tv Martin Bashir MSNBC June 6, 2013 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT
cycle." martin, we'll pass it over to you. >> thank you very much, indeed, whoever you are. >> i love you. >> good afternoon. it's thursday june the 6th. washington, there's a call on line one, but i guess you already knew that, didn't you? >> i will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need. >> stunning report. >> i'm a verizon customer. >> not one more thing. >> i don't mind verizon turning over records. >> big brother is spying on all of us. >> this will trigger a leak investigation. >> you have ben rosen. >> exploiting a part of the highly controversial patriot act. >> everyone should just calm down. this isn't anything that is brand new. >> president bush started it. president obama's continuing it. >> this man ran as the anti-bush. >> fisa court works. separation of powers works. our constitution works. >> what the obama administration has done is massively more expansive than what bush did. >> illegal evesdropping program.
>> between the failure of general holder and his team. >> things have gotten a little out of whack. >> why would anyone trust the government? >> there are no shortcuts to protecting america. we begin with the government's expanded spying powers under renewed scrutiny today. amid reports that the national security agency is collecting the phone records of millions of americans. a british newspaper, "the guard yan" was first to report on a classified court order it obtained giving the government access to verizon phone records. the president headed to north carolina for an education push, his deputy press secretary said on air force one the phone record data is a critical tool to fight security threats. the white house reiterated that the data collection does not
involve listening to anyone's phone calls, and emphasized that all three branches of government have signed off on the program. and this afternoon, the house intelligence committee chairman said that the collection of records has actually stopped a terror attack in this country. >> 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 important. it fills in a little seam that we have. >> congressman rogers there making reference to the fact that this program is not new. a point his senate counterpart, intelligence chairwoman dianne feinstein reinforced. speaking with andrea mitchell this afternoon, she said this was a routine reauthorization of a confidential terror fighting tool. >> this was a routine three. month approval under seal that was leaked.
>> should it be, should the leak be investigated? >> i think so. i mean, i think we have become a culture of leaks now. >> and, of course, some of the president's critics were at the ready. speaker john boehner doing his part. >> 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 attack. >> libertarian fire brand senator rand paul called the program an astounding assault on the constitution, while former vice president al gore called it obscenely outrageous. and as if to illustrate the strange alliances that this particular case has helped to forge, a capitol hill hearing this afternoon found senator lindsey graham agreeing with the administration while he was supposed to be berating attorney general eric holder.
>> i'm a verizon customer. it doesn't bother me one bit for the national security administration to have my phone number. the consequence of taking these tools away from the american people through their government would be catastrophic, so you keep up what you're doing. >> please mark that down. it may be the last time you ever hear lindsey graham tell eric holder to keep up the good work. joining us from washington, nbc news' justice correspondent, pete williams. pete, can you tell us first how this system works? how the process to access so-called metadata about our cell phone usage actually works in practice. >> i'll do my best, martin, with the understanding that, of course, it's classified, so our understanding of it is based on people we've talked to. >> i trust what you say, pete. so go ahead. >> okay. here's what happens. the government goes to the phone companies and says, we want to attach a hose to your data and
we want you to pump your records of telephone calls every day into our big tank. and that will give us for as long as we want to keep the data records of all the phone calls that your subscribers make. phone calls in and out of the country and within the united states as well. so that the government now has this enormous, really, just staggering hugely enormous amount of data. then the question is, what are the rules to access that data? and our understanding is that the government goes to the fisa court and says, the foreign intelligence surveillance act court, and says these are the rules we're going to follow when we want to go into the tank. and the fisa court signs off on those rules, that protocol, if you will. let's say the police in london raid a terror cell and find cells that have u.s. numbers on it. it passes those numbers to the united states. then the u.s. can go into the task and say, all right, let's see what numbers were called,
you know, do we find that number in there? what numbers was it calling? to try to look at whether there was accomplices of terrorists in the united states. so in other words, our understanding is the government can't simply dive into this data willy-nilly or can't plug it into a huge computer to say, you know, massage this data and see what you come up with. >> right. >> that's our understanding of it. but, of course, the tafact the government is collecting this data at all to many civil libertarians is shocking. >> yes, indeed. now, it must be noted this comes as eric holder and the justice department face scrutiny over treatment of leaks and so on. we just learned this afternoon the house judiciary committee wants eric holder to return for more questioning in the matter. would you imagine that this will bring, dare i say it, yet another leak investigation? >> well, it certainly could. you heard dianne feinstein tell andrea mitchell she thinks it could. here's ee ee eed the procedure. the intelligence agency will
make a referral or basically a recommendation to the justice department that they look at it. that's step one. hasn't happened yet. step two, the justice department gets that referral and decides whether to conduct an investigation on that. and then would decide whether or not to open a leak case. i think there's some people in go government who think it would be surprising if they didn't given the highly classified nature of this document that "the guardian" got its hands on. no means a certainty, just seems very likely. >> nbc's pete williams. thank you so much, pete. let's go to our panel. msnbc joy reid of the gris and david corn of "mother jones." david, we finally have a scandal. not benghazi, it's not the irs, but it does solinvolve all thre branches of the government. >> it's funny watching john boehner saying, i expect the president to explain this really pretty soon. >> he authorized it. >> when the white house all day
long has been giving me and other reporters concrete evidence, not just saying so, that they've briefed the intelligence committees and the intelligence committees were free to share this with the leaders of congress repeatedly because this program seems to have been going on at least since 2006, maybe back to 2001. in 2006, there was a"ussa today story" saying they collected a massive database of trillions of phone calls. seems to me this is the same program. we're not learning anything new, yet people like susan collins, senator from maine, independent, who sits on the intelligence committee, today she tweeted out, i learned about this in the newspapers. oops. that's going to come back to haunt her. she and others have been briefed on this. doesn't mean it's not an issue to discuss. >> of course not. >> one other point before we get to joy who's smarter than i am. >> no. >> it's important to know here this is not part of the warrantless wiretapping that was an issue during the bush years. all this stuff is going on
whether you like it or not. it still may not be the correct policy. under the guidance of the fisa court and being overseen by congre congress. so everybody's involved. there's nothing sort of that's leading to any confrontations in hospital rooms or, you know, within the government. it's more of a policy matter now that in sort of the patriot act phase of -- >> joy, darrell issa must be deeply disappointed he can't launch an investigation. >> he will anyway. you know he will, anyway. >> of himself. what did i know? when did i know it? >> the reason why this is under the foreign intelligence surveillance act is around 2005, it was discovered that back in 2002, george w. bush had authorized the nsa to sweep up phone records, foreign and domestic. he had done so not by going to congress and the intelligence committees but with an executive order. that's how we discovered this. when the furor of that,
overreacted, it was to number one, immunize the phone companies. >> there were suits that were filed. >> there were lawsuits filed against them. you can't sue the phone companies, number one. number two, this law was passed during the pelosi, i believe, house of representatives. >> it was. >> that say we're going to establish a court process. the foreign intelligence surveillance act. and that made a court responsible for this. they said the court, not only do they have to go through and review requests to see phone records but have to review every three months. one of those three-month reviews was discovered. this is like the senate discovering the benghazi chain of e-mails e-mailed to them by the white house. >> which they subsequently leaked to journalists. >> oh my goodness, we're shocked. >> we are. but david, here's the thing. the white house and the administration are saying we didn't listen to any conversations. this was just the metadata. here's the problem i have with that. if someone knows that you've spoken to someone in the administration on a phone line, and then three weeks later reads
an article that you write in "mother jones" magazine, put two and two together. i'm going to know what you've got and where you got it from. that's what the issue is here. >> the issue is also, one issue is whether this is too wide a sweep. you know, it's not discreet enough. >> tens of -- >> to do this. that's a policy debate to have. it turns out that republican, democrats in congress, the judiciary, and the white house all agree. other people disagree. then the other issue is how is this information used? and whether it's, you know, there's a protocol, it's secret, that we can't see, and there have been two senators, democratic senators, ron wyden of oregon, and mark udall of colorado, who for years, this is their day. for years they've been saying, there's a program out there. we can't tell you about it, but -- >> if you knew about it, you'd be concerned. >> because there's a legal interpretation of how this can be used that we don't think holds muster, but it's secret so we can't describe it. >> right. >> so now they -- i doubt the
protocols would let that scenario that you discussed proceed, but how they use it in fighting terrorism and doing all this stuff still is a big secret to us. >> one of the things i don't understand, finally, joy, is how can the goal of preventing terrorism be served by collecting everybody's cell phone records? >> yeah, it's a terribly inefficient way to do law enforcement because eventually what you're saying is we're going to give, have so much data it would take years to comb through it to get anything that's relevant or useful. it's not necessarily -- >> what they're doing here, and i talked to someone who's kind of involved in this, and he can't get into details, but they're creating basically a database to use against. >> right. to compare it. >> so if they get a phone number, as pete just used an example in england, they can then look at all the records here and find every call that they made and who they made and who they made. you can imagine the diagram chart. and that's where the investigative tool is. it's not to sort of try to sort out and pick out of these
trillions. >> it's the other way. >> we have mike rogers, the head, said this helped lead to something. he tried to declassify it. maybe at the end of the day we'll know. it's fascinating work which they won't tell us how it happens. >> you know what, the really good news here is this can be fixed. if congress doesn't like this program anymore, they can simply vote to deauthorize it. they can go back and repeal it. they've had an opportunity. they read about it. right. they've had opportunity after opportunity to repeal the patriot act. what have they done? reauthorized it every time. >> joy reid, david corn. i wish we had more time. coming up, you cannot hold a good man down. isn't that right, speaker boehner? asional have constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating?
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opposed to something, then he can become furious. livid. a new shade of orange. a man whose anger can reach such a boiling point that he'll deliver a speech full of fire and brimstone, demanding answers from the white house on a possible government shutdown. >> good morning, everyone. this morning i sent the president a letter. >> yes. a letter. eight vicious paragraphs. each filled with venomous lines like "committee chairs are engaged in regular order." and "sincerely, john boehner." clearly, speaker boehner, a man on fire. joining us now is democratic congressman chris van hollen of maryland. welcome, sir. my apologies for you for my somewhat limited acting skills. how galling is it for you to hear the speaker try to pin legislative obstruction on the president? i mean, even he didn't sound like he believed what he was trying to sell us today, did he. >> martin, this is one of the
most outrageous displays of what i would call political twister that i've ever seen because -- >> some people call it rank hypocrisy, sir. >> that would fit the bill very well here. because what you have is a situation where the speaker of the house, john boehner, is on record right now refusing to go to a budget conference so that the house and the senate can work out our differences on the budget, so we can move on with the process, try and replace the sequester. deal with all the important issues for jobs and the economy. he is standing in the way every day to the point where even senator mccain said the republic an position was, and i quote, insane. and here he is writing a letter to the president trying to deflect attention from what he, himself, has done. >> it is an olympic performance. there's no question about it. >> yes, it is. >> now, let me play you something else he said. it's about holding the debt ceiling hostage.
listen to this. >> as i told, frankly, senator mcconnell, i'm 99.99% sure that that's not likely to happen. but you never know. you know? there's -- a needle could fall out of a haystack. i don't know why i wouldn't want to disarm myself of options that may be available. >> congressman, this tactic didn't work the first time. so why did they think it will work a second? or is speaker boehner presenting us with ample evidence to arrive at an unequivocal diagnosis of insanity? >> well, what's happening here, mart martin, and everyone should understand it, is the speaker is in the process of trying to create another totally manufactured crisis over whether or not the united states will pay its bills. at some point we'll hit the debt ceiling. the president has been really clear he's not going to negotiate with the house republicans over what every american should do, no matter what, which is make sure we pay our bills on time.
and yet you've got the speaker of the house who is refusing to go to budget conditions and try to work these things out, who refuses to meet now one-on-one with the president to discuss these issues, who is trying to create this crisis to try and jam through a very radical republican vision of where this country should go through their budget. and it's not going to happen the way they want it to, but he may do a lot of damage to the country in the process. that's what worries me. >> see, this is the problem, sir. jobless claims dropped slightly today. tomorrow we get the may employment numbers. as you know. we've got $1 trillion in total student debt. a shaky stock market. is it really sensible at this moment in the recovery to just play games with the economy? >> no. of course, it's not. and this is going to create a lot of uncertainty in the economy. >> right. >> the sequester right now, as we speak, is already creating a drag on the economy.
there are already lots of people who are not hiring because of the sequester. as you have pointed out, you have teachers who are teaching the kids of our servicemen and women at ft. bragg who are going to be furloughed, so those kids will have five fewer days of school this fall. all these disruptions are avoidable. they're avoidable if the speaker would get to work, appoint conferees to work these differences out in a transparent manner. and despite all that talk, martin, about well, no budget, no pay, the reality is we have no budget because they're blocking the conference committee and yet he's still getting paid. >> congratulations to speaker boehner. democratic congressman chris van hollen. thank you, sir. >> thank you. coming up, an update from florida as the trial against george zimmerman is set to again. and then, well then, the curious case of chris christie. >> the key phrase there is "in
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♪ for my pain, i want my aleve. ♪ [ male announcer ] look for the easy-open red arthritis cap. a pretrial hearing continues at this hour in florida. several key players have assembled as the final hearing takes place before jury selection begins on monday in the george zimmerman trial for the fatal shooting of 17-year-old trayvon martin. unlike last week's hearing, this one was attended by the defendant, himself, who has pled not guilty claiming self-defense. his defense attorney, mark o'mara, put in a request to shield the identity of as many as seven of his witnesses.
>> if we can put a procedure in place such as a screen literally in front of the witness so that the parties would have access but not the media or the public, i think we've accomplished what we really should. >> judge debra nelson denied that request and this afternoon is considering another request from defense attorneys to prevent expert voice analysts from testifying in regards to a witness 911 call. last week, the judge not only ruled that the toxicology reports from trayvon martin would not be admissible in opening arguments, also inadmissible would be the teenager's suspension from school, his text messages, and any reference to the false gold teeth trayvon martin may or may not have worn. mr. martin's family was not present at today's who aring but is expected to be on hand when the trial opens. monday we'll see the start of jury selection process followed by several weeks of what could be a highly polarizing trial.
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awash in sexual activity. >> this isn't about sex. >> the young folks, the hormone level. >> like a night wolf. >> no ron burgundy here. >> do you kids and grandkids control the house? >> my wife says i'm the most obnoxious grandfather in the world. >> of course they'll be whining. >> wrong, frank was. >> i'm a verizon customer. >> it seems highly likely this will trigger a leak investigation. >> i don't mind verizon turning over records to the government. >> when i read "the new york times" this morning, it was like, oh, god, not one more thing. >> this is kind of stale. >> we need more cow bell. >> needle could fall out of a haystack. >> john boehner's problem is he doesn't have followers. >> i agree with senator rubio with regard to the border security provisions. >> do not believe it goes far enough on border security. >> long way to go. >> anything that is milktose in. >> way. >> we want the bill to pass.
>> going to struggle to pass in the senate. >> that's a pretty good darn lead-in. >> joining us is garons, senior editor at "the atlantic." msnbc contributor, the great jimmy williams. my colleague and co-host of "the cycle" toure. since this is the first time we've had the pleasure of welcoming you to our broadcast, thank you for joining us. >> thank you for having me on. >> please tell us, what do they do with the real marco rubio? >> i thought he was in favor of immigration reform but now he's not. >> i think this is us watching the sausage getting made. i have trouble imagining marco rubio completely walking away from the bill he's devoted so much of his political capital to. if he doesn't have immigration to run on, he doesn't have anything that makes him a leader in the republican party. >> okay. toure, most americans are in favor of citizenship. that's what the last poll by nbc news and the "wall street journal" tells us. so what's the holdup? >> well, you know, i have to give -- >> what's the problem?
>> i have to give the senator a little bit of credit. he was before the bill before he was against it. look, it's a battle between the establishment, which understands we don't get latinos and hispanics on our side that we're going to be like the republican party losing blacks in 1964 and reaping the pain of that now. but the rank and file does not understand the value of bringing latinos, and not just offending them. they also don't understand the massive economic boone it would be to giving 11 million people a little more income, right? so they could pay more taxes, be better consumers, be full parts of this nation. >> right. >> protect themselves legally. they don't understand that because they've been dealing with decades of disinformation from the lou dobbs and rush limbaughs and bill o'reillys and sean hannitys. they think these people are welfare kings and queens. they just come here to suck off our entitlement state, our welfare state. they don't understand that this is not only is a massive boone giving them citizenship, but we would lose a lot if we were physically -- if it was
physically possible to deport 11 million people. so we have lawmakers who are saying, i can support this and then lose now, or we can support this and lose in the future. well, i don't wan to get primaried, so i'll find my way out of this. >> okay. jimmy, it's hard work tryiof th right wing in this country on the issue of border security. mr. rub wrio is giving it the o college try. take a listen to this. >> if those amendments don't pass, will you support the bill that emerged from judiciary, senator rubio? >> if those amendments don't pass, we have a bill that isn't going to become law. we're wasting our time, so the answer is no. >> jimmy, is mr. rubio in a position, if he stands by draconian amendments, but if he supports a path to citizenship with reasonable conditions, he'll be accused by the right of his party of being weak on law
and order. >> mr. rubio is doing something strange at this point in time. he's saying you have to amend a bill on the senate floor that has, are you ready? >> yes. >> $5 billion in border security enforcement. 100% surveillance in the underlying language of the bill. and you cannot become a citizen until 90% of all the people that are caught crossing the border going forward are -- >> not strong enough. not strong enough, jimmy. not strong enough. >> i suppose, listen, it's a choice for him. what he's clearly trying to do is besides running for president, set that aside, he's clearly trying to be a thoughtful leader on this issue. here's the problem. his brain is getting in the way of his party. the way his party's going. as toure just mentioned it, you cannot under any circumstances say that you want to do an immigration bill when the base of your party hates immigrants. >> that's right. >> that's a simple, plain fact. >> okay. garans, even mitt romney
realized that telling immigrants to self-deport was a mistake that cost him the election. >> does he realize this? >> but are republicans -- well -- >> i don't know if he realizes that, martin. >> i think there's been an acknowledgement he didn't reach latinos very effectively. yet republicans seem so rigid that they're repeating the same mistakes that mitt romney made. >> i think it's a little bit like what we saw with some of the senate races in 2010, with the tea party primaries put forward candidates who were unelectable at the state level. we're seeing that same kind of impulse in the republican party with regard to the national level. i think they're just -- i think this bill -- we could be watching a republican party throwing away 2016, the whole debate, marco rubio, ted cruz, rand paul, chris christie could be i relevant -- >> you really believe that? >> i believe latino voters are watching this poll closely. it shows they're following this very closely. they're very invested in it.
67 67% of latinos know someone who's undocumented. 51% of those people, it's friends or family. people will remember what happens with this bill. >> that's absolutely right. a lot of people are coming here to reunite with family. when you're attacking this bill, you're attacking hispanic-americans who are citizens and saying, you can't reunite with your husband, your uncle, your brother, your cousin. and the gop establishment understands we cannot survive as a 90% white party. we will suddenly see texas turn purple. we will see georgia turn purple. we'll see states that have been solid red for a long time turning purple and maybe even blue. and then you're no longer a national party. then you're a regional party. >> jimmy, if toure is right -- >> don't say if. you know i am. >> thank you for your levels of self-confidence. but jimmy, how do we move -- how does the republican party move forward if the landscape is laid in quite the way that toure described? >> the republican party has to schism. it has to literally break apart. >> right. >> and i hate to say that
because i have said this on your show before and i continue to believe, i like a healthy two-party system in this country whether it's democrats or republicans, whomever. i don't care. i like having an opposition. that's a healthy environment. what we currently have is a -- the republican party, i said this the night of the election, has cancer. and it cannot do anything but die unless it extricates the cancer. the cancer is the far right wing. the tea party element of the republican party. unless they get rid of them and get back to the basics of fiscal conservatism. you know, we go to war only when we have to go to war, et cetera, et cetera. the party of, you know, goldwater, reagan, et cetera. they're not going to be able to do that. the great irony of it is this is what they want. they want to be able to be the party in the majority but they can't because of themselves. >> it's extraordinary. >> they're falling all over themselves and they can't help it. we're going to sit back and watch them. unfortunately, the country is going to suffer. >> jimmy williams, toure,
gorans, i hope that wasn't too painful for you. thank you so much for joining us. coming up, what else do you expect. chris christie does it his way. >> as to the cost, again, let me be really clear. i understand that i was confronted with a set of imperfect choices. when we made our commitment to the gulf, bp had two big goals:
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life. not only did he push back, he declared he would win outright. chris christie appointed new jersey's attorney general to fill the open senate seat after frank lawsu frank lawton bug's death. good afternoon, robert. >> good afternoon, martin. >> let me read a selection from your article, it's a quote from an unnamed new jersey gop consultant about christie. "he burned us. he could have appointed a senator to stay through 2014. instead, he gave us a weird little primary during beach season." explain the fury that christie's decision has caused within the party, robert. >> it's a great question. chris christie had a decision to make after frank lautenberg passed away, pick when to hold the special election.
he could have had the election held months later november 14th, appointed to serve the term then have an election next year or pick to have a special election this fall, to have a candidate on the ballot with him in november. instead of doing that, he chose to have a special election in october. that's why republicans are angry because they wish they could run with christie, have christie's coattails in november instead of having some random beach season primary in august and then having a random october special election. >> so is it your view, robert, that the man in this decision has been entirely self-centered? >> i think you could say it's, perhaps, machiavellian. >> that's even worse than i'm proposing. >> perhaps. but what i'm trying to say is this is definitely fueled by politics. christie knows that cory booker, the newark mayor, is likely to be the democratic nominee are frank pillone from new jersey. he does not want the democratic voters voting in senate race to come out and vote in the same time he's running for governor. he wanted to push back and have
this october special election. the real reason for the fury, though, martin, a lot of republicans in new jersey would love to be a u.s. senator but don't want to rush to put together a campaign in two months in a primary. if you're a centrist new jersey republican and running in august in a primary, who does that help? that helps the tea party outsider. >> it's only a matter of days before they have to submit their petition. >> they have to file by monday. >> right. it's crazy. let me play you something christie said at his press conference today. >> there was no perfect decision to be made here. i went to what my core principles are which are i believe people should have a right to make a choice if that's available. >> now, christie blames democrats, poorly worded legislation, even an activist court today for needing to make this particular decision. did he end up angering both political parties? >> i think democrats are mixed because it looks likely now that a democrat will be elected to the u.s. senate in october. setting up whoever wins that election to win the election in
2014. but republicans are really angry because, martin, if you look at the history books, a republican has not won a senate race in new jersey since 1972 with clifford case. they're trying to get back into the game in new jersey politics but with having a two-month primary, having only a week to file, it gives republicans a limited if 0% opportunity to really pick up that seat, put together some momentum. >> while these individuals, robert, are putting together, as you say, they're kind of proposal and petition, mr. christie is off to mitt romney's shindig. do you think he's going to have his ear chewed by people when he gets there? >> perhaps. that doesn't seem to bother governor christie. he's going out to mitt romney's utah retreat in park city. as much as he's angering conservatives with his maneuvers right now in new jersey, he's still trying to make a play for 2016. by going to utah to meet with mitt romney and huddle with his donors, he's going to appeal to them and say he's more of the establishment governor candidate
who can represent the republic cabs in 2012. cast himself as a blue case winner. that's what he's going to tell those donors in utah. >> robert coster of "the national review" defining chris christie as yargo. coming up, the situation in syria. senator john mccain this afternoon revealed details of his trip there. stay with us. >> our friends and allies in the middle east are crying out for american leadership, as i heard again last week. we must answer this call. we muffle lead. we're here at the famous tapia brothers produce stand where we've switched their fruits and veggies with produce from walmart. it's a fresh-over. that's great. tastes like you just picked them. so far, it's about the best strawberry i've had this year. walmart works directly with growers to get you the best-quality produce they've ever had. all this produce is from walmart. oh, my gosh.
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they shelled and then retook the key town of kusare on wednesday, and it has further frustrated senator john mccain who recently made a secret trip to meet with rebels in syria. and who repeated his call for greater u.s. involvement in the conflict at the brookings institution just a short time ago. >> anyone who thinks that assad and his allies will ever make peace when they are winning on the battlefield is delusional. >> and i'm joined by michael o happen lo oaehanlon. whose new book "healing the wounded giant" has just been published. congratulations on that, mike. senator mccain described his visit to syria last week as a moving experience. and one cannot help but be moved by almost 80,000 dead. more than 1.5 million syrians fleeing the country. mr. mccain is advocating for a no-fly zone and further arming
of the rebels. but isn't the very intensity of this civil war a strong reason for why we must have a comprehensive plan beyond simply arming the rebels? >> hi, martin. thanks for having me on. i admire senator mccain's speech. i also think your point is quite valid. as we learned in iraq, overth w overthrowing the dictator is not the end of the problem. you need to have a plan of what you do thereafter. senator mccain showed sensitivity to that today in his q&a session. he recognized the minority from which assad comes from, of course, is going to be the focus of retaliatory strikes if and when the insurgents get the upper hand. we can't be encouraging a genocide or anything of the type. so we have to have some kind of an integrated strategy. i began with this simple analogy so bosnia where there was the need for international
peacekeepers and some autonomous parts of the country to allow for safe areas for major ethnic groups. that's a lot to swallow for americans who are tired of war, having our troops in the middle east. but i do think you're right, you got to think down the road that fa far. you can't just think the next step. >> isn't it also the case, mike, while there are multiple opposition groups who find unity in their current opposition to president assad, it's highly likely that if and when he's gone, that unity will simply erupt. it will fall apart almost immediately, won't it? >> that's a classic reality of civil wars. in fact, a scholar that i just recently wrote with, sean ziegler, has done his latest book on exactly that question, and you're right. the hope is that the international community could try to develop relationships with the more moderate insurgents and also provides financial and other incentives for those groups to be
inclusive, not only toward other insurgents but toward the former assad loyalists in some cases. no the worst of the assad inner circle. you need to try to develop that kind of incentive structure and et even then it's a heavy lift. it's a daunting proposition to stand aside and let it go on the way it's been going as well. >> absolutely. you've said that repeatedly. you've been arguing for some time that the best chance of relatively constructive outcome in syria would be for a political settlement followed by the deployment of an international force to maintain the peace. but how can the president of the united states achieve a political settlement while the russians insist upon supplying assad with major military hardware and they're continuing support? >> well, excellent point. and the russians may or may not ever be a part of the solution. they certainly are not right now. my hope would be, and here's where i would probably go along
with elements of senator mccain's proposal. once we lay out this kind of a vision that we want to protect the allowites once they agreed to a peace deal, build a new syria and implement it, once we do that we should help the insurgents win. again, senator mccain i think was right today to say the prospects for peace right now are very low. the idea assad or the russians or anyone affiliated with them is going to try to do a deal right now is a remote prospect because they feel like they're winning. they may be winning at least more recently. so i think you're going to have to change the battlefield momentum before you can expect any help from anybody close to assad. >> right. now, as you know, there's a conference planned for later this month. what expectations do you have for that conference? >> well, again, they're very low. i think that conference, you should view it as jim dobbins, the scholar and now working on afghanistan/pakistan for president obama. as he's often said, these peace negotiations in these kinds of wars often take a couple, three years. and the first conference is not
likely to produce produce. especially given the battlefield dynamics we've been discussing today. i think what you want to do is begin to forge the insurgents into some kind of a team that can negotiate. you want to try to establish some ability to talk to the russians, even though we're obviously in disagreement with them on most aspects of the war right now. and you want to hope that down the road a subsequent peace conference has a better chance than i believe this one will. >> michael o'hanlon of the brookings institution. congrats, again, on your new book. >> that's kind of you, martin. >> we'll be right back. i've always had to keep my eye on her... but, i didn't always watch out for myself. with so much noise about health care... i tuned it all out. with unitedhealthcare, i get information that matters...
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remember, you can always follow us at our facebook page at facebook/martinbashir or also look at us on our twitter page which is there @bashirlive. you've been weighing in aggressively over the last few days. we very, very much appreciated some of your comments. some of them critical of me and absolutely fair. do keep them coming. thank you so much. as i said, chris matthews and "hardball" is next. knowledge is power. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with this story that the national security agency has been collecting information on our phone calls. who's cng