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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  April 5, 2017 9:00am-10:01am PDT

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you see the president and the first lady greeting king abdullah, there he is, the two of them together now walking. a quick pose from some forecasts. the queen there and the fist lady of the united states. the four of them posing for a photograph on their way into the white house. into the oval office for what will be a crucial, crucial set of discussions. that is it for me for this hour of msnbc live. andrea mitchell takes it from here. thanks, right now on "andrea mitchell reports" live pictures from the white house. king abdullah of jordan, the queen, and first lady melania at the white house. steve bannon removed from
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the national security council's key principals committee. the decision making committee. and syrian war crimes. topic one for today. what the apparent gas atax tack the area of idlib. they are claiming that assad had a weapons depot. and north korea launching their fourth missile of 2017 just houring before china's president is set to arrive in the u.s. for a critical summit with president trump. all of this and more. big questions when president trump and king abdullah meet. the press in the rose garden an hour from now. good day, i'm andrea mitchell in washington. a major shake up in president trump's national security council. steve bannon has now been
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removed from the all important principals committee of the security council. they are now back at the table with permanent seats. kristen welker, topic one is steve ban non. it was highly unusual this very strange arrangement set up for this national security council. and now a sigh of relief all over washington and the foreign policy establishment of republican and democratic white houses watching that bannon has now been taken out. >> you're absolutely right, it raised eyebrows all over washington when the president announced that steve bannon would be serving on the national security council. here is f here is what we know. he has been removed from the national security council. he was initially put in place, we're told, to oversee then national security advisor
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michael flynn. that raises all sorts of questions about how much faith this white house and this president had in michael flynn, but i was told he was put in place to make sure that he was following out the vision of the president. now, we are also learning just moments ago that this was, in fact, the action of the new national security advisor, h.r. mcmaster who was very clear that he wanted to be able to bring in his own team. put together his own top officials on the national security council. and so we're seeing the result of that. also important though, andrea, i'm being told that steve bannon will continue to serve in many of the top meetings here at the white house. he is still going to be one of the president's closest advisors. his reaction to this, according to a source close to steve bannon, he sees himself as someone working in the war room, carrying out the president's agenda, and this is no different, but still a lot of
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fast moving developments today as the president gets set to meet with the king of jordan. >> let's talk about this, because the politics of it are pretty transparent. you had michael flynn, and bannon, placed on the principals committee, and this is the elevation people have been waiting for, for mcmaster to take charge. before it happened there was a overruling of mcmaster on a fairly junior point, tappointme. well, he was removed by or mcmaster tries to remove him, and he was overruled by bannon and jared kushner. so one of the questions is the very untraditional roles being
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played by jared kushner and steve bannon on foreign policy and the generals and secretary of state have not had as prominent of roles as they would normally have. >> absolutely right, and it came after steve bannon fought to stay on the staff and the nsa was involved in getting the intelligence information to devin nunes. and he then came out and made that striking announcement that initially seemed to back up the president saying that he felt like he had been wiretapped by the obama administration. a statement that devin nunes walked back and said he is not quite sure that trump transition officials were surveyed, maybe they were just spoken about in some of the surveillance that was swept up, but it raises
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questions about whether or not there was any type of coordination between some of these players, steve bannon, and getting that information to devin nunes. those are some of the questions that the president might be asked today at the press conference. in addition to that, he faces a whole host of questions on north korea. what is the administration prepared to do, and how are they planning to respond to syria and the chemical weapons attack that was so devastating there. this comes at a critical moment for this administration, and it is a big shake up. but in my conversations as we were going on the air, i was told steve bannon will be in all of these top level meetings nap will not change. he still has the president's ear and he is still in the war room with him. >> at the same time, being a member of that principals committee, that is the committee where the key deputies and the top leaders, the cabinet secretaries tee up foreign
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policy decisions for the united states. that is the deputies and the principals committee meeting lead by the president where decisions are made. he could still be in the room, but perhaps not at the table in the same way. kristen, you bring up the subject of syria, and nikki hailey moments ago at the united natio nations where she is chairing, she brought in pictures of a syrian gas attack. the u.n. ambassador presenting this evidence to the security council with, of course, russia at the table. let's watch. >> yesterday morning, we awoke to pictures. to children, foaming at the mouth, suffering convulsions, being carried in the arms of desperate parents. we saw rows of lifeless bodies, some still in diapers. some with visible scars of a
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chemical weapon's attack. look at those pictures. we cannot close our eyes to those pictures. >> ayman, russia, overnight, claiming it was the government that had the weapons and they let a rebel depot of chemical weapons. here you have the u.n. ambassador, in an iconic moment that brought to mind madeline albright, presenting proof to the world of what is, if proved, to be chemical, which by all accounts it is, is a war crime. >> you're absolutely right, and this is the first major moment if you will for nikki hailey at the united nations. and she is using that platform
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to put a spotlight on what happened in syria. it is important to differentiate from two things. there was a chemical attack in idlib province yesterday morning. the question, where there will be disagreement, is who was responsibility for th responsible for that. you didn't hear anyone on the western side holding their punching, they're blaming the regime. she said it bears all of the marks of the assad regime. the syrian government has carried out chemical attacks in the past. she is making the argument. the white house yesterday saying this was the assad regime, and the intelligence said this was a chemical attack. what you're hearing from the russians and the syrians is very
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different. the government saying they did not carry out any chemical attack. the russians on the other hand not denying that it happened, but saying that, as you mentioned, the rebels were stockpiling the chemical weapons in a depot that was possibly hit by a syrian fighter jet and triggered that chemical reaction. but no doubt about it that the united nations now is at a critical point and we flow is a draft resolution in the works. the resolution initially put forward assigned blame to syria and that was not going to get past initial indications. the revolution now stands to suggest that syria has to cooperate with the u.n. investigation. giving them access to military logs. giving them access to idlib province. it's not clear yet in the syrian
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government will agree to that, but there is indications that russia could go along with that resolution if the wording is right. that is what will unfold at the next several hours at the united nations following that initial meeting now taking place there. >> thank you so much, thank you kristen welker. as we await the photo opportunity with king abdullah and president trump, i want to bring in chris murphy who is on the foreign relations committee. so much happening on so many fronts. first of all, what we are just hearing about this chemical attack, we have been told by the obama white house, by secretary kerry, that one of the reasons to justify them not taking military action after the last chemical attack, the last major attack in 2013 is they reached than agreement with russia and they cleared syria. now we see major evidence of
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gas. >> russia did not live up to their agreement. if this was a ri sheem led attack, they violated an agreement. so the question is what to do next. many of us were surprised that president trump said president obama was wrong not to carry out an attack. it underscores the knead for a political solution that is hard to carry out as president. it under scores the need for more humanitarian assistance, making sure that everyone that wants to leave syria amidst the civil war can, and the united
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states will be asked to lead to find a way out of this disaster. >> and it races big questions about the relationship with russia. russia under investigation for it's attack, it's -- you know, interference with our election. thesie investigations opposed b the white and we have secretary tillerson now, they announced he is going to russia next week. how do you assess all of this with the shake up at the national security council today. >> i hope that secretary tillerson would rethink his timing of the trip to rush that. if the russians are going to live in a world of denial, you have to wonder what constructive can come from a high profile visit of the secretary of state to moscow.
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to effectively reward putin with a big public relations coup. the visit of a secretary of state after this horrific attack in syria sends the wrong message. i think trump should be interested in getting to the bottom of this in his campaign. he should not want these allegations to persist month after month after month. if what he says it true, he should support an independent prosecutor and commission to make that finding as quickly as possible. so the issues are connected t d together and hopefully we can move forward with the investigation. >> let's talk about steve ban non now. formally the director of
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national intelligence. we were told they were attending these meetings, but they were not officially under the checktive ordcheck ti -- execive ordutive order that president signed. so is this restoring evidence that mcmaster is asserting control? >> i don't think we should play this up too much. it is good news, but that only matters if the traditional nfc structure is the way that decisions are being made in this white house. and this that has been already given to bannon and jared kushner, who have no background, just a personal connection to the president -- it really pains a lot of us to see donald
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trump's son-in-law as the prima primary -- it is good news that ban n bannon is off of the security council. but he will have a role in a lot of big national security decisions made in the white house. >> what about jared kushner's role to plan the summit. >> yeah, why does he have anything to do with foreign policy. this is not something you can just pick up on the fly, right? it's not scale boarding. y -- skate boarding. you have to invest years in the complicated arrangements, knowing china reactions differently. they should not have anything do with foreign policy.
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he should have experienced hands, who are setting up these delicate interactions, and it doesn't seem like any of that it happening. >> with all of these issues, there is then north korea. the warning from the secretary of state when he was in south korea two weeks ago, saying that all options, including a pre-emptive military strike are off of the table, and a very cryptic one sentence response last night that we have said enough about north korea. how do you take that and what should be doing to warn north korea or to push back? >> he is not wrong. we made it very clear what our policy is on these missile tests. this is a place where the trump
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administration may not have it totally wrong. they seem to be suggesting their willing to put all of their cards on the table if china takes a hard line on north korea with the weapons program. i think we're worried about what the deal will be that is struck. but this is getting to the crisis point, right? we kat allcannot allow for them the capable. we have to sit down and force china to reconsider. so i worry about their ability to cut the right deal, but it's not necessarily the wrong policy. >> they're, senator chris murphy. in moments from now we will see the oval office tape. we have the queen and melania trump.
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>> hold it, hold it, hold it. i just wanted to thank our friends, our great friends. these are very troubled times in the middle east, we saw what happened just recently yesterday in syria. horrible, a horrible thing. unspeakable. but i want to thank you both for being at the white house, and ywe will have some very interesting discussions today, thank you very much. okay, thank you very much. >> thank you. syria's attacks with chemical weapons -- >> it was a terrible affront to
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humanity, i'll tell you. you'll see. >> there was a shouted question at the end there about the apparent chemical attack, and he, i think i heard the president say it was terrible against humanity, and are you going to take action, and he said you'll see. congressman adam schipp is joining me now. i don't think i have seen a foreign leader with the first lady and the queen together in the room there. i think they going to a public charter school in dc. the excel charter school. we will be checking on that. they will be visiting a education facility with betsy de vos. what about the chemical attack and the evidence shown at the
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u.n. security county ticiouncil. >> that is exactly right. u russia is really the enabler. they have been bombing places like aleppo. it is deplorable. i think the administration needs to speak frankly about this. but more than that, they brokered a deal where assad was supposed to give up his weapons, and that did not happen completely. we need to say if they don't stop gassing their own people, we're going to have to. we need to look at recommendations others have made about taking steps to ground his air force ourselves or support others who can do that.
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but the world cannot stand by where a dictator committs crime in this way. >> they just said maybe s secretary tillerson should postpone his visit. we could also say this is the very time they should be visiting. >> first of all, i think the secretary of state should retract the comments that he made that suggest that the syrian people should be left to their own devices. the syrian people are not making this division. they're having assad and his reign continue to be hoisted on them by external powers. i think he should retract what
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he said. i'm in agreement with john mccain on this. this fighting is not going to end as long as this fighting is there. the load shed will, the gassing of the syrian people will. that is the change of course that i would like to see mr. tillerson take. >> and what about the decision to go to moscow? >> well, i would agree with senator murphy this is not the time to reward russians with a high profile visit unless he is clear that they are there to it doesn't sound like that is where secretary tillerson is coming from, but they need to exercise some leadership here, and these citizenship tick tweets or
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statements about north korea or russia don't demonstrate any coherent policy. i hope that what we're seeing will result in a more coherent policy before we have any more crisis at our doorstep. >>. >> do you think it is connect d, do you have more information from that? >> it is possible they were less than pleased by the reported role in the production of the chairman. this is someone that reportedly mcmaster wanted to fire, but again, reportedly, it took them
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and their intervention to keep them in that role. maybe this is part of the fallout from that, only the white house can answer that question. >> is she being placed on a witness list? there is word they want her to testify. >> i'm not going to talk about specific witnesses? how is the unmasking of officials pertinent into the oversight? >> it is not really pertinent except where there was incidental collection of whether
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or not they colluded with russia. i can tell you that i remain convinced after seeing the tearing, after looking at agency heading, there is still no truth or proof whatsoever to support the accusations against his predecessor. i think the russian intervention. there have been for quite some time concerns. and i think once again just trying an attack on susan right. but we remain resolute on what
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is important to the american people. and whether or not they have to help the people on the trump campaign. >> they're quoting those with republican connections saying it was not susan right that connected the unmasking of mike flynn. i know you can't speak to that on or off of the record, but can you say whether or not you saw anything inappropriate in the requests that she made. >> you can't tell if anything is appropriate or inappropriate from looking at documents because of course you have to be able to ask the agencies whether or not any of the names were
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unmasked. but michael flynn, i will say this, the person in the best position to talk about the events that lead up to his firing is sally yates. we have asked her to testify. there is a letter on the desk of my chairman that i sign asking for that to be reviewed. >> so the white house is not exerting executive privilege. >> we'll take him at his word and -- >> sean spicer said he would like sally yates to testify. let's hold him to his word, bring her in, and allow her to
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tell the american people about any conversations he may have had with relief from obama sanctions. >> so what's the hold up? >> just one signature at this point. we want sally yates to come back in, we need the majority so sign. they said they were just postponing, but we have not gotten their exitment menmen mt to do so. a shake up at the national security county till, all big questions for president trump today. all of that and more coming up on "andrea mitchell reports." what's that?
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and the u.n. security council is meeting today, it is being chaired by nikki hailey on the gas attacks on a rebel held area of syria. nikki hailey spoke moments ago. >> when the united nations consistently fails in the duty
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to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action. for the sake of the victims, i hope the rest of the council is ready to do the same. also an msnbc national analyst. this chemical attack brings together all of the issues. russia, syria, the lack of a policy, and now you have a shake up. >> nobody with young children or anyone with a conscious can look at these images and fail to be moved. i think what will happen with
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the national security council now is they will want to put in front of the president several options. let's talk military options first, although i don't think it is a long-term solution, there may be a time when a military strike is necessary. they have left us no choice. the military options look like u.s. aircraft over the skies of syria, or cruise missile strikes from navel assets off of the waters of syria's cost. it will flatten their control, crater the runways, again, this is not without risk. sir kra integratsb -- syria has defenses. it is not without risk, however i think we have gotten better at
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maneuvering over the skies of syria with the air campaign over raqqa. the one thing this administration has to be prepared to do is to push russia out of the way and i'm not sure this white house is ready to do that. just on this issue on the shame -- shake up at the national security council. commander mcmaster should be commended. i was reading the memo that was issued today, dated april 4th, it outlines who should attend the meetings and it puts the deputy national security advisor for strategy, dena powell, she is now one of mcmaster's principal deputies and she will by attending committee meetings and i think that is a good and important change. >> this seems to be layering
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over also an offer to be an ambassador in singapore. when you talked about russia, in 2013 when they were looking at military options, and president obama backed off of that and didn't have congressional approv approval, russia was not in the air over syria. it was later they entered the area, within 24 hours of a face to face meeting with president obama and vladimir putin. all of a sudden russia entered the space. doesn't that make it so much more complicated to take an air strike. >> it does, and now across two amin stragss we have tested if they would or could cooperate, and that test has failed. russia will not cooperate. their role is to embolden and preserve the assad regime.
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it is part of a sphere of influence, perhaps against us, the u.s. and i think the big dipmat malo challenge is to see if we can push russia aside. so far the rhetoric has been we're going to let russia handle syria. >> let me play a little bit of susan right and i speaking yesterday, and her denial of anything inappropriate to reveal the names to her of americans that were picked up in the surveillance of foreigners. >> the allegation is that somehow the obama administration officials utilize intelligence for political purposes. >> did you seek the names of
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people involved in unmask the names of people involved? people -- absolutely not, not for any political purposes -- >> did you leak the name of mike fl flynn? >> i leaked nothing to nobody. >> what she described to you, and it was an amazing interview yesterday that you conducted, was a lawful, appropriate, and routine process of national security professionals in the white house, at the allegatigen when at american is referenced or part of the conversation. that is done all of the time. there is nothing inappropriate. it seems to me like a head fake
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to try to distract. and the proeshl ties. those investigations are not an democratic hoax, they are being run by a republican senate, they need to proceed on a bipartisan n nonpartisan basis, and it under mines national security. at the top of the hour, president trump and the king of jordan will be coming up next on msnbc.
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of conversations between foreigners. joining me now is sam stein. . let me go to you first, ann. we heard susan rice explaining the process. they just spoke by all accounts that's it is what the process is, that some republican senators are backing that up, what the president is saying is still to focus on the surveillance and not on the russian investigation. >> right, we don't know the whole of what his allegation is here, but it has been an allegation now from the white house and their allies on the hill that susan rice did something improper in unmasking and allegedly improperly leaking names. she claims she did nothing of the sort, that unmasking when it was done was rare and it's not
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the same thing has leaking. it is definitely part of a white house and republican narrative that she was sort of an henchman here. >> this is the president of the united states, george, speaking about a former national security advisor, and alleging there is some crime committed. the wall street journal is reporting today that according to republican sources, susan rice was not the person who requested the name of mike flynn, it was someone else in the white house. what is your reaction to this? we don't usually see presidents of the united states alleging that people are committing crimes in this fashion. >> the number of sentences -- this is a permi per -- statemen
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made that is an inters caveat. the president has accused all kinds of people of all kinds of things without carefully parsing the law that is relevant. so i don't know what he is talking about here. >> it seems to be a continuation with the tweet on march 4th that started a whole chain of circumstances. sam stein, it seems to be deflection and misdirection to try to take the attention off of russia and the possible collusion? >> i don't think it seems to be, i think it pretty much is. keep in mind this all started when he accused obama of wiretapping trump towers. we moved on where wiretapping was in quotes, not a legitimate use of the word, to unmasking intelligence reports. i think this is an alarming step
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forward in the election process. the fbi is investigating on this matter and they will be touching on this as well. should it be taken as an instruction from the president of the united states to the department of justice to think about charges in this sdmas it is a very vague threat. he plays very loose with the norms of washington dc, and this is all sort of from the more much 4th tweet, and if he could just say i was wrong with this. it's time for the "your business" entrepreneur of the week. daniella will never sell online. she doesn't want to process web orders. she wants to connect with customers at her store. using social media she entices people to come in and buy. watch "your business" sunday
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>> >> you can see the rose garden as we await the joint press conference shortly at the white house with president trump and king abdullah of jordan. still with me, sam stein of the huffington post, george will and ann guerin. george, we're talking about how unusual this white house is, and president trump, in his allegations to "the new york times" just now, against susan rice. >> this is an unusual white house, but his behavior is no longer unusual. go back to pre-candidate trump.
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he said in 2011, he sent his detectives to hawaii to investigate the birth certificate to prove that the current at that point was illegitimate. he said, you will be -- not should be, would be -- you will be amazed at what my detectives have found. nothing. now, the president this morning says, i will make myself clear later. "later" is always a day away. >> and ann, the impact on this is to change the conversation immediately. we're talking about this because -- i mean, we did the interview with susan rice, this is an attack on susan rice. obviously this is going to be picked up by republican allies on capitol hill and they're going to go after susan rice again. >> right. on a day when much of the world is focused on the chemical weapons attack in syria, u.n. review of that, and many other people in washington. but otherwise, be focused on the press conference he's about to have with the visiting jordanian
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king, enormous menu of business to accomplish there, plus the news about steve bannon. but instead, he throws us off course and away we go. >> and sam stein, nikki haley, in a very important forum, was standing with pictures of these victims in syria, the way we've seen gene kirkpatrick and madelyiline albright in past crises, and doing it with great dignity and precision. instead, we're talking about an allegation of the president of the united states against a former national security adviser. >> that's true. george was talking about him fabricating these scandals. this goes back to a march 4 tweet that by all accounts was false, whatever you want to call it. there was no wiretapping of trump tower. world events have a way of catching up to you.
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you can only deflect so much. and if a chemical attack happens in syria and there's no response, if your national security council gets shaken up and your top adviser leaves, people will absorb that news one way or the other. trump can try to change the script, move the ball a little bit, but at some point people will judge him on his presidency itself. he's going have to realize that soon. >> and if the chinese leader is coming, and the world is watching, george will, just very briefly, they're also absorbing these messages coming from the white house. >> mr. trump, rightly as a candidate, made much of the fact that barack obama drew a red line regarding chemical weapons and erased it. barack obama made much of the fact that he and putin agreed -- had got assad to agree to get rid of his chemical weapons, which he has not done. so mr. trump is continuous with
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the kind of demoralization of american policy regarding syria. remember, we spent $42 million training moderate syrian fighters, and produced 54 of them. so the multifaceted debacle continues. >> sad to say. we're going to take another quick break. stay with msnbc of special coverage. more right here coming up from the rose garden. this is andrea mitchell reports. when you're close to the people you love, does psoriasis ever get in the way of a touching moment? if you have moderate to severe psoriasis, you can embrace
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and that does it for us as
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we await president trump and the joint news conference with jordan's king abdullah just moments from now. brian williams picks up msnbc's special coverage. brian? >> andrea, thank you. as she's been saying, the scene is set at the white house, in the rose garden, on a spectacular spring day. you see the two podiums there. it's traditional, it's customary that these two leaders, in this case president trump and the king of jordan, will take two and two. two questions from the white house press corps, two questions from the visiting jordanian press corps. questions have become multiples in the modern era, so we'll see. but first, we want to begin with kristen welker who is on the north lawn of the white house. and that is because kristen, our colleagues at "the new york times" have just filed a report, the result of a conversation, an interview with president trump in the oval office, and


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