Skip to main content

tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  May 29, 2013 12:00am-1:01am PDT

12:00 am
we take the side of the side that agrees to let revenge go, let peace emerge, or we don't. we stay out. sound naive? well, the only way i could justify getting into a war is if i thought one side offered a threat, the united states. any other policy options should be that we are not, once again, as we've been for more than a decade, out there on international television killing islamic people. that's all we seem to do these days and the islamic people of the world, including those here in this country are watching. and that's "hardball" for now, thanks for being with us. "all in with chris hayes" starts now. good evening from new york, i'm chris hayes, and thank you for joining us, and welcome back. all right. tonight, how john mccain spent his holiday weekend, not like mine, hint, his involves sneaking into a war zone and ratcheting up the syrian conflict. plus, he's loud, he's rude, the mayor of a major metropolitan city and he's embroiled in the craziest political scam in north america. and the single most
12:01 am
controversial piece of kitchenware in the entire world. but we begin tonight on the jersey shore where the american political equivalent of snooki and j. wow have reunited for one more stroll down the boardwalk. seven months after hurricane sandy, president obama returned to new jersey to survey the recovery efforts and announce to the world after millions of dollars spent on rebuilding, the shore was back open for business. he was joined, of course, by chris christie who led the president around and even won a teddy bear for him in the football tossing game at the arcade. it was all very sweet, very reminiscent of the iconic images from days after superstorm sandy. days before the presidential election and chris christie thanked president obama for his efforts in getting new jersey the federal aid it needed. >> he has worked incredibly closely with me since before the storm hit. i think this is our sixth conversation since the weekend. and it's -- it's been a great working relationship.
12:02 am
i cannot thank the president enough for his personal concern and compassion for our state and for the people of our state. >> governor's open embrace of the president six days before the election angered the base of his party. not quite as much when christie called a press conference on january 2nd for the sole purpose of eviscerating house republicans for stalling on sandy aid. >> there's only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims. the house majority and their speaker, john boehner. it was disappointing and disgusting to watch. >> all right. those big iconic moments between the president and chris christie and chris christie and house republicans, they reflected a pivot from christie and a reflective one at that. he gave a keynote at the republican national convention. but look at this, his approval ratings since then, since from the storm, went from 56% approval rating before the storm hit to a record breaking 74% in february and now hover safely at
12:03 am
69%. now, the uncynical interpretation of this is that christie is the governor of new jersey, a state that was ravaged by sandy and desperately needed help from the federal government. and there's probably a lot too that. the cynical interpretation is that christie is the governor of new jersey, a state that obama won by 17 points and being a partisan identified republican, when the party's brand is in the toilet, it does not bode well for a guy with an election this year, unlike anyone else in the country. christie's now so powerful going into reelection that in our staff meeting this morning, among people who follow politics for a living, it took us an embarrassingly long time to remember the likely democratic opponent who, by the way for the record, is state senator barbara buono. sandy is the rock upon which chris christie has built his reputation of late. so likely so he's going to cruise to victory in november, barring, of course, changes in the political outlook. we all know he has national aspirations. so now that he's cleared the
12:04 am
hurdle of state reelection or at least home state by pivoting towards obama, we are now watching him pivot back. and guess what, he is doing it on the same thing he built his last pivot on, which is sandy. here's chris christie answering nbc's matt lauer's question about the role of climate change in sandy. >> i haven't shown any definitive proof yet that's what caused it. and listen, this is distraction. i've got a place to rebuild here and people want to talk to me about esoteric theorys. >> the thing to understand about sandy, is proof is beside the point. climate change will produce more severe weather and sandy is an indicaor of the climate future, actually the climate present we face. if you view it unrelated to a larger climate pattern then you're going to be in very, very bad shape. chris christie's attitude guarantees that. since taking office, he has de-funded the office of climate change and energy, taken $210 million out of the state's clean energy fund to balance the budget.
12:05 am
withdrawn the state from the northeast cap and trade plan and perhaps most relevant, so woefully underprepared his state transportation agency for the effects of climate change that the state sustained over $120 million of damages to their system after sandy. this is a really incredible bit of reporting. according to a report from the record, new york's metropolitan and transit agency had 11 damaged rail cars total compared to 240 pieces of new jersey damaged equipment. costing $28 million to fix. and the reason for the disparity is because new jersey didn't properly anticipate the severity of the storm. when wmic and the record filed public record requests to both states here's what they found. the mta plan is detailed in five binders, each 3 inches thick. new jersey's plan was 3 1/2 pages with everything blacked out. but, alas, chris christie is too
12:06 am
busy preparing to serve up red meat to bother with that. with his approval rating high, his challenge right now is not governing, but beginning to remember how to tell the republican base everything they want to hear. and it's looking like climate denialism is going to be central to that strategy. joining me from new orleans, james perry, a consultant on hurricane relief efforts after katrina and sandy and the director of the greater new orleans fair housing action center. i find chris christiology -- it's like a guilty pleasure for me. i find it -- like i hate how much press christie gets, but i do find him fascinating. >> yes, i'm fascinated by him because i grew up in new jersey. and i actually went to that beach that obama and chris christie were at today, point pleasant beach. it's a beautiful beach and i'm glad it's getting a lot of attention. i have to give chris christie a few points here. he had real empathy for his constituents, he actually fought
12:07 am
his own party to get hurricane sandy relief when they were holding it hostage. and so far, appears he's administered that relief without turning it into some gross spectacle of crony capitalism. but that sort of minimum bar, that minimum bar of believing in disaster relief and administering it somewhat competently is not going to cut it in the 21st century. we need massive amounts of disaster mitigation and adaption. >> and the only way to get that is on this central issue. james, you're someone who has dealt with -- looked how disaster recovery happens. is there a story about how recoveries happen in new jersey that we're not getting as much. we all see the shore and the ribbon cutting. and i wonder if there's a story about the recovery in new jersey, specifically, that is not getting told in the same way. >> i'd say, richard, be patient and you may see some of those typical politics happen here. what's happening that is most troubling is there's been this clear passion for a conservative approach.
12:08 am
and so you look at him taking $200 million away from the energy trust fund, he's tried to take $164 million from affordable housing trust fund. and what's quietly happened, he tried to spend the money for sandy that wouldn't help low-income and urban communities. >> what does that mean, though? >> sure. well, here's what's clear. when you look at the original plan that the governor submitted to recover from hurricane sandy, it had very little money for people who were in urban communities or low-income communities. it was only after the obama administration quietly pushed him to add $75 million for low-income communities that he agreed to do so. so original approach here was going to be one that left out low-income people, poor people. >> that's interesting you say that becse whathat says to me. the interesting thing about the obama/chris christie political partnership, if you can call it that, it's of course mutually beneficial, right. obama won the state by 17 points, chris christie gets to show he's not your standard republican. president obama gets to be seen doing the thing he said he was
12:09 am
going to be able to do, work with republicans, republicans have unilaterally made it impossible for him to do that by and large. but what james just said is fascinating. makes me think there's political benefits to this relationship. and my question was, is barack obama complicit in something we shouldn't be psyched about in the fact he's going to do this big high-profile event where there is going to be a political opponent who's going to run against him for governor. >> barack obama is getting a lot of bromance too. chris christie is, i think, benefitting a whole lot more. my question is, i don't know how much that bromance is going to work for chris christie down the line if he has national ambitions to actually win a republican primary for president. that's where the climate denialism is exactly where he has to go. >> and this is the big question. james, do you think that political relationship is actually bearing tangible fruit? >> absolutely, there's no doubt about it. when chris christie ran in 2009, he argued heavily about corzine
12:10 am
increasing property taxes. under christie, they've risen by 18%. that's a huge rise. at the moment you start to pay attention to the lack of progress under the christie administration, he's in trouble. you have to focus on sandy, sandy, sandy and obama, obama, obama. that's the way he wins. >> on the issue of climate, right? here's he being relatively clear about what he thinks about climate. this is him in august of 2011. take a listen. >> in the past, i've always said that climate change is real and it's impacting our state. decade average temperatures have been rising and temperature changes are affecting weather patterns in our climate. >> chris christie's problem is the newt gingrich problem. he's now on record, right? he's starting to run away from it. his new line is to thread the needle and not look like a doofus and a liar.
12:11 am
well, it's esoteric, this is the thing for egg-headed people to do. and i'm too busy getting this state back together to kind of interfere in this scientific relationship. but the climate change question relates to the broader question, which is like the pictures of him and barack obama, him on record on climate change, all that stuff is still there in the primary. it's like how dumb do you think republican primary voters are or do you think you actually -- that the base won't be as strong as it is? >> i think chris christie thinks they're pretty dumb. that's a cynical statement he made. and he went a little further in recent days. he actually said there's no proof that climate change caused hurricane sandy. and that's just total red meat for the base and i find it so disingenuous, because the claim is not that climate change caused hurricane sandy or hurricanes, the claim is that climate change makes it worse. they're set to rise 5 feet in the next 100 years. and it takes someone who
12:12 am
believes in climate change to do something about that. >> and also, james, quickly here, the other point, you've got to be thinking about this stuff when rebuilding. the thing i keep thinking is, look how much money this costs. everybody loves the jersey shore, we love the beautiful beaches, the boardwalk. but we just rebuilt the boardwalk in the same place. it's the same ocean, it's the same climate. in fact, it's only going to get worse. seems to me, we need to be thinking about this actively in what we rebuild if we're going to have any shot of not just repeating these images. >> if governor christie is serious about leadership, what he would do is reinstate the energy fund. he'd be able to then show real leadership and show how he rebuilds his community in a way that ensures they are prepared for future disasters recognizing that climate change will impact the community. and i think that's a real path to ensuring resiliency in new jersey but also showing he's ready for the presidency. >> the housing trust fund point you made. we should know that a federal judge has struck down his attempt to use that housing
12:13 am
trust fund money for the second time. >> the state supreme court as christie was walking around the shore trying to get more money from the government. he was actually refusing to spend trust fund money. thank goodness the state supreme court stepped in. >> good to have you both. thank you. >> thank you. a big aggressive move for the president against the chronic obstruction of republicans in congress. he's daring them to filibuster. it's coming up.
12:14 am
12:15 am
an update tonight on a story we've been following here at "all in." we spoke with katelyn hunt who faces two felony charges for her consensual relationship with a 14-year-old classmate. when we spoke, she had two days before a plea deadline that included pleading guilty to two counts of child abuse, two years of house arrest followed by one year of probation and sex offender counseling. on friday, she rejected that plea deal.
12:16 am
she faces trial, and if convicted, she faces a maximum of up to 15 years in prison. and we will definitely continue to follow this story here and on our website
12:17 am
have you been waiting for president obama to do something, anything, to fight back against the unprecedented obstructionism by the republican congress against his nominees, then keep an eye on this story. according to the "new york times," an aggressive and unprecedented move of his own, the president is getting ready to announce three nominees to the d.c. court of appeals. all at the same time. "the times" says president obama will effectively be daring republicans to find specific
12:18 am
ground to fiibuster all the nominees or he's betting the republicans won't have the nerve to block them all. this forward-leaning posture is a new position for the president because the story of judges below the supreme court level throughout the obama years has been one of tremendous obstruction by republicans and to be frank, some laziness on the part of the white house which has been a little laid back in appointing new federal judges. these new factors have worked together to reduce president obama's impact on lower courts. the number of court vacancies rose during president obama's first term from 57 to 75 comparatively during president bush's first term, vacanies dropped from 81 to 41. the senate voted 97-0 to confirm the president's nominee to the d.c. court of appeals. that's good news. the bad news, do you know whose vacancy was filling? chief justice john roberts' seat, which has been empty since he moved to the supreme court in 2005.
12:19 am
getting judges nominated to the d.c. court of appeals is pivotal for the president, mainly because the d.c. court of appeals is very, very important. it's widely considered the second most important court in the nation after the supreme court because it's where laws passed by congress are challenged and senate republicans realize how important it is. it's been a huge battle for them to pack that court and so much so, in fact, they are looking to hold on to the court's current conservative tilt by -- get this -- introducing legislation to reduce the number of judges on the d.c. circuit. conveniently by the same number of vacancies left on the court. >> the legislation is very straightforward. it would add a seat to the second and the 11th circuit. at the same time, it would reduce the number of authorized judgeships for the d.c. circuit from 11-8. >> but in the face of republicans, fight back with maximalism of its own.
12:20 am
comes in tandem with increasing noise being made by majority leader harry reid on getting rid of the right to filibuster judicial nominees. it was always the case that nothing was going to happen with respect to the filibuster without the white house pushing for it. and what the president's new strategy of announcing three nominees at once does, shine a big bright light on republican obstructionism in the senate. joining me tonight, senior editor and legal affairs writer for "slate." great to have you with us. can we start with the practice of filibustering judicial nominees? i remember when the roles were somewhat reversed. it was democrats filibustering bush judicial nominees and then we were saved from a group of bipartisan senators who got together and struck a deal that was going to stop that from happening again. where did we end up on that? because seems whatever they did there is not working. >> well, whatever they did there hasn't lasted. they made a deal that the
12:21 am
filibuster for judges would only be used in exceptional circumstances. but since president obama took office in his first term, the waiting time for his nominees from when they get approved in committee to a floor vote has increased by more than four times. so there's all kinds of delay and filibuster happening and it's become really routine. >> you only got to filibuster in exceptional circumstances and the meaning of exceptional has been completely destroyed. katelyn haligan, nominated twice by the president, to fill a spot on this court, she was filibustered two times for one case that she had worked on, right, in new york. >> exactly. she had come in on the side of the theory that it's possible under negligence to sue gun manufacturers. and that was the reason the republicans gave for blocking her nomination. >> that constitutes exceptional. now working on one case constitutes exceptional. i want to read you this section
12:22 am
of the "times" which drove me crazy. it's refused to render a judgment on what was an empirical claim. republicans deny they were obstructing the nominee and say mr. obama's picks were being confirmed more quickly than were nominees controlling the senate. let me show you a statistic, president obama's judicial nominees are waiting 80 days longer than bush nominees in the first term of the presidency. there it is in black and white. the problem is getting worse. this is not just republican blinders on my part. >> the problem of delay is definitely getting worse. you know, i think one of the underlying issues here is nobody has ever defined a precise standard for when someone is exceptional, when they're really controversial. it seems like some of the filibustering of choices like haligan are on the other side of that line. and like we were saying, this has just become routine practice.
12:23 am
not about controversy. it's not as if there's some obvious way to draw a line here. >> right. which is what comes down -- which brings me to the point. this is just sheer political will to power, right? everything that guides this process are basically norms. and those norms are created by calculations of who has political power, which is why, i think, it's such a remarkable thing for the white house to take this unprecedented step and have three nominees at a time because they are proactively trying to initiate conflict with the republicans because they're so fed up with this. is that the right reading? >> i think that's right. you know, choosing judges in an incredibly important way in which the president cements his legacy, any president. for obama, there's already a new challenge to obama care coming through the federal courts. whatever he does and congress does on immigration reform, climate change, they will all be challenged. and so, i think what you have here is the president making a big move and finally signaling
12:24 am
that he is ready to take seriously the lower federal courts and make this a priority. which given his record thus far is surprising. >> yeah, that has been one of the parts of the presidency in the first term, i think that a lot of people felt was not great and that was a combination of what the white house did and obstruction. but the big question now becomes what happens next. if republicans filibuster all three, my sense is, that's a great way of showing the notion of exceptional is ridiculous, right? because it can't just happen to be that all three of these nominees, all of whom seem fairly safe are exceptionally bad. >> right. and it also shines a big light on these delay tactics, which should increase the political price for them, right. because obstructionism of this kind is not a mainstream political thing to do. >> right. >> if you make it really loud and clear what's happening, maybe some of the republican senators will start feeling some pressure back from their constituents. >> and that is the point of this entire thing, right? there are no rules here, what
12:25 am
you can get away with. and the question is what the outcome of political pressure is. thanks so much, i really appreciate it. >> thanks so much for having me. move over, maryann barry, the title no longer belongs to you. the new champion in detail coming up.
12:26 am
12:27 am
12:28 am
♪ happy birthday rob ford
12:29 am
>> why should he resign? >> because he's humiliating us. >> those were protesters in toronto earlier commemorating the 44th birthday of their embattled mayor rob ford. he's at the center of the strangest caper burning in american politics. we aren't used to hearing or reading about a canadian scandal. and if we do, it's more along the lines of this. the mayor of winnipeg having to explain to constituents why he casually tossed a freshly chewed piece of gum on the ground. that's a true canadian scandal happening right now. thanks to rob ford, the bar setting the standard for what constitutes a canadian scandal has creeped quite a bit upward. and the story gets weirder by the day. all right. it all started when two separate media outlets, "the toronto star" and the website gawker, both published reports describing a cell phone video that allegedly shows ford having a laid back conversation with drug dealers and smoking crack cocaine.
12:30 am
the cell phone video has been written about and never shown to the public because it reportedly comes with a price tag. gawker, launched an online campaign which they were calling crack starter raising $200,000 needed to obtain the video. editor john cook says they got the money but the website has lost contact with the people who have custody of the video. as for ford, he has denied the existence of the video. he's also denied using crack cocaine, although it was one of the greatest nondenial denials ever. and the saga took another bizarre turn with a new report from a canadian newspaper that indicates a man may have been killed because of his possession of the infamous videotape. in the meantime, two of the mayor's top press aides have resigned and ford fired his chief of staff after the chief of staff decided to talk to the police about this whole mess. and today, ford was questioned whether or not his staffers attempted to obtain the video that allegedly shows him smoking crack.
12:31 am
all this is just the latest chapter in what could be called the rob ford reality show. prior to becoming mayor, ford served as a toronto city counselor for a decade for a knack for offensive statements and bullying behavior. he lobbied against an aids prevention program because if you're not doing needles and you're not gay, you wouldn't get aids probably. he was kicked out of the toronto maple leaves hockey game for drunkenly calling people among other things communists. and ford had a meltdown at a reporter who he believed insulted him. >> sir, walk away, it's the easiest way to do it. >> answer the question. >> from what i said, okay. >> answer the question. >> all right. >> why did you say that? >> why did you call him -- you said that. >> i just heard you. that's right. >> what did you say? what did you just say? >> you just called him a fat [ bleep ]. >> you just did. >> are you going to lie? are you going to lie about it. you just said that. >> you just called him a fat [ bleep ]. why did you do that? i'd like to know what your
12:32 am
editor says about this. i'd like to know what your editor says about this. >> can't you face the music? why can't you say that? >> you called me a fat [ bleep ]. >> even when ford is delivering what he calls compliments, he attracts controversy. he was forced to apologize regarding remarks he made with the work ethic. they sleep beside their machines, they're slowly taking over, they're hard, hard workers. rob ford is like the crotchety obnoxious relative, somehow, though, he became the head of the family. as mayor, ford has embarked on a right wing political agenda, anti-tax, anti-union, and anti-spending on services to the poor. to anyone well acquainted to say, scott walker, or john kasich in the states, this might sound familiar. cut bus routes, forced key
12:33 am
concessions from public sector workers, refused to provide needed shelter for the homeless, opposed surface mass transit seeing it as part of the war on the car. in the past, he's called cyclists a pain in the ass who should expect to get injured. >> and what i compare bike lanes to is swimming with the sharks. sooner or later, you're going to get bitten. and my heart bleeds for them when someone gets killed. but it's their own fault at the end of the day. >> that's a ridiculous and offensive metaphor but one that could apply more accurately to ford's current situation. when you spend the brunt of your political career making enemies and offending interest groups, sooner or later, you rob ford, are going to get bitten. and when you're allegedly on video smoking crack, the feeding frenzy should come at no surprise and it's your own fault at the end of the day.
12:34 am
12:35 am
12:36 am
12:37 am
nothing like a long holiday weekend for a u.s. senator to go slipping behind enemy lines in a war zone. but john mccain isn't the only member of congress taking his act abroad. one congressman is bringing his own boston bombing investigation to russia. that is coming up. but first, i want to share the three awesomist things on the internet today, beginning with the most internetty thing at the moment, jc penney's hitler teapot billboard spottedspotted. it was downhill from there with gawker offering the side by side comparison, a likeness that cannot be denied. it rocketed to the top of things that look like hitler website. the tape recorder coming in second place. though, it can't compare to the actual hitler teapot which jc penney had nothing to do with, thank god. but it wasn't long before jc penney was clarifying on twitter, certainly unintended. if we design it to look like something, we would've gone with a snow man or something fun.
12:38 am
and this, jc penney has announced they are ending plans for a billboard featuring a full pot of coffee. yes, that was a joke. beyonce taking charge as always. the singer was performing "irreplaceable" in copenhagen this weekend when a fan she generously included in the sing along slapped her behind as she walked away, which we now offer in slowmo. beyonce was quick to offer this warning. >> all right. got it. just happens to remind me of my favorite beyonce cover ever, "halo" as performed by lp. ♪ baby i can see your halo
12:39 am
>> and the third awesomist thing on the internet today, "arrested development" hangover. one day after netflix released the season, the binge analysis has begun, notably with npr's guide to running gags on the show. it details the occurrence of a particular joke through all four seasons. running jokes about tobias' sexual confusion. >> no, i'm not gay. no, lindsay, how many times must we have this -- no. >> brand new season available all at once to be consumed by fans in the fraction of the time it took to get here. >> i would like to help you. we like to pull together around here. no, you watch your back, mr. >> you can find the links for tonight's click three on our website spring, it's that time of one...
12:40 am
more... step! [ mom ] my little girl...she loves to help out on big jobs. good thing there's bounty select-a-size. it's the smaller powerful sheet that acts like a big sheet. look! one select-a-size sheet of bounty is 50% more absorbent than a full size sheet of the leading ordinary brand. ♪ i got it! [ mom ] use less with the small but powerful picker upper. bounty select-a-size. and try bounty napkins. bounty select-a-size. angie's liat angie's list, i autyou'll find reviews. on everything from home repair to healthcare written by people just like you.
12:41 am
if you want to save yourself time and avoid a hassle, go to angie's list. at angie's list, you'll find the right person to do the job you need. and you'll find the right person quickly and easily. i'm busy, busy, busy, busy. thank goodness for angie's list. from roofers to plumbers to dentists and more, angie's list -- reviews you can trust. oh, angie? i have her on speed dial.
12:42 am
and you wouldn't have it any other way.e. but your erectile dysfunction - you know, that could be a question of blood flow. cialis tadalafil for daily use helps you be ready anytime the moment's right. you can be more confident in your ability to be ready. and the same cialis is the only daily ed tablet approved to treat ed and symptoms of bph, like needing to go frequently or urgently. tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and medications, and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sexual activity. do not take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, as this may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. do not drink alcohol in excess with cialis. side effects may include headache, upset stomach, delayed backache or muscle ache. to avoid long-term injury, seek immediate medical help
12:43 am
for an erection lasting more than four hours. if you have any sudden decrease or loss in hearing or vision, or if you have any allergic reactions such as rash, hives, swelling of the lips, tongue or throat, or difficulty breathing or swallowing, stop taking cialis and get medical help right away. ask your doctor about cialis for daily use and a 30-tablet free trial. spring, it's that time of year when the weather is perfect for travel. and congress is on break and we therefore unleash 535 different american foreign policies on the entire world. case in point, california's own republican congressman since 1989, a man who has fancied himself sort of freelance secretary of state going back decades. yep, that is him in afghanistan in 1988 around the time of the
12:44 am
soviet withdrawal from the country. it was shortly after he was first elected when he decided, hey, why not join up with a rebel infantry group in afghanistan. the congressman also once famously assigned himself the task of investigating the ties of the oklahoma city bombing, an investigation that reached to the philippines as the congressman learned that terry nichols and 1993 world trade center bombing were once there at the very same time. but this week's episode of global terror private i. brings him to russia where he says he hopes to get to the bottom of why russia's 2011 request did not ultimately result in the u.s. foiling the boston bombing plot. congressman telling abc news, quote, if there was a distrust or lack of cooperation because of that distrust because of the russian intelligence and the fbi, that needs to be fixed. we'll be talking about that.
12:45 am
there's no reason for us to be in the cold war attitude anymore. quite enlightened. according to his office, he's scheduled to be joined on this trip by a full bipartisan delegation, including a couple of democrats. bill keating of massachusetts, steve cohen, paul cook, and steve king of iowa and michelle bachmann of minnesota. there has been some talk of actually going to the violence prone caucus region to do some first-hand investigation of tamerlan tsarnaev's trip there in 2011. michele bachmann warned in 2011 about the rise of the soviet union. a member of this week's russia delegation has actually already sent one of his congressional staffers to russia to investigate the potential links to extremists there. that staffer apparently brought back valuable intel, mostly from abc news' website.
12:46 am
maybe it reads differently if you're reading it from inside russia while conducting a key congressional investigation. but even as they decamp to russia to push for more cooperation on security matters, another extremely prominent member of kopg, also someone who likes to dabble in his own brand of freelance foreign policy snuck into a war zone to meet with rebels who are fighting against a government that is being actively supported right now by russia. you're looking at pictures of john mccain in syria. he crossed the border from turkey and stayed in syria for several hours where he met with leaders of the free syrian rebel group. all part of a plan he apparently did not share with his daughter ahead of time. meghan mccain tweeting, quote, nothing quite like finding out via twitter my father secretly snuck into syria and met with rebel leaders. he has been the advocate, which makes sense given his history as the arm the rebels guy.
12:47 am
>> we need to get a sanctuary for the free syrian army. we need to get them supplies, we need to get them weapons. >> i do believe as we have in the past, we can help facilitate weapons to get to the hands of the libyan military, those who are fighting against qadhafi. >> congress passed a law a couple of years ago, the administration has done nothing. we should help them with arms. >> if it's not a viable option, what if any military option would you think realistic and plausible? >> arming the bosnians, recognizing training has got to be a part of that. >> john mccain's big push this time around has had a real tangible effect on the syrian conflict. european union has lifted its arms embargo against the syrian
12:48 am
rebels which mccain tweeted thanks for today. and last week, while everyone was paying attention to breaking weather news, the committee passed by a huge margin a bipartisan bill calling for the u.s. to arm certain syrian rebel groups. now, we have no reason to believe that during this secret trip to syria to meet with the rebels that john mccain met with, for instance, the specific syrian rebel who is seen on videotape eating the lung of a dead syrian government soldier, but that is a thing that happened in syria recently. i'm not making it up. i will tell you the story of the rebel leader seen on tape eating the internal or begun of a pro assad soldier after the break.
12:49 am
12:50 am
12:51 am
in the wake of john mccain
12:52 am
sneaking into syria, we're talking about the escalating tension in syria. joining me at the table, an author, journalist and contributor to "news week," and brandon webb, the editor of, devoted to news, and the co-author of a new book. great to have you both here. you were in syria a few months back, and went across the border, how do you do this? how hard is it -- how do you get a u.s. senator across the border? i guess there are parts of the border fairly easy to pass. >> i think part of the borders of syria. they've been arming them, training them there. the free syrian army. turkey has been very out there trying to -- >> influence the direction. >> also, but to get rid of assad. clear since the beginning, we don't want to deal with assad, we're with the free syrian army. to get inside syria today is
12:53 am
easy because the government doesn't control -- there's no government anymore. there's no control. the only role of the government, the only government presence there is the soldiers that you see on the check points. that's it. >> in an environment like that, i mean we have -- we have what is a civil war, the assad regime obviously has been profoundly brutal and this started as nonviolent resistance, became armed revolt. as someone who has been in war zones, someone who is an operator himself and trained people, what does -- what does influence look like? this is the question i have a hard time. people talk about arming the rebels, training the rebels. we know that's happening from the iranians and it's happening for hezbollah and the saudis and russia and the u.s. what does that look like on the ground? >> the u.s. army is very good at the special forces role of unconventional war fair. it's to go in there and train those guys and advise them and arm them and essentially empower them to act. but i think the issue here is,
12:54 am
you know, and i respect senator mccain for his service, but i heard him say, oh, let's put arms in the hands of vetted rebels. if we remember back not too long ago in the '80s, osama bin laden was a vetted rebel. and that didn't work out too well with us. we armed the rebels of libya and we have a dead u.s. ambassador. the bigger issue i see is we don't really have a clear foreign policy strategy. and when that situation exists, you can put people on the ground, but it's like being on a soccer field not knowing which way to run to score a goal without a clear cut strategy. >> this idea of vetted rebels was part of this bill that the past in the senate foreign relations committee. the idea being everyone's worried rand paul say we've voted to arm al qaeda. everyone saying, no, these rebels are going to be vetted. you've been on the ground there. can you imagine a situation in which arms can stay in some contained group of people? >> there's no contained group of people. if somebody is in denial, delusion in washington, d.c.,
12:55 am
thinking they're arming a group of nice rebels, they have to look at internet. they don't have to go into syria. they just have to look at where they're exposing, putting themselves on the internet in terms of brutality. one of them, one of the leaders of the rebels opened the heart of the syrian soldiers, ate his heart and took a bite of his liver. these are the people that tomorrow will run syria? we have to ask ourselves today as u.s. citizens, what are our goals in syria to get rid of assad or stop the bloodshed? if you want to stop the bloodshed, then you cannot arm any more anybody. when syrians themselves today asking you to stop. >> okay. well, first, i want to respond to that. i want to get your take on that. i want to read the details of this because it's such a dramatic fact i want to be clear on the record here because "time" magazine reported this out. rebels seen in the video posted eating a lung of a dead soldier.
12:56 am
explained to "time" what caused him to cut out the organs. i opened the cell phone, we have massive travesties and atrocities being committed. this rebel soldier is a sunni and harbors a sectarian hatred for muslims, the sect of assad. says he has another gruesome video. just so we're clear what the stakes are what's going on the ground. >> and she makes a good point about escalation. if our foreign policy strategy is working in a world, we would live in a much more stable world and a safer place. and you just have to ask yourself do we feel safer today, more safer than we did when or after 9/11? >> well, let me ask this question about arming the rebels. the idea is, you're saying arming the rebels escalates. the logic behind arming or training the rebelling would be the only thing that brings about
12:57 am
an end to this is some kind of genuine victory and that's the role of if america were to use special forces or at least to get weapons in there, in a battle zone like this, is that kind of thing an illusion. is some kind of definitive victory in the offing? >> i don't think it's an illusion, but again, i go back to -- and special ops has its place, definitely. we don't live in a world where we can sit by with our hands behind our back and not do anything. it's just not the real world we live in. so special operations definitely has its role in the world. but you need to have a very clear strategy and, again, you know, you can point to afghanistan, what we've done there, what we've accomplished. no one could give me a straight answer on what our strategic objective is in afghanistan and how we declare victory. we're going to leave that place a lot worse than when we found it. and libya, syria, it's just -- >> iraq. >> and it's very hard to imagine something coming out of this
12:58 am
that looks better than what's there. although what's there now is unbelievably gruesome. russia, of course, has been very involved in this and this is a little bit of russia's promise to send air defense system to syria. take a look. >> we think this delivery is a stabilizing factor and such steps in my ways restrains some hot heads from exploring scenarios in which this conflict could be given an international character with participation of outside forces. so that is the -- that's the russian justification for this. you know -- >> russia decided to do this way before. russia agreed on this kind of sale to sell s-300 which is very strong defense aircraft. they agreed on 2010 and they did it today. but they were looking in the last two years what's going on. remember, may 7 this year, russia for the first time agreed to negotiate with americans about syria in geneva in june. so mccain being there is
12:59 am
actually undermining what -- >> thank you. >> the policy of his government. when you are going towards diplomacy, why you go there and say no, we want to arm them. they're already reluctant to go to the table. and the only solution out there is a diplomatic solution. >> this is an important point. he just just went to try to make this peace conference happen and as -- as implausible it may be that the peace conference will magically bring around an end to the conflict, this undermines that certainly. >> it's about containing violence and containing violence is very simple. stop arming the rebels. the minister of the secretary of state of the russians, he said it clearly. if the americans will keep arming, we will arm, as well. so it's syria's becoming an international struggle for power among americans and others. >> author and journalist and former u.s. navy s.e.a.l. brandon webb whose site you should check out. it's fascinating read.
1:00 am
thank you for coming by tonight. >> thanks for having us. that's "all in" for this evening, the rachel maddow show starts now. >> good evening, chris. thank you very, very much. and thank you at home for staying with us for the next hour. on friday night, we opened the show with the news of that dramatic and scary bridge collapse on interstate 5 in washington state. that highway bridge collapsing into the river, bringing down a few cars with it. miraculously nobody was killed in that collapse, but there were injuries. that was friday night. then this weekend, there was another highway overpass collapse. this one caused by a chain reaction of sorts. a train derailment sent a bunch of speeding railroad cars slamming into the support pillars of an overpass, a highway overpass bridge and that then collapsed the overpass and sent, again, cars crashing down, in this case under the highway below.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on