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tv   MSNBC Live With Velshi and Ruhle  MSNBC  August 8, 2017 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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you left her speechless. hallie jackson, we'll catch up with her later. >> i'm ali velshi. >> it is tuesday august 8 kt, let's get started. >> a new poll out just last night shows that the vast majority of americans do not trust the information they are getting out of the white house. >> the poll shows 59% of republicans approve strongly. that is down 14 points since february. >> one that concerns me the most is the level of support and intensity among his base. it seems to be falling a great deal. >> if i were a political consultant looking at the candidate with these kind of numbers, i'd have him on 24 hour suicide watch. >> the trump administration weighing options with north korea after the harsh response to new u.n. sanctions. >> president trump is waking up with a serious foreign policy showdown on his hands. >> he's prepared to do whatever it takes.
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all options are on the table. >> it has to be atax -- >> on the rich! >> from sea to shining sea is the most ineffective way to do border security. >> i believe we have to build a wall in portions -- and then -- so, hold on. so hold on -- >> a new investigation aimed at taxpayer money spent at trump businesses. >> government reform committee just made the announcement moments ago the democrats say this follows reports taxpayer dollars flowing to the president's businesses. the man who knows this best in the house is nbc news national security reporter ken dell lain
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yan joining us now. >> this is an effort by house democrats to send a letter to every federal agency seeking information that any business that the federal government is doing with the trump organization. this comes in the wake of a series of reports, for example, in february the state department spent $15,000 to rent rooms at the trump property in vancouver where the family was hosting a grand opening. this comes amid a climate where the head of the office of government ethics resigned and said last month that the united states has become an ethics laughing stock because of the president's conduct and unwillingness to deal with these conflicts of interest. and you know, the president would respond he's exempt from the federal conflict of interest law and b, he's super wealthy and not paying attention to what the federal government is doing. that's n that's not material to his bottom line. ethics experts say this is creating a climate and sending a
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message that we're not paying attention to this stuff. this stuff used to matter. there's the paerngs of impropriety if the federal federal government is acting to enrich the president of the united states and raises questions whether individual employees faced with these decisions are making a decision to do business with a trump property or not and what pressure they are facing. >> ken, thanks very much in washington. >> this morning president trump is marking his 201st day in office as he continues his working vacation at his golf resort in bed minister, new jersey. he took new aim at north korea, a very serious situation tweeting after many years of failure countries are coming together to finally address the dangers posed by north korea. we must be tough and decisive. >> that after north korea had tough new sanctions imposed, it says it will never give up the intercontinental ballistic missile programs.
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joining us live from the white house deputy assistant sebastian gorca. >> greetings. >> china -- getting china and russia to gri agree to the sancs was a success. this is now the fifth or sixth or seventh round kpening on how you count them and generally none of them served to stop north korea. kim jong-un boosting about being able to hit u.s. cities and long been able to strike seoul and troops in south korea with traditional weapons. what makes you think this is going to do it? have you thought out the dangers of a military escalation with north korea? >> we, we have, why is this got a chance? because this is the toughest sanctions package against north korea in u.n. history. the fact that through the good offices of secretary tillerson and ambassador haley and the president, we not only have the ten temporary rotating members
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of the security council agree but we have the five permanent members, including russia and china agree means that they are completely without -- north korea and pyongyang have painted themselves into a corner and the only option they have now if they are rational is deescalate. >> let's talk more broadly about terror strategy, which is something you're directing for the wougs. most of the extremist inspired attacks on the west have little or no material or operational connection to isis. let's call it isis 1.0 versus 2.0. the new attacks seem to be inspirational i am employee ploring attacks to use whatever they have at their disposal and a lot of people say it won't wane. >> it jettisons the political correctness of the last eight years and call the enemy for what it is, we don't say they
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are unemployed people and need more jobs. >> how does that stop an attack? >> may i answer your question without being interrupted? >> go ahead. you cannot solve a problem unless you're allowed to talk truthfully about it. we call it radical islamic terrorism. this is the crucial part, we're not here to invade other people's countries and occupy them. he thinks that's un-american. we are here to help those nations that share our values and interests and help them fight the fight, whether it's the iraqis and kurd s in iraq or egyptians in the sanaa or european allies that deal with this severe threat to their own countries. >> i don't understand how calling it by its name helps stock the attacks in paris or belgium -- >> if you god forbid caught cancer and the hospital was
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forbidden from calling it cancer and said you have the flu, go take aspirins, would you have the right treatment? >> no, but there's still no cure for cancer -- >> have you not heard of chemo? >> i have and it can still -- cancer can still kill you -- >> but cancer -- distant matter what you call it. if i call it the flu, what's going to happen? >> there must be a better response to that. i asked a straight forward question. >> and i gave you a simple answer, if you misdiagnose misdiagnose anything. >> right. >> a serious disease or international geopolitical threat you'll never solve it in an administration that says it's economic and these people are disenfranchise. >> let's agree -- >> hold on a second. >> it's about people -- have ideology that is evil and has to be destroyed. >> let's agree -- the question
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i'm asking is about what do you do with people committing terror attacks inspired by as opposed to operationally guided by isis. the fact you destroy isis doesn't have an impact on western attackers, what do you do to fight that? >> to get the lone wolf loon ticks? >> there's no such thing as a lone wolf. that is a phrase invented by the last administration to make americans stupid. there's never been a serious atash -- >> no, sir. >> never been a serious attack or serious plot that was unconnected from isis or al qaeda, at least through the ideology and ttp, tactics and training and techniques and procedures that they supply through the internet. never happened. it is bogus, this is an international global threat. not only to destroy organizations like isis which they are doing, they will be annihilated. but delegitimize the ideology so
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it will be become as heinous and reject as fashism and naziism is today. it has to be globally rejected like the swastika and we'll work with muslim partners to overtly and covertly delegitimize their message. that's the definition of victory. when people don't want to become jihadis, that's when we'll have one. >> let's talk about different kind of partners, the mosque in minneapolis that was attacked. we heard the governor calling it a terror attack over the weekend. will the white house be commenting on it? >> when we have some kind of finalized investigation, absolutely, so, there's a great rule, all initial reports are false, you have to check them and find out who the perpetrators are. we have a series of crimes committed by right wing individuals in the last six months to turned out to be prop pull gated by the left.
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let's allow the local authorities to provide their assessment and then the white house will make its comments. >> but the president commented on an attack that toopgs in london a couple of months ago before we had additional information confirming exactly what happened. >> well, sometimes an attack is unequivocally clear for what it is, when someone shouts as they are stabbing a police officer, it's pretty clear it's not a case of a mafia robbing the bank. >> you think throwing a bomb into the mosque -- >> the question of who does it, when people fake hate crimes in the last six months with some regularity, it's wise to find out what's going on before you make statements when they could turn out to be not who you are expecting. >> you don't have to make a statement about who did it but you can make a public statement denouncing how terrible it would be to attack a building of worship. >> that's fine, i'm sure the
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president will do that. >> why do you think he hasn't? not like in the last 48 hours the president hasn't tweeted. he tweeted about his base, about a u.s. senator. he's tweeted by the failing "new york times" and made no mention of the mosque and no mention of the three fallen marines who lost their lives off the coast of australia. >> i'm not going to give social media advice to a man who won the election in large part thanks to his understanding of social media and to destroy the fake news industrial complex about who will win the last election. hold your horses and count to ten and the president will do what he deems fit. >> then, sir, we are in agreement. if the president would like to tweeting, i welcome him to do just that. >> excellent. >> sebastian g toorka. >> >> my pleasure. >> eric prince is a former navy
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s.e.a.l. officer best known for founding blackwater. does his plan have any hope of working? we're keeping an eye on markets throughout the hour. last i checked it was down. now it's up. i want ali to answer to me, a president who's got a stock market running like this, do the math. why is the approval rating he's got so -- >> not going the same direction. >> we'll see you on the other side of this break. y at mom, in. as chief everything officer, lynne smith, gets ready to launch the school year. binders, done. super-cool notebooks, done. laptop setup, done. that's mom taking care of business. but who takes care of mom? office depot / office max. during our "taking care of back to school" sale, order online and pick up in-store in just one hour. and she's off... to another important business meeting. office depot / office max. ♪ taking care of business finding the best hotel price is whoooo. now a safe bet. because tripadvisor searches...
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america's longest running war has continued to cost the country lives and quite a lot of money. as the pentagon prepares to send dozens more marines into afghanistan days after the remains of most recent casualties in the conflict were returned home, 2,263 americans have died there since 2001. over 20,000 wounded. so many americans still asking what are we doing there? the pentagon has spent more than $714 billion to date on just military costs fighting in afghanistan. >> let's talk about solutions to this here. former navy s.e.a.l. and blackwater ceo, eric prince will join us in just a moment but laid out his vision for a new strategy in a wall street journal op-ed. his plan includes appointing a federal official with broad powers to conduct the war and reducing troop numbers in afghanistan by training local
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units under private military leadership. maintaining a small special operations presence in the country, also talks about lowering the cost of the conflict that stephanie just talked about by spending an estimated $10 billion a year on private military units rather than the $45 billion that the fund -- the conflict is expected to cost through the end of 2017. it also talks about containing terror groups and this is key, choking off the trade they use for funding their operations, that being the ultimate goal of this. our next guest is eric prince, he is the executive drektder and chairman of frontier services group, former ceo of military contractor blackwater. he served as a navy s.e.a.l. and brother of the education secretary, betsy devos. great to see you. >> thanks for having me. >> let's talk about this plan. nothing has worked in
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afghanistan in the last decades and last hundreds of years and you could go back more than 1,000 years, afghanistan seems to be a very tough place to mana manage. what about your approach will work better? >> let me clarify the pricing difference, 10 billion, that's not just on private military efforts that would include the continued support of the afghan army, which the pentagon is spending $4 billion on plus billions more for the socom guys. >> so that isn't a total cost? >> correct. >> you're saying it's $10 billion versus a bigger number than $45 billion. >> correct and the pentagon has 52 approved for next year. >> we like the money saving but my question is the effectiveness, nothing has worked there. >> least, right or center, they want to say how do we end this thing in afghanistan.
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people say advice, not as a colonial figure, it's about unity of command. you've had 17 commanders in those years and different ambassadors and chiefs, you have you have to one person in charge of policy spending and rules of engagement since they are link ed. >> view that as a bankruptcy trustee that can scale away the bad spending we have and scale down. what is the goal in america for afghanistan? do deny terror sanctuary, that's it? if we strengthen the the afghan forces from the battalion level up, the u.s. isn't doing anything below the core level. but the battalion is 600 people. by putting in a structural support mechanism of those that live with and train with and operate with the afghan unit, by
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even the u.n. definition, would not be mercenaries, those would be contracted people that can go in for a few months and home and go back into the same unit again and again. >> let me ask you questions, afghanistan and pakistan don't work together pakistan is not interested in having america's choosing involved in it. you're not interested in nation building nor is president trump but the fact is you can't just be in a country that's not your country? >> afghans can say get out, we don't want an occupy here. >> of course but the afghans -- here's the thing, the president could pull everybody out, united states leaves. i don't agree with that necessarily because i think you'll have the taliban or isis battle flag flying over the u.s. embassy in six months or a year. that becomes a rallying cry for every jihadi want to be around the world. if they feel they beat
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america -- >> they've got space in yemen, i agree with you. not looking to do that. >> that's one consideration. if we keep doing what we're doing, like secretary matis said we're not winning in afghanistan. this is a scaled down rational approach that puts unrelenting pressure on the terrorist groups and strengthens afghans doing it. doesn't require american soldiers driving around getting killed like last week. >> is $10 billion the cost to simply keep a lid on it? when you say a bankruptcy trustee, that makes sense but where is the turnaround guy and where's the strategy that she's we're going to end it? >> it's not $10 billion a year forever? >> certainly not. for the 16 years we've been there, that's not a mining law or energy law. there's a trillion dollars of wealth but we don't have the legal structure -- someone wants to say i'm going to spend $100 million and build this mine, you can't do that legally.
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the taliban ought to do that. they are making money off the illegal mining gold, opium and hash. we haven't legalized capitalism really. >> is the white house signing on to your plan in any way? have they given you an answer? if i was a member of the military, one of the dozens being sent into afghanistan next i would say what's the game plan here. >> the president has heretofore rejected the pentagon's approach for more money and more troops, kind of the same approach the last 16 years. >> have you seen what you are suggesting work somewhere else? sure, i mentioned in the article and say the east india company, not that i'm advocating a colonization of afghanistan, farther from it. we want to prevent terror sanctuary and leave. when they operated for 200 plus years they deployed with that model. one mentor to 20 local troops --
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>> i'll tell you as somebody of indian ancestry, it was a different situation versus a small armed force. never more than 500 brits in india any time. the afghans have never been quelled by anybody, the russians, americans, brits, alexander the great, has never ever great. >> correct. i agree. we're not looking to make jefferson yan democracy or anything elimination but put training wheels to continue to operate and not fail. they had a bad week, entire company annihilated on tuesday. >> is there a danger this becomes the ability for the administration to now put this aside and put it in a little box as a commercial venture that blackwater is dealing with or your company is dealing with -- not blackwater anymore and not be on the books as a continuing conflict that america has not been able to solve? >> look, from a spending side,
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45 billion, versus $10 billion, that's good math. >> if there's a solution. you're offering what sounds like a really big discount for no potential end to the problem. >> here's the difference though. remember, right after 9/11, you had a few hundred -- 100 cia officers in a couple hundred special forces officers backed by air power devastate the taliban in three months. they don't stand 10 feet tall not widely supported in the country. they can be beaten and pursued. the more we've gone to a conventional military approach when bagram became a absoluting zone, progress is largely stopped and drifting backwards in a conventional war ever since. if we go back what's worked, the special forces operations were shut down why? because cop vengs generallies t too risky for them. >> i'm not saying you shouldn't
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and certainly an undertaking like this should never be a community service but for you a $10 billion spend, financially how much would you stand to benefit? where are you a stake holder in this? >> i don't know. i mean, i priced out. i naed that op-ed, come up with what the math would look like, i don't know exactly what they'd hire -- i doubt very much they would say let's do this -- >> you would be the contractor, right? >> i don't know. again. >> if you presented this and the white house said yes, and you won said contract, what would that mean for you financially? >> it depends, it would probably put all of the risk performance on us on a place where aircraft were shut down and men were -- our own men were killed.
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this is not -- there's easier ways to make money. >> back in iraq, that was a huge issue in the early 2000s, contractors all over the place seem to be making lots of money operating in iraq and place was getting worse by the day. >> again, in that case the contractors were there for security job or to logistics or mail or food service or base support. in this aspect they would be doing it would be attached to the afghan army, teaching learning training them and held under the ucmj and tried if there is an evil act by one of the guys accountable and incarcerated in the united states. than trying to do back in federal court system back in the united states. >> i don't want to be unfair, one of your former partners al clark when he quit said the reasons he quit was because you wanted it to be a playground for your rich friends. that is the concern here.
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are you going to profit? >> come on, that was from 1997. >> doesn't matter what you said it. >> okay, yeah, sure i started blackwater after i got out of the s.e.a.l. teams because my father died and wife had cancer. i built a place to stay connected to the s.e.a.l. teams and a lot of people thought it was a rich kids play grounds. clearly it was not. we answered the call after the cole was attacked and columbine high school, trained s.w.a.t. officers and answered the call after nefrn and said yes when the government needed us to do anything -- >> we don't argue good profitability, we argue about a good solution. when you think about afghanistan, 2,263 americans killed since 2001, 20,000 wounded since 2001. you said they had a tough week last week, there was talk from the president he's angry with how his generals are doing -- >> wants to replace nicoleson. >> what do you think of the president's take? maybe they need to fire
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generals, would you agree? >> look, the president is frustrated because the pentagon has only come with the more troop, more money approach, the definition of insanity, if you do the same thing, expect a different results, what good is going to come from it? >> you put a suggestion on the table. thanks for joining us on the new afghanistan plan. we'll get to more reaction to this latest afghanistan plan and talk with our msnbc military analyst general barry mccaffrey after this break. hey! this is lloyd. to prove to you that the better choice for him is aleve. he's agreed to give it up. ok, but i have 30 acres to cover by sundown. we'll be with him all day as he goes back to taking tylenol. yeah, i was ok, but after lunch my knee started hurting again so... more pills. yep... another pill stop. can i get my aleve back yet?
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welcome back to "velshi & ruhle." >> a few minutes ago we spoke with formal navy s.e.a.l.erik prince about his plan for afghanistan. >> you have to have one person in charge of all u.s. government policy spending and rules of engagement since they are linked. we haven't had that. view that person almost as a bankruptcy trustee that can scale away the bad decision-making and bad spending that we have and scale down.
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what is the goal for america in afghanistan? to deny terror sanctuary, that's it. >> let's bring in nbc news military analyst and retired four star army general barry mccaffrey. >> and just said, barry mccaffrey is going to say this is the worst plan he's ever heard of and we should spend billions more and put more troops in afghanistan. >> he's a very intelligent and impressive guy, no question about it. this is not a strategy, it's what we call a national security policy and ninen pop idea. petraeus, mcchrystal, mcmaster with the ph.d. we're not going to out of our 2.2 million person department of defense hand over to private contractors the use of lethal force. we're not going to recruit special aging commandos from the
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international community, have them employees of the afghan government, have them responding to u.n. direction, what, handing over $10 billion to the afghan government? any, way, none of this will happen. erik prince won't run his own intelligence service. you can't train at the battalion level unless you have a structure supporting you. people will get killed for $120,000. they will get killed for a bronze star with valor. so none this will happen. >> erik tries to make the argume argument, with all of the lives lost and no clear strategy or one that works in afghanistan, we need something different. it's as though he implies that hr mcmaster or other leads in the forces, it's an ego hit to him, they couldn't adopt the idea because they are simply too proud. is there any weight to that
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argument? >> no. i think it's ridiculous. look, at the end of the day there is a problem in afghanistan, we're trying to create a centralized federal government and group of warring tribes essentially the pashtun against the rest of them. there isn't going to be a win in afghanistan. the question is do we sit in there and try to prevent it from going down the tubes and become a terrorist haven or do we withdraw? and i think you know, to be blunt, no political system has been willing to step forward and make a dramatic move in either direction. right now it is looking very serious on the ground, the afghan army and police are coming apart. the centralized government is corrupt and incompetent. but again, we're not going to hire a bunch of aging commandos and stick them in a battalion level and see it improve.
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>> the question, general, is erik says we're not in the business of nation building and in the business of getting regimes out and not good at the second half. is afghanistan going to solve itself if we don't get more involved or get better at nation building in afghanistan so the american presidents can one day be re -- presence can one day be removed. >> we're there for 25 years with the current approach, that is one strategy to adopt. the other one is come out, the other one is go back in with more definitive force. look, afghanistan is not japan, it's not germany. they are not heterogenous under lying political control system and culture. it's diverse populations, it's a mess, not going to change. certainly not going to change with a $10 billion contract trying to replace these brave marines and special forces
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soldiers and ranger regiment on the ground now. i think this is a diversion from a serious discussion of what should we do? american people do not support major reintervention. that's clear to me. and it's also clear to me that the existing solution on the ground won't create a centralized state under the rule of law. so we're in a dilemma. >> general, good to talk to you, thanks very much for being with us. barry mccaffrey. >> the general says something we need to say every day, we should thank our armed forces in places every day like afghanistan. when he was talking about the general -- >> and for a long time. >> more than half of his life there. put that in perspective. >> many of us when something isn't going our way or according to plan we'll stop doing it. the military and those service members have never stopped doing it in afghanistan in the face of all of this criticism, they go out and put their lives online every day. this is worth remembering. >> and we appreciate it.
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next, lawmakers meeting voters face to face in town halls across the country. we'll have highlights from the heated moments on health care and taxes.
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mike and i are both veterans, both served in the navy. i do outrank my husband, not just being in the military, but at home. she thinks she's the boss. she only had me by one grade. we bought our first home together in 2010. his family had used another insurance product but i was like well i've had usaa for a while, why don't we call and check the rates? it was an instant savings and i should've changed a long time ago. there's no point in looking elsewhere really. we're the tenneys and we're usaa members for life. usaa. get your insurance quote today. a warm welcome back to "velshi & ruhle." the president is holding what he's calling a major briefing at the golf club in new jersey.
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last week the white house commission suggested the president declare a national emergency. >> warm to you, not to you, ali makes it freezing in here. after stopping in thailand urging u.s. allies to take a tougher stance against north korea. pushing thai lieders to crack down north decrkorean front -- >> and turn it up in here. >> and take my life. >> that's yours? >> that's stephanie. >> go ahead. >> lawmakers are back in the home district for the first august recess but the welcome mat isn't out for many of them. >> in the latest series of town hall metermeterings, they are g an earful after health care repeal to obama left the government struggling to focus on the next item on the agenda
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which is tax reform. >> i'll vote to continue to work to repeal and replace the affordable care act -- and increase the quality of care. >> the most talked about thing in the last two weeks is actually been a proposal that lindsey graham has been working on and that is with granting medicaid and obamacare subsidies, we'll get into that later. >> i'm with stephanie, if they are out there and talking to their constituents, that's a beginning. what's the reception been like generally? >> talk about not getting a warm welcome, right? many of the lawmakers facing the music in their district. you got a little taste of what is on constituent's top of mind. we've heard some questions about immigration, the environment, veterans affairs. mostly people are on health care, health care, we've seen them venting at the town halls
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and of course with republican lawmakers people are holding them accountable at the failure to fix the health care system. today we're monitoring two republican lawmakers, carter in georgia as well as will herd in the state of texas. buddy carter is holding nine town halls today. the first one just wrapped up and i want to play sound for you, two questions that came up, not reaching across the aisle and exchange you might remember, let's play the sound from the town hall. >> will you support stabilizing the marketplace and bipartisan legislation that will appropriate those funds if the president continues to just say obamacare is imploding and then failed to support it. >> >> i'm not one who likes to throw good money after bad. i think it needs to be repealed and replaced and start over from scratch. that's my personal feeling. we're going to have a transition period. we're not going to pull the rug out from underneath anyone.
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>> your response was you were going to snatch [ bleep ] you're representing everybody from the first district. if i said up here today, everybody should punch buddy carter in the gut, these fine gentlemen would put me in handcuffs. do you regret that or say it differently? >> i might not use the last word. but let me explain that statement to you and refute what you interpreted and the urban dictionary interprets it to be. when it was brought up in my family, it meant get your act together. >> that was one of nine for buddy carter. we'll monitor herd's town hall happening right now on facebook live and a dozen or so holding town halls across the country. we'll flag you if anything comes up or any of your interviews -- >> i'm glad he cleared that up because when he said it on air, i never heard that expression --
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i didn't know whether he said a bad thing on tv or not. apparently other people heard the expression and for a little while it was trending -- >> can i say one thing before you go? >> i want to talk about all of the twitter feedback we're getting in the last ten minutes about you and i sitting do you know with erik prince and gorka, it's important to hear what the white house has to say. it doesn't matter how ali and i feel about sebastian gorka personally. the person says greetings, does it make me feel great? it's irrelevant. this is our white house as a country and this is the representative the white house is putting forward. >> we don't choose that. >> if you don't want to hear what he or she has to say, that is a bigger problem. don't you want to know what the white house message is? >> you saved me a lot of at which time twitter responses -- >> stand by, everyone, we're taking a look at the latest
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capitol hill investigation into the trump organization. think about this, the latest investigation. not the one and only, but the latest. we'll speak with ben cardin. up. it's being in motion. in body, in spirit, in the now. boost® high protein it's intelligent nutrition with 15 grams of protein and 26 vitamins and minerals. for when you need a little extra. boost® the number one high protein complete nutritional drink. be up for it at where instead of payinging a befor middlemen,em. we work directly with family farms to deliver higher quality ingredients
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"velshi & ruhle." joining us is ben cardin of maryland, a member of the senate foreign relations committee and the finance committee. senator, good to see you. we have been having a conversation with eric prince, formerly of blackwater who wrote this op-ed of how he wants to privatize the war in afghanistan. sounds like the president's intrigued by it, open to it at least. we spoke to general barry mccaffrey who said it is an anyoni nimcompoop plan. the losses are heavy and the costs are high. to the extent he's introducing a new idea, what are your thoughts? >> well, first, good to be with you. i think using private contractors makes no sense whatsoever. this is a military function and it needs to have the accountability of u.s. military control. so i am very much opposed to using private contractors to do what our military should be doing.
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but i do want to underscore, we don't really have an arctticulad policy from the trump administration. they have been in the office for almost seven months. this war has been going on for 16 years and we don't have an articulated strategy for our role in afghanistan, what are we trying to accomplish. clearly we want to stop afghanistan from being a safe haven for terrorists. but what should the u.s. role be in accomplishing that goal? the administration really hasn't articulated that. >> well, it is not like things have been going right. don't we need a new strategy? and i'm certainly not advocating for what eric prince is selling. >> well, we clearly need to know how we can accomplish our objectives. i don't think anyone wants to see american troops stationed in afghanistan or doing the actual fighting. we also want to have a functioning national government. in afghanistan, that's challenging knowing how the tribal authorities work. so the question is, what is our ultimate objective and how can we accomplish that and how can we prevent afghanistan from
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becoming a haven for terrorist organizations. so that's what we need to hear from the administration, they need to do that in open transparent way and how is our military fit into accomplishing those goals. they really haven't articulated that. >> president trump did articulate during the campaign that he doesn't think his world view involves the u.s. as being involved in nation building activities. when you look at afghanistan or look at libya or syria or iraq or yemen or a lot of places, in fact, that is part two of the need in these countries. one is to eliminate the terrorist threat, and these have to be operating, functioning countries. >> well, there is a common thread in many countries. one is that there is no u.s. military victory from the point of view of long-term peace. secondly, you need a government that can represent a diverse population. it has to have the authority to be able to give the confidence to people that they're being
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properly represented. and it has to have the security force that can make sure that there is security in all part of the country. that's been a common thread we have seen in afghanistan and other can countries in the region. so, yes, we have not been successful in carrying this out. that is clear. but 16 years is a long time. candidate trump said he would have an answer. we haven't heard his answer. >> let's change topics. tell us more about this letter, you and other democrats have released sort of questioning, saying, let's take a closer look at some expenses to put it on -- in a basic way, around where the government, where the government is spending taxpayer dollars, paying trump organization. >> well, there is no question that president trump has set this up for conflicts. only president that failed to divest himself of his business interests. that this is a standard practice for incoming presidents. he didn't do this. now there is concern of conflicts. we have agencies that are spending significant money in business ventures that are owned
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by mr. trump. we have -- >> but, sir. >> circumstances -- >> where is there a legal issue? president trump and his family love to smile ear to ear and say i can't be conflicted. >> well, i think there is a legal issue. there is some, if you're dealing with foreign countries, under the constitution. i think there is a legal issue. but more importantly than that, there is the public confidence that the president is making decisions based upon our national interests, or business interests. that's something the president should be very concerned about. >> senator, good to talk to you as always. thank you for being with us. >> good to be with you. >> senator ben cardin of maryland. coming up -- >> do the right thing, never had multiple choice answers until now. do the right thing. i thought it was black and white. >> president trump tweeted he'll hold a major briefing on the opioid crisis today. watch that live here at 3:00 p.m. eastern here on msnbc. i'll be here for that. >> he'll be at his golf club in new jersey. and so far out of 201 days in office, he spent 63 of them at trump properties.
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greetings. >> that's it for us. >> thanks for watching this hour of msnbc live. i'm ali velshi. >> i'm stephanie ruhle. right now, "andrea mitchell reports." >> right now on "andrea mitchell reports," the bully pulpit.
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donald trump firing off tweets from his new jersey golf course against a senator who says the president is trying to discredit anyone working on the russia investigation. >> i cannot explain the president's obsession with me or any of the other targets of his tweets. he used the same tactics in seeking to bully and intimidate the special counsel bob mueller by drawing red lines and implying conflicts of interest. >> sending a different kind of message, u.n. ambassador nikki haley says all options are on the table. >> what we did was we tried to ask him what is your endgame. now that we're doing this what is your endgame. now we have to zrid if decide, strikes the united states, is that something we can win. >> a google engineer is trouble for trying to explain the silicon

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