tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC April 14, 2017 9:00pm-10:01pm PDT
for his easter weekend. we wish you and yours a happy one. happy passover, as well. that is our broadcast for tonight and for this week. thank you for being here with us and good night from new york. even though the weekend is coming up and it is a holiday weekend for many people it is still likely to be a very busy few days in the news coming up even through the weekend and into the beginning of next week. sort of an unusually forward looking friday night. usually time like this looking back at what happened over the past week. right now we are on the precipice of a whole bunch of news that is about to happen. tomorrow in washington, d.c. as joy and other people have been reporting tonight in d.c. and dozens of cities around the
country there will be tax marches tomorrow. april 15th protests. basically against the new president, donald trump. the tax margins will be demanding that he should release his tax returns. he remains the only president in the modern era who has refused to do that. in terms of expectations, they don't expect those marches to be as big as the women's marches. i don't know that any american protest will ever be that big ever again. what happens tomorrow might be the biggest anti-trump protest that have happened since the women's marches. we shall see. keep an eye out for that tomorrow in d.c. and in cities across the country. also expect an increasing pace of legal pressure and media attention and political pressure, maybe protests as well focusing on the state of arkansas. because on monday night, arkansas is due to start this remarkable series of double header executions.
we talked about this last night. you probably heard about this in the news. arkansas scheduled eight executions. they plan to kill eight prisoners over the course of ten days. their plan is to kill two men a night on four different nights over a ten-day period are starting on monday. so far the courts have blocked two of the eight planned killings including one of the executions that was planned to be on monday night. this is a very unusual plan from arkansas. no state has done a mass execution hike this since capital put them was reinstated in the 1970s. arkansas has never executed anybody ever with one of the drugs that they are trying to rush to kill all these guys with. the idea of a double header execution, even just one double
header execution, let alone four of them in a week and a half, that is something other states with more experience with capital punishment, they've warned guess doing that. they said it makes it much harder on the execution staff and on the medical teams, particularly if they are inexperienced. but again, that execution spree arkansas is supposed to start on monday night. you will likely see a bunch of headlines on it late tonight, tomorrow, and through the weekend. just as i was coming down to the makeup room and into the studio within the last few minutes a court put in place a temporary restraining order that blocks the use of one of the three drugs that was going to be used. the court has just blocked this drug that is not even the most controversial of the three drugs they were planning on using. that ruling was just tonight within the last hour. the state says they are going to appeal that ruling. so we'll see. right now it's a temporary restraining order. expect the legal wrangling and
the pals and the political pressure and the media attention to stay heavy and to increase over the course of the weekend. arkansas wanted to start killing those guys on monday. right now it's not clear they'll be allowed to kill any of them. on top of always there's going to be a lot of electoral politics. there's a election in georgia where democrats are trying to take a congressional seat that's been red for decades. this is tom price's old seat. democrats have coalesced around jon ossoff, trying to turn the sixth district into a blue seat. democrats think they've got a shot at winning this seat. republicans say the democrats have no chance. we will find out soon. early voting in that race end today and election day itself will be on tuesday.
you should expect a lot of attention over the weekend. this has already been a busy week in the news. early next week is stacked up with a bunch of really big things in the news. but before we even get to that stuff, we have to make it through tonight and this weekend. part of new uncertainty around that, the reason lots of people in the news business canceled plans this weekend and everybody's on call at least is because this weekend is the birthday of kim il-sung who's the founding president of north korea. it's a birthday. that happens every year. it's happening while we too in our country have a new president, and our new president has just had a particularly "bomby" week, "bomby" as in bombs away, not balmy as in nice weather in mar-a-lago this weekend. last week thursday night the new president abandon his public em fattic sentences that the united states should not launch attacks on syria even if syria used
chemical weapons. last week he threw that long standing public position, what we believed to be the policy of the united states of america since he had campaigned on it, he through that policy out the window and a week ago last night launched 59 tomahawk missiles at a syrian air base. now, this did not represent some sort of deliberate change in u.s. policy towards syria. it now seems clear that that missile strike was if anything an abandonment of what had been stated u.s. policy in syria. part of the way you can tell that is that that missile strike
was for and why we did it and i will say from a white house perspective it seems that they are less concerned about the criticism of their incoherence on this matter and more excited about how that missile strike got the president the first good round of press he has had in his entire presidency. they remain these questions like what was that for? what is the united states trying to do in syria? what are a thousand u.s. service members risking their lives for tonight in syria? what is the u.s. mission in syria? and does that missile strike help or hurt that mission? there also remains an interesting question about how the decision was made aunch that strike. the administration released, of course, this makeshift situation room photo from the night the strike was launched for a big change in course military decision. there are some unexpected
staffers in the situation room who are apparently participating in that decision. there's the chief economic adviser, steven mnuchin, wilbur ross, the president's 36-year-old son-in-law was there. also spicy is there in the corner. why is he there? the guy from breitbart is there. we do not see the director of the cia or military personnel other than one uniformed gentleman standing at the door. tonight a former cia official tells us the reason the director of central intelligence mike pompeo was not in that room or in on the decision to launch that missile strike in syria is because he was giving a speech that night to a private equity group. the central intelligence agency director wasn't in on this and didn't participate in it. meanwhile, steve mnuchin was
there helping make the decision to bomb syria. so the banking world got to have its cake and eat it too? that was the start of this literally explosive week for this young presidency. then yesterday it was the bombs away again. the new president has yet to talk about afghanistan since he has been president. he has yet to articulate any policy or general inclination toward that 15 year old war. the basic idea at least in terms of what most americans think we're doing there is thousands of troops are still in afghanistan because the military is trying to create a secure government in which the afghan government can stand up, the u.s. troops are there in support of the afghan government and security forces so the count doesn't fall again to the taliban like they did before 9/11. i think that's the basic idea we all have as americans as to what we are doing in afghanistan.
but into the middle of that fight yesterday, the new administration decided to roll out a gigantic super bomb that had never been used before in combat. the united states has had these megabomb gbu-43/b, mother of all bombs for 14 years. they cost about $16 million each. no other commander in chief has ever seen the need to use one before now. but yesterday, they decided to roll one out in afghanistan. why not? for context here, the united states does not have an ambassador in afghanistan. the president has not spoken on afghanistan or said what he wants to do in that country. but militarily he's just something that's never been done before there or anywhere. for some reason he just used the most unimaginably giant bomb the united states military has got short of a nuclear weapon and he
used it to kill reportedly 36 isis affiliated fighters. about $500,000 per guy. here's strange break in the story tonight. last night on that story, the hill newspaper published a story about that bomb, the use of that bomb, the decision to use that bomb. and in their story the hill published a number of quotes from somebody who they described as a sent.com spokesman. and the quotes were attributed to an unnamed, but apparently official centcom, part of the u.s. military for which their area of responsibility is the middle east. so they'reuoting this centcom military spokesman.
but the quotes are a little weird for a military spokesman. i'll show you what i mean. asked by the hill about what else was in the area that was hit by that giant bomb other than these isis fighters. the spokesman said, quote, i can guarantee there's nothing in the area. it's pure enemy. it's pure enemy? military spokesmen in the military don't talk like this. asked about why they used this bomb, the spokesman said this, quote, we mean business. president trump said prior that once he gets in, he's going to kick the beep out of the enemy. that was his promise, and that's exactly what we're doing. this is a u.s. military spokesman? seriously? actually, no. turns out not. centcom just put up a follow-up press releases. this is actually from centcom and it's got a named person on
it. for immediate release, u.s. media advisors, statements attributed to unauthorized centcom spokesman. they were made by an individual unauthorized to speak on behalf of united states central command, and those statements do not reflect the professionalism of centcom. quote, our media engagement is to provide information to the public and their media representatives worldwide. those inappropriate statements do not reflect the official use of centcom or its leadership. the spokesman added they undermine the comments of the public who expect more
responsible and thoughtful insight. wow. who's the fake spokesman? who was telling the hill newspaper that they were centcom spokesman and they spoke on their behalf and gave all these quotes and it wasn't actually a centcom spokesman? is this something we have to worry about now? fake spokesman? in terms of real, take it to the bank inspection, we don't know much about why they used that bomb, but when a spokesman says it's because donald trump wants to kick the bleep out of the enemy turns out that wasn't a spokesman and apologized. that is strange. there's that. no one's quite sure how or why the call to use that particular weapon was made. we're not sure who to trust when we get an explanation about it. but regardless of all that, one thing the use of that bomb definitely did here at home was
it produced another day of very excited, slightly confused, but overwhelmingly positive good press for only the second time in this young presidency. the first time was the missile strike. second timing was the mother of all bombs. so he's had two full days of good press. and both of them were for this young president, this new president deciding unilaterally to blow stuff up, arguably without consideration for how doing that would strategically fit into any larger american interest or larger military project. so that is the week that we are just coming out of. now we have a weekend. today air china canceled their relarly scheduled three times a week round trip flight between beijing and pyongyang in north korea. china's been vague as to why they canceled them, but it's not the first time.
whether it was done for commercial or political or security reasons, we cannot say for sure. but what it means in practical terms is the air route as of it is not only served by one air carrier. it is served only by air koryo. among other things, air koryo is internationally famous for its food. there's one food stuff you are served as a passenger on that airline. your choice is do you want it or don't you? the only thing they offer you is their burger. it arrives at your seat wrapped up in a cartoony wrapper that says "hamburg" on it. it's kind of cute. turns out it is not served in that wrapper to keep it warm. the burger is reportedly served ice cold. and when you unfold its little
cartoony wrapper, what you find is, tada! behold, that is the burger. wave number of pictures of the burger because it seems like anybody who still ever flown on air koryo or able to evade the no pictures rule and sneak a picture of the food, everybody has managed to take a picture of the burger and post this picture online. feast your eyes on that. that is the food. that's the burger. that's air koryo. it's the official government-run and only airline of north korea. they fly from pyongyang to a few places inside north korea. this is their website. it's been down today so i haven't been able to check it. they are reported to have international routes. they fly to beijing and russia. oh, right, communism. they remain one of the last
communist countries on earth. air koryo flies soviet-made planes. i don't mean former soviet union, now russian made planes. i mean they fly soviet-made planes made by the soto union -- soviet union when it was still the soviet union. that's their air fleet. it's interesting. north korea is now trying to attract international airplane geek tourism for people who want to fly the friendly north korean skies in planes with cockpits that look like this where they serve you ice cold burgers. my favorite detail is where they chill the burgers is in refrigerators that look like this. north korea is preserved in amber.
we've all seen the pictures of the korean peninsula from space where north of demilitarized zone it looks like it looks like the ocean because there are no lights. they have so little electricity. but north korea, they do have air koryo. they have an internationally well-regarded core of military hackers. remember the sony hack? they do have nuclear weapons, and they do have a mill-man army and they do an increasingly full range of ballistic missiles and they have a immunologymount of powerful artillery they've put along the southern boarder pointing at south korea and seoul where 20 million people live. this weekend is kim il-sung's birthday which is often occasion for the north korean government to show off new weapons technology.
this year, first of all, what's that likely to be and when will we know? but also, do we expect our own new president to make excellent, when he will thought out decisions working with all the best information with a full appreciation for the delicate strategically sensibilities with this armed-to-the-teeth country? whether or not it makes you feel better or worse about that prospect, i should tell you our new president spent today at his resort in south florida apparently golfing. meanwhile, what appears to be a massive north korean military parade appears to be taking shape. we'll be right back. stay with us.
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it is evening on the east coast of the united states. it is morning now on the korean peninsula. and specifically in north korea, it is the morning of the birthday of kim il-sung who is the founding president of north korea. and that means pyongyang looks like this right now. these are live images. these are the first images we're getting in of what appears to be a very large commemoration. we're expecting this to be a large military parade that they will hold in pyongyang to celebrate that birthday. they do something along these lines at least something big every year on kim il-sung's birthday. but this year, north korea has also reportedly been on the brink of possibly testing some new weapon, maybe a new nuclear device, maybe a new long-range missile that could conceivably transport a device far around the globe. the united states has sent what the president described an armada to the waters off the korean peninsula.
i'm not sure that's the word he meant, but there is an aircraft carrier group there. this is a new american president who has been getting a lot of good press for shooting bombs and missiles places with not much notice over the last week or so. could be quite a weekend. joining us is sue mi terry. dr. terry, it's good to have you here. >> pleasure. >> those images we just saw from pyongyang, that typical in terms of how this hoy is commemorated every year? >> yes, and ey will have a big parade. we'll see them showcase all their missiles. >> is that important in terms of those parades -- they're putting on display what they want to put on display. are they conveying threats with those parades. do they roll out things we didn't know they had? >> sure. for example, they can roll out an icbm to show the world they have intercontinental ballistic missile that can reach the united states.
>> in terms of missile capacity already they have two and three stage icbms that they say they have already developed. what is the u.s. view of that? do we believe they that capacity. >> we don't know that, but i think they are close though testing it. already our territories in the pacific including guam and japan and south korea are all under threat. but they have not yet tested icbm. >> in terms of this weekend, this holiday, this parade which seems to be taking shape right now in pyongyang, the previous reporting that we've had there was unusual activity viewed by satellite around some of their launch test facilities, as somebody who worked at the cia, what do you think they are planning on doing? how much of an escalation are you seeing?
>> they are preparing for six nuclear tests. because the whole world is expecting a test, they may not decide to test it this weekend. north korea likes to be the one that surprises the rest of the world. and so they said they will test when they want to test. there are other holiday coming up on the 28th. they don't have to test the six nuclear weapons this particular weekend. but there are other things they can do, normal missile tests, they can showcase an icbm and other things thecan do >> there is an aircraft carrier that has been directed there. we have a new president who we don't fully understand either. he has gotten -- it's weird to bring this up, but it's a factor here. he's gotten the first two days of good press of his new presidency by doing military -- taking military action against syrian government. taking military action in afghanistan.
if this president is weighing for whatever reason some type of novel, newly aggressive military action toward north korea, what are the options and what are the likely consequences? >> he could weigh an option of intercepting a missile or an option of striking a nuclear test site. but i honestly don't think it's going to follow through with this. this is a problem with that policy because you're putting yourself in a bind. either you have to back down or you have to lose your credibility, or now you're stuck on a ledge and risk a military option, which is very, very risky. north korea is not syria or afghanistan. it's going to have to be devastating consequences. north korea will retaliate to any kind of military option. >> they will retaliate against south korea. >> absolutely. north korea has 70% of its
ground forces and 50% of its air and naval forces are deployed within 100 kilometers from the dmz, the demilitarized zone, that are separating the two koreas. that's 60 miles. and you said there's 20 million people in seoul. this is why i just don't think this kind of policy -- it's not a smart idea. it's a gross miscalculation. >> even without nlear weapons there are millions of people who are soft targets who are within easy reach of the north korean military if they choose to take that action. >> absolutely. >> sue mi terry, former senior analyst of korean issues at the cia, thank you. >> thank you. up next, i mentioned a little bit about this at the top, but we do have another breaking news story we are covering tonight.
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from using one of the lethal injection drugs that it was planning to use in a spree starting monday night. this is the situation where that state wants to kill two men a night on four separate nights far total of eight executions in the span of ten days. nothing like that since capital punishment was reinstated in the 1970s. we're not used to mass executions in this country. that was controversial enough. as of this afternoon two of the eight executions had gotten themselves blocked by the courts. and now a judge just issued a temporary restraining order that will apparently block arkansas from using one of the three drugs they were planning on using to kill these men. it will block them from using -- it has asked the court to step in. the company is basically not consenting to the use of their drug for this purpose, for these executions.
the company said when they realized what the state was planning to do with their drug, they objected and asked for their drug back. they say the state told them they would get the drug back. the drug would be returned to the company, but then apparently they renegged. arkansas still planned on using their bromide and so the company has gone to the courts and tonight the court issued a restraining order in their favor. it remains to be seen what will happen in arkansas. that execution spree in arkansas was supposed to start monday night. tonight those killings remain in question given this last-minute ruling from this arkansas judge and the two prisoners's cases that have been ruled on separately and blocked. joining us over the phone is it scott braden. he is the attorney of one of the eight men in arkansas who was slated for executions. his client was granted a stay by the courts tonight. mr. braden, thank you very much
for joining us. >> thank you. >> let me make sure i have this right. two court rulings tonight. there's a restraining order apparently blocking all the executions by blocking the use of one of the drugs. but before that tonight there was a separate order that blocked the execution of your client, bruce ward. do i have that right in terms of the separate cases here? >> yes, that's correct. the arkansas supreme court granted our emergency stay of execution tonight so that they can ensure they're still considering important constitutional issue in mr. ward's case and that is whether he is competent to be executed under the 8th amendment. >> what sort of time does that buy you? how long do you expect this stay to be in effect? >> i expect the arkansas supreme court will consider this matter with the gravity that they do
and these issues that they've always done. i suspect that the stay that they've entered here is allow full consideration which would contemplate 40 days worth of briefing at least and probably an oral argument. i think if they meant to do otherwise, they would have set a schedule out in the order they issued this afternoon. >> okay. can i also ask you what your understanding is of the legal fight over the use of these drugs? the state is planning on using a three-drug protocol. one of the drugs seems to be the thing that led to this rushed schedule by the state. they apparently wanted to lineup these executions so quickly because the midazolam was due to expire. the drug that was subject of restraining order was another
one of the drugs. the drug company is saying they do not consent to it being used in this way. can you give us any of your understanding in terms of the legal fight over the drugs themselves? >> honestly, i don't know much more about it than you do. i don't want any of the parties in that action and we're not involved in that, but i think that's right. that's the arguments they've made. i do know we've spent four days in federal court this week putting on a case, showing that midazolam is certainly going to cause a problematic and painful execution and will violate the 8th amendment. >> scott brayden, attorney for bruce ward who was slated for execution on monday. mr. braden was able to get his client an emergency stay of execution tonight in the arkansas supreme court. mr. braden, i know this is an incredibly tense time. thanks for letting us know what
is going on. please stay in touch with us over the weekend. >> thank you for your interest in this. >> arkansas has made a remarkable decision to try to do a mass execution. they want to kill eight men in ten days. we know that two of those executions are off because of the individual circumstances of those cases. but it looks like because of this ruling tonight that all those executions may be off, at least temporarily, if the state is not able to successfully appeal this restraining order on the use of one of these drugs that they're planning to use to kill all of these men. fascinating story out of arkansas. stay with us.
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learn more at esd.ny.gov do you worry? do you have anxiety about the world late at night? do the words syria, russia, north or korea keep you up at night? my friends, it is time to stop being afraid. >> whatever you look at, it's got problems, so many problems. and ultimately i believe that we are going to get rid of most of those problems, and there won't be fear of anybody. >> we're going to get rid of the problems. okay? the president was inaugurated with a speech about american carnage, you will remember. but now not only will most of the problems be gotten rid of, they're also, quote, won't be fear of anybody anymore.
after promising multiple times during the campaign that he would label china a currency manipulator on day one, to the "wall street journal" he said they are not currency manipulators. after he said the export-import bank was necessary, he said, actually it's a very good thing. during the campaign the president said, quote, the problem with nato, it's obsolete. this week the president said, nato is no longer obsolete. after the health care debacle last month, the president said he was moving on, leaving health reform blind, moving on to tax reform. tax reform, quote, that would be next. then this week, no, we're going to to have a phenomenal tax reform, but i have to do health care first. also this week, it became time to bomb syria because they used chemical weapons. despite the president insisting
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joining us for the interview is dan rather. mr. rather, it is great to have you here. >> always good to be with you. >> good to see u. i want to talk to you about donald trump and the new presidency and these abandonments of previous policies that everyone is sort of calling flip-flops and u turns here. i want to talk about this news that's been breaking tonight since we've been on the air. this remarkable story out of arkansas. they're planning on executing eight men in four double header executions over the course of ten days. > right. >> it seems to be falling apart now. two of the eight have now had stays, and maybe all of them have been stayed by the court. out of all the years you spent kuv covering capital punishment ever seen anything like this? >> never seen anything quite like this. it is my understanding in texas
where death penalties probably lead the nation, but in texas there are a lot of people who have actually done t deed but a place like arkansas where they haven't done it in a long time it is an interesting story. i am interested to see how many, if any, of these death penalty situations result in it being done. >> if it does get blocked or if some go through the basis on which it will happen, they are fighting about the parts of it whether this drug can be used, whether the drug company gets a say in whether it is used, whether protocols for contingency plan are in place is a fascinating story. the main thing i wanted to talk
to you about tonight is what we are seeing in terms of the administration abandoning previously held policies. you describe it as a difference between evolution and confusion. do you feel like people are misreading the flip-flops? >> donald trump sold himself one reason he got elected was presented himself as a person who doesn't back down, doesn't backup, doesn't turn around. since he has been in office that is the main thing he has done, backed up, back down, turn around anything from chinese, money manipulation. the list is longer than my arm. he is jumping around like grease on a hot skillet. now, unpredictability can be an important part of leadership, but being erratic and coming across as confused and not knowing what you believe but where you want to go, for
example, it is one thing to drop these tomahawks on syria. to what purpose? what is the strategy? what is overarching strategy in syria? >> does that missile launch make achieving the strategic goals easier or harder? >> north korea is a powder keg. we are talking about the possibility of war. now, there is only a slight difference with brinkmannship and appeasement. as i understand it donald trump is trying to go that line with north korea but the north korean regime is unstable. their leader is unstable and we know that history happens when you have that kind of situation.
but one can only say if donald trump is reading up quickly on korean war in the 1950s maybe the book "the coldest winter" would be good for him. many of the steps that we are going through now getting right up close and saying we are going to engage and we are going to engage in strength has echoes of what happened in korea in the 1950s. >> let me bring those strands of thought together, too. obviously, the most influential nation on north korea is china. a third of the cash comes from selling coal to china. biggest cultural partner by far. and so what ever happens in north korea will have to go through china in some way. then you look at the way that china is viewing donald trump right now. they just had this visit by president xi.
in terms of president trump's stance on china he said the one china policy, i don't think we should abide by that unless we get trade concessions. a few weeks later we are going to abide by the one china policy. chinese headlines about donald trump e humiliamiliating and talking about him being a laughing stock. when the headlines come out you know that is what the chinese government thinks of him. how does that go together? >> well, there are no good solutions to our u.s. position in north korea. this is one of the reasons. the chinese, they can end the situation in north korea, i wouldn't say overnight but very shortly if they chose to do so. they haven't chosen to do so. they didn't do it with president
bush or president obama. we'll see whether they do it with president trump. here is the situation. putin loves this what has happened with us and north korea. this is exactly he would like overstretched, possibility of a land war. >> impossible brinksmanship where there is no way out. >> and chinese have to like where they are because president trump is saying i need you badly. they said we will be in touch and they made a couple of moves. here what concerns me and i think concerns a lot of people is that these two bombings, the syria tomahawks and afghanistan bombings, let me make clear as military operation yz have no problem with it. with those what i will call
beltway class in washington and some other people are cheering the president's military posturing or positioning. we know it's a fact that presidt trump more than some presidents at least, he basks in adoration. that raises the question since he has been getting pretty good press about dropping these bombs, concern that he will base decision, war and peace decisions about north korea and other places on the fact that i have been getting good press the last week. >> first time in my presidency. >> dan rather, thank you so much for being here. dan is the managing editor of dan rathers report. always an honor to have you here.
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tax day marches happening in washington, d.c. and around the country and around the globe marches to try to convince the new president of the united states that he should release his tax returns. ose are going have a great weekend. i'm ari melber in for lawrence o'donnell. first, the breaking news this hour. we'll continue to monitor this massive parade in north korea's capital. this is often an opportunity for north korea to show off some of its military assets, as rachel was mentioning. and there are rising tensions. we will bring you updates on that as warranted. as for our show tonight, let's begin with this. on the campaign trail, donald trump told his supporters he would win so often, they would be tired of winning. but there has not been any victory fatigue during his first two months in office at home. trump facing losses on hea