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mom with five kids. a hollywood happy ending? no. sometimes real life is better. that's all for this edition of "dateline." i'm craig melvin. thanks for watching. good morning. i'm da ra brown in new york at msnbc world headquarters. 7:00 out east, 4:00 out west. breaking news, the rescue mission in thailand is under way. divers trying to save 12 boys and their soccer coach, navigating a flooded cave in a race against time. the latest on how far they have come and how far they have to go. plus, gangster-like. how north korean officials describe the talks with the u.s. what is behind the different views of the same metings. on the attack, the president ramps up criticism of the russia investigation saying they have
the wrong target when it comes to collusion. we begin with breaking news from thailand where 12 boys and their soccer coach draped trapp flooded cage are beginning their way home. divers will bring stranded boys one by one out of a flooded cave through nearly four miles of narrow tunnels filled with waters. new video shows workers drilling the walls of the cave to help international and thai navy divers. bill joins us from in the caves. bill, good morning to you. i know we won't hear news for at least another three hours, but there's an army commander that says this could take four days. could you walk us through what is involved here? >> reporter: good morning. on a very dramatic day here in northern thailand, the announcement came suddenly with
police and officials using megaphones to clear the area near the cave. we have been moved back further. right now, we think a group, at least one group of boys is a half mile under ground battling their way through swirling currents, narrow passageways. it is a pairless journey. he said the boys were briefed on the operation, they were healthy, ready and agreed to it and the parents had also been briefed. we know a team of 18 specialist divers, in all, is involved. that's the five best thai navy s.e.a.l. divers, as well as 13 international divers. ten of the divers went to the cave where the boys are and they
took certainly more than one of them out. we don't know the composition of the groups. we don't know if the youngest is gone first or the strongest. they haven't given us that detail. they will take them out in groups. they will go along guide rope lines. they will be with a diver at all times. there's a three-mile oxygen line from the cave right to the exit point. but, this is a very, very dangerous route. remember, a highly experienced, highly trained thai diver collapsed and died in this water, in the cavern. if it can happen to him, it can happen to the boys. it is agonizing for the parents. the rescue operator said if we don't start the rescue on the best day, we may lose this window. no day is better than this. we have to act now. the reason they have to act now,
dara, it's not falling now, but a short time ago, we had a terrific cloud burst. the monsoon rains are starting. they are holding off now. it was falling rain and also falling oxygen levels. the quality of the air, the thinness of the air in the cave system reached dangerous levels. there came a critical point where the authorities felt they had to act and they are acting right now. so, as we speak, down below, beneath me, there are boys fighting for their life. dara? >> bill, we understand they are still drilling in the cave. are they drilling to find new areas to bring the boys out from or drilling to make the space larger in those caves? >> reporter: no, you are absolutely right. they were drilling a few hours ago to widen the spaces, to make it easier for the boys and for the divers who have oxygen tanks
on their back to get through. the option that you speak about, the drilling through the mountains to try to get down to the cave, that's finished, as is the option to leave the boys there until the end of the monsoon season. those were the three options a few days ago. they have decided to take the boys out the way they went in. but it is dangerous. dara? >> all eyes are now on that tunnel. thank you so much, bill, from thailand, thank you for that report. let's bring in the u.s. cave rescue mission. i know you are joining us from skype. what is your biggest concern in a rescue mission like this one? >> obviously, the choice of bringing them out using the diving techniques was the least safe one, but, at the time, when we thought they could be sheltered in cave for a longer period of time to give them more
time to get practiced if they had to do that option. as you heard earlier, at the moment, they cannot be left in the cave. so, it became the best option. none of the options were good options. so, at this point, it's the lesser of the evils. i will say, the cave divers who are there are among the best in the world. i know a couple of them personally. if the boys have any chance at all, it's because these people are the best at what they do. >> there are reports the parents in thailand traditionally warn kids to stay away from this cave complex. what is it that makes this cave complex so dangerous? >> when it floods, it floods for many months at a time. a lot of times they flood, but the water goes down in a short time, a few hours to a few days. this floods shut for many months.
i would say they got lucky in that there wasn't more rain initially because they may not have been able to find a safe place out of the water to wait. drowning in caves when they flood is a very common occurrence for the way people die in caves. not many people die in caves, but when they do, it is often due to flooding. >> they say the water levels are low enough to walk through. does this make it easier? >> dramatically easier. that's a reason they helped make the decision to dive them out at this point. the less distance they have to dive, the less depth they have to dive and the less time they spend in the blackout water conditions. it is still not safe, but safer than when they found them. >> this trip for the boys is hours long and miles long. what condition can we expect the kids to be in when they get out? >> they will be exhausted.
they will be carried out for the last bit of the trip. once they get out of the last place where they come out of the water, they will be evacuated out by stretcher. so, they are not going to be up and talking to everybody like we would like to think they would be. they started out with nine days of starvation. they don't have a lot of strength to begin with. now, you are going to have them go through many hours of stren would you sstren -- stren -- strenuous activities. this dive is deep and they have a tight spot to go through. it's not big enough for people to go through side by side. they have to, in essence, not have somebody next to them, but
in front or back of them. if they have any trouble at all in there, they have to solve that problem quickly. it's under some of the most challenging conditions. the dives, hands down, are the most dangerous part. >> we certainly pray they come out safe. we look forward to hearing their stories when they are out of the cave. thank you so much for your time. i appreciate you this sunday morning. >> you're welcome. we will continue to monitor what is happening in thailand and bring developments as they happen. now, to politics and insight by the senate majority leader to avoid roadblocks once president trump announces his pick for supreme court justice. they tell "the new york times," senator mitch mcconnell said judge raymond and thomas prevented the fewest obstacles to be confirmed. mcconnell said judge brett
cavanagh would pose difficulties. he had reservations about judge amy bareette. let's bring in caitlin, reporter and jonathan, a reporter for nbc news digital. great to have you here this morning. jonathan, senate leader mcconnell clearly thinking about the politics involved, especially getting this done before the midterm election. how much impact might he have given the majority's history with getting neil gorsuch confirmed? >> the white house and president trump believe mitch mcconnell has a feel for his own conference and the things the senate will do and not do. the relationship has become much better over the course of the last several months. that said, it doesn't mean president trump is going to follow his advice.
there are a handful of votes in place on this nomination. whoever it happens to be. it could be that jeff flake or bob corker or susan collins or lisa murkowski or rand paul on the democratic side. you can see defections to the trump side of things from some of the candidates in tough races. it's going to be a close, potentially a close call here. what we remember with the president, he picked his veice president at the very last minute. it's hard to predict what he is going to do. >> what do you think the headline is going to be for tuesday morning? >> it's going to highlight how crazy the next few months are going to be regardless of who it is. as john was saying, there are pros and cons of each one. there are going to be so many votes in play on the republican side and the democratic side. the red state democrats are going to be under pressure.
they are going to turn to tester, manchin and heidi. on the republican side, murkowski and collins. i think that people, this is going to be a war until this judge gets confirmed, if and when that happens. this is just the beginning of just a crazy few months. >> jonathan, what about you? what do you think the tuesday morning headlines are going to say? >> war. fight. caitlin is right about that. the other interesting thing is you wonder if there's reverse psychology at work. if the senator says he can't blame cavanagh, maybe it's an effort to get the president to name him. the president doesn't like to be told what he can and can't do. >> a complete surprise. i want to turn to the talks in north korea.
here is what secretary pompeo told reporters last night. let's listen. >> i am determined to achieve the commitment that president trump made and i'm counting on chairman kim to be determined to follow through on the commitment he made and, so, if those requests were gangster-like, the world is a gangster. i it was a unanimous decision. >> caitlin, no reaction, yet, from president trump, himself, about how big of a deal this is as a setback. >> this is expected. you know, we came out of that summit last month with president trump just saying how good things were, how everything was going to be okay and the problem was, essentially solved. achieving denuclearization with north korea is difficult. this appears to be a setback. it might be a setback, but also
just this is to be expected. it's one step forward in a process that is going to be extremely difficult. >> jonathan, how about you? last week, we were talking about your reporting on how north korea is trying to deceive the u.s. about the nuclear program all along. any surprise here? >> the world is a gangster sounds like a '90s alt rock song. maybe they are behind the times here. sorry, secretary pompeo is behind the times, too. it takes one to know one. the north koreans talking gangster-like demands. they are making ridiculous demands on their own. obviously, what we have seen so far is the united states has not made a lot of progress getting them to denuclearize. thank you. stay with us, we have more to discuss. team trump pointing the blame in a familiar direction.
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back now with breaking news from thailand. a dangerous mission is under way to rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped in a cave system. the first group is already on their way out. monsoon rains are complicated the rescue efforts. they are using a buddy system. the operation started more than ten hours ago. we are expecting news of the first rescue around 10:00 a.m. eastern time. new attacks from president trump this morning as he takes aim at the russian investigation insisting democrats are the ones guilty of collusion. public opinion turned against the rigged witch hunt and the special counsel because the publ public understands there was no
collusion. so ridiculous. trump's lawyers wrote a letter to mueller in june of 2017 where they called james comey dishonest. joining us now is doug burns. good morning to you. could these types of attacks on comey and mueller affect leverage for the legal team? >> it could, to some extent. this has been a consistent strategy, as it were. the trump's side and the other side. the trump side is scorched, there was no collusion. deny it over and over, then turn around and look at the information. again, it gets everybody's blood boiling and what went on. this is the playbook they have been using. whether it will affect negotiations about an interview with the president is hard to say. those have been very, very unusual negotiations to start with. those of us in the business, if i said to an assistant u.s.
district attorney, the only terms my client can be interviewed is to show your cards, you would be laughed at. >> rudy giuliani said mueller needs to prove he has evidence the president committed a crime. so, giuliani is expected to talk more about this on "meet the press" later this morning. doug, is mueller legally required, at this point and time, to turn over any of his findings? >> absolutely not. no, no, no. before somebody is charged with an offense, no, there's absolutely no requirement, legally, that he do that. it is surprising they would go public with that narrative about the only way we'll be interviewed. there's two parts. the only way is if you show me he was participating in a crime and you don't already have the information. you can throw that out the
window. legally, they are not, repeat, giuliani and the president are not required to go in voluntarily for an interview. then the next point, mueller has the option, legally, to issue a subpoena. >> does it look like they are trying to negotiate terms for an interview or on the defense snif. >> i think they may have concluded they don't want to go down that road at all and it's going to become a question of whether or not mueller will issue a subpoena and you have heard the analysis. basically, there would be a legal fight. in the end, the president would have to comply with that subpoena under the nixon case and other cases. >> oh, doug burns, love having this conversation with you. thank you so much for being here on sunday morning. >> of course. >> who is in and who is out and why it matters. what to make over the latest turnover in the trump administration. even when i was there,
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russia meddling and collusion allegations. i don't think she is comfortable with being part of that inquiry. she was, according to people familiar with that testimony an forthcoming than others. there was that and the scandal of porter, that she was associated with. he was accused of domestic violence against past wives. the scandal around the trump administration was touching her. that said, you can see why president trump would want her around. >> real quick, sources say trump has not called hicks to talk about a possible chief of staff. >> so, you know, i think it's been widely reported that the top two picks right now are nick
ayers, who is on pence's team, vice president pences team and nick mulvaney. >> caitlin, sorry, we have to wrap. we are running out of time. i got your two picks, thank you for that. great to have you here today. >> thank you. arning from him is. when i can keep up! - anncr: thankfully, prevagen helps your brain and improves memory. - dad's got all the answers. - anncr: prevagen is now the number-one-selling brain health supplement in drug stores nationwide. - she outsmarts me every single time. - checkmate! you wanna play again? - anncr: prevagen. healthier brain. better life. after a scratch so small rocket you could fix it with a pen. how about using that pen to sign up for new insurance instead? for drivers with accident forgiveness, liberty mutual won't raise their rates because of their first accident. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
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