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tv   Hardball Weekend  MSNBC  April 8, 2017 2:00am-2:31am PDT

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to see how he responds. i hope none of it is by text. that does it for us tonight. we will see you again on monday. have an excellent weekend. exce. "msnbc live" is next. two strikes you're out. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. president trump has ordered to strike syria also struck at the heart of his america first approach to avoiding foreign entanglements, especially in the middle east. news tonight of a second strike. this one hits at the very trump people, those causing trouble in the white house itself. get ready for that second explosion. steve bannon, reince priebus or both at any moment.
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big winner, hawkish son-in-law, jared kushner and h.r. mcmaster. big loser, america first steve bannon. first those 60 tomahawk missiles trump sent flying last night were a direct target at the bromance with putin. syria's reported chemical weapon attack earlier this week. according to oechingss, last night's target was the same military airfield that was used to launch those deadly chemical weapons attack. u.s. officials tell nbc the strike destroyed aircraft, infrastructure, like fuel pumps. syria claims at least six people are dead. it all unfolded as president trump hosted the chinese president at the mar-a-lago club in palm beach. shortly after the missiles were launched, president trump gathered again with his national
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security team to be briefed in a makeshift situation room. roughly 30 minutes later, the president delivered his remarks on the strike, which he said served the national security interests of us. >> it is in the vital national security interest of the united states to prevent the spread and use of chemical dedly chemical weapons. >> largely positive with the support from germany, france, israel and the uk. russia was quick to condemn the strike. russia, itself, bears key responsibility for syria's use of chemical weapons in the first place. four years ago in a deal with the united states, the kremlin guaranteed, guaranteed that all chemical weapons would be removed from syria. they promised to get rid of those weapons, the russians. secretary of state rex tillerson said clearly russia has failed
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in its responsibility to deliver on that commitment from 2013. so either russia has been complicit or simply incompetent, he said, our secretary of state, in its ability to deliver on that agreement, close quote. special emergency session of the united nations security council nikki haley called out their president bashir al assad. >> it could be that russia is knowingly allowing chemical weapons to remain in syria. it could be that russia has been incompetent in its efforts to remove the chemical weapons or it could be that the assad regime is playing the russians for fools. the world is waiting for russia to reconsider its misplaced alliance with bashir assad. the united states will no longer wait for assad to use chemical weapons without any consequences. those days are over. >> that u.n. ambassador has been
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politically weaponized and is the star of the future. i'm joined by chief correspondent richard engel near the turkey/syria border right now. richard, where does this stand internationally, the whole picture if you can give it to us? >> let's start with the immediate aftermath of the strike. so far, as you said, it appears to be contained. syria doesn't seem like it is interested at all in retaliating militarily and there are hundreds of military troops in syria. there have been some condemnations from russia and syria, but barely muted with the syria government calling this foolish and russia sticking with its narrative that there were no chemical weapons used and that the u.s. couldn't get it alone and that this was illegal.
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but when russia is really angry, the world knows about it. russia seems to be able to move on with this. there's a meeting between russian president putin and secretary of state rex tillerson. for now it seems like it was a one-off, at least for now, it seems that russia is prepared to move on from this. >> we could have gone with flying planes over syria. you get hit with aaa fire, whatever, more skin in the game, more accuracy perhaps. in the case of these cruise missiles, is that a sign that we're really in retreat or we're on advance? what political signal does it give countries like north korea?
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>> i was told by a u.s. official that was very well briefed on this that it was a happy coincidence that it was during the meeting with the chinese president, that the u.s. will act with its military, will not waste time. and i think president trump was happy to show that at that time. in syria what the situation is right now remains unclear. is it now a policy to go after bashir al assad? it doesn't seem to be. to back the rebels to go after assad? that doesn't seem to be the case. it seems to be an attempt to respond to a specific incident to say we will not tolerate the
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use of egregious chemical weapons. there can be a case made this was in the u.s. national security interests because there are american troops in syria and it would benefit the united states, since there are troops there, to deter bashir al assad from using chemicalweapons. >> i think that's a crystal clear report. thank you, richard engel. both parties have praised the use of a limited strike. some have concerns over his apparent contradiction in policy. five days after secretary of state tillerson appeared to project a hands-off approach to syria. here is what he said last week. >> i think the status and the longer term status of president assad will be decided by the syrian people.
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>> now tillerson appears to have reversed himself as he told reporters today, quote, we will start a political process to resolve syria's future in terms of its governance structure and that ultimately, in our view, will lead to a resolution of bashir al assad's departure. that's a switch. joining me now, chris murphy. let me ask you, if you were asked last night, would you have approved of the president's action? >> i wouldn't have. you need congressional approval first. it is a proportional response in isolation. but this is much bigger and i don't believe this is ultimately the end. you're right. we do have troops inside syria. that means this might not be the final act against the syrian regime. if that's the case, i would have
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come to the congress first in large part because that's what the constitution demands. >> how long would it have taken approval? >> it would have taken days perhaps a week. maybe the strike would have been a little bit less effective. when it was said and done. the constitution doesn't give the power to the president to decide these questions unilaterally. this was a pinprediction strike. it kill aid couple of syrians, took out that equipment. that equipment would have still been able to be found a week from now. pinprediction strike doesn't have to happen immediately. >> using the old trick of the bad guys, to bring women and children somewhere into the bomb site.
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i don't think the syrians would have scattered, do you? we're going to try to hit somewhere in your country where there are no people at that poi point, would they have allowed that to happen? >> maybe they would have made it harder to hit this specific air field. but the importance of that air field is largely symbolic. we didn't go after the chemical weapons stores. we went after a handful of planes. we could have done that somewhere else. my worry is that ultimately we're talking about a much broader engagement. we're spending all this time talking about this air strike and we are largely blind to the fact that there are about 600 u.s. troops with no well-defined mission, with no exit plan that we may end up having to defend for a very, very, very long time.
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>> let's talk about policy as you wish. let's talk about tillerson, switching from five days ago hands off to we're going to get rid of assad. how do you read that, positively or negatively? >> well, it's head-spinning -- >> but it's different. so what do you make of the difference, of the change? >> so i think donald trump watched tv, and he saw -- >> are you with him on this? are you with him on this switch towards an interventionist mode right now, which is we're going to help dump this royal family of syria? >> absolutely not, right? this is a return to the kind of hubris that donald trump campaigned against, the idea that the united states can, you know, be the great power that ends up settling scores between tribes and sects inside the middle east. we cannot. we can help be part of the political process and lend humanitarian support. but the idea that we are going to be the ones that decide who controls syria just greatly overestimates our impact in that region. >> well, today senate majority leader, republican of course, mitch mcconnell was asked why he
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now supports president trump's decision when he opposed a similar proposal under president obama when obama did what you want him to do, senator, propose it to congress, and congress didn't act. here's mitch mcconnell. >> senator, you have opposed military intervention in syria in the past as recently as 2013. what makes last night different? >> let me tell you the difference. secretary kerry, i guess in order to reassure the left-leaning members of his own party, said it would sort of be like a pinprick. but this was a strike that was well planned, well executed, went right to the heart of the matter, which is using chemical weapons. so had i seen that kind of approach by president obama, i'm sure i would have signed up. >> do you believe that, senator murphy, what he just said? that he would have -- >> nope. >> it sounds to me like he was just covering himself here. >> yeah, that's cover. the fact of the matter is the obama administration made it pretty clear that this is exactly the kind of strike that they were going to carry out. >> what does that tell you, the fact that congress sat on its
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hands when the president you much preferred, and i did, too, of course, obama -- he followed the correct procedures of the constitution as you see it and got nothing. and he has been blamed ever since for not acting when assad crossed the red line. >> let me say this. there are legitimate differences. there's a difference between using chemical weapons once and using it twice, right? having done it a second time, that is reason for some people to change their opinion, but that's not what's going on here. what's happening here is that republicans didn't want to support a democratic president using military power in the middle east. they're willing to support a republican president. this is pure politics coming from, i think, most republicans. thank you senator murphy. steve bannon and reince priebus could get the ax. this is is "hardball."
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14 months after the death of justice antonin scalia, the court is back to nine members. neil gorsuch was confirm ed by
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vote of 54-45. three democrats, all up for re-election in red states, voted for gorsuch, west virginia's joe manchin, joe donnelly, and heidi heitkamp. we'll be right back.
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welcome back to "hardball." last night president trump's evolution from isolationist to interventionist was in stark display. let's watch. >> years of previous attempts at changing assad's behavior have all failed and failed very dramatically. tonight i call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in syria and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types. >> well, candidate trump came into office promising a dramatically different approach to assad and syria. >> we can't fight syria and
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assad, who is not a good guy, but we're backing people to fight assad. we have no idea. look at hillary clinton, what happened with libya. >> somehow syria and world war iii don't go along great to me. we can't be fighting assad, and when you're fighting assad, you're fighting russia. you're fighting a lot of different groups. but we can't be fighting everybody at one time. >> you can't fight them both. you got to pick your guy. you got to pick your guy. and i'll tell you who i'd pick. >> but she's trigger-happy, and she wants to start shooting wars in syria. what the hell are we doing with syria? i mean i've listened to what she says about syria. we'll end up in world war iii over syria with her, believe me. >> we'll end up in world war iii with hillary. anyway, hlry backs him on this. that's hays so ironic. the president's chief strategist, steve bannon and his
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son-in-law, i guess he's a bit of a hawk, jared kushner, are locked in an epic battle over which way to steer this president and the country. reports are heads are about to roll in the trump administration because the president is unhappy with the infighting among his top advisers and is determined to see it end. the white house pushed back on the assertions, of course, but according to the "new york times," both trump confidants are ashing ovepolicy. quote, mr. kushner's more inclined toward intervention in the middle east, while mr. bannon would prefer the united states remain as uncommitted as possible. those are starkly different points of view. "the new york times" or actually the new york magazine is reporting that steve bannon argued againsttriking syria because it did not advance the trump doctrine of america first. for more i'm joined by jery peters, reporter from "the new york times" and an msnbc contributor and the great eli stokols, now the great white house reporter. you are moving up there, aren't you, eli? you're moving up. let's talk about it.
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you first. let's talk about this. bannon is very clear. you can call him alt-right. he's basically a nationalist. he's america first. it's us. we're not getting involved in the middle east. no entanglements, no troops on the ground. we're staying out. the president of the united states talked just like that in the campaign. now the president goes in the same way i think hillary would have gone in. he was right. hillary's a bit of a hawk, and he was a bit of a hawk last night. >> well, the job changes you, right? it's easy to talk about these things on the campaign trail, and trump basically used the bannon point of view and that rhetoric on the campaign trail. but now in office you see him ceding so much control to his son-in-law, jared kushner. >> what's kushner's strength except blood, almost blood, married to the president's daughter? what's his strength over his president? >> i think he sort of doesn't get out over his skis. he keeps it very close to the vest. but he's sort of the power broker in the west wing. i think what you have with bannon, bannon didn't like this attack, didn't want to do it. but i don't think he spoke up all that strongly. he's pushed back on our questions to him about, you know, we hear that you didn't want to do this.
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he said, no, that's not true. >> of course they say that. >> but he doesn't have the juice in the administration right now to pick this fight. >> he was downgraded. he had his epilets off, you're not sitting in on the meetings, whereas kushner is right there at the big table all the time. >> i wouldn't overread too much into that because kushner was always having a seat at the table there in the cabinet room. bannon was usually in the shadows. >> wait a minute. bannon was wrong on this fight. jared kushner was in there with mcmaster who is the hero in the white house, that those guys won their way. >> bannon is a victim of two things. his own ambition and his ambitions outpacing trump's patience, and the disarray in the white house. he's a victim of that as well because without mike flynn, you don't have steve bannon on the national security council. you don't have the necessary reorganization that has to happen after mike flynn is fired. so then steve bannon comes off as a casualty of that. >> but he's being blamed for the disaster of mike flynn, those 24 days that he was the national security adviser. >> bannon is?
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>> yeah. >> who gets blamed for the crazy escapade of nunes being offered up little bits of documents, that midnight raid that everybody laughs at? bannon has something to do with that. >> they all deserve the blame because they're trying to reverse engineer an alibi. but your point about kushner going to iraq i think is important because what you see there with the joint chiefs, what you see there with mcmaster, they're cultivating someone that they know is very important. >> the chinese are doing the same thing. the chinese think kushner is the hot act right now. the guy they've got to get connected with. >> they absolutely do. they understand these family die nasty dynamics. they get it. >> let me ask you about corporate life, where trump comes from sort of. my limited experience with corporate life is if you're up for ceo and you're like 52 years old and the other guy 52 years old is up for it and the other guy gets it, you're gone because they don't want you around. can there be a kushner in the white house and a bannon? if bannon doesn't get to be the top adviser to the president on everything, does he need to go? >> what our reporting telling us
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is that a reorganization of some type is under consideration. it's not going to happen until after this chinese summit. maybe it happens over easter weekend when they hope no one is paying attention. >> that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. up next "your business" with j.j. ramberg. dad likare you going to weeks be using my car? until my insurance claim goes through this is our car. mr. parker, my parents have allstate. they have this claim satisfaction guarantee. really? their claim experience is fast, fair, and hassle-free or they get their, like, money back. saraaah!!! come to prom with me!!
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good morning. coming up on msnbc's "your business," women business owners meet with the president and vice president to discuss the challenges they face. after hearing no from every venture capitalist they pitched their company to, these co-founders did it alone and have a $25 million business. we'll show you how these virginia based entrepreneurs juggle five companies in one location. inspiration and information for america's resilient business owners coming up next on "your business." will "your business" be


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