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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  May 30, 2013 10:00am-11:01am PDT

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breaking right now on "andrea mitchell reports" -- poison plot. nbc news confirm as third ricin-laced letter was headed to president obama. intercepted, though. it contained the same threats, including ricin-laced letters sent to new york mayor, michael bloomberg. and the gun control group that he founded. you know, i'm not angry, there are people who i would argue do things that may be irrational. do things that are wrong. but it's a very complex world out there and we just have to deal with that. the nation's next top cop, former bush administration official, james comey. in line to replace robert mueller at the fbi if he's confirmed. what kind of statement is the president making by choosing him? the heat on holder, criticism over the leak investigations escalates as republican lawmakers claim that the attorney general lied to congress. plus, is russia playing a double game in syria? and anchor field day on the
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plaza. "the today show" gang takes the tough mudder challenge, some more successful than others. >> leave no mudder behind. >> oh, we're getting up. >> big willie down. 12 feet, very slippery once its wet. >> yes, yes! >> perfect job. >> there she goes. >> do it again. >> there they go. >> you got to hang on. >> there goes al. perfect! haul him up. get him up. >> come on, go, go. >> help him up. >> here comes willie for the fourth try and he did it sclak no. ! >> all the way up, savannah. >> oh. hello! >> there is no amount of money
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entitle world. good day. kudos to them. i'm andrea mitchell live in washington. we begin with breaking news, a third ricin-laced letter, postmarked for shreveport, louisiana, and intended for president obama. it comes a day after preliminary tests found that the poisonous substance was in letters addressed to new york mayor, michael bloomberg and to the head of mayor bloomberg's anti-gun campaign located here in washington, mayors against illegal guns. that man, director mark glaze. wnbc's jonathan dientz has obtained the text of the letter which reads in part, quote you'll have to kill me and my family before you get my guns. anyone wants to come to my house will get shot in the face. the right to bear arms is my constitutional god-given right and i will exercise that right until the day i die. what's in this letter is nothing compared to what i've got planned for you. jonathan dientz, wnbc's chief investigative reporter joins me now. you've had all of these exclusive details. jonathan, first of all, how
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serious was the threat? i assume that the mayor's mail is screened just as the president's is. >> yes, it is, it is screened at an off-site facility. and a mailroom worker noticed that the letter appeared suspicious and actually took a little at it through a very secure box that they have in that mail room screening facility. and then police were called. so it was never in any danger of getting through to city hall. and that letter was tested and reviewed. and then we also learned about the letter that did get through. the one letter that did get through was sent to mark glaze directly at his consulting office. and that's how that one apparently was able to get through to him. and then the one with the president that we first reported about today. that letter was also stopped by the secret service at the screening facility. and officials had intelligence based on information coming out of that postal facility, that three letters had been sent and as a result, they were able to stop that letter at the off-site
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facility yesterday. and that all three letters continue to be tested. all the preliminary tests appear to show positive hit for ricin. >> now in terms of the letter that did get through, because it went to mark glaze's consulting firm. was anyone injured, you know what is the status of that? did someone open this letter? >> he did. he apparently went for a walk. as explained to us, as is he received the letter, it was monday when he obtained it and went for a walk outside. and what was a beautiful day. in washington. and in a park, on a bench near his office. he opened the letter and out came this orangey-pinkish gooey substance and police were called. and there was concern, but he is fine. we're told anyone who came in contact with the letters is fine. but as a precaution, they're being monitored. and the investigation clearly under way into who sent them. no one signed this letter. there's only the stamp showing that it came from louisiana. but unclear who is behind it.
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the fbi's jttf working with the nypd trying to solve that. >> i know that they cannot only trace obviously the origins and go through the postal service, but they also can trace the type and the base of the material, the type of ricin that they found inside. do we know anything more about how far along the fbi is on that? >> well we're waiting to hear more about these lab results. whether this was a sophisticated attempt or whether it was very simple and not very dangerous. what we do know is that the lab test, the preliminary lab tests are showing a positive hit for that poison. and they need to figure out how sophisticated an attempt it was. what was written in the letters and what is included in those letters. they're treating it very seriously. as a very serious threat. even a small amount, if ground up fine enough, could be lethal. could be fatal. >> jonathan dientz, thanks so much. i know you're going to stay on top of this all day. and president obama speaking of
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the fbi, has reached back to the bush administration choosing a former career justice department appointee, james comey to head the fbi after 12 years as fbi director, robert mueller's extended term expires this fall. comey is a registered republican. with a celebrated career at justice, including a controversial showdown with bush higher-ups over eavesdropping, nbc justice correspondent pete williams joins me now. two people were being considered as finalists, james comey and lisa monaco who is the president's counterterrorism adviser. she replaced brennan in the white house. and has a top role there. but in choosing james comey. the president is making a very deliberate choice to go back to someone who served under george w. bush for what is arguably the most important post that he's going to fill. because this is not just a cabinet post. this is a ten-year term if he's confirmed. >> right. it's almost like a supreme court justice in the sense that it
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will be a more lasting legacy than any of the decisions he makes for his cabinet. robert mueller is the first fbi director to serve all ten years. the statutory maximum for the director and then two more as the white house asks for extra time. and there was even some suggestions from members of congress that maybe he should stay around a little longer. but clearly, he's leaving and clearly we've been told that jim comey will be the choice. a bipartisan choice in the sense that he's choosing a republican choice by a democratic president. >> let's go back to that celebrated moments when in a hospital bed, former attorney general ashcroft was being asked by the chief of staff, the white house chief of staff and other top officials, to authorize the extending the eavesdropping authority. and the acting attorney general, because ashcroft was hospitalized, had had some surgery, i think actually comey objected. and ran to the hospital room. why don't you take it from there. >> exactly right.
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this is what he told a senate hearing. that although the attorney general, john ashcroft, had re-authorized a temporary reauthorizations of what became known as the warrantless surv l surveillance program. the attorney general was not at the time acting. it was comey who was acting attorney general. and he had some concerns about it. so he testified that when he heard that these white house officials were on their way to try to get john ashcroft lying in the hospital to re-authorize it. comey went up there and blocked it. and ashcroft rose up in his bed and said, i'm not the attorney general, he is, you need him to get him to do it. and comey also indicated that he and the fbi director, robert mueller, were felt so strongly about this that they were willing to resign over this issue. and as you know, the director of the fbi, comey met with president bush and the white house and the white house ultimately made some changes that the justice department then said satisfied them. >> i want to take you to also the whole controversy with eric holder which is really heating
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up. between eric holder and the house judiciary committee. obviously the house judiciary is being accused by holder supporters as being partisan in this regard. about you this was eric holder in previous tmt and this is what they're all talking about today. this is holder testifying about what role he did or did not play in the, leak investigations involving journalists. >> with regard to the potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material. that is not something that i've ever been involved and heard of. or would think would be a wise policy. >> what he's being accused of is quote lying, which would be drawn to its final conclusion. if we ever were to get there. would be perjury. so lying to congress is a big deal. he's being accused of lying because of our own reporting and other reporting that he was involved in authorizing, he had recused himself on the a.p. case. but he did not recuse himself. he was involved in authorizing the investigation into james
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rosen at fox. this has led to the president saying he wants a review holder and the justice department now scheduling meetings with bureau chiefs from various news organizations and television bureau chiefs have been asked, invited. it hasn't yet been decided whether they will attend. where does holder stand? i know, what is justice saying in response to the criticism from the house? >> well on the specific question that the house letter to the attorney general earlier this week, yesterday actually, asking him whether he mislead congress. the justice department is saying the answer is simple, the attorney general said he didn't believe that journalists should be prosecuted and the justice department says none were prosecuted. that in the leak case he was talking about, of sensitive information from a state department contract employee to the fox journalist, only the state department government official was prosecuted. not the journalist. and of course the case was, was brought some time ago. and the question was just last week at the holder hearing. so what justice says is it's simple, he he wasn't trying to
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mislead congress. he was talking about prosecuting journalists, not investigating them. the house republicans say that the application for a search warrant against the fox news reporter, phone numbers and emails did say that he could be considered someone who aided and abetted the government employee or could be considered a co-conspirator. that's the concern that the house republicans have, that's why they've asked the question, justice says, it's a simple matter. the attorney general said he didn't agree they should be prosecuted and the journalist wasn't. >> and finally, pete, what is the justice department hoping to prove by asking for these meetings with bureau chiefs? >> well remember the president brought this up in his speech last week. he said he was concerned about the issue of whether investigating reporters over leaks could chill the, their reporting function. he said he had asked the attorney general to get some media people to talk to him about this. the attorney general then immediately said he would get high-level people from news organizations to come to the
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justice department. so he said he's doing what the president asked him to do here. i gaur the issue is the bureau chiefs from the news organizations for washington say they don't want to do the meeting if it's not on the record. if it's not allowing them in essence to say what happened in the meeting and there's some back and forth going on about that the print folks would meet with him today, the broadcasters would meet with him tomorrow. there would be subsequent meetings with the lawyers of these organizations, but whether they're going to happen and what the ground rules are, i gather is still under discussion. >> severe weather in north texas has sent ground crews scrambling at the rangers ballpark in arlington, texas. a fast-moving thunderstorm rolled in so quickly. it took crews 20 minutes to wrangle the tarp over the field. the threat of potentially dangerous thunderstorms and a tornado outbreak continues today for much of the midwest. including oklahoma city and,
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resign. one of holder's harshest critics is wisconsin congressman, jim sensenbrenner, the senate ranking member on the committee. congressman, what is your grief against eric holder? >> well, the grief against eric holder is simply that he said that he really didn't know about any harassment of the press. then later on, it came out he did know about, if he didn't sign off about the criminal search warrant against fox reporter james rosen's phone
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records. and a lot more than that. now holder alleged or the justice department alleged on probable cause, that rosen had violated the espionage act. or at the very least, aided or abetted or was a co-conspirator. that's a lot more than what pete williams said a few minutes ago. there was a probable cause allegation under oath in an affidavit that a reporter had violated the espionage act. now nobody who is giving a reporter classified information in violation of the law is going to tell him that. so does that mean if a reporter gets information, that he doesn't know to be classified and follows up on it or reports on it. does that make him a potential co-defendant or a co-conspirator? if there ever was an overreach and a chilling impact on investigative reporting, the precedent cannot be allowed to stand.
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>> the argument that the justice department is making, just to play delve's advocate here and what pete was alluding to, is that the co-conspirator label if you will, was used as an investigating tool to try to get more information about the alleged perpetrator who was the contract employee at the state department. that without that co-conspirator allegation, they could not gain access to find out whether mr. kim had in fact been involved. and he was the one charged. so that if, so that the attorney general holder did not perjure himself or lie, because it never reached the level of prosecution. that's the conflict. >> well, andrea, andrea it was more than that. because the affidavit that justice filed with the court specifically said on probable cause that james rosen had violated the espionage act.
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it was more than being a co-conspirator. it was the fact that they filed an affidavit with the court, that said that there was evidence to show that he might have violated the espionage act. and that that's why they needed to have this search warrant. it wasn't just a 0 co-conspirator. if they're saying all it is is that they accused rosen of being a co-conspirator in order to get the search warrant, that's not what the black-and-white print of the application for the search warrant, which was filed by the fbi under oath says. now whether or not justice is spinning and parsing words on this. either holder did sign off on an allegation that rosen violated the espionage act. or he didn't know that that was in the affidavit that was filed in the court. and he doesn't know what's going on in his own department. either case, he ought to resign and because he's lost the trust of congress and he's lost the trust of the american people.
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>> let me ask you about the president in all of this. because the president says in his speech that he believes in freedom of the press, that he wants to have a shield law and tasks the attorney general to do a review. is the president blameless here? this policy could not be carried out, the aggressive leak investigations of this administration. could not be taking place without the president's knowledge or direction. >> well that depends upon communications between justice, the white house staff and the white house and i'm not going do accuse president obama at this point in time, of having any knowledge of this at the time that it happened. you know, the fact of the matter is, is that something this serious, the president should have had knowledge. and there's a problem within the chain of communication from justice to the white house, staff to the president himself. if he didn't have dme knowledge of it. the fact of the matter is is that if he didn't have any knowledge of it, then his
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pointed head as attorney general of the justice department let him down. and i certainly, if i were sitting in the oval office on something that this, is this serious, and something that sets this bad a precedent, would want to be left down. this is awful, this is chilling. and this is something that would have come out of the nixon white house. not the obama white house. >> congressman, what do you say to people, including walter pinkus, a very highly regarded veteran correspondent, and lawyer in the "washington post." what do you say to him and others who say hey, the leaks were really damaging and we need some tools. that the korea leak, let the north koreans know we had penetrated their inner sanctum. the a.p. leak meant withdrawing an agent who had been placed, a double agent who had been placed inside al qaeda in the arabian peninsula in yemen. so we lost face also with the
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saudis and the brits and other services, who were working with us on that story in yemen. for the a.p. >> i agree with what pinkus has said. there's a difference between subpoenaing records, where a justice regulation is published in the federal register require a notification of the news media and a negotiation before the subpoena is issued and a warrant. there are two different laws. the a.p. say there was no notification. fox said there was no notification. the negotiationes if you're dealing with national security issues, at least the justice department can state what the national security concern is. and the story may have been changed as a result of these negotiations. justice didn't want to negotiate when required to. by regulation with the a.p. and they weren't required to negotiate in the case of signing
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an affidavit for an application for a search warrant. that actually accused the reporter on probable cause, potentially violating thes espionage act. now why would they sign an affidavit which is under oath if they had no intention of prosecuting him for a violation of the espionage act. that's a pretty serious allegation for saying there was probable cause that a reporter had actually violated a criminal law. >> have you gotten a response to your letter to the attorney general. where you demanded answers by next week? >> not yet and i would hope that if this is really much to do about nothing, which is what the justice department says it is. they would respond to the specific questions that chairman goodlad and i have posed to the attorney general. and do it on time, which is by close of business next wednesday, june 5th. >> thank you very much. thanks for being with us,
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and let the good life in. all the heat that the justice department is now catching from, journalists and also from the house republicans, increasingly becoming a problem for the attorney general's boss. the president? joining me now for our daily fix, chris cillizza, msnbc contributor and managing editor of postpolitics.com and the "washington post" columnist, ruth marcus. chris, you've seen these issues boil up on the hill with the cabinet members including top members like the attorney general. this seems to be getting steam. just because the house is republican led and we don't hear so many of eric holder's defenders coming out to his defense. >> right. >> you know andrea look first of all i would say and you know this, better than i do as does ruth. the attorney general, whether it's a republican or a democratic administration is almost always a lightning rod for the other side.
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it's just, they're sort of delving into topic areas that tend to be very controversial. alberto gonzales in the bush administration certainly was a good example of that, janet reno in the clinton administration, but talking about eric holder specifically. he is someone from very early on, republicans were not thrilled with. they did everything that they could as it related to fast and furious, the gun trafficking scandal to sort of highlight that as that he should leave office, that this was sort of a gross piece of negligence. it never gained sort of national traction. it remains a very touchstone in conservative circles, but never in national circles. what we're seeing now from the doj as it relates to the leaks, as it relates to the heirs, airf these things have more credence.
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it's a issue where conservatives were never going to like eric holder. is it moving to mainstream thought. we have president obama's press secretary saying complete confidence in him. barack obama has never done things in washington to react to sort of washington conventional wisdom. and youia i can't believe he sort of j sort of jetti sonsons eric holder because of this. >> normally he would begin to think about going into the private sector. >> some people were surprised that he didn't leave at the beginning of the second term. >> he probably wanted to get past fast and furious. i think in this case he doesn't have what would normally be his chief defenders among democrats because of a leak investigation. the league investigations is going against some very strongly-held principles. >> exactly. so republicans and conservatives
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have always disliked eric holder. but what's happened here is you have some of his natural allies, democrats, civil libertarians being worked up and correctly so. from my point of view. about the extent of the league inquiries. and he's generally gotten some pretty decent press, i think obviously when you start investigating people who don't even have buy ink by the barrel, your press is going to suffer there, too. >> what about the james comey decision is very intriguing chris and ruth. because chris, this tells us about something about the president that he's still looking for a bipartisan approach. this is someone who was widely praised for standing up to the bush prous on the eavesdropping case. >> registered republican. but yes, if you've not seen the 20-ish minutes of testimony james comey and the senate judiciary committee i believe in '07 regarding wiretapping that
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bedside with andy card, alberto gonzales, john ashcraft in the hospital, and james comey. this is arresting stuff, soap opera-atic. he was holding the line saying this is not right. that john ashcroft is not in a state to make those decisions. but interesting, you know look, bob gates, chuck hagel. james comey at least proposed. you have a number of republicans that president, ray lahood. a number of republicans president obama has tapped to be members of his cabinet or sort of senior administration positions. >> and finally, this could be everybody's favorite new senator, freshman senator last night at a new york republican fundraiser, ted cruz, praising some of his colleagues. >> if you sit back and you list, who are the brightest stars in
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the republican party, who are the most effective advocates for free market principles, you come up with names like marco rubio, mike lee, rand paul, pat toomey, scott walker. you have to go back to world war ii to see such a transformation of the people leading the fight, leading the argument for conservative principles being an entirely new generation of leaders. >> so who is not mentioned there? john mccain who called him a whack-a-doodle after he went after chuck hagel. >> a little revenge there. >> a lot of revenge and also associated himself with marco rubio. after all the stories that see them as rivals. especially over immigration reform. >> and that's last night was not the end of the rivalry. we will see them on the same side and we will see them at some points i believe at odds. and we will also see them, i think almost inevitably elbowing each other for power and the
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stage. but they're both going to be elbowing aside the other generation that he didn't mention. >> it's interesting to see ted cruz, someone who has charted his own course, a lot of support back home. but not trying to make friends and influence people on capitol hill. we saw what happened to michele bachmann who announced she is leaving congress and never got along with anyone on the hill and didn't have any legislation to show. but had a national following because of her celebrity. this seems to be a similar path. thanks so much, chris cillizza, see you later, thank you, ruth as well. and is this the earhart elect? those sonar pictures which could be the plane she was flaying when she vanished 75 years ago. the international group for historic aircraft recovery has been investigating earhart's case for the past two decades. and they released these images, which they say shows an anomaly about 600 feet below the waters
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off an uninhabited island in the southwestern pacific. some 350 miles southeastern of earhart's targeted destination back in 1937.
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6. russians said they were just completing an old contract. but israel has warned those weapons could be game-changers. joining me is former california congresswoman and president of the woodrow wilson center, jane harmon. just back from a trip to the region, having been it in cairo. let's talk about syria. and the russian role. you can say john kerry is trying
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to negotiate the geneva conference, we're hearing it might be july, not june to get everyone together. the syrian rebel groups have yet to agree on who would go. you can't have a meeting without them. and the government may not come. although they've said they would. but that said, the russian, how do you deal with the russians, they are the only game in town when it comes to changing assad's mind. but here they are, arming him with the most advanced weapons. >> absolutely. the s-300 sale was i think the payment was received sometime back. let's understand that russia sell as lot of advanced weapons to syria. syria san arms bazaar for russia, that's one of the russia's interests in the whole affair. at any rate, this sale was consummated, the payment, sometime back. but russia told the world that they were delaying the shipment. now they're doing it at the most provocative time. possibly in response to the decision of the eu, just earlier this week. to let the sanctions against arms sales to syria expire.
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that's because some countries in europe might want to -- >> britain and france. >> might want to provide arms. at any rate russia is sticking a finger in our eye, aiding and abetting a fellow who clearly has committed massive human rights abuses. we have some levers and i think we have to act against this. i don't think we can just wink-wink until maybe there is some form of diplomatic solution. i'm for a diplomatic solution, but i went back and checked, and before dayton, that enormously heroic achievement to stop the war in bosnia hertz goe serena, we had intervened about three months before which pushed the parties to the table. but it seems to me that this news is ominous. could you almost say this is a second red line. first, syria uses chemical weapons and i think we will learn that that did happen.
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and now russia in violation of what it said it would do and really contrary to the conversation between foreign minister lavrov and our john kerry. >> is john mccain correct? he was in syria, briefly meeting with the rebels and was basically saying, enough already. we have to change policy. >> well, i, my views have evolved. i said that on this show. six months ago i think we should have changed policy and surely consistent with president obama's view that no boots on the ground, and no active u.s. provision of weapons. we can encourage our allies in europe and in the gulf states who want to do this, too. to provide the weapons they choose to and we can also train folks outside of syria in the use of the weapons. but it seems to me, that to imagine and wish that things will go smoothly for the next month or two until there is a diplomatic negotiation, is really helping the bashar al
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assad regime survive and possibly will result in the death of tens of thousands of more syrians, but also this massive refugee crisis in jordan and turkey. there are even 200,000 syrian refugees in egypt. that is destabilizing all the regimes in the region and send the exact wrong signal to iran. >> we've got a region here that is being, it's not only lebanon as you point out and iraq and the rest of the region, you've got a proxy war going on, shia versus sunni. iran engaged so deliberately through hezbollah. and continuously arming the assad. what about the effect elsewhere in the region? you just came from egypt? >> well, the egyptians and others want more massive intervention in syria. a problem is, the opposition is not well-organized and there certainly are radical elements in the opposition. john kerry and others think we
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can identify quote the opposition we trust. i believe that mccain met with idris, the commander of the syrian free army in turkey. and when he comes back, i imagine he will brief the obama administration on what he saw. it seems to me that guy is the best funnel and is asking us to help the opposition forces. counter the obviously well-armed now bashir regime. getting arms from russia, using hezbollah, which is a proxy for iran as a force to amplify its own reach as an army. and there's no good news there. and john kerry said in a somehow there will be a more even playing field. i don't see that from the developments at all. i know our ambassador has tried
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heroically, our ambassador to syria. i understand he will step down from his post. >> robert ford. >> everyone should thank him for his service. and i know you're having on your program, a predecessor of his, who i mitt in syria some years back. who is also terrific. this is a situation careening into chaos. and i think the last chance is to help the opposition organize, that is the opposition we trust free of the radical elements. or i think we destabilize not just syria, but we destabilize the region. we is a coalition of the willing, we is not just the united states. and not an issue of leading from behind. it's partnering with turkey, jordan, the gulf states. our allies in europe and a world coalition that is appalled by the recent actions of russia and obviously the actions of the bashir regime. demolition began today on what is left of the plaza towers
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congresswoman. and indeed, a lots of my good friends who know syria well think exactly like jane harmon does. that we should be working with the free syrian army. and army and training them and as a response to what russia is doing in iraq. and hezbollah. i don't happen to be in that camp. i tend to believe this is a sectarian civil war. in fact i know it's a sectarian civil war that stretches well beyond syria. encompasses lebanon, encompasses iraq, even down into bahrain on the persian gulf. i heard doctor brzezinski on msnbc, "morning joe" the other day, say exactly that. and i respect his opinion highly. and agree with him. >> what do you say to those, though, who argue that you've had 80,000 people die. and that america has to do something? >> america has to do something. we have to use all diplomatic channels we can. even though the russians are blocking a number of those
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channels. we have to be offering as much humanitarian assistance as possible. we have to be talking with all our allies in the region, including turkey, saudi arabia and qatar who are arming certain elements of the rebels and trying to insure that their weapons are not going to groups that are hostile to the u.s. and some of our friends in the region. such as the group, japa de japa del nusra who says we are al qaeda. >> we what we have is a potential stalemate. you have saudi arabia, qatar and the brits and the french who are going to join in arming the rebel groups, some of the rebel groups. and on the other hand you've got hezbollah and iran and russia certainly, propping up the assad regime. there's a standoff with people, civilian population just dying. by scores. >> it's tragic, it's awful.
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i don't feel, i'll be honest, i don't feel that strongly if we go ahead and try to help arm and train some of the free syrian army. i don't think it's going to make a decisive difference by any means. i think this war will drag on for a long, long time. because both sides think they can win. and both sides fear the consequences of losing as death to them and their families. >> you see no way that assad would give up, would finally be persuaded if we could get russia to sit down with him and read him the riot act. there is no way that assad would give up power. he sees no advantage in it. >> i'm not sure the russians have it in their capability to get him to step down. secondly, even if he were murdered or were to step down, his community, his minority communities are going to fight on. and the opposition is going to start fighting among themselves once assad steps down. so we're going to see a free for all. not that different from what we saw in lebanon from 1975 to
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1990. i'm sorry to say. >> thank you, ambassador. thanks very much for being with us. we'll be right back. money has to last longer. i don't want to pour over pie charts all day. i want to travel, and i want the income to do it. ishares incomes etfs. low cost and diversified. find out why nine out of ten large professional investors choose ishares for their etfs. ishares by blackrock. call 1-800-ishares for a prospectus, which includes investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. read and consider it carefully before investing. risk includes possible loss of principal.
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which political story will make headlines in the next 24 hours? chris cillizza is back with us. the attorney general and the top officials from, did o.j. will be meeting with media members if they work out the ground rules. in the print meeting, i know "the new york times" said they would not attend. at least, i didn't talk to them personally. i know that's what they said because it was supposed to be off the record. >> right, andrea. >> and there are off the record meetings all the time between officials and people in, between officials and the news media over what can or can't be reported involving cases where american lives or american intelligence is at stake. and decisions are made of so it wouldn't be the first off the record meeting. this is a meeting to discuss rules of the road going forward more generically. that's why it really ought to be
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on the record. >> right. you're exactly right. off the record briefings happen between administration officials and journalists all the time on a variety of topics. both those involving national security and those who are not. the issue is because this is about investigations of journalists, journalists being implicated. james rosen, the associated press. the idea that this would be something that the people attending the heads of many of the news organizations including my own would not be reported on doesn't sort of sit right with many people. i think the criticism is understandable. >> do you know yet, i don't want to put you on the spot but i am, do you know whether this meeting will take place, the newspaper meeting thais afternoon. >> i do not but you pointed out, is it off the record or not? if critical mass is reached, enough people say no, we won't participate.
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obviously not. i wish i had better intel for you but i don't right now. >> we will follow up. thank you very much, chris. talk to you tomorrow. that does it for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." follow us online and on twitter @mitchell reports. craig melvin has a look at what's next. in our next hour we continue to follow the developing news. a third letter with ricin has been sent to president obama. that letter is similar to two other letters men for mayor bloomberg. we're learning more about what those letters said. also. the american mother held in a mexico jail accused of trying to smuggle pounds of pot speaks out. the interview comes just as new video emerges of a key piece of evidence. and trouble in paradise. a bizarre dispute is glowing over an elaborate tree house. why its future is up in the air. our news nation gut check. vo: traveling you definitely end up meeting a lot more people but
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i'm craig melvin in for tamron hall. the "news nation" is developing following news. a third ricin laced letter has been discovered. this one was mailed to president obama. secret service managed to intercept it. jonathan reports this contains the same sort of threats as two other letters mailed with ricin to mayor bloomberg and his gun control agency in washington. those letters said, quote, you will have to kill me and my family before you get my guns. anyone wants to come to my house will get shot in the face. the right to bear arms is my constitutional god-given right and i will exercise that right till the day i die. what's in this letter is nothing compared to what i've got planned for you. mayor bloomberg reacted to that threat. >> there are people who

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