tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC November 25, 2015 9:00am-10:01am PST
refugees described and demonized, frankly, by republican candidates like donald trump. >> we're five seconds away from the top of the hour, what is normally andrea's broadcast. and here we are 12:00 noon on the east coast. we are waiting, as you may be able to see there, the roosevelt room across the hall from the oval office. we have been told to expect the president and his national security structure, all of them have been involved in a national security council meeting across the hall in the oval office. it's presumed the president will talk about domestic security and all things related to that during the long holiday weekend with so many millions of us on the move. short distances or long, close to home or far away given the
terror and aftermath of what happened in paris. andrea, you were talking about the reciprocal, is the true of americans who may be aware of a shady passenger on a flight to paris or france or rome? >> the true is that pete williams would be more knowledgeable than i, but our officials claim that the tsa and our screening process is -- it's the best in the world. the no-fly lists were established after 9/11 and are far more rigorous than anything from the europeans. and the europeans conversely are better than anything out of egypt, as we now know from other capitals in the middle east. so the europeans are better but still not good enough as far as american intelligence is concerned. some people have complained we are too rigorous since 9/11 and that people with identical names are unfairly tagged.
we have all had anecdotal evidence of that, but the bottom line is that the u.s. is supposed to be the best in the world at going through those passenger lists. and u.s. carriers and foreign carriers, at least to what u.s. officials are telling us. >> andrea, our viewers may have seen the most unambiguous two-minute warning a few seconds ago when they saw a gargantuan human hand come up in the lens and make the two-minute warning sign. so with that, beneath a painting of teddy roosevelt, here is the president. good morning, everybody. i just had a chance to meet with my national security team, including my secretary of homeland security, jay johnson, my fbi director, jim comey, and my attorney general, loretta lynch, for a regular update on our security posture post-paris
and going into the holiday season. i think all of us recognize how horrific and heinous what took place in paris was, and as i said yesterday, for many of us, the events have touched a deep cord given the connection between the united states and france, the degree to which americans see in paris a way of life that's so familiar to us here in american cities. and given the shocking images, i know that americans have been asking each other whether it's safe here, whether it's safe to fly or gather. i know the families have discussed their fears about the threat of terrorism around the dinner table. many for the first time since september 11th. and it's understandable people worry something similar could happen here. watching the events in paris made the threat feel closer to
home. so as we go into thanksgiving weekend, i want the american people to know that we are taking every possible step to keep our homeland safe. first we're going after isil wherever it hides. that's been our strategy for more than a year. i'll speak about this in more detail in the coming weeks, but let me remind the american people of what our coalition of some 65 nations is doing to destroy these terrorists and defeat their ideology. so far our military and partners have conducted more than 8,000 terror strikes on isil strongholds and equipment. the air strikes along with the efforts of our partners on the ground have taken out key leaders, taken back territory from isil in both iraq and syria. we continue to work to choke off their financing and their supply lines. and counter their recruitment and their messaging. and even as america is already
supporting air strikes in syria, yesterday president hollande and i agreed to step up our coordination on that effort further and do more of that work together. so we're stepping up the pressure on isil where it lives and we will not let up. adjusting our tactics were necessary until they are beaten. that's our first goal. second, we continue to do everything possible to prevent attacks at home and abroad and to prevent foreign terrorist fighters from entering the united states or other nations. since 9/11 we've taken extraordinary measures to strengthen our homeland security in everything from aviation security to border security to information sharing. we've improved upon these actions over time. any time there's an event, we learn something from it. and we continue to refine them. we continue to improve upon our
approaches as we speak. now, right now we know of no specific and credible intelligence indicating a plot on the homeland. and that is based on the latest information i just received in the situation room. it is similar to the information that i, the briefing that i received on saturday before i left on my trip last week. so as americans travel this weekend to be with their loved ones, i want them to know that our counter terrorism intelligence, homeland security and law enforcement professionals at every level are working overtime. they are continually monitoring threats at home and abroad. continually evaluating our security prosture. they are constantly working to protect all of us. their work has prevented attacks. their efforts have saved lives. they serve every hour of every day for the sake of our
security. they did so before paris and they do so now. without fanfare or credit, and without a break for the holidays. so the bottom line is this, i want the american people to know entering the holidays that the combined resources of our military, our intelligence and our homeland security agencies are on the case. they are vigilant, relentless and effective. in the event of a specific credible threat, the public will be informed. we do think it's useful for people as they are going about their business to be vigilant. if you see something suspicious, say something. that's always helpful. but otherwise americans should go about their usual thanksgiving weekend activities, spending time with family and friends and celebrating our blessings. and while the threat of
terrorism is a troubling reality of our age, we are both equipped to prevent attacks and we are resilient in the face of those who try to do us harm. and that's something we can all be thankful for. happy thanksgiving, everybody. >> well, sometimes at times like these whether you're going to be on i-95 or the 405 or flying to minneapolis or miami, it is good to hear from the president, from the national security structure in this country to say what we all assume to be true, and that is there are no specific or credible threats that we're facing. we've been ordered again to be vigilant and for people who wonder what that looks like, what we should do when we're being vigilant, the president supplied that, too. the phrase that has been posted in new york subways and elsewhere since 9/11, if you see
something, say something. within parameters, within reason. pete williams watched that with us and is with us. and as our justice correspondent, pete, when people ask you, what is vigilant? what do you tell them? what do you answer? >> i think it makes a difference depending on who you are. if you're a policeman, if you're a security guard, a fireman, a postman, somebody -- a mail carrier, flight attendant, it probably means being a little more aware of packages that are in places where they shouldn't be, people that are behaving oddly, what the police often say, and this fbi bulletin that went out the other day gave some examples of where people paying attention were helpful. they gave an example in may of this year of somebody who ran a hardware store in germany who got suspicious when a customer came in and ordered a large amount of hydrogen peroxide, which can have innocent uses but
is a precursor chemical to make what is apparently the favorite explosive of isis, tatp, it's called. and he notified the authorities and that apparently headed off a bombing attack in germany earlier this year. that's the kind of thing the police want to hear, because there are a lot more of us out there than there are of people in uniform. so that's what they mean by vigilant. for law enforcement people it means more people out on the street, more actual physical eyes and yeaears on places wher people are gathering. it's a very good question. to some extent, the government is sending what may seem at first contradictory messages. earlier this week we had a worldwide travel alert from the state department that said if you're going overseas and you're an american, think twice about going to large public gatherings. here we have the president now saying for those of us here at home, enjoy the holidays. i think what really is the message here is we have a very large security apparatus in
america, let them worry about security. you go on and live your lives. but as you do, if you see something that bothers you, that raises the hair on the back of your neck, we want to know. now, there is a consequence to this. one is that the police hear about things that are genuinely worrisome. the other is that they are very busy now chasing a lot of things that turn out to be not hazardous at all. we went through this again last night, brian, with a potential hazardous material on a cargo flight from egypt to the u.s. the security scanners there picked up something, they thought it was bad, they pulled it off, it turned out to be completely harmless. i talked to the police chief just across the river here in virginia in arlington who said he gets a lot of calls from people saying someone is taking pictures of the bridges. yes, the police have to run that down a lot more, but they would rather hear that than not hear about the thing that truly is troubling and that could lead to an arrest. >> and that's right, pete.
we had, in the last seven days, edgewater, new jersey, a movie theater and the entire area under lockdown. our nbc station here in new york, wnbc, reported someone had fallen off a chair. the sudden noise spooked the customers and they thought it was gunfire. and every community has a story like that. it is also reassuring to hear our public officials, to hear that police commissioner bratton here in new york city said he's going to be at the thanksgiving day parade with his family. and to know that these public events are now very heavily defended. >> right. and, of course, you really see it there in new york where they have an especially trained team of people. and really, i think, there are three reasons why they do this. one is, they genuinely want to be at the right place at the right time. and if they are all out there on the street, it's a lot better. two, if they have to respond, they can do so much more quickly
and try to minimize any casualties. but at least is important are three and four, they want to reassure people, they are well aware of the threat and are doing something about it. and fourth, there's a deterrent factor. what they say is if someone is kind of on the edge, thinking about doing some copycat thing and wants to be part of the glory and carry out an attack like they did in paris and they want to do a copycat thing and the environment may be pushing them toward that, the hope is if they get out there on the street and see this huge police presence, they'll think twice and maybe won't do it. so all those are very significant factors of why they do that in new york. to some extent, in other cities like los angeles, chicago, boston and elsewhere. >> all we need to do here is look out our back window at the base of the tree where the scaffolding is coming down today prior to it being lit next week. and we see this special operations division of nypd with helmets and cradling their m-4
automatic weapons. pete williams, thank you very much. tom costello, one more check-in with you for those flying domestically. what can they expect in terms of the old phrase, leave extra time? >> well, i think probably that's it. for the most part, we are talking about a normal process going through the nation's airports. i think that you may see a little more swabbing of hands to see if anybody has explosive residue on their hands. a little more in terms of roving canines, more dog patrols. as i was at reagan national airport this week, i saw a dog patrol literally stationed at, standing there at the checkpoint where people go through. i've seen roving dogs, many, many, many times here in washington and elsewhere in the country. that's a first time i have seen one just stationary, staying there throughout most of the morning. so i think that the whole system's kind of on a heightened sense right now, but for the most part it's going to be pretty much travel as we have seen for the last 10 or 11 years
since 9/11. the one point i will make getting back to our conversation before the president spoke, and that is about the situation that the president has expressed frustration with the europeans on the amount of information they share on the passenger manifest as it relates to those passengers flying to the united states from european points of departure. they are required to, and they do share passenger names on that manifest. and those names are checked against the terror watchlist. the frustration with many u.s. officials is they want more information. and european privacy laws generally don't allow it. they want to know, for example, if you bought your ticket from a particular travel agency in country x, y or z and that travel agency has in the past sold tickets to somebody who might be on the watch list, then that information would be relevant. and they would like to know that. but the trouble is, those european privacy laws have up until now hindered the amount of information that the europeans can share with the americans. so what president obama has said
is, we need your help, paris, in getting more information, and perhaps to some extend, eroding the privacy fire walls to get more information on those who are on inbound flights to the united states. >> tom costello with all we need to know transportationwise. the president's remarks from the roosevelt room, his remarks came with a late start this morning. all of this has meant a late start for andrea mitchell reports. and now andrea is in washington and will take it from here. >> always here. thank you very much, brian, for giving us the head-start. joining me from istanbul, turkey, richard engel. at the pentagon, jim miklaszewski. just stand by there a minute, but i want to get richard's take on what happened between russia and syria. whether the russian pilot is
claiming there was no warning. and word from nato sources that, in fact, there is some concern that the turkish leader may have been trying to prove a point and gone a bit too far? >> reporter: let me start with that point. this was turkey going a bit too far. that turkey had a variety of grievances with russia. one of them, in particular, about a rebel group that is in syria that is one of turkey's favorite rebel groups that moscow has been bombing relentlessly. it was the same rebel group that was operating in the area where the plane was fired on, very likely no coincidence there. turkey has been complaining to moscow, complaining to anyone who will listen to the u.n. and others that russia must stop bombing this particular rebel group. and then yesterday as the plane
went through briefly, seconds only through turkish air space on its way, bombing the same rebels, the plane was mysteriously shot down in circumstances that are still disputed. so many people are saying that was the reason. and to add more evidence to that theory, the turkish prime minister came out today in televised statements and said moscow must know it can never bomb this particular rebel group. and the reason turkey's so connected to this group is that they are turkmen, turk nationals. and this country believes it is protecting fellow turks who happen to live in syria. >> do we have information on the isis claims saying they are responsible for the bombing of a bus in tunisia? and another isis claim on a hit in a hotel in northern sinai? >> reporter: the specific claims take a long time to verify, but in the past isis has been very credible with its claims. there's been no significant
claim of responsibility that i'm aware of by isis, by the known channels that isis has used to distribute information that have been false. isis is quite cautious, it's very concerned about its reputation. it's p.r. wing is very slick. so generally when isis has claimed credit for things, they have been accurate. and that attack in tunisia shows that isis is trying to drive deeper into tunisia. and that has a lot to do with its proximity. isis has a huge base in libya, which is right next door to tunisia. isis has a huge base in sinai. and those particular groups, those particular franchises of isis, if you will, or the bureaus of isis, because they operate like bureaus more than franchises because they receive money directly from the headquarters, unlike franchises have to kick back money. that was the al qaeda model. but the libya group and the
sinai group have been especially active. of course, you can't forget it was the sinai group that claimed responsibility for downing that russian passenger jet about a month ago killing over 200 civilians on board. >> richard engel, thank you so much from istanbul. and jim miklaszewski, busy day at the pentagon on top of all the threat matrix and concerns recently that are investigated about whether the intel from sentcom on what's happening against isis has been cooked or downplayed. and at the same time general campbell coming out today to give his initial report on the investigation into what happened in kunduz, afghanistan. can you report on that? i know you covered that today. >> reporter: that's right, andrea. 30 doctors and patients were killed in that air strike from the ac-130 american specter gun
ship. when they launched that attack well over a month ago. as general campbell pointed out, that tragedy was brought about by a voidable human error. and quite frankly, many on the ground and in the air failed to follow the very strict rules of engagement that could have easily prevented this from happening. among the list of errors, the ground commander, a soft commander, never had eyes on the target and was never able to identify the target, which is an absolute necessity for calling in this kind of air strike. there were also technical difficulties in communications and the grid system aboard the ac-130. they actually lost track of where the original target was. and then when they eventually attacked the hospital, they had no idea according to u.s. officials they were attacking a hospital instead of the afghan military center that supposedly was taken over by taliban. there were so many errors in
this, quite frankly, andrea, that it's difficult to imagine that this mission could have gone ahead to begin with. it should have been called off before it even started. now some of those involved directly in that operation on the ground and in the air have been suspended pending further investigation, possible administration or administrative or perhaps criminal punishment, andrea. >> thank you so much, jim miklaszewski from the pentagon. for more on all of this, i'm joined by nick burns, former u.s. ambassador to nato. professor at the harvard school of government and former member of the ncs and state department. nick, there's so much to sort through. we'll talk about russia and turkey and how this complicated anything president hollande may do to bring together a coalition against isis. >> reporter: well, an ddrea, it does complicate the stronger coalition.
frankly, the two key countries that have not been fully part of this coalition are turkey and russia. turkey because it seems more concerned by kurdish nationalist groups operating in syria and they have been effective fighting the islamic state than turkey fighting the islamic state directly. russia because it's -- of its hypocrisy, frankly. it says it is concerned about the islamic state, but all their attacks are against the syrian groups opposed to the assad regime. so the big challenge for president obama and president hollande who met yesterday at the white house, can you bring these two countries into the coalition? and right now, of course, there's very poor relationship between them because of the tragedy of yesterday. i hope the russians will reflect on what they have been doing there. quite isolated in this situation, andrea. the only country they are truly linked up with is iran and iran is still a pariah in the middle east. one more thing, president obama deserves credit for having to put together this coalition, for having conducted the 8,000 air
strikes that he talked about, but where's the ground game? where is the u.s. support for the syrian kurds and the sunni arab groups fighting the assad regime and fighting the islamic state? i think i certainly believe that the u.s. can do more to arm those groups because you really can't defeat the islamic state solely through air attacks. >> and where are the arab air strikes? because we have a coalition, but many of these countries, bahrain, the uae, the saudis and jor dada jordanian jordanian, jordanian,ss, some have not flown since august or september? >> that's right. it's almost as if president obama and president hollande need to take a step back after their own meeting to reformulate this coalition. and that means try to find a way to get turkey to do more against the islamic state, try to bring russia in from the cold, that's going to be very difficult, but as you say, the sunni-arab
states of the gulf, the united arab emirates, have been more focussed on yemen with the exception of france doing very little. even britain is conducting air strikes in iraq against the islamic state but not in syria. and prime minister cameron has asked parliament for approval, he frankly doesn't need that, he could do it on his own authority, but he's done that. and we need to get everybody into this fight for it to be successful, but again, air strikes alone will not work. you've got to strengthen the arab and kurdish forces on the ground. >> ambassador nick burns, as always, thank you very much for your expertise. appreciate it. >> thank you. and coming up, more on the homeland security challenges this holiday weekend on a busy travel day. former 9/11 commission co-chair tom cane joins me next. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. .. yes, ge makes powerful machines.
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be informed. we do think it's useful for people as they're going about their business to be vigilant. if you see something suspicious, say something. that's always helpful. >> former new jersey governor tom cain co-chaired the 9/11 coalition, good to see you, sir. >> good to see you, also. >> you have examined more than anyone else except your co-chair leon hamilton what happened with the whole 9/11 apparatus. how safe are we going into this holiday weekend? we have just heard from the president and his national security team. >> we are safer than we have been on a number of occasions, since 9/11, and we have prevented a lot of attacks that they tried to pull off since. having said that, we've got isis, we've still got al qaeda, so we have to be vigilant. but remembering the fact that
the strategy is to scare us. i mean, the best triumph they can have is for all of us to huddle in our homes and not go anywhere. then they succeed. so we go out to live our lives as normal. that's our way of victory over the terrorists. >> i want to ask you about what donald trump has been saying and he repeated it last night about what happened in jersey city after 9/11. it's been disputed soundly by a number of people, fact-checkers, but let me play his latest comments on this. >> i took heat because i said in new jersey and in a new jersey setting, i said very strongly and very correctly, i said, there are people over there and they were dancing in the street. and they were dancing on rooftops. >> there's a column this morning by john farmer, a former attorney general of new jersey, and he at the time, well, he wrote today in "the star-ledger" whatever the message, it is just plain wrong to cite thousands of
muslims dancing in new jersey or paterson on 9/11, that simply never happened. he said there were rumors at the time and he told maggie haberman of "the new york times" they were all checked out and not proved true. did you in your lengthy investigation, years and years of investigating 9/11 ever come across evidence of this? >> no, we didn't. but i remember it very well because i was in new jersey. and donald trump is right, there were stories about it. more in paterson than jersey city, but definitely stories about it. but the stories were checked out and weren't true. so it didn't happen. >> did not happen. and when you see these kinds of comments on the campaign trail, i don't believe you have endorsed anyone, at least not to my knowledge in this current campaign. what does this do, the talk about syrian refugees who were vetted for 18 to 24 months? what does this do to civil discourse in our country?
>> well, it makes it more difficult. look, the refugees are an embarrassment to isis. they are running away from isis, not toward isis. what they want to do, al qaeda and isis, they want to make a division between this world and the muslim world. and they say it's a war between the two worlds. and the more they can feed that story line the better they like it, the more successful they are. we are selling our values. we don't buy that storyline. we've got muslims here who have saved a lot of american lives. if you talk to the intelligence agencies, they will explain to you that people outside of mosques, muslims, good americans, heard something, told the fbi, action was taken and terrorist plots were stopped. so the muslim community has been in many ways the best friends we have had in stopping terror.
secondly, if you're going to make this idea of there being a war between the civilizations, we don't do that in this country. no, we've got a lot of people who are integrated into the country, including a large number of a very good muslim community. and if you don't feed that idea, that americans somehow are going to be prejudice against muslims, every time that shows not to be true, you're hurting isis recruiting. so, you know, to me -- thoroughly vet them but accepting people who are just simply refugees from the terror that's going on in syria, that's what this country's all about. and if you -- and it's not the immigration problem or system that's been a problem, it's the visa problem. the visas from europe. where people can get into this country with a european passport log being fully checked, without
being fully checked. >> tom kean, the former republican chairman of the 9/11 commission. thank you. >> thank you. and joining us is the assistant director of the fbi. sean, if you were in the fbi seat right now, what would you be telling americans as they prepare to travel? >> i would be telling americans since what we saw in paris, andrea. be alert, be aware, don't be afraid. i think governor kean hit the nail on the head. one of the isis strategies and any terror strategy is to scare people and cause fear. we cannot allow that, that being said, we can't be naive either. there's a chance something could happen here. there have been threats. there are people here in the united states that want to do us harm and want to hurt innocent americans to support the jihadi cause. so we've got to be coordinating with local law enforcement, the fbi and the intelligence agencies to try to look for the
nuggets of intelligence to allow us to disrupt any type of attack in any type of public gathering, particularly in the thanksgiving holiday, andrea. >> shawn henry, thank you for the update. and up next, chicago protests. hundreds take to the streets after a dash cam video finally is released showing a policeman shooting a teenager 16 times. you're watching msnbc.
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administrator for usad, a distinguished fellow at georgetown school of foreign service. i always knew you were distinguished, raj. >> thank you. >> great to see you. the 2016 campaign has gone to a very dark place from my judgment in terms of the refugees and the facts of how we vet refugees. can you shed some light on what happens to these refugees in camps for 18 to 24 months and what kind of threat they may or may not pose to the united states? >> well, first i think it's important to know who the frees are. and i visited with them at jordan and throughout lebanon. these are primarily women and children, many have lost their man in the family to violence inside of syria. there are 4.2 million refugees. more than 3 million are in turkey, lebanon and jordan. and we work closely with those communities to make sure they keep their borders open and
welcome the frerefugees in a sa way. for the united states to take 10,000 refugees is concernly consistent with our values but a major part of the strategy to make sure all countries do their part and we do everything we can to support the refugees in real humanitarian and dire circumstances in and around syria. >> now, the french prosecutor has said that at least two of the attackers, they believe, did pass on that migration route through a greek island. and then they can get european documentation. so that's not refugee applications, that's people getting in through the visa waiver system if they have european passports. >> well, that's a broader issue related to mobility around the world. for people to criticize refugees specifically shows a lack of awareness of who the refugees are and frankly how they are screened. the united nations has referred more than 23,000 refugees to the
united states since the beginning of the syrian crisis. just over 2,000 have gotten through the screening process and come in. and of that group, precisely zero have been accused of any terrorist activity and had criminal action taken against them as a result. so we have a robust system. it's gotten tougher in terms of screening for syrian refugees, but it's important to recognize we're part of a global community. and the challenge of this syrian humanitarian crisis, the largest and most complex humanitarian crisis in history is something every country has to step up and do its part. america takes the refugees in a safe and protected way, but also providing billions of dollars in humanitarian assistance so people can have food, health, schools, health services in and around syria and keep it as contained to that place as possible. >> rajid, thank you. up next, the chilling video of a police officer shooting and
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and you may lose blood sugar control, which could be serious. ask your doctor about toujeo®. it was a tense scene last night in chicago and more demonstrations could come today after a much-anticipated and very graphic disturbing dash cam video was released a year after an incident where a white police officer shot and killed a black 17-year-old suspect 16 times. and multiple shots after the teen was down. two of the shots were in the teenager's back. a year later the officer was charged with first-degree murder, but only after investigative reporters pressed for this. stephanie gosk has details. >> reporter: the video begins with a patrol car racing through the streets of the city's southwest side responding to a report of a man with a knife trying to break into cars. the video shows 17-year-old
laquan mcdonald walking in the middle of the road, a knife in hand. the prosecutor says he took the drug pcp that night. officer jason van dyke and his officer approach him with weapons drawn. within seconds van dyke shoots. mcdonald stumbles, the majority of the strikes hitting the teenager as he lays on the ground. no other officer fires a weapon. more than a year later van dyke is accused of first-degree murder. his lawyer says the cop shot mcdonald because he worried for his safety. >> today janay joins me from new york. there are questions raised on the dash cam video why there's no audio because you don't, frankly, get the full impact of the fact that 16 shots were fired, repeated shots at this
young man after he was down. and, as you can see from the dash cam video when he's walking away from the police, not toward them. >> that's right. the andrea, we're so distressed by this awful, awful visual of this execution on tape by a state officer. the lack of audio on this video is just one of the many questions surrounding this entire investigation. there are so many concerns that have been brought to light in light of the delayed release of this tape. we know that this happened now 13 months ago. and in the interim there was no effort to bring this tape forward other than the very laudable efforts of a journalist who attempted to bring this tape to light. and it raises so many questions about our justice system, about the state attorney's office. and the elected officials who knew the tape existed, who saw the egregious behavior of former
officer van dyke and allowed him to stay on the payroll another 13 months during the investigation of what is clearly aberrant and atrocious behavior on the part of a law enforcement officer. >> our station in chicago, wmaq, is reporting there were 20 complaints against this officer over the years. >> yes, and this officer certainly had a sullied record. there were complaints of excessive force, of racial discrimination against an officer. and i want to be clear this is not about a single officer even though this involved an officer and an individual. none of these incidents are singular. this is really a universal problem that we're facing. and particularly if we wanted to look just at chicago alone, the chicago police department has been under scrutiny for decades and has an egregious history of their department. we are talking about a
department in a state that has a torture inquiry and relief commission that was established in 2009 because of the history of torture of suspects and others who were interacting with the police and ultimately at times were convicted due to torture and forced confessions. so this is a really systemic and deep problem that was just sadly revealed most recently through the tragic killing of laquan mcdonald. >> janai nelson of the naacp, thank you for being here. and cruz control, what's behind the texas senator's surge in the polls? that's next. you're watching msnbc. the app where you put fruit hats on animals? i love that! guys, i'll be writing code that helps machines communicate. (interrupting) i just zazzied you. (phone vibrates) look at it! (friends giggle) i can do dogs,
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carson, if and win the race gets real, let's talk about that with msnbc political analyst, michael steele, former republican national chairman. what do you make of ted cruz moving up in iowa? it seems as though he's got more ground troops on the ground. >> he does. >> a better organization, i should say, than marco rubio. >> he does. and i would say probably better than most of the other candidates. the one thing about ted cruz that i find very interesting and smart is while everybody has been focused on the bright shining object that is donald trump, he has been methodically laying the ground for just such an occasion, to sort of move into a position to challenge for the lead. and it's not -- it's not about the national polls as you well know, andrea, national polls meet nothing right now, it's exactly what is going on in states like iowa, new hampshire, south carolina and nevada that matter most. and that's what he's focusing his energy on and is gaining the
benefits from. >> so rubio now trying to stake his claim to be the alternative if ben carson and donald trump fade away. but cruz and rubio really are the logical competitors for that role. >> they are. they have similar appeals to the base. you know, i think ted has a stronger conservative advantage across the spectrum. he has been the one who has been in the well fighting the hardest and the loudest so much so that his colleagues in the senate don't like him and publicly have stated such. rubio has baggage he carries on immigration, and certainly in terms of the war footing that he's claiming, there's going to be some challenge, not just from someone like cruz but also as you saw in the last debate with rand paul, which is, again, reflective of what is going on inside the party. so cruz has put himself, i think, in the best position to take on donald trump leading into the next debate in
december. >> the conventional wisdom has always been that ted cruz had so alienated all his colleagues that he was a non-starter for a national candidate. but this year that could be an advantage. >> oh, absolutely. in fact, that was something from the very beginning as far as cruz was concerned that didn't matter to him. in fact, the less -- the folks in d.c. liked him the better. and that's going to benefit him going forward because he truly is outside both the establishment and what washington has been talking about the last couple of years. >> michael steele, happy thanksgiving to you. >> happy thanksgiving. and that does it for us on this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." we wish everyone a safe and happy holiday. the president will be pardoning the turkey this afternoon, that's always a fun moment. and remember to follow us online and facebook and twitter. thomas roberts is up next with "msnbc live." was all i was doing.
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we begin the hour with breaking news. a short time ago president obama wrapped up a meeting with his national security team and said americans should not be concerned about their safety this thanksgiving. >> i want the american people to know that we are taking every possible step to keep our homeland safe. >> obviously, security is on the minds of many americans today, one of the busiest travel days of the year. look at this, check out these live pictures on the left. on the left is the airport in connecticut. on the right, we have the roads in philadelphia. jay johnson will give an update on the holiday traveling, but we begin with peter alexander at the white house. peter, what is your takeaway from the brief presidential remarks we got today? >> i think the bottom line from what we heard the president speaking fewer thank six minutes
today, he wanted to speak to the american public. he acknowledged that the world is a dangerous place right now and said there's no information of any threats against the homeland at this time. and he said, basically, you enjoy your holiday. if anything develops, we will let you know. here was president obama a short time ago. >> now right now we know of no specific and credible intelligence indicating a plot on the homeland. in the event of a specific credible threat, the public will be informed. we do think it's useful for people as they're going about their business to be vigilant. >> i think the key word in describing the president's intentions with this statement was to try to reassure anxious americans. he said it's understandable that there are real fears in this country, anxiety is given after what we have seen take place in paris and mali. and his hope is as