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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  December 18, 2014 9:00am-10:01am PST

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interview with secretary jeh johnson. >> bridging troubled waters. the u.s. and cuba are about to normalize diplomatic relations and it started with the release of alan gross now home after five long years. >> it's great to be back. really. >> all these people who have supported you so long. >> it's been a heck of a trip. it really did bring great comfort to me knowing i was not forgotten. >> and faces of war. our exclusive series as we meet children living with disabili disabilities struggling to survive on the edge of civil war. >> i always feel pain when i mum pell what happened to us and i remember what happened to syria. we can't forget our home.
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>> he was behind the massive cyber attack with sony pictures. there were concerns about what was found because that raised questions and how should the u.s. respond. only hours after, sony took the unprecedented step of cancelling the christmas release of that film. joining us now, homeland security secretary jeh johnson. thank you very much for being with us. >> thank you for having me. i know there was a reluctance to pin it on them, but how was the separate threat that there would be a 9/11 style attack if the
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film were released? >> at this point we are not prepared to say who was behind this attack. we regard this attack as very serious and not only on that company and the personnel, but also on freedoms that we enjoy in this country. of artists and entertainers and the freedom of american citizens. they are considering a range of options that we will take in response. >> what kind of options? >> we are considering a range of options. >> he's a crist. >> i put labels on what we believe occurred except to say it's a serious attack not only
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on individuals and a company, but on basic freedoms we enjoy in this country. let me say this as far as the movie is concerned, i recall about there was a fictional account of an assassination of a united states president. i was offended by the movie, but people in this country have the right to produce all sorts of different accounts of things that we do not attempt to restrain in any way. so this attack as i said represents not only an attack on a company and its people, but basic freedoms we have in this country. >> was sony wrong to cancel the release? doesn't that cent a dangerous signal? >> that was a judgment made by
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the corporation. there is concern about whether people should be going to movie theaters. we have no intelligence of any attempt or plan that a 9/11-style a stack on movie theaters. people should continue to enjoy their ability to associate, travel, go to public places. we have no specific credible intelligence of attack or a plan on movie theaters in this country. >> your earpiece. >> i can still hear you. >> there so many issues right now. the secret service. you received the review. first of all, what can you say about the report and also about the morale of the uniformed and the yawn uniformed officers? >> i pointed an independent panel to do an outside study of
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the secret service which in my view is warranted and the view of the president was warranted. that group has now come to me and given us their basic recommendations. we are reviewing the recommendations to see what parts of them can be made public. much is classified and law enforcement-sensitive. i will say this. the recommendations are in my judgment thorough and astute and fair. they go to some fund amamential ways in which they manage itself, how it trains and both the secret service leadership and i as the leader of homeland security have an obligation to take the recommendations seriously and study them and on a sustained basis go forward with fixing the system and the process. >> how easily is it fixable. >> this is not something based
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on the acting director clancy has taken a number of steps to go around the white house compound and do a number of things which are positive. we are encouraging him to opinion with that, but there more systemic issues with the secret service they think need to be address and that cannot be addressed overnight. >> is the president's family safe? >> i believe they are safe, yes, absolutely. >> the president himself has the highest confidence in the level of protection that he and the first family receive from the secret service. let's not forget that the secret service is in reality the finest protection service in the world. no other protection agency in the world could, for example, take care of so many foreign leaders who come every year in new york or who came to this town in august.
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no other service in the world can do that. they do that without exception and without flaw. there is always room for improvement. in this case we think -- i believe based on the recommendations that there a number of thing we can and should do to improve the way they conduct business. >> i want to ask you about cuba. a major change. 50 years of cold car hostilities changed almost overnight after 18 months of secret negotiations. how quickly can we see change in terms of immigration and migration and do you have concerns about more illegal outflow from cuba? no one wants to revisit the dangerous rafting. >> what the president directed was a process and a step towards normalization of relations. it involves a review by the state department of whether cuba
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should remain on the terrorist list. >> should? >> it's a process. >> when you compare cuba to sudan, syria and iran, the others, when you look at cuba's recent record over the last decade and offers on helping the oil spill and katrina, critics would say there is no justification to keep it. >> you are correct to point out that over the 53-year life with regard toa, things have changed. the country itself changed and the world changed. this direction that the president has put in motion is probably long overdue. the embargoes we had in place now had been there for years and with regard to immigration current immigration policy and
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law will e main for the time being. this new policy and new approach should not encourage future illegal migration even where we have normal immigration. it should not be open to illegal migration. unless they qualify for human carian reloouf. >> speaking of immigration, there was of course a real funding problem for dhs. you were the only agency that received funding through february 27th and they were part of this that takes it through to september and the end of the year and that is retaliation for the president's executive order. the last time there was a government shut down, 80% was an
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essential employee. is this normal? >> the executive actions on november 20 are improvements to a broken immigration system. in a comprehensive way. they include the opportunity for adults undocumented to be held accountable. come forward and be accountable. that is a good thing to see people and encourage people who don't have criminal records come out and pay taxes and be held accountable. many don't like that. they want to stop that. we want to make sure that is sustainable and there is a lot of excitement for this program. there is a lot of support for may ares andor others and we encourage them to sign up.
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there is a of border security priorities that need to be funded that we cannot continue to fund simply on a continuing resolution. that's what we are doing right now. i can't engage in something called new starts, for example. they are new initiatives to spend money on border security and the secret service, cyber security that need to be funded. we want to preserve this program and executive actions. i'm confident that many will see it that way. there other vital homeland security missions that need to be funded. >> we saw the horror in australia. it was someone with clearly mental problems. not isis-inspired that we know of, but there is the lone wolf threat. how serious is the concern that what happened in ottawa would happen in australia and elsewhere in the world could happen here. >> this is a serious concern of
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ours. >> in my judgment it's a relatively new phenomenon. through the internet, they now have the ability to reach into our country and possibly influence or inspire an individual towards violence in ways that did not exist say 13 years ago on 9/11. we are concerned about lone wolf attacks and acts of violence domestically with the notice. our intelligence community cannot detect. i spend a lot of time with state and local law enforcement, talking to them about how to detect potential lone wolf attacks and spend a lot of time on what we call countering violent extremism initiatives. i visit cultural centers around the country and meet with islamic community-based organizations and other
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community-based organizations that themselves have the ability to reach those who may be turning to violence. this has got to be a priority for the sake of homeland security. >> wishing you and your family a happy and safe holiday season. thank you very much for being with us. >> thank you. >> boston marathon suspect was back in court for the first time in more than a year and he spoke only briefly. this was the last pretrial hearing that begins on january 5th. the lawyers are asking if the location of the trial should be moved. he could face the death penalty if he is account withed in the bombings that left people dead and more than 260 injured. after break, we will go to havana to get reaction to the sea change that is about to take place. what's next for cuba and the united states? you are watching "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. ♪ ah, push it. ♪ ♪ push it.
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>> when are they going to free? >> this the change things for our friends and family in cuba. >> it brings tension to the issue that someone else struggles with on a daily basis. >> we are only 90 miles away from the coast of florida and our people suffer on a daily basis. >> reaction from miami. how significant is the shift in policy economically? the politics are fraught, but given this trade, what can be done? the senior fellow for latin american studies on the council on foreign relations. the assistant editor for
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financial times. first to you. the economics of this in terms of the chamber and in favor of it, we will see trade missions and the secretary will go. what are you seeing in terms of reaction in financial sector. >> it's important in context. cuba was a trading partner. the potential for significant trade is limited. however people are getting excited about the agribusiness and tourism. they are likely to see a significant money flowing into cuba. they reckon they need about $2.5 billion a year to keep the economy on track. there have been constraints, but we are likely to see a jump in the flows of money and of course the biggest impact is on sentiment. let no one forget we had blows recently from countries like
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russia. a lot of bad news. here is a bit of unexpectedly good news that should cheer many investors up. >> how quickly do you see the diplomacy moving along. >> we already know they will lead a delegation in january for migration talks already scheduled. that's an umbrella for broader talks. they are talking about the mu cannics that is moving already quite quickly. >> jillian, you mentioned some of the other international effects. there is a trade embargo that cannot be changed without congress and my judgment is that that is not going to happen. once you get banking involved and debbid cards, the cubans have been explaining that under the tightening of the trade
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embargo rules, they have to put cash up front before a ship can leave port to pick up grain and come to cuba. once they get banking credit, that is to the financial system. >> absolutely. cuba is you are seeing the skad rupele i rupeling it's one of the least connected on the planet. only 5% of the opulation are thought to have access to the internet. if you look at africa and see how radical they are in terms of the adoption of telecommunications, that's something very penitentiary for many american countries. >> as that happened, we will see
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a lot of tourism even though there categories. that is something people can look forward to from here. >> virtually any category, that's the most important thing. airline travel from the united states to cuba will grow. this cell phone internet broadband connectivity with telecoms that will go in and negotiate deals to build infrastructure. the scaleability of the now limited ties is really quite significant. >> just to switch gears for a minute before i let you go. vladamir putin's defense of the economic collapse saying that he will get it all fixed in two years. what do you see going forward with putin and the economy. >> he is absolutely in a corner right now. not only is he coping with the
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sliding rubl, but one of the key things is what happens to the russian companies because one effect of the western sanctions on russia is that these big companies whose bonds are found in many western mutual funds, those bonds can't be easily financed. the big question is how on earth are they going to pay back the dollar debts they owe, giving the rubl doesn't show rebounding to where it was six months ago. >> thank you so much from the ft council on fournl relations. sony studios cancels what it supposed to be the big release set for hollywood. you are watching "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. ♪
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>> except to say it's a very serious attack that we enjoy in this country. >> the problems keep compounding for so many pictures. the decision to cancel the release parodying the hacker threats caused a huge backlash from critic who is say it is caving into terrorists. julia, the reaction from the business community and from the creative community has been fierce. >> we have seen a flew of tweets over the past 24 hours reacting from it and not to do a video on demand. this is letting the terrorists win. there a lot of questions about what went into the decision and how concerned they were about putting this together. >> once you had the major movie theater chains saying they
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wouldn't run it, what choice did sony have other than to put it out in some sort of on demand. >> they could have done sort of a digital deal on demand or and this would have been one of the biggest ever. including their insurance that they decided were better off calling it a total loss and cancelling entirely. people have been concerned from jimmy kimmel and steve carrel and all of these names coming out and saying this decision by sony is bad for the entertainment industry and america as a whole. >> indeed. hard to argue with that. julia boorstin, thank you very, very much. up next, homecoming after five years being held prisoner in cuba, alan gross is back home with his family.
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we will talk to two lawmaker who is helped to negotiate his release. >> i have to have reunion and see my daughters and their spouses and figure out what comes next. bl i'm the proud dad of three messy kids they get stains like you wouldn't believe. this tide ultra stain release
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festive, isn't it? get zero due at signing, zero down, zero deposit, and zero first month's payment on select new volkswagen models. >> pope francis earlier today applauding the release of alan gross in which he played a key role. yesterday we saw two nations who were estranged take a step to bring them closer together. before the latest from cuba, i am joined by cnbc's michelle caruso cabrera who is live havana. you know cuba so well, what are the reactions, what are people saying down there? >> first the government reaction was a little bit subdued.
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they would have been making a big long speech. that is going to happen. we saw a march by about 200 students. the focus is on the return of the spies that were spill in prison in the us and far less on the reestablishment between cuba and the u.s. when speaking with individuals, they are please about it. they feel that families have been split apart by the situation. we spoke with one woman who said look, i had two brothers who escaped 21 years ago. there thousands if not millions of people. it would be better if there was an easier way to see family
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members. the economy is in a lot of trouble, highly dependent on venezuelaa and they run the grid which is rare. for most it's only about transportation and also the cars here. if that country continues to fall apart, the delivery of that oil remains in question. they need to do something to improve the economy. that's going to have to come from within cuba itself, but there is a positive response to the people we ve spoken with here. >> thanks so much for the view from havana. it is going to be a big change. joining me too are the lawmaker who is traveled. chris van holland. senator, how quickly do you think this change will take place. we know roberta jacobson will take a delegation in january. they are talking about going on a trade mission. how long would it take to
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establish relations and open embassie embassies. >> it is going to go a lot quicker than most think. i agree with what the pope said at the beginning of your piece. this is very, very good news. like you, i traveled many times and chris has too to cuba. there a lot of people who are proamerican there. i think you will see significant changes. i think the quicker, the better. the better for the united states. and the better for cuba. >> congressman, what about making sure that cuba releases the prisoners and doesn't put pressure on the ladies in white and the women protesters who. >> i want to salute the senator for long time leadership,
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recognizing that our past policy was not producing the results we intended. he led the charge on that. look, the 54 political prisoners that were released as part of this agreement, we are going to have to make sure that they stay released and i believe when you have more engagement with cuba, not less, you have more levers. the more people contact we have, the better off we will be. the more interaction. what clearly failed is a 54--year-old strategy of isolation and isolated the tube an people and helped sustain them. they survived more than eight presidents. i think we have more tools of engagement that will provide more opportunity to have this
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will create more space for activities. >> in the past there have been so many misunderstandings, there were steps towards normalization with bill clinton and brothers to the rescue flight was shot down and soming issed that that was a deliberate attempt by hard liners. perhaps even at the top. those steps towards normalization. steps on both sides and in response. how can we be sure that there is real transparency and understanding in the talks going forward and there won't be again veering off to one side or another. >> there also going to be people who want to derail this. we had that when we brought back our normalization with viet
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234578. president nixon did with chine and so many other countries. the fact is though that if huh any misunderstand iing having relations with them will not enable us to work out these things as it occurs. there will always be bumps in the road as countries we are close to. as the congress pointed out saying no hasn't worked for eight presidents in a row. we engaged back and forth between the two countries. >> is taking tuba off they
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reviewed that status, if you look at the current record, it's likely they will conclude that cuba is no longer engaged and if they make that determination, yes, that would open up further areas of activity. as the senator said, a lot of this can begin immediately. additional exchanges and trade can begin after that state department determination if that's what's made. ultimately a lot of us hope that congress will lift the embargo. everyone recognizes that that's a much longer road. the action the president took yesterday will happen immediately. this policy of engaging the cuban people will begin starting
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right now. >> briefly, senator, will opponents be able to halt this through the appropriations process and refusing to confirm. >> some may try. they are dealing with the past. they are going back to the things that didn't work for the past 50 years. most people listen to what pope francis said that the president did the right thing. we ought to be supporting that. i think the majority of americans will support that and the sooner the better. >> senator pat leahy, thank you both so much. >> best wishes for a happy and healthy season to you. after a break, the faces of war and the story of a 7-year-old boy, a refugfugee from the war whose mother is finding it harder and harder to give him what he needs. you are watching andrea mitchell want reports. i'm mike, and i'm very much alive. now my doctor recommends a bayer aspirin regimen to help
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>> after spending nine months with families struggling to survive through a brutal civil war. they are here to tell us their stories. talk to me about this really sad case today. >> in the nine months we spent looking in and going back and back and back to see how the lives are changing, one of the profound realizations has been suffering from disabilities and 0s result of that civil war and then they are suffering doubly because not only have they been injured, but a lack of care.
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by may, she was beginning to recover, leaving the hospital in turkey. >> worried about her fragile recovery, her family had not hold her that her sister was there. her right leg was amputated. hundreds of thousands have been
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wounded in syria's civil war. we find a severely disabled boy. this 7-year-old suffered brain damage at birth. he can't eat so his mother feeds him milk. the family can't afford medical help. he needs surgery. as he gets older, it's getting harder. war is noplace for the weak. months on and he is struggling. sheus crutches again. it hurt too much and the faamly can't afford more medical care. she is too ashamed to go outside. spends most of her time in her room. other girls walk normally, she said. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 -- >> she is slowly recovering. >> your memory is getting better? your memory is improving?
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>> her mom told her about her sister's death. >> i thought she was very sick, she said. >> she cannot believe me. after that, she is crying and crying and crying. >> the family moved to a two-room apartment and it's cheaper and the war may last a long time. perhaps she suggests her sister was the lucky one. >> how does she recover from that kind of loss and the continuing challenges for her and her family.
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>> her story reflects really is not only is she having to recover from an injury and not only is her family needing to deal with a profoundly disabled daughter now, but you don't even begin to talk about the psychological effects of being in the same bedroom where her sister died. the effects on her family. her mom is a teacher. at the same time she is going to have to try to learn to read, to write, she said she loves math, but she doesn't want to go back to school idea. this is a middle class families. they had real ambitions and now they have to nurse her through the rest of her life. she is just one of many. we keep saying that that's the truth. we are reflecting the stories across millions. one estimate is that 30% of
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irrian refugees in jordan and lebanon need specific help right at the point where it's most difficult to give them that specific help. people are trying to survive. >> carry simmons, thank you very much for your reporting. learn more about the many stories and nine months of reporting on syria. use the hash tag m is, nbc chat about the families struggling to survive through civil war. much more from the msnbc sir faces of war here on "andrea mitchell reports." [ male annou] at cvs health, we took a deep breath... [ inhales, exhales ] [ male announcer ] and made the decision to quit selling cigarettes in our cvs pharmacies. now we invite smokers to quit, too, with our comprehensive program. we just want to help everyone, everywhere,
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joining me now is one of the leading democratic opponents for the plan for future relations with cuba. bob menendez, thank you very much, senator for joining us
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today. what is your principal objection to what the president has done in normalizing relations in saying they will open embassies and start as much economic exchange and straight as is permissible? >> there is two major issues i have. the first is trading convicted spice including one with experience to commit murder for an innocent civilian is a dangerous precedent. it said to others and the world, grab an aid worker and you can negotiate. >> let me just say you know that the white house insists this was not quid proquo. >> i know. i find that hard to believe and i think it's so transparent that most would not believe that. secondly if you are going to normalize relationships, you gave everything the castro regime has wanted and has had advocates for here in the united states. you have nothing in return. when human rights activism and
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distents, some who got to me and said what did we get? what is the title peacefully go ahead and protest as we see americans doing here without getting jailed as they are now, the cuban commission that operates inside of cuba said this year there have been 8,400 political arrests and detentions. what right do they have to be able to start their own small business without the government interfering and be able to hire who they want and choose who they want and pray at the altar that they wish. all of these thing, none was returned. why didn't we get joanne, a convicted felon who killed a new jersey state trooper in return? yet we take them off the list of terrorist countries. i can go through a host of thing, but it seems like you had a one-way deal in which you
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didn't have any way with those struggling inside of cuba peacefully to create openings for their country. >> with you and other opponents of the policy plan to do, what can you do to try to block it? >> certain things that the president has certain prerogatives in. there others like the codification of the embargo which i helped with, i don't see that being lifted by congress. i think that the question of having an embassy that would have to be confirmed, that's a difficult proposition. the funding for some of these are going to be an issue and i would like to see what happens in cuba tomorrow or the day after. that's why i held the same standards to china, vietnam and
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cuba. that's what makes american exceptionalism our beacon to the rest of the world on these core issues and i don't see castro giving anything in return for a part blanch opening. >> do you have any doubt that north korea was behind the attack? >> i do not and when we allow our way of life to be changed by a country like north korea, we are letting them change that way of life and that's unacceptable. >> do we have options? >> again, cuba was sending missiles and in the violation. there clearly -- what we are doing because our efforts to engage have not been successful.
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if anything, when we were trying to deal with them, they ended up with nuclear weapons. we thought we had that negotiation. we should engage china and they had a lot of influences. what else we can do with security council resolutions. >> thank you so much. that does it for us for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." follow the show on facebook and twitter@mitchell reports. we have ronan farrow with what's next. >> a lot up ahead. much more on the sony hacking scandal and the fallout from the cuba policy shift and something special today. an investigative expose on the horrific problems in the va health care system. we have a follow-up to one story within that system that you are not going to want to miss. firsthand accounts of what went wrong and what is opinioning to go wrong. good.
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1:00 on the east coast 10:00 on the west. north korea is behind the cyber attacks on sony entertainment. of course attacks that led sewn tow take the enprecedented step of scrapping the release of their film, the interview. they believe it was state responseored. retaliation on a plot to kill north korea's leader. president obama said he is not taking the attack lightly. >> we will be vigilant and if we see something that is serious and credible, we will alert the public. my recommendation is that people go to the movies. >> they call it a win for the terrorists. we will have much more on who is behind this attack in a

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