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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  August 10, 2017 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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andrea mitchell of andrea mitchell reports. ro right now, north korea hurling insults back at president trump t. president's ad-lib fire and fury. the state department playing cleanup. >> whether it's the white house the state department, the department of defense, we are speaking with one voice. >> search and seizure, what does the pre-dawn fbi raid on paul manafort's house tell us about the super secret mueller investigation? >> the execution of a search warrant there was a concern that the individual has documents that are harmful to him that he may not turn over cooperatively. >> and family feud, president trump unprecedented attack on mitch mcconnell over the health care debacle, even though the republican senate leader happens to be married to a member of the trump cabinet. remember that awkward first cabinet meeting. >> thank you for getting this country moving again and also
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working again. >> and good day, everyone, i'm andrea mitchell in washington. as the new jersey white house tries to start coordinating its north korea strategy, kim jong-un calls the president's nuclear bluff threatening to attack guam or at least fire missiles around guam and dare the u.s. to shoot down those missiles after the state news agency calls the president senile and bereft of reason. kristen welker is in new jersey and ken delaney and nbc global correspondent bill neely in south korea and nbc national correspondent miguel almaguer in qualm. kristen, first to you, a lot of reaction because of the messaging that was not coordinated clearly. you had secretary tillerson saying cleanup on his way back
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towards guam. in fact, ironically and coincidentally the fact that the national security team, john kelly, as you have been reporting. knew the tone and the strength of the president's concerns about north korea had been briefed on the latest intelligence but did not clear the exact words? >> reporter: that's right. and there is a sense now in the administration that the message needs to be firm but more cab brighted, andrea, you we heard that from the secretary of state recollection tillerson, speaking from guam yesterday who said, yes, the united states was going to be firm but americans should sleep safe in their beds. then you we heard a very similarly firm message from the defense secretary james mattis, who said that north korea should stop its provocation or the united states would take action. but again, a more calibrated message, andrea, i think that attempt to get on the same page will continue today when president trump has lunch with his vice president mike pence,
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then he's going to have a security briefing with the vice president, with his national security adviser h.r. mcmaster as well as his chief of staff john kelly. we then anticipate we will hear from likely the president, if not one or more of those other officials in the meeting with him and we'll obviously be track tack very closely. i just had a chance to speak with white house secretary sarah huckaby sanders. i pressed her on the president's thinking right now as it relates to these new threats from north korea. those threats about potentially launching strikes aimed a guam. she says, look, bottom line the president's thinking hasn't changed when it comes to dealing with north korea. >> thank you, kristen. we know the president gets a national security briefing. he gets one every day. it was clear he was getting angrier, angrier, getting more fired up about the threat. ken, you have been tracking this, washington first broke the fact the pentagon intelligence agency was the first to report
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that north korea had reached this major milestone of miniaturization and now you and i, we've confirmed, that other intelligence agencies within the government are in consensus on this, that there is agreement, broad agreement? >> reporter: that's right, andrea and this is the intelligence that got this thing started after all. it's an important milestone that north korea has passed. initially it looked like it was only coming from the defense intelligence agency. their job is to look at adversarial capabilities. in the past, they have been crit si criticized. but you know you and i now have gotten new reporting to suggest that it's not only the dia. it's the cia and odni and other agencies that share this assessment, that north korea has reached a critical milestone, they are able to miniaturize a weapon to put it on a cdrm.
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>> they need to work on accuracy and targeting. so there are other steps to come. it means they're on a very fast track and this is an estimate, an analysis based on what they think in the intelligence community has been achieved. we know there have been errors in the past? >> reporter: you are absolutely right. one important piece of information we don't know is what is their confidence level in this assessment? is it low? is it medium? is it high? we all know north korea is one of the highest intelligence targets. you are right. this is an estimate. this isn't proof as mike hayden the former cia director likes to say, if it was a fact, it wouldn't be intelligence, it is possible they are not as far along as they think. it's possible they are further along and it underscores the uncertainty of the situation. >> and there is uncertainty in washington. can you imagine what the uncertainty is in guam? the small island, the island which is right within a couple
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thousand miles range of the intermediate range missiles. miguel almaguer joins frus there. we know the governor has been trying to reassure people. he has been talking to home security, u.s. citizens, 160,000, 6,000, 7,000 u.s. service members plus their dependents. so it's considered a safe post. they have their families with them. what is this, the people in guam thinking as they hear these threats coming from pyongyang? >> reporter: well, the tone here is relatively mixed. we just came back from a restaurant here. it's early in the morning, 2:00 a.m.. we spoke to a couple people working our way back towards the hotel. the reaction is fairly mixed. you have families say north korea made similar threats. they believe the north korea regime is likely bluffing. you have different others who say they have never we heard the
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rhetoric as fired up as they have now. they have some concerns. they tell us they were fielding calls from family members back state side who were concerned, thinking it's time to move back to the states. we certainly have. that as you alluded to, we have the government here fwifg the same message, but different levels of threats. the governor telling everyone to remain calm. he's in contact with the white house. he assures the white house assures the safety of the folks that live here in guam. also the homeland security director did confirm if ballistic missiles were fired from north korea, they would reach this island in 14 minutes, so many people we spoke to say, well, it's a bit calm knowing if north korea did fire missiles, they would get here in 15 minutes. of course, the government reassuring everyone there is no attack imminent. of course, this island is protected with anti-missile systems, that would shoot down any missiles that would come in from north korea. >> that is certainly what the
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government is telling people to give them at least some sense of ease, andrea. >> miguel almaguer on the island of guam, a u.s. territory. and in south korea, our colleague bill neely, bill, you've spent time in north korea as have i. you know the bluster is excessive. but what they are now doing is turning all that back against president trump. because of how harsh his language was, language that there has never frankly before been used by an american president, alluding to a first possible nuclear strike. what itself reaction in south korea? >> reporter: yes, and just picking up from miguel's point, it's not 15 minutes from missiles to reach this city. it's less than a minute. so just 35 minutes from the north korean border, thousands of missile tubes have been pointed at this city of 5 million people. this morning, south korea's national security cabinet met.
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it was set to be a normal or regular meeting, but, frankly, there is nothing normal or regular about anything here at the moment. and the president told his military to strengthen defenses. he also appealed to north korea once again, to stop provoking, at the same time, and there is always this added message saying that our door for dialogue is always opened. but the situation here, is being taken very seriously, indeed, and there was yet another warning from south korea's military to the north, saying that if you continue your provocation, you face a strong response from the u.s. south korea alliance. now, okay, for north korea, that is a red rag to a bull. as you said, they have been issuing their own fiery statements. they said that donald trump's initial threat of fire and fury was a load of nonsense. some dialogue they said isn't
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possible with such a person bereft of reason who is sniem. they said, of course, only absolute force can work on him. then, of course, came that extraordinarily detailed statement about exactly what missiles they would fire towards guam and we've we heard general rhetoric from pyongyang before. but this was so specific, four missiles, given the timing the trajectory, miguel was saying, 14 minutes to hit the sea of guam. so this situation definitely abnormal and here people are on edge, andrea. >> bill neely, thanks so much for that, to bill to kristen welker, ken delannian. thanks to the team. joining us is richard blulenle that who serves on the armed judiciary committees. senator what is your reaction to how the white house played there so far, defending the president's fire and fury comments. but it certainly seems to have
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started a chain reaction, if you will. maybe that is an unfortunate term? >> my reaction and it's shared by a number of my colleagues, many of them on the armed services committee and elsewhere is that this war of words and escalating rhetoric really does not advance us towards a solution and the miniaturization of that weaponry is a milestone, but the testimony before the armed services committee repeatedly has been that the north koreans are proceeding from milestone to milestone nec inexorably. when when their tests have failed, they have learned from them. so time is not on our side. a more effective solution in my view involves economic sanctions, tightening the financial noose, using secondary sanctions against financial institutions. we did begin with a small bank
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in china, but that kind of pressure needs to be brought to bear around the world, just as was done with iran, it's succeeded in iran. >> now, i was interviewing the former deputy national secure adviser ben rhodes from the obama white house about his response to the language that is being used t. way the president ad-libbed, improvised his comments about the nuclear threat, obviously, an alarming nuclear threat. but the way he spoke in comparison to the way previous presidents, republicans and democrats have addressed this kind of issue? let's play it. >> we're talking about nuclear weapons, we're talking about a conventional war that could put tens of thousands of americans at risk. so millions of south koreans and japanese, we're not talking fake news and dig blumenthal's service record. we're talking about the most serious security issue in the world. >> ben rhodes was alluding the president attacked you
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personally on twitter. what do you think, what do your colleagues, democratic and republican on armed services think about the way the administration is handling this in terms of their strategy, their game plan for addressing the north korea threat? >> the hyperbole and overheated rhetoric raises questions about credibility. so mr. of us question whether it shows the kind of judgment and temperament that are appropriate in this situation. as you observed and mr. rhodes, not since harry truman, in fact, has this kind of reign of ruin, i think those were harry truman's words, after the hiroshima attack, to pressure the japanese into surrendering, in effect, a threat of another nuclear attack, has any president used this kind of rhetoric and the fact that it was used and improvised without
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review or vetting of his national security team, certainly raises questions about the process that is under way in the white house. a process that will involve the most serious decisions about war and peace and we should all recognize there's no such thing as a quick, easy preemptive strike here. we're not talking about sending a missile or 60 missiles as was done in syria to wipe out a hangar. a preemptive strike leads to war. and as general mattis observed so powerfully, it is war that will be more devastating than we've seen many of us in our lifetime. >> senator, one of the things that i've also been working on is the cyber capability of north korea, which has been underestimated in the past. it is there behind russia, china and iran among rogue adversaries in terms of cyber. but they're pretty effective. we've confirmed some of the
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stunning things they have been able to achieve. how concerned are you about their cyber camabilie capabilit another weapon of choice? >> very deeply concerned. that is a great question, andrea, very often is ignored t. cyber capabilities of the north koreans and our adversaries are well bebeyond what the public understands. some of the briefings we've had in the armed services committee. we've asked what some of the greatest threats is, some military leaders say cyber. so we need to be very mindful about building our cyber defenses, but also defining what is an act of war on the united states? senator mccain the chairman of the armed services committee and i have repeatedly raised with officials of this administration and of past administrations the lack of clear policy to define what is an act of war that will prompt the kind of response that
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we need to do. and the russian attack on our election system in my view was an act of war. it used cyber. it was not a military attack insofar as it didn't involve an attack on military systems or capabilities. they tried to hack into our polling places, but it was an attack and cyber has to be very much on our mind. >> well, it's the if the north koreans are able to attack the second bank of bangladesh and financial institutions here in the u.s. and institutions if south korea, are those acts of war? >> in my view, some of those acts may well constitute an act of war. there's no definition as yet. no policy about what is an act of war. the attack on sony by north koreans reportedly. perhaps should have prompted a more aggressive response by the obama administration, if there were a defined policy about what
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constitutes an act of war. >> i want to also briefly ask you, you are a member of the judiciary, obviously this raid on the manafort house has now been revealed. it happened back on july 26th. what does it tell you about the progress and where mueller is in this secret investigation, the fact that they went before dawn and had a search warrant approved by a judge? that tells you that there is probable cause of something. >> that pre-dawn raid is really a stunning development. it's a law enforcement tactic, as i know, as a former united states attorney, the chief federal prosecutor here as it is used in the most serious investigations, dealing with a target or a witness who is uncooperative and untrusted and a judge would demand clear, persuasive evidence of probable cause that a crime has been
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committed and that the individual, paul manafort, is connected at that crime. so a judge has found a serious crime has been committed and this individual who is at the center of the investigation into russian meddling and trump campaign collusion and obstruction of justice is connected to that crime. it really re-affirms the reasons that i first called for a special counsel, because only this kind of prosecutor can use these kind of measures, not just subpoenas as the congressional committees can do. also search and seizure. it redoubles my determination to protect the investigation from political interference. >> senator blumenthal, thank you so much. richard blumenthal from connecticut. we appreciate it. and the fall guy, president trump brahaming the senate leader for a whole host of problems, engaging in a new war of words with his own party.
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you arewalk watching andrea mitchell reports on ms nbc. alk mitchell reports on ms nbmitchel reports on ms nbc.
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i'm just a little concerned with the tweeting and all the rhetoric fire and fury and you as our representative, is there anyway you can speak to the president or have communication? >> that was republican buddy carter feisty facing a person at a tourn meeting on a town hall in georgia.
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today the president is escalating the war within his own party, though, going after senate leader mitch mcconnell, tweeting, can you believe, mitch million connell who has screamed repeal and replace for seven years couldn't get it done. joining me is -- his wife is a member of the cabinet by the way. >> which tells you donald trump has no lines he will color within. you know, the reality is simply at the end of the day, mitch mcconnell has the upper hands. mitch mcconnell will be the one that will either push forward, delay or stop outright anything the president wants to get done. can you lay health care at mcconnell's feet, which i don't think is appropriate. mcconnell was not out there pushing the repeal and replace
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mantra. that was more out of the house and the house members, mcconnell always had a much more steady approach on health care, probably more with an eye towards repairing obamacare as opposed to an actual repeal and replace. but the president is playing a little close with him and wants to push a couple of his pieces around on the board, not recognizing mcdonald had more queens than donald trump at this point. >> didn't candidate donald trump box in mitch mcconnell in terms of the expectation as he, himself, said, by saying, our health care is easy, we will do it on day one? >> i think mcconnell's response was appropriate, yeah, he comes to the table with expectations with no understanding of how the folks back here in this building operate on a day-by-day basis a. lot of folks that spend ten minutes, know the senate of all places has a different time line than the house does, you need to
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understand that difference. the president did have unreal t unrealistic expectations, think, i am the president, i want it done. when i was a ceo, i wanted it done with no board, et cetera. >> didn't he need mitch mcconnell on taxes, tax reform, mr. us the debt ceiling, they've got a whole agenda, 12 legislative days, obviously, they can extend that. they have a lot of work to do. >> >> a lot of work to do. mitch mcconnell's view, instead of sending out tweets, why don't you send us legislation? instead of making noise around what we haven't done, let's focus on what you need to do. have you debt ceiling, infrom structure bill the president wants. you still have tax reform, which everyone presumably wants to do. and there is some room to get moderate democrats on board with that. there is an opportunity mcconnell won't waste it.
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>> what do you think? what is more awkward? the kitchen table or the cabinet with donald trump? >> that's a good question. i think they both have moments where everyone is sort of looking at each other going, what? what's going on? that's how trump likes it. he likes the sort of disrupteds air in these spaces and washington doesn't work that way. and it's good in one sense, because it does keep people on their toes, but when you get down to the legislative business, you know, this tweet storm is not the way to get it done. >> we have a cabinet of bal lie dancers toe dancing all over the place. thank you so much. coming up, the fact check, has president trump really modernized the u.s. nuclear arsenal in six months or seven months he claims t. former physicist if charge of these weapons. you are watching andrea mitchell reports on ms nbc. at ally, we're doing digital financial services right. but if that's not enough,
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bedminster. it was a food week for diplomacy. you know you all want to obsess over statements and try to want to make a lot of noise out of
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that. >> i think your choice of the word obsessed. we're not obsessing about it. this is the president of the united states threatening a nuclear armed country. whether you want to accept it or not and a country that is armed with nuclear weapons. >> i'll let the president's statements stand for itself. >> it's not obsessing to want to know more. >> you know, i see a packed room of journalists here, normally, there aren't half as many as there are here today. >> the state department scolding from a specs person who understandably had a tough assignment, batting cleanup after president trump sounding as though he were considering a nuclear first strike. joining me now is david ignacious, and the former senior director of the national security counsel during the obama administration the senior adviser to global zero. john, let me ask you about the process, this which the team
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would response d to the assessm we have been reporting on and we understand a consaysment of the different agencies. for the president to respond, the wording that he would use t. tone, the affect, how would that be worked on in most ways? >> republican and democratic? >> traditionally the national security adviser general mcmasters would work a process that included both the cabinet officer, secretary of state, secretary of defense the chairman of the joint chiefs and build up with the deputies and assistant secretaries. none of those positions have been filled. there are some gaps there, they would coordinate that position and try to determine who should be saying what. in past administrations, generally the defense department would make the strong deterrent based statements and the secretary of state would reassure our allies. the president can be relieved of that responsibility to act senuate when needed. we seem to have flipped that in this case. >> is there a value, though, david ignacious in this kind of strong statement from the
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president to get the attention not only of beijing, arguably, but also in pyongyang, to say we are serious, we have this deterrence, we can come after you? >> there is certainly a benefit in the president making clear liss judgment that it is in his national security adviser mcmasters' words intolerable for north korea to obtain a nuclear weapon that can threaten the u.s. the question is whether the rhetoric he is using is counterproductive? yes, it puts beijing and pyongyang on notice that this is real, but it frightens the allies that the u.s. would have to depend on and fight with in south korea and japan, who were absolutely critical in this process, so it's a very delicate balance, an awful lot of people think the president's tone was useful for the united states.
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>> you were there back in the decisions -- pang yang back with the decision to reactivate that nuclear facility. i mean, what went wrong in the intervening years? we thought they were actually giving up some of their nuclear process something. >> that's right. back in the 1990s, we negotiated an agreement that actually froze north korea's nuclear program for about eight years. we never really were faithful to that agreement. the republican congress restricted some of the funding for it. north koreans got access to pakistani technology, which allowed theretomy cheat on the outside. once we found that we had a choice, we confronted them in 2002. we could have channelled them back into that agreement, the bush administration approach was one of regime change. they chose to walk away from that agreement. four years north korea tested the weapons. it shows the importance of holding a company's feet to the fire when we negotiate an agreement but to stay on top to make sure we have a solution. right now we don't have a
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military solution, all we have are diplomatic options, if those fail, deterrent options. none of which are easy, but they have worked in the past. >> david, slipping to a completely different subject. i want to talk about cuba w. we had a string of strange incidents that the state department refuses to confirm. apparently diplomats have had hearing problems. this has been reported by the a.p. and by others, hearing problems that may have been caused, they believe, by some sort of aggressive acoustic, some sort of device that created hearing loss and perhaps energy nant hearing loss, a number of diplomats lad to come back and therefore two cubans have been expelled from the facility here in walk. what is going on here? this was the big the grand opening two years ago, we thought this was a new relationship we saw, of course, what's happened under the trump
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administration. cuba is also pulling back. they've had a lot of claings in their foreign ministry. >> andrea, i can't speak to the details of this allegation about the activities from cuba and the expulsion of the cubans in response. what i do know is that under surveillance technology around the world includes the whole range of the electromagnetic spectrum. you remember back in the 1980s and '90s, american diplomats in moscow had similar complaints. they believed that there was a bombardment of radioactive energy to monitor windows, vibration and windows. these are amazing signals that are collected and that there had been serious health effects. but in this case, all we know is that there is retaliation, but i don't know the details of what's alleged.
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certainly our relationship with cuba is going south fast. >> yeah, that is what is the bottom line here, we are all digging down into xa exactly happened t. relationship is back if trouble. well, thank you so much, david ignacious, thank you so much, john. great to see you. coming up. more on what the north koreans are up to. stay with us. knowing where you stand. it's never been easier. except when it comes to your retirement plan. but at fidelity, we're making retirement planning clearer. and it all starts with getting your fidelity retirement score. in 60 seconds, you'll know where you stand. and together, we'll help you make decisions for your plan... to keep you on track. ♪ time to think of your future it's your retirement. know where you stand. ♪ time to think of your future "how to win at business." step one: point decisively with the arm of your glasses. abracadabra. the stage is yours. step two: choose la quinta.
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president trump claimed yesterday in a tweet that his first order as president was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal, writing, it is now more for stronger and powerful than ever before. he was trying to send a signal of strength, u.s. power to north korea. for starters, it was not the president's first order, the memo he signed back on january 27th was ordering a study. joining me now is a nuclear physicist and former secretary of energy, now the ceo and co-chairman of the nuclear threat initiative. thank you very much, mr. secretary, for being with us. >> thank you. >> you are in charge of our nuclear ars nam. so what did the president do on january 27th compared to what he claims he did in terms of modernizing our arsenal in seven months? >> well, first of all, let's say the arsenal is the same one that we had on january the 20th. in fact, in january, before the administration change, secretary ash carter from defense and i as
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secretary of energy reassured as we must do each year the president that our nuclear weapons are safe and reliable. so that was done. the stockpile is there. the president, of course, if he had to could use them. we hope that would not be the case. but the program is one that goes on very professionally with our national laboratories, so basically there is no significant change. i think what the president might have been referring to is that the administration has kicked off what every other administration does is a so-called nuclear posture review which puts this administration's imprint on our nuclear stockpile, our nuclear delivery systems, our nuclear doctrine. >> that is going on now. we expect the administration to complete it by the end of the year or early next year, which is a typical time frame for a
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new administration. i must say that there are some unnerveing signals coming out, in terms of where the posture review is going, but, frankly, what i would say is, it's business as usual. >> and let's talk about north korea and it's nuclear arsenal and what we know about it. from your expertise, how far do you think they have advanced on the nuclear side of the equation? >> well, first of all, obviously, they do have nuclear explosives. that's been demonstrated now several times. clearly, there is now a general opinion, made perhaps consensus, that they may have succeeded in shrinking down the size of their nuclear weapons, at least approaching that, which could be deliverable in a long range missile. i don't believe they have the entire system together, most especially the reentry missile for a long range missile is probably not in their capacity right now.
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but we have to assume that within a relatively short time, very likely during this current presidency, they will have that capability to integrate nuclear weapons and longer-range missiles. >> i want to switch to climate change, briefly, and ask you about any concerns that you might share among the scientists of 13 different agencies, who have concluded that americans are feeling the effects of climate change and they are very worried, frankly that this administration will try to stifle that report. >> well, look this new report will add to a whole host of reports that have been through peer review, the scientific community overwhelmingly understands that we are already experiencing the impacts of global warming, a clang in climate, those are expensive already in terms of our needing to adapt and that we are headed towards a much greater impacts.
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so the science is there. the science is clear. the science is more than adequate for justifying and requiring strong response to mitigate the impacts, so, hopefully, this -- >> and i think we just lost the signal from secretary -- i just want to read with you all a new statement from the carter center in atlanta from president jimmy carter on the current state of u.s.-north korea relations. he has been an envoy to pyongyang in the past during the clinton administration. he says the harsh rhetoric in recent months exacerbated an already confrontational relationship between our countries and eliminated any good chance peace talks between the u.s. and north korea in addition, our leaders need to encourage talks between north korea and other countries,
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especially carolina and russia. he points out he visited north korea three times, has spent more than 20 hours in discussions with leaders regarding important issues and advocates that talks resume and our apologies, we are glad we got as much in before the m.i.t. stood and our studio obviously had a problem. coming up, that pre-dawn raid, our inside scoop on the fbi search of paul manafort's home, what it means for the russian investigation. stay with us.
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a judge would demand clear persuasive evidence of probable cause that a crime has been committed and that the individual, paul manafort, is connected to that crime. so and judge has found a serious crime has been committed. and this individual who is at the center of the investigation into russian meddling and trump campaign collusion and obstruction of justice is connected to that crime. >> democratic senator richard blumenthal just moments ago reacting to that surprise pre-dawn search of former trump
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campaign chairman paul manafort's home, opening a window into the russian counsel's investigation. we'll go to the politico reporter and msnbc tribute contributor, ruth marcus. the fact that there was a pre-dawn raid back in july, july 26, tells us a lot about robert mueller is going. >> it tells us he's serious. it tells us he was not trusting paul manafort to simply comply with subpoenas, which would be the normal way you obtain evidence in a white-collar-ish type investigation. when you're going in with search warrants, you're operating under the assumption or belief that people are not, have not given you everything that you're entitled to or will not give you what you're entitled to. and you're treating them more like organized crime figures than like corporate executives.
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>> and nick, i don't know if we can infer anything from the timing, it was the morning after a senate meeting or a senate hearing with paul manafort. >> well, listen, it's clear that mueller has ratcheted up the investigation. but it is also clear, andrea, that this is an area of the probe where he had a head-start. there was already a federal investigation and a lawsuit involving paul manafort and some of the russian business dealings or dealings with russian oligarchs. what we see here is a focus on the financial transactions between paul manafort and his business. and some of his business partners in eastern europe and russia. and what it suggests a thaz aise bearing down hard on him for leverage to flip him against the president for another purpose. >> that's the other takeaway. >> well, first, whether this is
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connected to his congressional testimony, i just generally don't believe in coincidences. i believe that if one thing happens at the same time as another, the first we you should ask is, are these connected? one could totally imagine that the senate investigators heard something from manafort that they were free to share, perhaps, with the mueller team. they don't -- they have subpoena power, but they don't have the power to conduct these kinds of raids. for good reason. so we don't know they are connected, but i think that's a reasonable surmise. certainly, if you are getting to the same question, if you're bob mueller, paul manafort, nick is right, there was a head-start on him. he might be someone who might, if he's in a lot of trouble, which he may well be, might have something to give. >> and nick, clearly the white house has been cutting him loose. >> yeah, well, what we're seeing here, andrea, is kind of the
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white house pushing -- we saw the attack on paul manafort ini. i'm not going to talk about the story, but the national inquirer is close to the president. so we are seeing a bit of a separation ch a separation. and it is an important one with paul manafort who was in the president's inner circle for months and his team. and it can only get darker and worse for that relationship from here. >> it is kind of a dangerous move to poke the bear, if you will. >> there's a lot of bear poking going on these days. >> speaking of bear poking, there's a new tweet. relevant to our conversation because we have been talking today also about the president going after mitch mcconnell. and today's tweet is, mitch, get back to work and put repeal and replace, tax reform and cuts and a great infrastructure bill on my desk for signing. you can do it. that's a pretty tall order in the next couple of days. >> that might more turtle poking than bear poking.
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well, you know, i'm hearing nick laugh, i'm glad i'm making you laugh. but yesterday it was how come he couldn't do this? today it's like, let's get it done, rah-rah! we are using different strategies. mitch mcconnell has a very short calendar and a very small majority. and lord knows, i understand the president's frustration on health care, but lord knows he tried and tried to get that across the finish line. the notion that we're going to get this done and infrastructure, too, good luck with that. >> nick, mitch mcconnell is very popular with his caucus. >> look, he's been an ervegtiff leader and led them to majority. but the president is that mitch mcconnell and the president was right. the republicans had years and years and years to build a replacement plan and build a consensus around it and run on
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it and get public support from it, and they did not. at the same time, the president was sort of disengaged from the process. he was always over the place and would criticize the house version of the bill and then support it. he was involved in the not involved. he often seemed like he wanted some kind of bill instead of having a real bill of his own. it's a real conundrum for the party. >> to be continued, thank you, nick and ruth. more ahead. we'll be right back. thank you so much. thank you! so we're a go? yes! we got a yes! what does that mean for purchasing?
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and that does it for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." follow the show online at facebook and twitte twitter @mitchellreports. craig melvin is here. hey, craig. >> hey, andrea. pentagon plan. the defense department has prepared a strike plan for preemptive attack on north korea's missile sites using b-1 bombers. what would it look like? also, international incident. washington has expelled two cuban diplomats after u.s. diplomats in cuba suffered sudden hearing loss. were they victims of a calculated covert attack? and growing divide. president trump going after senate majority leader mitch mcconnell just a few moments ago once again as their public bat rages on. who has more to lose? we'll get to that i

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