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tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  December 20, 2016 11:00pm-11:31pm PST

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last word. thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> thank you again for having me. >> thank you. msnbc's live coverage continues into the 11th hour now with brian williams. that's next. tonight a massive manhunt under way in europe for the killer who drove into a crowd of christmas shoppers. isis is now claiming responsibility. also the central question to all those watching in this country, is america any less safe days before christmas and how will the president-elect deal with the threat at home and abroad when it comes to foreign policy. is he taking a page from the mick son playbook? "the 11th hour" begins now. good evening. one month remains until the inauguration of our next president. right now in berlin, the manhunt continues for the person who
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drove a truck into a christmas market killing 12 people. a pakistani man who was arrested as a suspect has been released and german investigators say they didn't have enough evidence to place him behind the driver's seat of that tractor-trailer. authorities say they have received over 500 leads in this case but you'll note no imagery, no suspect to tell people to be on the lookout for. meanwhile, the isis affiliated news agency says a soldier for the islamic state carried out the attack but provided by no evidence of that. more on that in a moment. in this country, today the state department confirmed no american citizens were among the injured or dead. but police departments across this country are increasing security visibly. this today from a christmas market in chicago. same is true here in new york where the chief of counterterrorism for the nypd sounded confident in an interview today with nbc news. >> i have a high degree of
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confidence that new york city is well protected. we are well prepared in new york city to thwart such an attack or mitigate it quickly. the threat level is high. but there are no specific or credible threats to new york city. >> take it from us, they're out there in big numbers automatic weapons. the politics of terrorism continues to play out as well. in reacting to yesterday's apparent terrorist attack in berlin, president-elect trump invoked isis killing chris -- christians "as part of their global jihad." that drew criticism from, among others, former ambassador to the u.n. bill richardson. >> i wish the president-elect wouldn't do foreign policy by tweet or there should be, i think, more concerted effort to, one, get more information. with most of those slaughtered by isis are muslims in iraq, all over the world. so to frame this so succinctly as a clash of civilizations is not good. it's a bit dangerous.
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it doesn't help the situation. >> meanwhile, the leading contender to be trump's white house press secretary defending the president-elect. >> with the now administration how will the response to terror strikes like this change? >> i think it will be swift and fierce. mr. trump has made it very, very clear that he understands the threat radical islamic terrorism poses to our nation and, frankly, to our friends and neighbors around the globe and that we have to call it what it is and root it out by its very -- by the bottom. with eck not be politically correct. we have to understand the threat that we face and attack it straight on. with us, two of our nbc analysts. in washington, sean henry, former executive assistant director of the fbi, a veteran field agent, now the president of the cyber security firm crowdstrike. here in our new york studios, evan coleman who spent years as a terrorism analyst and consulted for the pentagon, among others, he is senior
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partner at flash point. gentlemen, welcome to you both. evan, home field advantage because you're here, i'll start with you. also because we're here in new york. out back we keep this christmas tree every year. right now it's surrounded by people, thousands of people. in your business that call that a big soft target. it's also surrounded by a lot of nypd with automatic weapons. the folks watching news this time of year are probably curious about their travel plans. they're flying, driving, walking around cities like new york, chicago and l.a. anything happen in europe this week that made the united states less safe heading into the christmas holiday? >> it's very disturbing when you look at what's going on in germany. this is the second terrorist plot within a week targeting these christmas markets. the first was involving a 12-year-old boy. but this 12-year-old boy, he was a german national, he was born in germany, he may have been iraqi origin, but he was from this country.
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there's no way for us to stop a person who wants to carry out a lone wolf act of violence. we don't know whether or not what happened in germany was a product of the islamic state directly, someone inspired by the islamic state, and the method that was used here is simple enough that it doesn't take a lot of skill, it doesn't take training, it doesn't take traveling to syria or iraq or afghanistan to learn how to do something like this but this is something that's been promoted by isis and al qaeda for years, this concept, and we're seeing it sporadically. that means there is no massive wave of people waiting in the wings to carry out these attacks. they will happen. but i think we can't live in fear of that and i don't think people should change their travel plans or what they're doing for the holidays based on this one incident. this is a very tragic and sad incident but it's not the end of civil order in the united states or germany. it's much more of a concern of afternoon overreaction to this.
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of us taking such action or voting for people that don't have the best interest in mind. we have to think about the strategy to fight isis before we make those decisions. >> sean, this is where we come into your area because line in this country and around the world depends on the goods we get via tractor-trailers and they can't be, all of them, policed, nor can all of the drivers, we look for electronic cues and clues. isis has made it very plain we don't have to have your resume to see what they've said on the web about using a vehicle as a weapon. what else can be done to police this? >> evan is exactly right. this is the type of issue where those who have little training, little skill, little resources but they can take up the cause on behalf of the jihadist extremists, from a law enforcement or intelligence agency perspective, there are a couple things that are critically important.
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one is this is a global issue and we have to work with coalition -- in coalition, coordination, and collaboration with our foreign partners. there's a lot of intelligence out there and the key piece for those law enforcement intelligence services is to try to identify and understand who the attackers are in advance. that requires coordination not just among government agencies but also with the communities. and moderates, people in the community who see those who might be leaning towards an attack, they hear people who are espousing violence and to bring that information to law enforcement. we don't live in a state police here and ford for us to live in a free society we've got to be able to live without fear and we do that by trying to identify and understand who these attackers are beforehand, brian. >> evan, a two-part question for you. does isis usually claim responsibility when we don't have an individual? when they don't have someone to point to? >> the way they claim credit
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here is the way they've claimed credit both for attacks that have supposedly been directed by them as well as those inspired by them, i don't think we know from this claim which offered almost no detail whatsoever more than this might have been inspired by them but they seem to be convinced of it and usually when they issue these statements they have a reason to believe. we don't know exactly why yet but i think what sean just said is also important. in order to find out the identity of this person the most important single asset we have are eyewitnesses, people who might have noticed this going on. and in order to get those eyewitnesses, we have to have good relationships with all sorts of communities across the u.s. and europe and so we have to be careful, we can't alienate the muslim community will hopefully provide information leading to the identities of these attackers. that's where we get the intelligence from. >> since you opened the door on politics, this could turn out to be the tractor-trailer that affects all of europe and you know how, merkel has let in shy
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of a million refugees. if this is proven to be one of them or someone radicalized by one of them it could tilt the german election, the german election could have a cascade effect. >> the fact is, the effect has been achieved. if you look at the reaction of extremist politics within germany, the reaction is there. they've achieved what they want. people have to understand, these acts are not done at random. the islamic state wants these kinds of acts to occur. they want the u.s. and its european allies to alienate muslim within our midst. we should ask ourselves why they want that and do we want to fall into that trap? al qaeda and isis for years were hoping we would turn on muslims within the united states and western europe. it never happened. it would be very sad after all these years of preventing that and of stealing that tory from al qaeda and asis because that's whey they see this as, a victory. we should not hand that to them now.
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that's very sad to see that. sean, i have to turn the subject to domestic matters and you know why. your company, crowdstrike has been in the news for perverse reasons for the targets and it's been great advertising for you, you were called in after the fact, too late, it turned out, for the dnc hack and others involved in this overarching russia story. as we talked about last night, we're watching "meet the press" sunday morning, john podesta talking to chuck todd reveals he had spoken once, one contact with the fbi in early october and despite being almost at the center of this story no contact since, at least up until sunday. is that -- i know you're reluctant to criticize your beloved former employers at the bureau. is that malpractice by the fbi? >> i don't know what happened with mr. podesta, i don't know what was told to him. i did hear some of hiss renation of what he did. with the dnc there was some communication.
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i believe there could have been more understanding who the targets are and who the attackers were and what they were looking to do. this is an incredibly complex issue. it requires government and the private sector to work collaboratively. the private sector, those networks are crime scenes and there's a lot of intelligence there. that intelligence can be and should be shared with the government who can then use their accesses, their capabilities, their policies to try and have some impact on the adversaries to stop them from launching these attacks. we have seen that start to happen now. that's a little too late, brian. >> and evan, this is the world you guys inhabit. we were just saying before air i never get to talk to you about anything pleasant, it's always after something terribly unpleasant. but your world with shadows and darkness overseas has collided domestically here in the united states. >> if you look at the cyber
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caliphate online, you have ordinary americans whose personal information is being leaked out by a group of individuals who are not being ordered to do this by isis but are in isis' charge, doing it out of sympathy. these include people with no connection to the war on terrorism or national security, these are ordinary individuals and it's kind of surprising to see this but it's disturbing and a reminder that these are not -- we think sometimes about terrorism, we think about national security, cyber security, sometimes these realms interconnect. one of the online recruiters for isis got his start as a famous hacker in the uk. he was one of the most he was imprisoned, arrested and went to syria and joined isis. it's weird how these people follow each other in terms of the causes. >> sean, one of our leading analysts around here, malcolm
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nantz, says there's a high degree of probability that donald trump has been ideologically or electronically corrupted along the way. what do you think the chances are? >> i'm not sure i understand exactly what you mean how he may have been corrupted. if you're talking about his use of social media, in that case i think as it relates to some of the things that we're talking about here, evan and syria, et cetera, comments that may be made on social media through electronic means are not always helpful, i know there was some criticism of the u.s. intelligence community and the u.s. intelligence community is probably the single-biggest asset the united states has in its fight against terrorism and other national security threats. we certainly don't want to undermine the credibility of those organizations or impact the morale of those many men and women around the globe who are sacrificing on a daily basis to keep us safe.
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>> we'll have mr. nantz back on but i think his theory was that they have somehow corrupted his electronics, that they have somehow, you know, put their area of influence around the president-elect prior him being president-elect. any way, gentlemen, thank you both for coming and being here as part of our discussion. sean henry in washington, evan coleman in new york. coming up at our first break, how does a president trump deal with these threats abroad and at home? that's next when "the 11th hour" continues.
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tonight, some are questioning whether president-elect donald trump may be looking to president nixon's time in office for guidance before being sworn in. the "washington post" just posted an idea that "donald trump embraces the risky madman theory foreign policy. that term was coined by nixon to convey he was unrestrained and would do anything to stop communism, at least hoping the image would took root over seas. donald trump has shown nothing about his abroach to foreign policy will be conventional. >> i would know how to bring isis to the table or beyond that defeat isis very quickly and i'm not going to tell you what it is tonight and if i win i don't want the enemy to know what i'm doing. i don't want the enemy to know what i'm doing. donald j. trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of muslims entering the united states until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.
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>> we want to be unpredictable, folks. we have to be unpredictable. we're so predictable. >> can you tell the middle east we're not using a nuclear weapon? >> i would never say that. i would never take any of my cards off the table. >> europe? >> i would not take it off the table. >> you might use it in europe? [ laughter ] >> i don't think so -- >> well, just say it, i'm never using a nuclear weapon in europe. >> i am not taking cards off to table. >> joining us to talk about all of this, katy tur, who has covered the trump campaign since the start and these days the transition and veteran strategist mike due hayne who has worked for christie and others, also on the presidential campaign of bush 43, giuliani and mccain. welcome to you both. up is down and down is up this year. we were talking about -- i used the word corrupted, malcolm nan's theory that trump has been electronically or ideologically compromised by another country. we've certainly seen electronics compromised by the russians. add to everything we've heard
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from donald trump this theory that it's the richard nixon's design which can be a favor in that it excuses any number of -- >> of inconsistencies, of statements that might provoke. this is a nixon theory. basically the nixon administration and henry kissinger and nixon felt that if the north koreans thought that he was a madman that he had a hot temper, they were more likely to come to the negotiating table to find peace and now the "washington post" is saying potentially donald trump is going by this theory as well. it's a pretty generous favor there in some ways to donald trump, basically painting his inconsistent statements with a broad brush and saying maybe this could be donald trump being unpredictable and what does this do? this could unsettle other foreign powers and make them come to the negotiating table even more because they don't know how donald trump would react. they talk about the muslim been being a part of this.
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they say it could this phone call donald trump had with the president of taiwan. initially we thought this was a fly by the seat of his pants where he just picked up the phone and disrupted and unnerve it had chinese by happenstance. it turns out we found out that there was a lot more work that went into that call. it was much more premeditated so the theory is maybe donald trump is doing this in order to gain the upper hand. and that's what he said during the campaign. that he needed to be unpredictable. the problem is we rely on a level of preductability among our allies and here at home. >> that was the wrap on the taiwan phone call. if you want to change policy, fine, elections have consequences but let somebody know, let's talk about it and give it forthought. >> ultimately it's up to the president to change policy. i think what president nixon and dr. kissinger did in terms of
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opening up negotiations with china, that was part of this. it's too early to tell but that level of unpredictability is a good thing. if you look at where foreign policy has gone in the last eight years, you're seeing a reaction to that. we predicted what we would do in syria and we didn't follow through. i'd rather have a president that was unpredictable than predicted something and didn't follow through. this is a reaction to the last eight years in terms of what people want to see in the u.s. which is more strength abroad and i think you're seeing that reaction and hopefully a good one. >> the issue i think many are seeing with this phone ten usually generous outlook for donald trump is that he hasn't had a cohesive foreign policy platform and he's been all over the map. he doesn't have a record on foreign policy. there's no picture on what he will do overseas. the only thing that does seem to be abundantly clear is that he's going to maintain better
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relations with russia. he's been very nice we can say to russia. we can say very friendly towards vladimir putin, towards russia. the rest of the world is you have in the air. does he want to expand nuclear proliferation or bring it back? does he want to use nuclear bombs potentially, maybe even in europe? we don't know. he goes back and forth. even domestically his policies are unclear. where does he stand on abortion? should women be punished? he's gone back on that. then a larger point, the muslim ban, you had anthony scaramucci say that donald trump wasn't backing the muslim ban any longer, they had walked that back and they don't believe it in any longer but donald trump has never come out and said this so what we have is a number of his aides and soon to be cabinet officials coming out and saying what this administration's policy will be without the president of the united states backing up that policy. >> specifically on russia, i think you're seeing the president-elect taking the same exact approach that president george w. bush took and
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president barack obama. when they both came into office they both wanted better relation with russia and found out they couldn't have better relations with vladimir putin. but the goal is not a bad one in general but as many americans who came of age during the cold war and since realize we have to be cautious but that initial approach is not different than the last two presidents of both -- obviously of both parties. >> they didn't come in with a russian hacking scandal hanging over their heads. >> circumstances contemporaneously have changed. >> fair point. >> katie you are the, mike duhaime, thank you. coming up, people were mesmerized the pictures until we learned the extent of the story behind this. this is "the 11th hour." duhaime.
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>> the last thing before we go here tonight, these pictures out of mexico being beamed and forwarded around the world. the images are striking, the
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story behind this is tragic. this was an outdoor fireworks market, not a fact tire where they're made but a market where they're sold north of mexico city. the death toll in what you're seeing here is now up to 26 with at least 72 injured. that includes two children with severe burns. it was bedlam on the ground while this was going on, people didn't know where to turn, where to seek shelter. first responders have been ordered to approach the wreckage with extreme caution. the rolling explosions damaged nearby homes, they set cars on fire, people were warned to stay three miles away from the site. like the u.s. on july 4, fireworks are popular in mexico over christmas and new years. that is our broadcast for this tuesday night. thank you were being here with us. "hardball" begins right now. first family feud.
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first family feud. let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm joy reid in new york in tonight for chris matthews. once upon a time bill clinton and donald trump were friends -- or at least friendly. they golfed together, trump donate money to the clinton administration, he defended bill clinton in the press. bill and hillary were guests at trump's third wedding to melania. then came an election where donald trump attacked hillary clinton as crooked, dishonest, unstable, unhinged, a criminal, a nasty woman and, oh, yeah, the devil. he paraded out a series of women who accused bill clinton of abuse. yesterday it was announced that bill clinton and donald trump spoke by phone.


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