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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  October 11, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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ukraine, looking for dirt on joe biden. what is the secretary of state know and when did he know it? >> reporter: did he support the ambassador being recalled months before her tenure was up? >> i've supported every mission that the state department has been engaged in and will continue to do that. crisis point. growing concerns that thousands of isis prisoners being held in northern syria could escape as syrian kurds guarding them for the u.s. are now forced to fight the at yoturkish onslaught to t north, and civilians are caught in the crossfire. >> reporter: the front lines here in northern syria are deserted, people are escaping this turkish assault with whatever they can carry. and unplugged. at his first reelection rally since the impeachment inquiry began, president trump is decidedly unplugged in a profanity-laced tirade against joe biden. >> he was only a good vice
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president because he understood how to kiss barack obama's ass. [ cheers and applause ] and good day. i'm andrea mitchell in washington where former u.s. ambassador to ukraine marie yovanovitch is taking a stand, putting her three-decade-long foreign service career on the line, ignoring the trump white house and secretary of state mike pompeo's injunction not to appear before the house committee without a lawyer. >> reporter: what message do you hope to share with the house investigators today, ma'am? will you be represented by state department counsel or are you here alone?
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>> geoff bennett giving chase. yovanovitch expected to be questioned about rudy giuliani's shadow diplomacy and other events leading to her being pulled back from her post in kiev in may, including months of pressure from giuliani and the white house on ukraine to investigate joe biden and his son hunter. joining me now, nbc's geoff bennett, on capitol hill, we just saw him getting the nonanswers but asking the right questions. carol lee and michael crowley. geoff, first to you, any break in the proceedings so far? >> reporter: eleanor holmes norton, d.c. congresswoman, came out and told reporters that so far u.s. ambassador marie yovanovitch is credible and says that no one tried to limit her testimony. i think that's important here because when we saw marie yovanovitch making her way here to the house side earlier this
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morning, she was flanked by members of her outside legal team. she was patient enough with me when i tried to pepper her with questions, she chose not to answer but she did not say whether or not she was appearing here with the express support of the state department, of the trump administration. it's not clear if there's a state department attorney in the room. i think based on the guidance we're getting from a couple of the members who have left is that there aren't, that she is appearing here on her own volition and is speaking forthrightly and candidly about her experience. so her appearance here is a real breakthrough for house democrats. she was supposed to be the first witness to appear here to be deposed but that was delayed after secretary of state mike pompeo said he didn't think house democrats could compel the appearance of any state department employee without a subpoena. she has firsthand knowledge of the influence scheme, the influence campaign that routinely rouge was trying to run as he was trying to lean on ukrainian leaders to dig up discredited dirt, to investigate baseless allegations against the
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bidens at president trump's behest. that is what all the evidence in the public record speaks to. and the fact that she had real concerns about that and raised those concerns is what led to her ouster. she is likely explaining all of that to house investigators today, andrea. >> and we of course had heard from the president demeaning her as well, calling her a bad one, she's been slammed and smeared, but apparently in her testimony, according to a "new york times" report that's just breaking, she is testifying to the fact that she has been removed from her post in kiev based on unfounded and unsupported claims. michael crowley, your colleagues up on the hill are reporting out some of what she's testified to. >> yeah, and it's really striking, interesting, and significant, particularly just two or three days after that, you know, blistering white house letter to congress saying this inquiry is illegitimate, we're
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basically going to ignore it, we're not going to give you anything that you want, and a couple of days later one of the most important figures comes forward and is talking. and this is a woman who is a long time career diplomat, served her country, he's a good reputation, well-respected, and she by all accounts so far was treated terribly and pushed out of her job in an incredibly inappropriate way. and she's probably quite angry about it. so this is bad news for the trump administration. >> i think that geoff really hit it on the head when he said it's a breakthrough for democrats, because they've seen not just on the ukraine scandal but previously, in anything they've tried to investigate, getting absolutely nothing out of this administration. and here you have someone who clearly feels like they need to come and speak out and step forward. and the question going forward will be are it seems easier for
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the administration officials who are not serving actually in the white house to be able to defy whatever sort of restrictions the administration is trying to put on them and speak to lawmakers, whereas whether that winds up applying to some of the other officials who are in the white house, who are perhaps more close to this or know more and are more likely to defend the president, we just don't know where that's going. this breakthrough with her and also indications that gordon sondland will now also testify potentially as soon as next week, that suggests there's some cracks there. and whether or not that holds when you get all the way to the white house, that's an open question. >> and you're reporting about fiona hill. >> yeah, then you have fiona hill, so she was in charge of russia and europe policy on the national security council from the beginning of the administration until this summer.
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she saw a lot and certainly knows everything in the run-up to this phone call in july with president zelensky and purcharet trump. her testimony is significant because the person familiar with her testimony told us she plans to basically say that rudy giuliani and sondland, the eu ambassador, were running a short of shadow foreign policy, an end run around the national foreign affairs process, and cutting out national security adviser john bolton, which is significant. her testimony and how that plays out is significant because it could be a signal for how these other former officials will be handled. there are those who know a lot, like john bolton and people around him who were unceremoniously ousted from the white house and saw everything up front. if fiona hill goes forward with her testimony, what does that many for former officials who
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were in the white house in these time frames and whether they will speak out as well. >> there are apparently a number of questions that have been answered now in her opening statement. geoff bennett, you have a copy of it. i was just handed a copy of the opening statement. it's reported she says she was removed because of unfounded claims, that the state department has been hollowed out. tell me what you're taking from this. >> reporter: her opening statement says, today we see the state department attacked and hollowed out from within. she also says, i do not know mr. giuliani's motives for attacking me. they believed their personal financial ambitions were stymied by an anticorruption policy in ukraine. this is significant, because we know that rudy giuliani was in part behind a packet of disinformation, part of a smear campaign aimed at marie
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yovanovitch, that the state department ig was alarmed enough by that he flagged it as an urgent matter when he came to the hill last week or the week before. jamie raskin showed us some of which that documentation. two of giuliani's business associates, of course, just indicted yesterday, and the indictment makes clear they sought to discredit marie yovanovitch. we also know from some other evidence that there were concerns that rudy giuliani was -- had a direct influence in president trump's thinking about marie yovanovitch and that is one of the reasons why she was recalled from her post after a decades-long career, not just in ukraine but also in armenia, kyrgyzstan, a real expert in the region. and she feels, according to her opening statement, she was unfairly targeted. it would suggest, because there's there with her outside legal team, that she may have
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some evidence to back up her claims too, andrea. >> now, she is ripping the band-aid off a gaping wound that has been present at the state department now for months and months. michael crowley, you know the state department. carol lee as well. foreign service officers, career ambassadors. but what she is testifying to s is -- as eleanor holmes norton said, both sides are finding it credible. >> that is what strikes me here, what we're just getting in about her opening statement. it suggests she's not only talking about the particulars of her unhappy experience at the end of her tenure in ukraine when she was removed under suspicious circumstances but more broadly, the state department is being hollowed out, that diplomacy is being disrespected in this administration, saying there's a wider crisis in diplomacy in the
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state department. when rex tillerson was fired and mike pompeo took over the state department, mike pompeo said we're going to bring swagger back to the state department. even a lot of foreign service officers who didn't particularly like donald trump, there was a little bit of a sense of a reprieve. i think that honeymoon is long gone. >> carol, it was because there was a lot of suspicion against him initially because he had attacked the state department so vociferously when he was on house oversight, at the benghazi hearings. at the same time, he lifted the job freeze, he started replacing people, started putting people in these vacancies, appointing ambassadors. there was a lot of talk about him being smart, west point, cia. but it's gone south. >> it's gone south, as you very well know. what the former ambassador to
quote
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ukraine's testimony does is, she paints this picture of saying that there is a personal -- people are doing things for personal gain, for their own interests broadly, not just when it just to ukraine, broadly, and that that is what's driving u.s. foreign policy, and it's usurping the diplomatic engagements, the traditional diplomatic engagements you would traditionally see. that's where this is -- you know, we've gone, in her opening statement, from something narrow on ukraine to something much broader. >> we'll have to leave it there. we'll continue this conversation. geoff bennett, you'll be on duty there, but this opening statement is devastating for the administration. carol lee, michael crowley, we thank you all for dealing with this breaking news. rudy giuliani's interactions with ukrainian officials are ramping up a lot of pressure on the state department with secretary pompeo doing everything he can to avoid discussing the president's personal lawyer. take a look. >> reporter: in mid-february,
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you were in warsaw, and so was rudy giuliani. during your time there, did you meet with giuliani? >> you know, i don't talk about who i meet with. i figure to warsaw for a particular purpose. it was an important mission. we brought together people all across the world to take down the world's largest state sponsor of terror, the islamic republican of iran. that's what i worked on on that mission. >> reporter: you're not going to say when you met with him? >> when i was in warsaw, my focus was singularly on the work that we have done, effective work to recover from what the obama administration has done which was to under write the world's largest state sponsor of terror. we've stopped that and we're making real progress. >> reporter: it sounds like you're not going to say. >> when i was in warsaw, we were working diligently to accomplish the mission to take down the terror regime in the islamic republican of iran. it was the only thing i engaged in while i was there. >> msnbc's senior national
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security analyst and former cia director john brennan joins me now. john brennan, we've seen the state department really transformed in this administration. secretary pompeo was being interviewed by our national affiliate this morning. the reporter there just repeatedly asking him questions and followup questions, and he was basically giving name, rank, and serial number, if that. >> yeah, i think as michael was mentioning earlier, whatever good feelings the state department had about mike pompeo when he became secretary of state have long since dissipated and gun away. as a result of a number of things that have happened with this administration and their circumvention of traditional diplomatic channels, the fact that a rudy giuliani, a lawyer for donald trump, is the one engaged in these types of foreign policy efforts. and that's why i think it's so important that ambassador yovanovitch as well as other professionals, fiona hill, as well as the charge in kiev, bill
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taylor, talk to congress about what they experienced. mike pompeo and others are trying to make things right but i don't think they can because of the extent of, quite frankly, the corruption that has been going on in this administration and how diplomatic channels have been circumvented or exploited for donald trump's partisan agenda. >> in the opening statement which we've been reading as it's come across from our capitol hill teams, yovanovitch testified that she asked for a meeting with the deputy secretary of state john sullivan, now nominated to be our ambassador to russia, as you know, or is about to be nominated. the president said he intends to nominate him. she quotes sullivan as saying that the president had lost confidence in me and no longer wished me to serve as his ambassador. he added that there had been a campaign against me, the department had been under
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pressure from the president to remove me since the summer of 2018. he also said i had done nothing wrong and this was not like other situations where he had recalled ambassadors for cause. i departed ukraine for good this past may. so she's putting it clearly on the president. she says in her farewell, her notice of administratively, really, with john sullivan, who is an attorney, not a career diplomat, but has served absolutely as deputy secretary of state, as far as everyone knows, that sullivan had told her she was not being removed for cause. >> well, good on ambassador yovanovitch for speaking out and rising up as other professionals should, because again, it is quite clear that there has been abuse of the institutions of governance. donald trump wants political pawns in these positions that he can exploit and manipulate. when individuals such as ambassador yovanovitch and others, and again, bill taylor out in kiev, and now ambassador mckinley, a very well-respected
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and highly experienced diplomat, former ambassador to afghanistan and senior adviser to mike pompeo, abruptly announced his resignation, i think it really just shows the extent of the despair as well as discontentment that exists within the great department of state. >> let me talk about mike mckinley, a career ambassador recalled from brazil to be the personal counselor or adviser to mike pompeo, which also led to a lot of good feelings at the state department because he was so well-regarded. he traveled with mike pompeo, he was an adviser, he was supposed to be the link with the foreign service, now resigning. and we understand it to be as a protest measure. >> yes. and it will be very interesting for the congress to find out from ambassador mckinley what he has experienced, what he has seen happening in the highest levels of the department of state and how he has decided to leave after such a distinguished career and virtual disgust of what's been going on. we'll have to wait to see oorls
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ambassador mckinley's statement but by all accounts he's fed up with what's going on. >> she says in her statement that she had been fighting corruption, that she had never met hunter biden, that joe biden never brought him or burisma or any of those issues up to her. she was the ambassador and she felt no pressure from the bidens, she only knew joe biden in his role as vice president from prior assignments. >> it's quite clear to me that donald trump and rudy giuliani are trying to mask their corrupt intent in terms of their engagements in ukraine by pointing fingers at vice president biden and his son hunter which by many accounts, there was nothing inappropriate that was done there. and it's clear that rudy and some of his colleagues who are now under federal custody were engaged in inappropriate activities including the funneling of monies to campaigns. so i'm still waiting to see more
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that's coming out. this is where it's important for the professionals to be asked questions and for them to give their unbiased, apolitical accounts of what's been transpiring with the approval or the direction of donald trump, rudy giuliani, mike pompeo. and i'm waiting to see what gordon sondlaland says, we heare will testify next week. >> he says he will. he was a political contributor, not a career ambassador. he said he had wanted to testify but was restrained by that extraordinary declaration of war against the impeachment inquiry from the white house, from white house attorneys which covered the state department officials as well. >> i sincerely hope ambassador sondland does testify and that he provides truthful testimony about what happened, about what he was directed to do by donald trump, rudy giuliani or others. there needs to be this catharsis in terms of information and
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facts about what's going on as opposed to what donald trump continues to do, which is spew out inaccurate, specious information. >>iv ive was told by one formerh ranking diplomat that the president's concern and claims that the clinton campaign was working through ukraine to attack the elections, not russia, which gets right to the point, we're talking about august of 2016, starting with the black ledger of paul manafort was released and he ended up having to step down from the campaign and ended up, of course, being indicted in part for his connections to ukraine and all of the issues that devolved from that, did you ever see anything to indicate that the democrats were in fact attacking the election process through ukraine as the president is trying to prove, and as william barr is apparently circling the globe trying to
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prove routinight now? >> i am unaware of anything like that. it was clear the russians were engaged in this sweeping and systematic effort to undermine the 2016 election. but i am not aware of anything that would lend credence to some of these outlandish claims being made about secretary clinton and the campaign. >> john brennan, one of my colleagues was talking to a career ambassador, and the way it was phrased was that they had not seen the state department in such a panic, under such political pressure since the days in the 1950s, the mccarthy days of the red scare when department officials were under attack. i've been told by career officers that there was pressure for them to reregister if they weren't republicans, or to register as republicans if they were not a registered party
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member, in order to advance their careers. there is a level of politics in all of that that is in my experience, going back to 1994 when i first started full-time covering the state department, has never been a factor. >> there seems to be rampant politicization that is under way in this administration. and these are professionals, whether they be diplomats or intelligence officers or law enforcement officers who try to serve this country the best they can irrespective of who may be in power or the political party that is in the majority. unfortunately i think there has been many examples over the past several years now about how the trump administration has tried to manipulate and abuse the system. i must say, having served overseas myself, i find it hard to understand how a lot of our diplomats will try to defend the behavior of a donald trump, witnessed last night in the minnesota rally where there was this buffoon-ish, juvenile behavior. how can they point to the united states, someone who is in the oval office, and point to him with pride? there is no way.
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i'm sure that the attitudes toward what mr. trump is doing and his corrupt political intent on so many fronts is just eroding the spirit, the morale, as well as the contributions of our dedicated public servants. >> john brennan, thank you. thank you for your service. thanks, andrea. coming up, dodge ball. republican senator from colorado cory gardner refusing over and over to answer a direct question about president trump. the inside scoop on impeachment politics, next. stay with us right here. l stres. (honk!) i hear you sister. that's why i'm partnering with cigna to remind you to go in for your annual check-up, and be open with your doctor about anything you feel - physically and emotionally. but now cigna has a plan that can help everyone see stress differently. just find a period of time to unwind. a location to de-stress. an activity to enjoy. or the name of someone to talk to. to create a plan that works for you, visit cigna.com/mystressplan. cigna. together, all the way.
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and the breaking news today in the impeachment inquiry, the former ambassador to ukraine, marie yovanovitch, who was fired by the trump administration, not fired but she was pulled back from kiev and given a sinecure over not in a foreign post, telling lawmakers today it was done under false claims. the closed door testimony continuing at this hour, this as the president's former russia aide, fiona hill, is preparing to tell her side of the story. she was a national security council top russia director of
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the nsc. her deposition on rudy giuliani's shadow diplomacy is set to take place on monday. these fast-moving developments have purpose waresident trump w all-out war lasthis rally in minnesota. >> there was no blackmail during this call. we're dealing with some very and i could deranged people. whatever happened to hunter? where the hell is he? they want to erase your voice and they want to erase your future. i love you, peter. i love you, lisa. lisa, lisa. we'll get that son of a bitch out. >> that last riff was actually him, i guess, doing his dramatic interpretation of lisa page and the -- uh, i'm sorry -- >> you're speechless. >> i am speechless. the emails, the texts.
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joining me now for the inside scoop, david jolly, former republican congressman, yamiche alcindor, white house correspondent for "pbs news hour," and bill kristol, founding director of defending democracy. david jolly, you're a former republican, i think, or at least former republican congressman, i think you stepped away from the party that is now becoming the trump party. but that was a republican reelection rally in minnesota, of all places, a state he barely lost that they think they can turn, they're putting a lot of money into it. look at that riff last night. >> when he can't run on the facts -- >> the peter strzok emails and texts. >> which, andrea, most people won't remember come november, the story of peter strzok. only the most ardent donald trump supporters, if you will. but when you can't run on the
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facts which donald trump can't, you run on the grievance politics that positioned him strongly in the first place. what we saw yesterday is a culmination of what we've seen over the past a couple of weeks, which is this. donald trump is at the weakest moment of his presidency right now. he knows he will be impeached by the house of representatives and face trial in the senate. that is almost a foregone conclusion at this point. it's just how bad do things actually get before that impeachment vote. and we saw the human side, if you will, the depravity, some would say, in his treatment of the kurds, setting up a population to be slaughtered by the turkish forces. donald trump went about doing that and started tweeting about hillary clinton and hunter biden. donald trump is at the weakest point of his presidency. when he was nothing else to talk about, you see the insults from last night. fortunately what we're seeing in surveys and polls and that the american people are rejecting that and a vast majority of the
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american people suggest not only should he be impeached but they won't support him for reelection. >> and it's having a real impact of course on republican senators who are now running for reelection from purple states. senator cory gardner from colorado refusing to say if it's wrong of the president to ask a foreign leader to investigate. take a look at him continuously ducking the question. >> reporter: do you believe it's appropriate for the president of the united states to ask a foreign leader to investigate a political rival, yoees or no? >> this is what we're going to get into, there will be bipartisan investigations. >> reporter: but is it appropriate -- >> it's a nonpartisan investigation. it's the answer you get from a very serious investigation. >> bill kristol? >> i mean, it's sort of pathetic.
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you didn't show what he said about former vice president biden. >> we did at the beginning of the show. >> unbelievable that a current president would say something like that. anybody who wrote checks to the trump campaign, they need to look at that and say, i'm comfortable with that man in the white house for the next four years, that we can't do better than that. just as a personal matter, the degree of derangement, honestly, as david jolly said, depravity. what's it going to be like whife gets reelected? leaving satisfiaside the actuals when it comes to ukraine which are damaging enough, trump supporters need to think over the weekend about whether they're still on board. people who are on board for the reelection of this man, they
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need to take a real look into themselves, i think. >> you were a chief of staff to a vice president of the united states. for you to see a president of the united states profanely demeaning a former vice president as he did at that reelection. >> and in a way, the most recent president. i felt sick, it's a disgrace and a humiliation to the country. people who are enabling him to stay in office now have some responsibility. to those saying, i think he's great, let's reelect him, they have the most to answer for. >> yamiche alcindor, do you defeat the feeling at this hour that the dam is breaking, that they have no witnesses, after the mueller investigation, they were blocked at every turn, everything tied up in court. now you've got a u.s. ambassador who is -- who has great credibility, has been smeared, testifying openly, behind closed doors but her opening statement makes it very clear she's
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telling all and is going to answer every question that they ask, plus fiona hill, a highly regarded russia expert who has conservative credentials coming out of the nsc, she's testifying monday. if they begin to get these kinds of testimonies to back up the white house-released notes, the rough transcript of the call itself, do you have any doubt they're going to proceed to a vote? >> i mean, it's hard to say they'll proceed to a vote, that's up to the democrats. what i do see is a president who feels the walls starting to close in on him and really lashing out in angry because of that. we see the president talking about feeling paranoid in his own white house, feeling like evaluated spies working for him, that he has people he can't trust around him. then you have polls from a network that he really likes to watch, of course, fox news, showing the majority of americans now support going
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forward with this impeachment inquiry. what you have in president trump, when you see the cursing and you see the angry and you see awful this kind of bluster coming out at this rally, it's really him blowing off steam in this 102-minute speech, because he understands that there are officials that are going to be going to capitol hill and telling -- and saying things that it's going to be really hard to defend. republicans that i've been talking to, and based on my reporting, they don't want to go anywhere near this question. you just played the senator, but there is also mike pompence whe vaughn hillyard was pushing him to answer about ukraine, because it's really not defensible for republicans to say yes, the president should be on the phone pressuring a foreign leader. the president says he saw doing that. if republicans said it would be wrong for a president to pressure a foreign leader to interfere in our elections, they would be on, in some ways, firm ground because the president says that's not what he did, but they don't want to answer that question because they think that might be what he did. >> david jolly, yamiche alcindor, of course bill kristol, thanks to much to all of you.
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coming up, state of state. state department resignations, crumbling morale at the state department, all over mike pompeo's role in the ukrainian controversy and his refusing to answer questions. democratic senator jeanne shaheen, a member of the foreign relations committee, joins me next. are you paying too much and current medicare plan? as a person with medicare, you have an important choice to make. you can purchase a separate drug plan for an additional cost, or you can choose a humana medicare advantage prescription drug plan. an affordable, all-in-one plan, that includes your health benefits and drug coverage in one. in fact, last year, humana medicare advantage prescription drug plan members saved an estimated $7400, on average, on their prescription costs. with these humana plans, you get prescription drug coverage. you're covered when you go to the doctor, a specialist or the hospital. you get coverage for emergencies, even when you're
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ten democratic senators are demanding answers from secretary of state mike pompeo about why former u.s. ambassador to ukraine marie yovanovitch, who is testifying as we speak, was yanked from her post in ukraine. quote,er early recall raises questions about whether you put the personal interests of the president above foreign policy. democratic senator jeanne shaheen signed that letter and serves on the foreign relations committee. senator, thank you very much. any response from him about testifying? >> we haven't heard anything from the state department. and the fact is this is a distinguished ambassador who has a long history of doing a very good job. and it raises real questions that the state department and the administration need to answer.
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>> she has complained in her opening statement that the state department has been hollowed out, that she was recalled without explanation, went to the deputy secretary of state who is about to be nominated to be our ambassador in moscow and was told that it was not for cause and that it was at the order of the president. >> well, again, it raises real questions. are we going to have a state department that can actually do diplomacy or are we just going to put in people who will do the president's bidding? it's in the national security interests of this country that we have a state department that functions. >> i want to also ask you about the decisions in syria, the decisions in turkey. the president and mike pompeo denying there was a green light given, certainly the turkish leaders think there was a green light given. and the readout of the president's considerativersatio
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erdogan on sunday, the president's own comments. it seems this decision to abandon our syrian kurdish allies did come with a somewhat of a blessing, green or yellow light or some kind of light from the president himself to erdogan. >> in an administration of foreign policy blunders, this is the worst disaster that we've seen. the president has turned his back on our allies, the kurds, and it sends a message to all of our european partners in the fight against isis. he has made it possible to release thousands of some of the most dangerous terrorists we've seen. and he's sent a message to all those dictators around the world who he seems so fascinated with that they can get the president to do whatever they want. >> diane foley, of course, whose
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son, james, was killed by isis, has spoken out against the release of these isis fighters. she's one of your constituents, i know you know her well. i wanted to play part of what she had to say. >> there are 10,000 isis fighters that are held in a prison, as well as about a good 70,000 of their families in a camp nearby. our son was one of four americans who were brutally tortured and killed by at least two of the prisoners and potentially others. it's a huge national security threat, particularly if we don't hold these people accountable for killing innocent americans, then what is to stop them? >> vladimir putin is suggesting that he's concerned as well about these fighters, so he'll
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send -- he's offering to send russian security forces in to guard them, as if we would want to have russians right there on the ground. >> that's the other troubling aspect of this decision. we are leaving syria to the iranians, to the russians, to assad. and we had a position in northeastern syria that was stable. the syrians wanted us there. wh when i was there last summer, what we heard from our kurdish partners, what we heard from the syrians that we talked with wattle they wanted america to stay because they knew that when we were there, they were going to be safe. now we've turned our back, and people are dying. we've got terrorists who are really at risk because we're not ensuring they're going to be safeguarded. we're going to keep pushing with the foley family and the other families of americans who were
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murdered. but it sets a dangerous precedent for the future. >> i just briefly wanted to ask you about the announcement this hour from the pentagon, sending several thousand more troops to saudi arabia because of the attacks that were attributed to iran against their oil fields. if we can't keep 50 to 1,000, 50 of the 1,000 that are in northern syria, why are we sending thousands of troops to saudi arabia? >> absolutely. we have provided billions in military assistance to saudi arabia over the years. they should be able to defend themselves. and we should keep the force that we had for relatively minor costs in syria, because it's exactly what we should be doing in some of these areas, partnering with others on the ground. the kurds have taken most of the
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casualties there. very few americans have died, thank goodness. and for us to walk away from that and to leave at risk so many of the people who worked with us is just unforgivable. >> senator jeanne shaheen, thank you so much. we want to turn to nbc's keir simmons who is on the syria/turkey border. keir, what is the situation on the ground? >> rep i guess is the front line in the sense that we were a short distance away from turkish artillery, watching that artillery fire again and again, multiple times, watching turkish helicopters fly overhead. and actually on the road we saw turkish tanks, an array of turkish tanks on their way to
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the syrian poured. and for me, what today has told me with all of those albeit anecdotal observations is that we really are right now at the early stages of this. turkey isn't giving away very much information except to say their operation is going to plan. there is yet to come a major land move. there have been ground operations, but i think a far more substantial force is likely at some stage, once turkey thinks it has effectively softened the kurds, moved those fleeing civilians. and what we're seeing inside syr syria, as you've been mentioning, are civilian deaths. i expect those deaths will climb. turkey will want to push as hard as it can. in many ways the international condemnation will have president
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erdogan determined to push even harder to get this done. they will want to get this done before there are such sizable casualties that president erdogan is effectively forced to stop by the international outcry. of course, andrea, all of that doesn't account for the next stage that evaluathe has talked which is to try to move millions of syrian refugees in the space he's created. i don't need to tell you how difficult that kind of an operation is potentially going to be, aside from all the other issues you've been discussing. we're at the beginning of a very difficult operation by turkey and we just don't know how it's going to play out. >> keir simmons on the pourbord there, please stay safe. thanks for your reporting. coming up, reports that federal investigators are looking at rudy giuliani's financial dealings following the arrest of his two associates. ♪
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some things are too important to do yourself. get customized security with 24/7 monitoring from xfinity home. awarded the best professionally installed system by cnet. simple. easy. awesome. call, click or visit a store today. the president's personal lawyer rudy giuliani getting more scrutiny after the arrests of his two associates. federal uninvestigainvestigatin scrutinizing rudy giuliani's dealings. this is from last year. take a look. joining me now is chuck
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rosenberg. a former u.s. attorney and senior fbi senior official and daily beast reporter. incredible work. >> thank you. so what i am covering at the daily beast is campaign finance. empoweri empow i am powering on these reports. these contributions kind of jumped off the page from a company called global energy producers. notorious for its secrecy laws and i just set out to figure out who was behind this so that led
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to mhis employees and now led t mr. rudy giuliani. >> was it obvious they were americans? >> right, he had allies at the time sort of the trump universe were saying no, this is a heavily capitalized company that's conducting business in the u.s. and ukraine. it is going to be this major gas exporter. the indictment that came out yesterday made clear that it was conducting no business. it had no assets to speak of and basically existed to service a shell and cover for personal donation for people involved in a way hid the identity of those making the contribution. >> chuck rosenberg. this is textbook, we have to wait to see what happens in court. it does seem their whole business was politically influenced. >> it does seem that way. that's sort of the allegations.
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that's what agents and prosecutors do everyday. folks ought to keep this in mind. these two guys charged in the southern district of new york. when you see the pattern over and over, you saw it in rick gates and he didn't do a good job and michael flynn. i am not surprised maybe not next week or next month but to see these two defendants giving information about others including mr. rudy giuliani. >> these defendants were two people who were arrested and taken into custody with one-way ticket s to frankford. they were had just come back from lunch with rudy giuliani. you can't make it up.
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>> they obviously have an indictment and under sealed and an arrest warrant. i imagine they had been following them for couple of days. they knew where they were and knew they had tickets. by the way, this is pretty good evidence, too. the fact that someone is under investigation and buys a one way ticket with no intent of turn g returning and trying to head out of the country through dallas. consciousness of guilt, andrea. >> their involvement with the biden's inquiry that rudy giuliani was trying to get started simultaneous with the smeared campaign against the ambassador who's testifying at this hour. >> i think we have more questions and answers right now. it seems to be other pieces and coming together and thank goodness for reporters like lachlin. i know you don't have the same
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tools as the fbi or the attorney's office does but there is nothing like good old going through documents. >> lachlin, where does this go next? >> there are a few big questions. unnamed ukraine official mentioned in the indictment yesterday. directed in some of these activities that parnas and fruman were involved in. he has denied but been a little wishy-washy on the promise that parnas and fruman had been paying him. did rudy giuliani benefit financially as well? it is a major question that a lot of folks are trying to answer. >> one of the congress members
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contributed was pete sessions in texas, the republican that was defeated. he written a letter to mike pompeo demanding for fire. >> the congressman do that in return for a payment either to himself personally or his political action committee. that's bribery. whatever it is, it is illegal. i am not saying congressman broke the law. i am saying prosecutors going to look closely at that question. we call people who are within the scope of the investigation subjects. that does not mean you have done anything wrong or going to be charged, it means that your conduct raises questions. that certainly is the case with mr. rudy giuliani and the case of all this. >> lachlan, great reporting.
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great textbook. >> thank you. >> chuck rosenberg. thank you. be sure to check out chuck's broadcast "the oath." listen for free where ever you get your broadcast. that does it for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." follow us online and twitter. here is yasmin from "velshi & ruhle." >> hello everybody, coming up on "velshi & ruhle." former ambassador to ukraine risking her job to testify before the impeachment inquiry. we got late breaking details on that. plus, the humanitarian situation at the syria border is getting worse as turkey asusault is goig into its third days. tens of thousands of people are fleeing the region as the number

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