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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  November 18, 2015 9:00am-10:01am PST

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the whole thing. i saw the raid, 20 cars passed by here. then, five minutes later the shooting started, he said. you heard the gunfire, i asked? i saw it with my eyes, he said. and now new intelligence, the mastermind of the attacks may have been hiding in paris all along. >> this represents a failure on the intelligence of french authorities. he said he was in syria. that's what we have been told. it appears he was the target of this raid. coming up here, france's top diplomat in the united states. and the former vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. plus, this just in, isis publishes a picture purporting that this is the bomb that blew up the plane.
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good morning to you. i'm andrea mitchell. french police now say there were three men in the car with the terrorists on friday. and the hunt for one of them brought them to the apartment outside of paris overnight. police were targeting abu hamid abaaoud. it is still unknown whether abaaoud was in france or somewhere in europe. joining me from paris with the very latest, bill neely and chris jansing, white house correspondent. bill, first to you, we'll talk about whether he got away, whether he was even in syria or saint-denis, what are they originally saying? >> reporter: yes, an drea, good
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afternoon. was this raid a success or failure? it depends where you put the bar of success. if the aim of this operation was to capture abdelhamid abaaoud the police believed was in the apartment, the answer is we don't know. i asked the france's interior minister, is he one of the dead or is he one of those arrested, and they couldn't yet identify him. i mean, if he was in the apartment, it could well represent as i said earlier a colossal intelligence failure. because how on earth did the best known french jihadi get from syria to france without anybody noticing. if he's not in the apartment, it's another matter entirely. and whether they have abaaoud or not, this is quite clearly a
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success. because this was a jihadist and isis cell. they are saying that because there was an active suicide vested woman, whoever she was, that blew herself up immediately the minute they stormed the apartment building. there were clearly a large number of weapons and a huge cache of ammunition there. with there are a number of individuals, at least nine, in that apartment. police believe this was an isis cell. several sources have told reuters they believe this cell was about to attack an area of paris in the business district. a lot of big banks are based there. and whatever the vegetablintells that they have, they believe that attack was possibly imminent but they are not saying that just now. clearly, they had a trail of
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intelligence. as you said right at the beginning, this may have begun from a cell phone that was dumped in a trash can outside the bataclan concert hall friday night. we understand that from that cell phone, police got numbers or got information that suggested the cell phone belonged to the young woman. apparently they followed the young woman to that apartment and also through phone interception and other witnesses they established that something connected that apartment with the attacks on friday night. that's why they launched the operation this morning. clearly, the operation didn't quite go as planned, if you like, because it was several hours before they brought in army, before they brought in troops to reinforce their position. it was as if they expected to find a cell there but possibly not one with suicide vests ready to blow up as soon as they went in. we don't yet know who the woman was, but there are indications
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that she may have been abdelhamid abaaoud's cousin or a member of his family. going back to your original question, andrea, it depends where you put the bar of success, whether this was a complete success or a partial one. >> bill neely, thank you for that comprehensive report. and chris jansing in paris, you've been reporting all night, tell me about what you're hearing from people there? this is a city under siege in so many ways, and the resilience of the french really being tested. >> reporter: well, it is. and i have to say that i have found it extraordinary just standing here in the place de republique. having said that, they woke up to a new reality this morning, not just the raid, but the
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president hollande is saying the state of emergency that was in place to allow the raid to take place is something they are considering extending beyond the 12 days from this original event. but maybe perhaps as much as three months. it is one of the most wide states of emergency with powers in all of europe allowing basically a limitless and warrantless search of homes and businesses, wiretaps, they can forbid public gatherings and put limitations on the press, although hollande said that's something he will not do. it does invade liberties but for a good reason. and he expects that there will be more of these kinds of raids, the numbers have already been extraordinary, 414 raids in three nights. now, even as he was saying that, president hollande said that he wanted to keep his country's commitment to allowing 30,000 refugees into this country over
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the next two years. in fact, echoing what we heard from german chancellor merkel and the two of them expect to keep the eu commitment over the next couple of years. that continues to be somewhat controversial throughout europe as it is in the united states, andrea. >> chris jansing, senior white house correspondent in paris. thank you. i'm joined by france's ambassador to the united states. thank you very much. first, our condolences for what your country has been through. it is truly france's 9/11. >> thank you very much. we are truly moved by the reaction of the americans and the administration. this outpouring of compassion and solidarity is really great. >> what about the military options right now, because france has, for the first time, been using air strikes, for the first time, since the attacks,
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they have begun bombing in syria, not just in iraq. russia is now heavily engaged because they confirmed their airliner was blown up by an isis bomb. so you have a coalition now, a new coalition of russia, france and the united states. what does president hollande want to see militarily against isis? >> well, first, we had started striking in syria before the paris attacks because we had information precisely that raqqah, they are preparing attacks against our country. but unfortunately we weren't as successful to prevent them. so now we are striking with the russians and also with the americans, because we have a common enemy, obviously, which is isis. but you don't win the war with flames, so we need strong forces. and to have strong forces, we need to put an end to the syrian civil war. so i think it's really important
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that our coalition is also a political coalition so that we have a political transition in syria. >> but the urge now is to go after isis to prevent further terrorism against france and other countries in the world. it's taken five years and the political coalition is very slow in forming. so in the immediate instance of stopping terror, what can france do? >> first n the sense, there's no imminent solution to the problem itself because the problem that they are facing is not only terror and foreign fighters, which is also the migrant crisis. 1 million migrants coming in, a few millions, really, which could come, and we have to solve the syrian crisis to put an end to the civil war. it will take time. but i think that after the attacks, after the attack against the russian plane, there
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is a new sense of urgency. and if the french president is coming to washington on the 24th of november, and after that is going to moscow, to really try to impress on president obama and on president putin the sense of urgency. we can't wait 18 months, 2 years, we have to solve it right now. >> in fact, president hollande was critical of the international response so far. saying it was incomprehensible saying it does not make sense or add up. he wants something more urgently, but so far russia and france have been on different pages. do you think president hollande can merge together to bring these groups together? >> i think you are right. we are very close to our american friends but i think we are getting closer and closer. the idea of having a cease-fire, for instance, in syria, now is
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admitted by nearly everybody. we have still to convince our allies in the region to accept it. the idea of having a political transition after six months to have a new governing body in syria. to have elections. so the general ideas are there. but, of course, we have a new sense of urgency. >> what do we know about whether this man, abdelhamid abaaoud, the mastermind, how he could have gotten away? was there an intelligence failure here? the french and americans thought he was in syria, not in paris. >> when you have such an attack like 9/11, there is always a sense of failure. you know, it's obvious. but it's also emphasized the difficulties of our law enforcement agencies. because we have migrants coming
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in, and apparently one of the terrorists was one of the migrants. how can you vet all the migrants? also, in france, we have thousands of youth radicalized. it means we don't have the means to monitor them 24/7. and we don't know whether they are going to cross the red line and become terrorists. you can't arrest people only because of their opinion in a democracy. also, you have thousands of young orphans here in syria. and they will come back. we have not identified all of them. it's very easy to travel in europe. and they come back militarized and military trained and anti-semitic. so we are facing a very tough challenge. >> are you getting enough military and intelligence cooperation from the united states? >> i can say that the cooperation in terms of these
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last days we have. >> but not before the attacks? >> i would say it could be better. >> since the attacks? >> their cooperation has really improved significantly. >> what are the holes in all of the intelligence? what don't we know? >> there is a lot of things that i've said we don't know. and because -- you know, you can travel throughout your own, you go to a gate of paris and you have a ticket to istanbul. and in istanbul, you can join syria. there are thousands of people traveling around. and we know that they have -- again, it's very difficult. >> what do you want turkey to do? turkey needs to control their borders. >> they need to control the borders, and also, with all the
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young guys leaving turkey to syria, we want our turkish friends to try to prevent them from going to syria. >> when do you think we will know whether or not abaaoud was killed in the raid overnight? >> well, i'm sure there are -- they are looking into the corpse and checking whether it was or was not abaaoud. your reporter said it was a french -- no, he was belgian. >> do we think they are plotting other plots against paris? >> well, the fact that this woman had an explosive vest on her shows or we do believe that it shows that they were actually preparing maybe going to do another attack. you know, an explosive vest with explosives is very dangerous to wear. and very unstable. so you wear it only when you
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want to do something. >> ambassador, again, our sorrow is with you and your countrymen. and we thank you very much. >> thank you. and we really need your support and friendship more than ever. >> you certainly have that. and inside the bomb, isis released this picture of the device it says took down the russian airliner. what do we know about it? coming up next. but first, france's president hollande joining with his nation's mayors and elected officials today singing their national anthem. ♪ and last night in london a similar scene between england
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i must say, i've never seen a time when we have faced more serious and consequential issues confronting our national security around the globe. the cia director john brennan today at the state department in a briefing. in an isis english magazine, this is the bomb that isis
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claims has taken down the russian plane. this is the co-founder of "flashpoint," evan, tell me what we're looking like in the photograph. which looks like a soda can and obviously some wiring. >> there was an article in this magazine that addressed the cyanide bomb plot, or apparently it was a bomb plot. essentially, the magazine offered this photograph and said the plot originally targeted a western eyeliner, presumably a french airliner, but after the russian government decided to intervene in syria, the target was shifted and instead it was aimed at a russian aircraft. they claim that they have penetrated the security at sharm el-sheikh and have provided evidence by showing the explosive device. that's interesting here, isis so far said they did it but offered no information whatsoever to cob rate it. this is the first attempt for
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them to corroborate the fact to build explosives and put them aboard an aircraft, particularly in sharm el-sheikh. >> and what kind of explosives, can you break down what you know about this device? >> let's put it this way, they didn't say what they used to make this, but presumably it's along the order of pten. this is not the pressure cooker bombs of the boston bombings. this appears to be a sophisticated explosive powerful enough that even a small amount inside of a coke can is enough to blow a hole in the side of an airplane. so, again, this appears to be some kind of powerful explosive along the lines -- we have to see exactly what the ingredients are, but this is along the lines of what they wanted to do, to make an explosive device small enough to be snuck onboard an aircraft without being discovered and obviously be detonated, in this case, remotely. >> the russians said yesterday what they detected was evidence from the explosive in the
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baggage or luggage. so it would have been in the cargo. >> supposedly, yeah. they didn't say exactly how they snuck it in, just that they snuck it in. look, it's interesting, because this magazine where they claim this, they also put out a bunch of stuff about paris. but they don't offer any details about how exactly they coordinated paris. they don't identify any of the plotters. so, look, there's a picture of a bomb here, it might be the bomb. certainly that would be the first evidence isis produced showing they did this, but we don't really know where this photo was taken. it's possible these guys took a photo of a bomb inside syria and simply posted it to the magazine. the magazine did appear to be hastily put together, especially the parts to deal with paris. it did not appear to be the subject of a long amount of work and editing. >> evan coleman from "flashpoint," thank you very much. up next, the former chair of
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france's president is asking russia and the united states to do more both diplomatically and militarily against isis. france has been launching retaliatory strikes against raqqah. for the first time president obama spoke in the philippines yesterday about russia's role. >> i also welcome moscow going after isil. the problem has been in their initial military incursion into syria, they have been more focused on propping up mr. assad and targeting the moderate opposition as opposed to targeting those folks who threaten us, europe and russia as well. >> and the vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff under
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martin dempsey, it's good to have you here. >> good to be here. >> what can we achieve from isis? >> you can take on their logistics pipelines and the like. obviously, to really close this out is going to require a ground force of some type. but air power has been effective so far in stopping their spread and even helping indigenous ground forces push back on them. air power alone will not solve it. >> so we are going to have to rely on the ke-- we can't do it were you our allies in the region. >> it's the $64,000 question of what the ground will be comprised of to end this thing. and that's an important question. how does this end? it doesn't end with a massive insertion of u.s. ground force, it doesn't end only with the bombing campaign, there has to be a comprehensive effort to
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make it end. that includes, as we all know, taking on the underlying causes of what causes extremism in the first place. >> president hollande is not going to get nato to go along with this, this is clear, all the things that we're getting, so he's trying to rely in the short-term on the russians and the united states, the two big powers plus whatever france can do. this is a very unusual alliance. >> it is. you know, it just is reminiscent of the fact that the entire middle east is full of strange bedfellows, right? and i would not say that we are coordinating in any way with the russians right now. i would suspect there could be deconfliction going on -- >> so we don't bump into each other in the skies. >> so we don't pump into each other in the skies, but we are not saying you take this target, we'll take this one. it will be interesting to see how it progresses over time. the terrible tragedy of the russian airliner being bombed has sharpened russia's focus on what really matters. and we are starting to see them applying more air power. and it will be interesting to
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see how it folds out. >> you have the saudis up against iran. they fair against iran. we are against assad. russia is propping up assad. france is in the middle. everybody's got a different adversary here, but a common enemy now in isis. >> exactly. and the real threat to stability in the region right now is isis. and i think people are beginning to wake up to that, and i think one of the things that we can help with and perhaps president hollande may ask us to help with is bringing this coalition together in a more forceful way to address the near-term problem of suppressing isis. while we take care of the long-term problem of removing the underlying causes of extremism. >> general mccaffery was talking to me the other day and he said, we need much stronger resumes of engagement in the field. we need more special ops, not ground forces, not an invasion force of 150,000, but 2,000 special operators in the region, not just the 50. what would be wrong with that
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scenario? >> well, you know, we currently have a special operations forces, not only a small group in syria, but in iraq. again, this is going to take a comprehensive approach. now people have talked about putting air controllers on the ground, that's not a magic pill but it can certainly help if selectively done. thereto is a price tag that comes with those folks. they need security and medical support and the like. >> and it puts them at risk. >> and it puts them at risk. the special operators are very innovative in this whole process of doing what i call virtual controllers from the rear that is very effective. if you roll the tape back to when we took over the mosul dam, that was an effective tactic they used. >> what about going after their finances, the oil trucks, we have some new bomb damage pictures showing overnight the raids where we are taking more of the oil trucks. >> let's get to the rules of engagement. i know we have known about the oil tanker targets for a long time. we have been very intent on avoiding collateral damage.
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and in the wake of the attack in paris, it's possible that those rules were loosened a little bit. but i think you saw pretty good creativity out of the air component commander because we still want to avoid collateral damage wherever we can. the enemy wins when we cause collateral damage. but i think you will see the more willingness to accept a little more risk in that area, which will open up the target set. >> thank you so much for being here. >> thank you, andrea. coming up next, more on the refugee crisis and what the president is saying when we come back on msnbc. >> these are the same folks oftentimes who suggested they are so tough that just talking to putin or staring down isil or using additional rhetoric is somehow going to solve the problems out there. but apparently they are scared of widows and orphans coming into the united states of america as part of our tradition of compassion.
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welcome back. the u.s. refugee program is under national scrutiny, a lot of scrutiny from congressional republicans and 31 governors who say terrorists can infiltrate the program. some syrian refugees already in america hope their friends and family members will find a safehaven. >> i want to send a message for the american people, we are human. we are human. >> minnesota congressman keith ellison is the first muslim-american elected to congress. there are only two in congress. congressman, thank you very much. first of all, how do you respond to the rhetoric you hear from candidates, including i must say, at least one democratic governor, in new hampshire running for the senate, who are trying to stop the flow of refugees from syria?
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>> i think we just got to assure them that we do have a substantial program in place that over the course of many years, more than 15 years, since 2001, has vetted and screened a great deal of refugees from war-torn places. some of whom where the act of terrorism in the countries have been successful where there are levels of fear. i think if there's a reason to bolster the program, we can do that as we go. we don't need a pause. what we need to do is move forward. this is already a lengthy process. 18 to 24 months, sometimes three years, but the truth is, america is a country that is the country of the statue of liberty where we welcome people who have been abused and mistreated by dictatorial governments fleeing war, and we cannot change our
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national character simply because of what they want us to do. they are trying to terror his and try to make us afraid. therefore, i ask us to acknowledge the legitimate concern and be safe but to not give into the fear and say, we are going to say in america and we are going to stay in the land of the free, home of the brave, that is welcoming to people who need our help in times of great peril. >> now, the speaker, paul ryan, was speaking just moments ago about the proposals, which may be voted on as early as tomorrow, as soon as tomorrow, to pause the refugee program. let's see that. >> people understand the plight of those fleeing the middle east, but they also want basic assurances for the safety of this country. we can be compassionate and we can also be safe. that's what the bill that we're bringing up tomorrow is all about. it calls for a new standard of
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verification for refugees from syria and iraq. it would mean a pause in the program until we can be certain, beyond any doubt, that those coming here are not a threat. i also want to point out that we will not have a religious test, only a security test. >> what is your reaction to that? >> the rhetoric is good but the bill is bad. the bill makes the threshold so high that it's impossible to see how anybody will get through that. i don't think we need a new law. i think what we need is to use the law that we have that has been successful, and what we need to do is if we need to, you know, strengthen it, we can do that. but we don't need a new law. i think it is important that the speaker said there would be no religious test. he's right to say so and i'm glad he said it. and i just want to say that in terms of our rhetoric, it's important, so i credit the speaker with that, but the law
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he's proposing, the bill he puts in front of congress is not necessary, it will cause even more delay. now, here's the other problem with this, not only is it, i think, not the right thing, not the american thing to try to close the doors to our country, but it's actually tactically a mistake. because isis, this terrorist group is trying to argue that the west, the united states included, is merciless. that they are against muslims. and this is not true, it's not true at all. but if we allow them to scare us into closing our doors, they will use that to say to the refugees, see, we told you. these people don't want you and they don't care that you're suffering. they will use that message to recruit and they will use that message to advance their cause. i don't believe we should do that. i believe we should say that we are the united states. we have a program, it's been working, we're happy to improve it, but we're not going to
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change our narrative. and we're not going to let isis dictate this to us. >> you refer to d.a.s.h., it's an acronym to isis, you prefer that over isis. give our viewers a better understanding of why. >> because isil stands for islamic state. they are neither islamic nor are they a state. d.a.s.h. is interpreted by many people meaning they once entrampled on others or are big into excluding other people or press down on other people. and they said they will cut off the tongue of anybody that uses it. i'm going to call them what they are, which is terrors, which do not represent any faith,
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including my own. they look to impose power by violent means and need to be stood up. >> many of the intelligence community leaders in the senate have been complaining about this, saying this is a bigger problem than the refugee program because the refugee applicants are vetted by homeland and it takes 18 to 24 months. but the visa waiver program from 38 european countries let people get into europe and there are more than 40 million stolen passports floating around. once they get a european passport they have easy access to the united states. >> i think we need to join with our european neighbors and strengthen their program. i think we are all in this together and should not seek the comfort in saying, that's a european problem, not an american problem. no, this is all our problem and we need to band together. i think this is part of the cooperation that i hope continues to happen as we respond in an appropriate way. and i also want to mention, andrea, it's a very good thing
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that president obama and vladimir putin and other world leaders got together in see yen vienna to start bringing together a world concert, to bring this conflict to an end. we need a timeline for bashar al assad to leave. this all started when he began shooting non-violent protesters and it moved into the mess we have now. but world leaders all getting on the same page, agreeing there needs to be an olderly departure of assad. and also a concerted effort to stop isis is the right track. we have to keep our focus on that. because it's good to help the refugees and i'm all in favor of that, but i think the refugees themselves would rather not be refugees. that means we have to stop the crisis. >> thank you so much, congressman, for being with us today. >> thank you. up next, going dark. how isis operatives are using cell phone apps and video game consoles to plan and coordinate attacks.
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and you're looking at live pictures from the apartment there in saint-denis targeting the suspects mastermind of friday's attack in paris. today, stark warnings from top u.s. law enforcement officials on how potential terrorists are finding new ways to go dark. >> both apple and google advertise as a selling point for their phones that nobody, including law enforcement with a valid warrant, not even apple and google themselves, can download encrypted data from the phones now. >> the bad guys are playing world cup level soccer. we have to continue to work the way we pass the ball, the way we assign pox positions, the way w visualize and see the field. >> pete williams is joining us now. to continue the metaphor, are we
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being outplayed? >> the issue is two-fold. on what the district attorney is calling for in new york is a law. he wants congress to pass a law that says anyone who designs software for smartphones, and he particularly singled out apple and google, whose software is used on android phones, that they have to have a system so that when the police come with a court order, the phone can be unlocked. you know, the first screen on your phone when you try to open it is the little numbers that you have to put in, the little -- that you have to punch in to unlock the phone. what apple says in selling this iphone 6, what they say in marketing this phone is even apple if you forget the code can't open it. what the district attorney whom you heard from just a moment ago said, congress should pass a law that this decision on what access law enforcement should have to a phone should not be up to the company, it should be up to congress and the courts. what the fbi director james coomey was talking about was the
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expanded use of encryption. and the terror attacks in paris have reignited the privacy security debate, andrea, but there's still no confirmation that the plotters in paris used encrypted programs or locked phones to facilitate their communications and frustrate law enforcement. in fact, it's been fairly widely reported today based on french sources that it was an old-fashioned garden variety telephone wiretap that helped to lead to the apartment that was the subject of the raid today. but this is definitely reinvigorating that debate about, that has raised this issue, which is unquestionably an issue for law enforcement. >> pete williams, as always, thank you, sir. >> you bet. and after the break, politics after paris. what the attacks and the fears have done to the tone in the race for the white house. you're watching msnbc.
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we are choosing the leader of the free world.
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and if these attacks remind us of anything, it is that we're living in syreer serious times that require serious leadership. since the attacks in paris, the demand for action to stamp out isis has rightly grown. the united states should not delay in leading a global coalition to take out isis with overwhelming force. >> jeb bush at the citadel today challenging the president. the republican frontrunner is pushing back in a damaging report from the new york times. joining me is washington political editor gene cummings. but first, chris, jeb bush is trying to show he's serious in this republican field. he's running from behind, obviously, and then ben carson is being hit from all sides
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about his foreign policy comments and for a new york times piece, which shows that he was taking advice from dwayne dewey claret, a former intelligence operative indicted and pardoned. >> let me first say on ben carson for folks watching, if you have not read that "new york times" article, it's stunning. armstrong williams widely seems to be ben carson's closest friend essentially says, it's not only that he doesn't understand foreign policy but we're having trouble explaining it to him in a way that he can understand. >> t let me show you those quotes. >> first of all, what he said in the "new york times" piece is nobody sat down with him to get one iota of intelligence
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information about the middle east. he also said, mr. carson needed weekly conference calls briefing him on foreign policy so we can make him smart. and this is what he said to our friends on bloomberg. >> the bottom day on any given day, in of the candidates could be asked a question on foreign policy that they don't know how to answer. ben carson will never be perfect and continues to surround himself and engage in people to enhance his foreign policy credentials. >> jean, does this change the way the republican party will look at their candidate? >> obviously, jeb bush is trying to change the conversation. governor christie is also trying to change the conversation. and it could be if you look at the most recent new hampshire poll, dr. carson did slip a little bit. this could be an achilles heel for him, perhaps not in iowa,
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but in general in the primaries ahead. interestingly, trump's still staying atop the leader field. and there was another poll done recently asking who would be the toughest on isis and trump and hillary clinton were at the top of that list. so it may not affect the trump candidacy in the way some establishment candidates would have preferred. >> and chris, a focus group at penn, everyone raised their hands to say hillary clinton among democrats, that hillary clinton would be the foreign policy leader. that said, she's giving a speech tomorrow to try to fix some of the criticisms that she is too closely tied to president obama's failed policies in libya, egypt and the like. >> look, i think she is very likely to be the nominee, but i think the struggled in the first 30 minutes or so of the debate over the weekend in that what
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she sounded like on foreign policy, which essentially was a defender of the status quo of president obama saying, well, we did the best we could. i agree with the president. it's not a terrible strategy in a primary, particularly when president obama is still popular, but in a general election, much of what hillary clinton is doing is aimed at the general election. depending that when you know you're going to be attacked, there's a third term of obama and has to explain herself a little bitter. >> chris and jeanne, thank you so much. that does it for "andrea mitchell reports." follow us onlin online @mitchellreports. and thomas roberts is up next in france with an exclusive interview with jane harvey. jane hartley. ♪ you didn't expect this did you? no i didn't. the nissan altima.
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york. shortly we'll go to thomas roberts where he's in paris where among other things he'll show us his interview exclusively with the u.s. ambassador to france. you're looking at the room where the french prosecutor, and as we have discussed, it's a title that doesn't really translate perfectly. think of, perhaps, district attorney in the united states, but it's the -- somewhere between district attorney and attorney general. the french prosecutor, the man who will be pressing charges, is going to brief the news media. this is critical because we will finally find out with some certainty the dead, the wounded, the missing, the still at large after this eventful 12 hours. last night's raid in the northern paris suburb of saint-denis about 4:00 in the morning local time, the first people were awakened by not just


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