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tv   Tucker Carlson Tonight  FOX News  April 6, 2017 9:00pm-10:01pm PDT

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articulate a policy that's more forward leaning with stephen hayes from the weekly standard, it's great to see stephen. thank you very much. so, the action has been taken and now waiting for reaction coming in around the world. >> it's midnight on the east coast, 9:00 p.m. on the west coast. i'm shepard smith in new york and this is fox news channel continuing coverage of the united states tomahawk missile strike. more than 50 of them on syrian targets inside a syrian air base. those actions taking place just about 8:00 eastern time tonight, 5:00 on the west coast in the dark of night, 3:00 in the morning in syria. the president has since spoken and said this was to send a clear message to the syrian dictator bashar al-assad that the attacks on his own people, the sarin gas attack that killed more than 80 including 27 young children and injured hundreds more, that that sort of chemical
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weapons attack, forbidden under international law, a war crime by any definition, will not be tolerated any longer by the united states. such an attack took place in the year 2013. there was a chemical weapons attack and an end at which time president of the united states barack obama said it that was the crossing of a redline. rather than responding militarily, the president at the time saying as he put at the time a list of bad options, decided to continue with negotiations. negotiations which certainly did not bring an end to the syrian civil war. today international agency suggest that more than 500,000 syrian people have been murdered by the fighting, have been killed in the fighting, many of them burdened by the dictator bashar al-assad who at times has dropped barrel bonds from aircraft and helicopters murdering people and discriminate only in their homes and on the streets. an international crowd has largely looked on as this happen. the russians have been backing
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that assad regime. the iranians have been backing him as well. and in addition, has bowl of lebanon have been on the ground fighting along with them. the americans have people on the ground as well. they are largely backing local forces who are fighting against isis forces. in fact, they are waiting to conduct a full on strike on the isis capital of raqqa. so all of these forces in place at one time, widely seen by analysts is a very difficult spot to carry out any sort of military intervention, but tonight, the president said that elation can no longer wait. at the world can no longer stand by as bashar al-assad slaughters his own. the united states has made a statement in the national interest of our people. our senior white house correspondent john roberts is life. at the presidents resort in mar-a-lago. john, to you. >> we see the light and day in syria as we can tube it assess the damage there.
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we are sending in nearly 60 cruise missiles it's like going to sleep off of there the target. jennifer griffin was saying before he turned into a new day, pains were taken to prevent hitting russian military assets and as well, this evening, we are told by h.r. mcmaster, the national security advisor rex tillerson, the secretary of state, that great pains were taken to avoid hitting the chemical weapons dump that is that they are at that air base. but what they wanted to do was strike at the heart of the place that this chemical weapons attack, the sarin gas attack occurred on tuesday was launched from. and to that end, all those cruise missiles went into that base. it was done at a time of day so as to minimize casualties. the united states is very competent that there might be some third parties there as well, some russians, so they wanted to make sure that they minimize those casualties to the best extent that they best coul could. rex tillerson described this as a very deliberative process that
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really began in the afternoon of tuesday as the carnage there in syria began to become a parent it stretched into wednesday, where there were meetings held, the president was briefed, that went late into the night last night after the president gave that very, very strong response after what happened in syria at the press conference with the king of jordan king abdullah. the king asked a number of questions based off what the nsc had provided him on wednesday morning and they took them back to the council and that was the liberated even more and deliberated even more. the national security advisor in the secretary of state brought that all back to the president this afternoon at mar-a-lago where he weighted the options, chose the one that he thought was best suit the situation, and got consensus from his military leader james mattis and as well as the national security advisor and that's when the green light was given to go ahead and do this. this was all times very carefully by the white house.
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to strike at about 445 in the morning and diminish mice casually speared 8:45 in the evening here in the united states. 's almost precisely --dash the president of china who began the summit here had finished dinner with the president and the president was bidding him farewell. the president did though, after the strike, but before he gave the statement that we saw him get for mar-a-lago, he informed president that we lost just a cruise missile strike on syria. the diplomatic follow-up of all this is yet to be measured. russia is not happy about what happened, even though they were advised that this was about to take place. these deconfliction channels -- they describe this as an escalation of what's been going on in syria, so that would seem that at least on the face to be
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very tepid language compared to what they could say about this. maybe russia could potentially be content to sit on the sidelines, let the united states punish bashar al-assad for a clearly heinous act, which many people would consider to be a war crime, in fact i think that is in law and try to move on from there. rex tillerson, the secretary of state, again tonight explaining how he sees this idea of regime change playing out in something that will take weeks, months, if not years in his estimation, or at least any reasonable estimate of it take place because you've got to defeat isis. you've got to get rid of them in syria, you have to stabilize the entire region by working in local forces to do it, and then you got to put in place some kind of political process in syria for bashar al-assad to step aside and then maintain that stability in syria. and i've been talking about this all night, but the analyst in
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russia and iran and all the other players want to see him maintain in syria. how does that calculation all come together? second tillerson did tell us with the exception of russia and syria that he -- everybody else in the area it was pretty happy to see what happened tonight, certainly he has been hearing voices of support from all of our allies along with growth and all the countries in that region. again, in the clear light of day, things can change so we will see when this sun comes up in syria what happens from them. >> john roberts live in florida at the presidents resort. 7 minutes past 7:00 in the morning now in syria. 37 minutes past sunrise, and is certainly the locals are beginning to react. let's bring in the former state department spokesperson not fox news contributor and live with us from washington. nice to see you. >> thank you, nice to see you. >> is a very complicated region.
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back in 2013 the president said i have a list of bad options, he went with diplomacy. tonight a list of options that the president went with an air strike. not to stop future attacks, he didn't go that far. the idea of tonight was to send a message. your take. >> that's right. my take on this on what happened tonight was that i am glad that president trump ordered the strike. i do think they sent a very strong message. that's a message that was needed, particularly after what we've heard from second tillerson and nikki haley and others in the past few weeks that almost made it sound like we were open to a sods rain and power. as glad to see the trump single of what i'm more focused on is what john roberts is talking about what happened next. i want to see from the trump administration a strategy for the long term for the medium term, about how we go forward in syria. what happens if the assad regime uses chemical weapons again?
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what will we do them? and what is the plan for how we work with all the players in this conflict, a lot of which were just mentioned, to bring an end to a? second tillerson is going to russia next week for his first trip to meet with the russians. i know there's gonna be at the top of the agenda and i will be when he comes out of that because at this point was a good step tonight but there are million unanswered questions as we seen in syria that can go a million different ways. we will have to really see how that plays out over the coming days. >> secretary tillerson said about a year ago that what happens in syria is up to the syrian people. we are going to stay out of that region, we are going to focus on isis. a few days later, the syrian regime attacked its people with the sarin gas -- the attack happened and the centers on the left said that the words have consequences and that those words may have led to the sort of thing. now they have taken a 180. is there any one of these
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players syrians, russians, the iranians, hezbollah, is there anyone in here whose diary it would be to draw in the united states? >> i can think of a lot of players who might want to get the united states bog down in a another conflict the middle eas middle east. that's part of the biggest question i have for the trump administration. we were considering air strikes in 2013 when we went to congress and asked for their permission to do air strikes and they said no. we had outlined one specific plan for what this might look like. we haven't seen a plant from administration yet beyond at least tomahawk missiles tonight. so for me, i think that the iranians or hezbollah or others might want the u.s. to be bogged down in the middle east. president trump and handed a stroke out very strongly about the kind of intervention including places like syria. i really will be looking over the coming days for a strategic
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vision for not just one night of strikes, which i do think was a good thing to do, but how we move forward here. and we haven't seen that yet and i do think that's very important. >> in 2013, this tomahawk air strike option was on the table for the obama administration as well when you are the state department. as was the opportunity to wait and try diplomatic route. the obama administration went with diplomatic route. can you give us an idea of what the reason for that was? what the calculation was that said tomahawk missile strike is not the right thing to do? >> absolutely. i was very involved is working with secretary carey at the time. i was up on the hill with him during that as these meetings. president obama made a decision, take military action. redirect it, and assets of the region to do so. he decided to go to congress because we had heard from a lot of members of the house and the senate that they wanted us to come to congress and if they would approve of the strikes. this was right after he
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remembered the kinetic condense has gone through a similar process with the actually lost the bow. we want to congress and unlike what we had told us before that, we ended up saying you know we not going to in the end approved of strikes. we were left with a situation where the united states congress had said no no and secretary ky and our russian counterparts were able to negotiate an agreement where we got 1300 times of weapons at a syria. looking at what happened this week, that wasn't ever seen and that was enough. 1300 tons of chemical weapons, many of which were in areas not controlled by isis and may have been controlled by isis that we got out of a war zone in the middle of the conflict. obviously, we still have some chemical weapons they were able to use. it was not a perfect solution. faced with the options we had at the time, that's where we ended up. there are also i would say a lot of us in the obama administration, including secretary kerry, who at many
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times throughout the last five years argued for air strikes and it did it privately, did it publicly at times, but a lot of us to who wished that maybe there were times we could have been more militarily engaged in syria. absolutely. >> what was the calculation at the time of taking these types of military strikes that might cause an escalation, might cause a back and forth like you just described, might cause a bashar al-assad to act again requiring the audit? united states to act again in a large of the conflict? >> it is a great question and it is absolutely at the cornerstone of a lot of the military options that we were considering at the time. a couple of the folks you talk to tonight mentioned hezbollah if they decide to respond with a terrorist attack against one of the many u.s. military installations in the region, we have a lot of u.s. military service members in iraq, we have some in syria, we have a big bass and still hot, we have them in posturing, we have a lot of
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stability that groups like hezbollah start to asymmetrically attack us they could. i think what president obama considered very seriously as he was looking at military options was always with the second and third order conflict could and would be. sometimes you take option not always knowing what those would be. now with the addition of isis is a huge threat to the region there are a lot of things that can happen if the u.s. gets more militarily involved. in talking to americans, i have heard a lot of people say they want boots on the ground in syria. they want american sons and daughters going to fight syria civil war. what is the right balance there? tonight again, great response, but what do we do if they do it again? what if they use barrel bombs? what we do for syrian refugees who we said can't come to the u.s. but we are willing to drop bombs on your country?
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these are really complicated and serious issues that i hope the trump administration are thinking and hope to hear from them in the coming days. speak up marie, before i let you go. the russians are coming on the ground and they have been since 2015. the russians from moscow have said we had no idea they had chemical weapons, we had no idea that they were responsible for this attack, is there any way on earth that's credible? >> there is none. these are the same russians who said they didn't interfere in our election, same russians who said we don't have russians fighting in eastern ukraine. same russians who said they have an ability to distort the truth and out light write about a matter of life and death. i think that nikki haley was right when she stood up and called them out at the u.n. i want to hear that more from secretary tillerson and from president trump, who up until this point has been unwilling to really criticize the russians. i want to hear more from him. of the russians the ones who said they have the ability to
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influence the assad regime and say things like that, they try to do in 2013. it's just not credible and the pictures do not like i'm of the facts do not lie, the intelligence do not lie. it's going to be on them. >> murray heart, thanks. it's nice to see you tonight murray heart. jennifer griffin how do they talk about how they practice for this? >> we just learned from a pentagon spokesman described to us how the sailors on board the uss porter and uss ross prepared for two days prior to the launch of those tomahawk missiles. they did things such as prepare and accordance of the airbase, shayrat airbase in syria. those tomahawk missiles those have to be programmed, reprogram
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before they are launched. they went to the drill so that will be ready when given orders to watch the strike on board those two destroyers who were in the eastern mediterranean today. they were report today each carrying up to 70 tomahawk missiles altogether they ended up firing 50 tomahawk missiles at a very small area inside syria at that shayrat air base. it's about hundred 20 miles from where the sand nerve gas attacked 72 hours ago. was chosen as a target they went for pouring down from mar-a-lago the reason it was chosen that is where the syrian plane was loaded with the chemical agents of sarin gas inside the bomb that was dropped on tuesday on those innocent women and children as they slept.
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this was chosen for in the path of the chemical weapons have been stored there prior to 2013 there were large weapons stored there. we also learn from the pentagon that they took great lengths not to actually hit the remaining chemical agents that are stored at the base. we also have tonight learned from the pentagon that they have released see the flight path of that syrian plane as it made its way to the village khan sheikhoun where the gas was dropped on tuesday. they have released the flight path of that syrian plane. bret baier and john roberts have reported tonight, we now know that western intelligence and u.s. intelligence knew that the russians knew in real time that the syrians were actually loading those chemicals on that
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plane. that i think was a real turning point for both the pentagon as well as the president and the national security staff when they receive the intelligence that the russians were going to drop these chemical weapons. this particular base was chosen for a very specific reason. think about it. these are 591,000-pound bombs, if you will. there tomahawk missiles that landed in a small space within this airfield and striking these hangers and airplanes at this air base. each one of those tomahawk's cost about $1 million. that's $59 million in munitions that were expended tonight to drop a weaponry on this air base and send a single to the assad regime that using chemical weapons would not be tolerated. those tomahawk's fly at about 500 miles per hour. they are 18 feet long, each
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tomahawk is 18 feet long, two feet wide. it's really like a flying telephone pole. they bc with the naked eye as they are moving along. it could take up to 30-40 minutes for them to fly which of been based in the mediterranean. >> jennifer, you mentioned they've been preparing for this for a couple days. out of curiosity, are they preparing for the possibility of the assad regime strikes again and the united states might have to act again? or is that not part of this? >> i don't believe at this moment that they believe the assad regime would be so bold to ask again. certainly, i think if you look at this for what the pentagon is describing. and what i would describe as a limited strike they have the means to escalate. at the assad regime i would not
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be surprised if the u.s. military reacts because this is designed to send a message to assad, stop killing his own people. it is a message that will is long overdue as you ever been reporting for seven years now and we have been reporting 450,000 civilians have been killed seven years and nothing has stopped the assad regime with the killing i believe at this point in time we know that 59 of the 70 tomahawk have been used by the american destroyers in the eastern mediterranean. they certainly resupply it on the island of crete in greece. that's where they load the tomahawk's onto the destroyers. it's also notable that the navy two years ago in 2015 forward deployed for destroyers to spain
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because for the first time in many years they felt the need to have a u.s. navy presence in the mediterranean. this has all been part of an asset that this day would come. >> jennifer with all the information from the pentagon tonight. thank you very much. michael crowley, senior of foreign affairs correspondent for politico and politico.com. good to see you. >> thanks for having me. >> your colleague has a second page story on politico tonight. the headline is trumped syria with flash in the first paragraph reads in a span of one week, president trump had a team appear wetted from declaring that serious murders dictator could state in power to launch an air strike against his regime and possibly commit a united states to a new military conflict. this is designed to send a message. it's all in the plan. to. >> yes, but it says just a huge
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message about what he thinks about america's latest statement from this administration a few days ago that assad wasn't really a problem we are concerned with and he could stay in power. this is something donald trump had been saying for 18 months or more. when someone like marco rubio would say on a big stage dur prd to get aside. trump would start talking about how we have all these stupid adventures in the middle east and we wasted so much money. we be better off with assad empower them with him out of power because of the terrace would just take over. this is just a complete reversal of everything we thought we understood about donald trump view of the world. the white house is saying this is a one-time event, but look at some of the rhetoric around it. some of the statements from trump today. he really makes it sound like he
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has a new understanding of america's responsibility in the world and of the actions that we need to take to enforce certain international norms. that's really what this. and the use of chemical weapons. that we are kind of hearing from john kerry in the last administration. yes, whiplash is a right word for it. >> at a time like this and a place like this for this administration, why in the world under these circumstances with this whiplash happen? >> you know, i think there are going to be a lot of words still spoken in the next few days trying to figure this out. i think the first thing to come to my mind that when you're sitting in the chair and this happens on your watch and maybe her daughter vaca comes into your office and says have you seen these pictures? i know that a vocative trump tweeted a few days ago about the things happen with the syrians. you might feel completely
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differently than when it's abstract and then one is a president who just don't like to begin with and talking about doing the same kind of thing. i just want to remind people in 2013 when barack obama was getting ready to strike syria over chemical weapons, trump was saying stay out, don't do it, not our problem. make america first. i think my first theory would be very different when it happens on your watch and people are saying these little children are dead frothing at the mouth and what are you going to do about it? i think psychologically that's got to have a huge impact. now he's surrounded by military and national security professionals who can explain this to him and make it more real to him. i just think it's very different when you're at the oval office desk or in that situation when you're on the outside and set us the following at a president of an opposite party. >> i wonder if this will affect, and anyway, and i wonder if you have any reporting on this
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matter, our policies towards syrian refugees. >> i was instructed by team trump matching the refugee issue in his statement tonight. that of course has been the one consistency for him and when he talks about serious. for a lot of trump supporters, who might be confused by this, he might be saying you said we weren't going to get mixed up in these middle east conflicts. i think the language that he used tonight referring to refugees might be a way of saying america does have an interesting syria be on the sort of international law and international norms. that is we've got to do something in syria to stop this refugee flow. i believe he said something to the effect that attacks like this are creating more refugees that are pouring out, destabilizing the region, causing all these other problems. i think that we may be hearing more from trump about refugees and this context. that's really the primary thing that trump had talked about when he was talking about this conflict.
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>> it's great to talk to tonight. thanks very much. josh letterman out foreign policy reporter for the associated press. he used to work in the white house now works in matters of this time's josh, to say that it's complicated would be the understatement of tonight. you want to the degree to which the next stage have been game plant. tomorrow has already come in at syria. and whatever is going to happen is about to happen. >> you can be sure that the u.s. military and other parts of the u.s. government have done extensive continuously plantings, not only for events like this, but for what happens afterwards under a whole different range of scenarios that could play out on how other countries respond note most notably syria's government itself and russia. but as you point out, so much of this is now out of the u.s. control. trump launch this attack, it takes a very aggressive step in that it sort of goes out there. you see what happens to people, including assad say hold on a second, this is what's really
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put me in a situation that could escalate rather quickly. i'm going to back down. or you see assad say i'm not going to be cowered by it and try to do something to show he is still a force to be reckoned with. after the u.s. launches these missiles instead of taking them back, and it really can go into different directions, if we are going to see that play out in a lot of the u.s. relationships, not only was i iran were trump has tried to be more aggressive but so far affected the nuclear deal but with russia where the secretary of state tillerson will be traveling next week even after all of these other questions about russia. at two other arab countries, sunni arab countries that are really upset about assad's continue to hold on power and have wanted for years united states government to finally be more aggressive, to go directly after assad my enter now going to be hoping that this signals a much more muscular
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u.s. approach to the conflict as a whole. >> what is the plan as you know it for a post assad syria, if there is one? >> well, interestingly enough, on that front, the trump administration, at the moment, is relatively back relatively consistent with the obama administration. we talked a lot about tonight how these mixed messages coming from the u.s. over the last 72 hours about his assad needing to leave, is allowed to stay under different scenarios? when you asked u.s. officials at the state department, the white house, the pentagon, what is the process for this? they continue to hearken back to the same process that is essentially topical, we got to get of the islamic state group first. that's making it impossible to resolve the civil war. step two, once you got isis out of there, try to stabilize the country, get people who have left their combs to get back, get others to institutions there than a more functional. step three, get the syrian
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people to decide through diplomatic work what is going to be there next feature government and the u.s. now saying that given what assad and these chemical weapons and they don't see any realistic way for assad to be part of that, that being a similar message to for years that we heard from barack obama and the administration. >> so many of the -- born in syria anymore because the billions that they fled that country. there has to be a point to restore syria and put it cities and towns back together. there's been so much destruction there, as documented by international relief agencies and journalistic outfits. the task is so daunting and it's hard even to describe. >> is very hard to describe and it's hard to reflect on how much seven years of civil war have torn the country apart and pitted people against each othe
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other. there are groups that are fighting in syria against assad, against the islamic state that two or three years ago that were in line with each other against a common enemy. now they are the results of these conflicting alliances, whose part of the u.s., whose part of the turkish group? is part of russia? a lot of these groups have been fighting each other. northern -- is perk a great part of this racy russia and the u.s. actually have to insert themselves in the recent weeks in between groups who have sensibly share the same goals and a similar vision. because of the medis is turned into they are now scuffling with each other. it's going to take years of effort to get syria back to a functioning comp to backcountry. it's going to take a lot of support for the countries in the region and other powers like the u.s. and russia who have influenced to be able to get this back on a path. >> complicated. josh letterman, always great to hear from you josh.
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john is with us, just by the way a description of the part of the complications here we are very much aligned with the kurds. the kurds are very much in conflict with the turks. the turks have a border which allows isis to come in and across into syria and the relationship between those three complicated by the iranians and the russians with two dozen different militant groups fighting with the syrians and the united states fighting against him and isis and al qaeda and horrifying. >> that's just the start. that's is getting going. that's why this has been a president who has run on nonintervention. a noninterventionist president. the question is how much of this is a 180? how much of this is a hundred 8t noninterventionism to be in
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interventionalists? after all, this was an attack on syria, but it wasn't troops going in. it was very discreetly an attack on one airbase with missiles. a missile strike that was very carefully choreographed. we informed the russians ahead of time, not a lot of time, but they got information ahead of time so that they could prepare for this. get out of harm's way essentially. presumably, the russians passed that word along to the syrians. it was interesting earlier in the broadcast, dennis ross saying however this kind of plays out, the russians may say enough is enough. we've got our base, our airbase, we have our naval base, our influence in the eastern mediterranean now. let's move along with the americans. toward some kind of political resolution that you were just talking about with josh. let's find a way to remove
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assad, have something that is acceptable to all parties but allows us to stay here. i think that's a very optimistic view. it arguably means that the russians will say no, let's let this continue. because it was just one air strike. it was just one airbase. it didn't take out an air force, it's clear that the u.s. is approaching this with limitations. it is not getting massively involved. let's just let assad continue this. such that when negotiations do begin, he's in an ever more powerful position to negotiate for the types of terms that we the russians will benefit from. >> this happened as the chinese president just finished a dinner with trump, the chinese leadership doesn't arise overnight. jason peng has been within the system for some 30 years. everything in his game plan by the system. it's not as if the chinese haven't thought about this responsibility. >> that's very true and that's
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very good way to describe it. he is of the system, the system is of the party. and the party is the system. he has thought about this meeting he and his minions have prepared for this meeting for quite some time. they have gamed out all of the different positions and the chess moves that might take place in this meeting and mar-a-lago. on the usi, we don't have deputies in most of the secretary of the cabinet positions. we are bereft of that kind of sherpa that kind of expert who prepares the president for this type of important meeting. so when xi xinping goes into that discussion tomorrow, he's anticipated that this might've happened or some version of this might've happened and a set of looking at this and saying oh, my gosh, the americans are activist, what is this going to do on north korea. they are going to launch a couple missiles into north korea and therefore we got to now be
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acquiescent to the american demands that we put pressure on the north koreans. i'm not sure sir. maybe he looks at that and at trump and says to himself this is great. now the americans are even more deeply involved in the middle east. we've seen how that has distracted then, we have seen have how bad has drained their treasury. this is cool. $59 million tonight according to your broadcast, how many more millions, how much more attention is going to be drawn down by what's going on in the mideast? that lets us keep the status quo. >> the attention that was brought domestically in the united states was not working well for this president. his approval ratings were very low and they were problems left and right and dissensions within the ranks. the republican party was slip blitz. he was pushed back from the left, pushed back from his right, nothing was working very
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well and along comes this strike in syria which horrified anyone who had ever seen it. it was an opportunity to take a stand and he took it. >> he took it and it's going to be popular with republicans, it's going to be popular very much on syria, it's going to be popular with the democrats. and for trump, if we were to distill the cynical politics, it allows him to not be obama. he has so wanted to distinguish his presidency from everybody, from other presidents have come before. this allows him, on the very issue that entangled the president obama, the red line that obama declared, that cannot be crossed by assad. and was crossed. and yet the u.s. did not respond militarily. ever responded diplomatically. it got those thousands of tons of chemical weapons out of syria, no small achievement, but
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for trump, this is the anti-obama move. this is exactly where he positions himself as an activist president that can be distinguished from the one that went before. >> before we go, he's always been seen as a master of the stagecraft, a master of a message come up very good at presenting, if you will. the state department if you all. the pentagon had great pictures of this tonight show what it would be -- the united states did. we had an inkling that something was going on for many hours, we were going to report on such a thing, we wouldn't give anything away but we had an inkling that it was coming. when it was time for the president to speak, there is no satellite truck on property for the white house pool. there is no way to get him out of their lives. they recorded it and ran it through a satellite and when they did there was a buzz in the audio. if i am in the messaging section at the white house, which is obviously understaffed, -- so maybe that guy gets fired. >> arguably, a satellite truck
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just wandering itself up the highway. the bigger message to be stagecraft and now by the president is in part out of his hands. what happens in syria? if the photographs out of syria are not of chemical -- just because there will photographs. >> not chemical attacks but there obama tax. the shelling, has bad and as abusive as a civilian populatio population. if that imagery continues to come out, that's a very difficult thing for the political machinery and the white house to establish. >> where they are busy just a few floors now getting ready for tomorrow's edition and breaking news reporting at their website. of course, much of this week at the early work from president obama -- yes, exceeding a president trump yesterday.
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that he was deeply affected by the videos he saw coming out of syria. this afternoon, or i should say on thursday afternoon, during the east coast, on thursday afternoon just before 3:00 the secretary of state spoke and seemed to be indicating a shift in policy, if nothing else, a shift of the day. the president seemed to be building a coalition to try and take some sort of military strike against the syrians. but the general thinking was he's hosting xi jinping at mar-a-lago tonight. the president was getting on air force one and heading down. air china had landed in palm beach and the two were to have this big dinner there at the golden table and mar-a-lago. how in the world to the president wants a strike on syria while hosting the chinese leader? none of it really added up very well. and it is president of surprises surprised again but the early word came from the secretary of state rex tillerson, rich edson covers estate apart from us in his life there tonight. rich. >> good evening. or good morning. the secretary of state said
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earlier today that it was a matter of holding the assad regime accountable and also holding russia accountable. the rhetoric in the language of the secretary of state had been coming much more aggressive over the past week when it comes to both sides of this. here's something that interesting the secretary said towards the end of his remarks this evening. he said you should not anyway extrapolate that the air strikes changed our policy or posture on syria in any way. the question as to how that could possibly since the united states this evening has just decided to strike the assad regime that had not done so for before. when you look at the secretary said earlier today, he said that basically got to the point where the assad regime had been using chemical weapons, it had not gotten a response from the international committee, and therefore had normalized that use and the trump administration wanted to put a stop to that. that's one track. on the other side, there is the solution in syria and that's very much, at least to talk to
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state department officials and administration officials, continuing to be consistent. that the u.s. wants to engage with the u.n., with u.n. partners to try and find a solution. geneva talks, your discussions there were ongoing in geneva to try and find a way to settle what's been going on for several years now was syria. stabilize, defeat isis, and begin to work with the local leaders to further stabilize the area and potentially some time down the road move refugees bac back. there is an indication still at the united states, was secretary rex tillerson, is going to try and work with russia on protectively as early as this afternoon. senior state department officials were saying that secretary of state rex tillerson's trip to moscow next week is still on. they still plan on addressing with the putin regime, partnering in areas where the united states can benefit. he's meeting with secretary -- or his counterpart sergei lavrov. all that is still in the works
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beside the harsh rhetoric we've word over the last couple days. they are moving forward with meeting with the russian counterparts in the russian government. also getting international reaction to all of this. we just got a statement from israeli prime minister, ben yahoo! who was benched very supportive of -- after he was elected. he was saying, in both word and action, president trump said a strong message today that they use in the spread of chemical weapons will not be tolerant. israel fully supports president trump's decision and hopes that this message of resolve in the face of the assad regime's actions will resonate not only in damascus but in tehran, pyongyang, and elsewhere. there's another part to this. we talk about the audit juxtaposition with the president of china, xi jinping, coming here and meeting with president trump. then all the rhetoric and language with the air strike
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focused on russia, focused on the assad regime. this is all while the trump administration is trying to get china to pressure north korea to halt its weapons development program, its nuclear program, its missile program. a couple of days ago north korea launched another missile. this is all about on one hand getting russia to pressure the assad regime, and on the other hand getting china to pressure its ally north korea. its two ends of the globe here. aggression continues on both sides. >> thank you very much. live from the state department tonight. their headline around the world today, stay right there. across the world, the newspapers of our leading with this. the sun newspaper in the united kingdom, one owned by our parent company, has just been released there were there five hours later. ready 5 minutes past 5:00 in the morning and the broad type headline is no child of god should suffer such hor. donald trump orders 59 tomahawk
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missile blitz where assad watched chilling say or an attack and calls for alice to help and its bloodshed. that's the headline in the british sunday newspaper this morning where word has reached across the pond that the united states has taken action in syria. let's turn to ambassador dennis ross, former special assistant to president obama's special advisor to hillary clinton. he's also fox news contributor. good aiming. how has the world reacted to such a thing? it seems like from canada to many of our allies in the middle east, there is widespread praise for this action. >> i think for those of our friends in the middle east, this is welcomed. there is a perception fairly or not under president obama, there is a tendency to treat somehow iran as part of being the solution is of being a source of the problem of the region. so here when you see iran so heavily invested in the assad
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regime, having brought in so short of she a militia starting with his has bola. there is a response where the united states has made it very clear that we are drawing a line and acting on that. we are making it clear that the onside regime can't act with impunity and the message that is complacently one that goes to the iranians and that's very much welcomed by israeli. you saw what pedro netanyahu just said. it's also very much welcomed by the city states as well. also the middle east, again, what assad did using chemical weapons is something that is seen as abhorrent by the whole international community. acting against that is again something that is likely to be supportive. obviously the question is what comes next? is this something that looks like it is manageable? it looks like and act the united states took to send a message to assad and ensures no
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more use of chemical weapons? if it looks like he can somehow begin to change the dynamic within the war within syria. the war -- there been two wars within syria. one against isis and the other gets assad. it looks like it might be able to effect, that she will be come something as well. time will tell. we will see if something will change beyond just what the use of sending a message about use of chemical weapons. >> secretary of state tillerson said the white house and others within the administration are working to bring together a coalition of the willing, to use the phrase of days gone by, if more action is necessary because of the reaction of bashar al-assad, what might a coalition look like in your mind? >> i do think we will find that many will be prepared to do more they have been the case in the past. one of the reasons that they were hesitant to do more, for example against isis, was because they didn't want to look
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like they were somehow joining forces with iran and assad, who were in a sense killing. they don't want to be seen as part of that. here he might be prepared to do more and his response to what the u.s. is acting of them. i could see a possibility with the sunni arab states. the question is where the europeans do more? it's quite possible. i think they were probably more focused on what can be done to make the process of a cease-fire in syria. the process of politically trying to create a transition period that i think which is part of the whole geneva approach that was championed by then secretary of state carrie in working with the they agreed on a set of principles they embodied a set of principles and the resolution. but the russians allow assad to violate those principles. the question is can you go back to that? will we have support internationally? my guess is yes we will see
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that. a lot depends upon what the russian reaction is. here i would say there is an interesting reality. we are in a position where we could say to the russians, there is going to be an ongoing insurgency against assad. and ironically because of what we have done tonight, we're probably going to see many of the opposition forces who have been fighting assad whose morale is very much shaken by the impact of the russian intervention. they been out to be one voice. they may now be more determined to resist assad and be prepared to do more against assad. militarily. now does that affect leverage that makes negotiations and cease-fire more attracted to the russians? more attracted to the radiance? that's a question at this point it is easier to oppose. >> what is the risk in your judgment that the assad regime and his forces who are aligned with him might take action against u.s. forces who are on the ground and in support of a
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strike on rocco? >> i think there is a risk of that. i think maybe the risk is higher in iraq where the irradiance have more shiite militias where they are more immediately available to me closer proximity to the americans. i don't think we can discount the possibility that there could be that kind of a risk in and around raqqa as well. here though, it also means they want to take on turkey as well, do they want to take on the kurds as well? the cursive had a relationship with the assad regime it's been off and on. it's not such a simple proposition for them. that the think pretty hard about it, but i do think the united states and the trump administration should be sending a very clear, quiet message to the russians and to the irradiance that if you mess with our forces you will see that we don't limit our responses to rhetoric. don't play with fire. we are not looking to expand the conflict, we are looking to see
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the conflict brought to an end. but if we are challenged, if we are threatened, understand that we will not hold back and anyone who has challenged us will pay the price. that's the important message to be conveying because it is a high probability at this point that the iranians and the russians and the assad regime are thinking about what the next moves are going to be. we certainly want them to understand that they can be running tireless. >> >> ambassador dennis ross, thank you very much. chief white house correspondent john roberts again live in south florida tonight where the president is overnight. john. >> in terms of the response of what comes next, i think it would probably be hard-pressed to find some sort of military action that you could claim 8-inch higher moral ground and the president did with this one. responding as he was to an absolute atrocity. that was committed by the hands of the syrian government and its
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leader bashar al-assad. i remember president clinton told me once that his greatest regret of his presidency was not acting to intervene in the rwandan genocide, how that kind of sat with him for the rest of his entire presidency. and now president trump has seen this atrocity committed in syria and within the space of 48 hours really of learning about it, he has responded to it. now, there are some naysayers and many of those you will find in the halls of congress. members of congress you think the president should have come to congress for authorization. he believes what the president did strike against syria it was unlawful, which is why you saw at the very specific language and the president's address saying that he was acting in a national security interest of the united states and it would be -- for somebody that was arguing with that would be pretty hard to make that case because you are talking about chemical weapons here. you also have to keep in mind,
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as the meeting with xi jinping and the big expanded bilateral meeting tomorrow, what is xi jinping and kim jong-un on thinking about what they are seeing going on in syria? you remember, just a couple days ago, when the president was interviewed by the financial times of england, he was asked what he going to new to get xi jinping on board to put some pressure on north korea? he will make the case and hopefully do what's right and then the whole world is going to be in trouble. then he further said if china is not going to do it, then the u.s. will do it. so if you are kim jong-un in your looking this right now and saying if i don't toe the line here, and a half i don't do something that is going to satisfy the world in terms of getting rid of my nuclear weapons, what could be in store for me? of course the situation with north korea is quite different than syria. syria did not have 40,000
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missiles of -- as a different calculation there. that sends a very loud shout across without of world leaders have misbehaved. the support that h.r. mcmaster and rex tillerson made tonight in this briefing that they had with off-camera. here is a president who has shown that he is willing to act when other leaders around the world fail to act in the best interest of the people. we will see where this goes. >> are we expecting more from the president or any on his team in the morning on this? >> i don't believe so. there's only one cool availability tomorrow morning, as he is meeting with the chinese delegation. it's called an expanded bilateral meeting, which means that most of the delegations from both sides of the u.s. and china will be there at the table, and it would really be a breach of protocol for the president to go off and talk about this or even answer a
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question. there's no plans for any kind of press conference with xi jinping afterwards. it's possible that president trump would call unilateral press conference tomorrow to talk more about this. what i'm told from white house staff is that they want to just let this sit for 24 if not more hours and see what the reaction is and address it any questions after that. >> makes sense. john roberts running the late-night oil in south florida. thank you. we just got this from associated press. syrian official tells the ap that the u.s. missile strike they had a number of military targets in central syria has left a number of people dead and wounded. the governor of holmes providence did not say how many.
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when the missile garage, the governor says in the evacuation and transfer of traffic to matt casually's is ongoing. he called the airbase which is about 45 kilometers, 28 miles east of hom for terrorism. militants operate in the central homs province. rebels say that it's her to one of the government's most active launching pad for air strikes on all verbal areas in central and northern syria. it's government calls all armed groups terrorists. i should tell you that that is the very base for which it is believed, excuse me. it's been a few hours. it's believed that syrian forces launch that sarin gas attack, which ended up killing some 80 people including 27 children. it is from that base that the terror attack was launched that president trump now says was the reason for the u.s. retaliation. jennifer griffin is live from her position at the pentagon tonight. jennifer, what concern to u.s. military commanders in choosing this target in syria? >> the biggest concern was they
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wanted to avoid hitting any russian assets, but the biggest concern was force protection for the 1,000 u.s. troops who were -- who are on the ground tonight inside syria. concern that the russian or iranian proxies could retaliate in some way, concern about how this action of firing 59 tomahawk missiles could interfere with the upcoming operation to take raqqa, the isis capital. the biggest concern that i've heard here in the pentagon today, it was almost whiplash since i walked through the halls after secretary of state records to back rex tillerson began talking about ousting assad and regime change. the military planners and the pentagon have long memories and it's not that long ago that they remembered olivia and they remembered saddam hussein in iraq and the difficulties of
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regime change. talk tonight from the secretary of state and h.r. mcmaster and national security advisor suggesting that the action tonight will give action to the geneva profit as it attempts to remove bashar al-assad. the concern is what's going to hold syria together? i don't think anyone has an answer for that tonight. all of this comes on the eve of a very important operation that will be taking place later in april to take the isis capital raqqa, which has been really the focus of u.s. military operations in syria and iraq for the last seven years. >> jennifer, general keane told us tonight that one of the things that is possible for the united states to take out all six airstrips there and basically decapitate the air force. the decision was not to do that. can you give us an explanation for why? >> i would explain this as the pentagon describes this as a proportional response to the attack and the use of the chemical weapon on tuesday.
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they want to leave themselves face if assad decides to react, if he decides to carry out another attack, they need room to escalate, frankly. if they were to have to respond again. they have to leave something on the table. they decided that even though senator john mccain and lindsey graham today had been calling for the trump administration to take out assad's air force, to eliminate the air force so they can't barrel bombs his people again, so he can't ever conduct eight chemical weapon strike. he has missiles that he can launch chemical weapons with. this was a warning, this is a warning to assad to not do this again. they left themselves m for the . >> jennifer griffin from the pentagon tonight. thank you. i've just gotten word from the associated press is beirut where
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it's just before 8:00 that the russian foreign ministry is preparing a statement regarding the u.s. strike that happened in syria overnight. we can expect to have that as our coverage continues live on fox news channel. from a year, i am shepard smith. for now, good evening. >> a shocking war crime in syria that sickened the world into night, the u.s. has responded as we are reporting with air strikes. right now the question is how will bashar al-assad respond. they finally backed down or will it be emboldened? on what are the wider implications that has been a civil war in syria, middle east, and u.s. relations. as well as president trump sending a blunt and direct message earlier last evening out of the deployment of a chemical weapons that were now spanned by the geneva convention back in 1925. >> we have assad choked up the lives of lifeless men, women,

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