tv MSNBC Live With Stephanie Ruhle MSNBC January 12, 2017 6:00am-7:01am PST
yesterday. certainly ukraine, crimea and things like that than donald trump has ever been. >> likely to see the same thing with mattis on the same topics. >> and especially pompeo. poor pompeo. >> that was quite a show this morning. that does it for us this morning here on "morning joe." brian williams picks up the coverageight now. >> it's always quite a show. thank you very much. and good morning, everyone. we're going to be talking about one hearing in particular this morning but also three of them concurrently in addition to general mattis there on the far left getting underway at 9:30, we have mike pompeo at 10 and dr. ben carson at hud 10:00 a.m. as well. the tillerson hearing continues as well. there is mattis on the far left, pompeo on the right. i guess they're preparing in
chambers. tillerson actually is done for the day i'm told. at the studio here with us, we have katie ter and nicole wallace. >> general mattis is the singling most comforting decision that donald trump has made since the moment it was known that he would be our next commander in chief. and his appointment gives comfort to the intelligence community, very much in the spotlight and in the headlines this week especially. his appointment gives comfort to the men and women of the military. his appointment gives comfort to congress. and those are groups of people that as the country's commander in chief, you must provide some reassurance that you're going to surround yourself with people who can walk in and say, hey, all tha stuff y said about water boarding, not so smart. not such a good idea. heerdz why. and listen. what general mattis is in a leafing his own in the simple
fact that he's changed donald trump's mind already. he's not even on the job. he's already persuaded him to change his thinking about something he said at probably hundreds of events this year. >> more than that, probably. and that is i think a really good point you make. donald trump is somebody whose views are not necessarily steadfast and will he surround people who will potentially change his views like in the case of general mattis? that being said, i'm not so sure that donald trump might not flip again on waterboarding and decide for himself if he believes it's the right thing to do. remember, he said numerous times that ultimately he listens to himself and believes he knows more than our u.s. generals. so he said that. i think mattis is going to be an interesting day. i think pompeo is going to be interesting. his hearing is likely to be something that is filled with intense questioning about donald trump's -- his belief in the
intelligence community. we've seen him really take a few cracks at it. and pompeo is the one answering for that today. z >> we said we're going to have a jam packed day. our team is spread out on capitol hill beginning this morning with kelly o'donnell who is standing by in the hallway to talk to us. kelly? >> well, brian, as a long time hallway dweller on capitol hill, i can tell you this is the scene before a hearing begins where you got members of the public who are lined up wanting to take seats to be part of this experience and that is part of what makes confirmations so intriguing at the start of a new administrati is the chance for the public to see whoou lead the different departments. in this case, we're following someone who is a presidential candidate at one time the leading presidential candidate and he had secret service protection at one time if you recall. he has a very compelling human story that has made him a standout among con terve sifz for years. of course, dr. ben carson has a profound medical career that has
set him apart. he has had a national profile and today part of what we expect him to talk about is the start of his life where he has personal experience in living in urban environments and being a part of a housing develop ment and being one of those success stories that overcome some of the sort of built in obstacles that can be a part of urban life. he is nominated to lead the department of housing and urban development. that is out of his normal sort of professional life. and there have been those who have said he is not qualified to do that. and he could be, in fact, challenged in many areas about policy. but the trump administration and n. waiting believes that carson is the right person for this and will help to bring about a plan. and unlike some of the other nominee that's we have seen in the trump sphere, carson is saying he wants to work with this department, doesn't have a history of working against these kinds of policies. so we expect dr. carson who is
very comfortable being a national figure to get tough questioning here today. but tlos try to convince these members of the senate that this is a job he wants to do, has the portfolio to do, and can get through this confirmation process as we talked about the numbers are very good for all of these republican nominees. and so it's a case of just can he perform well under these circumstances after a very long national life? brian? >> the numbers are very good indeed, kelly o'donnell long time hallway dweller, thank you for that. let's go to kristen welker who is coverinover at trump tower after, shall we say, an eventful time of it yesterday? >> oh, it was eventful, brian. one of the headlines is that we saw tensions between the president-elect and the intel sequence community really reach a boiling point yesterday. remember the day started with him dweeting what is this nazi germanihe? was infuriated after leaks came out essentially saying that
intelligence community had information point together russian who's had compromising information about him. financial and personal and otherwise. he in that press conference yesterday, brian, blamed the ib tell jens community for those leaks. and in the wake of that, in a rare conversation last night, dni director james clapper reached out to the president-elect and said it wasn't us. we did not leak this information. let me raetd yead you the lates reaction. james clapper called me to dough nuns the fictitious report that was illegally circulated, made up, phoney, false. too bad. this was the statement from james clapper, brian, who felt the need to speak out about this. he wrote in a statement, i emphasized that this document is not a u.s. intelligence community product. and that i do not believe the leaks came from within the intelligence community. the ic has not yet made any judgement that the information
in this document is reliable and we did not rely upon it in any way for our conclusions. the document there referring to, brian, is one that was compiled intelligence officials believe by opponents to donald trump. they say there's also information circulating out there about hillary clinton. they included a summary of that document, a two page summary in briefing materials that were delivered here at trump tower. but the president-elect was never verbally briefed on this information according to our intelligence sources. none of less, all this set the stage for a fiery news conference yesterday. let's take a look back at what the president-elect had to say yesterday about the intelligence community. >> i think it was disgraceful, disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so false and fake out. i think it's a disgrace. >> so again, the bottom line
here at trump tower today, the intelligence community insisting they were not behind those leaks. still it raises serious concerns about what the relationship will be like between the incoming commander in chief and the intelligence community. he's about to lead, brian. as a matter of national security. back to you. >> kristen welker in a selection of vehicles behind her over there behind fifth avenue. thank you. always exciting post over there. katie ter as i mentioned is in the studio. i get a kick out of people who say, well, look, donald trump started yesterday by tweeting about nazi germany. he finished up the day with a voicterous appearance. things will be different in the white house. this is a fully formed 70-year-old man. this is how he got to the dance. >> yeah. i don't see donald trump changing. we talked about this a lot on the campaign trail this is trump 2.0. and his closest aides, advisors, p whoem have known him forever, ones that are still remaining in this close circle will often
tell me that donald trump, the one you see on the stage is not the donald trump you would -- we know behind the scenes. he is not somebody who is very conservative. he doesn't care about the conservative issues. he's going to be much more moderate. he's going to be a deal maker. he's going to want to get things done rather than champion some of the more hard line causes that he had been talking about on the campaign trail. just wait until he wins the nomination. and you're going to see him pivot to try to get a more modern faction of this country. we never saw that. and he's, himself, said he can be the most presidential. he can be the most humble. he can be the most boring person just you wait, you'll see. you're going to be so proud of me when i -- when i'm elected president. we haven't seen. that we've seen the same donald trump we saw on the campaign trail. this morning he deciding to pick winners and losers again, tweeting about ll bean, thanking ll bean for its support and saying that people should now buy ll bean, making the it very clear in this country if you're not a champion of donald trump, you are an enemy of donald trump.
and he will go after you either on social media or whatever platform he chooses to do so. and he will make your stock plummet if he wants. to he'll get you attract on social media or he will try and get his social media allegiance to change policy and congress. so it's going to be an interesting time. it's going to be very interesting to see what republicans do and whether they vote with their own conscience or vote with their policy ideals or if they bend to the will of donald trump. we saw this yesterday with marco rubio, most notably when questioning tillerson. but pretty forcefully not only on russia and putin and cuba and what not. it became clear that he was not comfortable with tillerson nomination at least not yet. i'm not comfortable with his answers. does marco rubio stay true to that and stick to his guns? or does he end up voting to confirm tillerson when it's become pretty clear that he's not so comfortable with it. >> as we've said, it's the rule of one f the democrats vote
together, it tak one republican to block up the works. nico nicole, you're just back from a trip to pennsylvania and ohio. >> yeah. >> for some reports we'll be seeing next week beginning on today on nbc. you reported back that while there is an unending list of things that trump supporters will allow, maybe it's the tweeting that people have not particularly appreciated. >> right. and i asked democrats who voted for donald trump for first republican they ever cast a vote for in erie, pennsylvania, what they would tell him if he had walked in to the diner where we were having our conversations? and they would like to see him hold back a little bit on the tweets. they are with him 100%. they believe him. they believe he's going to make america great by bringing in jobs back not just to america but to their communities. and for their sake, i hope that -- i hope that dream is realized on their part. but they would like to see his
most enthusiastic backers are worried about a lack of impulse control. and they're worried that he's going to, you know, say something that will make an ally angry. they also, i think, see his use of twitter the same way a lot of parents experience cyber bullying, as parents concerned about their children moving about the world. what you just described is a textbook definition of cyber bullying. and it is different from a president using a bully pull about it -- bully pulpit in this way. no president stood in the well of congress and singled out a man or woman going about their day and bullied them to do something different. that is in their image or to their liking. so it is -- some people that defend donald trump suggest that it's a modern take on usi the bully pulpit. it is not th. when you single out individuals and you sort of envoek nainvoke
germany that, is trash talking. if you say he speaks tore a large number of them sh believes the new commander in chief is trash talking them with the desire of intimidating them. that's an extraordinary backdrop for the confirmation hearings of the next chief of the cia. >> let's talk about the confirmation hearings today. general james mattis, retired marine corps general is going up to run the pentagon. and this next gentleman is standing by to talk to us, a member of arms services. senator roger wicker. senator, do you worry that the reception is so warm for this retired marine corps general who needs a waiver from the house to serve to get beyond the seven years that questions may not be as critical as they might be. >> don't worry about that. i think republicans and democrats, my friends on both sides of the aisle are perfectly capable of asking serious
questions. also, almost all of us have had private conversations now, individual conversations with general mattis. and frankly, we will vote on the waiver today and we've had witnesses day before yesterday, some that clearly didn't support the trump candidacy and yet they have come out in favor of this waiver which is basically the testimony was can you do this about once a generation. it's been 70 years. so i think we're going to make that exception in the committee today and i expect we're going to try to get to the floor soon and i hope it passes. i think general mattis will serve the national security interest of the nation well. >> as a member of arm services, senator, are you worried about the hit that the intelligence community, the intelligence industry in this country has taken saying nothing of the past couple of weeks but over just the last 24 hours?
>> i'm not. for one thing, the president is about to put his intelligence team together. pompeo from the house is well respected. he is someone that i have had conversations with and, of course, all of us in the senate, republican and democrat, know dan coats well. he's a three term veteran. he's a grown-up and he's honest. and so i think the president-elect will soon be listening to people that will be able to advise him on ground truth and so i expect based on that we're going to be just fine when it comes to who to listen to in the intelligence community. >> as you know, i'm talking more, i guess, about morale, about the president being the number one client of the intelligence industry. it's the career folks, the folks whose names we intentionally do
not know that donald trump is going to need, say, if he's challenged in the first 90 days to give him that honest assessment that only veterans can give him. they've taken a hit. they were the subject of that nazi germany tweet yesterday morning. >> i still though say that it will be a two-way street with pompeo and coats. i think they will also be working with the intelligence community. believe me, there are people who are very close to me who are part of the intelligence community. so the answer to your question is i don't worry about that. i think when it's all said and done morale is going to continue to be good in the intelligence community. and i really wouldn't be surprised if the president comes to rely on them and actually -- i think very highly of them
after a month or two. >> sir, there's a growing divide in the republican party. you have marco rubio who asked a pointed question yesterday about whether putin is a war criminal. i think he speaks for a wing of the party that probably includes john mccain and lindsey graham. then there is the president-elect in our same party who thinks that it's an asset to have a very warm relationship with vladimir putin. which side of that growing divide do you come down on? >> i'm going to challenge it growing divide. i think that say perfectly fine question on the part of senator rubio. i listened to the tape of it last night after a fairly lengthy session. so i think it's fine to ask questions like that. at the same time, putin, the president of russia, is not our friend. he's not our friend. we would like to be friends with the russian people. and this has been an aspiration of mine as chairman of the
helsinki commission, someone who visits with russian parliamentarians -- >> let me stop you. president-elect donald trump doesn't talk about the russian people. i don't think any american in congress or among the population would dispute the notion of being friends with the russian people. but what president-elect donald trump talks about is having a warm relationship with vladimir putin as an asset to american foreign policy. that's what mork yoe rubio and john mccain challenged. >> i think the president of the united states is going to try to have a professional working relationship with someone who i believe he understands is a strategic adversary of the united states of america. and i'm perfectly comfortable with our diplomats and the people involved in policy of the executive department level trying to do that. i do believe he's putting people around him and i'm going to be questioning one of those people today, general mattis, who are
very realistic and very accurate about what we can and what we cannot expect coming out of mr. putin. he is an add ver s adversary of. he's responsible for the deaths of thousands and thousands of innocent people over the past 12 months. i it this president realizes that. and to the extent that he wants to get along and find areas of common interest, i think any president should be scolded if he or she doesn't want to do that. >> as an air force veteran, you'll be placing a lot of trust in the u.s. marine corps. you are comfortable with that? >> absolutely. i'm happy to place a lot of trust in all of our branches and, you know, we're all part of the same team. so, yes, this is an outstanding american, an outstand mag reen
th -- outstanding marine that will be testifying before us to day. i think the press corps and the viewing public will know that we have a professional serving us in the pentagon. >> senator roger wicker, republican of mississippi, i'm watching the gathering in your hearing room now. we're going to thank you and allow you to go take -- >> i'm going to get in line. thank you. >> you go take your seat. thank you very much. we're about ten minutes away from starting. nicole wallace this will be interesting. there are very few hearings where there's near unanimity about the warm welcome they're going to be giving him. >> this is a arerevered figure just in military circles, donald trump likes to use one nickname for him, "mad dog" mattis, the one he holds more dear is to liken him to a monk. he surrounds himselves with
books. ooze the most interleintellectun his area. there's no doubt he's qualified. there's no doubt that he's strong. there's no doubt that he's sort of unmatched person of character. but i think that what will play out, i mean, there really is -- there are very few opportunities to press donald trump on what sort of holds up his affection for vladimir putin. to the degree he gets any tough questioning, i think it's going to be about how and when and where he will go to the president when he has concerns about the direction of his policy. >> remember this is a chance for senators to question donald trump by proxy. they're not -- they can't do that. they can't get donald trump in front of a hearing room. they can't get him to be clear about his positions and where his motivations come from. so they're going to try and do that with his nominees.
we sawhaesteay and we should expect to see that today. >> hans nichols covers the pentagon for us. we ask he be part of this conversation. what you are watching for today? >> i'm interesting in how mattis answers the torture question. we know because trump said he convinced him to change his mind on it. and we know from yesterday that senator sessions kind of came out with his view that torture to broadly endorse the intelligence community, the torture is illegal. so look for questions on mattis on whether or not he thinks the army field manual rea. pli to everyone including people outside the military, namely, the cia. that's the one area where i think mattis could be not in tricky waters but a little more difficult than what i suspect will be largely softball questions. >> all right. hans, thank you. we'll be talking to you throughout the day. general barry mccalfry who is smarter than the rest of us because he's in honolulu is with us, retired four star general
from the u.s. army. general, you and i often talk about the caliber of the general officers in today's military, how many of them have advanced degrees that in past generations just did not exist. it was much more emphasis on warrior than it is today the kind of scholar warriors we've been seeing and i think you'd agree, general mattis who we're here to talk about today is a part of th latter category. >> well, no question. you know, nicole made a good point. he's an intellectual, he is very well read and sophisticated man. he has heroic status inside the arms forces. both marine corps and army, the people watch him in the sent come area this guy is probably the most iconic marine we've seen since chesty puller. very unusual guy.
now, you know, there will be a legitimate debate about should you have a military general officer serving in this position and that ought to get raised and discussed. but at the end of the day, this guy is going to be a stabilizing positive influence on national security process. i might add, sort of amusing to me, remember president obama had a four star marinas a national security advise yoshgs a four star oormy general as cia director. a four star army general as the va secretary. so a little bit of selective memory here about the danger to the republic of having military. by the way, i was unanimously confirmed by the senate during the clinton administration. so i'm not too concerned there will be actually much concern as opposed to gratitude that mattis is willing to take on this responsibility. >> a lot of us got the impression that once donald trump got a, as they say, a
snoot full of the humanity that is general mattis and once someone told him what his nickname was that he was sold on the idea having not spent as much time around general officers. talk more about the general mattis that you know and what specifically he is known for in the ranks. >> well, you know, he's an enlist mad reen. he had 41 years in the marine corps to include enlisted service. he lives like his men. you know, he's just a remarkable serve anlt leader type of marine. very widely trusted, by the way, about it special operations community and the combat forces he's worked with. but you know, i -- i'm always concerned about president-elect using the term mad dog. he is anything but that. he's a very deliberate, mature
thinker. this is not somebody who will be impulsive in his thinking or acting about national security. i might add, you know, he had a very tough truth to power conversation with the obama team about iran. and i think essentially they moved him along because he wanted to -- i think he was right, by the way, i think mattis is right to confront what many of us think is a very poor bargain on this iranian nuke deal. so president trump will also have a very candid, forceful secretary of defense if confirmed to deal with. >> general, you're no stranger to early mornings. what time is it in honolulu? >> well, it's a little after 4:00 a.m. in paradise. and i'm really glad i'm here. >> all right. well thank you. that was a balanced answer that took into consideration your vounldings and the time on your
wristwatch as i said. you're not the kind of guy who will be scared by a 4:00 a.m. wakeup. we're going ask you to remain since you're in paradise to counsel to us during this hearing. we also have a friend of yours, happens to be a recipient of the medal of honor who joined us here in the studio in new york among our military affairs analysts. and that is retired u.s. army colonel jack jacobs. colonel, welcome. >> good morning. thank you. i think barry just jet lagged. >> yeah. >> he's going to pass it off to you th he's really working hard. >> he doesn't sound normal at all. what are you looki for today? >> it would be interesting to see if mattis is asked about his relationships with the other appointees in the national security sphere. i think at the end of the day it's less what mattis knows and will do than what he can accomplish given the restrictions among the people would are there. don't forget you have kelly
doing homeland security. most significantly general flynn as the national security adviser. somebody might ask him how do you get along with general flynn? and do you think you're going to be able to prevail if your opinions are not met with skepticism at that level? after all, general flynn is the guy who is supposed to take all the input and turn night national security advice for the president. and general flynn is not confirmed. he doesn't have to be confirmed. and some of the earlier mentioned about grilling trump. i think somebody here might be well advised to grill general flynn. >> what opportunity would there to be grill general flynn though? >> you wouldn't otherwise. you talk to mattis --
>> he said exactly what you said. do you talk? i'm just kidding. but he said that this job is as a filter to not do so much filter. he said that he is not a strategic force. he is operational. and raised almost identical concerns that you just did. >> and general, you and i have talked about general flynn. you have correctly praised his experience in the intelligence field. but it's also been asked by others, first of all, people raise questions about his bow hafor at the rnc convention and during the campaign. but it's been asked by others if his knowledge base was broad enough given the proximity and influence he's goi to have over this president new to government experience. >> well, you know, you're right. a lot of us were really apprehensive about the way general flynn handled himself at
the rnc. we're not used to having senior military guys that have such a sharp edge of political skull in them that, tweet about the pizza place. so we were pretty uneasy about the whole thing. look, my plan and stan mcchrystal ran interagency operations, the special operations counter-terrorism command and cross space there. so i think general flynn knows well how to deal with the state department treasury, you know, department of defense. the many actors and national security. he's actually pretty accustom to that. >> if you're watching, this is general mattis is wearing civilian clothing, notably. he entered the room. book ended by two veteran members of the u.s. senate now retired but both of them notable in this area and that is senator cohen of maine and senator nunn
of georgia. you just saw general mattis walk in with the chairman of arms services. perhaps the most qualified person in all of congress to be the chairman and that is senator john mccain of arizona. let's listen. >> well, good morning, all. for the information of the members at about 15 minutes before the last question, you'll be notified and asked that the committee will immediately proceed to consideration of senate bill 84 which is to provide for an exception to a limitation against appointment of persons as secretary of defense within seven years of relief from active duty as a regular commissioned officer of the arms forces, this bill when enact wod authorize james mattis to be appoint the as second of defense. it's important we have all members present for the
consideration of that bill. and when there is 15 minutes left from questioning, you'll be notified and i hope people will all come back to vote on this important issue of the waiver. good morning. i would like to first recognize two of our distinguished colleagues who are here today, former colleagues. we were all three together during the coolage administration. we're very glad to see balk here again. and i don't know -- should we do the opening statements? or have them -- >> so i know that in the interest of the -- our friends times, maybe we could begin with
senator nunn and senator making their interductry remarks and we're honored to have you back before the committee again, two very distinguished, most distinguished members that i have had the opportunity and honor to serve with. we'll begin with you, senator nunn. >> thank you chairman mccain and senator reid. it's great honor to return to the senate arms services committee with my good friend for many years as you observed mr. chairman bill cohen. the purpose of introducing jim mattis on his nomination to be secretary of defense. before praising our distinguished nominee and i will praise him because i think he deserves it, i want to kmenld you, senator mccain and senator reid and members of this committee for your excellent work in passing significant reform legislation in the most
recent congress. your continuous efforts to make our military more efficient and more effective are essential to our nation's security and we owe you our thanks. i know from experience reform is not easy. everything you do is tough in that arena and it doesn't get the notice it deserves except for the people who oppose the reform. those are the ones who notice it. so congratulations on that legislation. and i know there is a lot more to do. you made some progress. also want to commend my good friend and congratulate my good friend senator david purdue for becoming a member of this committee and continuing a strong georgia tradition of service on what i believe is the best committee in the senate. mr. chairman, senator reid and members of the committee and in september of 1950, my great uncle called chairman of the house arms services committee presented to the house of representatives a strong case for congress to pass a waiver to allow general george marshal to assume the position of secretary
of defense. so there's some history here. today i urge you to pass the same type of waiver for jim masmas mattis. i believe the raw requiring a secretary of defense to be out of active dutyeast seven years does rain relevant today. but there is also a good reason that there can be on occasion case by case common sense exceptions through congressional actions. the congressional research service has written an excellent paper on the legislative history of the separation from military service retirements. when the original statute was passed in 1947, the department of defense had just been created by merging the department of war and the department of navy. there were several very famous generals and admirals emerging from world war ii who are huely publicized heroes including a few five stars. and congress did not want one
service overpowering the newly created department. that to me san important part of the history of this legislation. mr. chairman, senator reid and committee members, i believe that exceptions to this restriction should be based on the experience, the skills and the character of the nominee. and our country's need to ask them to serve in this important role. i also believe that your examination of jim mattis' credentials and character and record will convince that you george marshal should be granted a waiver and confirmed as secretary of defense. mr. chairman, i followed jim's career for a long time because when i was chairman of this committee, my staff director who is here today also a marine repeatedly told me that a young officer by the name of jim mattis was demonstrating strong leadership capabilities and had a very long runway ahead. mr. chairman, senator reid and chris and liz and members of the
staff will understand my reluctance telephor admit that he was always right but in the case of jim mattis, he was dead on point. jim mattis became one of our nation's most infective and respected military leaders. jim has the experience and skill to be an excellent secretary of defense. he has the deep knowledge about the many challenges we face around the world today. he understands not only the importance of civilian control of the military but he's also written the book, so to speak, on the relationship of today's voluntary force and civil society which deserves a great deal of attention. jim's experience as commander clearly demonstrate the his ability to effectively work with diplomats and national leaders. mr. chairman, senator reid and membersst committee, over the last three years jim mattis has become fully engaged in civilian
life from world of business to the ngo world to the college campus. he has quickly learned what i call the admiral crowd rule that after retirement as a four star if you jum noop into the backsef your car, ghoul nowhere until you move to the driver's seat and turn on the key. jim mattis is a valuable corporate board members and learned lessons that will help him make the department of defense more efficient. jim has gone from the marine corps spit and polish to the business coat and tie to whatever they wear on campus these days. as professor, he developed aa rapport with young students by quickly figuring out they're not quite same as paris island recruits. in summary, mr. chairman, jim mattis is a thinker and doer, strategist. he understands, respects, and loves the men and women in uniform and their families.
the organization of the pentagon and he knows what the building had as to do to give the troops the tools they need to do their job and protect our nation's security. jim also knows powers and responsibilities of our military force and the challenges of our complex and very dangerous world. he understands that our military cannot be our primary tool to meet every challenge. he strongly supports the important role of diplomacy and has been outspoke innocent important need of giving the state department the resources they need to be fully effective. bottom line, mr. chairman and senator reid and members of the committee, i believe general mattis is exceptionally qualified to lead the department of defense. i urge this committee and the senate to pass a statutory waiver to allow him to serve our nation in this new role and to confirm him as secretary of defense. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator nunn.
senator cohen? >> good morning. i'm here this morning to testify on behalf of the general mattis. senator nunn, senator reed, members of the committee, the three who are still here in the arms services committee when 20 years ago became before the committee when we first met, you were a young captain in the navy. senator nunn mentioned you took us to china where we met and also did some great work on the way back in korea. so i thank you for all of the years you devoted to this country. you remain a hero of mine. and millions of people not only
in this country but the world over. so it is a real honor for me to be here with you. and senator nunn, i served 18 years here. in the senate. he served 24. i must say that the experience of working with senator nunn is a true highlight of my political career. so pleasure to join with senator nunn. i want to associate myself with the remarks of the former sna senator from gegia. and simply submit my own written statement which is quite brief to the committee and i'll try to summarize. jim mattis i first met when i went to the wennipentagon. he was a young colonel. he had a reputation even then this is somebody to watch. he's young, he's smart. he doesn't really belong behind a desk although he may belong
there right now. but at that time i wanted to get out into the field. he is a warrior by nature. i want to say that he has the nickname of mad dog. it's a misnomer. it should be brave heart. because what really characterizes jim mattis is his courage. you have written about this in terms of why courage matters and you quoted from churchill and said that courage is the first of human resources. it guarantees all else, all the others. and so we have seen the history of jim mattis inwarrior, a brav battlefield. but that's not why we were here. if he were only a great warrior, you would say there are a lot of other warriors as well. he comes because he's a man of thought as well as action. and can you judge people by the friends he makes, the company he
keeps. but also by the books he reads. general mattis has 6,000 books in his library, if not all of them he has read. and he can refer to either alexander the great, general grant, and i suspect he's probably the only one here at this table who can hear the words through the trap and not have to go to wikipedia to find out what it means. now he is a scholar as well as and a tstrategic their and grea warrior. the periods are important not only because you get a chance to listen to the views of the nominee in terms of what is his or her in this case his experience. what does he see as the world events that we're going to be con fronted with? what does he bring to the table in terms of giving you
confidence that the person making that judge ment and after all, he's number two. he's number two in the chain of command that goes from the president through him to the combat and commanders. that's it. that's why it's so important that you have a chance not only to assess his background experience, but also his character. that really is what you need to know because no one goes to the secretary of defense or any major position and can anticipate everything that's going to come at him. they talk about the tyranny of the in box. well, you have a tyranny of the in box in the pentagon. and things come at with you a velocity of a heat seeking missile. and so then you have to look and say how i do deal with this? who is making the decision? in that case, i think you should say great confidence in this man who understands what it means to be in battle. he understand what's it means not to go into battle. and he has the love for his
troops is returned in a way that i've not seen before. his troops, men and women alike in all services love this man. and they love him because he loves them and what they do for our country. what they're willing to risk for our country. and so you look at his character. he's a humble man with very little to be humble about. but if you were to go to his hometown and see that he's a devoted son to his 94-year-old mother, lucille in rich land, washington. if you look, you see he's a member of the tricity food bank. on any occasion, can you now see him helping to distribute food to needy families. and you'll also see him refuse to exempt himself from jury duty. he was called to serve on a jury involving a gross misdemeanor case. he could have been exempted. he said, no i'm here to serve. so he's one of six people in that denlton county district
court. beyond that, what is most impressive to me is that he takes the time without any fanfare to visit the gold star families. that is something that is a heavy, heavy responsibility to go to the families of -- talk to the people who lost their sons and daughters, husbands, wives in battle under his command. that tells me a lot about who jim mattis is and why you should take that into account. finally, i feel a speech coming on. i'll try to just sum up right now. one of my other heroes in addition to senator mccain is a hero because he not only was a great supreme court justice, he was also a veteran of civil war. and can you not read any opinion of his without seeing how he reflects back upon his time in
battle. and i think his grade is a 1994 memorial speech you should read. but in the conclusion of the speech, he said whether a man accepts from fortune they will look downward and dig, were from aspiration for acts and corps then will scale the ice, the one and only success that is his to command is to bring to his work a mighty heart. members of the committee, this man, jim mattis, brings to the job of the secretary of the defense a great and brave heart. i hope you will vote to confirm him quickly. thank you. >> i want to thank senator nunn and senator cohen i view as one of the great privileges of my time here in the united states senate was the honor of serving with both of you. and so i think it means a lot to me personally but also to
members of the committee that you would come here today on behalf of this nominee, thank you for being here. >> could i play special recognition to senator mccain? >> no. >> i was going to add from the great state of maine. and someone we used to call governor and now proudly call senator. nice to see you. >> he represents the geriatric part of this committee. >> led by -- >> i thank both senator nunn and senator cohen for being here. obviously, the committee meets today to consider the nomination of general james mattis to be the secretary of defense of the united states. two years ago general mattis, the last time you came before this committee, the idea we would be meeting again under the present circumstance was have been hard to imagine most of all by you but i, for one koshgs not be happier.
all of us recognize the unique and historic nature of this nomination. general mattis enjoyed a long and distinguished career in uniform but current would bar him from serving as secretary of defense for three more years. i strongly support retaining the law, i also believe that our nation needs general mattis' service more than ever. so after this hearing, the committee will meet to consider special legislation to allow general mattis to serve as secretary of defense. if confirmed, he'll have the honor of leading a team of americans who represent everything that is noble and best in our nation, our soldiers, sailors, airmen pmen amarines do everything we ask of them and more. and they make us proud every day. our many defense civil servants sacrifice day in and day out for our national security. and rarely get the --
and yet as we meet today in increasing global threat and disorder, for seven decade the united states made a unique role in the world. we not only put america first, but we've done so by maintaining and advancing a world order tha, our trade, our diplomacies, our values but most of all our military. it's the global striking power of america's armed forces that must deter or thwart their ambitions. too many americans, many americans seem to have forgotten this in recent years. too many have forgotten that our world order is not self-sustaining. too many have forgotten that while the threa we face may not have purely military solutions, they all have military dimensions. in short, too many have forgotten that hard power matters, having it, threatening it, leveraging it for diplomacy and at times using temperature. fair or not, there is a
perception around the world that america is weak and distracted and that has only emboldened our adversaries. the threat imposed by violent islamic extremism continues to metastasize. we will be involved in a global conflict of varying scope and intensity for the foreseeable otherwise. if confirmed, general mattis, you would lead a military at war. you of all people appreciates what that means and what did demands. at the same time, our central challenge in the middle east is not isil. as grave a threat as that is, it is a breakdown of regional order of which nearly every state is a battlefield for conflict, a combatant or both. isil is a symptom of this
disorder. they continue to modernize its military and seek to remake the region in its image from syria to iraq to yemen. we see a new assertiveness in china to confront u.s. allies and partners make vast territorial claims with no basis in international law, carve out spheres of influence and revise the current order. north korea is testing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles at an alarming rate. north korea could soon develop a intercontinental ballistic missile that's capable of striking the u.s. homeland. this may become a defining crisis for the next president.
and then there's russia, leaving a trail of death of destruction and broken promises in his wake. russia's military has targeted syrian hospitals and first responders with precision weapons. russia supplied the weapons that shot down a commercial aircraft over ukraine. russia's war on ukraine has killed thousands of ukrainian soldiers and civilians and in the most flagrant demonstration of putin's disdain and respect for our nation, russia deliberately interfered in our recent election with cyber attacks and disinformation campaign designed to weaken america and discredit western values. each of our last three presidents has had great expectations of building a partnership with the russian government. each attempt has failed. not for lack of good faith and effort on the u.s. side but because of a stubborn fact that
we must finally recognize putin wants to be our enemy. he needs us as his enemy. he will never be our partner, including in fighting isil. he believes that strengthening russia means weakening america. we must proceed realistically on this basis. we must build a position of significant strength vis-a-vis russia and any other adversary that seeks to undermine our national interes and challenge the wor order. we must reestabsh deterrence and that is primarily the job of the defendant defense. but for too long the department of defense has planned and optimized itself for short-term episodic contingencies. we now face a series of long-term strategic competitions with clear military dimensions that often occur below the threshold of armed conflict. what makes all of this worse is that america's military technical college call advant--
technological advantage is eroding. russia is rapidly modernizing their militaries to exploit our vulnerabilities with advance anti-access and aerial capabilities. the entire model of the american is increasingly called into question at land, on sea, in the air and especially in space and cyberspace. in light of these threats, business as usual is not just misguided it, is dangerous. all of these problems are compounded by the self-inflicted wounds of the budget control act. for five years nas defense spending has been arbitrarily capped. defense spending has often fallen. what we do spend is producing
less combat power. in constant dollars we spend nearly exactly the same amount on defense as we did 30 years ago, but we are fielding 35% fewer combat brigades, 53% fewer ships and 63% future combat aircraft squadrons, all this while overhead costs have steadily increased. in short, we have done grave harm to our military as each of our joint chiefs of staff has repeated testified to this committee. meanwhile, our national debt has increased nearly $4 trillion over the life of the budget control act. the president-elect has said he wants to, quote, fully eliminate the defense sequester and, quote, rebuild our military. if so, he will find many allies on this committee. the budget control act is harming news ways our enemies could only dream. we must repeal this legislation and increase the defense top
line. this will not be cheap but it pales in comparison to the cost of failing to deter a war or worse losing one. for all these reasons and more i believe the nation needs general mattis. we need to stop deterring ourselves and return to strategy, aligning our ends, ways and means to address global threats. we need to resize and more importantly reshape our military, giving our war fighters the most advanced capabilities so they never find themselves in a fair fight. we must continue to reform the department of defense so more of its limited dollars are spent on increasing the lethality of our military. it takes too long and too much to deliver too little. i'd like to conclude by saying a few words about trust and accountability and about the relationship between this committee and the department of defense. one of the if you benefits of my
advanced age is the sense of perspective it affords. i've witnessed a steady loss of trust between congress and the department. it is felt on both sides and there's plenty of blame to go around. department leaders have too often treated members of congress as after thoughts to be notified, not partners to be meaningfully consulted and congress has sought to balanced the department to its will. we need to take more risk if we are to maintain our strategic and technical -- technological advantage. these are steps the congress,
defense and committee must restore together. if confirmed, you would have to trust us to be your partners in major decision making and in sharing the greater risks that are necessary to win in a more competitive world. in return if you will be accountable to us and you will be, we must trust you to determine how best to get the results we demand with fewer statuary and regulatory impediments. in short, let's make it our common mission to restore accountability. if we can do that, though the threats we face may be great, i am confident we can succeed. senator reed. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. let me join you in welcoming general mattis to this morning's hearing. i thank him for his many decades of distinguished service to the country and the marine corps and i appreciate his willingness to return to public service this time in a civilian capacity. let me also recognize and thank
sam nunn and senator and secretary bill cohen for their distinguished service and eloquent words this morning. general mattis began his long and distinguished career and -- >> the 10 a.m. hour has arrived here in the east and i'm use a respectful gulf whisper. we're going to just dip out of the mattis confirmation hearing as senator reed from rhode island speaks before we hear from general mattis. to set the scene and show you what else is happening on the hill. we do have these two other important confirmation hearings. on the left, the future hoped for cia director congressman pompeiiio, his hearing in front of senate intelligence and on the right, dr. ben carson,