tv The Cycle MSNBC July 3, 2013 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
♪ ooh ♪ 'cause it's a bright light stain fighting, cleaning, and brightening... in tide pods. pop in. stand out. what are you guys doing? having some fiber! with new phillips' fiber good gummies. they're fruity delicious! just two gummies have 4 grams of fiber! to help support regularity! i want some... [ woman ] hop on over! [ marge ] fiber the fun way, from phillips'. breaking news right now in "the cycle." day eight of testimony in the george zimmerman trial. this is going to be a long one. the prosecution tells the judge they plan to rest today. will we hear from the parents of trayvon martin? >> also, breaking news from cairo. tensions rise among the egyptian people. army tanks join protesters in tahrir square. the muslim brotherhood claims a military coup is underway.
we're live there this house. we begin inside the most watched courtroom in america right now. a crime lab analyst is testifying about dna from both trayvon martin and george zimmerman. let's listen in. >> and you said -- tell us about this, what you're doing here. >> the same thing. it was all collected with one swab. the cuff area to here. >> okay. and there was nothing foreign to trayvon martin. in other words, you didn't find another person's dna on either one of those. >> correct. >> thank you. is
. >> thank you, your honor. did you do then an examination or analysis on the sweatshirt that mr. martin was wearing underneath that hooded sweat jacket? >> yes, i did. >> okay. do you see before you a photograph of state's exhibit 120, sir? >> yes. >> and did you perform or attempt to perform analysis on that exhibit, sir? >> i did. >> okay. i'm showing you state's exhibit 121, which i believe covers the bottom part of that sweatshirt. is that correct? >> yes, that's the bottom front surface. >> okay. and there appeared to be -- i'm circling it as best i can, some letters with some circles. how did those get there?
>> i put those circles there when i was visually examining the item for any red/brown stains that could possibly be blood other than the large red, round stain around the hole in the upper left-hand side. those are -- any stains other than that i circled to perform the chemical test and possibly do dna testing on those stains. >> let me go back to state's exhibit 120 -- >> we will get back to the zimmerman trial shortly. first, we now have some breaking news in egypt. a statement from the military. they say a coup is underway. let's listen in right now. >> translator: -- directly and indirectly to contain the current situation and to do national reconciliation between all the political parties including the presidential palace. since last november 2012, has
called a sleer national conversation between all parties and it was rejected by the presidential palace. and ever since a lot of coals and initiatives has created ever since. as the armed forces has presented more than one time over a strategic situation on the inside and outside level included all the challenges that egypt has faced on the national security and the economy and the social level. and a vision of the armed forces as a national organization to contain the situation and to find out the reason of the problems and to avoid all the
problems and to exit the problem. and during this current crisis, the leadership of the armed forces has met with the president in the presidential palace. the armed forces has offered what's doing on -- the armed forces has rejected all the threats to the egyptian people. hope was there for a national unity and a future road map to all egyptian and to stability for this great nation. what can achieve to all
egyptianut president's speech yesterday and before the deadline, the 48-hour deadline, the speech has came -- is in violation with the people's demands, which has allowed the arms forces, and based on its responsibility and national history to negotiate with all the political parties. we all agree on a future road map that contains steps to a strong community. and to finish all this division in egypt.
this plan has all the findings. first of all, suspension of the constitution. the head of the constitutional court will swear in before the court to do an early election as the head of the constitutional government shall be running the country until further -- the head of the constitutional court has the right to issue any constitutional amendments forming a new government and has all authority to run the current time. forming a committee that will include everyone to review the constitutional amendments on the constitution that is suspended
for now. calling upon the constitutional court to confirm a new parliament election and to start a process for a permanent election, putting an announcement for freedom of the speech, freedom of media, and to achieve credibility to everyone and to achieve the national interest for everyone taking the necessary steps to allow them into the egyptian government to share the responsibility and to take place forming a national committee, a reconciled national committee that has a credibility and acceptance between all the egyptians and representing all the egyptian people. the armed forces has
disappeared. we urge everybody to peacefully protest and to avoid violence that might lead to more violence and more bloodshed. the armed forces is warning that it will defeat strongly and decisively against anyone who gets out of peaceful protest. based on the law and based on its responsibility, the armed forces is saluting to all the people of the armed forces and to the police and to the judges and to everyone who has a role in egypt to protect security and safety. my god protect egypt. it's a great nation.
peace upon everyone. >> we have been listening live to a top general in egypt discussing the future, the way ahead here. we're going to bring in mark ginsburg, a former u.s. ambassador to mohr rarocco. how are you doing? >> this is interesting to watch this unfold. >> i want to read off a couple things we just heard according to our nbc translation. we heard there will be a suspension of the constitution in egypt as announced by the military in response to these protests. we heard a reference there to early elections and to the head of the constitutional court basically overseeing some kind of transition. one term that was used was a road or a road map, which we've heard before. we're seeing here on the screen of course the live reactions of these huge crowds gathered in egypt seeming to celebrate and welcome what is the ousting of
president morsi. the third thing we heard was a desire to have a shared responsibility as the egyptian military announced to use a committee structure that would have the credibility of the egyptian people. that was the reference that was made in drafting some kind of new governing constitutional structure on that road to elections. as we look at this reaction here on the screen, ambassador, what do you make of those general outlines that we heard? >> the supreme forces of egypt have essentially engaged in a coup d' ttat. will his supporters take to the streets to violently oppose this coup and bring more bloodshed to
egypt? number three, will the military be able to convince enough of the political establishment of egypt to participate in a way that would lead this country out of the chaos it's been in. remember, since president morsi took power a year ago and since president mubarak was overthrown by the military two years ago in a similar coup, egypt has lurched from one crisis to another. >> all right. stay right there. we'll have more with you. let's go to richard engel, who's in tahrir square right now. describe the scene behind you. i know we're talking about a revolution, but it sure looks like a party. >> reporter: these are the celebrations. there are hundreds of thousands of people in this square. when that announcement was made by the army a short while ago to suspend the constitution, to hold early elections and to sideline the president, mohamed morsi, the crowds started firing
up volley after volley of fireworks. they are waving egyptian flags. these celebrations are going to go on, i suspect, all night. we were down in the crowds a short while ago. there was a tremendous amount of enthusiasm. people here are not calling this a coup. they're saying this is a military intervention that was asked for by the people. the military in its statement repeatedly said that it has no intention of holding on to power. will the military be good on its word? that remains to be seen. but the military has gone to great efforts, even making the announcement in the presence of christian and muslim religious leaders, members of civil society, to show that it was acting for these people. the question now is, what will happen to the ex-president, or the president who has just been pushed aside, mohamed morsi? will he be able to speak to his supporters? we had reports earlier that his communications have been cut off. what about his supporters,
members of the muslim brotherhood and other even more radical islamic roots? will they try and take revenge for this, if not a coup, clearly a power shift in this society. the army has started to deploy in some key areas surrounding muslim brotherhood areas, surrounding them with armored vehicles. tonight this is the scene not just here in tahrir square but in many parts of cairo. >> richard, thank you for that report and all the news you've been bringing us. i know we'll be checking back with you as we look at these scenes. again, a tremendous outpouring of support and what looks like celebration on the streets of egypt in response to the news that president morsi is being ousted by the military. i want to bring back in mark ginsburg, former clinton ambassador to morocco. you heard what richard engel was just reporting, that this is indeed a celebration. many people in the streets do not see this as an undemocratic
coup, but rather a response to a president who did not manage the economy well and continued to try to accrue powers, including ruling out judicial oversight of some of his actions. where do we go from here, and what did you think of what richard was reporting about the open questions that faced mr. morsi's future? >> i think richard's report is dead on. the fact of the matter is we don't know what's going to happen to mr. morsi. we don't know whether or not he's going to call on his supporters to rise up against this -- what he has called a military coup and what the fellow muslim brotherhood leaders call a coup. it's clear the military is rounding up leaders of the muslim brotherhood and more radical elements of egyptian society. at the same time, you have to understand that what has caused this outpouring of anger and resentment against morsi is really a complete deterioration of what essentially results in
an economic catastrophe for egypt, number one. and a total breakdown of law and order in the streets of the egyptian cities. these people have been desperate for some restoration of law and order. until the army is able to demonstrate that it is able to turn power over to an elected government, i think a majority of these people are going to want to let the military run the show for the time being. >> yeah, ambassador, let's take a look back before these protests began that led to what some are calling a coup. what was the spark? what were the things that morsi did so badly? what were the problems in egypt that led to all these people saying we must have a new leader immediately? >> one year ago he was barely elected with 51% of the vote. right there and then he essentially instead of reaching out to develop some common thread of governance with his
more secular opponent, he essentially began codifying islamic rituals and laws and in effect ramrodding them through this islamist dominated parliament and more or less was under his control, number one. number two, the economic condition of egypt deteriorated further under his control. for all intensive purpose, all of the financial loans that were being negotiated with the international monetary institutions never basically occurred because he refused to agree to their terms. number three, there are elements of the former mubarak regime that despise the muslim brotherhood, and they were determined to make his life as difficult as possible. finally, if there's a real spark here that set this off, it was the fact that a year into his presidency, mr. morsi more or less had thumbed his nose at all
of the economic demands of his public and was far more interested in consolidating islamist control to get control over the elements of egyptian government. the courts, the constitutional assembly, the parliament. >> ambassador, egypt is obviously an extraordinarily important country for america in terms of our relationship with the middle east. do you see the potential of some american hand within allowing this to happen? surely -- could this happen without america giving any sort of okay to this happening? >> the fact of the matter is that the united states has an extraordinarily little leverage right now with either side of the political spectrum in egypt. the president and many of his cabinet officials, including secretary kerry, defense secretary hagel, had reached out to elements of the egyptian military as well as morsi to try to compel him to seek some sort
of last-minute, 11th hour political asylum with his adversaries. it obviously had no effect on morsi, who was unable to act before the military acted. it also is indicative of the fact that the united states at this point in time has very little control over how the military takes matters forward. it has some leverage because we provide so many military systems to the egyptian military. when it comes to the future of egyptian politic, the fact is the allies that the united states ordinarily would have in this equation, the secular opponents of morsi, are angry at the united states. >> stay with us. we want to go from washington back to cairo where we have richard engel. richard, what are you seeing and hearing there now? >> reporter: it took 30 years for egyptians to come into the streets and have this kind of reaction to remove president mubarak. it took only one year for them to turn on the muslim
brotherhood's mohamed morsi. people here are ecstatic. they are thanking the military. this has been the reaction for the last 10, 15 minutes or so since we heard that statement that was broadcast on television by the army chief saying that president morsi is no longer the president, that the head of the constitutional court is now the acting president over an interim government until early elections can be held. of course, this is not the entire city of cairo. there are supporters of mohamed morsi. they are in other parts of the city. the egyptian army has surrounded some of the areas where the most hard core muslim brotherhood supporters have set up their own protest. what also remains to be seen is how the egyptian rural areas will react. cairo, we've seen this kind of scene before. the last time 2 1/2 years ago when hosni mubarak was removed
from power. there weren't disruptions in the villages. we'll see if it will be different now that the muslim brotherhood leader has been removed considering he has many more supporters in the poorer and the rural communities than even mubarak did. >> richard, when a nation doesn't have a tradition of democracy and they try to move into that and then a military coup removes a democratically elected leader, it seems that it's going to be hard to then plant the seeds of democracy going forward. do you think -- did they think they're going to be able to go back to having democracy after removing morsi in this way? >> reporter: they are hopeful. because what's at play here is not just about democracy and ballot boxes. this was an entire experiment in political islam that many in egypt said went terribly wrong. two and a half years ago there was a revolt against president mubarak. the military took over. it was a transitionary phase.
it didn't go well. egyptians may have learned from that experience. then they had elections. a lot of these same people refused to participate in the elections. they got morsi. they didn't have the institutions to remove him, to impeach him. there were no political structures in place to have any other way to remove morsi aside from this. now they say they are hopeful that because of the last 2 1/2 years of political experience, they say they think they won't have to do this again. they're hopeful this will be the last time we will see a revolution like this to remove either a dictator or a democratically elected president. the question is, will that be the case? will the army agree? will the army actually step back and hand over power? the army in this country held power for decades. will it stay good to its word? will the muslim brotherhood try and turn it into an insurgency?
>> richard, i want to get your reaction to the state department's position on this today. for those just joining us, we are seeing history being made yet again on the streets of cairo. the announcement that the president has been removed from office by the military. the suspension of the constitution. and some discussion of a road map for future elections. now, richard, just a few hours ago what we heard from the state department officially here back in the united states was that they weren't going to take sides. they say, we don't take sides, as you know, but, and this is quoting the state department, president morsi is the one who gave the speech. he had the opportunity to lay out specific steps, and he did not take the opportunity to do that. that was where the united states department was as of a few hours ago. what do you see as the role of the united states going forward
and the sense of our bystander status or potential support for reform down on the streets in cairo? >> reporter: in the immediate term, i think the united states is going to be very happy with what is happening here. the united states was never a natural ally with the muslim brotherhood. the muslim brotherhood at its core is an anti-american organization. it is a violently anti-israel organization. the muslim brotherhood was democratically elected. the united states chose to work with it, much to the chagrin or much to the anger of the egyptian military, which has a much longer and much deeper relationship with the united states' military and with the u.s. government. we didn't hear much coming from washington in the early days of this uprising because anything washington would have said would have been used against it. if it came out in support of the protesters, then they would have labeled as american spies. if it came out in support of morsi, then these people in the crowd would have said that the
united states is propping up the muslim brotherhood. but last night's speech which antagonized many egyptians and apparently antagonized many in washington as well was very aggressive. president morsi, ex-president morsi, was banging his fist on the podium. he was waving his finger at the camera talking about violence, not talking about inclusion. talking about how he was the legitimate leader of this country and that no one should dare to challenge him. it seems at that stage washington may have had some private concerns or certainly stopped supporting him overtly. the result we're seeing right now. the question is s and what i'm mostly concerned about, are the radicals, the people who saw morsi's arrival to power as not just a democratic process but as the fulfillment of a religious dream, the people who saw the muslim brotherhood after decades in hiding, decades operating as a clandestine group.
now once again forced into the shadows. how are they going to react? >> richard, while all eyes are on egypt around the region, what do you think -- and you've spent time in syria and other unstable places in this region. what do you think the message is for other governments and other people engaged in civil strife as they look at this koe da, if you will, to one of the biggest places where the arab spring took hold? >> reporter: this will set the tone or has the potential to set the tone for movements across the middle east. already tonight in tunisia, there's a movement that wants to emulate this. when the arab spring began, it was students. it was generally secular people using information technology that took to the streets. they were disorganized. they were politically inexperienced, and they lost power to the islamic groups, which because of years of operating, hiding from the military, hiding from
authoritarian states, were very effective at organizing themselves. the islamic groups not just here in egypt but across the region managed to seize power through the ballot box. this could be the start of a change, a change in egypt, a change in tunisia, maybe even a change in turkey, a change in many countries around the world. if egypt after today is a success and not the failure that it was under the muslim brotherhood, then it could be a success that other new governments, new arab spring transitional governments seek to emulate. >> richard, the unemployment rate in egypt is now over 13.5%. that's 3.5 million people who aren't working. perhaps more than that. if that doesn't change, they're going to be equally unhappy with the next president who's elected. we might be right back here again. >> reporter: yes, there is an economic element to this, but this wasn't purely about jobs
and unemployment rate. these people here are not out because they are poor or hungry. they are out in the streets because they felt they were being manipulated. they had a revolution against mubarak. they lost control of that revolution. the man that was elected was driving the country into the ground, isolating it. not just economically, but the streets were no longer safe. the border has become an ungovernable area. many egyptians were embarrassed of their government. they said people around the world now think of us as terrorists. they didn't like that. so, yes, economics is a big factor, but it was about political islam and about pride. it was about a man who they felt president, ex-president mohamed morsi, who is pushing forward a sectarian islamic agenda. if you watch what's been happening here over the last years on the television, on the streets, women have been harassed. they've been forced to veil.
there are radical clerics on many of the television channels preaching the most outrageous kinds of things that sound like they should have been talked about seven or eight centuries ago. people did not like the way society was moving under president morsi. that, i believe, has as much to do with this as economics. >> and richard, let's talk a little more about your point there on political islam. this was for many outside observers a concern. democracy in egypt and many of these countries was scary at a geopolitical level because people thought that bad people or people against the interests would gain power and be popular. what we're viewing right now according to your reporting is a celebration of the ousting of islamist leadership and the muslim brotherhood, which was always the best-organized political faction in the mubarak era. we know that they both were always pitted against the military for that islamist political islam type of
politics. have any of us been wrong to worry people in these regions would be attracted to political islam as a value over others? is that what we're seeing out there today? >> islam plays a role in politics here and will continue to play a role in politics across the region. this is an uprising against the muslim brotherhood, which is a political islam organization is that has a specific agenda, that has a specific operation. it has its own finances. it's very secretive. it's international. it's backed by many wealthy people in qatar and is seen as having a broad agenda across the middle east. will islam be used in future absolutely. these people here, many of them campaigns? are devout muslims. they're proud of their faith and would never say that this is a revolt against islam. they are, as i said, very proud. they will say it is against the muslim brotherhood and an
organization that used islam as was selling islam to gain votes. that, i think, is what they were standing up against, an organization that cheapened their religion for power. >> richard, i know that you have your finger on the pulse of what's going on in many of the countries in the middle east. i want to broaden the lens a little bit because, of course, what happens in egypt has an impact on israel. so what do you think the response is in israel right now to this change here in egypt? >> reporter: i think the immediate term is going to be very nervous. the army was somewhat shackled by the morsi government. there has never been a comfortable relationship between the army and the muslim brotherhood. the two were absolute enemies for decades. morsi himself was in prison before he became president of this country.
so there is a concern by israel that the islamic extremists could try to launch some sort of attack, could try and hijack a tourist bus, could immediately try and express their frustration on the israeli border. over the long term, i think israel is in a wait-and-see mode. who will come out next? not everyone in this crowd is pro-israel. i think it's safe to say most of them are anti-israel. you don't have to be in the muslim brotherhood to be against israel. in the immediate concern, they're worried about what the reaction will be there. in the long term, i think the israelis know they don't have too many friends in egypt in general. one reliable partner that iz really has had in this country at least has been the army. we are seeing now the army take more of a role. so that could give them a little more reassurance. >> and richard, what will happen on the streets for the rest of
the evening? you've covered so many of these large protests. people welcoming the ousting of morsi. they seem ecstatic at the notion of a road map to future elections on this big day for egypt and its future. but what happens on the ground from here? how do people eventually disperse? what happens in life? >> reporter: well, i think tonight, for the rest of the night we're going to see this. we're going to see people, fireworks, celebrating, cheering. the other part of town, however, it could be dangerous. you have people supporting the muslim brotherhood, supporting other groups who believe they've been wronged, who believe there's been a naked power grab, that the army has intervened and many members of the muslim brotherhood are going to be afraid they're going to be thrown in prison. so if you're just listening, look right now. you can see there's an army helicopter going through.
this is the reaction to the army. the army is doing a fly by. not sure if you can see it in your camera. the army is doing this fly over, a symbolic show of support. there was a very warm, very enthusiastic response from the crowd. here the winner is the people who are happy with the result. it's going to be peaceful and celebrations. i think when night falls, when people start making their way home home, if the people come from these crowds and start going through areas where morsi supporters are, i think we could see some violent incidents and perhaps even some deaths. >> all right. richard, thank you for your reporting. stay safe. we will come back to you for more. we are now going to turn back to ambassador mark ginsburg, who was an ambassador to morocco under the clinton administration. let's focus in on the diplomacy where you've worked. what happens in both the --
obviously, the state department all the way up to the president on a day like today in a region that is so strategically important for the u.s.? what kind of conversations do you have? >> it's a sort of déjà vu all over again about -- like the coup after mubarak. the united states was trying to navigate a difficult diplomatic situation with egypt. it's an important ally in the region, a center of gravity for middle east peace. so i think this is what i would be doing if i were sitting with national security council adviser susan rice, who's probably right now kmicommunicag with the president who's in africa. i think the first thing to do would be maintain an open channel with the head of the supreme forces of egypt. number two, to try to assess whether or not this coup is going to result in widespread violence as richard engel rightfully expressed fears about
as a result of what may happen. number three, the state department is probably going to dispatch either secretary hagel or secretary kerry or both to the region to try to take a temperature reading over how quickly the military is prepared to turn over power. remember here, the real challenge has always been the fact that the muslim brotherhood had been the better organized political movement in the country. yet, at the same time, all of its secular a components who ran for president never got widespread support. if we see this movie repeat itself over again, the question emerges, who is going to emerge who is a lead eer that will develop a consensus that didn't exist before? >> i think some of this movie we have seen before. you talk about how quickly will the military abdicate? i wonder perhaps if they might say with all deliberate speed might we possibly see this movie
that we've seen before that the military comes in and says we will abdicate and they don't. >> the fact is you may recall that right after mubarak was overthrown and everybody was very much rallied around the military, slowly but surely that support decayed because the military got very sloppy in managing civic affairs and managing the bureaucracy. they had to step back, try to accelerate the constitutional framework that ultimately permitted morsi to be elected. i think the question really is here, did it the military learn lessons to avoid from the mistakes it made the last time around and hold on to power in a way that wound out up alienatin vast swaths of egyptian society. all of these people are now grateful again to the military. they have a new lease on life to try to get it right this time. >> you talk about a new lease on life, but egypt is one of the
more than westernized nations in the middle east. if democracy has a hard time taking seed there, isn't it too much to wonder -- to be optimistic about it taking seed all over the middle east? >> the fact is that, you know, here we are about to celebrate our fourth of july and how many years it took us to get our constitutional framework in a place that made sense and that was nonviolent. the fact is that in egypt and across the middle east from tunisia and morocco to syria, the biggest problem is there's been a hard lesson for arabs to understand about their version of democracy let alone ours. the fact is going to the ballot box does not create the checks and balances that our founding fathers so smartly created. that was the real problem in egypt. when morsi got elected with barely 51% of the vote, he acted like a dictator.
as a result, there were no checks and balances within a system that enabled his opponents to feel they had a stake in the success of the new revolution that took place. that's going to be the key here as it is across the region where we're seeing the same saga plague out where there had been revolutions and where there had been inadequate civil institutions to put a check on the grab for power that occurred at the ballot box. >> that's an excellent point, ambassador. i always find myself when one party takes over from it the other party in terms of the oval office in this country, i just look around and say, wow, we can do that nonviolently, even though a lot of people are unhappy, millions of people unhappy. we make those changes nonviolently. that's hard to do when you don't have a long tradition of democracy. richard, what do you think about that question of might the military actually not abdicate and maybe one day we'll be looking back at this moment and the people will be saying, we
got fooled? >> reporter: it's possible. i think the military today went out of its way to show it does not want to do that. if you look at the way the statement was made, the military, of course, announced this transition of power, but the military brought with them to the room where the announcement was made members of civil society. christian and muslim religious clerics said repeatedly, even before the announcement was made, that this was an act not as a power grab, that it was acting in order to give power to the people. now, people who carry out coups always say that. in africa, every time a coup is held and somebody in a bad uniform comes on tv, he says he's doing this for the people. but i think after all of that that's happened in this country and all of this experience, the people we've spoken to, including the ones in the military, have given us many assurances that they really don't want to be in power.
they want to be protected. they want their affairs not to be bothered. they want stability. i would be surprised if the military decides to have another full-on coup and that the general who made this announcement announces himself as the next general and refuse z to step down. >> that's such an important point. while the word coup is used frequently and often in shorthand to any military intervention, the view repeatedly stated from a wide range of critics in egypt has been that president morsi had already taken extralegal actions, what you were menti mentioning earlier with regard to judicial oversight, the parliament and not have any oversight. i want to get your response to a new statement out this afternoon after this announcement, after this intervention from richard haas, who was at the state
department under george w. bush and now runs the counsel on foreign relations. he's of the view it was not a traditional coup, that this could be a good transition for egypt. he says it's important that the muslim brotherhood not be excluded from full participation in egypt's future democracy and politics. what can you tell us about whether we know the status of the muslim brotherhood going forward based on this military announcement? >> reporter: i think there's going to be a lot of debate about the word coup. it was certainly military sbe intervention, but is it a coup if a large segment of society ask for the coup? is this an illegal action that merely follows a series of illegal actions by the former president? there were many who said his party cheated in the last election. not cheated on voting day, but in the establishment of the election. one more second. you can hear or see maybe the fourth fly by of this helicop r
helicopter. people in the square are lighting it up with lasers they're holding in their hands so it's having a green glow. those are all from quite precisely pointed laser pointers lighting up this helicopter. as it goes over the square circling time and time again, it's being cheered. the people down here certainly don't think this is a coup. mohamed morsi has said repeatedly it is. but he's knot snot saying anyth right now. we don't know where he is. >> all right, richard engel. excellent reporting. stay safe and stay with us. nbc's peter alexander is outside the white house. peter, what have we heard from the administration so far? >> reporter: well, so far we haven't heard from the president and from his top advisers. we heard within the last several hours that the national security staff here is monitoring very closely what's happening there, coordinating u.s. policy on this issue. what we do know is that the last
time president obama spoke to mohamed morsi was late on monday. he was in africa during the final leg of his trip. it was during his final visit to tanzania where he was questioned, president obama was questioned on this very topic, specifically about his position on the crisis and the threat of a potential coup taking place in that country. he said that america's commitment is to the democratic process. it's not to any individual party or any individual group, as we witness the events now taking place there. i just walked past the west wing a second ago. the president, from our understanding, is still in the residence, not actually in the west wing where a lot of his p topped a vtop advisers have been huddling together. one of the questions is whether the u.s. will try to utilize the aid that's provided to the country of egypt as some sort of way to influence, some sort of a lever in what happens going forward. right now the u.s. gives about $1.5 billion in aid. the majority of it is military
aid viewed as critical for national security to that country. closer to $300 million provided in humanitarian aid. at this point, it's unclear whether they would use that in any way. we do not know if the president has any intentions of making any statements today. we've reached out to the white house on that topic as well. the u.s. government has long had closer relationships with the military in egypt than it does with the civilian government in that country. we've learned from our chief pentagon correspondent that secretary of defense chuck hagel has spoken this week twice with his counterpart in egypt. we have no sense of exactly what that conversation included. we also know that john kerry and others have been having conversations with people within egypt as well. >> thank you, peter. thanks for that report. i want to the go back to ambassador mark ginsburg and dig in on what we were just hearing from peter, which of course there are long-standing ties,
financial and diplomatic, with egypt under the camp david accords, all that money on top of that, extra appropriated money and a strong and long-term relationship with the military, which was important during mubarak's ouster not all that long ago. ambassador, how does that come into play in the diplomacy of all this, and will the u.s. get into details of the road map? for example, as we were discussing with richard, is the u.s. likely to say, whatever you do in a future election, it's got to be protected for participation by all parties? >> interestingly enough, just a few months ago there had been a real effort by members of congress to essentially suspend significant portions of that military assistance program going back to the camp david accords. you may recall under the morsi government, his regime had arrested americans who were members of civil society organizations including the son of the former transportation secretary ray lahood.
congress was furious with the morsi regime for interfering with these democratic civil society organizations. the fact of the matter is that from congress to the administration, this military assistance package has always been the one true lever over influencing affairs within egypt. at this point in time, i think how much congress has assessment over what the military is doing here is clearly going to play a role. but i think that you would find that the senior leadership of congress would probably welcome this coup. after all, i don't think any of them favored a muslim brotherhood presidency as a time when so much turmoil seemed is to be stoked in favor of islamist oriented takeovers throughout the region. >> ambassador, i noticed that it appears they are not letting president morsi, or ex-president morsi, leave the country. what's the thought process
there? why not let him leave, go somewhere else, we're done with you? >> is largely because you have to understand he really is a front man for the larger guardian council of the muslim brotherhood leadership. it would be a terrible mistake if we all came to the conclusion that somehow he was his own man acting in his own capacity and creating his own policies. he really was in effect the man on the puppet strings of a broader coalition of islamic muslim brotherhood leaders that were calling the shots. sending him out of the country is really not the issue here. the issue is not like mubarak that had become in effect the center of gravity for all the anger that had swollen up within egyptian society. it's not so much that egyptians hold him with such contempt and anger, it's the whole organizational structure that governed egypt for the last year that they really are at cause
with. >> all right, ambassador. stay right there for a moment. let's go back to peter alexander, who has something new from the white house. what have you learned? >> reporter: we're just reporting to you observationally now. we told you we believed the president was in the residence, not the west wing. in the time we were just talking to you, the guard has walked out that door and is now standing guard, which means the president is in the west wing right now meeting with advisers. to tell you more about the conversation that he had with then-president mohamed morsi just a couple days ago. again, it was on monday night. he, according to national security officials here at the white house, encouraged mohamed morsi to exercise restraint during the course of these protests, to allow for the peaceful protests to continue. one of the primary focuses of this president has been an issue that he's been very focused on throughout the world, which is
women's rights and the effort to make sure that there are no sexual assaults directed tahrir protests continue to take place. other information from our team an the pentagon has to do with whether or not there could be any u.s. military intervention in egypt. at this point, there is no sense that that would take place. we do know there are u.s. marines that are presently on stand by in italy and. spain right now. there has, according to nbc's pentagon chief correspondent jim miklaszewski been some concern among defense officials that the u.s. officials, the state department still has some of its u.s. officials manning the embassy in that country right now during this remarkable time of turmoil. >> ambassador ginsburg, back to you. tell us your reaction to any of that and what the president is thinking about right now from your past experience.
>> well, peter's assessment is accurate. any ambassador at this point in time is first and foremost on the phone back to the department as in order to first of all, secure all of the americans both official, unofficial in the country, number one. and that -- there's a warden system we call in the state department that essentially alerts americans who may be outside the embassy compound where 0 go for safe haven because there may be in effect the threat of violence. there had been some evacuation of nonessential personnel before. we also have a deployment of some americans in the sinai and most importantly, of course, the major international component of egypt that matters so much to the rest of the world is the status and security of the suez canal. what happens if in effect on the cities of the canal islamiya, part said, there are massive demonstrations that choke that canal off and affect ab-american
and international security interests. we have to look at the canal. the cities on the canal which have been the hot bed of anti morsi rebellion for some time. we tend to focus too much on cairo even though we obviously want to watch what happens in tahrir square. in islamiya and port said, and port see ez we have to see how much violence takes place against the brother hood factions there. >> focus a light on jerusalem. what impact do you think this has on israel? what is the reaction of israel today? they must be nervous. is this potentially a moment when we might see impetus to restart peace talks in some way or is israel just saying we want to stay away from this at all costs? >> richard probably also wanted to focus on the fact that hamas, which of course, controls can the gaza strip, has been in a
cease-fire mode with israel since the last flare-up of cross border attacks. largely that cease fire was brokered in part by the direct support of president morsi. his departure could very well create circumstances where the -- where hamas may say all bets are off. we're no longer shackled by the morsi muslim brotherhood regime. i think israel is not only looking with great concern over the status of what emerges here in the sinai's he pointed out because of the lawlessness of islamic terrorists but also what is hamas and the other terrorist organizations inside the gaza trip center going to do as a result of this change of government. >> we're looking at somebody being hoisted in the air. it looks like a party in tahrir square. surely there is great joy at this coup or revolution depending on your perspective. we also have to remember that 23 people lost their lives yesterday. so not for everybody is this a
celebratory day. >> indeed. the fact of the matter is throughout egypt up and down the nile, there have been terrible reports of ransackings of the muslim brother hood headquarters. attacks on individuals. of scores of deaths and i'm afraid to say we're probably going to see a lot more since our cameras don't cover what is taking place outside tahrir square. you can almost be certain that there's going to be retaliation against demonstrator who's maven tour into the streets by supporters of the morsi regime. that ultimately is the biggest fear that any of us have is that the blood shed ma p that may occur as night proceeds into daybreak. let's see also, toure, whether or not the army declares martial law after this dem monvation to get everybody off the streets. >> ambassador, in the final minute that we have, speak to the tension we have here between democracy, which has favored some of the islamist political groups in this country up to
today and liberalism broadly defiped, the idea there are speech rights and human rights that no democracy can trample on. that's a tension we've seen in the leadup to today. >> i'm pained to see that will any democratic election may be overturned as a result of the failures of that particular regime but the fact is is that egypt was a society going down the tubes. it was sinking into the nile. the fact is is that liberalism is an issue that we all want to see has caught up in how you deal with your minorities and how you ebtively develop consensus and how you move the ship of straightforward. unfortunately, morsi lost control over the rudder. >> ambassador ginsburg, thank you. peter alexander at the white house and richard engel has been in the middle of it all in tahrir square. keep it on msnbc for continuing coverage of this historic day. a military intervention that some are calling a coup in egypt. the suspension of the constitution. a change of leadership.
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good afternoon. i'm joy reid in for martin bashir. we're following two breaking stories at this moment. in a florida courtroom, prosecutors say they may finish their case possibly later ood in the trial of george zimmerman. and we'll have more on that including life coverage in just a moment. but first, breaking events out of egypt. where after four days of massive protests, the military has taken control of the country and
wrested power away from the muslim brotherhood and its president mohamed morsi. protesters immediately set off fireworks after the head of the military announced the suspension of the constitution and named the chief justice of the country's supreme court as the interim president. this comes after morsi led a 48-hour ultimatum imposed by the military expire vying not to step down. soon afterwards an aide posted a messagetom facebook that read in part for the sake of egypt and for historical accuracy, let's call what is happening by its real name, a military coup. and going for the latest on what's happening, live to tahrir square and nbc's ayman moi ha dean. good day. or actually good night. >> good night to you, as well. it's certainly a good night for the people of egypt, at least