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tv   MSNBC Live With Jose Diaz- Balart  MSNBC  January 5, 2016 6:00am-8:01am PST

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winter is finally setting in across most of the country but on the campaign trail, it's red hot. four weeks from today the iowa caucuses will be over but right now it's an all-out battle for those last-minute votes. marco rub marco rubio criticizing ted cruz's foreign policy. gop front-runner donald trump remains a big target with chris christie taking the lead. >> these are among the most dangerous and perilous times in our country's recent history. these times and these challenges demand a grownup to be our candidate. they demand someone who has been fighting today's battles in the arena, not somebody who has been sidelined for years, not running away from the battles when they get too hot or when they get too discouraged. showtime is over, everybody. we are not electing an entertainer in chief.
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>> and good tuesday morning to you. i'm jose diaz-balart. so nice to be back with you. we also have new nbc news polling to show you on the 2016 race. first let's get to the trail hallie jackson and kristen welker are in frigid iowa this morning. hallie, let's start with you. you're seeing a mixture of what seems like desperation and excitement among some of these republican candidates. >> and, jose, it depends on which candidate you're talking about. you've got folks like mike huckabee, rick santorum coming out to make a stand in iowa, the only state some of those candidates are age to make a play in. then you have folks like ted cruz, who is out here on his bus tour last night, drew 125 people to a little diner out in iowa. one of the conversations we had on his campaign bus yesterday was cruz saying he doesn't consider iowa a must-win state
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for him, raising eyes among political observers who see a tough path for him if he doesn't win iowa. he's got a social conservative stance and he's talking about a lot in hopes of appealing to evangelicals. we talked a bit about donald trump and the new attack line that trump has rolled out against ted cruz looking at his evangelical faith. listen. >> at what point do you start to draw the distinctions with donald trump? >> i like donald trump, i like ben carson, i like marco rubio. i like all the candidates running. >> even when they question why evangelicals don't come from cuba? >> politicians behave in a certain way and they engage in attacks. i'm not going to get drawn into that mud. i'm going to keep the focus on the issues that matter. >> reporter: so ted cruz there
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implying donald trump may be panicking along with other republican candidates, jose. at this point you're looking at trump, you're looking at ted cruz, they've got two very different styles in iowa. trump flies in, does these huge rallies and for ted cruz it's that much more traditional politicking in iowa. >> and kristen welker is the man they call subdued spouse? >> that's one way to look at it. bill clinton back on the campaign trail yesterday. he was a bit subdued, a bit understated. he rolled out a robust campaign as to why he thinks his wife
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will be qualified to be president at this time. and he wasn't back when she was a young lawyer and talked about her activism for civil rights, for children, for women. he brushed aside the barrage of criticism by donald trump. of course donald trump has been slamming him in recent days for his past transgressions when he was in the white house. he ignored those. largely so did secretary hillary clinton. >> i've adopted a new year's resolution. i'm going to let him live in his alternative reality and i'm not going to respond. >> so secretary clinton really encapsulating the strategy coming from her campaign. they are not planning to respond to donald trump, particularly his personal attacks. instead they're going to dp after him on some of the controversial he marks he makes. that gets a lot more difficult
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when she sits down for interviews like she's going to do later today with chris matthews and it could get more difficult as time goes on. at some point will bill clinton want to answer. bill clinton, by the way, will be here in iowa on thursday campaigning. secretary hillary clinton has three events in this critical state today, jose. >> hallie, i want to talk about something you mentioned earlier on our conversation, this push -- or new push to get the evangelical voters involved -- more involved in iowa, make sure they come out to caucus. who would benefit most from that? >> you know, ultimately when you look traditionally at who christians support. the reason we're here in this hotel room and i'm not standing outside in front of the capital
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in frigid temperatures because we're getting ready for an exclusive interview with billy graham's son, hoose headed to new hampshire, south carolina, florida, places -- did i say new hampshire, south carolina, florida, et cetera. he's going to these early states to try to mobilize christian conservatives to get out the vote. it's not necessarily for republican candidates. graham, very famously last nun renounced republicanism. he resigned from the republican party. he was disgusted he said, fed up with the way that washington is working. jose, i think this speaks directly to what you're seeing in the party, in the gop that is allowing folks like donald trump and these outsider to rise up. it's people who are fed up with the way the system is working. graham has a huge following and we'll dig into that in our conversation today. >> hallie jackson with another exclusive, no coincidence indoors.
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kristen walker following the campaign outdoors. thank you both for being with me. now to that new polling we promised you on the race. steve kornacki is here with all the numbers. great to see you. good morning. >> great to see you, jose. we're in the year 2016 and now we have for you the very first poll of the year 2016. this is the nbc news online. this is a tracking poll we're going to be doing every week from here on out. this is the state of the republican race as we enter 2016. national poll ear. you see donald trump basically with a 2-1 lead over his nearest rival tfva rival, ted cruz. marco rubio the on other one in double figures. a month ago ben carson was challenging donald trump for the lead. those days are long gone. jeb bush, chris christie, they are way back in this thing obviously. both of them are banking on doing well in those early states, in new hampshire thinking that can jump up their
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numbers there. but donald trump continues to lead. it has been five enough months now since he jumped the lead in these national polls and he still leads as we enter 2016. a couple of thing to draw your attention to, first of all, the loyalty of the voters that donald trump has to donald trump. more than half of his voters say they're absolutely certain that they're with him no matter what. for ted cruz that number is only 36% for marco rubio, only 26%. his voters basically half as loyal as donald trump's are. we always talk about the importance of evangelical voters in republican primaries. that's basically half the republican electorate there. there's donald trump. he continues to have a double digit lead among evangelicals. ted cruz has really gone hard after those voters. one more thing can i tell you, i don't think we have the graphic for this. the democratic race nationally
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hillary clinton enters 2016 in our tracking poll with a 17-point lead over bernie sanders. you see martin o'malley, he's never been able to gain traction in this campaign. bernie sanders looking for that big bounce in the early states, iowa, new hampshire to governor him a shot nationally. we'll see if he gets that but, jose, we're finally in 2016 and there are your first numbers of 2016. >> steve kornacki, thank you very much. >> president obama is promising to fight gun violence. later this morning he'll reveal. >> although we have to be very clear that this is not going to solve every violent crime in this country, it's not going to prevent every mass shooting, it's not going to keep every gun out of the hands of a criminal, it will potentially save lives in this country. >> key parts of the plot include moves to partially close the gun
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show loophole and improve the background check process. even those proposals are met with some sharp criticism from republicans. >> today to the news the president is -- he's obsessed with undermining the second amendment. >> we don't beat the bad guys by taking away our guns. we beat the bad guys by using our guns. >> joining me this morning, chris jansing and pete williams. >> what is the president proposing? >> we're expecting about a 20-ment speech from the east room today. they're a sign of the frustration he feels having not gotten legislation passed but as you pointed out, jose, a sign of the limitations of what every this is going toin force licensing of callers and
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background checks for buyers and clarify rules for reporting lost or stolen guns. thousands of them a year disappear and there's no way to trace them. they can't require background checks for everysong many gun sale. it's going to narrow, not ealmost nate that so-called loophole. it will not be able to ban those from the no-fly list. there are some things that the president is proposing that will be in his budget that congress will have to improve, including hiring 200 new agents and $500 million for maelt care. but you see the wide range of reaction, from the brady campaign to republicans on the campaign trail who have very harsh words for the president. this is eslengsly setting up another congressional fight.
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congress has not and so pete is this sim or is there some new aspect to this the president is proposing? >> what the administration says is all this does is summarize existing the law says you have to have one if you're engaged in the business. how do you tell if you're engaged in the business? do you buy guns intending to sell them? do you sell them with the intent to make a profit? you have a store site, or on a card table and a gun show or
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online all the straeg says they're doing is merely saying what is already in the federal law, that it's not a chang but they hope that by making it clear and with the hadn't of additional enforcement that they'll get more people who sell guns to become licensed deals are, which will result. >> i want to bring in boston mayor marty walsh. he's a proponent of gun control and will be joining the president in the east room for the announcement. >> thanks for having me today. >> are you satisfied this is the president can do in dealing with gun control? >> it's another step forward, giving us what we need, particularly in urban america where we have too many guns on the street. they spend a lot of time in people's living room and people's kitchen. why don't they come to boston,
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chicago or new york and sit in the living room of a parent who lost their teen-ager to gun violence and see how they feel about that. >> but cities like chicago, for example, already do have gun control laws and boston does as well, yet those are the city that seems most member of congress used versus other places where there's not enough gun control and not as much crime. >> guns are flowing into urban areas and being sold on the black market. we have ksh in the city these exat the orders today is a little piece of it, forcing a gun dealer to make sure that they have a license and forcing that there's a background check, i don't see what the big problem is here. and i don't see what the public
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outrage should be. >> correct me if i'm wrong, in boston the authorities have done a great job in the last couple of years to turn in guns and woo give you some things. it's all part of the legal process. i'm wondering, it seems as though you you want to highlight what the people who can legal live get guns should be doing and not as much on getting the guns that should not be in the hands of those who should not have them and focusing on that as much. >> actually, in boston, we're focusing on that. we took about to a gun buy babb we have a 16-yoofr low in homicides in this year, 2015. if you look at the shootings, our shootings are up from the year before. it doesn't seem to mack sense. what happens is too much access to illegal goons.
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that's one of the things. therary nor requirement that if guns are stolen, they're to we had no pushback, we were explaining people's rights, no one pushed back. they thanked us for the information. a lot of them didn't understand what they had to do or what their rights or responsibility was. >> thank you for being with me and we still have much more ahead this hour on msnbc. up next, more and more saudi allies are backing away with iran. plus, no end in sight as armed protesters hunker down at a federal building at a wildfire preserve in oregon, but the sheriff says it's time to go.
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and now for the latest on the escalating tensions between iran and saudi arabia. this morning the saudi president talked about the strange decision to cover diplomatic relations, saying that won't cover up his crime. the saudis insist the cleric was a terrorist and blame iran for inciting violence that has gotten them to this point. >> the ledger is one-sided. it is the obvious escalation on the side of tehran.
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it is the aggressive moves that led to this. >> kuwait became the latest country to sever diplomatic ties with iran. joining me now, richard engel in istanbul. this is now involving a half dozen countries. >> reporter: it's more than a regional dispute. it's a profound religious dispute, an et nick dispute, the arab divide, the shi'a divide. this is the divide causing many of the problems in the middle east flight, and one of the root causes of isis. frankly, it is the last thing that washington or anybody needs at the moment. right now there are calls for international consensus for the great powers of the middle east, which include iran, which include saudi arabia to get together to fight against the
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common enemy, which is isis. instead we are seeing these bui bitter tensions along those old ethnic and religious divisions that have become a major diplomatic rou. what saudi arabia did over the weekend was execute a leading critical voice. they executed this shiite cleric, along with many other people, and that -- saudi arabia said this was a legitimate, lawful act to eliminate a terrorist. and iran responded angrily. there were demonstrations on the streets of iran, protesters ransacked the embassy and another diplomatic building in iran and now we've seen a series of countries, all of them sunni countries, all of them allies of saudi arabia, either breaking off relations directly with iran or downgrading their diplomatic
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status. it is not an auspicious start to 2016 in the middle east. >> richard, if you could as you always do, give us a bigger understanding, a big picture of this. it's not as if iran here criticizing human rights violation in saudi arabia is coming from a regime that is probably getting the award for best human rights in the world. so it's not -- is this something that is being caused because of something else? >> reporter: it is the symptom of a much larger problem. and you're right, iran has been criticized for its human rights record and so has saudi arabia. but the two countries, these two great middle eastern powers, iran, the center of the shi'a world, iran also -- iraq sharing that title and saudi arabia, which sees itself as the leader of the sunni world. they are at odds for leadership
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of the broader middle east, they are at odds over the future of iraq, they are in direct conflict often times via proxies in syria, also in yemen where saudi arabia has been launching a war against rebels that it says are backed by iran. so there are many reasons that we are seeing these two countries and now coalitions breaking off and going to their respective corners but it was caused, sparked, by the excuse of that cleric. these waters run very deep, jose. >> richard engel in istanbul, that he c thank you very much. it's a pleasure to see you. >> and a look at the skyline of new york. this morning temperatures were in the single digits. it's going to be 7 in miami.
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but nothing compared to what's going on in the northeast. bill karins will be here to explain more of what's going on with winter's arrival. >> and after yesterday's wild ride, we're going to talk about what's in store for the markets today. down numbers before it even opens. that's today? we'll be with her all day to see how it goes. after the deliveries, i was ok. now the ciabatta is done and the pain is starting again. more pills? seriously? seriously. all these stops to take more pills can be a pain. can i get my aleve back? for my pain, i want my aleve. get all day minor arthritis pain relief with an easy open cap.
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then liberty mutual calls, and you break into your happy dance. if you sign up for better car replacement™, we'll pay for a car that's a model year newer with 15,000 fewer miles than your old one. see car insurance in a whole new light. liberty mutual insurance. now to developments from wall street where stocks will try to recover when the opening bell rings in just a couple of minutes. the dow set to open modestly lower. this comes off yesterday's stock selloffs, worries about china' economy and the turmoil in the middle east. the dow jones industrial fell to its worst start in 16 years. the nasdaq sinking more than 2%. josh, good morning. >> hey, jose. how are you? >> good. what is it about china that has
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investors so worried? >> china is the second largest economy in the world. when there's weakness there, it can show up of where else it's hard to export stuff to china when their economy is slowing done. it's been clear for a year that's been going on. we got data yesterday indicating manufacturing was a little weaker in china. and they've had all this turmoil in their stock market, a provision they put in for six months preventing investors from selling their stock expires on friday and people are nervous about that. today it was more quiet, stocks down 1%. it's looking like a much quieter day in stocks today than yesterday and we'll probably see that here. >> the chinese regime, what impact does it have overs stock market there? >> more there. when chinese data comes out, the
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numbers aren't totally made up but there is a sense that the chinese government is make massaging the gdp numbers that came out but they can only do it so much. they say the economy is growing 7%, which sound great from a u.s. perspective but it's slow from the history of china. it's pretty clear the chinese economy is still growing. the stock market they can interfere with. they've had a rule preventing big investors from selling stocks for six months. it's not like the u.s. stock market where you can get in and out wherever you want. >> or pretty much all the other stock markets. >> and quickly now, the iran/saudi arabia has also impacted investors here. >> yeah. certainly when you have a lot of saber rattling between two major powers in the middle east, you should think you'd be worried about oil prices but oil prices were actually down a bit yesterday. that can go two different ways with stocks. when oil price goes up, it's bad for the stock market. on the other hand, when stock goes down, that means less demand or oil and that can cause
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oil prices to fall. given that oil prices fell yesterday, they were worried about economic output. >> always a pleasure to see you. >> thanks jose. >> we're watching two major weather stories. doubt-stricken northern california is bracing for a nonstop blast of el nino storms. the region expecting several days of storms. and an arctic blast is covering a large part of the country. bill karins. >> it is pouring in from san francisco and in tahoe, it is snowing and snowing hard. this will affect areas of southern california. l.a. has flood watches, about 14 million people are in the flood watches and at the higher
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elevations, we have the snowfall, too. we haven't had a forecast like that forever. and we're going to get the snow pack build up, too. new york city up to caribou easily the coldest morning we saw so far this winter and even in tallahassee the wind chill is still 32 to 33. in the next three days we go from 50 in dallas to 68, in louisville 61 degrees and in new england temperatures will jump 15 to 20 degrees. it's a quick, cold blast enveloping much of the east. another cold blast issi coming next weekend. have you ever heard of an avalanche in a city? >> no. >> this snow fell off of a mosque in turkey. a few people had to be dug out.
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cuff imagine how much snow was on that mosque? i've heard of ice chunks falling off of building in new york city but i've never seen anything like that before. >> all the offices here smell like moth balls because everyone's getting their gloves and scarves so it stinks here. >> we're going to have to send you some cedar. >> fort lauderdale dropped below 60 for the first time, the longest stretch, miami almost went into the 50s but we didn't, we saved you. >> mosquitoes came in this morning. they were calling for a truce. they said let me inside the house and we won't suck you dry. >> live pictures from derry, new hampshire where jeb bush is speaking to the chamber of commerce. kasie hunt is there. we'll check in with her. plus armed protesters stand
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(man) the twenty-sixteen subaru outback. love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru. jeb bush is on the offensive taking on donald trump and telling "morning joe" that trump will get crushed in a general election. >> he's captured people's angst and anger. but he's a buddy of the clintons. is he the only person on the stage that has given money to bill and hillary clinton's campaign? yeah. and their foundation. he's probably the only guy who invited hillary clinton to one of his weddings. his views are closer aligned to hillary clinton than a conservative. how could he beat hillary clinton? when we get into a general election, he'll get crushed. you can't insult your way to the presidency. i find it remarkable that no
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other candidate is taking him on. he's a bully. you have to take on the bully head on and that's what i'm doing. >> else is in the witness protection program i notice but you have to stand up for a guy. >> right now governor bush is attending a chamber of commerce event in the state of new hampshire. let's go live to derry, new hampshire where we find kasie hunt. great to see you. >> reporter: jose, good morning. jeb bush is making the first of three stops here in new hampshire today. of course this is where he's staking his entire campaign, although it's not just him that's doing that. and that could be the problem for him. you also have chris christie, john kasich and marco rubio who have to win. that could end up drowning out the establishment lane.
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as you saw on "morning joe" he really is the only person going aggressively over donald trump. the question is whether or not it's too little too late, jose. you've got a lot of people around bush were urging him earlier in this campaign to take on donald trump the way you just heard him do that there. he's been doing it over the course of the past couple of weeks. there a lot of people who believe it's been an effective strategy for him but it did take him a while to get there. i was just inside at that town hall. he said you can't insult your way to the presidency. he said it might be funny, though it's not if you're disabled or if you're a woman or you're somebody who has been on the receiving end of an insult from donald trump. jeb bush said i just wasn't brought up that way. that's how he framed his criticism of trump. the question is still whether or not he can overcome some of the issues associated with his last name. a lot of people here on the ground thinking that is the main issue he's had all the way along. the crowd here at this chamber
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of commerce event, the organizers tell us it's much smaller than it was for marco rubio and john kasich, who have been here in recent weeks. >> it seems as though the folks who support the form are florida governor have pumped in millions of dollars in advertisement in new hampshire and in iowa areas. and, you know, this new aggressively going after trump, it just doesn't seem as though anything that the former governor is doing is getting any traction there. >> that's the overarching question of this lks cycle, jose. this ad campaign that bush's allies have put up on the air is really overwhelming. through the fall you'd hear people talk about his low poll numbers and say we're not at the advertising phase yet, and they have run a kengal campaign in that regard, coupled with this massive campaign on the air and it just hasn't moved the
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numbers. the real test is going to be when voters finally get to the polls. i was with chris christie tonight and jeb bush saying we're finally at the point where it's time to get p really get serious about this, implying that the trump phenomenon has been unserious and voters will start to come around to the more traditional candidates. we haven't seen evidence of that yet. >> kasie hunt, thank you very much. great seeing you this morning. >> anti-government protesters enter a fourth day in a fight over land in oregon. the self-professed newly named citizens for constitutional freedom is okaying a federal building. the fbi says it wants a peaceful resolution but will not detail how law enforcement plans to end this situation. the sheriff spoke to reporters late yesterday. >> this event has significantly impacked our community. our goal is to work together and
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restore calm and regular services of that community. >> msnbc is live in princeton, oregon. tony, good seeing you. what are these people saying about what they want? >> reporter: well, good morning, jose. we're in the cold, the quiet before dawn here in oregon. as you can see over my shoulder, the sun is just coming up. you might be able to see a guard tour tower. that is occupied by a demonstrator. and to my right is the building they have taken over indefinitely. late last night the leader of this group said they will not go anywhere until the hammond family who went to prison yesterday, until they are freed and the land here is transferred back to the people. one big question is what will law enforcement do? so far there's been no visible presence at all. this main road into the compound has not been trafficked by law
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enforcement at all. it seems as though there could be a day of action here, though. we had a conversation jim cavanaugh, a former atf agent in charge. he said the textbook play here is to cut power to the building, forcing people to go on to generators and using fuel and when the fuel is out, you can make a move. he also said the terminology that the governor would use is in fact domestic terrorism. that's been a controversial point here online. people saying is it a militia. that terminology may be a big reason why the gop so far, although as a party is sympathetic about this transfer of federal land back to the state, has not commented positive in this direction. not yet at least. jose? >> tony, thank you very much. we'll keep a close watch on what's going on there. and the break, an update on the
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so-called affluenza teen-ager and the fight to bring him back from mexico, this as his mother has a court appearance in los angeles. i'm caridee. i've had moderate to severe plaque psoriasis most of my life. but that hasn't stopped me from modeling. my doctor told me about stelara® it helps keep my skin clearer. with only 4 doses a year after 2 starter doses... ...stelara® helps me be in season. stelara® may lower your ability to fight infections and increase your risk of infections. some serious infections require hospitalization.
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the 2016 nissan altima has arrived. ♪ this morning we are hearing from the mexican attorney for texas teen-ager ethan couch who is fighting deportation from mexico to the united states. back in 2013 his defense attorneys argued his wealthy parents failed to teach him right from wrong, which led him to being dubbed the affluenza teen. today in los angeles, his mother, tanya couch, expected in court, charged with helping her son escape to mexico. blake mccoy is in los angeles. gabe, let me start with you. you spoke with couch's attorney. what did he have to say. >> reporter: hi, jose. it is fernando benitez, a high
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profile defense attorney known as a rock star here in mexico after a string of high-profile cases. he's stressing what he's trying to do is protect the constitutional rights of ethan couch. he's not concerned about what he may or may not have done in the united states. he said all that has been adjudicated. he's just trying to make sure his client is taken care of and treated fairly in mexico. i asked what he hoped to accomplish by brolocking his deportation. here's what he had to say. >> he's a young man, inexperienced young man in a foreign country being detained. i think he's entitled to the same compassion as any other human being would in a similar situation. >> that response is not sitting well with the families of the crash victims. they say ethan couch has never been held accountable and they feel he should be brought back
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to texas immediately. behind me is the immigration detention center where couch ha might this deportation case last. that is a major question. it could drag on for weeks or months. media's called all that speculation but ultimately it could be up to ethan couch himself. if he decides he wants to return to texas, this deportation case could be over very quickly. >> blake, what should we expect today from this hearing with tanya couch in los angeles? >> reporter: well, this is an extradition hearing in los angeles here today. that's because when tanya couch was brought back to the united states she was taken to los angeles instead of directly to texas so there has to be a formal transfer of custody between l.a. authorities and those texas authorities who are anxious to get her back to face charges of hindering the apprehension of a felon. that's a charge that can carry 2 to 10 years of prison time for
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tanya so that extradition hearing is expected to take place at some time today. we're told she will waive extraditi extradition. her attorney says she's also anxious to get back to texas to fight the charge against her. >> gabe gutierrez in mexico city and blake mccoy in los angeles, thank you both. new numbers this morning coming out after the latest round of immigration raids. agents took 121 adults and children as young as 4 -- 4 -- into custody. now legislated to head back to their central american countries. the sweeps primarily took place in georgia, texas and north carolina focusing on families that had already had deportation orders and no other options for asylum or relief. homeland security secretary jeh johnson says these types of operations will continue as appropriate. ♪ (cell phone rings)
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president obama is getting ready to officially announce his
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executive actions on guns. we'll get a preview from the white house and reaction from capitol hill coming up at the top of the hour. . plus, on this super tuesday we are surrounding the 2016 race for the white house. the candidates are all out on the trail as new numbers come out this morning. we'll break this all down for you coming up right here on msnbc. ♪ every insurance policy has a number. but not every insurance company understands the life behind it. for those who've served and the families who've supported them, we offer our best service in return. ♪ usaa. we know what it means to serve. get an insurance quote and see why 92% of our members plan to stay for life. ♪ ...are taking charge of their acrotype 2 diabetes...... ...with non-insulin victoza®. for a while, i took a pill to lower my blood sugar.
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♪ why fit in when you were born to stand out. the 2016 nissan altima has arrived. ♪ welcome back. in less than two hours from now, president obama will head to the east room to unveil what he describes as common sense executive action to reduce gun violence, but it falls short of what he's called for in the past. nbc's chris jansing has more on the plan from the white house. but we begin with luke russert with a reaction from congress. luke, good morning. >> reporter: good morning, jose. >> what are we hearing on capitol hill about the president's executive orders -- actions, i should say? >> reporter: well, not surprisingly, the reaction really does fall on partisan
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lines. you hear from a lot of democrats that, look, this is much needed action because congress has been at a stand-still due to the power of the gun lobby within the house republican conference and senate republican conference. however, from republicans you are hearing some very strong language. this is another executive overreach, something that the president is doing to side-step congress because he can't "operate by fiat," as how he would like to do. paul ryan, speaker of the house, said this, "the american people deserve a president who will respect their constitutional rights, all of them. this is a dangerous level of executive overreach and the country will not stand for it." so what will the house republican conference do, as well as their senate colleagues? we have seen in the past, jose, when there have been these types of executive actions, they will actually try and move a lawsuit forward. they have been successful with that in the past regarding executive actions. there is a possibility that could happen. i also expect to see some sort of committee action regarding
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this and republicans are saying, look -- we're not completely closing the door on doing anything in response to these mass shootings that have happened over the course of the last few years. we would like to see more funds for mental health. that's something the president will talk about as well. how exactly -- how much they would be, what type of programs they would be administered through, it is unclear. but overall i think that you'll hear a lot of outrage from republicans and you'll see a lot from democrats that say, look, the president had to do this, because even after newtown, even after 20 kids were shot and killed, we couldn't do anything in congress because of the strength of the gun lobby. somebody has to do something. let's not forget, what the president is moving on has wide bipartisan support in polls across the country. >> chris jansing at the white house, while the president is announcing things that some are saying are just reinforcing laws already on the books, others are saying well, if he had this authority before, why did he wait until now? >> reporter: you're hearing a whole range of reactions.
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obviously the first choice of this administration would have been to get some legislation through congress because they can do an awful lot more. these are very narrow changes but ones that gun control advocates think are significant because they do move the ball forward. we've talked a lot about this so-called gun show loophole. doesn't close it, doesn't significantly change it. in a way it kind of narrows it because it redefines who was a dealer. it means that fewer people will be able to sell guns without a license presumably and that means that more people will have to get background checks. we can show you a list of what the executive actions are expected to do and force those licenses and background checks. they're going to clarify some rules for reporting stolen guns, lost guns. thousands of guns every year, while they're in transit, kind of just disappear and they're not required now to report them. so they want to be able to trace those guns and those are the things that -- some of the things that are going to happen. what they won't do -- i think
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this is also significant because, again, the limitations of what a president can do without congressional support. he cannot require background checks for every gun sale. by the way, about 40% of them right now do not require background checks. many of them private sellers. they can't ban gun sales to people on no-fly lists. it's something that this group that has been working on this for months looked at, determined that they couldn't do. you also can't ban large capacity magazines which as we know have been used in many of these mass killings. this is really just one part of the president's strategy, these executive orders he's going to talk about today in the east room of the white house. he'll be meeting later with newtown families, other families, victims of gun violence, shreincluding gabby gifford. he's doing a town hall later this week. we also expect to hear about this in the president's state of the union which he has moved up a couple of weeks, all of it significant to show that, even though he has not gotten the
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support of congress, he is determined to make this one of the priorities of the final year of his presidency. >> chris jansing at the white house, luke russert on capitol hill, thank you very much for being with me. on monday president obama defended his decision to go around congress and address the gun control issue on his own. >> although it is my strong belief that for us to get our complete arms around the problem, congress needs to act. what i asked my team to do is to see what more we could do to strengthen our enforcement and prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands. the good news is that these are not only recommendations that are well within my legal authority and the executive branch, but they're also ones that the overwhelming majority of the american people, including gun owners, support and believe in.
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>> with me now, democratic congresswoman who district includes newtown, connecticut. she'll be with the president this afternoon. i understand you were about -- were one of a dozen lawmakers that met with the president on monday in the west wing. what did you guys talk about? >> well, we talked about what the proposals are that are coming out today. loretta lynch, the attorney general, briefed us and the president talked and actually asked our advice and suggestions for other steps he might take, other suggestions for what we can do together to help reduce the scourge of gun violence in this country. >> what would some of those be? it seems as though every time congress has had the opportunity to act it has chosen not to act. so what do you think the president could do maybe that he hasn't done or he's not going to announce today? >> he's taking some very important steps today. but make no mistake, jose, there is no excuse for congressional inaction. there remains an imperative for this congress to act. the reality is in the three
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years i've been in congress since newtown happened in my district, we have not had a single hearing, not a single vote in the house of representatives on commonsense bipartisan background check legislation, or frankly, anything else related to gun violence. it is overdo. time for this congress to take action and i applaud the president for going forward and taking steps within his authority to enforce the laws on the books. >> if he had this authority before, why do you think, congresswoman, he waited until now and not after, for example, newtown? >> well, i think he really wanted congress to act. frankly, i think we all thought that the slaughter of 20 school children in a first grade classroom would be enough to get congressional action. clearly we underestimated the power of the nra but the american people want and demand action. 90% of the american people and the vast majority of gun owners support xrcomprehensive backgrod checks on every commercial sale.
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that's part of this legislation, beefing up background checks. >> is it also correct that part of this new action includes, for example, making someone who sells maybe one or two weapons a year have to register as a sales person? >> well, frankly, that's happened right now is the craziness of this vast explosion of internet sales that are virtually unregulated and are not going through the background collection system. so if you imagine what you did for holiday shopping 20 years ago, you probably didn't buy anything online. well, imagine how people buy everything, including guns, and it's online. about 40% of sales are now outside of the background check system. so part of what this guidance from atf is going to do is say, if you are engaged in selling guns, whether you're in a physical store or whether you're online or at a gun show, you should be getting a federally authorized license and you should be subjecting every sale
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to background check. that's how you keep guns out of the hands of criminals, domestic violence abusers and the dangerously mentally ill. that's the modern era. >> but do criminals get their weapons online legally? in other words, do criminals go online and buy weapons or do they get it through another way that has very little to do with online sales or people who really do have a business to sell weapons? >> well, jose, over 2 million gun sales have been stopped under the current background check system. 2 million! and the vast majority of those are felons who actually did go to authorized dealers, did go to stores, did go to gun show stalls where people are authorized dealers. so clearly it does help. nothing's going to solve all problems. nothing's going to change all human behavior. but we can and we have to do better. 30,000 americans dying every year? 90,000 injured? that's too many and we can do better. i applaud the president for taking bold steps. but frankly, congress needs to
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get off its rear earned and get its job done. i'm going to re-double my efforts in congress to push my colleagues to join in bipartisan efforts to do just that. >> congresswoman esty, thank you very much for your time. i so appreciate you being with me this morning. >> thanks for your attention to this important issue. >> president obama is scheduled to pespeak at 11:40 eastern tim and we'll carry that speech live as soon as it begins. the gun debate is making its way on to the campaign trail. we're about to go and speak about what the candidates are saying and what they're not saying. but first, with less than four weeks to go until the iowa caucuses, there's ramped up rhetoric from republican front-runners. donald trump seemed to be on the offensive after stinging attacks from his gop rivals. >> folks, we have a revolution going on. people are tired and they're sick of the stupidity that we're
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seeing coming out of washington. they're sick and tired of it. we don't need four more years of obama and that's what you're getting with hillary. that's what you're getting. no, that's what you're getting. and i believe it might be even worse if you want to know the truth. it might be worse. meantime, all the republicans are kicking their campaigns if had overdrive. ted cruz continues a week-long swing through iowa, marco rubio makes a strong play for new hampshire and we're going to talk about all this with hallie jackson on the trail in iowa. hallie, good morning. >> reporter: hey there, jose. yeah, we were out with ted cruz on the campaign trail yesterday. he was kicking off his six-day, 28-county bus tour through iowa here, this big barnstorming tour we've talked about. he talked about somebody who he has bear hugged throughout this republican primary so far, and that's donald trump. i specifically asked him about this idea that trump seems to be insinuating something about his
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evangelical faith that not a lot of evangelicals come out of cuba. cruz didn't directly respond but he suggested trump might be panicking. cruz believing the increased attacks he's been seeing recently over the last couple of weeks are a sign that something has changed in this race and perhaps a sign he's solidifying his front-runner status here in iowa. what's he doing about that front-runner status? listen. >> we have the month of januarj. we are taking nothing for granted. we're going to 28 counties in six days, going to many small rural counties, looking people in the eye. this is the iowa way. it is one of the great things about iowa and new hampshire being the first two states, both states are relatively small states and both states expect to be able to look you in the eye and make a determination who's telling the truth and who's not. >> reporter: this idea that you
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can look somebody in the eye, that's central to cruz's bus tour over this next week and it is very different than what we see from somebody like donald trump who has had success here in a very different way with these huge rallies pulling in thousands of people. cruz is out now with a if you ad, a new tv ad that you saw exclusively here on msnbc earlier this morning. take a little listen to what he's talking about here. it focuses on immigration. it's interesting. watch. >> i understand that when the mainstream media covers immigration, it doesn't often see it as an economic issue. but i can tell you, it is a very personal economic issue. i will say the politics of it would be very, very different if a bunch of lawyers or bankers were crossing the rio grande. or if a bunch of people are journalism degrees were coming over and driving down the wages -- >> often in his stump speech,
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we've heard it from him out on the campaign trail that this idea that immigration is a big topic, that if it was a different type -- you hear him saying that rhetoric there. that's something he talks a lot about with his supporters who respond to it. see how this ad plays in places like iowa and new hampshire. >> hallie jackson, thank you. breaking news this morning out of afghanistan. we hear an unknown number of american forces have been killed or wounded. let's turn now to nbc news chief pentagon correspondent jim miklaszewski. jim, good morning. >> reporter: good morning, jose. details are still sketchy, but according to u.s. defense officials, an unknown number of american forces have either been killed or wounded in what turns out to be two separate incidents. according to officials, u.s. special operations forces were conducting counterterrorism operations in the helmand province in southern afghanistan
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when they came under heavy fire and there are some wounded under american special operations forces. an american medevac helicopter was called in and settled down on the ground, but while it was on the ground, at least the vicinity around the helicopter then came under heavy mortar and enemy small arms fire. it is not clear that the helicopter was struck. it may remain grounded because of the intense fire in the region. but again, details still sketchy. exact numbers of killed or wounded are not available yet. but regrettably, it appears that there have been american casualties, some dead, some wounded, in that counterterrorism operation. still not clear who they were after, whether it was al qaeda or taliban forces. but it was described as a counterterrorism as opposed to any kind of combat operation. they were not coming apparently to the aid of afghan forces, but u.s. special operations forces. >> jim miklaszewski, thank you
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very much. we'll stay very close to this story, let you know how details emerge. now to the new polling we've been talking about in the 2016 race, msnbc host and political correspondent steve kornacki is here with all the new numbers. steve, good morning. >> good morning to you, jose. we're finally in the here 2016 and so we have it for you right now -- the very first national polls of 2016 for the 2016 campaign. this is an nbc news online poll. this is a tracking poll. we're going to be doing this every week from here on out. so this is it. at the start of the year where does the republican race stand nationally across the country? more than one-third of republicans across the country say donald trump is their choice for president. 35%. he's basically doubling up ted cruz who's in second place. marco rubio, the only other republican in double digits right now. pay attention here to ben carson. he's down to single digits. remember not that long ago he was challenging trump for the lead. he's trending very much in the wrong direction. you see bush and christie there
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in the mid single digits right there. they've got plenty of work to do. a couple things we can draw your attention to in terms of explaining how trump's got this lead. here's one factor. this asked voters about the intensity of their support. says how certain are you that you're going to stick with this choice you have right now. more than half of trump's voters -- 51%, say this is it. i am absolutely certain donald trump is my candidate. for marco rubio the number is half that. for ted cruz, only 36%. you are seeing a lot more loyalty right now among trump supporters than you are seeing with the other candidates. that's a warning sign maybe for the other candidates. that's something that's encouraging for donald trump. there's also this. we always talk about the importance of evangelical reporters in republican primaries. half of the republican sununive is evangelicals. ted cruz leads with them but nationally donald trump continues to do better among
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evangelicals. if ted cruz can win iowa, will he get a boost there. that could be a trouble spot for trump. we also asked about the democratic race, where does that stand as we enter 2016. no real surprise here, hillary clinton comfortably in first place there. bernie sanders, 36%. martin o'malley, he's never gotten any traction, certainly as we enter 2016 his work is cut out for him. hillary clinton comfortably in first place on the democratic side. again, bernie sanders counting on break-out performances in iowa and new hampshire to try to change that dynamic. there it is, jose. welcome to 2016. there's your first poll. >> steve kornacki, thank you very much. a lot more polls coming up. thanks. several nations are being drawn in to the escalating feud between iran and saudi arabia. the impact across the region and the world when we get back on msnbc. woah! father, why can't we have directv like the macgregors do?
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a half dozen nations have now been drawn in to the escalating crisis between the two most powerful nations in the persian gulf -- iran and saudi arabia. at this point it is still a diplomatic standoff but there are concerns it could have a dramatic ripple effect across the region. joining moo he now, former u.s. ambassador to nato and under secretary of state for political affairs, nicholas burns, currently a professor at harvard's kennedy school of government. ambassador, always a pleasure to see you. >> thanks, jose. >> how concerned are you that what's going on now between iran and saudi arabia, which is a diplomatic confrontation, coco become maybe military confrontation? >> well, i think there is a cause for great concern, jose, as to what's happened over the last four days. these are the two leading powers of the sunni community in saudi
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arabia, the shia community, iran, respectively. they've been competitors in the syrian and yemeni civil wars. they've had long-standing agreements, it's just gotten worse over the last couple days. so there is a lot of concern in washington the united states needs, i think behind the scenes, to try to reduce these tensions and limit them. i don't think there is a great concern that they'll fight directly because, frankly, i think their governments are too rational and smart for that but they'll continue to compete in yemen, syria and elsewhere, and that's what's worrying the u.s. administration. >> why do you think iran would have gotten involved in the confrontation with saudi arabia over the killing of this cleric? iran is a government that right now has four americans hostage. this is a place where human rights aren't exactly shining light. why did iran decide to get involved in this? >> well, that's why there's a real hypocrisy in terms of the reaction of the iranian
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government. the iranian government executed far more people last year than any other country in the middle east and certainly more than saudi arabia. there are major human rights violator but they've also been, obviously as a shia country, a long-time supporter of the minority shia population and the eastern province of saudi arabia, particularly a supporter of sheikh nimr al nimr who was executed by saudi arabia other the weekend. i think what you are seeing inside of iran is a tension between a semi-reformist wing led by president rowhani, then the hard core iranian revolutionary guard corps. i imagine some of those who attacked were encouraged to do so by the iranian government. then some of the iranians government denied they sacked the embassy. a lot of this is over the nuclear deal. >> you say saudi arabia has been involved in a proxy war in places like syria.
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but they also see their border threatened by folks that are being supported by iran. so in a very real way, they're seeing their national security threatened by proxies of iran. >> i think the saudis have legitimate security concerns and i think the sunni-arabs are very worried the americans have been making a major power play. with iran back being the houthi rebels in yemen, being a negative force if iraq, in being the kingmaker of supporting president assad in syria. of course iran has been bank rolling and funding hezbollah and lebanon so iran has a real problem in the middle east. but i think there is widespread displeasure in washington that the saudis chose at the very beginning of this year such a sensitive time to execute so many people and to really pour gasoline on the fire in doing so. it was a mistake by the saudis to do that and we have our share of disagreements with the saudis obviously because we are a
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democratic country. we disagree with their views on women's rights and on human rights. but still we have security interests with saudi arabia. that's what makes this so difficult for the obama administration. i do think you'll see president obama and secretary kerry continue to push the diplomatic process on syria and their right -- they're right to do that. >> i want to ask you about the unknown number of u.s. casualties during counterterrorism operations in afghanistan, what do we know about the area where this occurred and what's going on there? >> well, we know very few details. your network has just reported it. if this has occurred it is a tragedy for the united states to lose soldiers. this is going to be i think a difficult issue for all of us in 2016, particularly for the obama administration should we retain an american military presence in afghanistan. i think the facts we would argue that we should, that the taliban has gained back a considerable amount of territory in 2015. they are a real threat to the government of afghanistan.
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our troops have been doing heroic work in helmand province where apparently this incident took place and throughout afghanistan. i think they are necessary for the stability of that country and even if it is 14 years later we can't forget -- i know you don't -- i certainly don't -- that we were attacked from afghanistan on 9/11. >> ambassador nick burns, always a pleasure to see you. thank you for being with me this morning. i want to bring in a former senior british officer who spent a year in afghanistan working with british special forces. good to see you. talk a little bit about where this occurred. it looks like it is a very, very tragic situation. >> morning, jose. yeah, i spent a year across afghanistan working out of kabul but then for eight months throughout kandahar and helmand province. what we were doing was we were working on the british strategic plan for the inload of troops in 2004 working very closely with the americans, the oda with be which were the u.s. spec ops
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operating out of helmand province since 2001 but also kind of working out what the political, economic and security lines of development were across helmand province. one of the key things that came out of those discussions and that strategic thinking was the significance of the opium trade. but what i think we did looking back at it now, this was in 2004. but looking back at it now over ten years later we are seeing a resurgent taliban across the north in kunduz, in kandahar. a couple of weeks ago there was an attack on the airbase in kandahar. we're seeing a resurgence of taliban capability across afghanistan. i think we underestimated the importance of the opium trade which essentially bankrolls the taliban and it bankrolls their operations. i think where the reports are coming out of, in terms of the death of u.s. special forces, it
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is a district incredibly important to the taliban because the helmand river runs right through the middle of it and the helmand river provides very fertile ground for the opium crop in order for the middlemen to be able to produce it and ship it out of the country and the taliban to tax those exports. so i think what we're seeing is initially the brits went in there in 2004 and through some incredibly hard fighting, some of the most difficult and hard fighting that the brits and americans have experienced since world war ii, had gone in there and they secured the district i think since the withdrawal over the last couple of years, the taliban have been resurgent across helmand and they're making a real play to regain that strategic center of their resourceses, if y resources, if you like. >> this has a lot to do with the taliban's economic base or where they see their economic income most benefited. it is a region that's very difficult -- i mean
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geographically it is very difficult, isn't it? >> yeah. it is certainly one of the most austere places that i've operated out of. you've got obviously the desert plain, but then the hindu cush as well. the capabilities of the taliban with ground knowledge was something we didn't quite get our heads around. they know the lay of the land incredibly well. getting around that part of the world, getting around helmand province is something very difficult to do and on what the brits and the americans had to do was they had to literally pour a significant amount of helicopter capability in there in order to get the troops around the province so they didn't have to travel via the ground and get struck by numerous amount of improvised explosive devices and booby-traps and so on, so forth. again, it is an incredibly
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austere place to be able to operate. the fact there have been conventional forces pulled out, again there is a huge pressure on special ops forces, both brits and americans, to maintain their presence there in a number of different roles working with the afghan national army and the afghan national police. those roles aren't necessarily kinetic. what i mean by kinetic is the ability to project firepower. there's also non-kinetic roles which are absolutely vital in building the human intelligence trail. those two roles are snr and sni which are surveillance and reconnaissance and support and influence. that involves special forces guys going into the provinces, speaking with the tribal elders and getting a real feel for the dynamics between the tribal elders and the taliban and sort of giving the tribal elders within the provinces and districts the confidence of the capability of the afghan
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national army sinner in guys sy the special ops force. it is not just an attack piece where single bombs are on the ground or the snipe role. but those non-kinetic roles which are vital. >> we are covering this breaking news here on msnbc. u.s. casualties reported in afghanistan. we'll continue watching this for you, bring you the very latest right here on msnbc. we'll be right back. ♪ ♪ why fit in when you were born to stand out. the 2016 nissan altima has arrived.
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at ally bank no branches equals great rates. it's a fact. kind of like reunions equal blatant lying. the company is actually doing really well on, on social media. oh that's interesting. i - i started social media. oh! it was you have to feel healthy... on the outside your core. trubiotics a probiotic from one a day naturally helps support both your digestive and immune health by combining... ... two types of good bacteria. trubiotics. be true to your health. i want to go back to nbc news chief pentagon correspondent jim miklaszewski. jim, good morning. what more can you tell us about this tragedy that occurred in afghanistan? >> jose, a senior defense official tells nbc news that the early reports are that one american service member was killed, two others wounded in
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either a counterterrorism operation or when a medevac helicopter came under fire in southern afghanistan. now u.s. defense officials have told nbc news that american special operations forces were conducting a counterterrorism operation near helmand province in southern afghanistan in marjah when they came under heavy fire. not clear who the target was in the operation but apparently there were some american casualties at that point. a medevac helicopter was called in, safely landed, but while on the ground came under heavy mortar and small arms fire and there are some reports that the helicopter itself was hit. now again, early reports indicate one american killed, two others wounded. it's not clear whether the casualties all occurred in that initial counterterrorism operation or whether some of those casualties were also
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inflicted there at the landing zone. as far as we know, it appears the helicopter itself may either have been struck by enemy fire and is disabled, or has remained on the ground because of the heavy fire in the region. some reports indicate that the helicopter was actually struck by the enemy fire and there are two reports that the taliban is claiming responsibility, but normally u.s. special operations forces would not have been involved in any kind of counterterrorism operation against the taliban forces itself. but that area is heavily infested, if not controlled, by taliban forces, so it's not unreasonable to presume that even if the taliban were not involved in that counterterrorism operation, that they would have moved very swiftly toward that landing zone if they were aware that american
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forces were on the ground at that time, jose. >> jim miklaszewski, thank you very much. turning back to michael kay, former se eer senior british of. that is an area that you and jim are telling us has a lot of activity, a lot of economic activity with the opium fields that have been there for hundreds of years, but that are a key part of the taliban's financial infrastructure. >> yeah. the area is relatively close to the economic powerhouse of helmand province. and what's significant about marjah and the area, there are a number of villages that go from south to north, is that they are all effectively on the helmand river and the helmand river provides a lot of fertility to grow the opium plants. the opium plant bankrolls,
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obviously used to make heroin. that's been for many years bankrolling the taliban's activities in helmand and afghanistan, wider er afghanistan, wider afghanistan. so the significance of this air area to the taliban is huge. you take away the ability for the farmers to grow the opium, effectively you take away the financing of the taliban. that's why we're seeing and have been seeing a resurgence of taliban activity in helmand province and specifically around sangin where many battles have occurred with the taliban over the years. now that we've seen that withdraw and more of the onus put on the afghan national army an afghan national police who have been trained and mentored by the brits and the americans, the taliban are now taking advantage of those perceived
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weaknesses and they're really making an effort to try and secure some of this ground again in order to protect their vested interests and revenues. >> talk to me about the taliban because there have been peace processes under way in the last couple of years to try and include the taliban into negotiations with the afghan government. the united states has been supportive of that in other countries that have been kind of like the safe zone for these conversations between the taliban and the afghan government. so what is going on here? because is it now the taliban that are taking stronger role in fighting against the afghan government? i mean al qaeda is there as well. >> when we go back to the taliban in afghanistan, it's effectively been there to ame
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ameliorate and oust if you like any of the western meddling of the coalition forces in afghanistan. they believe that it is a state that should be ruled under some form of sharia law and they don't like this western democracy template being implemented in afghanistan. that that was the situation when they raided and after the u.s. decided to nation build after 9/11 in afghanistan. it's been quite apparent over the last 10 to 12 years that even with 110,000 coalition troops, even with an afghan national army which is over 200,000, there has been a status quo that has been able to be produced but there hasn't been any definitive destruction or destroying of taliban capability. now what we're seeing is the resurgence of the taliban
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capability. we saw in the north in konduz where the taliban took over konduz city which was unheard of for a couple of weeks. it's now been taken back but there are still battles going on there. we saw resurgence in kandahar, attack on the airbase a couple of weeks ago by the taliban. so they are slowly starting to regain ground and they now occupy and control more ground now than they did in the early years in 2004, 2005. so i think that's significant where the afghan government go politically in the future. a, they can't afford both politically, both monetarily, and both from the casualties that they're getting, they can't afford to continue what they've been doing the last 12 years. there has to be some political negotiation which some might argue would be some sort of power sharing agreement. i mean not exactly the same as what we saw with the ira in northern eireland but something
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along those lines, a power sharing agreement that could distill some sort of peace across the country. i think it is just another option that's being looked at. i think what the taliban are doing is that they are posturing themselves at the moment to put themselves in a position of power when it comes to those negotiations. i think in 2016 we'll see these negotiations starting to build some momentum as to where we now go in the future because pure military activity i think it is fair to say, having spent a year in the country myself, pure military activity alone isn't providing the stability that the afghan people deserve. and it is the afghan people here that are completely getting pounded by what we're seeing in helmand province and all across the country. >> thank you very much. joining me now, retired four-star general barry mccaffrey. jim miklaszewski reporting that at least one casualty, one
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special operation force american dead, and two injured. that's the latest so far. it's a very difficult area of the country and it looks as though, general mccaffrey, that the taliban has been gaining ground there. >> yeah. no question. one of your earlier comments underscored, it's the center of the opium growing industry. i've flown into helmand province before. you look out window of the aircraft landing and you can see endless fields of the opium poppy. so there's money involved. there's a reason to fight. and we've got very limited forces now throughout afghanistan. that's the other thing i think that we need to underscore. special operations work better when there are conventional forces a hand. when they're backed up by attack helicopters and they have ready
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medevac when they have more intelligence on the ground. so we've got very anemic combat elements now trying to advise and assist these afghan army and police forces in a giant ungovernable country. >> at least one dead. two wounded. the reality so far. reports are still coming in. but let's talk about that. taliban has been in the past couple years we were talking with miky about this, has tried to be a major player. they have been in negotiations with the afghans, qatar has been involved. so where does the taliban stand as far as some kind of an organization that can be dealt with when you see what we're seeing today? >> well, ultimately of course the taliban seek power. there won't be an accommodation, there won't be a democratic consensus building in this country. this is civil war, primarily
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between the pashtun and other ethnic groups. afghanistan is a mess. it really isn't a federally governed state. it is in a meltdown position now. it's hard to imagine that -- the afghan army and police, which are kept alive through external financial resources and advice, and u.s. air power, it's really going to hold its state together. very troublesome. hard to see that the obama administration right now can do much more than try and not have it collapse on their watch. >> how do you do that, general? when you have so many different forces vying for power, when you have no real possibilities of a negotiated situation in the future and you have a country that you and mikey and everybody have so accurately described as
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really a disaster. the soviets learned during the '80s that you just can't go in there and change things around but how do you deal with something that seems ungovernable, and yet at the same time must be at least some ways balanced because it is in a key part of the world? >> well of course it is not clear to me that we've ever had vital national security interests at stake in afghanistan. that's probably more true in iraq than afghanistan. >> true. but afghanistan as you know is the base for terrorism and that's where al qaeda came from on 9/11. >> well, they used -- certainly al qaeda or any terrorist organization -- we're now seeing some elements of isis, the haqqani network and others operating in afghanistan -- they all need a base to train, to have their corporate headquarters. but i'd be less concerned that
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afghanistan necessarily remains primarily a threat to the united states or the western world. to some extent an afghan boy who isn't the oldest boy doesn't get land. therefore, he doesn't have money. he can't get married. he works for the opium trade. he works for the opium trade, either a criminal gang or the taliban. there's hard to see there's much difference between the two. so again, i don't see with -- we've got less than 13,000 nato forces on the ground right now. it's hard to imagine that the country can be glued together with that kind of external power. we had 110,000 troops there, we were doing pretty well. but the american people clearly. don't want to continue spending $10 billion a month and the fairly significant casualties
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that that incurred. so again, this is not a solution in progress that we're watching in afghanistan. >> general barry mccaffrey, thank you for being with me this morning. one killed, two wounded in afghanistan. we'll monitor this for you and be right back. ♪ (cell phone rings) where are you? well the squirrels are back in the attic. mom? your dad won't call an exterminator... can i call you back, mom? he says it's personal this time... if you're a mom, you call at the worst time. it's what you do. if you want to save fifteen percent or more on car insurance, you switch to geico. it's what you do. where are you? it's very loud there. are you taking a zumba class?
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and 10 grams of protein to help maintain muscle. all with a great taste. i don't plan on slowing down any time soon. stay strong. stay active with boost®. i want to bring in medal of hon more recipient, retired u.s. army colonel jack jacobs. thank you for being with me. one american killed, at least two injured in afghanistan. we've talked about the area, why it is so important for taliban, how difficult it is for that country to have a national government that can control all parts of its border. it is a very difficult country. what are the americans doing there? >> well, they're training the afghans to defend themselves. but as general mccaffrey said last segment, we have an insufficient number of people to train all the afghans who need to be trained.
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and in addition, insufficient support once they are trained. they can't conduct military operations to seize and hold terrain which is what they have to do because they can't hold it. not enough afghans trained. not enough support to hold on to the terrain. not enough time to do it. and as a result, every time they go and take an area, once they leave taliban come back. especially in helmand province which as you heard, and as you know, is the center of the opium growing activity and the genesis of lots of the funds the taliban use to fund their operations. it's a fragmented country. weak central government. small number of troops. don't have the staying power or capability to stay in an area once they take it. and so what both the afghan government and the united states has been working on is to try to drive toward a negotiated settlement to this conflict,
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which would include some form of power sharing. but as long as the taliban are making headway, as long as we and our allies, the afghans, as well, are not disrupting their source of revenue, not being able to hold on to terrain once they seize it, taliban have no motivation to make any kind of negotiated settlement that will work to their disadvantage so they will carry on and they carry on even through what used to be quiescent seasons when there wasn't any fighting all through periods that were not the fighting season. they fight year round now because they have some motivation and some impetus to keep going. it is going to be extremely difficult to solve this one. >> colonel, ten years-plus of the united states and other countries trying to train and help support the afghan national forces. how long does it take for these forces to be able to defend themselves?
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>> not to make too much of a joke out of it, it's like the question how long is a piece of string? it takes two kinds of resources. neither one of them are in very -- are in anything but short supply. first is lots and lots of troops and support. and neither the united states nor any of other allies are willing to do that. the second is time. we're not willing to do that either. as you said, we've spent more than a decade there. are no farther along than we were before. so the american public is not necessarily excited about pouring more people, more money, and certainly not any more time into the region. the sail thime thing is true of other allies in the coalition. it is going to take a long time. i think it was general mcchrystal who once opined that a fight like this takes lots and lots of people and lots of time, more than a decade. i think he was suggesting more than two decades.
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you have to go there and you have to stay there. it is not sufficient to seize terrain. you got to seize it and you have to hold it while you're developing the capability to govern. and nobody's willing to do that. not the least significant of which is the government in kabul. the government in kabul is not willing to do that. they don't have the capability or motivation to do it. as general mccaffrey suggested, what you are looking at is a country that's a failed country and ultimately might wind up in bits and pieces like lots of other countries in the middle east in this -- in southwest asia and that region. it looks like fragmentation that's occurring in slow motion and i think ultimately -- you're either going to see that or you're going to see some sort of negotiated settlement with the taliban, some power sharing. but that's not going to happen until taliban is motivated to come to the bargaining table, and that won't happen unless the taliban see some -- see some
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battlefield defeats on their side, it is going to require much more effort, i'm afraid. a long time is a short-winded way of answering your question. >> colonel jacobs, according to the department of defense, u.s. medevac helicopter came under fire in southern afghanistan. there was an encounter with forces there. special operation forces. as of right now at least one american killed, two wounded. we will of course continue monitoring this breaking news situation coming out of afghanistan and bring you all the details right here on msnbc. that wraps up this hour of msnbc live. thank you for the privilege of your time. tamron hall is up next. i'll see you tomorrow. ♪ ♪
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humira works for many adults. it targets and helps to block a specific source of inflammation that contributes to ra symptoms. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened, as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure. before treatment, get tested for tb. tell your doctor if you've been to areas where certain fungal infections are common, and if you've had tb, hepatitis b, are prone to infections, or have flu-like symptoms or sores. don't start humira if you have an infection. talk to your doctor and visit this is humira at work good morning, everyone. i'm tamron hall. we are following two breaking stories this morning. we are waiting for president obama to step forward in the east room to announce new executive actions to expand gun background collection in this country.
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the president is scheduled to unveil those measures in about 40 minutes. but as also mentioned, we are following another breaking story, this out of afghanistan where defense officials now tell nbc news that unknown number of u.s. special forces have been killed or wounded in two separate incidents in southern afghanistan. this latest incident follows six americans being killed in afghanistan december 21st when a suicide bomber drove a motorcycle in the convoy and blew himself up. that was december 21st. six americans killed that day. now we are following another developing story in that country where an unknown number of soldiers, special ops forces, have been killed or wounded in two separate attacks in southern afghanistan. we're working to get more details from the pentagon as well as our team in the region. nbc chief foreign correspondent richard engel should join us shortly and we'll have the latest on this tragic incident playing out in afghanistan. the other breaking story,
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president obama is about to announce new executive actions involving the purchase of guns. you see a number of people gathering now in the east room. this will according to the administration narrow the so-called gun show loophole which expanding background checks. now the president will also move to tighten enforcement of the nation's existing gun laws. the president insisting yesterday that he has the authority to act unilaterally. >> these are not only recommendations that are well within my legal authority and the executive branch, but they're also ones that the overwhelming majority of the american people, including gun owners, support and believe in. this is not going to solve every violent crime in this country. it is not going to prevent every mass shooting. it is not going to keep every gun out of the hands of a


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