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tv   MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin  MSNBC  April 7, 2017 10:00am-11:01am PDT

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capitol hill about what happened in syria last night. president trump's first military strike larging a warning with 59 tomahawk missiles. the question now, was it legal without a vote in congress? and what's next? how will syria respond? and we're following the latest on that attack in sweden where a stolen truck was used to slam into pedestrians at a department store. let's start with syria and what's next. our reporters are standing by at the pentagon with the president and on capitol hill. richard engel just arrived moments ago in turkey. but i want to start with senator richard blumenthal who is heading into that classified briefing. what new information are you expecting from the briefing, what questions do you have? >> i have questions about the apparent lack of a comprehensive, cohesive
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strategy. certainly none yet authorized by congress or even articulated by the american people. i'm concerned as well about the risks of escalation, as well as the potential dangers to hundreds of americanroops in syria right now. i'm hoping for a policy and plan that is articulated and clear and linked to our own national security interests with limits and goals. >> in the fall of 2013, you urged swift military action to send a message to assad. how is it different this time? >> there needs to be now a cohesive and comprehensive strategy that involves steps against the russians. they are the aiders and abetters here, along with iran. and increased sanctions need to be brought to bear. that's one of the lessons of the last few years, because russia was involved in the agreement
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back in 2013 to eliminate those chemical weapons, and assad could not have launched this attack on his people without the aiding and abetting from the russians. >> senator richard blunl that will -- blumenthal, please come back after the meeting and share what information you can, sir. thanks as always for your time. new video coming in right now. this is president trump and chinese president xi jinping. this video coming in a few moments ago. they're of course down in florida for that face-to-face. let's get to richard engel who just arrived in turkey across the border from the syrian air base where the strikes happened. and chris jansing is in palm beach, florida. richard, our chief foreign correspondent, let's start with you in turkey.
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you know the assad regime very, very well. will the strike have any meas e measurable effect on the conduct in this war so far? >> reporter: it may have a measurable effect on their use of chemical weapons, but it is not going to change the balance of power in syria, nor do i think it was designed for that. in fact, just the opposite. i think it was designed to be so small that it would not change the dynamics within the syrian civil war, and only send a messag to assad and to russia that the use of chemical weapons on such an egregious scale is unacceptable. i think it was also designed to send a message to the chinese president, to the american people, that president trump won't hesitate to use military action and he's trying to draw a distinction between president
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oba obama, when he didn't respond when assad used chemical weapons. >> what's been the response from the syrians to this, what's been the response from bashar al assad, what's been the response from the kremlin, as well? >> reporter: well, i think you have to look beyond their words. of course, there's been condemnation from russia, from syria. but so far, the reaction from syria has been fairly muted. the office of president bashar al assad called it foolish, irresponsible, and shortsighted. in the looight of what just happened, his sovereign country was attacked by another one, to call it foolish and shortsighted was a relatively mild response. that for the united states is a good response that syria is not interested in escalating this further. he could have said something like, now the american troops who are inhis country are
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going to become rgets. he could have said things that were much more inflammatory. syria has been, if anything, down playing the attacks. they mentioned it on the news but they're not doing a great deal of chest beating. and neither is moscow. there have been some statements from moscow condemning it, calling it illegal, saying it was a violation of international sovereignty, putin calling it shortsighted, that kind of thick. and the only action we've seen, concrete action from russia, is to say that they will eventually increase air defenses in syria, which if you read between the lines means, if this was a runoff, okay. but no more. and we're going to put in these extra air defenses to make sure you don't do this again. >> chris jansing standing by in florida. i understand you have some new
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information from the press secretary. there was a briefing that just happened there in florida. what can you tell us? >> reporter: obviously, he was talking about the decision to go forward with the strike. he says it sends a message that this president, when he sees something that needs to be addressed, that he will take, as he put it, decisive and proportionate action. he said that under the constitution, the president has the right to act in the national security interest. that is the justification that they are giving. you mentioned that there is going to be this ongoing debate with members of congress about what should happen going forward in terms of congressional approval of any more action that might be taken. he gave us a little more on the ti how this decision came to be. it started 10:30 on tuesday when he met his national security team. he was briefed on exactly what happened. we know from secretary tillerson that hour by hour, there was an increasing level of confidence that it was assad behind this,
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and that it was likely sarin gas that was used. on wednesday, he continued to get updates and was given a list of options we are told by our nbc reporting, there were three options, then it became two, then one. on thursday, he met with his team, that included those here in florida. those by teleconference. and at 4:00 p.m., he gave the final order before going into that dinner with presidentma of making, then going into that dinner. then immediately after the dinner, he went into that -- again, that secure room. both the 4:00 meeting and the meeting afterwards in the secure room at mar-a-lago where they waited for events to unfold. now, a couple of other questions related to all of this, because one of the people inhe picture is steve bannon, who as you know haste been removed as a critical part of that nsc team. he said, sean spicer, that the
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president has full confidence in steve bannon. but that h.r. mcmaster, the head of the nsc, has autonomy over the nsc, suggesting obviously that -- and i'm getting notes from this, this part of the briefing i just want to make that clear, but he makes decisions object who is in that room. but the president expressing at least at this point confidence in steve bannon. and finally he was asked about -- the president spoke yesterday about how moved he was, as so many people were, by the horror of what we saw in that video of children choking to death after being gassed by president assad. and would that change his perspective on allowing syrian refugees into the country? sean spicer says, our heartbreaks obviously for the victims. but that there are ways to provide safe zones. it does not look like, at least at this point, it's going to mean any change on the policy on
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refugees from the trump administration. so a lot there and more to come. >> chris, as you were giving us that debrief, we got word that the press secretary is going to be giving us some on-camera remarks any moment from mar-a-lago, perhaps taking questions, as well. this is a live look there. you can see sean spicer to the left of your screen. we're told he will take the podium any moment now. casey hunt standing by on capitol hill. i understand you've been trying to corral senators as they head into that classified briefing. is it fair to say by and large support on the hill for president trump's actions have been favorable and positive, is that an accurate assessment? >> reporter: i think that's a fair take -- >> i'm sorry, casey. i'm going to have to cut you off. we'll come back to you right after this. sean spicer taking the podium in florida. let's listen in.
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>> okay. let me just -- i have michael here with me. with respect to president xi's visit, we intend to have a readout later. >> let ease lose the audio there, guys. that's clearly supposed to be an off-camera briefing. we have a number of reporters there. sean spicer there in mar-a-lago. casey hunt still standing by on capitol. casey, sorry about that. >> >> reporter: you said it seemed as though the reaction has been largely positive and i would say
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that is a fair assessment. on any other day, we would have been spending a lot more time talking about the fact that we have a new justice on the supreme court, the senate just a few moments ago confirming neil gorsuch to sit on the bench. but what we have been focused on here is syria, those air strikes. and you may see over my shoulder senators going into this closed door briefing, with general dunford. it is in the classified briefing room that we have here underneath the capitol building, we're down in the senate subway in between the capitol building and the office buildings. i've caught up with a couple of senators on their way in. there is a little bit of a split. you have hawks like john mccain who are praising the president. there are a handful of senators, namely rand paul and mike lee, who have objected to this and say what the president has done is unconstitutional. take a look at some of the comments that the senators made
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within the last hour or so. >> senator, did you speak to president trump? >> he called last night. he said, what do you think? i said, i'm very proud of you. you've reset the world in a way that needs to be. we're no longer leading from behind. >> by golly, we should have a vote of a declaration of war and make a decision as a people according to the constitution. >> reporter: so very split reaction from senator graham and senator rand paul. graham has had tough words for president trump the first days of his presidency, but not in this case. he told the president he was proud of him when they spoke around midnight last night. when he got that update. senator paul on the other hand, did not hear from the president yesterday. and he obviously has had pretty angry comments in the wake of these air strikes. but, again, congress getting moreupdates here. i think the question for members
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up here, and as the days and weeks go on, does this turn into something that lasts longer, that requires more resources and commitment perhaps of troops or things along those lines? that is a scenario where you might see increased pressure from the congress for the president to come and ask for more input on congress or perhaps authorization of military force. you have seen for democrats to call and debate such an authorizati authorization. but i don't think that is a real possibility as of yet, if, in fact, the trump administration weighs out a more lengthy strategy. i think you can see that evolving though, craig. >> casey hunt there for us on the hill. we have some developing news at the pentagon. hans, what more can you tell us about this investigation into possible russian involvement in that syrian chemical weapons
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attack? >> reporter: what officials are telling us here is that a minimum, russian officials who have been working closely with assad forces should have been able to rein them in. they know the russians have expertise in chemical weapons. they were there on the air base and they could have provided help. right now it seems to be circumstantial. they don't say anyone is complicit or that have proof that someone is complicit, but here's what they know. they just shared a remarkable round of information here. what they say about that initial chemical attac they saw a munition being dropped in the middle of the street. so that would wash away any motion that a building was hit where potentially the opposition was making chemical weapons. they see a crater, and on the rim of that crater, there is a
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tell tatale signs of staining f a potential chemical agent. so that's an indication it was a high impact mumunition. they say after that initial strike, a few hours later, the hospital where some of those victims were taken, that hospital was hit by a bigger bomb. now, that's what they're looking into, and they want to know who was flying the plane, who had that aircraft that took out the hospital where some of those victims went. just another couple of points here, the u.s. isn't seeing any change of posture of syrian forces towards u.s. forces that are in the other part of the country figing against isis, more to the east and to the north. and they also don't think, although they're not certain, that even after giving that warning to the russians that they are going to use this
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so-called deconfliction line, they didn't see any of the airaft moved before the missiles hit. it w 4:38 that president trump gave the hour. four hours later, those tomahawks were in the air. nikki haley is speaking right now. let's listen in for just a bit. >> that changed last night. as i warped warned on wednesda the international community fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times when states are compelled to take their own action. the indiscriminate use of we chemical weapons against innocent civilians is one of those times. the united states will not stand by when chemical weapons are used. sit in our security interest to prevent the spread and use of
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chemical weapons. our military destroyed the airfield from which this week's chemical strike took place. we were fully justified in doing so. the moral stain of the assad regime could no longer go unanswered. his crimes against humanity could no longer be met with empty words. it was time to say, enough. but not only say it, it was time to act. bashar al assad must never use chical weans again ever. now, while the syrian regime is responsible for the chemical weapons' attack, it is not the only guilty party. the iranian government bears a heavy responsibility. it has propped up and shielded syria's brutal dictator for years. iran continues to play a role in
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the bloodshed in syria. the russian government also bears considerable responsibility. every time assad has crossed the line of human decency, russia has stood beside him. we hoped the security council would move forward, but russia made it known that it would use its veto once again, covering up for the assad regime. further cldelay would have only strengthened assad. strengthening assad will only lead to more murders. we were not going to allow that. but it's meeven more than that. russia is supposed to be a guarantor of the removal of chemical weapons. think about that. but obviously, that has not happened. as innocent syrians continue to be murdered in chemical attacks.
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let's think about the possible reasons for russia's failure. it could be that russia is knowingly allowing chemical weapons to remain in syria. it could be that russia has been incompetent in its efforts to remove the chemical weapons. or it could be that the assad regime is playing the russians for fools. telling them that there are no chemical weapons, all the while stockpiling them on their bases. the world is waiting for the russian government to act responsibly in syria. the world is waiting for russia to reconsider its misplaced alliance with bashar al assad. the united states will no longer wait for assad to use chemical weapons without consequences. those days are over. but now we must move to a new phase. a drive for a political solution for this horrific conflict.
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we expect the syrian regime and allies to take the u.n. political process seriously. something they have not done up until this point. we expect russia and iran to hold their ally accountable and abide by the terms of the cease-fire. we expect this council to speak loudly and forcefully when the regime or allies undermine the political process and countless of our own resolutions. the united states took a very measured step last night. we are prepared to do more. but we hope that will not be necessary. it is time for all civilized nations to stop the horrors taking place in syria and demand a political solution. thank you. >> and there you have it. nikki haley, the ambassador to the united nations, from the united states, speaking at times very pointedly, apparently to the russian ambassador there in
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the room, and at one point saying that the world is waiting for russia. ru and ending with what could be a bit of a threat. we are prepared to do more. this is the security council there at the united nations. of course, five permanent members of the security council, russia being one of them, which is, as the ambassador pointed out, precisely where we have not seen a great deal of movement with regards to syria specifically. i think we have cia analyst and retired u.s. army lieutenant colonel anthony shaffer. and security analyst jeremy bash, who served as chief of staff to the cia director. and hans nickels is standing by, as well. hans, i want to come back to you
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before i get to the other two, because i want to pick up on something the ambassador said. she claimed that we had destroyed this airfield in syria. do we know that to be true at this point? >> reporter: not permanently destroyed. they can always rebuild it. but the pentagon is confident that they took out the critical infrastructure that allowed that airfield to operate. so now even if they do try to get it operational again, it's more vulnerable. but going back to nikki haley's speech, we've been talking about these missile attacks all morning. we just heard nikki haley going after the iranians, the russians, saying they are both responsible, complicit, and on this issue of the chemical weapons that are clearly still in syria, blaming the russians saying they're incompetent or
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complicit. you know, for the last 18 hours, it seems as though russia hasn't really been waiting the u.s. in terms of a diplomatic response. their rhetoric has been many what muted. we just heard the u.s. turn it up several degrees and a strong warning, saying that we preserve the option to do it again. that was a very forceful speech. frankly, a very bellicose one. >> jeremy bash, are we witnessing here a bit of a paradigm shift when it comes to how we deal with russia? >> well, i think she's clearly telegraphing a deeper involvement in syria, which again, several days ago was not a key priority for the trump administration. now with the syrian gas attack, now with our military activity, now with the statement by the u.n. ambassador, it's clear that we are committed to being more engaged, pushing russia out of the picture if necessary. we are prepared to do more. those were the ambassador's
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words. i would argue they were welcome words. the toughest question facing the trump team and the defense department at this hour is what if assad continues to attack civilians but not with chemical weapons but rather his standard mode of conventional methods, artillery, barrel bombs against women and children. will that trigger a u.s. response? will we do those things or just do this one and done and hope that assad capitulates? that's an open question at this hour, craig. >> colonel, again, continue to talk about this speech that we just heard from ambassador haley. now it's become a bit obvious that this is part of -- it would seem as if this is 35rpart of a larger rollout of sort s by thi
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administration signaling perhaps a policy shift. perhaps not just how we deal with syria going forward, but perhaps north korea, as well. what are you taking from what we just heard from the ambassador and the strike as well last night? >> i agree with jeremy. this is the beginning of something. the question then becomes what do you define it to be? as a military planner, you always try to begin with the end in mind. i think ambassador haley is telegraphing that hey, there is a new view coming from america from this administration. and she clearly stated violations of agreements and treaties, which is no small issue. while i support my libertarian friends, craig, in this case, the military use of weapons in this case was completely justified by the violations of the 2014 agreement with us and the russians regarding these
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weapons. frankly, it was the right thing to do regarding humanitarian. this is a bipartisan supported issue. so i think we really have to -- and what congress can do is define the strategy and the end state, both of which have not been done at any time recently. i think that's what the pentagon is going to push for. the pentagon can do this all day, but i think we have to look at, craig, a final negotiated solution for the region that brings stability. >> jeremy, does such a solution exist? here we are, six years into this civil war, more than 500,000 people have been killed. not even counting those displaced more than likely permanently displaced. is there some sort of solution? and if there was, wouldn't we have figured it out by now? >> yeah, craig. it's very difficult and complex. anyone that is honest knows that
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a political or diplomatic solution is going to be very hard to achieve unless we have better behavior from the iranians and the russians. i wouldn't bet on it. i think we're probably in for more military action to restrain and contain assad. the question is how hard are we lling to push them? >> the thesis from that speech from the ambassador was at the very end, we are prepared to do more. jeremy, thank you. colonel, thanks, as well. on russia's involvement in the u.s. elections, saying that information was "weaponized." her former campaign manager joins me live.
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follow that breaking news out of sweden where a truck plowed into a high-end department store in stockholm, killing at least two people. the swedish prime minister saying "everything indicates today's deadly attack is terrorism." for more on that, let's get to our correspondent live in london. lucy, what can you tell us? >> reporter: swedish investigators have launched what they're describing as a preliminary investigation into
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suspected terrorist crimes. we know that they are, as we speak, interviewing two people in relation to this attack, and the search is on across the city for the perpetrator of what the swedish prime minister skridescd as a terrorist attack. the police releasing images of a person of interest, a man wearing a hoodie, a green jacket and mustache. they do want to speak to this person. and just to recap, this attack took place at 3:00 p.m. local time. a large delivery truck plowing into this crowd. it was a shopping stream in central stockholm. krashg afterwa police can't confirm how many are killed or injured, but many were wounded. the swedish prime minister
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earlier saying at least two were killed. it's not clear whether any americans were caught up in this attack, but the u.s. embassy is urging u.s. citizens to avoid the area. large shopping malls across the capital shut, the kinds of things you would expect in a manhunt. the truck was hijacked earlier in the day while the driver was making deliveries. the swedish police saying they have been prepared for this kind of incident. they trained for a similar scenario just this week. >> lucy cavanaugh in london. thank you. hillary clinton speaking at an event in houston this hour. last night, her first interview since the election, she took aim at the trump administration and weighed in on russia and the 2016 campaign. >> a foreign power meddled with our election. and did so in a way that we're
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learning more about every single day. >> i'll talk to her 2016 campaign manager, robby mook, next. like using glucerna to replace one meal or snack a day. glucerna products have up to 15 grams of protein to help manage hunger and carbsteady, unique blends of slow release carbs to help minimize blood sugar spikes. every meal every craving. it's the choices you make when managing blood sugar that are the real victories. glucerna. everyday progress.
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we are expecting a brief statement perhaps also answering some questions from reporters who have gathered there. this coming roughly 15, 20 minutes after that scathing rebuke of bashar al assad's actions in syria. also, going right after iran and russia. russia, at one point saying -- the ambassador saying they are either incompetent or being played for fools. the world is waiting for russia, those words coming from ambassador nikki haley. when she steps to that podium, we'll go there live. meanwhile, hillary clinton making lots of high profile appearances. last night, she gave her first interview since the election. she talked at the women and world summit, swinging hard at russia for their role in the election. >> it was really the weaponization of information. something that putin has used inside russia, outside russia to
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great effect, that we didn't -- and i'll say this for myself -- i didn't fully understand how impactful that was. >> joining me now, secretary clinton's 2016 campaign manager, robbie booy mook. the weaponization of inrmation, the strongest language we have heard from her so far. >> i would say so. we need to learn our lesson right away and take action as quickly as we can. >> she talked about some other outside factors, from senator sanders to director comey. but she also said that there's some things that she could have done better, as well. take a listen. >> i basically started a $1 billion start you have and ran it for 18 months. and so there are things we
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certainly could have done better. things i could have done better. >> things we could have done better, things she could have done better. what are some of the things that "we could have done better?" >> we talked about this a lot, i talked about it. certainly we wish we had gotten resources to some of those states. >> wisconsin. >> wisconsin, michigan, other states. we were very surprised on election day. a lot of us are doing work to understand why the data seemed to not signal some of these states were as in play as they were. >> could it be that when polled, people said are you going to vote for donald trump? absolutely not. >> we haven't seen that. for whatever reason, the people that were answering the phone and finishing those surveys were more likely to support hillary clinton. this was across the board. the republicans' polling was different, the media polling. so this is something we need to
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all look at moving forward. >> what could the candidate have done better? >> i'll let hillary speak on that. and she touched on that last night and will continue to do. i think just going back to the question about russia. the point of what they did was to prevent candidates from getting their own message out. i think hillary would wish she could have been heard better in this race. and what she's committed to, i'm committed to, all of us are committed to is making sure this doesn't happen in the future. that candidates can say what they have to say and let the american people make their own decision. >> let me ask you a question, how much do you blame us? >> well, i think the russians provided an e monormously large
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distraction. if they have dock thuments out there -- what i've been arguing is if this happens in the future, we have to report on who stole the documents and who put them out as we do on the content, as well. so everybody wishes we had talked about that more during the election. i think the media has a lot of tough choices and a lot to think about moving forward. >> she also spent some time with "the new york times" talking about syria. we should note this was before we learned what was going down there. this is what she said about syria. take a listen. >> i really believe that we should have and still should take out his airfields and prevent him from being able to use them to bomb innocent people and drop sarin gas on them. >> perhaps the president heard her? who knows? but is that her signaling her approval of president trump's actions last night? >> well, maybe he followed her
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advice. i would welcome that. i hope that he continues to follow her advice. look, i think she obviously approved of the concept of bombing those airfields. but what i know for sure, and she said this a lot during the campaign, we need a strategy. that was a tactic. we need a strategy, we need an endgame. everybody is looking for the president to show us. >> but robby, is there an endgame strategy in syria? this is something that the previous administration wrestled with for the bulk of their administration. is there a winning strategy in that part of the world? >> this is really hard, and i'm not a foreign policy expert, so i'll leave it to the experts. but just because it's hard doesn't mean that we shouldn't have a strategy, an endgame, and th congress needs to be involved and approve of that. but i and a lot of people are relieved that some action was taken to dmemonstrate was not acceptable. >> robby mook, thank you for
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your insight. so who has control of syria right now? we'll look at the actions that have been fighting there for six years. which groups want the u.s. to intervene? which groups want the united states to stay out? again, ambassador nikki haley expected to make additional comments at the united nations, as well. there's nothing more important to me than my vacation. so when i need to book a hotel room, i want someone that makes it easy to find what i want. booking.com gets it. they offer free cancellation if my plans change. visit booking.com. booking.yeah.
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so how have the missile strikes in syria been received by america's allies and america's foes, as well? let's bring in mark ginsburg, u.s. ambassador to morocco and special adviser to the middle ea in t clinton administration. and msnbc chief international serity analyst, who served as nato supreme allied commander from 2009 to 2013. a mr. ambassador, let me start with you. just a few minutes ago, we heard from an emphatic nikki haley defending united states air strikes. this is part of what she said. >> the united states will not stand by when chemical weapons are used. it is in our vital national security interest to prevent the spread and use of chemical weapons.
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our military destroyed the airfield from which this week's chemical strike took place. we were fully justified in doing so. >> the ambassador went on to warn that more could be coming, mr. ambassador. what's your reaction to what we heard from nikki haley a short time snag -- time snag >> she indicated that removing assad was not a priority just a week ago. the country of syria isn arficial country and is totally shattered. assad is the mayor of damascus. she is trying to create a shiite carter for the russians and the
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rest of the country is controlled by a variety of militias, isis controls raqqah. it is a very hard place to figure out what is going to happen next. matter is that assad and his russian allies, and more importantly, his iranian allies will do everything possible to keep him in power in order to protect their respect active interests in syria. >> and there continues to be some question about whether we had legal authority to carry out the raid last night. morris davis, former chief prosecutor for the guantanamo commission said in a tweet, quote, there is a clear moral basis for war with assad, but what is the legal basis? has assad attacked or posed imminent threat to u.s. or is there an international mandate? did the administration have the proper legal authority? >> i think so. i think it's a close call and i think it's an arguable one, but i'm a dean with the the tufts
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university at the school of law. it boils down to one thing, being able to protect under international legal doctrine. the second is the threat to u.s. forces in the region, and the third, arguably more difficult to sustain, is the idea that over time these weapons of mass destruction could have posed a threat to the u.s. homeland transmitted through a third party. all three of those are not locked solid, but i think when you put them together, craig, i think it's a sustainable case under international law. >> gail, there have been, as you know, a number of chemical attacks against the people of syria. most, if not all, believed to have been carrd out by government forces there. can anything short of assad's removal in this civil war? >> this is really the question, right? what you see for so many who served inside the obama administration who really wanted to see greater military intervention happen is, you know, right action, right words,
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wrong president in their view. and they had always pushed for years, and craig, you and i have talked about this since 2013, for real military threat to push ahead a diplomatic solution that would end the carnage of the syrian civil war. there is always a sense among u.s. diplomats that nothing short of that would end this bloodshed. i think what was not new was the chemical attacks. what was new was that pictures of dying babies gasping for air under woollen blankets, medical blankets, finally punctured the world's indifference to the six-year civil war. >> in many ways, and this was discussed last night, i saw you as part of our coverage last night as part of the conversation. this is little risk move to the united states, little risk to lives. they gave americans the head-up. is this going to be a one-off, or is this a beginning in a
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marked difference in u.s. foreign policy as it relates to syria, perhaps as it relates to north korea and russia as well? >> too soon to tell is the short answer, craig. my instinct is that this is a raid, a strike of little tactical significance, but i think the strategic import is in the signalling. so it's up to this administration to follow through and demonstrate that this is an administration that is willing to use all the tools of national power as needed in response to a situation. i think we'll know more over the next few weeks and i would start with secretary tillerson's visit to moscow. i think he would be carrying the water of the administration to say we are going to be involved. we are not going to support assad. let us work together to try and find some way we can unwind the damage that assad is doing in this part of the world. so a bit early to tell, but i take it as a good first step in terms of an operaon that i
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believe has sent a strategic signal. >> gail, you wrote in part this morning, quote, those who work to convince the obama administration to act against assad, especially from foggy bottom, are watching trump do what obama would not, act decisively against the regime and send the message that more will not be tolerated. that message that's been sent by the trump administration, how do we think that message is being received by president xi, how do we think that message is being received by vladimir putin? >> it's interesting, because i think how you perceive what happened last night depends on where you stood yesterday before the strikes happened. russia has, you know, condemned the strikes, but also not in the harshest language it could have used. so i think we'll see. i talked to a syrian civil society activist who said to me, i am the last person who thought i would be praising donald trump, but the truth is we hope a syrian civil society activist,
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army members, what folks hope is that this is a turning point rather than a fleeting moment. and i think it is really too early to tell whether that is correct. >> ambassador, thank you. adam errol, thank you. gail who has been writing about syria long before people started paying attention there in syria, big thanks to you as well. we will be right back. ♪ everything your family touches sticks with them. make sure the germs they bring home don't stick around. use clor disiecting procts. because no one kills germs better than clorox.
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a very busy friday afternoon.
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msnbc live, my colleague katy tur picking things up now. welcome to msnbc live. poison gas payback. >> assad did this because he thought he could get away with it. he thought he could get away with it because he knew russia would have his back. that changed last night. >> reporter: moments ago saying president trump was justified in taking military action in response to that chemical attack that killed 86 people, including 27 kids. u.s. forces aimed 59 missiles at a military airfield in eastern syria. they hope to handicap, if not eliminate, assad's ability to launch another chemical attack. congress's reaction to the strike is split, but for once it is not along party lines. >> the constitution with good reason says that in order to declare war, you have to go to congress. >> the constitution doesn't allow the president to move
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forward unilaterally just because it's difficult to get an authorization. >> the attack puts ump's hopes for diplomacy with russia on ice. the kremlin called the mitar action a violation of international law and vowed to help the syrian government rebuild. meanwhile back on capitol hill, the senate has confirmed neil gorsuch to the supreme court. it comes after republicans invoke d the so-called nuclear option. we have more on this breaking news. kasie hunt is on capitol hill and nbc's hans nichols joins me from the pentagon. first to you, chris jansing. i know sean spicer just held an off-camera briefing. the white house is standing behind this decision. >> reporter: they are absolutely, and they are standing behind the constitution saying that's justification for it, that it was in the national security interest. the key question, obviously, katy, was, so what's

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