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tv   MSNBC Live with Velshi and Ruhle  MSNBC  January 3, 2020 10:00am-11:00am PST

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nlimited, shared data, or mix lines of each and switch any line, anytime. giving you more choice and control compared to other top wireless carriers. save up to $400 a year when you switch. plus, unwrap $250 off a new samsung phone. click, call or visit a store today. thanks for being with us, i am andrea mitchell in washington. here is "velshi & ruhle," stephanie and ali. thank you, andrea. we continue with the air strike that killed one of the most powerful people in that country. more than 3,000 u.s. troops are now headed to the region with
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iran promising quote , "harsh retaliati retaliation" with the air strikes killing qasem soleimani. he's the commander of the iraq revolutionary guard. and also killed, he's a militia department, deputy, a close adviser to soleimani. >> president trump's decision to remove soleimani from the battlefield saves american lives, no doubt about that. he was plotting in the region to take big actions, we know it is imminent and an intelligent space, an assessment that throw our decision making process. the risk of doing nothing is
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enormous and in term of the imminent attack. . doing nothing in this region shows witness and it emboldens iran. >> we have expectation that is people not only in iraq but iran will view last night as giving them freedom. while the political leadership may not want that, the people in this nation will demand it. >> it appears this will escalate tensions with iran and many across the globe are urging cautions on all sides. a spokesperson of the united nation secretary general is saying this. "this is a moment in which leaders must exercise maximum restraint, the world can't afford another war in the gulf." the situation now is dangerous. no doubt and that's why i am urging calm. a number of u.s. embassies around the world are on high alert right now, telling americans to be vigilant of their surroundings.
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senate leaders spoke out moments ago with different opinions on how this whole thing went down. >> the president's decision may add to a dangerous and difficult situation in the middle east. the risk of a much longer military engagement in the middle east is acute and immediate. this action may well have brought our nation closer to another endless war, exactly the kind of endless war the president promised he would not drag us into. >> the operation that led us to soleimani's death may prove controversial or divisive.
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>> joining us now, nbc news reporter, courtney kube and tom whiter. court courtney, let's start what you, more than 3,000 u.s. specialized troops headed into the region. >> these are the 82nd airborne brigade soldiers. it is a quick reaction essentially. they can be brought in anywhere in the world theoretically a short amount of time. the first battalion which moved into kuwait. they're supposed to move out of fort bragg. the other two battalions are at a 96 hours lead. we'll seem of them moving into iraq specifically and others will go into the region as a
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reaction or response force to threats throughout the area. not just to the u.s. in iraq and baghdad but other areas as well. remember u.s. is a substantial footprint in that area. more than 5,000 troops in iraq, upward of 600 to a thousand in syria. there are substantial u.s. bases and ally coalition forces throughout the entire region, ali. >> matt, let's talk about qasem soleimani. for people who's been tuning in, you hear about names of people who americans are targeting and who's been taken out by drone strikes or attacks, qasem soleimani is in a category of himself. he was not famous as osama bin laden but perhaps as important or if not more important. >> ali, you made a good point. qasem soleimani had so much
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power that was concentrated. he was operated as a combination of royalty. he was behind the entire iranian regime. he was ahead of the good sport. out ward looking in the ircg, the revolutionary guard core. his job was to go around the middle east entire region and turn into a sand box. that's what he plated and energizing and cultivating different proxy groups and alley government of the eiranians. and then this is interesting. this is the irony, he spent his entire life cultivating these different groups, hezbollah or all these different groups of iraq. this now leads groups all over the region.
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they're the ones that's going to strike at the u.s., u.s. allies in a capable way thanks to soleimani's efforts to cultivate them and build them up and forming those alliances. >> let's talk about what's happening here in the united states. people are on high alert around the world. are there any credible threats to us on the u.s. homeland and u.s. soil right now? >> that's it. it is a great question, stephanie. bottom line is there are no specific or credible threat as far as this specific attack or specific incident. there is nothing at this point that law enforcement officials are pointing to. the consistent general threat from hezbollah or iran. so basically officials here is saying the commissioner for counter terrorism is saying eye lan did not just start thinking about this last night with respect to what they may want to do to the united states but on
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the other hand, neither did law enforcement. they have been aware of this threat for some time, just barely a month or month or half or so a go. 40 years in prison. he was somebody, federal prosecutors and the nypd described as a super agent. so this is a threat. there has been arrests made in the last couple of years. there is a reality here to iran's potential capabilities or at least desire to try to commit the attack here if they wanted to. >> tom, what is law enforcement doing in the united states, particularly new york to beef up security in anticipation of something happening? >> reporter: it is one of the things we talked about of the press conference that happened the last hour behind me here. new york is kind of, it is a
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friday and no matter what happened last night in baghdad and they have officers deployed around the city. there is going to be some changes. they talked about it at that press conference. let's take a listen. >> we are going to take whatever steps we need to protect new yorkers. people should understand, nypd is always ready to do things that'll disrupt terrorists. it is to deter potential attacks. they may feel out of the ordinary. we are dealing with a different environment. >> so, i think one of the things we'll see is as intelligence gathered overseas or here in the united states, we'll start to see law enforcement agencies
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here adapting to those threats. the territory task force is not just in new york but the fbi in coordination all over the united states essentially looking at defense locations at this point, okay, what do we need to focus on and what sources do we have from those communities and what more information can be learned and i don't think they'll take a look at, some of the older cases, some of those individuals are still here, do we need to take a second pass or second look at them. are they still working for iran's proxy, is that a potential concern for american interests overseas. it is as situation that we look at. no specific or creditable threat at this moment or any specifics here in the u.s. >> tom winter, thank you and thanks to matt and courtney as well. >> we'll hear more from mayor deblas deblasio, he's going to join us live to talk about the impact of this killing of iran's top general. we have the stock market
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responses since this morning. let's take a quick look at how it is doing. >> down 165. we started the day down significantly more, premarket, markets were down 350. is this unrest? there is this simmering of geopoliticalness out there. you can see the markets drop. there are certain pockets, people are rushing to buy gold or buying u.s. treasuries. the idea that contracts will be coming and across the board, we are not seeing things as low as it was earlier. it is deaf will adr drop. now we got a little news. this is called a vet risk. this is what market watchers look at. it is not your normal risk of cycles or earnings or things like that or terrorists.
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the markets were quite a hit after 9/11, those losses were wiped out within a month or so. the market tends to be resilient. one area of focus is the impact on your wallet through the price of oil. >> that matters whether or not you own stocks or not. it is going to matter to you at the gas pump today and tomorrow and this weekend. we are up 2.5% yesterday. $62.73 cents a barrel for u.s. oil. the increase of crude price, the strait of hormuz. see that little dot, that's 21 miles wide. iran often says it will put mines there or attack ships that are carding oil out of the strait of hormuz. iran is threatening retaliation against the united states for killing its top general. we'll find out next what that retaliation could look like and
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what it could mean for us and our allies. i want to dig in further who this man is, ali was giving you a tidbit before. he's not a name that many people know. he's one extreme significance and prominence in the region. we'll look at why the united states targeted him. you are watching "velshi & ruhle." right here on msnbc. are watchin& ruhle. right here on msnbc. here, it all starts with a simple...
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welcome back to "velshi & ruhle," more than 3,000 u.s.
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troops begin heading to the middle east, escalating tensions with iran. the united states carried out air strike near the baghdad airport taking out qasem soleimani. mike pompeo says the strike was necessary because soleimani was planning an imminent attack that could put hundreds of american lives a risk. joining me now, bobby goesh and malcolm nance, more than 35 years of u.s. intelligence experience. qasem soleimani was a potent man. the second most important man in iran after the supreme leader. all the technical that iran had in the region were run by qasem soleimani. what do we know about this whole idea that he was planning something imminent on americans. >> well, all we have is the
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american account that's put forward by secretary of state pompeo. yesterday the first report came out said he was planning future attacks and someone ambiguous this morning. they were sharper in the language that they use imminent attack. the reality is they're trying a certain threshold for certain justifications. under international laws, you can't kill someone based on their past action. you can kill someone if you know you are going to neutralize an imminent threat coming from that person. obviously today the u.s. is putting that message out. we had imminent concerns, he was about to kill more americans or carry out an attack. they obviously have not provided that evidence. it is interesting to see and important to emphasize that it is hard to believe the american government on something like this without them and especially this administration without them put forward, some clear evidence and intelligence that american lives were mistaken.
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so to that very point, malcolm, secretary of state mike pompeo clearly said we had to do this and we could not do nothing. noing and takiing soleimani out are a long way apart. were there other measures that could have been taken that put so much backlash risk out there. would have done something serious to keep american lives sa saved. >> i find the secretary's justification a little hard to believe. in the time that we were in iraq if from 2003 until our active combat in 2009, being struck by rockets was not an everyday thing. it was an all day everyday thing. tens of thousands of rockets were shutted off.
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it was the red line for the united states in dealing with general soleimani personally, considering that general soleimani is the man who organized hundreds of thousands of militiamen who eliminated isis out of iraq. we actually were coordinating with them during a combat operation. obviously the administration decided to use this as a justification and let me tell you, general soleimani is a strategic commander. he's the guy that's not going to sign off on the individual rifle gun and rocket attack of every iranian militia man or terrorist in that country. if it is possible he would know something, it would be a strategic level attack, major suicide attack against the american embassy, something along that line. the administration have drawn that line around the rocket attacks and they viewed that any future attacks were justifiable. that's their justification for killing him.
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>> mike pompeo tweeted out videos that he claims of iraqi celebrating in the streets, thankful that soleimani is gone. quite possibly true but it lacks a little nuance. there is going to be some people in iran and across the middle east celebrating the death of soleimani and a lot of people, majority of people not celebrating it. >>. >> i would not be quite so sure about that. there is going to be a lot of large populations of syria or lebanon or iraq, many people across the mideast who'll be celebrating soleimani's death. within iran is a little more complex. he was a figure respected as much as fear and there will be a large number of iranians who generally feel that they have lost a great commander. there are a lot of iranians,
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family members who have been slaughtered and hundreds of them if for professing against the regime. a person with that kind of history is going to attract a lot of basically, as many people willing to spit on this grave as willing to shed tears. >> i don't disagree with a lot of blood on his hands. i disagree that people across the region is going to welcome his demise. so if you go to lebanon, for example, where iran has a tremendous amount of influence. they care more about the fact that iran has control over lebanese through hezbollah and as well as gaza and a few other groups. so i understand the symbolism that bob di by is diescribing -
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is going to be relieved to see one individual killed. i don't think anyone in the region is neye naive to think t iran is going to change their calculation because one leader is killed. we are getting the first kind of kmepts fr kme comments from the commander. he and the leader just paid a visit into soleimani's house and respects to his family and reportedly saying they're continuing everything that's happening under soleimani's leadership. anyone waking up in the middle east thinking this action by the u.s. is diverting in the region or making them retract, no. i don't think they're going to somehow take on a lesser role in all these country that is are fighting proxy wars in america. >> there are a whole lot of people in syria and lebanon and yemen.
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who were on soleimani's side. they're not going to be celebrating this. >> that's certainly true. he had proxy and militia that were on his payroll and under hisinfluence. that's absolutely true. i am not suggesting that the dynamics of the middle east are going to change. people will celebrate because they see one of their generals are gone. i don't think people are not going to assume that means the oppression is going away. they're seeing the man to see if blood is on his hand will go away. >> we'll be talking to mayor de blasio shortly. people in america are preparing for iran's warning of retaliation. do you have a sense that retaliation will take place in the way that traditional attacks will take place in america. that's not what typically iran has done. >> no, iran is not a player in
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terms of organizing the united states homeland. we have one confirmed attack which the good force did try to organize within the american residents which failed to assassinate the ambassador of saudi arabia in washington, d.c. and georgetown. iran's strengths are all within the region. they are not a small country. this is where i think our viewers need to have some of the myths smell of iran. when we fought iraq in 2003, we are fighting a quart otherer of population. iran has 85 million people and they have the capacity to bring every 18 or 35 years old into the armed forces in a matter of months. that's 20 to 30 million people. they are not going to attack us directly, if the faball is in
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their court, they'll use war symmetric air fair, they'll determine the time of retaliation. they always use proxy they don't have their own nation state attack. it will be just as effective. i am surprise that had the american embassy is not being bombarded day and night the way it used to be under al-qaida because that would be the easiest level of retaliation. then again so would barricading the building with tens of thousands of militiamen. we'll have to wait and see. >> this is an omnivore mouinous. iranian media reporting as him saying this quote. "be patience, soon you will witness bodies of americans all over the middle east." and i think to malcolm's point,
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they'll decide when and where and how to -- >> it is where u.s. troops are based throughout the middle east. all of them within the striking range of the iranian directly through their proxy or the iranian military. >> thanks all three of you. >> coming up next, president trump ordered, authorized a drone strike killing iran's top general, did he have the authorization to do it? we'll be asking members of the congress service community. you are watching "velshi & ruhle" right here on msnbc. e wa& ruhle" right here on msnbc
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welcome back to "velshi & ruhle." the after math of the killing of soleimani, lawmakers are calling on the trump administration to explain exactly why congress was not consulted before the strike. republicans defending the president's decision to move forward with the targeted air strikes. >> do you think congress should have made the decision or the president should consulted congress? >> the last group of people that you want top talk about this is democrats. you can't look at historical
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textbooks to solve this problem. we have a chase between war and if we want peace, we can surrender to them now. >> i think every president that does something does have to come to congress to have a floor debate. if we have a floor debate about whether to kill soleimani, we'll not be able to kill soleimani. >> he's a member of the armed services committee and an iraq war veteran who served four tours of duty in iraq. congressman, let's get your reaction. >> well, look. soleimani is an evil man. he's got american blood on his hand. i don't mourn his loss. the reason why we need to have this debate in congress is because there is a chance that we start a regional war. you are right, the president does not need to come to congress to simply kill an enemy of the united states. he does have to come to congress
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to start a cwar. that's where it is headed now. >> we can't have a florida debate. tell me how you feel about that. is that true? is this an act of war. thinks the kind is this the kind of thing that you think congress needs to be vofr involved in? >> it is not just killing one man because of his position. sure. the narrow frame of if you are going to conduct a strike, you don't need to have a floor debate about it. we need to have a debate about whether america should be going to war with iran. it is something i have been calling for years. during this year's debate on the defense bill. you know that debate was pushed aside but it is exactly because of situations like this that we
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need to have that discussion. the bottom line is this administration has no strategy to deal with iran. you saw it today where they called for everybody in iraq to leave. if you need to evacuate american personnel from a dangerous country like iraq, you do that with a military operation that's been planned in advance. it is clear this administration had no plan and they don't know what's going to happen as this conflict escalates. >> how do you know that? pompeo would argument we had to make a smooth decision and if he did not do this, we'll put american lives at risk. the administration would make the argument, we are in the drive seat. . >> what's the imminent threat? >> soleimani has been a threat to americans for the last decade. we have seen the number of americans who have died in iraq. so if there are something
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dramatically new or different that necessitated this strike yesterday at the drop of a hat without talking to congress whatsoever, although apparently that trump did inform his buddy, senator graham, what is that threat? come explain that to us today? what's that imminent threat? >> all we know right now we are in a situation because of this strike that iran is going to retalia retaliate. has our national security and safety americans improve or gotten worse because of what the administration has done. i can tell you today it had gotten worse. >> before you go out and make statements of what's authorized and what's legal or what's not. why don't you wait to see what that justisquu justification is. if it did not have an imminent threat, is that perhaps against the law and seeking congressional debate and
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authorization, how much time are you prepared to wait? >> 24 hours. there is no reason why they should -- the strike is done. more broadly the administration needs to present what their strategy with iran is. their own state policies to is to do three things, deter regional aggression, everything they have done especially this strike escalated. it is to stop their nuclear weapon program but by spreading the iran's nuclear deal and pulling out of it, iran restarted their program. they fail on that count. third, the administration says their maximum pressure campaign is designed to bring iran to the negotiating table. well, nothing any of the administration have done pushed them further away than this striekt la strike last night. >> congressman seth molten.
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thank you for joining us. let's take a look at who this man is. following the revolution in iran. qasem soleimani joined the revolutionary guard corps. since 1998, he led the revolutionary guards' quds force. in 2011, united states and israel designated him as a terrorist. he has been considered iran's second most powerful person. what exactly is this quds force that we keep on hearing about? >> both have been decembesignat the united states. typically not inside of iran, in the country's neighboring iran.
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soleimani has been accused of controlling proxy militia across the middle east, iraq and lebanon and syria. according to the state department, iran is responsible for the death of at least 603 u.s. service members in iraq from 2003 to 2011. today, iran's supreme leader appointed this man, soleimani's former deputy, as soleimani's successor. he had been working alongside soleimani for the past 20 years. joining me now, a former cia officer, national security council during the obama administration and a steven cook. welcome to both of you, ge gentlem gentlemen. what kind of intelligence would
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the white house would have had that would lead to this kind of attack? >> right, so the targeting package was at the heart of the drone attack and i won't get into specifics about that. knowing someone is in a country verses knowing someone is at a specific location or at a specific time inside that country are two different pieces of the intelligence and requiring a lot more people to be involved and put together those packages. the white house, and defenses, i believe who carried this out would have access to that level of details. >> joel, in this case, it was not soleimani was living in hiding, you know the way of osama bin laden was. he was out in the public and a small entourage. >> that's right. he was not in hiding like
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baghdadi or like osama bin laden was. he traveled freely throughout syria and iraq and iran and recently years he posted a lot on social media. it does not seem like he felt rather confident in his status and he was untouchable. i don't think he or the iranian government or many people like myself thought that we would take him out. i would just say that we could have done this, and the israeli called have done this the past ten years and if we decided not to about ten years ago when they had an opportunity and that's telling, the timing of why we did this now is very questionable to me. i think there is significance reasons to doubt the administration. >> let's talk about the threat, steve. the administration has posed a reason for doing this that there was an imminent threat. what reason do we have to believe? the threat is eliminated with
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the death of soleimani. was he that important of taking the man out and changes the situation on the ground. >> i don't think so at all. certainly soleimani was very important to the iranian regional strategy. but, of course his departmeuty taking over and the strike is spectacular, something that iranians never thought would happen. the united states could not do anything and is going to result in a significant escalation from the iranians. >> what is escalation look like to you? we have all sorts of conversations, we'll speak to the mayor of new york about that kind of thing and they're talking about cyber and the threat of soleimani's deputy is about america's region. what do retaliation look like to
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you? >> iranians have a range of capabilities. the idea that this is going to produce a war between the united states and iran where two forces are going to meet in the desert seems off point. what the iranians will do is use proxies of where ever they may be, syria or iraq or lebanon or gaza, to attack american targets or personnel or allies of the united states. >> there is also precedent for the iranians reaching out to europe and south america to target soft targets in those place that is are places of importance to the united states and its allieallies. >> we should expect to see a range of iranians responses over a period of time but not kind of set battle in the iraqi desert in the american forces. >> thank you for joining us. coming up, iran is threatening
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retaliation as we have been discussing for killing its top general. we'll have a discussion of what the effect is on american national security. >> we'll speak to mayor bill de blasio. you do not want to miss it, you are watching "velshi & ruhle." are watching "velshi & ruhle." is changing how the world treats, and defeats, childhood cancer. we freely share our research with doctors around the world and no family pays st. jude for anything... because all a family should worry about, is helping their child live. donate now at stjude.org or shop wherever you see the st. jude logo.
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welcome back to "velshi & ruhle." mayor bill de becaulasio warned
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today that new york city is the top state for retaliation. major u.s. cities prepare for potential retaliation. joining us now, mayor bill de blasio. there are no specific threats at this time. what kind of threats are you preparing? >> stephanie, that's right, no credible threats directed at new york city at this point. the problem is iranian and proxies have previously and we know since public information, they scattered out new york city startin and he zbollah. this is what i am trying to get across overall. this is as of last night, we are
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effectively in a state of war with iran and that should have been done with congressional approval but it was not. now, we are not dealing with another country, we are dealing with a very sophisticated modern country with a huge military and int internationally terrorist network. we have dealt with ner9/11 and dealt with lone wolves attack. this is a much more organized threat. we have to be prepared. that's why nypd is on high alert to protect our people and protect the symbol of america. >> there are a few things you have to think about. you got to think of deployment and eyes and ears on things. there is always a record you made earlier today to hezbollah which is an iranian funded organization that operates in southern lebanon and against
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israel and many cases about them trying to set up sleeper cells in the united states, what do you know about that. >> there is evidence before iranian agents and hezbollah agents acting in this country. some of them were in the diplomatic core. that gives us every reason to believe it could go beyond that. we have extensive intelligence gathering of capabilities in nypd. we need to have our own capacity and what we have learned over the year as that even the stateless actor had the ability to develop sleeper cells. now, i want to make it clear it is more challenging than the united states ever confronted.
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t the regime is horrible. i am glad that soleimani is dead. we have to be realistic of what we are doing. sometimes we never confronted previously. we don't know the extent of those plans, obviously. we dont know what they are able to activate. but if this turns into a full-scale shooting war and right now that is the direction it is going in, we are fools to assume this does not end up with multiple acts of terror in the united states, not in the first round of activity. i very mup beliech believe the things you will not see here. i want to part company with the president when he said if there was a war, it would be a short war. a war with iran, a very long war and not a conventional war, but
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a war in which iranian proxy forces all around the world attack american assets, american personnel and the american homeland. that's why we should stop this march to war and be deliberations to decide if this is going to make us safer or less safe. >> let's talk about the threat of cyber war. cyber attacks on the horizon. we don't even know what is to come. >> we have a very advance cyber command in new york city. we have experienced terrorism the way no other american city has we have taken it upon ourselves to arm up and prepare ourselves. we have a huge intelligence gathering apparatus and armed police apparatus and also a strong cyber command and what we've learned is the iranians are very, very effective. we saw the attack on the most
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important corporation in saudi arabia, that paralyzed their oil supply. we know iran has attacked americaneffectively. this is not to be taken lightly. we feel confident that we have a lot of capacity here and that is when there wasn't a state of war. i think, again, the american people have been really clear over many elections they want to stop seeing american intervention all over the world. this will make all of that look like child's play. the problem here is if we end up in a shooting war, you can expect things like cyber attacks on a level we've never seen before and iran is a serious adversary when it comes to terror. >> mayor bill de blasio of new york. did president trump need approval to kill iran's general. i'm alex trebek here to tell you
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welcome back to "velshi & ruhle." members of congress are calling on the trump administration to disclose its legal justification for ordering the strike. >> this morning, secretary of state mike pompeo argued that the united states acted preemptively and legally to prevent the loss of american lives. calling soleimani an imminent threat. >> the military commander who was actively infwengaged in plog to kill americans in the region. we had an important set of underlying reasons to take this strike. we are confident we not only got it right legally but we got it right strategically. >> joining us now is the former undersecretary of state for political affairs and professor at the harvard kennedy school m ambassador wendy sherman. she led that reached a nuclear deal with iran. good to see you. senator rand paul tweeted, quote, if we are to go to war
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with iran, the constitution dictates that we declare war. a war without declaration is intermittent eruptions of violence with no clear mission for our soldiers. talk to me about the legal case for doing what the trump administration has done. >> well, i'm not a lawyer myself, ali, but my understanding and based on previous experience, the case that the administration is trying to make is a case for self-defense, which is allowed under both international and domestic law. that, as some of your previous guests have said, rests on a danger being imminent. and i think that the members are quite right when they call for the administration to brief the senate and the house as quickly as possible in classified setting to say what is the intelligence that shows this was imminent? indeed, qasem soleimani is a
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ruthless military man for the iranians and i certainly don't mourn his death, per se. but both president bush and president obama looked at this situation and always had to ask, will the outcome justify the means. and in both the case of president bush and president obama, the answer was no. president obama tried to get the nuclear weapons off of the battlefield because it would stop our ability to deter iran. he was able to do that. but, of course, we know president trump walked away. >> ambassador, iran has already announced soleimani's replacement and pursuing the same strategy they were before. that being the case, has this imminent threat that secretary of state pompeo been neutralized? >> i completely agree with the implication of your question, stephanie. absolutely not. the fact that the administration put out a warning to americans to leave iraq says that
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americans in iraq are less safe today than they were yesterday and we've seen lines of all of the oilmen and oilwomen in iraq u.s. citizens leaving that country. the president is sending in 3,500 more troops, which clearly means we're not safe and a president who wants to withdraw troops is now adding troops back into the middle east. every one of our embassies in the region is at risk as may be american troops, american citizens in any part of the world, quite frankly. >> ambassador, there were some people who were hoping at the beginning of the trump adm administration that some will get them backt to the table and their economy is suffering and we'll get something that critics of the iran deal would feel is better than the iran deal. this is feeling a little like north korea now. this feels like we're going entirely in a different direction. >> i think part of the problem we have here, ali, is that we have one off actions but very few, if any, strategies. i think that was the case and is
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the case in north korea. i think that is the case here in iran. the administration bought in to this notion that if you put on maximum pressure on iran, you will either bring them to their knees or you will get a popular uprising in iran that will get rid of the theocratic regime. what we're seeing on the streets of iran today are outpourings of iranians in ways we have not seen for quite some time. these aren't protesters against the regime. these are iranians being whipped up into a nationalist fervor. this is friday, a day of prayers. we know it is a time when you can bring people together and galvanize them to a nationalist feeling. that is what is happening on streets of iran and not a takeover of the regime. >> ambassador wendy sherman, thank you for joining us. >> thank you. thank you for watching "velshi & ruhle. ". >> i'll see you back here monday at 9:00 p.m. eastern.
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right now we hand off coverage to our friend and colleague katy tur. >> it's 11:00 a.m. out west and 2:00 p.m. in washington where we wonder if the trump administration was trying to start a war because after u.s. drones killed iran's top military commander, that nation's supreme leader has vowed to strike back. earlier today, the streets of iran were flooded with protesters mourning the death of major general qasem soleimani. the top military commander was killed overnight near baghdad's airport. mike pompeo called the decision to strike one of iran's most powerful leaders a deterrent. >> the risk of doing nothing was enormous. enormous in the short term. in terms of the imminent attack that qasem soleimani was planning. it emboldens iran. >> s

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