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tv   The Ed Show  MSNBC  July 17, 2014 2:00pm-3:01pm PDT

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biden in detroit this hour said that the plane was shot down. ukrainian president petro poroshenko called the crash an act of terrorism. an adviser to ukraine's interior minister said a soviet-era missile launcher hit the plane while it was flying at 33,000 feet. pro-russian separatists are denying responsibility for the jet. the defense ministers there is no confirm egg the plane was shot down. a lot of mixed messages today. today's crash is the second tragedy this year for malaysia airlines. that is all for now and i'll see you tomorrow. "the ed show" is up next. good evening, americans, welcome to the ed show live from washington, d.c., we start with break news tonight. u.s. officials have now confirmed a surface-to-air missile shot down a malaysian airliner in ukraine. it's not clear if the missile was fired by separatists in ukraine or by russian forces
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across the border. vice president joe biden said moments ago the plane was shot down. >> we don't have all of the detail yet. i want to be sure of what i say. apparently, have been shot down. shot down not an accident. blown out of the sky. >> malaysian airlines flight 17 was shot down in the hostile region of eastern ukraine near the russian border. the aircraft went down in territory held by pro-russian rebels. the flight was enroute from amsterdam to kuala lumpur, malaysia. it was carrying 295 people onboard. at this hour, malaysian airline officials are saying that 79 of those people have been identified. the ukrainian government said that there were no survivors. at this point it's not known if any americans were on the aircraft. the airline went down at 33,000 feet while traveling at over 490
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the knots per hour. immediately after the crash ukrainian interior ministry officials said pro-russian separatists shot down the plane. a ukrainian official claimed the plane was brought down by a buk missile. a buk missile is a soviet-era surface-to-air missile that can reach altitudes of some 70,000 feet. meanwhile, pro-russian rebels deny they shot down the plane. the leader of the separatists said ukrainian armed forces brought the plane down. so right now we have both sides blaming each other. earlier today president obama addressed the evolving situation at an event in delaware. >> obviously, the world is watching reports of a downed passenger jet near the russia-ukraine border and it looks like it may be a terrible tragedy. right now we are working to determine whether there were american citizens onboard.
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that is our first priority and i've directed my national security team to stay in close contact with the ukrainian government, the united states will offer any assistance we can to determine what happened and why and as a country our thoughts and prayers are with the fa mily of passengers wherever they call home. >> at the end of the call they did speak about the downed malaysian aircraft. i am joined tonight by nbc news white house correspondent kristen welker. good to have you with us tonight. the latest from the white house, i'm sure there is a great deal of curiosity about what that conversation was like between president obama and president putin. what can you tell us? >> reporter: ed, i can tell you it was a stern conversation, president obama reiterating to russian president vladimir putin
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that the white house wants to see russia deescalate the crisis and we are told that at the end of that conversation president putin told president obama that he was getting early reports about that downed malaysian aircraft and just to reiterate the headline at this hour which comes from our pentagon team, this is from jim miklaszewski and senior u.s. officials tell nbc news the malaysian airliner was shot down by a surface-to-air missile and the conclusion is based on int intelligence resources available to the military, and the question reminds who is responsible for shooting down that plane. the vice president made similar comments when he was speaking in detroit just a short time ago and he also said, and this is significant, that during a conversation that he had with ukraine's president poroshenko, he offered u.s. assistance and president poroshenko accepted that assistance. the vice president saying our national transportation safety group and other experts in the community will be headed to the
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region quickly and immediately to help assist in the investigation into exactly what brought that plane down. president obama is on a previously scheduled trip. he was first in delaware and now, of course, he is in new york for a pair of fund raisers. the president saying he directed his national security team to be in close contact with senior ukrainian officials as they continue this investigation, and of course, ed, this all comes against the backdrop that we've reported on your show just last night. yesterday president obama announced the stiffest round of sanctions yet against russia for increasing its military incursion in ukraine and for according to this administration for increasing its aid to the rebels and so the question at this hour, did some of that military aid lead to this tragedy that we have been reporting on all day, this downed malaysian airliner? a very busy day here at the white house.
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officials have been in meetings throughout the day as they try to assess their next steps. of course, we did hear briefly from president obama earlier today, and i wouldn't be surprised if we hear from him again at some point, if not today, tomorrow before the week's end. ed? >> it is a very strange coincidence that the sanctions were announced yesterday by the united states on russia and this unfolds today within hours. is the white house giving any indication at all who they believe might be responsible for this? are they ready to finger anyone for this activity? >> reporter: they are not. they are being incredibly cautious and careful with their language and so are lawmakers on capitol hill, but i can tell you that the senate intelligence committee just recently wrapped up a briefing and they were briefed by members of the intelligence community and the chair of that committee senator dianne feinstein emerged and she called the briefing helpful and said if there is a russian link
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and she stressed the word "if" it would be incredibly concerning and that is certainly one of the possibilities they're looking into. senator john mccain also very restrained in his language today. he was speaking to andrea mitchell earlier today and he said if there is a russian link there would be, quote, hell to pay. so no one is prepared to speculate about who might be responsible for this, whether it's the separatists or otherwise, but certainly there is an immense amount of pressure, ed, on this administration, on officials to get to the bottom of who is responsible and to determine next steps and to determine how this might impact the situation that is already incredibly tense on the ground. >> i'm sure there is a real sense of urgency to find out if there were, in fact, american passengers onboard flight 17 and if there were, if and if again, was there any russian involvement here this is only
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going to seriously complicate the matter to the point where who knows where it could end up? there will abe great deal of political pressure for the united states to respond outside of just a normal investigation. kristen welker, thank you for your time tonight at the white house. >> thank you. >> we want to bring in now former assistant secretary of defense lawrence corb, with me here in washington and colonel jack jacobs, msnbc medal of honor recipient, if the russians are involved in this, if their hands are on this in any way, shape or form, what does it mean? >> their hands have got to be on it, there are only three organizations in the region who have this weapon, probably an improved sa-6, what is now called an sa-11 that has that kind of range that originally came from soviet russia. whether or not it was shot by the russian troops or shot by
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separatists, the united states can tell very, very quickly. i know we're trying to be very restrained in public pronounce ams, but we have satellite overhead imagery in this regional most continuously and there's very little doubt in my mind that we don't already know which side of the border fired this and it will make it extremely difficult with our dealings with the russians now. >> mr. corb, your thoughts on what this does to things unfolding in the ukraine? >> it raises it to another level, because even if you assume it wasn't a russian and it was a separatist that basically by stirring the pot and keeping things going, putin has created a real disaster for himself and for russia because it's not just going to be the united states if you have americans on there, but this originated in amsterdam. probably a lot of europeans and they didn't go as far as they did with the sanctions yesterday, and i think putin
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might have to reassess, even if was a ukrainian separatist he's got to step down because this is an international incident. >> sanctions yesterday, a plane shot down today. how do you separate the two? >> again, i would be surprised if putin gave a direct order. i think if it were a russian who did it it was probably some commander out in the field who had orders if any planes come from ukraine toward russia, we need to do something about it. they just weren't thinking most likely it was one of the separatists. don't forget, they shot down a ukrainian yesterday, a fighter plane, so they've been using these systems quite a bit. >> colonel jack, taking a look at the intel on this, you have said many times first the intel you get normally isn't always correct. how accurate do you think our intel is and what kind of reliable information will any
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out of that hostile area for the united states? >> under normal circumstances, that's correct, especially on the battlefield when there is a lot of noise and a lot of casualties and a lot of things that are happening at the same time. it's very difficult to tell until long after the event about what actually happened. in this particular case, we've had an eye on this region for a long time and like i said, we're looking at it real time. there's very little doubt that we don't already know exactly what happened and for the united states now, the real issue -- i mean, there are a lot of real issues, but the most immediate issue is at what point in the public dialogue do we then disclose who it was who actually shot the missile? i'll be surprised if we don't know. figuring out when to say it is a very, very difficult thing to do. >> well, i am told that this, mr. korb, is a very common route for sifrlian aircraft to go across. it would seem very unusual that
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they would not know that they are shooting down a civilian aircraft at 33,000 feet. military aircraft travel much higher than that or much lower than that on a mission. so if there are americans on there, what's the protocol for restitution and holding people responsible here? >> well, i think since we know as jack pointed out that it is a russian weapons system, this thing as you pointed out can go to 72,000 feet. so they either gave it to them or it was a russian who did it that they would be held responsible for that and whatever the damage is that the people, you know, could get. don't forget, it's not just americans and a lot of innocent people on there that had nothing to do that and they would have a claim against the russian govern am. >> the faa, having a claim against the russian government,
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what does that mean? >> there will be monetary damages and the other thing, i think, it has canceled air flights to ukraine. i think you'll find a lot of airlines not be willing to fly tos moscow anymore because they'd have to go this way, and that will hurt them in addition to the sanctions, and i think since there will be most likely europeans than americans they'll get much tougher with the sanctions and they're not going to go as far as we did just consider the. >> 233 people have been identified so far and no americans according to malaysiana airlines. it's a horrible tragedy. it is an act of terror, no doubt. colonel jack, could this be some rogue commander who would have access that might have been out winging it on his own that decided to do something? is it that undisciplined in the ukraine? >> you've raised a very interesting issue here and that
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is as general mccaffrey said earlier today, when you have weapons in the hands of undisciplined people and decisions are made at the lowest possible level and we don't even know what the -- what controls may exist and what the rules of engagement are, when you have a situation like that it's a recipe for disaster so you could have exactly what you suggest, people who know how to push the button, but don't know how to do much else under the command of people who also don't know how to do much else in a very difficult situation and making a big mistake because they're, a, undisciplined and b, they're not supervised and c, they don't have very much in the way of controls on the ground and the rules of engagement are fuzzy and that's what gives rise to this situation, and i think you're right. it could very well be a decision made by a commander on the ground without instigation from higher up. >> what can we expect, mr. korb,
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to hear from vladimir putin? we don't hear condemnation of this so far. >> at some point you'll have to. as jack pointed out it could have been one of his on-scene commanders following what he thought were the orders or obviously even if it it's a ukrainian separatist, it's his equipment that got there, so i think if we can get a good thing out of it, he may decide he'll have to pull back from this area. he had about a thousand troops there a couple of weeks ago and then he upped it up to 12,000 when nobody was looking, and i think you will see him hopefully pull back and realize that this could precipitate a much bigger crisis. >> lawrence korb and colonel jack jacobs, good to have both of you with us tonight. there is no question about it that we will continue to cover this. we'll have more on the crisis of the plane shot down in ukraine coming up. you're watching "the ed show" on msnbc. t meows ] ♪
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we are still following the downed malaysian airlines from amsterdam to kuala lumpur. flight 17 was carrying 280 passengers and 15 crew members when it was shot down in ukraine. malaysian airlines lot of contact with the aircraft 31 miles from the ukraine-russian border in separatist territory leading to speculation the aircraft was intentionally shot down as part of an ongoing power struggle in the region. a short time ago president obama called the malaysian prime minister and the ukrainian president from air force one. the president addressed the crash today during a pre-scheduled appearance in delaware this afternoon. >> obviously, the world is watching reports of a downed
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passenger jet near the russia-ukraine border and i've directed my national security team to stay in close contact with the ukrainian governmentment. the united states will offer any assistance we can to help determine what happened and why. >> while cautioning against drawing unconfirmed conclusions about the shooting down of mh17's crash, senator john mccain affirmed repercussions. >> russians or separatists and they're one in the same have shot down several aircraft of ukrainians, if it is resolved to be separatists or russian actions mistakingly believing that this was a ukrainian warplane, i think there will be hell to pay and there should be. ? senator mccain, a member of the senate armed services agreement went on to criticize president obama's actions in the region. the president solrolled out sanctions for russia and the
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senator says it's hardly enough. >> the reaction of our european community and the united states has been insulting in their -- in how -- how small and how little help we have given. these latest enacted by the obama administration i think are helpful, but if you ask the ukrainian government that are struggling they would say they need weapons with which to defend themselves. wasting no time, senator mccain. is still sorting through information. we are following the political fallout as more details come to us tonight covering the shooting down of flight 17. for more on the politics of this ordeal we are bringing in former congressman and iraq war veteran msnbc contributor patrick murphy. mr. murphy, good to have you
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with us tonight. walk us through, if you can, what you think the intelligence committee is going to be looking at right now and sort their way through the information to actually verify who may be responsible for this. >> yeah. as you know, ed, i served in the intelligence committee in my two terms in congress. they're convening right now and the u.s. congress is in session and all of the members are back in washington, d.c. and they're getting briefed and possibly getting briefed from someone at dia, the defense intelligence agency and someone within the intelligence community about what we know and what we know doesn't look good. what we know makes it sound and look like this was done by either russia or directly by russia through the faction in the ukraine. as was mentioned on your panel, russia had a ton of troops in the region. they just pushed them back and they pushed back some recently, yes, and they also shot down
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through a military jet, a military cargo plane yesterday. so hours after president obama announces that there will be more sanctions to be done we see an aircraft being shot down which killed over 200 people. it's a real tragedy and we will see soon what the facts really are. >> mr. murphy, don't you think, i would like your opinion on this about president obama getting some support on capitol hill to get answers from the russians. if it's a russian surface-to-air missile and if there are two factions on one side such as the separatists and also russian support, how can it not have russian hands all over it? and shouldn't the intelligence committee members be demanding some answers from mr. putin tonight? >> they will be demanding some answers, absolutely, and the fact that putin hasn't come out
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or medvedev come out and said that this was a tragedy, but the same thing happened, ed, 30 years ago. in 1983, in september 1983, russia shot down a civilian aircraft, korean airlines that had 62 americans on it. they were murdered by russia, by the russian military. they denied the, ed, for two days. president reagan who was in his first term he said that it was murderous, that it was a massacre, but i will tell you, ed, the politics of this and you're going to get me mad when i say this, but barack obama should channel ronald reagan because let me tell you something, ronald reagan at that time was negotiating in switzerland to make sure that we got a nuclear arms deal, an arms control treaty that happened because he saw that was important and ronald reagan was attacked by the right wing. >> i have to challenge you on
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that. president obama does not have to emulate any other president. ronald reagan, we can just talk about iran-contra. he wasn't clean on a lot of stuff either. >> no, no, no -- >> let's be careful about who he should model himself after. president obama was elected to get us out of conflicts, not into them. the point i think here is that the president there has been so much division here in washington, when does this senate intelligence commitet and house intelligence committee leave all of this garbage at the water's edge and support the the president because it would seem to me that the president will need some support right now in demanding accountability from vladimir putin instead of us getting in a political squabble in our country about what we should do as far as policy is concerned. somebody shot that airplane down and the super power of the globe deserves to have some answers on this. >> i agree, ed, but it can't be us solo. we need to get the world community against russia. it can't be the united states of america all of the time.
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reagan did not call for military action and he didn't call for sanctions and he was krauss phied by the right wing and it's the same right wing and they'll always be against no matter what barack obama does and i want to make sure that we do what's necessary to come together as a country, but -- >> that's what i'm saying. to come together as a country is not john mccain going out on the talking heads saying that president obama hasn't done the right thing. what in the world can president obama had done -- have done in ukraine to make sure that a civilian aircraft wasn't going to get shot down by separatists? >> absolutely nothing, ed, i'm on your team on this one, but all i'm saying is if we look at history that russia did the same thing, again. >> true. >> we don't know exactly what happened, but they did this in september 1983 and it killed a u.s. congressman and 61 other americans were on that flight and we don't know how many americans were on this flight, but we do know that over 200 civilians were murdered or potentially murdered if they
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were shot down and that is a massacre and we need the world community to put accountability front and center and that means when you have the u.n. security council where you have china on that that they would always side with russia, if the case is if russian fingerprints are on this which evidence looks like it will show, the fact is that china has to back away because this is a human tragedy and the world community must come out and come out strong against what happened. >> well, that starts with american leadership, and i think that the president could use some republican help on this as a unified voice to get accountability out of the russians. you have a surface-to-air missile that is soviet era and done in hostile territory held by separatists who are against the ukraine government and obviously supported by none other than putin.
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putin ought to get answers on this paster than anybody else on the globe. there isn't anybody else who can get answers faster about who the hell did this than the guy in russia, it would seem to me. the other thing we need to point out tonight is that the federal aviation administration in this country was forbidding any kind of american aircraft to fly in this zone. so president obama did take action for safety of americans. cargo planes, not allowed to go through this hostile territory. american airline aircraft carrying american passengers and american pilots not allowed to go into this area. so it's not like we didn't know something like this could unfold. the point now is where's the leadership in washington, not just at the white house? >> and that's what you will see also ed, in the next couple of days if not hours that beside finding out exactly what happened and frankly, they probably know. we have a good radar in intelligence capability, they just haven't announced it yet,
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but if that is the case, what you will see is the department of justice rush and if there are american tragedies which there are rors out there that there were americans on this flight that those families can then seize russian assets here in north america especially in our country and hold those russian assets so that these american families will get justice. i know it's civilly, but we need to make sure the perpetrators over there are held accountable. >> i want your take on the fact that the president did what he did yesterday with sanks on russia and now this 24 hours later. >> i don't think it's a coinciden coincidence. i think what he did yesterday was the right thing to do, and russia, if you're asking my opinion, i think their hands are all over this and they should be held accountable. >> you think this is re -- you think this is retaliation for sanctions? >> i do, ed, and unfortunately, that's the case, but time will tell and we're talking hours, not days. >> congressman pat murphy. good to have you with us tonight.
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i appreciate your time. keep it right here for the latest update from ukraine. you're watching "the ed show," on msnbc, more coverage coming on this. what did the pilots know?
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it's our best gain ever. ♪ higher and higher! ♪ higher and higher! gain flings! >> welcome back to "the ed show." we are watching the latest developments of the shooting down of flight 17. according to russian television the russian defense ministry and officials in kiev are working on a three-day humanitarian truce for the purpose of this investigation. in a televised statement the president of ukraine said i would like to draw your attention that we do not call it an incident, not a disaster, but we call it a terrorist attack. investigators are looking through the debris reportedly spread across an area about nine miles in diameter. the airline says it lost track of the boeing 777 flight from
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amsterdam to kuala lumpur. 280 passengers and 15 crew members were on board, so far, 233 bodies have been identified, no americans have been found. we'll have more, keep it right here for the latest on msnbc and "the ed show." i'm bertha coombs with your cnbc market wrap. stocks sliding on geopolitical worries after the downing of a malaysian airlines jet in volatile eastern ukraine. the dow dropped 161 points falling below the 17,000 mark, the s&p shed 23, while the nasdaq tumbled 62 points. google shares are higher after hours, show. the company's revenue came in ahead of estimates, however earnings did fall short of it. ibm's latest earnings and revenue were better than expected, but shares are falling in late trading. that's it from cnbc. we're first in business worldwide. and burning. i'd lift my arm and the pain
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welcome back to "the ed show." malaysia airlines tweeted it lost contact with one of its flights over the ukrainian airspace before reports malaysia flight 17 had been shot down. senior u.s. officials tell nbc news the malaysian airliner was shot down by a surface-to-air missile according to officials, u.s. intel analysts are still trying to determine whether the missile was launched by separatists in ukraine or by russian forces positioned across the border. the region where the plane went down has seen severe fighting between iranian forces and pro-russian separatist rebels in recent days. the malaysia airlines plane is the fourth commercial airliner to face such a fate. the previous were first on april
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20, 1978, korean airlines flight 902 which diverted from its planned course on a flight from paris to seoul and sprtrayed ov the soviet union after being fired upon an interceptor aircraft, the crew made a landing on the surface of a frozen lake, two were killed by hostile fire. the second was on september 1, 1983. korean airlines 007 was shot down by one soviet air missile after the 747 strayed into soviet airspace. all 240 passengers and 29 crew members were killed. and the third was on july 3, 1988. iranian aircraft flight 655 was shot down by a surface-to-air missile by uss vincens.
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now airlines are reportedly examining their flight paths and they're saying they're avoiding flying over the area. it should be pointed out that in recent months the faa had put out some restrictions for american pilots, american flights and american cargo traffic in this hostile area of the world. i am joined tonight by captain tom bund, retired airline captain and also with us this evening is jim cavanaugh, nbc news and msnbc law enforcement expert and joining me on the phone is scott hamilton, aviation analyst. gentlemen, great to have you with us tonight. captain bund, you first, the faa does not have jurisdiction over many countries in the world, but if they put out a directive to american pilots and airlines not to go into this hostile area, would these malaysian pilots have any concern about possibly being shot down in this territory? >> certainly, if the u.s. has concerns, other airlines have concerns and it's a competitive
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environment and cost containment is an issue. they may have figured that they didn't want to spend the extra money for the fuel to go around it. >> simple as that? >> that's exactly it. >> it would be a financial decision? >> that's right. >> and what kind of measures can a pilot take? i mean, on an aircraft of this sophistication there is a tcat system that would automate in the cockpit, traffic, traffic, traffic. i would assume if there is an incoming missile they would have had some kind of knowledge that something was close to their airspace and it would be recorded on the black boxes. captain bunn, what about that? >> not the tcas. military aviation has what -- that's not what it picks up. it picks up the transponder which is the signal that we use to send signals about our identification, our speed and
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altitude to air traffic control. that doesn't pick up a missile. >> so jim cavanaugh, they would have probably no warning whatsoever, just, you know, the reports are that they were shot down. u.s. officials are confirming now that this came out of nowhere for these pilots and they had no warning whatsoever? >> i think you're exactly right, eds. there is no warning an explosive device like a missile that a pilot would know they were hit. they would have seconds, minutes if that much before the plane goes and breaks apart and a 75 kilograms of explosive material in a missile like that so it would be a pretty catastrophic event and the fuel tanks will blow up and it will be pretty radical. as an old cop whenever we're doing a murder, we're always more concerned about the next murder because we can save that victim. what you talked about the prior piece, you're trying to divert
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civilian aircraft away and you're trying to stop whoever is doing this shooting on the ground, if it is the pro-russian insurgents and they are, you know, rag tag militia with rudimentary training who misidentified this aircraft, i think the white house who i think is handling this very coolly just from an old negotiator i would be saying to call the russian president and say we know you have a dozen of these systems that are in the hands of your pro-russian insurgens and move them back across the border and put them in the hands of the russian military. whether putin would acknowledge it, but if they moved back that one a step to where we don't have more passenger planes at risk. there are things that can be done diplomatically behind the scenes. the investigation may not be more fruitful than we know now. a surface-to-air missile shot it down and the only three entities that have that capabilities are ukrainian military and the pro russian insurgents. >> jim, do you think that the russians know exactly what happened here?
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>> oh, yes. i think they know exactly what happened. >> scott hamilton, your thoughts on what has unfolded when the faa says don't fly in this area and then some countries just pay no attention to that and go ahead and do it. what's the ramifications of this? what kind of adjustments would be made? >> we've seen the adjustments that airlines are avoiding the entire ukraine airspace, but i've also seen a report that the airspace was closed up to 32,000 feet and the flight was at 33,000 feet. so technically legally the pilot would appear to have been in the clear on this. now common sense would tell you that you might want to avoid that entire area, but this is the report that i've seen. >> is this the fault of malaysian airlines, scott, making a very bad decision on a flight path? >> well, i -- air canada had
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already avoided the airspace and then you have airlines like lufthansa that just announced today in the aftermath of this that henceforth, they would avoid the airspace. emirates turned around a flight that was en route to kiev. again, if indeed the report was that the airspace was closed at 32,000 feet and this flight was at 33,000 feet the pilot was legal so i'm not sure you can draw that conclusion. >> jim cavanaugh, captain tom bunn and scott hamilton, thank you for joining us on "the ed show" as we continue our coverage. coming up, president obama and vladimir putin had a phone call earlier today as this news first broke. details ahead. stay with us. it's 7am and steve is already thinking about tomorrow. which is why he's investing in his heart health by eating kellogg's raisin bran ® good morning dad. hi, sweetie. here's another eye opener, not only is kellogg's raisin bran ® heart healthy,
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is traveling in detroit today spoke with ukrainian president poroshenko a short time ago. this morning president obama was on talking with vladimir putin. he later spoke with the president of ukraine and the malaysian prime minister from air force one. president obama is in new york at this hour on a previously scheduled trip. it is not clear if there were any americans on board flight 17. as of this hour, malaysia airline reports 233 bodies have been identified. so far, no u.s. citizens have been identified. but again it is early in the investigation. the united states national security team is working with the ukrainian government in the recovery efforts. in new york, the u.n. security council has scheduled a meeting to talk about the possible worldwide implications of the downed plane. we'll bring you the latest here
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that's why i always choose the fastest intern.r slow. ask your gastroenterologist about humira. the fastest printer. the fastest lunch. turkey club. the fastest pencil sharpener. the fastest elevator. the fastest speed dial. the fastest office plant. so why wouldn't i choose the fastest wifi? i would. switch to comcast business internet and get the fastest wifi included. comcast business. built for business. welcome back to "the ed show." we are following breaking news from gaza. the israeli defense forces initiated a ground offensive operation within the gaza strip. earlier this afternoon israeli prime minister bennejamin netanyahu announced he had the
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military begin a ground offensive. after repeated rejections of offers to deescalate the situation. since fighting began, more than 220 palestinians and one israeli have been killed. joining me tonight from gaza city is nbc's chief foreign correspondent richard engel. richard, what does this offensive mean and how extensive will it be? what do we know tonight? >> well, from what we can see now there does appear to be an aggressive operation under way. we are in gaza city. behind me is gaza city. you can see there are still lights on. we are looking east. a lot of the fire is coming from that direction. for the last as he hours, every few moments, in fact, we have been hearing explosions coming from the east, also coming from the north. there's been fire from israeli warships, from the mediterranean sea as well.
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the israeli army put out a statement a few minutes ago saying a large israeli force is involved in this operation including tanks, artillery, combat engineers, it's backed up by the israeli air force, israeli navy. we can also hear but not see the israeli drones flying over the city. there's been illumination flares in gaza. they help the drones identify targets. the israeli military says the objective is specific. it is targeting tunnels that hamas in particular has been using to infiltrate from the gaza strip into israel. in fact, the israeli military said, quote, the terrorists are fighting under ground and that's where we'll meet them. this combat operation, it is unclear how long it will last. the specific military objective of targeting the tunnels which, by definition would mean just the land around the edges of the
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gaza strip. just the border regions that touch parts of israel, that's where we are seeing potentially a longer ground offensive under way now. in this part of the world once you have troops on the ground it's unclear where this is going to go. >> richard engel reporting from gaza city tonight here on "the ed show." thank you so much. joining me now is nbc news military analyst general barry mccaffery. the response from hamas, what's your anticipation here? >> they don't have many options. their back is against the wall. they have lost support out of egypt. the brotherhood is out of office. that's been their easy supply. most of this is iranian material coming through egypt or through the sea. i think hamas thinks they have nothing to lose. the israelis, i think, have no option.
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the tragedy the of this is when you're fighting with tanks, mechanized infantry, artillery, air strikes, armed drones in the middle of a hugely, densely populated area it results in hundreds of tragic civilian casualties. again it's hard to imagine why the israelis could possibly continue with hourly air raid scrambles to shelter in telaviv are and elsewhere. >> so how long would you expect a ground offensive like this to last? >> i'm sure the israeli defense forces will try to get in and out of there as quickly as they can to punish hamas. i'm surprised they are talking about only tunnels. i would think they would go after missile stock piles. there were some 10,000 missiles in gaza according to public intelligence reports. they fired off maybe 10, 15% of them. there are a lot of missiles in there for them to find.
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the tunnels would be within a kilometer of the border. even then if we have seen on the u.s. efforts against north korean tunnels, it's difficult to discover these things. they will have to go find entranceways with intelligence with rewards for people turning into the tunnels. it could be an extended operation. certainly if they look in pop lated areas for a missile cache, they will be there a week. >> thank you, sir. we will continue on msnbc to cover the shooting down of flight 17 as information comes in. at this hour, no americans have been identified as being on that plane. the investigation continues. that's "the ed show." i'm ed schultz. "politics nation" with reverend al sharpton starts now. i'll be here tomorrow night right here from washington, d.c.
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rev, good evening. >> good evening, ed. what a day. thanks to you for tuning in. i'm live tonight in las vegas. tonight's lead, nbc news reports malaysia flight 17 was shot down by a surface-to-air missile. it is unclear who launched the missile. here's what we do know. the boeing 777 was traveling from amsterdam to kuala lumpur when it crashed into eastern ukraine near the russian border. this area has been the site of fighting between ukraine and pro-russian separatists. now the u.s. intelligence experts are trying to determine if the missile was launched by russians or rebels inside ukraine. there were 295 people aboard, including 280 passengers and 15 crew members. the

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