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tv   The Place for Politics 2016  MSNBC  March 22, 2016 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT

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i'm tamron hall live at msnbc's world headquarters in new york. it is 4:00 p.m. in the east and 9:00 p.m. in brussels. and we continue our coverage of the breaking news of the day, the terror attacks in belgium. it all started this morning, during rush hour, after explosions at the airport and a metro station. the number of people confirmed dead at this hour, 30. hundreds of others are confirmed injured. now, witnesses describe what happened in the moments after the explosions. >> that shock impact -- the shock wave that hit just was, uh, like nothing i've ever felt before. and at that point, you turn, naturally, towards something and the debris that was flying towards me, you know, was kind of highlighted. and i think looking back, i knew exactly what had occurred. >> that is just one man's story who was in the departure lounge with his girlfriend waiting to board a flight. now, isis has claimed
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responsibility for the attacks. two law enforcement sources tell nbc news that belgian authorities have found two or three unexploded improvised explosive devices at two or more locations in brussels. and right now, authorities are conducting raids across the country, including take a look at this new video from the brussels district of schaerbeek. this is a picture of three possible suspects. i want to show you this as well. now, belgian authorities say two of the men were likely suicide bombers. they do not know the location of that third individual with the light-colored jacket on. now, the man police are looking for at this hour, but belgian police are asking for anyone's help in perhaps recognizing this individual. as you see, he has on glasses, his hat, concealing much of his face, but this is the image out right now, across europe, in the
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manhunt for this individual. nbc chief political correspondent, bill neely, is standing by, but i also understand, we have christopher dickey with us. he has been standing by and following the latest developments out of brussels, as well. christopher, are you there? >> yes, tamron, i am. >> let's talk about this manhunt is underway right now, as we reported, a number of raids taking place. you have this blurry image of this individual who may or may not be a part of this, but all eyes seem to be on him. what are you hearing on the ground, at least in trying not only locate this man, any others possibly linked to this? >> well, i mean, i think one of the problems here is they're wondering whether these guys could be linked directly to the guys who carried out the paris attacks. you know, on friday, we had the arrest of salah abdelslam, who is sort of the last suspect of that core eight group -- member eight -- excuse me, core eight people who carried out those paris attacks. and all of a sudden, we have these attacks at the airport and
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at the metro station. are they related, yes. in the sense that they both probably were inspired by isis, yes. but are these suspects anybody that they ever knew about before, in the belgian or french or european police or any of the security services in the world? we don't know that right now. and the idea that these three guys, the two that blew themselves up and the other that seem to have gotten away may be total strangers to the intelligence networks, that's a very scary idea, indeed, because it implies not only is there one guy on the loose, but there may be many others. >> and that's always a frightening part of the aftermath, wondering if all of those set out to take lives took their life, or like in the case of abdelslam, they left the scene and perhaps were preparing for other attacks down the road. christopher, let me get you to stand by. i've got nbc chief global correspondent, bill neely. he's standing by live from brussels and i understand you have some new information for us
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this hour? >> reporter: yes, tamron. i've just come from the scene of one of those raids. it was in the brussels suburb of schaerbeek. there were two police helicopters in the air. one shining its light on a particular apartment building. now, we don't know what was going on inside, but shortly after we were there, the police released a statement saying that they had found bomb making material, an isis flag, other isis documents. and what they described as a chemical laboratory in an apartment. not sure it was the one i was looking at, but there's a lot of activity and there are raids. this is a very nervous city tonight, tamron. >> let's talk about where these raids are happening this hour, bill. is this the area where the individual abdelslam was arrested? give us a better picture of if these raids are happening throughout or if there is a neighborhood of particular focus and interest? >> reporter: no, salah abdelslam, and indeed, many members of his cell, are from
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the brussels area of molenbeek. now, that is a high immigrant population, it's an area where a lot of jihadis ha s have lived the past few years. today's raid was on an area closer to brussels' city center called schaerbeek, not particularly well known. it's a working class area, but i would call it a mixed area with no particular known history of jihadiism or anything like that. but, you know, the police are at a loss, because, you know, it wasn't just the three individuals that we saw, pictured at the airport today, who were involved in this. police don't believe that they were the only three people here. there is some kind of master bomb maker. those people probably were driven to the airport by others. there is a cell here. the question is, is it the same cell that salah abdelslam was
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part of? or is this a completely different cell? and the brussels police and intelligence services have a problem. because they are not particularly good at this kind of stuff. everyone knows it. they are intelligence services and police forces who often don't even speak to each other. well, they have a big wake-up call now. i understand that u.s. intelligence is now involved. british and french intelligence and police are also helping in this inquiry. but this is a city in lockdown and in fear, because at least one member of that gang, the man in the cream-colored jacket who was photographed on the right-hand side of that photograph, police believe he is still on the loose. tamron? >> i want to get -- thank you very much, bill. i want to get to our terrorism experts, but if christopher dickey is standing by, let me bring him back into the conversation, quickly. we'll go back to him, if we can. but let me go to evan kohlmann, terrorism expert. we also have with us the co-director of the transnational threats project at the center
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for strategic and international studies, thomas sanderson. thank you both for joining us. evan, let's talk about this. the question of, it's the same cell. the question of, if there are multiple cells. when you go back to after the attacks in paris in november, it was every day, for what seemed like weeks, we were reporting of mass raids throughout brussels, by the hundreds, on certain days. who were they raiding and how is it that this cell, seemingly, had a bomb-making factory in the middle of this neighborhood. >> yeah, i think that's the troubling thing is that even if you assume for a second that there were two separate networks, and most likely they were one network -- >> so you believe they were one? >> someone building this kind of explosive device does not happen every day. someone building this kind of explosive devices seven, eight, nine times in a row and all the bombs go off, that almost never happens. but let's for a second assume it's a different network. how is it possible with all of these raids taking place, with all of this intelligence
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gathering, focused on these particular targets, there was no warning, there was no information gathered. and that also would tend to suggest that these folks have quite a substantial logistical network in place. that they have supporters, they have safe houses. this is not just a random bunch of guys. this is a network of trained operatives that are working in coordination with each other. even if you assume that's two networks. and most likely looking at the circumstances here, it's very unlikely. you have one tiny country in europe like belgium, with two such advanced terrorist networks that have no contact or don't know each other? it doesn't sound right. >> thomas, let me bring you in. as evan described the potential coordination between these cells, if they are actually one group, on the other end of it, the people who are investigating them, the authorities in belgium today i've heard throughout the day, including from our report from bill neely, the lack of coordination, the lack of, in a
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sense, authority and awareness of the threat that was looming, despite abdelslam, according to authorities, when he was arrested saying he was planning new attacks with a new cell. >> yes. and look, they've had plenty of potential attacks in the past, plots that were foiled. and even in a state of emergency like this, you never have perfect information sharing. you have bureaucracies to deal, resource sharing, that's always a problem. and personalities. and unless you have the threat in your face every day with an ongoing firefight with someone, you're not going to give everything you have. and it boils down to resources and fatigue for these organizations. police and intelligence. >> and we heard a similar thing after 9/11, resources, coordinating, and much of what we saw and heard was corrected, perhaps not to a total degree of perfection. there's no way for that. but we saw a coordinated effort between the fbi, local police, the cia.
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we had paris. we know that many of these cells or these individuals were coming through brussels and there was a hot spot there. >> true. you do know that. but you have thousands upon thousands of homes in which these people can conduct their business. the sanctuary for a small group like this can sitmply be one or two homes. and to know what's going on inside of these homes is impossible. you have to have human intelligence. the law enforcement authorities have to have good networks in these neighborhoods so they can pick up the chatter. they have to have good relationships, good community relation officer networks, so they can figure out what's going on and take the pulse of these communities. and with all of the marginalization of these communities in the sort of black and white between police and the citizens, you're not going to have those kind of relationships in a place like brussels. >> so evan, what do you do? i go back to the video of abdelslam's neighborhood as he was being pulled from that building and seeing this older woman looking through the window, children in that area,
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where this individual and others were living. how do we get to a point, whether it's brussels or here in the united states, where there is a cooperation? >> well, look, first of all, we don't want to antagonize people. we've already heard discussion now for at least one presidential candidate talking about patrolling american muslim communities. this is not a problem with the american muslim community. that's not where the problem is here. this is a problem in belgium. these are two different major terrorist attacks that were tied back to a network or networks in belgium. that has nothing to do with the united states. >> but you and i both know pa people will say, what about san bernardino? they will point to other examples and say, no, there is a connection. >> sure. so it makes perfect sense. because we have a very, very small number of extremists here, we're going to antagonize the entire american muslim community and drive everyone against the u.s. government in order to find the needle in the haystack, which we're not going to find anyway. this is the problem with homegrown terrorism. we are facing a different threat here in the united states. we're faced with a threat of homegrown extremists who aren't
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as well equipped and are motivated by a sense that society is at war with them. the reason we don't have scores of people going from the u.s. and going to syria, part of it is the atlantic ocean, but part of it is because most american muslims want nothing to do with violent islam. want nothing to do with radicalism or extremism. the worst thing we can do is try to give ammunition to extremists who constantly are putting out this message that america is at war with islam or at war with muslims. that's the problem in belgium right now. is that muslims in belgium do not feel any sense of kinship with the state. that's the problem. people in molenbeek, they should -- when they see someone who's the most wanted man in europe, they should feel comfortable and they should feel good about calling the police and reporting this person. this is, what i believe, the american muslim community has done and continues to do. and this is exactly what we should expect of others. but ford to expect that, we have to treat people with a basic sense of respect. >> back to one of the questions
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i asked you before we went on air, regarding abdelslam, to your point, the most wanted man in europe, until he was arrested friday. authorities said that he had started -- he created a new network and was planning new attacks. the question that i have is, how would he able to infiltrate or be trusted again after it was widely reported, if true, that he had essentially backed out of the deal and did not detonate his bomb and slipped back through france into belgium? >> and the more time goes by, the more that the narrative about abdelslam chickening out of his attack, the more it doesn't seem like that makes a lot of sense. why would isis supporters or sympathizers or affiliates -- why would they trust someone who chickened out? why would they protect him? why would they give him shelter? maybe it's because he knows some kind of very valuable information. but then they could just get rid of him. why would they allow him to survive? why would they protect him and give him safe haven?
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it would seem that mr. abdelslam maybe didn't chicken out. maybe the bomb didn't explode. maybe he was serving a different function in that cell. but, yeah, i mean, everything we know seems to shed some question marks about whether or not mr. abdelslam really chickened out, and whether that narrative is really an accurate one. >> and christopher dickey is back with us. christopher, we just got a report in that german media is reporting that german police have stopped and arrested three suspects on a highway. the suspects from brussels. this has not been confirmed by nbc, but as i understand, this is being reported by german media. we're waiting to get more details, but if true, again, this goes back to the open borders and the part of the conversation that has been heavily debated, quite honestly, through europe, especially after paris and you know that very wel well. >> yeah, first of all, after an incident like this, the borders are not as open as all of that. while i was driving up from
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paris to here today, believe me, cars going into france from belgium, they were being stopped by the hundreds. and you could see guys, the police were out in full battle gear, there were cops all over the place, stopping the cars coming from belgium. i don't know what was going on in germany, but i imagine something very similar was happening there. so the borders are not as open as all that. it's true that people can move around, but after an incident like this, it may be closing the barn door after the horse is gone, but they do tighten things up very considerably. >> talk to me about the climate, christopher. you've heard a lot of criticism, already, regarding some of the procedures that are seen as blocking authorities in belgium, for example, it's been reported all day today about the limited hours of being able to conduct a raid. that raids cannot happen overnight. clarify what is truth and what's not at this point, in the way that belgium authorities, belgium authorities are able to operate and focus in on some of
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these raids and possible terrorists. >> well, i don't think that the problem of making raids at night, although this is a silly anomaly in the belgian legal system, i don't think that was a huge problem here. there are other, much big problems, some of which, believe me, the belgian authorities don't want to talk about. one of those is they felt, they knew they had a lot of jihadiists here and a lot of radicals here, but they felt they were not under attack themselves, and as long as they were not under attack themselves, they are not going to turn up the heat on these guys. it's only since they turned up the heat, after november 13th in paris, that all of a sudden you see, in fact, the attacks are coming against belgians themselves. and that's not unusual to belgium. it's also true of spain, it's also true of other countries in europe that have been throughways for jihadists, but felt they themselves were immune. as they turn up the heat, they become targets. so there's a real problem there. but as you know, it's not just belgium, it's not just europe. i wrote a book about the new
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york city police department's counterterrorism activities in 2009. and when the new york city police department would send its detectives up to buffalo, where there is a very large muslim community, or over to new jersey, that he would get into all kinds of trouble if they got caught, because, oh, my god, that was the jurisdiction in buffalo, or that was the jurisdiction of new jersey. you can't do that. so it's not only in europe that you have these kinds of conflicts. >> but all eyes are on europe and belgium this hour and today. thank you very much, christopher, your insight is always incredible. thomas, thank you, as well. please stay with msnbc for more of the new information coming in on the terror attacks in belgium. just ahead, i'll speak to a witness who was in brussels working to help families recognize and respond to early warning signs of radicalization and violent extremism. but first, a moment of silence from capitol hill led by house speaker, paul ryan. >> the chair would ask all present to rise for the purpose of a moment of silence.
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the chair asks that the house now observe a moment of silence in memory of the victims of the terrorist attacks in brussels. my son and i used to watch the red carpet shows on tv now, i'm walking them. life is unpredictable one thing i need to be predictable is to be flake free. because i have used head and shoulders for 20 years. used regularly, it removes up to 100% of flakes keeping you protected every week, every month, every year you ready ma? always life is unpredictable, so embrace it! head and shoulders. live flake free for life it's easy to love your laxative when that lax loves your body back. only miralax hydrates, eases and softens to unblock naturally, so you have peace of mind from start to finish. love your laxative. miralax. for a limited time, great deal on this passat. wow, it looks really good...
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welcome back. we've just gotten in a tweet from vice president joe biden, regarding the attacks in belgium. it says, today we awoke yet again to tragic news of a terrorist attack in the heart of europe. we know too well the pain of such cowardly attacks. and he goes on to say, together we will meet this threat. we will redouble our efforts to wipe this evil from the world.
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we will triumph over fear and hate. >> to talk more about the political reaction, joining me now, tim heinz of connecticut. congressman, thank you so much for joining us. >> hi, tamron. >> let's talk about, i'll start with vice president joe biden's tweet. "we will redouble our efforts." how would you describe or grade the effort to destroy isis at this point? >> well, there's a lot of ways you can look at that, right? they will maintain the capacity to do what they inspired in san bernardino, what they have been able to do in europe for some time yet to come, as long as they're in syria and iraq and relatively protected, that will continue to be a problem. but another way to look at it is the fact that they've lost almost half of the territory that they used to control, including cities like sinjar and others, kobani. so this is not something that lends itself to an immediate
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scoreboard. we have to remember that we are in this for the long haul, making is sure we do the work and getting at the underlying causes, and of course the war in syria, which, as long as that's in existence, we're going to have this problem. >> and to your point, it's not as simple as saying win or lose, a, b, or c. and the great point you make, it only takes one person to be inspired by isis. but when we look at the air strikes over the many months, some of the military actions taken by this country and others to at least put a dent in the power of isis, how would you describe those efforts, after so many weeks and days of seeing these air strikes. >> look at those air strikes and what they produced. by taking o out the oil tankers, isil had to announce a very substantial salary cut to its operatives. that means it's going to be a little less attractive for people who may be just chasing a
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buck to work with these people. and of course, the constant danger that isil operators for folks out in the open face is another disincentive. but you need to remember, this is a three-dimensional chess game. as we have better success militarily, and as isil comes to realize the concentrated force of the allies in the united states is going to make it very hard for them to make military gains, they're going to say, what can we do? and this sort of thing that they just pulled off in europe or that they inspired in san bernardino, you know, you don't need 50 guys safe in a room in raqad to make that happen. you have to come back to how this ends. this ends when we finally bring the war in syria to a close, and the hornet's nest, as it were, is now back under control. >> we've heard from candidates on both sides this morning. hillary clinton, earlier today, said, we have to be smart about protecting us here at home. i think there are a lot of things we can do to intensify our effort, and she discussed, closing our borders is not one of them. as you well know, the republican
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front-runner sees it very differently. we may very well win the state of arizona today, based on some of the rhetoric of closing the borders, building wall, and at least banning temporarily sflims fr muslims from coming into this country. let me play what donald trump said this morning on the "today" show. >> they should be able to do whatever they have to do to get him to give the information. the waterboarding would be fine and if they could expand the laws, i would do a lot more than waterboarding. >> are you in the camp that harsh interrogation, let's use the word, torture works in a case like this? >> yes, i am. i am in that camp. i don't believe the other people. i am in that camp, absolutely. >> so you have donald trump say waterboarding and torture, whatever you choose to define it as, is something that works. now ted cruz is saying that he supports the idea of patrolling and securing muslim neighborhoods, incoming those in the united states. your reaction? >> well, you know, sadly, there are demagogues out there and i
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think that ted cruz and donald trump fit the bill, who will try to feed off of people's fear. and when you're afraid, you might countenance things you wouldn't otherwise countenance. and we saw it in the ebola crisis, where the demagogues said, we need to seal our borders, and the doctors say, that will make it worse, but the temptation is there for the demagogues to come through with the simple answers. what ted cruz said is worse than demagogueries. it's the vilification of muslim communities in this country. day in and day out i go to the intelligence committee and i see how so many muslims in this country are working with us. by the way, in the military, wearing our uniform, abroad, you know, so when you do that sort of vilification. when you imply that a whole community needs to be monitored or secured, you're actually doing exactly, exactly what isil would have you do. >> and let me last ask you about president obama. he attended a baseball game in cuba with fidel -- with raul castro today.
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that's a photograph of him at the game has gone viral. he has interviewed on espn and said that the very nature of terrorism is to stop our daily routine, our daily lives. your reaction, though, to the president being at that baseball game in cuba, just hours after this attack. >> well, you know, i'm sure the president was unhappy, you know, that this occurred when he wasn't in washington, d.c. you want to be there for your allays, you want to be at the command center. but the president, by definition, as the leader of the free world, needs to be able to do a lot of things at once. and the historic opening to cuba, reaching out and saying to the cubans, your life can be better if you open, is a terribly important thing. what really matters, and of course on this one, people will try to score cheap political points and try to suggest that he should have gotten right back on a plane or whatever. what really matters is the president has directed our cia, our military, our law enforcement people to really go to work with the belgians. look, part of the story, as you know, is that the europeans don't quite have the security
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apparatus that we do. so what's really important is that we're offering the resources and the people and the energy to try to address the problem that exists in places like brussels. >> congressman heinz, thank you very much for your time. we greatly appreciate it. >> thank you. next up, our jacob rascon is in salt lake city, utah, with an update on four of the americans who were injured this morning in those attacks. we'll be right back. ♪ you should hire stacy drew. ♪ ♪ she wants to change the world with you. ♪ ♪ she can program jet engines to talk and such. ♪ ♪ her biggest weakness is she cares too much. ♪ thank you. my friend really wants a job at ge. mine too. ♪ i'm a wise elf from a far off shire. ♪ and sanjay patel is who you should hire. ♪ thank you. seriously though, stacy went to a great school and she's really loyal. you should give her a shot. sanjay's a team player and uh... defiance is in our bones. citracal pearls. delicious berries and cream. soft, chewable, calcium plus vitamin d. only from citracal.
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you're looking at video just into us of the evacuation at the metro station after the explosion at the station. you see the conditions people had to walk through to get to safety. very dark and smokey tunnel there. this is, again, just another glimpse of what people experienced after the explosion at the train station earlier this morning. and we'll continue to show you new video as it comes into us. as you can imagine, a lot of cell phone video. a lot of people still processing what happened to them, and have slowly started to post some of
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these images. you can see the folks here very calm. we saw images earlier today of people, as you can understand, crying, screaming, some of the more frightening images of the day came out earlier. and this is just another glimpse of what the people had to endure this morning. msnbc's jacob soboroff is in salt lake city, utah, and he has new details on four american missionaries who were injured in the attacks. jacob, what can you tell us about them? >> reporter: tamron, three of those missionaries were from right here in utah and a fourth was a young french woman who was coming from the state of to serve for a year and a half. two of those missionaries were young men and they were what's called companions on their mission. they had been serving time in france together serving other people. their names were joseph elmpi and jason wells, 19, of sandy utah. and we have new information on elder wells -- or elder mason. he has some burns to his hands and his face. all three missionaries were
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severely injured, but will survive. most of the damage to wells was to his foot and heel, where he was hit by shrapnel. a family spokesperson tells nbc news that mason was coincidentally in boston when her mother, kimberly, ran in the boston marathon the year of the bombing. she was a few blocks from the explosion. and also, unbelievably, mason was in the paris area when the attacks happened there as well. we have been in constant communication throughout the day with the mormon church here in salt lake city and tamron, we will continue to update you as new information comes into us here. >> jacob, thank you very much. and after a break, we will return live to brussels with more information coming in and update you on the investigation. plus, i'll speak to a witness to the attacks just ahead. i've been on my feel all day.
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we actively manage with expertise and conviction. so you can invest with more certainty. mfs. that's the power of active management. welcome back, everybody. we continue to follow the breaking news out of brussels for you this evening. it's been a dark day in that city, after it was rocked by explosions this morning during rush hour. one of the city's airports, the
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other attack at a metro station. at this hour, 30 people, at least, have been confirmed killed and hundreds more injured in belgium's capital. >> i just went to the toilet, and then like after five minutes, i heard an explosion, and all the ceiling is coming down. and then i just go under the sink and the second explosion went. and everything is black. >> and let's get you caught up on what we know right now. the massive manhunt that we mentioned at the top of the hour continues and raids are underway across the country. and law enforcement had reportedly found two or three unexploded improvised explosive devices at two or more locations in brussels. isis has claimed responsibility and four americans were among those injured in the airport blasts. and we're told authorities believe three people are possible suspects in the attacks. now, police have already searched the homes of a suspect, they say, may have been involved.
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now, this attack comes just days after the only surviving suspect in the november 13th paris attacks was arrested. joining me now, francesco guerrero, associate editor for politico europe in brussels. francesco, thank you so much for joining us. >> no problem. >> let's talk about what you've been able to learn on the ground as far as this investigation. i know there are a lot of moving parts. a lot of attention on these three vigilan three individuals at the airport. but we know a bomb was detonated also at the metro strags. whether or not a person left it there or whether it was strapped to someone's body is unclear. what have you been able to get in your reporting there? >> at the moment, there's a lot around the capital here, brussels, the belgian capital, and there are a lot of rumors flying around, but what we do know is the focus is very much on trying to attach some of the suspects, at least, and there are a lot of operations going on, at the same time, in the belgian capital. >> right now, the level of security is described as being
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at its highest. how do you compare that to what you've seen, given, from november to now, there have been threats, there have been concerns of a possible major attack. >> yeah, brussels has been under a cloud, under a threat for so long, but what's happening now is that the city is very, very quiet. the streets are mpt. people are in their homes. there is very palpable, visible police presence on the streets. and there's a sense of eerily calm descending on the city as night falls. >> and we've heard people refer to this eerie calm around the city, with it being now 9:39, i believe, but you still have reports of multiple raids happening. what can you tell us about those raids, at the same time as this eerie calm sets around this country. >> yeah, brussels is a fairly large city, so the calm is centered over the center, and the european country, where the
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european institutions are. the raids are mostly taking place in the west of the city, in the suburbs, which we know have been the focus of the intelligence gathering and the intelligence operations. and where some of the suspects have been living. >> what are authorities saying about the cites of the attacks? the so-called soft targets in paris, we saw the bataclan, we saw restaurants. here, you have an attack on the airport, not past the security. you're looking at the departure lounge itself, and then the metro system, whether in the united states or europe or any other country remains a soft target for terrorists. >> yeah, the issue here is, i think, is twofold. the location, at the airport, and the metro, and also the timing. you know, the metro attack was right during rush hour. so, unfortunately, it's hard not to conclude it was zwdesigned t create maximum damage.
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>> francesco, i know you are on the ground, working to get more information for your own reporting, and we great appreciate you joining us to give us some of what you have been able to gather on the ground. joining me now is edith sclafer, founder of women without borders. edith, thank you so much for joining me. >> thank you for having me. >> what can you tell me you heard this morning? >> i was just about to check out in the hotel lobby, when we heard that something strange happened, a lot of shouting, people moving, and all of a sudden there was a smell in the area, it was strange, you know, it was, you know, from explosives and people moved into the hotel lobby, looking for refuge and looking for safety. and we immediately tried to escape, you know, because i felt in the middle we wouldn't be safe, and coming -- you know, stepping out of the hotel, we saw the bodies on the pavement.
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but we just moved away and, actually, it was such an incredible moment, so unreal, because i came with my women without borders team the day before, to prepare for the graduation ceremony of the first mothers group against extremism, which is, it's a movement, actually, that we have created, a model to equip the mothers of -- who are concerned and the mothers who have lost their pois and girls to syria, to work together and in these sessions, you know, we create a space to think about what can be done, how with these children be protected, and in the larger sense, how can we all be protected, you know? equipping them with the right tools to respond to early warning signs. this is so crucial and this was what we intended to do.
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>> so you were there on a trip to talk with mothers whose sons have been radicalized and you found yourself in the midst of a terror attack. how do you describe, edith, what security was like the day before? >> i think it was quite normal. security is, i think, working very well, it's not too visible, but i did not feel unsafe. of course, we heard all the announcements that further attacks might happen, but we need to be prepared that this can happen now, anytime, anywhere, in our urban centers. and i think the preparedness is not only relying on law enforcement, military force, we need to be prepared to interact with those who otherwise feel -- who feel not included and these other young people in the middle of our societies, in --
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>> right, right. >> so i think this is the real work. and this is the protection and potential which is a big picture. when we stand together now, we should not forget that the work has to continue tomorrow. >> let me ask you, because you do have such an incredible point of view and vantage point of the war on terror, the effort to somehow connect with families who may protect young men and women who have become radicalized. we've talked a lot about, for example, in minnesota, young men of somali background, who have, in the middle of the night, left the united states to take up arms in parts of africa, because of what they've read on the internet. when you talk to these mothers that you are trying to reach out to, what are you hearing, as the common reply, when they discuss their sons, who have fallen pray
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to the radical messages? >> i can't remember one conversation with an affected mother, and we have had so many, who would, who would kind of defend the actions of her son or her daughter. there is a deep love, still. it's still my son, it's still my daughter. but there's no approval. so, there are explanations. there are -- there is a search for understanding, but i do think this has also just started earlier, with these mothers who are at the front lines, when need to be our security allies. we need to walk so we search for understanding, because they are so close, then no security agent can ever get close, you know, in search of explanations. we feed to understand what is happening, right there, at the home front, where it all starts. terrorism doesn't start somewhere, in distant lands. meanwhile, it spreads right in
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our middle. and these are our kids. these are the young boys and girls who are, who should be here. and it's our possibility to anchor them where they belong, to tell them, this is, you know, this is where we want to have you. you are valuable. you are important, you belong here. but they get these messages that they are valuable, that somebody needs them to build up a society, the new caliphate. they hear that from the recruiters, but they need to hear that from us, you know? we need to tell them that we are passionate that we feed to build up the project of civilization, and that they are a crucial security building block. i do think we have to revisit our concept of security. >> edith schlaffler, what an incredible story. you are there to talk to mothers about their children potentially
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being radicalized and find yourself in the middle of an attack. appreciate for your time. thank you for joining us with everything that's going on, and i'm sure you're worried about your safety as well. we're getting word from denver international airport about a possible security situation. right now one of the affiliates there reporting that crews have been dispatched. we do not know at this hour what the security situation is, but, there's an evacuation of a section of the main terminal at denver international. we're waiting to get more news here. but we often, as you well know, see people on heightened alert after a situation, whether it's in europe, it sends out a wave, a ripple of concern. so this right now is a security situation at the denver international airport. and wehle bring you the very latest developments from there as warranted. meanwhile, in cuba this morning, president obama spoke about the situation in belgium. here's a brief part of what he had to say.
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>> the thoughts and the prayers of the american people are with the people of belgium. and we stand in solidarity with them in doncondemning these outrageous attacks against people. we will do whatever necessary to support our friend and ally belgium in bringing to justice those who are responsible. and this is yet another reminder that the world must unite. we must be together, regardless of nationality or race or faith, in fighting against the courage of terrorism. we can and we will defeat those who threaten the safety and security of people all around the world. >> joining me now from capitol hill, nbc's luke russert. luke, we heard the president say, we must unite, but soon after his remarks, a lot of focus on the length of time, and we're looking there at the flags at half-staff over the white house, the length of time he talked about the attacks in
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belgium down to whether he should have attended this baseball game or not. that cloud now over this coverage of the reaction from washington, d.c.. >> yeah, tamron, you're absolutely right. there certainly has been some criticism of president obama going on to attend that baseball game with cuban president castro there in havana. but mostly i would say that the responses from capitol hill did echo president obama in the sense of caring for the victims. there was a moment of silence on the house floor around 3:00 p.m. today. but also some interesting statements about that this attack specifically really does showcase a vulnerability in security at airports. it's often been talked about that there is no checking to somebody prior to actually going through security. that's a very vulnerable area. that's something that congress may take a look at in the future. however, most of what happened today was condolences to the victims and the fear that this terror attack has brought not only europe, but america. take a listen to what house
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speaker ryan said about that. >> this scene is just so horrific. one minute, people are going about their day. the next minute, people running for their lives. this is a terrorist attack in the heart of europe. as our countries have always done, we must confront this threat together. we must defend democracy and defeat terror. our prayers are with brussels, as is our solidarity. >> reporter: and tamron, speaker ryan was briefed by the appropriate officials this morning. the capital was never, he said, under any real serious threat. the capital has been on a heightened sense of alert. roughly, i would say, since november, since those paris attacks. and we certainly saw more muscle today. some capital police showcasing their heavy weaponry and even more guards at more doors around the building. other than that, things are business as usual here. tamron? >> luke, thank you very much. up next, political aftershocks at home and on the 2016 campaign trail, following
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we need a president who sets aside political correctness. in the wake of brussels, we don't need another lecture from president obama on islamophobia, we need a commander in chief who does everything in necessary to
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defeat the enemy. >> at a time like this, it's important that we have somebody who's experienced, somebody who's cool, calm, and tough. and to be able to further aggravate or agitate or bring fear to people is not the way a leader operates. furthermore, if i were president of the united states, i wouldn't be at a baseball game. i would have flown home. >> today's terror attacks, as you heard there, sparking reaction from candidates there on the republican side. we also heard from donald trump this morning. let's play what he had to say. >> what would you have done first, as president of the united states, if you got this call? >> well, as president, i would, i would do, probably, what i would have been doing for the period of time that i was president. i would be very, very tough on the borders and i would be not allowing certain people to come into this country unless they have absolute perfect documentation. >> and of course, we have reaction from former secretary of state hillary clinton and senator bernie sanders.
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let's play what they said earlier today. >> we've got to be smart about protecting us here at home. i think there are a lot of things we have to do to intensify our efforts. i think closing our borders is not one of them. i think that even if we were to build a tall wall around the entire continental united states, the internet would still get over it. >> we are making progress in iraq. isis is losing 20% of the territory it held last year. but clearly, we have got to do more. >> and as you can imagine, we'll hear much more from the candidates tonight, as we see a number of states voting with primaries and caucuses tonight. so, we will likely hear much more of this in victory speeches and the like tonight. so we will continue to follow the developments from the campaign trail, as well as from brussels. please stay with msnbc. for more on the terror attacks, my colleague, brian williams, picks up our coverage right
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good evening. nighttime has fallen in brussels, belgium. a very sad place, as the free world is plunged into sadness yet again, after a horrible terrorist attack. it happened this morning in brussels, belgium. two attacks, about an hour apart. the death toll at this hour is posted at 31, with 230 people injured. a massive explosion at the international airport,

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