tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC June 6, 2013 10:00am-11:01am PDT
right now on "andrea mitchell reports" -- hold the phone. why is the government collecting telephone records of millions of americans? a new issue for eric holder today. >> i'd be more than glad to come back in, in an appropriate setting to discuss the issues that you have raised, in this open forum -- >> i would, i would interrupt you and say the correct answer would be say no, we stayed within our lane and i'm assuring you we did not spy on members of
congress. >> i'm a verizon customer. it doesn't bother me one bit for the national security administration to have my phone number. because what they're trying to do is find out what terrorist groups we know about in individuals and who they're calling if my number pops up on some terrorist phone, i'm confident that the fisa court is not going to allow my phone calls to be monitored by my government. >> even as the attorney general tells pete williams exclusively he isn't leaving yet. >> to be clear, you're not stepping down now? >> i have no intention of doing so now. >> nbc's pete williams will be joining us. senate intelligence chair, dianne feinstein on the verizon telephone data collection issue. all the president's women -- how will susan rice and samantha power change the president's foreign policy? rescued alive, a 61-year-old woman is pulled from the rubble of that philadelphia building
collapse. that claimed at least six lives. tropical storm andrea, yes, andrea, bearing down on florida and it's set to drench the entire east coast before she's done. and it ain't nothing but a g thing. brian williams gets the fallon treatment with a snoop dawg classic. >> one, two, three, snoon doggie dog and dr. dre at the door. it ain't nothing but a g thing baby, so we're crazy. death row is the label that pays me so just chill until the next episode. >> it's a whole new career for b.w. good day, i'm andrea mitchell in washington. the nation awoke to reports that the phone records of millions of verizon customers here and at home were obtained by the obama administration through a secret court order. the white house won't confirm that specific report. but senior administration officials are defending the practice, that includes domestic
calls could have a much larger reach. california senator dianne feinstein chairs the senate intelligence committee. senator, there's been a lot of confusion over this today. and you have pointed out that this was the reauthorization of a program that goes back years. and that has been well litigated by both houses of congress, both parties and reviewed by courts. explain. >> that's correct. just for a second, let me give you some of the background, because we looked it up. this is from business records provision of the patriot act. in 2001, it was renewed in 2005. 2009, 2010. and 2011. before the last two renewals, both the vice chairman of intelligence and myself sent a letter to every member of the senate, saying this was the case. the records are classified. you can come and look at them if you wish.
additionally the intelligence committee has had hearings object this, the judiciary committee has had hearings on it. it's been fought out on the floor. there's another point. this opinion, as i understand it, is under seal. so clearly, it was leaked. these opinions are not routinely even given to the intelligence community. and i think the public ought to know that. now let's
go to exactly what this is. this is a routine every three months court reauthorization of a program that's been in existence for a very long time. this program has strong restrictions on it. the data are just phone numbers and trunk lines, there's no content. it is put behind a wall. the only way it can be used is if there is strict scrutiny.
reasonable, ar articulated, under way of planning some conspiracy, then the number can be looked at, based on the person who is the suspected terrorist. then you can see what numbers that individual is calling. >> senator, let me just be clear. understanding that this is the collection of phone numbers and i'm going to infer from everything that i've been reading and talking to today. that it's not just verizon. we're talking about a very broad program here. >> let me stop here. this is classified. ky neither affirm it nor deny it. i've been told that the white house is looking right now at what can be said about that very point. >> but without implicating you in any way, my understanding is that this is very broadly based.
at the same time, my, my recollections going back to these fisa debates is that we were somehow limiting surveillance to foreign calls or calls between a foreign source and a domestic source, this does not involve surveillance. this is just a collection of the numbers. so that once you get actionable intelligence and go to a court and review it with the intelligence committees, you can go back into these computers and see whether a call was with a made to one of these numbers, so that the numbers are kept. because otherwise the phone companies don't keep the numbers for more than 30 to 90 days. is this the case, though, that the numbers would involve domestic numbers, not just foreign numbers? >> yes the people, foreign numbers are calling domestic numbers, yes. and then if, if that person is under suspicion, they can also look at the numbers that the domestic person is called. and my understanding is, if they want to look at content, they have to go into a court.
>> i want to play a little bit of what the house speaker said today. because he was suggesting a criticism of the administration for not explaining itself on this. but from what you have just said, everybody has been briefed, it's been litigated and passed, let's see what the speaker had to say. >> there are public policy and civil liberties concerns amongst americans today. i trust that the president will explain to the american people why the administration considers this a critical tool in protecting our nation from the threats of the terrorist attacks. >> any reaction to that, senator? >> yeah, let me respectfully respond to the speaker. we have sent out letters urging people to come in and look at it. we have debated this several times more than a dozen times in the intelligence committee. it has been the subject of judiciary committee hearings. it has been the subject of
extended floor debate and votes. there is nothing new in this program. the fact of the matter is, that this was a routine three-month approval under seal that was leaked. >> should the leak be investigated? >> i think so i think we have become a culture of leaks now. and i heard somebody this morning say that. and they're a member of the committee. we want to have a briefing quickly. the question is will people come. so the information is there for people to come in to a closed-door situation and review it all and be briefed. >> senator, i don't know if you know this fact yet. it's obtainable fact. it would be interesting to know how many members of the senate went to the secret room, went to the intelligence room and read the stuff that you said was
there, available for them. all the information from the administration, because i remember going back to the word debate, the iraq war debate. and the whole wmd debate. it turned out that very few members had actually gone and read the intelligence assessment about weapons of mass destruction. >> i distributed this morning, i don't have it here. two letters, one of which was signed by the former vice chairman, senator bond and one of which was signed by the president, present vice chairman, senator chambliss, saying that these materials are available. this is prior to a reauthorization. now the next reauthorization is in 2015. but prior to the last two reauthorizations, letters have been sent out to everybody. saying come in and review this. >> senator dianne feinstein, thank you very much. thank you for being with us today. >> you're very welcome. thank you. nbc justice correspondent
pete williams joins me now. well, pete, you can clearly infer from all of this, there is going to be a leak investigation into how the court order got out. i know the senator can't say so, but this is not just verizon. it's all telephone companies that are compelled under the patriot act to comply. >> that's our understanding. that the justice department points out that before there will be a leak investigation or would be one, there has to be a referral from the appropriate intelligence committee to justice saying please look at this. and the prosecutors have to decide whether to do it you've heard senator feinstein and i've been told by other people in the government that they think there will be a leak investigation. because of the sensitivity of the document. highly classified, top secret, sensitive intelligence, no distribution to foreign governments, it's one of the most classified governments that we've seen made public. >> pete, i want to also ask you about your interview. you sat down with eric holder. you're the only correspondent who has on television. sat down with the attorney general, who has been under fire. you tell me what you thought was
significant. i think you've got some tape for us. >> i think first of all, we should emphasize this interview was before the latest story about the nsa's surveillance or data program. so we were talking about the controversy over the recent leak investigations of the a.p. and fox news. specifically i asked him about language that was in the government's application for a search warrant to get the emails of the fox news reporter, james rosen, because the government wanted to know who gave him sensitive information about north koreaments and the search warrant application says that rosen could be described as an aider or abetter or a co-conspirator. the attorney general says he thinks the law should be charged because that language was required in the law to get that search warrant. here's what he said. >> i don't with a comment on a particular case. but let me just say i think there are certain things that we can do better.
certain ways in which we can make things, express things in a better way. but it's also consistent with our need to change our rules and guidelines and change the statute that is actually involved in that matter. so you never call a reporter who is simply doing his or her job in gathering news a criminal. that's not something i'm comfortable with. i'm not comfortable with guidelines, with rules, with laws that would force us to do something like that. and it is in that area that i think changes will be the most significant. >> a kurm of other quick points. number one, he says he wants to give the news media more of a chance to contest requests for records before they're obtained. so that news organizations go to court and fight them. and secondly, he said that he has never sought to have a reporter prosecuted that the focus has always been on the government leakers. he said it even more emphatically today, in a hearing before the senate appropriations committee. he said not only has he never asked dpr a reporter to be
prosecuted. that as long as he's attorney general, he never will. andrea? >> pete williams, great work and thank you so much. before becoming president, senator barack obama slammed the patriot act and that provision in what he saw as a violation of citizens rights and privacy. >> if someone wants to know why their own government has decided to go on a fishing expedition through every personal record or private document through the library books that you read, the phone calls that you've made, the emails that you've sent, this legislation gives people no rights to appeal the need for such a search in a court of law. no judge will hear your plea, no jury will hear your case. this is just plain wrong. >> robert gibbs is an msnbc contributor and former press secretary to president obama and worked with then-senator obama. so things change. >> look, what always animated him was that somebody needed to watch the watchers.
i think that still an mates him even as president today. i think it is very important the way we talk about this. i think the way senator feinstein discussed this the way senator gram discussed this. i think we have to make sure the language doesn't get ahead of where we are. when senator kirk said members of congress were being spied on, you know, that, the impression he left is nib whose number is in this record is being spied on. the foreign intelligence surveillance act is the piece of legislation that's involved in the patriot act. we should be very careful with how we use the language, as to what's going on in this. >> something that we were talking about getting ready for the program today is would this have blown up as quickly as it did overnight. had there not been the controversy over the investigation into the a.p. leak and what happened with james rosen. >> was there sort of an atmosphere of big brother out
here. >> i have no doubt that this mushroomed because of what we had been talking about before. and layering all on top of that, the discussion we've had publicly, in the last few weeks, about drones and the efforts in the war on terror, remember the patriot act, i think passed 99-1 in 2001. but quickly became something that was more hotly debated. i have to say i'm a little surprised at speaker boehner's language. it appears if that speaker boehner wants review of language on something he's voted on probably half a dozen times. i was with senator obama in the reauthorization at the end of 2005. this was a campaign issue in 2007 and 2008. we've bumped up against the fisa and patriot act deadlines on a number of occasions. so this is not a secret program. this is something that has been
re-authorized and had to be re-authorized through congress and ultimately signed by the president. >> let me ask you, changing topics, to the women in foreign policy now. sort of all-male club that has existed for generations until we had women secretaries of state. now you've got susan rice and samantha power joining the president, susan rice in the white house samantha power in the u.n. how will foreign policy change? how will the dynamic change? >> look, i think he has picked as you said, two very dynamic individuals. i watched in a lot of situation room meetings, susan rice. she is somebody who is not afraid to ask anybody else in the room questions. i think both samantha and susan werevy active in making sure that the president was out discussing what was happening in egypt and the arab spring.
even when several in the room did not want the president to even make a comment about it. i was not there during libya and some of the syria discussions, but i think you're going to have two very, very dynamic and important people. two people that are extremely close to the president. who share his viewpoints on this. and i think two very, very strong additions to the president's staff. >> now even susan rice has admirers, many of them say her model in the past woo be not to be these sort of conciliator, convener who would make sure that all voices from the foreign policy establishment will be heard. will she be too much of a gate-keeper? >> i don't think so. but the role of national security adviser has in many ways over the past few years become the coordinator of the broader government's foreign policy. i know some people may be at state and other places have chafed about that. i think given how quickly things
happen, how dynamic the situation is throughout the world, it's important to have somebody that's running a process for the president to make the types of decisions that he has to make with a broad amount of input. tom donalan, dennis mcdonough, they teed up a process so that everybody would be involved in being able to have a say before the president made all of these important decisions. >> very briefly, robert. doesn't she now have more power than john kerry? >> i don't think that's true. look, if this apparatus works as it should, they have to be partners. and secretary kerry will have input on the processes that goes forward. people from the state department are involved in that process as decisions get teed up. and again, the president does this, if you're in, the president will have everybody in the room as he's thinking about a decision and he will ask each
person in that room to weigh in on what that decision is. >> robert gibbs, as always, thank you very much. a 14th survivor has been pulled from the rubble of that collapsed building in philadelphia late wednesday. a dramatic rescue by firefighters, authorities say the 61-year-old woman reached out to rescue workers 14 hours she lifted her hand up through the rubble. nearly 14 hours after the building came crashing down. she remains s is in critical condition at a local hospital. six people were killed in the collapse. building officials don't know what caused the building to crumble. >> 24 hours into the incident. we have a lot of work to do to figure out why what happened yesterday, happened. how did it happen. something obviously went wrong here. yesterday. and possibly in the days leading up to it. that's what the investigation is for. la's known definitely for its traffic, congestion, for it's smog.
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i know many examples, we will discuss today, like the ridiculous "star trek" video and i swear to god i have looked at that video over and over again. and i swear i do not see the redeeming value. and i was up at 3:00 this morning watching it. i was trying to get to the redeeming value. i couldn't get there. i worked hard at it. >> elijah cummings, the ranking member on house oversight, trying to explain to irs witnesses again, what was the training video all about. joining me for our daily fix, chris cillizza, managing editor of post politics.com and
washington editor susan paige. in any case, chris cillizza, what does this say what's happened today about the obama administration, the fact that the administration was so vulnerable because of prior issues and controversies that this verizon data collection telephone -- collection, became overwritten as a surveillance program when it is the predicate for the surveillance program that has been re-authorized over and over again. it also says a lot about the news media, but that's another whole story. >> i think that is another whole story. bau worthwhile topic, andrea. to your first question, i always say to people, politics doesn't happen in a vacuum. this, this story in a vacuum i think would have quickly been, my colleague jackie kucinich pointed me to a susan page story in "u.s.a. today" in 2006. that literally, the lead of that
story could have been the lead today. literally. and i would point you all to read it. if you think i'm fibbing. but it doesn't happen in a vacuum. it's the justice department, the a.p. and the james rosen cases. it's the irs. so there's just a whole sort of conversation and i hate this word, but i'm going to use it, narrative in washington about what's the government doing, are they exercising their power in the right way? just one other quick thing i would say, andrea. we've seen time and time again, the debate over drones, the debate over the patriot act. the debate over the leaks and the prosecution of leakers by the obama administration. the public in the choice between security and privacy always sides with security. and politicians, democrat or republican. are going to continue to do that. >> and just to make that point, susan page, and we have read that story and you did break it many years ago, mike rodgers, the house intelligence chair,
the counterpart on the house side to dianne feinstein has just talked about the fact that he says terror plot, at least one terror plot was averted because of this, of this whole fisa law. let's watch. >> i can tell you why this program is important. that within the last few years, this program was used to stop a program, excuse me, stop a terrorist attack in the united states. we know that. it's, it's important, it fills in a little seam that we have. and it's used to make sure that there is not an international nexus to any terrorism event that they may believe is ongoing in the united states. >> so far, lindsay graham and mike rodgers, two republicans who are not reluctant to criticize this white house, are coming to the administration's defense. let me ask you about something that was revealed today from an investigation. internal investigation about a leak involving the identity of
s.e.a.l. team 6 in the osama bin laden raid and it turns out that it was an unwitting disclosure at an event that he thought was only c.i.a. personnel. disclosure by then-c.i.a. director leon panetta. >> clearly not a case where he intended to leak this. it goes to the sensitivity of the kind of information and to the fact that the administration needs to have some credibility on this issue.
people in the audience. now there can be a question as to why the screen writer was brought in to the langley camp. >> can you ever talk to 1200 people and think it's going to stay in the room. that would be another -- >> well actually that does happen quite often at langley. because they have, they have events for the workforce and they assume that everyone there is cleared. chris cillizza, the other thing that's interesting today, politico and others reporting that darrell issa has come under fire from republican leaders, who were alarmed after he went on cnn last sunday and told candy crowley that he called jay carney a paid liar. or some, i think that was the quote. >> that's right. >> and republican leaders were concerned that the house oversight chair is jeopardizing what they think is a really good
case against the administration for all of these problems by going over the top. >> right. andrea, i think the danger, the danger any time you have an issue like this for the party to which it would seem at least it would benefit politically is to overreach. is to go too far. the case that republicans cite to me time and time again is impeachment in the 1990s, they thought it was the chance to really take to task a president, take to task a brand in the democratic party overreach and wound up bounce back to hurt them. the problem with what darrell issa said from a political strategic perspective is this. it makes it about jay carney the person. what republicans want to do is say look this is about the government and the government not doing their job. this isn't a partisan warfare, this is about the government performing its basic functions in the wrong way. that's more of a winner than attacking the white house press secretary. >> susan page, chris cillizza and hang around, guys, because we're expecting chris christie any moment to come out and we
think he might be announcing his interim appointee to the senate from new jersey. so hang on with us. meanwhile nbc news has learned, confirmed that legendary screen actress and swim star, esther williams has died. a talent scout spotted her at a los angeles department store. swimming champion and olympic hopeful in her teens, she starred in several movies that highlighted her aquatic abilities, including "bathing beauty" and "million dollar her maid." she passed away peacefully in her sleep this morning. i've always kept my eye on her... but with so much health care noise, i didn't always watch out for myself. with unitedhealthcare, i get personalized information and rewards for addressing my health risks. but she's still going to give me a heart attack. that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare.
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gillibrand is leading the charge to do a lot more. taking prosecutions completely out of the hands of commanders, joining me now is new york senator, kristen gillibrand. thank you for joining us. you and your other colleagues had the commanders on the carpet and you want to go beyond what has been approved by the house. and beyond what some of your senate colleagues are also supporting. the commanders are absolutely opposed to it. explain why you think the commanders have to be taken out of the picture. >> well, what we've been told by the victims, andrea is that a lot of folks don't feel comfortable reporting these crimes. because they feel they'll either be retaliated against or marginalized in their career or even blamed. so we don't have the trust and faith within the current structure that their case will be seen to fruition. that they'll be able to receive justice. so they really have urged we take this decision-making, this one decision point of whether or not to take a case to trial out of the chain of command and let a prosecutor do it because a prosecutor is going to be
objective. they won't know the victim, they won't know the perpetrator. they won't be perhaps blaming themselves if the sexual assault was in their ranks. so having an objective prosecutor will increase the reporting. if there is more reporting, there will be more trials and more convictions and accountability and if you have more transparens ant culpability. >> senator, would you forgiver me and wait just a moment. chris christie is approaching the podium. announcing the new senate appointee. >> absolutely. >> an extraordinary public servant. in the time that i've gotten to know him. graduate of the university of notre dame. and catholic university of america law school. and outstanding private practice attorney. assistant united states attorney, rising to leadership positions in the united states attorney's office. chief counsel to the governor,
my first two years as governor. and now new jersey's attorney general. i said on monday, that i was going to select the person who i thought would be the best person to represent new jersey between now and october 16th, when all new jerseyians get an opportunity to elect the person to succeed the late senator frank lautenberg. during the last few days, as i've gotten to deliberate on this decision, it became clear to me that attorney general quiasa would be the best person to represent the state of new jersey in the united states senate. so i intend to execute all the appropriate documents to effectuate his appointment this monday, june 10 th. i want to thank jeff and his family for their willingness to once again step in and serve the
public in the state of new jersey. and so it is my honor to introduce remarks and then i'll come back for questions. it's my honor to introduce for remarks, new jersey -- >> we've heard that the governor is announcing that his attorney general, jeff quissa is the new interim senator, the appointee, will serve until they hold the primary in august and the election in october. senator kirsten gillibrand, the democrat, is with us, the democrat from neighboring new york. what is your response to the decision overall that the governor has taken to name a new republican for the senate, his attorney general. and to do it in this fashion, not spending the money that's been criticized by some even conservatives, spending so much money on a special election rather than waiting until november. >> well it seemed to make sense to wait until november. but i'm not an expert on new jersey law. i know he sfelt felt he followe
law. at the end of the day, it's always for the voter to decide. whether it's a special election or general election, they will have that opportunity. that's very good for democracy. >> and a word here about frank lautenberg. i know at this hour in fact, his coffin is coming so that he will be lying in repose. and you and all of your colleagues are going to be paying respects to frank lautenberg. in fact right now we're looking at a live picture of the hearse just arriving at the steps, you can see on a very gray day at the capitol. and that hearse will be brought up the steps and lie in the rotunda. returning now of course to the issue that you've been championing, you and the other 19 other women members of the senate and women colleagues in the house. what are the chances of getting real change this time? and another issue that you raised, in your hearing, was that we know the new number, 26,000 and people are shocked by that number. but as you pointed out and
claire mccaskill and others, the problem is that this combines harassment and workplace inappropriate comments, with forceable rape. and that there's no distinction being made in the way they collect these numbers. so that you and others and prosecutors know what are the felonies and what the workplace harassment issues. >> well what we do know, andrea, we have 26,000 reports and we don't know the differentiation of what type of cases each of those are. of the 3300 that are actually reported, we do know that 70% of those cases are sexual assaults and rapes. so the vast majority of the ones that are reported are serious violent crimes. and what we also know from that 3300 who have reported, 62% of them felt they were retaliated against because they reported. so those are important points to know, that people who do go forward feel retaliated against. and of the ones who didn't report, what the confidential report shows is that 50% think
nothing is going to happen with their case, less than 50% said they thought that they would have some form of retaliation. and that they were afraid of the chain of command. so you do know from this confidential survey, what's going on with a lot of these incidents, you know there's a reluck dance to report because they feel that other people's cases have been treated badly or they have actually been retaliated against. what we have to do is change the culture of the military. i think it's going to be an opportunity to get a lot of reform done in this authorization bill. i think there's a lot of good measures that have been offered from having victims counsels to better record keeping. those all matter deeply. we will get that done. whether or not we can take it out of the chain of command for a more sweeping reform, i don't know yet. but i think the more we fight for these victims, fight for reforms that can make a difference, bring justice to the system. more transparency, more objectivity, i think it will be a difference long-term. the debate has been elevated that's important for victims to know, they so they feel they can
come forward and get justice in their cases. >> senator kirsten gillibrand thank you for joining ussen and joining me now is congresswoman tammy duckworth. an iraq war veteran. you've served in iraq, and you've sacrificed grievously, you're a double amputee. what is your take on this, this ike? and whether or not the military commanders can themselves prosecute or whether outsiders have to be brought in? >> no, andrea, i think the military has been trying to fix this problem for many years. and because they have continued to fail to fix it, we will have to consider taking it out of the chain of command. i in my time in the military, i had great commanders who would never have tolerated anything like this and i watched them do the right thing. but unfortunately, there are enough failed commanders out there and people making terrible decisions that i just think that if we're going to try to defend
our men and women who are the victims of sexual harassment and assault in the military that we do have to consider taking it out of the chain of command. >> one of the arguments that was made to the commanders themselves when the brass was in front of the senate, is you're talking about the sanctity of chain of command. but isn't sexual predator behavior rising to forceable rape and sexual assaults felonies, doesn't that destroy morale? doesn't that hurt the chain of command? >> oh, andrea, it's a cancer within the unit. you might as well be shooting your unit members, that's how egregious it is. this is you attacking your very own unit and it's absolutely not acceptable. i have been a military commander and i support the campaign of command and i support commanders having the authority to instill discipline and be in charge of their units, but i just think in this one case, military sexual assaults and trauma, and harassments that we absolutely now are at a point where we have to consider taking it out of the chain of command. that's why yesterday in the
national defense authorization act, i he included wording that would allow us to get a study to back sooner than later, that would tell us the viability of doing such a thing. >> thank you so much, congresswoman tammy duckworth, thank you for being with us today. thank you. fair warning to the politicians i cover, there's a storm coming and it's named and youia the first named storm of the season, tropical storm andrea will make landfall in northwest florida this afternoon, west of gainesville. tornadoes are the biggest threat in the region, a threat that is expected to last into the night. andrea is expected to drench the eastern seaboard in two to four inches, bringing two to four inches of rain over the next 48 hours and isolated totals, six inches still possible. this is andrea. "andrea mitchell reports." only on msnbc. at angie's list, you'll find reviews written by people just like you. i love my contractor, and i am so thankful to angie's list for bringing us together. angie's list -- reviews you can trust.
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france today, paratroopers reenacted the invasion of normandy without the fire. as veterans of the war watched below. at the american military cemetery, overlooking omaha beach, volunteers raiseded american flag and placed others on the graves of the lives lost. it's it was on the beaches of normandy that the allies, 60,000 troops stormed the shores and began the march to liberate western europe from the nazis. joining me now, democratic senator from montana, john tester. thanks for being with us on air force one flying to north carolina. josh earnest, the deputy press secretary said that the fisa tool is a critical tool that the administration needs and as you may know that dianne feinstein was on the program earlier saying that this phone tracking is critical, mike rodgers, the house intelligence chair, says that it actually prevented one domestic terror event.
you have a different point of view or at least you did. >> i do. and i'll tell you civil liberties are incredibly important in this country and to have a fisa court basically give a perpetual court order to get telephone records, not only of foreign calls, but also domestic calls, i think goes against what this country is founded upon. and i, i think it's perfectly good information. but to give carte blanche across-the-board information on what happens is an overreach and overstep and i think we need to get information that's got to be very targeted. that's certainly not what's happening right now at the nsa. >> it's my understanding that you voted against reauthorizations. >> i did. i voted against reauthorization. it's one of the reasons i ran for this position in the first place. is because of the patriot act and i think we need to have an honest debate on the floor of the senate about what's really going on here. and every time we re-authorized the fisa courts for example, it
has been in a hurry-up thing. folks have said, you got to do this or our country is going to be in peril and we've never had the debate. and i think that it's too important of an issue. our civil liberties are too important of an issue to just push off to the side and not ask a lot of questions and get a lot of answers. and along that line, that's what i would encourage the administration and i think it's imperative that congress demands it. that the folks get up here and tell us what's going on. and i know a lot of this information i'm not on the intelligence committee. there's a lot of this information i'm not privy to. but by the same token, we need to know exactly why this is happening and why it's been going on for the last seven years. bush administration, obama administration, did just continues and there's not a lot of accountability here. >> senator, when advocates say that this is really necessary to prevent terror attacks. that there's been debate. there's been reauthorization multiple times, it's re-authorized every three
months. the order comes out again every three months, the classified order albeit. is there real debate or is there debate only in closed sessions with selected committees? >> i certainly haven't seen the debate. now there may be a debate going on in the intel committee. certainly hasn't been a debate amongst the senate on the senate floor about this issue, and there's not been a lot of knowledge that goes on as far as this perpetual court order that has been asked for and received by nsa. it's very disturbing to me, because like i said the foreign intelligence surveillance act court, the fisa court, is supposed to be dealing with relevant problems, foreign information, not domestic. and it seems like they've rubbed that whole line out and now they're going after domestic information. it doesn't have to be relevant. to there's a lot of questions that have to be answered. i want to keep this country safe from terrorism, make no mistake about, that but you don't give up civil liberties to get that done. i think you can have both. i think that's why we need to
have an honest debate. we haven't had one yet. >> john tester, thanks for contributing to a real debate. >> andrea, thank you. 45 years ago today, tragedy struck the kennedy family again. bobby kennedy died after being shot a day earlier while walking through the kitchen of the ambassador hotel in los angeles where he just declared victory in the california democratic primary. ironically, it was only a few months earlier that kennedy broke the news of dr. martin luther king jr.'s assassination in april to a crowd in indianapolis. where we asked the largely african-american crowd not to riot, and they didn't. >> what we need in the united states is not division. what we need in the united states is not hatred. what we need in the united states is not violence and lawlessness but is love and wisdom and compassion toward one another. a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country.
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which political story will make headlines in the next 24 hours? chris is back with us. chris, we're looking tomorrow to the china summit. you've got the president of china, the new president, president je, coming and meeting in california in this unscripted, unformatted two-day summit. and he's bringing his wife, which is so interesting. this is the first time we've seen a chinese leader traveling with his wife. they've been traveling all over central america. guess who will not be sunny lands in rancho mirage when the two presidents meet? >> i'm guessing the answer to that is michelle obama, andrea. this is fascinating. as you point out, kind of interesting the new chinese president is bringing his wife. always to me and i think to most folks interesting when michelle obama not present. we know she's been in the news a lot this week. maybe she just wants a few days
not focused on her. >> i think the reason is that the kids, the girls have the wrap-up of school. but it does -- >> that's a great reason for me. as a family guy, i'll take it. >> okay. the chinese aren't taking it quite that way. >> exactly. >> and that does it for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." thanks to chris alissa and all our friends. follow our show online. tamara is up next on "news nation." in the next hour, new reaction from the white house after a report that the government is seizing the phone records of verizon customers. millions of people, in fact, on a daily basis regardless of whether they're suspected of any wrongdoing. we'll talk with an attorney for the aclu. plus, george zimmerman right now in court for his final pretrial hearing before jury selection gets under way monday. now, one of the big issues today, the judge is deciding what to do about screams heard in the background of a 911 call. will they be admissible during the trial? we'll talk with an audio expert
about what the judge has to consider. and new details coming up regarding paris jackson's alleged suicide attempt. there's a new report that it could be linked to bullying. it is coming up next on "news nation." ♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] for dad's first job as dad. nissan tests hundreds of child seats to give you a better fit and a safer trip. snug kids, only from nissan. ♪ try align. it's the number one ge recommended probiotic that helps maintain digestive balance. ♪ stay in the groove with align.
chances are, you're not made of money, so don't overpay for boat insurance. geico, see how much you could save. hi, everyone. i'm tamron hall. the "news nation" is following late-breaking developments following a british paper that says the obama administration is collecting phone records of millions of verizon records. air force one, which just brought president obama to north carolina, white house spokesperson josh earnest insisted the court order allowing the collection of those records is a critical tool to fight security threats. meantime, democratic senator dianne feinstein of california chairs the senate intelligence committee, says it is part of an ongoing