tv MSNBC Live With Katy Tur MSNBC August 22, 2017 11:00am-12:00pm PDT
that's going to wrap up this hour, msnbc live. katy tur picking things up from here. >> good to see you on this nonsolar eclipse day. secretary rex tillerson will take reporters questions. he's expected to be pressed on the president's new strategy for the war in afghanistan. the one the president laid out in a more measured speech than usual last night. a speech that began with a call for unity here at home. >> we cannot remain a force of
peace in the world if we are not at peace with each other. let us find the courage to heal our divisions within. >> that a scripted moment for the president. president trump will be in arizona for a campaign style rally, though. a state where he's rallied his base many times before. >> mexico sends people over, we charge mexico $100,000 for every person they send over. >> they want to see people that love our country come into our country not people that hate us. >> we will build a great wall along the southern border. and mexico will pay for the wall. >> that brings us to our word of the day. unscripted. when president trump takes the stage tonight. which trump will we see? teleprompter trump or trump unplugged. >> you could call it a tale of two presidents, the scripted one
versus the unscript ed. >> the president is going to have a rally in phoenix, i expect we'll see a different donald trump on the stage. >> all eyes are watching whether he'll rattle the cage. >> if you were betting, you'd bet the narrative is going to be less than 24 hours after he addressed the nation on a somber difficult topic, he's back to dividing the country. and then there's the subject of the president's welcome in america. now is not the time. let's dig in with our team of reporters and one president who does not want trump visiting his state. let's start with peter alexander who is at the white house. we heard a more somber version
of this president. this is the fifth take, trying to call for unity after smartsville. >> what are we going to see tonight? >> the circumstances were different last night from the ones we are going to see tonight. the president speaking before a large audience, army and marines in the room, steps away from arlington national cemetery. he's going to be speaking in front of the faithful, the hardcore trump supporters. even as some of his opponents plan to be outside on a hot day. republicans are concerned this president is going to air some of his frustrations with the republican senators from that state specifically jeff blake, who will not be in attendance, neither will john mccain.
the area has said, don't come, we don't want you here. >> this is the president at his best in the eyes of his ends. as the president has said, when he's himself, he's his best communicator. >> when he gets in front of those crowds and hears the roar. >> will he or won't he. what's the political cost versus the political benefit here. >> joe arpaio is celebrated as the toughest sheriff. >> a court order, from back in july, he could be sentenced up to 6 months. if the president pardoned him
that would be extraordinarily rare. rarely if ever happen in the first year, the average is just two in the first year for a presidency most of those taking place during george w. bush's presidency. i spoke to sarah huckabee sanders about this a short time ago. they had nothing on that. they wouldn't confirm if arpaio was in attendance. or invited. right now we do expect we'll hear from some of the representatives on the plane. when we hear what they say, we'll pass that on to you. >> a number of times during the campaign he's somebody that tides directly into donald trump's base he does not send a message of unity in this
country. garek, you are in phoenix ahead of the rally there. the mayor does not want trump to come, especially on the heels of his comments about charlottesville, and the uproar they caused last week. america is hurting, and it's hurting largely because trump has doused racial tensions with gasoline. with his planned visit to phoenix, i fear the president may be looking to light a match. >> that's a pretty good scenesetter for right now. the president might get a couple different receptions here, depending on which direction he plans to look. he's going to see 15,000 of his supporters who are fired up, they're from all over the country. they want to see that unscripted president you were talking about. coming out here, hitting on his enemies list, and kind of speaking to the faithful. those folks, the folks in line behind me, would love to hear a
pardon for sheriff joe arpaio tonight. if the president looks out a window tonight, he's going to see another couple thousand protesters out here. a lot of immigration activists, part of the organizing effort on getting folks out on the streets tonight. they will be very upset if the president announces a pardon on the stage. >> he won't see the republican leaders standing behind him. the state's republican governor will greet the president on the tarmac, he's not expected to have any other involvement in this. neither are the senators. john mccain cast along with lisa murkowski and susan collins a decisive vote on health care reform won't be with him. that division between trump and his own party will be on display in the room here tonight.
>> let's jump off from there and go to michael steele. the president going after vulnerable republicans, is basically unheard of. last week he tweeted great to see that dr. kelly ward is running against jeff blake, who is week on borders, crime and the nonfactor in senate, he's toxic. he responded to that last night. take a listen. >> how about the president calling you a nonfactor in the senate. >> don't worry about it at all. going to do my job. >> he's also going after the senator. she went after senator mccain about his health what do you see happening here, how does the president unite the country if he can't unite his party. >> that's the ultimate question, that's not the question the president is particularly concerned about right now. what the president -- i suspect
is engaged in is a form of a dangerous sport when you have a narrow majority in the senate, every vote matters, every senator's body matters. in other words, you protect the body. the fact that the president's prepared to back challengers should be an alarm bell to the party, and how the national party responds to that will also matter for incumbents. they will look to the party for some degree of protection. they will look for that sort of incumbent protection that would naturally come in a competitive race or even a noncompetitive race. senator flake is downplaying this. you know he's looking over his shoulder, he should be concerned about it, i suspect what the political team at the white house is ultimately doing largely behind the president's idea is to find trumpers out there. they can challenge incumbent
republicans who have not been supportive of the president and who stood in the way of his legislative agenda, whether it's on health care, and certainly what they're hearing out there right now on issues like tax reform. >> which no doubt would be a helpful sign for the democratic party to have republicans going after republicans. quelly ward is the one that the president tweeted about. >> she tried to primary john mccain unsuccessfully. she's welcoming the president's support. listen to what she said about breitbart earlier this week. >> i never thought i'd have tweets from the president of the united states mentioning my name, spelling it correctly and then calling out my opponent on things i've been calling him out on all along. weak on border, weak on crime. remember, it's a year out from the election, so i think it's pretty spectacular. >> mitch mcconnell isn't happy
about that obviously. a super pack with him is going to be attacking the ward as not conservative. they're trying to target trump supporters out there. is this a gift to the democratic party? >> you would think it would be. the democrats are so inept themselves at this point. their inability in the state to put together the kind of strategy, who is the democratic opponent who's going to go challenge senator flake or kelly ward. those are the questions the democrats have to work out. >> do you think she could beat a democratic challenger even though she only took in 39% of the support. >> at the end of the day, the answer is probably going to be no. that's the problem with the dangerous sport of going after incumbents who have the ability to pull like minded democrats to support a conservative republican that works in a state like arizona.
we've seen this script before where they've gone after senator mccain and mccain stands tall. the voters at the end of the day, have a certain affinity for that particular incumbent regardless of party. >> michael steele, peter alexander, thank you very much. >> joining me now, rubin gaieggo. thank you for joining us. i want to take a moment and listen to what you said earlier. >> the president is clearly racist. i don't understand what we need. maybe we don't want to admit we elected a president who is a racist. but he is. >> why do you believe the
president is a racist, congressman? >> i'm surprised that this is becoming news. i've been saying this for at least seven months now. the first thing we know about president trump getting involved in any type of politics is when he tried to get five young black men executed in the central park rape case, even after they were discovered to be innocent he never apologized, next what we do know about him, is for the first time in history, we had the presidential -- our president being questioned about whether he was born in the united states or not. not coincidentally, it was an african-american president. and donald trump led that charge. in any other world, we would not let a president get away with this. this president stoked that xeno phobia against the first black president for years. we continue to see other patterns. at some point when you see all these things and we start
looking at individually, the actions are racist. you go to the white house and surround yourselves with neo-nazis such as bannon, miller. you have to question whether or not that man is a racist himself. he may not think he is a racist, i'm sure he doesn't. his actions are pretty strong. and his words are pretty strong. at some point whether we want to admit it or not, it is what it is. >> you need to find a way to work within the confines of that. what exactly do you mean work within the confines of that? >> i think now if we accept that he is who he is, we have to accept our responsibility as members of congress and the senate and recognize his actions and intent are coming from that prism, that belief. instead of looking at the muslim ban as some type of new policy, we need to recognize that he comes from a bigoted point of view.
let's look at the wall as a way for him to rattle up his base, and in his mind to keep out the criminals he's talked about in the past from the campaign. >> once you determine what it is. >> finish that thought. >> trying to stop these types of actions because at the core end it's based on what the motivation. >> the president has been criticized for trying to divide the country or effectively dividing the country. do you think calling him a racist and alienating his voters in the process is hopeful to try to find a way to unite this country? >> does that sort of language give a positive net effect? >> not every trump voter is a racist. and not every trump voter voted because the president is racist.
they have different reasons also being in denial does not help. trying to ignore the fact that's in front of our face, with the idea that we're supposed to be comfortable or somehow be polite to someone who is impolitte. someone that is standing in the way of american values. he's not going to change, he's 71. if we think somehow we back off, he's going to change, it's not going to happen. let's be honest with ourselves, he's going to be president at least in the next four years, let's figure out how to pen him in, work with areas that maybe there are places to work with. at this point i don't see any. let's stop him from trying to pass any legislation that has to do with race issues. at this point it's questionable about where his intent is coming from. >> thank you very much for joining us, sir. >> thank you.
>> rex tillerson has started his briefing. let's take a listen. >>. >> part of the corruption challenge in some respects has been the methods in ways we've been delivering our aid. we've not been as accountable in terms of ourselves in ensuring our aid programs are delivering results that they were intended to deliver. some of that has been challenged by the security environment. it's very difficult for many of our aid workers to operate in afghanistan. so as the security environment improves we expect to adopt a different approach as to how we zliv development and assistance that supports the afghan government. i think the president was clear, this entire effort is intended to put pressure on the taliban to have the taliban understand you will not win a battlefield
victory. we may not win one, but neither will you. this is a regional approach, part of the aren't effort took as long as it did, we chose not to focus on afghanistan. we took a fairly comprehensive view with our relationships with pakistan and india. we used pakistan and india to also bring pressure to bear on the situation in afghanistan pakistan in particular, can play an important role here pakistan has suffered acts of terrorism i think as dramatic as any we've seen anywhere. and we stand ready to help pakistan address terrorist organizations inside of their
country. they must a.m. dopt a different approach themselves. over the last few years there's been a real erosion in the confidence between our two governments. there's been an erosion in trust because we witnessed terrorist organizations given a safe haven to carry out attacks against u.s. servicemen, u.s. officials disrupting peace efforts inside of pakistan. we are ready to work with them to help them protect themselves against these terrorist organizations. certainly to begin to end their attacks that are disrupting our efforts of peace. we are going to be conditioning our support for pakistan and our relationship with them on them delivering results in this area. we want to work with pakistan in a positive way, they must change their approach.
india is emerging and has played an important role supporting the afghan government they've provided developmental assistance, economic assistance. they're hosting an important conference in india this next week. all of that is important to stabilizing afghanistan as a nation get their economy functioning. stabilize the country so they can provide new opportunities for their citizens. the effort is a reasonable effort, put pressure on the parties to understand this fighting is going to take everyone nowhere and it's time to begin a process. of reconciliation of peace accord afghanistan can choose its form of government that best
suits the needs of its people as long as it rejects terrorism never provides safe haven for terrorists. and accommodates all of the groups represented inside of afghanistan. how they want to organize themselves is up to them, but we have to recognize that their culture is a tribal culture, and their history accommodates the nature of those relationships. there's no reason their form of government cannot accommodate that as well. we want to reconcile a peace process much that's really the essence of the strategy. before taking your questions. i do want to make one comment on north korea. i think it is worth noting we have had no missile launches or provocative acts on the part of north korea since the unanimous adoption of the u.n. security council resolution.
i want to take note of that, i want to acknowledge it. i am pleased to see the regime in pyongyang has demonstrated some level of restraint we have not seen in the past. we hope this is the beginning of this signal we've been looking for that they are ready to restrain their level of intentions, their provocative acts and that, perhaps, we are seeing our pathway to sometime in the near future to seeing dialog dialogue. i think it's important to take note of the steps they've taken thus far. >> it seems like to me, at least, with a no nation building concept of the president laid out last night and what you just said the main difference other than the timetable part the main
difference between this new approach and the old one, you're eliminated two thirds of the clear hold and build strategy. in other words, you clear, you hold and you won't build, we will. what happens to the anti-corruption efforts that you mentioned the good governance, the counter narcotics, the education program. what happens to those. what is that going to mean for afghan women and girls who had been assured for the last 16 years by two separate administrations that they won't be abandoned. >> as you point out, there's been enormous strides in afghanistan both in terms of the numbers of millions of children that are now in school, being educated to the role of women in the afghan economy now has been
dramatically changed. i don't expect any of that to be rolled back. that's been part of the afghan government structures. it's been part of what the afghan people themselves expect if you go back to many years ago, that was the nature of afghanistan, 30, 40, 50 years ago, i think it is part of their culture already. we want to support that, in terms of the clear hold. that is still the approach, areas will be cleared and afghan security forces can hold those areas. part of what afghanistan struggles under, they do not have control over a portion of their economy so as the forces are able to hold areas and stabilize them they're still losing ground today, as you well know. this is going to take a little while. it's to stabilize and hopefully begin to regain control while
allowing the afghan government to continue what it has been doing under our assistance now for many years and not roll back any of the gains that have been made. what we're going to continue to help them institution ali, we may be taking different approaches and not putting so much of the u.s. taxpayer dollar on the ground building schools and building infrastructures, we think there are plenty of others that we're going to call upon for assistance as well we're there to facilitate and ensure there is a pathway for peace talks. as this pressure begins to take hold we believe there are certain moderate elements of the taliban who we think are going to be ready and develop a way forward. how long that will take will be again based on conditions on the ground.
>> a question that braces the military side and diplomatic side. in the short term at least, our forces will be more at risk because they will be potentially doing night raids against the taliban again not just training, but supporting interactive role because the afghan troops are not all up to par here, to push back against the taliban on the diplomatic side, why didn't the president mention russia's rearming of the taliban which general nicholson is talking about very openly. do you have enough people given the fact that there are not trump confirmed diplomatic appointees in many of these positions in the region? >> on the military operation
side of it, i would defer to the department of defense to answer that one. i know the approach is going to be similar to what we have had success elsewhere it's a by with and through approach. that's part of why the need for step up in troop levels is so weakened at the battalion level organize and help the afghan army fight in a different way. with respect to the comment about russia, to the extent russia is supplying arms to the taliban, that is a violation, obviously of international norms and a violation of u.n. security council norms if anyone's going to supply arms it needs to be through the afghan government in
terms of our footprint on the ground we have capable confident experienced people there now we have a pakistan ambassador that's been nominated, we hope to have that person cleared through the process soon. we've nominated ambassador bass. very complex place. he's very well equipped to step into this situation as well. we are looking at a couple different people for the special representative to the afghanistan and pakistan position currently. we're ready to get going with confident people, we have, and i'm not at all concerned about the competency level or the experience of the people we have working on this, i'm quite confident with them.
>> secretary tillerson, i know you don't want to talk about the military, but you were just using some military terms. >> i know and understand why the administration does not want to talk about tactical moves. strategy, don't the american people deserve to know approximately how many more of their sons and daughters will be going back to afghanistan in a war that's lasted 16 years? >> i don't want to speak for secretary mattis. i think what the president has conveyed and i agree with him. we are not going to signal ahead what our plans are we're not going to signal ahead an increase, a decrease, the timing of any of that. it will be driven by conditions on the ground. the only way we can defeat an enemy that is as nimble and cagey as this enemy, we have to be as cagey and tactical as they
are. and we've been not fighting that way. >> could that include strikes in pakistan? >> the president's been clear, we're going to protect american troops and servicemen we're going to attack terrorists wherever they live. and we have put people on notice that if you are harboring and providing safe haven to terrorists, be warned, be forewarned, we're going to engage with those who are providing safe haven and ask them to change what they're doing and help us help them. >> in my view, the greatest benefactor other than the afghan people themselves to achieving stability in pakistan are the people of pakistan. they will benefit more than any other nation. >> you said no preconditions to talks. specifically, are you saying that the u.s. no longer expects
the taliban to accept the afghan constitution and specifically the rights of women? and on pakistan, did you articulate in specific terms or do you plan to the kbenss of their actions? whether it be sanctions, dropping their nonnato ally status, what have you communicated or do you plan to communicate? >> i had a good call with the prime minister of pakistan yesterday afternoon. to give them a bit of a forewarning of what they were going to hear in the president's spee speech. we're going to be engaging with them in a serious and thorough way as to our expectations and the conditions that go with that. and all those things you just listed are on the table for discussion if in fact they're unwilling to change their posture or change their approach
to how they're dealing with the numerous terrorist organizations that find safe haven inside of pakistan. it's in pakistan's interest to take those actions when we say no preconditions on the talks. we're saying, the government of afghanistan and the taliban representatives need to sit down and sort this out. it's not for the u.s. to tell them, it must be this particular model, it must be under these condition conditions i think that's what the president means when he says we're no longer nation building. we've taken certain principles and forms around the world. we're going to be there to encourage others, but it's going to be up to the afghan government and the representatives of the taliban to work through a reconciliation process of what will serve their needs and achieve the american people's objectives, which is security, no safe haven for
terrorists to operate anywhere in afghanistan now or in the future. >> you mention the forced concerns. shortly before going to srap. how are you going to be able to get someone who's able to go out beyond the wire and negotiate regularly in that weekly basis with members from the hakani network. >> we're going to have to improve the security environment. the environment today is not conducive to carrying out those types of activities. you're exactly right. we're going to have to engage when it's important to engage. there are other aren't players to which this particular
conflict and situation in afghanistan are important. we've had discussions with the russians about the role they could play if they chose to. and certainly regional players in the gulf. gcc member countries are interested in seeing this area stabilized as well. there are a lot of partners that will have important roles they can play. often it comes down to the two parties the afghan government and the taliban representatives. >> thank you. going back to pakistan. democratic and republican administrations have tried to get the government to stop giving safe havens to the terrorist groups. what leverage do you think you have? >> obviously we have some
leverage that's been discussed in terms of the amount of aid and military systems we give them. their statuses as nonnato alliance partner, all of that can be put on the table. at the end of the day, pakistan has to decide what is in pakistan's best long term interest from a security standpoint for themselves, and for their people. quite frankly as i evaluate pakistan's current situation, if i were the pack stan government, i would have growing concerns about the strength of the taliban. and other organizations inside the taliban. at some point they become a real threat to the stability of the pakistani government itself. i think they need to be thinking about what is in their best long term interest and how can we work with them to achieve a safer more stable pakistan in the next decades to come as well.
i think they have to ask themselves that question, why does this work for them, and why does this continue to support their stability and the survival of their government in the years ahead if they continue to allow these elements to grow inside pakistan. >> last question. >> don't you fear on the other side that too much pressure on pakistan may destabilize islamabad and may have destabilize all the region having the taliban stronger in the country? >> that is a concern, and that's why i made the comments i just made, i think it's important that pakistan begin to think about its ability to contain the groups as well. it's why we take a regional approach. the u.s. alone is not going to change this dynamic with pakistan.
india and pakistan, they have their own issues they have to continue to work through. i think there are areas where perhaps even india can take some steps to improve the stability with pakistan and remove some of the reasons they zeal with unstable regions in their own country. china has strong interest in pakistan. having a stable secure future pakistan is in a lot of our interests. they are a nuclear power, we have concerns about their weapons, the security of their weapons, there are many areas in which we believe we should be having very productive dialogue that serves both of our interests and regional interest as well. so this is -- again, this is not a situation where the u.s. is saying, look, it's justus and you. what our approach to bring these reasonable approaches is to bring all the other interests into this effort. much as we've done with north
korea i think too often we try to disstill these issues. we have to encourage the circle of interest and bring others into the effort as well. that's what we'll be doing with pakistan as well. >> thank you, mr. secretary. thank you, everyone. >> rex tillerson speaking to reporters after the president's speech last night, trying to clarify exactly what he meant about his afghan policy, since the president gave away very little details about that, we did get a little more information from rex tillerson there. nbc's hans nichols is at the pentagon. he was in afghanistan this spring. phil rucker is the white house bureau chief with the washington
post. he also has his latest piece out that details how trump came to the decision of sending more troops to afghanistan. he led u.s. troops there on two combat tours in 2002 and 2004 and finally in d.c., he served under george w. bush. hans i want to start with you. rex tillerson talking a lot about pakistan and what they're going to need to do. talking about how they're going to try to find a diplomatic situation in afghanistan. he didn't address questions from a reporter about russia rearming the taliban. >> yeah, this is something we started hearing back over the spring that russia was sending small arms, and finding their
way to taliban forces. it's percolated up pretty high. we asked the secretary of defense about it, he's aware of those reports, he's come close to confirming them, for diplomatic reasons, you saw secretary tillerson not fully leaning into this idea that russia is actively supporting and arming forces that are fighting the united states, clearly he wants a regional approach. he said russia could be part of the solution in peace talks. and just to highlight the news real quickly. it's clear they want to restart peace talks with the taliban pressed on whether or not there should be any preconditions, secretary tillerson said there shouldn't be. they didn't wake up in islamabad knowing the situation with the u.s. is changed utterly, they're on notice they need to change their behavior. finally i'd be remiss if i didn't mention the olive branch
that secretary tillerson extended to north korea and kim john eun all but thanking him for not conducting any additional tests, since the united nations passed additional sanctions. some rhetoric many felt was irresponsible. a lot of news there, i'll be curious to hear what our panel thinks about it. >> remarkably different tone as you noted. i want to talk about pakistan one more time with you. a lot of our assets and supplies still go through pakistan. so putting them on notice, putting pressure on them, what does that look like from our standpoint? >> well, from the u.s. standpoint they'll be able to move assets in and out of afghanistan, regardless of whether or not they have pakistan's help. a lot of the trail comes up through the north and they fly up through the south as well. the most important thing to think of there is, what are they
going to do in terms of withholding additional fundses, they didn't certify pakistan was doing enough to fight the network, they withheld 350 million in military aid. there will be a sticks part of this, and the carrot part, look at what they keep saying with the trump administration saying about india. that is, they're going to have india play a bigger role economically, inside of afghanistan and they want everyone to sort of have a regional approach. that's not going to go over real well in islamabad. that to me is, they're bolstering the indians. >> pakistan not on good terms with india. negotiating with the taliban. to go back and say, there are
aspects of the taliban we're going to have to find a way to work around. this is a tribal country we can't deny it any longer. >> first up, i think hans is right, we didn't get a lot of details last night. secretary tillerson's comments are helpful. we can start to peace together what additional troops will be doing. in 2009 and 2010 the obama administration surged troops in afghanistan up to 100,000. we're still there. it's an open question as to what's an additional 4,000 or so troops going to be able to do at this point. what it seems like they're going toward is trying to force the taliban to the negotiating table saying, we don't want to stay in afghanistan forever, however, we will if you guys don't come to the negotiating table, i think that works for elements of the taliban, where that gets more complicated are those groups with very strong ties to
pakistan. which is probably why the trump administration has come down very hard on the pakistanis. despite the ability to play the spoiler in this conflict. >> there are around 8500 troops in afghanistan right now. we're hearing potentially an increase of 4,000 troops. the president's not saying whether or not that is going to happen. ultimately, though, they're going to have to tell their allies what they're sending in. they're going to have to tell the afghani government what they're sending in, tell congress what they're sending in. literally the only people they're not telling right now are the american people. 4,000 additional troops, is that enough to make a dent? >> it depends on how they're going to use them? >> i'm somewhat skeptical. i think the president really overpromised last night and is likely to overdeliver. >> over promise? he didn't give any details. >> he put the pakistanis on notice, the indians on notice. he hinted that the two sovereign
governments were going to change their policies against afghanistan. if you increase the u.s. forces from 8500 to 12,000, 13,000, you're not likely going to be able to defeat the taliban outright, whether or not you can apply more pressure on the taliban and bring them to the negotiating table if that's your end you're looking for. the president didn't say that last night, he seemed to imply that our end in afghanistan was just to avoid defeat. but secretary tillerson was a little more granular today and seemed to imply that the ultimate end state is to get to negotiations. >> the line last night that everyone took from that speech, we're not nation building any longer, we're killing terrorists. is it true we're not going to be nation building at all? >> we would sustain a little bit of what president trump would probably consider to be nation building. that was the main way that i
think president trump last night tried to distinguish himself from the previous two presidents. he tried to distinguish himself from president obama who had a time based approach, rather than a conditions based approach on what it takes to win, i'm surprised i haven't heard more people talk about it, i thought he defined what success is downward. which is there's no safe haven and no possibility of the taliban taking over the government the taliban could be part of the government, they can be maybe a minority faction in a larger government, but they couldn't take it over. and so i'm skeptical like andrew that 4300 troops is going to change the calculus, maybe it's enough to eke out these new reduced goals. >> if anyone is wondering how the president came to this decision, phil rucker really pulled the curtain back in his
article today. he decided to escalate troop levels. the president pinballed between his militaristic and anti-interventionist impulses he campaigned on not getting involved in any foreign wars, he campaigned on getting out of afghanistan. it's one of the most consistent things he's said over the years. he admitted this was a reversal last night. talk to me about how he came to this decision. i don't want to describe it as a slap in the face to steve bannon? >> well, it is. steve bannon had advocated for trump's core belief, which was to try to get out of this conflict in afghanistan, what you saw in tillerson's remarks, this is a complicated issue, and it took president trump many months of sessions with his
advisers and with general mattis, general mcmaster, the national security adviser for him to really comprehend and understand the history in afghanistan, the complexitity of the engagement there, the repercussions in some of these neighboring countries in the region, and understand all of the different power levers he may be able to pull as the president. his inclination all the way through out was to try to withdraw, get out of this mess. he viewed it as a disaster, a 16-year war that never seems to end with no victory in site. he came around deciding with his generals, i think he felt pressured to do that. and we're going to give this a shot. it's going to be long and complicated and perhaps messy. >> another fascinating tid bit, i believe it was from your piece, h.r. mcmaster showing the president a picture of afghanistan back in the a's 70s, where women were wearing mini-skirts will trying to convey to him it was somewhat
western once before, and it can be western once again. phil rucker, always a pleasure to have you. thank you again for bringing your insight to our show. hans nichols, andrew exem. and michael allen. we really do appreciate it here. speaking of steve bannon. he is back at breitbart and already targeting trump for breaking promises made on the trail. if bannon wages a full on war against trump's inner circle. can he win? thank you so much. thank you! so we're a go? yes!
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president trump's former chief strategist steve bannon is back at his old job running the far right website breitbart news. he may have fired the first shot in his war against some of his former white house colleagues. bannon was against further involvement in afghanistan. breitbart posted articles last night calling the president's position a, quote, flip-flop. president trump's america first base was the biggest loser of trump's speech on afghanistan intervention abroad and focus on nation-building at home. joining me here in the newsroom is associated press white house reporter johnathan lamir, also a friend of mine from the campaign trail. it was always questionable whether it was more dangerous to
have steve bannon inside the white house or outside the white house. are we learning one way or another right now? >> this has certainly gotten the white house's attention. >> they expected it, though, didn't they? >> they did, they expected it, but they respect what breitbart can produce. they know the loyal trump voters often turn to breitbart, perhaps even more, the younger voters, than fox news, to get their news. they're seeing these very critical headlines calling it a flip-flop, calling it reversing the course. you can also get a steve bannon fidget spinner. >> i'll go order one right now. >> they're concerned about certain people in the white house. steve bannon has made it very clear he'll use breitbart not just to hit democrats or establishment foes in the republican party like paul ryan, but those he clashed with while in the west wing.
>> the globalists. >> that's right, jared kushner, ivanka trump, perhaps even john kelly. >> for those who don't like this white house, don't like this administration, enjoy seeing them squirm, they might welcome this sort of thing. there was a great article today, talking about how ultimately it's not good for america to have somebody on the outside trying to tear down what's going on in the white house, trying to tear them apart, going after their colleagues, sniping, protecting maybe their own interests more so than the interests of this country. steve bannon, is he still going to an outsize role in terms of influence when it comes to this white house? >> it will be interesting to see. we know in trump world that if you're out, it doesn't mean you're really out. he still cause of action to corey lewandowski, chris christie, who have been cast out of their official roles but are still in his orbit. it's unclear what kind of relationship he'll still have
with steve bannon, whether bannon will be someone in trump's ear on the phone or will just communicate to him via breitbart. i should point out, bannon has suggested he doesn't want to go after trump by name, yet. but in an article in breitbart right now about the potential immigration plan, he suggests if trump does away with his promises around dhaka, this could be, quote, his merkel moment. >> steve bannon didn't join the campaign until august of 2016 but had influence before that, he was on the phone with donald trump a lot. vanity fair special correspondent gabe sherman had a report on sunday saying the chaotic, war-torn west wing of the past six months will be prologue, but the coming struggles will be personal as well as ideological. most of all, there is a deep animosity between bannon and kushner, as you said a moment ago, amplified by a lack of
respect. bannon finds kushner's political instincts highly questionable. the two clashed fearless on personnel decisions and policy debates, both domestic and international, many of which bannon lost. they also suggest he might go after kushner for the firing of james comey, and reince priebus, no less. >> those close to bannon say he believes kushner is the weak link in this white house in the russia investigation and he's trying to telegraph to bob mueller and others that this is perhaps where you should look, maybe he's the reason why the fbi director was fired, to cover up something. of course there's no evidence for that claim but that's what' saying handoff b saying. bannon is not shy about going after his enemies and it appears jared and his wife may be among his enemies. >> and who do they trash talk? gary cohn and jared kushner.
thank you for joining us. one more thing before we go, questions louise linton, the wife of treasury secretary steve mnuchin, posted a photo of herself deplaning a government jet in kentucky, hashtag day trip, hashtag hermes scarf. folks on instagram weren't impressed. glad we could pay for your little getaway, one woman commented. instead of just ignoring the woman, linton fired back and then kept on firing. cute, aww! did you think this was a personal trip? adorable. do you think the u.s. government paid for our honeymoon or personal travel? lololol. have you given more to the economy than me and my husband? pretty sure the amount we've sacrificed per year is a lot
more than you would be willing to sacrifice if the choice was yours. you're adorably out of touch. your kids look very cute, your life looks cute. yikes. as you would assume, social media took linton to task, flaming her for trying to wealth shame, for trying to mock a woman for earning less than she and her husband whose estimated net worth is several hundred million dollars. linton ultimately deleted the post entirely and made her account private but not before the screen grabs went viral. treasury department officials tell bloomberg that linton does pay her own way on treasury trips. not enough, though, says the recently resigned director of the office of government ethics. walter shaub called linton a, quote, freeloading spouse and scolded mnuchin on twitter.
ali velshi, what do you think of that? >> you and i can't make our instagrams private. >> i don't have a public instagram. >> really? >> no. if you want to talk to me, talk to me on twitter. >> so you can say whatever you want on how people dress. >> you know what's on my instagram? pictures of sunsets. it's not exciting. >> food, sunsets, animals. >> no politics. if you want to talk politics with me, let's talk twitter. >> nice to see you. have a great rest of your day. i'll pick up from here. fresh off his speech on afghanistan, president trump is headed to arizona. the question is will he or won't he pardon former maricopa county sheriff arpaio. arpaio endorsed him ahead of the election. >> it's easy for me to endorse him. it's common sense. why would i not want to endorse him? why not? everything that i b