tv MSNBC Live With Hallie Jackson MSNBC August 10, 2017 7:00am-8:00am PDT
much. love that all-laid all-ladies p. today, all eyes on asia. now out with this specific plan to fire ballistic missile s nea guam, china now jumping in, telling the u.s. to stand down. the pentagon doing the opposite. this morning, we've got exclusive nbc news reporting on the military's preemptive strike plan, which involves these b-1 bombers, already on practice runs, waiting for the order from president trump. and the president this morning is issuing a little friendly fire of his own. what he's saying about mitch mcconnell and why it might and probably will come back to haunt him with the republican majority leader's most recent chief of staff here to give us some insight. we have a big show today, with our team set up here in the u.s. and all around the world. we're starting with nbc's miguel almaguer, who's made his way to guam. he's between the capital and the u.s. air force base there. and miguel, small island, big problem. >> reporter: hey, hallie, north korea's military is really
upping the ante, saying they hope to have a plan in place by the middle of this month to attack this region, if their military leaders accept it. of course, many here on guam, 160,000 american citizens are worried about that news, but they also say they have heard threats like that before. this island is home to a strong military presence, some 600,000 troops on the ground. there is, of course, bombers in this region. there is a nuclear submarine in this region, and a missile defense system that is poised to protect this island, but of course, this rhetoric is very jarring for many that live here. the governor has urged everyone here to stay calm, saying he is in talks with the white house and that the island's safety is, of course, a top priority for the u.s. hallie, back to you? >> miguel almaguer reporting from guam. and in seoul, nbc's bill neely who is just south of that border with north korea. so, bill, we're talking about more of these tensions, more anxiety here at home. but what about this plan from north korea?
what are they saying and what's the mood like there? >> reporter: yeah, good morning, hallie. well, there was a regular meeting of south korea's national security council this morning, but of course, nothing is regular or normal here. they are taking all of these threats very seriously, indeed, because they have to. we're 35 miles from the north korean border here. this city could be annihilated within about a minute if north korea decided to fire off the 10,000 artillery tubes that it has on that border, just 35 miles from here. no readout from that meeting, but from the south korean president, a clear message to his military. he said we need to strengthen our defenses straight away. in fact, he talked about a rebirth of south korea's military. also, from the military, another statement today from south korea to north korea, saying if north korea commits provocations, despite our warnings, it will face a strong response from the
u.s./south korea alliance. and of course, 30,000 u.s. troops here, south korea under the nuclear umbrella of america. and the two countries, of course, conducting regular joint exercises, the next of which is later this month. nor north korea, those exercises are a provocation. and of course, we heard yet another provocative statement yesterday, from north korea, calling donald trump's threat just a load of nonsense. and saying only absolute force can work on him. hallie, the one thing that i took from the last 24 hours is, you know, we've heard fiery statements and rhetoric from pyongyang for so many years, but this threat to guam is so specific, about the timing, about the trajectory, about the number of missiles, talking about four missiles, naming the missiles, saying that they would hit 20 miles into the ocean, off guam. you know, that kind of
specificity is really extraordinary. either north korea is in some way bluffing or they will carry this out. they're talking about the plan being ready by mid-august and then it's going to be put to kim jong-un. one final point, hallie, which is extraordinary, amid all this talk, there is no talk here from any american ambassador. president trump has still not nominated anyone to be ambassador in seoul. so the american point of view, someone who might tell the south kor koreaens which voice in washington really does speak for the united states, there is no american voice here. quite extraordinary. hallie? >> bill neely with some excellent points. and of course, the voice who speaks for the united states is with kelly o'donnell in new jersey, in bedminster. kelly's there in bridgewater. kelly, the president is the one whose words will count the most when it comes to our allies here. we know that the national security adviser, h.r. mcmaster, is making the trek over to
bedminster today. can you walk us through this meeting and what we expect to see over the next 24 hours as this crisis continues to develop? >> reporter: well, good to be with you, hallie. i didn't have to travel as far as our colleagues, but it feels like we're right in the center of it here. h.r. mcmaster is plann ened to arrive here, so it's not a specific response to the heated challenges between the united states and north korea. that's important to note. there have been other senior staffers who have been with the president throughout this. but his role is really to give the president guidance, strategy, options to talk things through. the national security adviser is also gathering intel, if you will, from other parts of the u.s. government, from allies, that he can bring to the president to try to evaluate next steps. also important, that the vice president will be here today, as well. they're going to have lunch, and we expect that there'll be, at least, a chance to see them interacting. perhaps the president will want to make some additional comments.
we'll have to find out if these are ad libbed, or if there's more plan and thought given to what he wants to do in terms of tone sp tone. so the 36-hole summit, if you will, that's how many holes are on the president's golf course, we expect that there will be real opportunity to connect over this. and perhaps to hear some of the feedback that has been critical of the president's tone, but at the same time, also many in the government saying that the president sent the right signal in terms of being forceful, even if the language is inflammatory and worrisome to many. hallie? >> reporter: kelly o'donnell there, live for us in bridgewater, just down the road from bedminster. as she mentioned, lots to discuss with the president's plans today. we've also been talking about that new reporting that we have here at nbc on how the u.s. would respond if attacked by north korea. for that, i want to bring in nbc news senior legal and investigative correspondent, cynthia mcfadden. along with our panel, amber phillips and jim vandehei. guys, thank you for being here.
and sicynthia, i want to start with you, walk us through this new reporting. what does this plan look like and what is the timing for it? >> first off, this is not necessarily a response to an attack, this would be a preemptive strike. what nbc news has discovered through a variety of sources of very high-level, military and intelligence sources, is that the pentagon has prepared a specific strike plan, should the administration -- should the president order up military force. now, i can tell you a little bit about the details. the key to the plan, up-to-the-is the b-1 bomber, which are stationed in guam. there are six of them stationed there. they fly in pairs. the planes are not nuclear capable, which is significant. the payload, however, could include something very important. the payload can include a thing called the jazzum-er, which is a highly sophisticated missile system that can fire at its
target from 500 miles away. which means in this intense, the b-1 could take out targets within north korea without ever penetrating the air space of the south. so, all of that put together, they have been actively training for this. they have stepped up their training, there have been 11 training sessions in just -- just since the end of may, including one, this past monday. and the target, two dozen north korean launch sites affiliated with the icbm program. >> cynthia with that new reporting. jim and amber, hearing cynthia talk about this, what strikes you about some of this? >> well, i think there's a lot of hyperventilating. some of it is warranted, some of it is not warranted. if you think about the north koreans, they do two things. they do lunacy and bellicosity. and those are the two things we continue to see from them. what's different is you certainly see a different level of rhetoric from donald trump. to me, the most interesting thing was a story that i thought
got not enough appreciation, which was, their success in getting the u.n. to actually put really series sanctions on north korea, to get the chinese, the russians to do that, president obama couldn't do that. so that's a whole new level of pressure that this regime is feeling. and it certainly creates this heightened level of urgency on both sides. but the pressure, the idea from us, we have to put more and more pressure on them. and this is somebody who only responds to lunacy and bellicosity, perhaps. >> well, you talk about in the response from the president, the very strong statements that he's made. but our next guest, coming up in just a couple of minutes later on in the show, amber, talks about cory shake, a member of the bush 43 administration, talks about how the surprising part has been so little alarm has been expressed so far by the governments of south korea, japan, and china. this suggests that governments are beginning to ignore the president's statements. >> yeah. >> we know words matter. do you think they still do? >> the president is at a real risk here in this first really major international test of his
presidency, of making empty threats. if he's going to say, listen, we're going to go after them with fire and fury, we're going to, you know, try to beef up and brag about our nuclear arsenal. in fact, it's happening right now, regimes are either going to listen or try to call his bluff. and we sense that's exactly what north korea is doing right now. and apparently the rest of the world isn't really taking the president seriously. >> well, you know, americans are, though, right? this is something that, i think, has absolutely penetrated the national consciousness at this point. it's led every network broadcast for the last three days or so. cynthia is talking about this new plan, essentially, this preemptive strike plan that the pentagon has been put together, based on our investigative team's reporting. how do you think people are going to react if that actually goes down? >> i think people should be paying a lot of attention to this story. there's no doubt about it. i do think -- i worry sometimes that in the coverage, people walk away thinking that the north koreans have the capacity today to take a nuclear weapon and hit california, colorado, and chicago. they don't.
what is different is, they're moving much more quickly to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile that can reach our shores and that ultimately could be equipped with nuclear material. and they're moving the faster than anyone had anticipated. that's why you see a new urgency. and on the rhetoric, it's not just the president's rhetoric. i thought that general mattis' rhetoric was almost as tough as the president's. so there clearly is a strategy to try to intimidate the north korean regime. and that is a different approach, certainly, than we saw from skbrabarack obama and a sly different approach than -- >> cynthia, i know you want to jump in here. >> i think jim's exactly right. mattis said yesterday that the u.s. military is prepared, rehearsed, and ready. yeah, he may have said it a little more artfully than the president did, but he was carrying the same message quite clearly. i would also say that this plan was ordered up, one of the first orders of business at the white house, when the president took office, was to request a review of military options, vis-a-vis
north korea, as we all know, president obama, in his famous meeting with president trump at the white house said, north korea is going to be number one on your plate. so this has been in the works. but certainly, the focus has become more intense since the second icbm test. >> that's for sure. cynthia mcfadden, i know you are continuing to follow up on this. thank you for joining us here. i appreciate it. i'm going to ask jim and amber to stick around. because with everything going on in the world right now, president trump is tweeting about the leader of his own party in the senate. and he's turning up the heat on that fight with mitch mcconnell. quote, he just couldn't get repeal and replace done, the president says. well, up next, senator mcconnell's former chief of staff is joining us to respond and to talk about the fallout. for your heart... your joints... or your digestion... so why wouldn't you take something for the most important part of you... your brain. with an ingredient originally found in jellyfish, prevagen is now the number one selling brain health supplement
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so with everything happening overseas, president trump is still keeping an eye on what is happening here at home. taking a shot, another one, at senate majority leader, mitch mcconnell. tweeting just today, can you believe that mitch mcconnell, who has screamed repeal and replace for seven years couldn't get it done. must repeal and replace obamacare. that tweet not really helping, one might say, with the gap, right, between the president and his own party, particularly the most powerful senator on capitol hill. nbc news capitol hill correspondent kasie hunt is joining us now from new york. a little field trip for the day. kas, what's the reaction here from mitch mcconnell's camp? give us some insight. >> well, hallie, they've been muted in public, which is, of course, the way mcconnell typically does business.
but privately, there's a lot of anger and a lot of frustration because they feel like, look, the president needs mitch mcconnell, if he's actually going to get anything done. there's a lot else going on in the world. the prospect of nuclear war with north korea. there's also a sense that, you know, the president played a role in how health care played out. mcconnell's team thought that lisa murkowski, for example, was someone they could have gotten onboard with that skinny repeal, until the president's administration, somewhat ham-handedly had the interior secretary call the senators from alaska saying, hey, we're going to take this out on your state. so i think that, you know, you hear this in mcconnell's own sort of tempered tone, right? i mean, even the words that he said about the president were kind of delivered in classic, understated mcconnell fashion. he's not somebody who ever gets, you know, hot under the collar in public. but at the same time, i think the fact that he's willing to say it at all underscores the
level of frustration that is going on right now. and this is kind of a collapse of trust that potentially has serious ramifications for the president's ability to get anything done, and i think, what to watch for here, is what the president does in races where there are vulnerable republicans. and i would also point out, the president endorsing luther strange is -- in the alabama senate race -- >> yes! an overture? >> well, the president's actions in this case are much different than his words. >> kasie hunt there live for us from new york. thank you very much for that perspective. i want to bring in now brad maguire, who knows mitch mcconnell pretty well, his former chief of staff. wi back with us, jim vandehei and amber phillips. brian, you first. you heard kasie talking about privately folks in mcconnell world feeling some frustration and anger. are you frustrated and angry with how this is playing out with your old boss? >> knno, i would focus on something else senator mcconnell said earlier this week, that
this congress will be judged on the whole congress and not one part of this congress. he's very good on focusing on the long game. he entitled his memoir, "the long game." >> right. >> and i think he's thinking at the end of this congress, that's where we should be putting our focus and that's where i think he is focused. >> the president, and by the way, dan ska vino, one of his stop advisers in the west wing, seemed to be pretty ticked off about something mitch mcconnell said earlier this week, talking about the president perhaps not understanding the expectations on the hill. can you walk us through, and i'm not asking you to reveal private conversations, but mitch mcconnell's thinking here, and if there's a strategic move to kind of coming out and speaking pretty openly about his frustrations? >> as kasie said, i think what he said the other day was very understated. and i think the only thing to me that's notable about it is how infrequent these kinds of disagreements have been between mcconnell and trump, over the past two years. >> so you think, nothing to see here? no biggy, whatever, no problem? >> i think that it's very uncommon for them to have any kind of a public disagreement. and it's the exception that proves the rule that they have a very good working relationship.
>> does the president, when he tweets, you know, mitch mcconnell's been talking about repeal and replace for seven years, didn't get it done, is the president wrong? >> i think that, again, this is a congress that's going to be judged in the long-term. and we have yet to see whether this can get done. and there is still time to get something done on obamacare. senators are working toward that end right now. the question is, can you get 50 votes for what they're putting together. that's what mcconnell is most focused on. and in the meantime, i think he'll focus on the more urgent priorities that congress is going to turn to, and on tax reform, which is something that the president and leader mcconnell are both very interested in getting done and working together to achieve that. >> but when you have president trump blasting mitch mcconnell, how do you even start to move forward on something like tax reform? >> i think that staffs a to the white house and in the senate have been working very closely together, for instance, on tax reform and on all of these other issues for months. so i don't think that this one exchange is really going to define this relationship or the
legislative agenda going forward. >> is it just, i want to come to jim and amber here, hang on for a second, who will hang out with me. is it just this unexchange? can the staff, as brian is making his point, can the staffs overcome some of this? >> the funny thing is, this is about -- they're both right, right? trump's mad because mcconnell said, you don't understand congress. he doesn't. mcconnell's mad because he said for you for seven years promised repeal and replace and you didn't deliver. you didn't. so this one episode doesn't matter at all. what matters is, and i think this is a manifestation of it, is that republicans, most of them, and i would include mcconnell, are not privately big fans of donald trump. they are not trump republicans. and his support among republicans is very, very tenuous. and with each passing month, i think it becomes more tenuous. and it's going to make it harder and harder, if donald trump needs republicans, particularly if mueller ends up acting on his investigation, he needs those republicans and i don't think he really has them. >> brian with, is that a fair assessment?
you have matt miller, one of our justice analysts for msnbc saying, fast forward months and years. if mueller ever makes an impeachment referral, probably no one is more important to donald trump's fate than mitch mcconnell. how much does the president bri? >> i think the president is free to say what he wants, obviously, but i think the larger question is whether it's in his best interests. >> is it? >> and i think in this case, it's better that they work together, publicly and privately. and i think both of their goals are the same and they should just focus on those. >> brian, i can say why you were mitch mcconnell's chief of staff. you were just as understated, perhaps, as he was, sending a message. amber? >> yeah, mitch mcconnell, as brian pointed out, is very good at keeping his head down, doing his work. they may not like president trump, but, oh, we're going to get obamacare repealed. oh, we're going to get tax reform. that matters more. so the fact that the senate majority leader came out in public, knowing we would hear all of this, and decided to criticize the president -- i don't care how understated it was, he criticized the president and he knew the president was going to have very thin skin and
fire back. maybe not to this disagree. suggests that mcconnell knew what he was doing to try to -- i don't know. >> it was like -- >> very quickly before i let you go here, can you just talk about, what is mitch mcconnell going to do next. there is some reporting that the two of them had a very feisty phone conversation. is mitch mcconnell going to call the president? stop by the residence when the president gets back from bedminster? is he going to go to new jersey? what do you know? >> i think he'll put all of his energies the into getting 50 votes for tax reform and potentially a health care repeal bill. >> appreciate it. president trump seems to be catching some of his advisers by surprise with that fire and fury threat to north korea. so what power does the commander in chief actually have to follow through on that? and where is congress in all of this? a member of the armed services committee and marine corps veteran is going to join us to weigh in.
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we are back now with a look at your morning headlines. japan and south korea are now promising a strong response if north korea actually goes through with it and goes after guam. the japanese defense minister says this morning, any attack on guam could be considered a national emergency. it comes after north korea outlined a plan to fire four missiles towards the u.s.
territory. and back here at home, wisconsin senator ron johnson is, well, clarifying his suggestion that john mccain's brain tumor played a role in his decision to vote against republicans' obamacare repeal bill. here's what johnson is tellings cnbc, that his comments were, he says, completely misconstrued and clumsy. he also said he had a great deal of respect for mckaucain. a spokesperson for the congressman's bizarre and deeply unfortunate. and the president's comments on north korea have triggered yet another debate on capitol hill. can the president actually launch what he calls fire and fury on north korea without congressional approval. here's what one republican is saying. >> if one of the military options that the administration is looking at is a preemptive war on the korean peninsula launched by the united states, that would require the authorization of congress, article one of the u.s. constitution is very clear about that. >> all right. joining me now is democratic congressman, ruben guyago.
thank you so much for being with us here. you served in iraq and in the marine corps. you heard what one of your colleagues across the aisle just had to say there about congressional approval. do you believe the president needs that approval for a preemptive strike? >> certainly for a preemptive strike. certainly, there is nothing we have in the books right now that gives authorization to the president to conduct a preemptive strike on north korea. this is not -- he's not operating under a current authorized use of military force, like he is in iraq and in syria. and considering that we're dealing with potential nuclear war, and if not, even the threshold below that, which would be hundreds of thousands of casualties across the board in south korea, it definitely would demand that we have at least some congressional approval over what's going to happen. >> do you think, at this point, there is an appetite for your republican colleagues to also demand that? >> it's very hard to tell what my colleagues on the other side
of the aisle want or are willing to do in terms of standing up to the president. i would advise that when we're dealing with millions of lives and the fact that potential nuclear winter, if things go really wrong, that they find their spine and actually join us in keeping the president in check. >> you've advocated for sanctions against north korea's trade partners. you've criticized the administration nor not nominating an ambassador to south korea. we heard about that earlier, the idea that there is not a u.s. rep in seoul to be advocating and pushing the president's message here. to your knowledge, who is the south korean government talking with right now? >> from what we understand, mostly they're talking to our military commanders and in the pacific rim region, as well as secretary tillerson, and secretary mattis. the problem is that we actually need somebody on the ground, not just to talk bilaterally between south korea and the united states, but also to keep up the rest of our regional partners
calm. and right now, that's actually what everyone needs to do, is to just keep calm and try to work diplomacy at this point, including putting up even more sanctions on north korea and north korean businesses that are doing business with china. >> we haven't gone through a full extent of sanctions right now. >> one of our guests here says that some of this is a little bit of hyperventilating when it comes to north korea. do you agree with that assessment? >> certainly, it's hyperventilating, but the best way to deal with hyperventilation is also not to respond in kind. the goal of this is to get to the point where we can stop the further nuclearization arms race that is occurring in north korea and then slowly put pressure on korea, north korea, as well as china, so that way we can get to a point where it can actually de-escalate and actually start the denuclearization, if at all possible. but most importantly, we just need stability and security on the korean peninsula. and right now this type of rhetoric is not helping. >> before i let you go, i've got
to get you on another topic, which is immigration, specifically some of the new guidelines this administration has been working under. during one i.c.e. operation last week, 457 of those people were arrested that weren't the target. how is that affecting your district, your state? >> this is a backdoor mass deportation force that the president had been advocating during the campaign. what's occurring, you have a lot of people now living in fear. they're not sending their kids to school, they're not going to see the doctor, they're not calling the local police when, you know, there's crimes going on that need to be reported. this is a really bad policy. we understand and agree that really hard-core criminals need to be targeted and deported and arrested, obviously, but using this process where you just basically have a dragnet, and essentially if you are basically -- if you are next to someone that's being investigated, even though you've done no crime yourself, you are potentially deported, is
causing, you know, essentially a lot of people to not talk to the police, because they're afraid they're going to be dragged in, too, and sent across the border. this is not how you increase safety. all this does is increase fear and makes these neighborhoods even less safe, because now basically, the criminals know that they could walk without any worries of them having the police call on them. >> congressman ruben guyago, thank you very much for being here. coming up next, president trump has been tweeting that the u.s. nuclear arsenal is very stronger and more powerful than ever before. but what exactly has the military done? we're heading to the pentagon with a closer look, next.
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remission can start with stelara®. talk to your doctor today. janssen wants to help you explore cost support options for stelara®. we like to think that when you watch this program, you learn something at the end of this. so how about this. did you know there is a $1 trillion project underway right now, set to take nearly 30 years to update the united states' nuclear arsenal. we're talking about production facilities, warhead, and that nuclear triad, submarines, bombers, and ground-based missiles. all of it set to get modernized. who put this in motion? former president obama, even though president trump claimed it was his first order as president, he did sign an order. nbc's courtney kube is at the pentagon for us with more on north korea and all of this nuke modernization. also joining us, cory shokey, research fellow at the hoover instituti institution. thank you both for being here. courtney, i'll start with you. because i want you to take us
through the facts, right? the nuts and bolts about this u.s. nuclear arsenal, this revamp that is happening. >> so there's been some increased interest in this in the past 24 hours because president trump tweeted about it yesterday, saying that under his presidency, it's more modernized than ever and it's the strongest it's ever been sp. so the reality has been, in 2010, president obama agreed to a nuclear modernization effort, that actually began several years later in 2014, when he ordered it to begin. what this is is a 30-year, as you said, $1 trillion, estimated $1 trillion project that would modernize all three legs of the nuclear triad. so that means, at sea, in the air, and on land. that includes, as you mentioned, hallie, that includes nuclear submarines. it includes, potentially, also this new surface-to-air missile, that's one of the more contentious parts of this, and one of more expensive parts of this, is the development of this
new missile. so, in fact, president trump did order something new when he came into office, and that's relatively standard, it's a nuclear posture view. what that really does is look at where the nuclear triad exists right now. it's an overall look at it. he ordered it early on in his administration and it was implemented, they began the review earlier this spring. >> courtney, i want to bring in cory now, to get your take on all of this, cory, plus, listen, you wrote a book with secretary mattis. he said th do you agree that secretary mattis would defy an order for a nuclear strike? >> i don't think we should be having a conversation about that. because the suggestion that it's somehow in the country's interest to have the secretary of defense refuse to obey a legal order from the president of the united states isn't -- it's not particularly helpful and i wouldn't encourage people to think that the fail-safe in
the system is people refusing to obey orders. whether those people are civilians or they are in the military. if the president issues a legal order, and a preemptive attack on the nuclear facilities in north korea would be a legal order. i think there is a responsibility and the respect for the chain of command that it would be carried out. i think colonel jacobs was, i think that's -- i don't think that's a useful path for us to be speculating on. particularly not in a crisis with north korea. >> you talked about the possibility that the president might order a preemptive strike. in your assessment, is that the best strategic move? >> well, i actually don't think we're close to that. i personally wouldn't advocate a preemptive strike on north korea's nuclear facilities or missile facilities, unless the president believed there was an imminent attack on the united states, south korea, or japan underway. for the simple reason that even if we could take out north
korea's nuclear sites and many of their launchers are mobile, so that's a very demanding task, even if we could do that, south korea is -- the capital of south korea is in artillery range of north korea. they have 8,000 to 10,000 artillery launchers aimed at south korea. even if you could take those launchers out very quickly, two, three hours, which would be an extraordinary feat, you probably still have tens of thousands, possibly even hundreds of thousands of dead south koreans on our hands. i don't think an american president should make that choice lightly or short of imminent danger of a nuclear attack. >> kori and courtney, i want to bring in jim and amber here. jim, you have some new reporting out today in axios, talking about the description of secretary mattis who is one of the few people who is privately pushing this sense of duty. the idea that, as you say, sort of protect the president from himself, almost. how is that playing out in
realtime, and kori, as someone who knows the secretary, i would like to get your reaction as well. >> two things, in what kori is talking about, in terms of being is it premature to be talking about a preemptive strike? that's what i'm talking about a preemptive strike. we're trying to get the north koreaness to do something we've been wanting them to do for 25 years, so we're trying a new path. that doesn't mean nuclear war is tomorrow. i think that's where tv, a lot of the media could calm down a little bit, because oertherwisei think we're going to stir up hysteria. there is a loose alliance inside the white house, mattis, your chief of staff kelly, the new yorkers, people like gary cohen, others -- >> republican leadership in congress. >> the republican leadership in congress, who do see themselves as being there to keep the president from doing really what they would say are crazy things or stupid things. to basically modify his behavior. there was a report in the ap a week ago that kelly and mattis have this sort of pact that they
would never level the country together, because they want to make sure early on that someone's there to make sure that they're keeping a check on the orders that he's making. and i would say, finally, that the president, for all the flaws, and we assume that everything he does, it seems like everything in the media, people assume everything he does is stupid, one of the things that's smart, he does seem to be deferring to mattis and to his jn generals when it come to these decisions. this is not a president embr improvi improvising. >> very quickly, ko a orkskori, reaction to this? is this something in line with the jim mattis you know? >> well, i do think that while the president exercises quite a lot of sale and reckless rhetoric, we haven't seen him make reckless foreign policy choices. in fact, on afghan strategy, on isis strategy, and even on north korea, the policy choices he's making are a lot better than the talk he's talking about them. so i think he's more restrained
in action than he is in rhetoric. and i also think that the cabinet, the national security cabinet, is extraordinarily calm, cautious, and deliberative. and that's a great thing in a crisis like north korea. >> kori schake, appreciate your expertise on this program. there's been a lot of talk today about weapons attacks. but what about acoustic attacks. have you heard about this one? americans working at the embassy in cuba forced to return home in one of the most bizarre stories of the day. at panera, a salad is so much more than one thing.
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snch have you heard about this bizarre story out of cuba. an acoustic attack against u.s. diplomats. a bunch of them started having trouble hearing last fall, according to the ap, and some of them had symptoms so severe, they had to come back to the u.s. early. the ap also reporting, investigators are blaming a secret sonic device for it all. nbc's peter alexander has been following this story and has more for us from bridgewater, new jersey. peter, this sounds like some cold war spy stuff, man. >> reporter: yeah, hallie, this is the kind of thing you would read on a bookstore shelf one day, but this is the real deal,
dating back to the fall of 2016, this unexplained loss of hearing, first complained about by some u.s. diplomats at the u.s. embassy in havana. the ap first reporting on this. that the diplomats, as they reported, according to the ap officials with knowledge of that probe, that they were exposed to advanced devices operating outside the range of audible sound, that they say were deployed either inside or outside the u.s. embassy there. it's not clear whether it was a weapon or it was some other device that was used for some other purpose. we have now heard from the state department spokesperson on this topic. they will only go so far as to say that these individuals suffered a variety of physical symptoms. here's heather noward. take a listen. >> we take this situation very seater seriously. one of the things we talk about here often is that the safety and security of american citizens at home and abroad is
our top priority. we're taking that situation seriously and it's under investigation right now. >> reporter: so seriously that the u.s. has already retaliated, in fact, by expelling two cuban diplomats from the united states. cuba calling that move unjustified. they insist they are the diplomatic security service as well. >> peter alexander in new jersey. e we miss you in washington. we'll see you soon. >> amber, what does this say about the relationship right now under president trump between the u.s. and cuba? >> that it's volatile and the world is volatile. president obama's way out the door he opened up relations with cuba. made a big show of it. president trump came into. office and basically started closing the door. it wasn't popular with most people in congress. republicans and democrat, except for a few republican hawks, but that was kind of it. it was a weak story and president trump's administration was going to carry forth those policies.
now that we're having a standoff with words, u.s. diplomats in cuba are the ones who are being hurt. not elsewhere in the world. this just underscores how the world is volatile. we have situations where world leaders are trying to test how far they can push this inexperienced president. >> do you agree with this assessment? >> there's a lot of republicans who want the it to escalate. marco rubio has met with the president three times to talk about reversing a lot of what barack obama did in terms of normalizing relations with cuba. you have a different position from the get go on cuba. this gives them more ammunition. >> when you look at what the state department is saying, i want to tell you what else they had to say more broadly about the situation. listen. >> the cuban government has a responsibility and an obligation under the geneva convention. that's why this is a concern of
ours and why we take this so serious sourcely and addition to the protection of americans. >> this is a serious situation. it's a state department has said they are not trying to assuage people's concerns. they are saying this is serious. we saw the u.s. kick out cuban diplomats in retribution. who knows what couba does next. do we have another situation on our hands. >> lots of foreign policy discussions going on. amber phillips, thank you for coming on. i appreciate it. we have five minutes of show left. we're talking about the opioid crisis that has hit home for the mayor of nashville. her only child overdosed and died and she said it all started with a prescription for xanax. it's a story bringing all these headlines into focus. we'll have that plus today's big picture, next. restlessness... extreme anxiety...
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if you watch this show with any regularity, you have probably heard the statistics about the opioid ep e demic. 142 americans dying each day from it. one of the loading causes of death for people under 50. as lawmakers try to figure out a way to tackle this, one mayor is grieving over one death she could not prevent, her own son. gabe gutierrez spoke to the mayor of nashville about her loss. >> reporter: this is megan barry's family during better times. the mayor got a knock on her
daughter at 3:00 a.m. >> your first thought is that you had had a police officer who has been injured and you need to get dressed and go to the hospital and you need to comfort the family. >> reporter: instead service she who needed comforting. her son had just died as an overdose. >> did it come as a shock? >> totally. >> she says max had been to rehab once before but he recently graduated from college and moved to colorado. >> he was your only child. >> he was only our child. yeah. your only. >> reporter: today the mayor revealed he had a lethal combination of drugs in his system includininining xanax an cocaine. on tuesday president trump stopped short of declaring a national emergency and pledged to ramp up law enforcement to combat the crisis. >> is that enough?
>> no, we're not going to arrest our way out of this problem. you need access to beds and treatment. >> has it sunk in yet? >> i don't think so. i think that this hold i have in my heart will never be filled. >> she shared with us their final texts. >> i'm so grateful that it the last words we said and the last text we sent said i love you. >> max barry was 22. >> gabe gutierrez reporting. just to give you perspective on the epidemic, from the start of our show until right now, three people died of an opioid overdose. in the last 58 minutes, 3 people died from overdosing on opioids according to statistics from the cdc. coming to us from new york, it's a small town against.
the border that's become a destination point. you are looking at a haitian boy and his dad earlier this week. they are walking a back road toward an i illegal crossing point. those are officers waiting to arrest them. why are these two walking straight into custody? for months mie grants from around the world just like this little boy have walked this back road from new york across the border hoping that canada unlike the u.s., will grant them asylum. the photographer here for the ap. as always, would love to hear your thoughts on the big picture and on the show. i'm also on instagram as well. i appreciate you joining us for this hour of msnbc lye. we'll see you back here tomorrow. more news in new york. >> 40,000 refugees canada has taken in from 2015. so if tr that family, they have some hope. good morning, it's thursday, august 10th. let's get started. >> both the u.s. and the north
korean regime now saying plans are being readied to carry out attacks on the l other. >> north korea now warning they are seriously examining plans to attack guam, calling the president senile saying he was. cooped up at the golf course and clueless about how things are developing. sdwl a u.s. president for the first time suggesting what sounded like a nuclear first strike. now it turns out without language agreed to by his national security team. >> we're hope iing that the generals around the president control the president and even with that, general mattis is talking about the destruction of the people of north korea. >> when president trump engijs in the same kind of rhetoric, he actually elevates the north korean leader and diminishes the united states. >> i think the rhetoric was justified. >> i would not fire one missile or drop one bomb against north korea unless we were ready to