assistant to secretary powell. he was also a former senior director of middle east affairs at the nsc as well as managing director of the washington institute. it struck me that one of the things we heard from antony blinken was that people, his people, would walk through walls for him. you were one of his people. why? why and how did he engender such respect and loyalty in a town that is not always known for either of those things. >> you know, what secretary blinken said was absolutely right, and it's not because he was always easy to work for. he was a very demanding boss. he was demanding of himself first and foremost but certainly demanding of his staff. you didn't want to go to secretary powell with a poorly written memo or poorly thought
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through policy idea for sure. his demanding nature was sort of masked by his love for his people and for the state department, and he's really the gold standard by which i think all other secretaries of state are measured because he really cared for the institution. he wasn't just looking after his own legacy or his own sort of policy ideas, but he wanted to make sure the state department itself thrived and that american diplomacy thrived, and he fought for the state department on capitol hill for funding, for respect, and he fought for the professional foreign service, for america's professional diplomats. and he cared about sort of every staffer in the state department. and you know, he used to elude his diplomatic security detail and the rest of us staffers to go walking around the state department to talk to sort of ordinary workers, kitchen staff, people like that, to see what was really happening in his department. and so he really cared for the institution. he tried to empower the people
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that worked for him. he expected a lot of them for sure, but there's no doubt that this is a very sad day for the state department, for america's diplomats and for anyone who worked for him. >> well, our sympathies are with you and all those who knew him so well. michael sang, we appreciate your time today. thank you so much. that's going to do it for me this hour. "andrea mitchell reports" starts next. good day, everyone. this is "andrea mitchell reports" in washington where we are mourning the passing of a military leader, a statesman, an advocate for immigrant and minority rights, general colin powell. general powell who started as a foot soldier in vietnam and rose to four-star general and the first black chairman of the joint chiefs and later secretary of state has died at age 84 from covid complications. he was vaccinated but was also
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battling multiple myeloma for many years, a cancer of the blood and immune system according to a spokesman for the family. the family confirming secretary powell died this morning while being treated at walter reed medical center. the statement adds we have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather, and a great american. general powell, the son of jamaican immigrants in the bronx, rose to become ronald reagan's adviser and the first chairman of the joint chiefs and architect of the first gulf war desert storm. >> i just want everybody to know that we have a toolbox that's full of lots of tools, and i brought them all to the party. >> after retiring from the u.s. military, he went on to become president bush 43rd secretary of state. he was the only member of that national security team to privately oppose the sect iraq war. to his lifetime's regret, he was misled by the cia a


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