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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  August 25, 2017 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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thousands of people have coast coastal areas as mandatory evacuations are in place. the impact of the storm is expected to be life threatening, that's according to the national hurricane center. harvey's on track to make landfall early saturday morning. up to three feet of rain is expected in some areas which could no doubt cause catastrophic flooding. >> one message we need to get to everybody, and that is heed warnings. your life is in potential danger. >> as they say, get out of dodge. >> we do have a team of reporters stationed along the texas course from corpus christi to galveston. president trump is keeping a close eye on the situation. and spoke by phone with the governors of texas and louisiana. offering federal support. all as he's battling with fellow republicans on the border wall and debt ceiling. let's take a look at what we can
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expect along the gulf coast. let's go to bill, what's the latest? >> as we continue to watch the storm approaching land, the eye is 90 miles from the coast. it's moving at ten miles per hour. so we're still talking about the landfall this evening. you can see the storm on radar, it's been wiggling a little bit but it's heading in the northeast direction. the winds are increasing, the water and waves will start increasing, as we start to get into the heart of the storm. this right here, is the hurricane force winds. that will move on shore this evening around 5:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m. here's the path. they think landfall east of corpus christi. that could put corpus christi in the western eye wall. the worst storm surge would be towards the east. let 110 miles per hour winds.
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it's not yet a category 3 hurricane. we're waiting for the hurricane hunters to do another pass through the eye wall. the last time they went through it was 107. the storm surge will be a huge problem this evening. this is the future radar. this is 5:00 p.m. this evening, this is the eye of harvey and this here is the first outer portion of the eye wall. this is where the first significant wind damage will take place at 5:00 p.m. this evening local time. notice that's approaching corpus christi and all the beautiful beach areas here towards the coast. as we forward it through the evening, you watch the eye make landfall. the center of it has to cross land, that looks like it will be around 10:00 p.m. corpus christi is still in the eye after five hours. and then as we go throughout the night, it slows down and then the back portion of the eye towards 4:00 a.m. could still be over corpus christi. we have a city with 300,000 people, a lot didn't evacuate,
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some did. could be in the eye of the hurricane for 12 hours at least. that's just brutal conditions to be sitting in the dark, listening to that wind howling. that's what they could be dealing with. here's another one of our computers. this one is predicting a landfall further up the coast, possibly keeping the eye wall out of corpus christi. very close call. regardless, there's going to be a lot of wind destruction tonight in this area. of course, we've got to deal with the storm surge. 12 foot storm surge with that center crossing here, that is to the northeast of the landfall. the areas where we have kerry sanders, 12,000 people live there, population, almost all of them are completely gone. that is expected a possibility of 10-12 feet of water. this monitor is up to 6 1/2 feet. we're doubling the heights from this monitor. that's probably incredible stuff. then finally, as far as the winds go, the timing on that, guys, tropical storm now, by 7:00 p.m., 8:00 p.m.,
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10:00 p.m., that's when hurricane force winds will get on shore. i didn't mengtion the water and rainfall. we'll deal with the immediate concerns right now. we'll have four days to talk about the epic historic rains. >> and getting people out of harm's way. our team is in place ahead of harvey's maia rodriguez is in corpus christi. i know this is a small town, but the potential devastation is high. give us a sense of what you're expecting. >> reporter: the rain lhas pickd up. you can see as i stand and look over my shoulder here, this is the causeway bridge that heads over had bay. you can't see the end of it right now. that's how much the rain is coming down, obscuring our view. just beyond there is a chemical factory. that factory was burning off
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some of its natural gas this morning as they were shutting down. we can clearly see the flames. now you can't even see the flames through the rain as they're still continuing to shut down. most of calhoun county now is evacuated. there's a few stragglers. the police are going door to door, making sure that people know they need to leave. there are some buses that pulled people out of here. we just heard bill talking about the storm surge. remember what a storm surge is, it's the water building up as the hurricane comes in. adding to the problem, of course, is this is a bay, so it narrows. so as the water comes up, it has no where else to go but keep building up. when we're talking about six, 10, 12 feet of water, that dome of water comes in and floods out the area. and that is why they're urging people, a few who have decided to remain, that there is nothing they can do to protect their home. the number one cause of death in a hurricane is not from a missile hitting somebody in the head, it's from drowning.
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that is because the greatest danger ultimately with the hurricane is that storm surge that comes in. chris? >> do you have any idea how many hurricanes you've covered over the years? >> reporter: you know, i was thinking about it. the first one i covered was 1982. i've covered them from as far south as nicaragunicaragua, to of long island. all i've learned while covered hurricanes, people need to listen. it's easy to believe that somehow you can stay home and protect your belongings. there is nothing you can do in a hurricane. there is nothing you think do. when those people turn to me and say what should i do, if you can get on a plane and go to another state do that. at minimum get in your car, go to a shelter, ride it out. the camaraderie with other people will psychologically help
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you through this. it was 25 years ago today would have been the day that we were waking up after hurricane andrew and seeing the devastation. my fear is, bhiwhile this is a category 3, it could be just as bad and could be horrible where you are. please evacuate. >> i remember a time when you were holding on to a host like you have now and you were practically blowing away. >> reporter: right now i'm not blowing. >> thank you for that. maya is in corpus christi. some pieces of the eye could hit there overnight. i see the winds picking up, what's happening in town right now? >> reporter: since the last time we spoke to you, the conditions here have deteriorated dramatically. obviously, it's raining, the winds have picked up. the seas, they just look angry.
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the water has been creeping up the steps of the sea wall as we have been out here for hours. i don't know if you can see in the distance there, there is a jetty and there is cars that have been making their way there. i see police cars now. but people have been sight seeing out here, coming out here to sort of check out the waves, see what's going on in regards to hurricane harvey. the officials we've been talking to say, listen in a couple hours the water will completely cover that area. they do not want people heading out there, despite the fact that some people have been. we have seen people walking up and down the sea wall all morning long. it's hard to believe that they want to be out here. you talk to them, they say, yeah, we wanted to come see what was going on. a lot of people here did not evacuate, take a listen to one person who chose to ride it out. >> we just don't want to leave our houses. we want to stay here. i mean, we're worried about everything, but we just don't want to leave the house.
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it's going to take longer to come back in if we go out of town. >> reporter: so we just spoke to the mayor a short time ago, and we asked him why they did not issue a mandatory evacuation here. he said that was in consultation with other first responding agencies here as to why they did not. however, he said it is still on the table. i have to tell you, with the conditions deteriorating the way they are, i don't see how that's possible. it could be very treacherous driving at this point. >> thank you for that. and for you and kerry, thank you. and take care out there. president trump tweeted a picture, it shows him in the oval office, he's being briefed on preparations ahead of hurricane harvey. joining me now on the phone is the director of the texas department of public safety. it's good to talk to you and i know how busy you all are. give us a sense of your readiness and your biggest concerns right now. >> yeah, thanks so much for having us on. our concern is just as kerry
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said, is that everyone heeds warnings from their local officials. this is very serious storm, it developed pretty quickly as you all have been covering. it is so critical that if a local leader has told the area to evacuate, that you get out now. i think also as you have mentioned, the window is closing. it's important that everybody do what the local leaders are saying, they have timely information that's critical to life saving. >> we were watching a few hours ago, and they had buses lined up, people were getting on. some people were choosing to stay behind. people were getting on. others didn't have transportation. they were going to be taken to where they have shelters. are you confident that if people want to get out and need transportation you have it there for them and what is your status for shelters for folk whose are
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taking your advice? >> the governor has been proacti proactive. he has declared 30 counties disaster declarations already. he directed that we stage state resources in and around those impacted areas. so if somebody needs a ride out, we have those resources available to them. again, that window is closing. if they need to get out, it's important they get with their local officials and coordinate that now. we've been coordinating with our state partners, our local partners and our federal partners as well as we've gone through the storm and seen it intensify. if someone needs assistance getting out we can help them do that. once that timeline starts to shorten and we're looking at later on in the day, as your correspondents have said it's going to be more difficult to get out. if someone is in the path and the local leaders have evacuated or called an evacuation, they need to get moving right now. >> what are the resources that fema is providing for you folks? >> well, so we're coordinating with fema, we're coordinating
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with all of our state partners, certainly the national weather service. so we've got a number of resources in the area from ambulances to texas military department high profile vehicles, national guard personnel are on hand. we have search and rescue available. hopefully we won't need to use the search and rescue, but certainly we have to be mindful that some folks aren't going to leave that area. we have to be prepared to come in in the event we need to start doing rescues once harvey comes on shore. >> you guys have a long weekend ahead of you, thank you so much and our thoughts and prayers are with all the folks who are in the path of this storm, we appreciate it. >> thank you so much. as we continue to keep our eyes on hurricane harvey, we'll switch back to politics. president trump is threatening to shut down the government if congress can't find funding for his border wall. a blistering op-ed on president trump from a former republican senator. he will join me next. this is "andrea mitchell reports," only on msnbc.
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president trump is monitoring hurricane harvey's movements along the gulf coast. moments ago he tweeted about it. i have spoken with governor abbott of texas and louisiana governor edward closely monitoring hurricane harvey developments and here to assist as needed. his team in washington is juggling a laundry list of problems. the president has thrown on to their plate, how to avoid a
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government shutdown and how to placate a president who wants money for a border wall. peter alexander is at the white house for us. never a dull moment there. they're still working on the white house with the trucks behind you. let's start with what most people look at as the most immediate problem, the shutdown threat over funding the wall. you have reporting that indicates maybe there could be a compromise? >> reporter: it sounds like it. a senior administration official is telling us today that the president is likely to support a short term fix for this, basically what we call in washington a cr, continuing resolution, which basically covers the next three or four months in terms of funding the government. he would do that without demanding money for the border wall. at the conclusion of that, perhaps, when congress works on the longer term spending bill that the president would demand that funding for the border wall be included. i'm told by officials that he views it as a serious slthreat.
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lawmakers say they're taking it seriously as well, including maine senator collins who is critical of this ultimatum saying it's disruptive to the process. >> i want to turn to the president's latest rounds of tweets. when he responded to the critical remarks from senator bob corker. strange statement by bob corker considering he's constantly asking me whether or not he should run again in '18. tennessee not happy. i mean, we haven't heard him, senator corker might be retiring, is there a chance he's making a private conversation public? what do we know about this? >> reporter: bob corker has been one of the most reliable allies to this president, which makes this situation that much more striking, he's the latest in the roster of trump targets. you have mitch mcconnell. paul ryan, jeff flake, john
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mccain and now bob corker. he's been pretty supportive of the president, but after the president's comments, corker was critical. he said the president doesn't appear to understand the character of this nation. he said he's not yet been able to demonstrate the competence that is necessary as president to be successful. it appears those are the comments that got under the president's skin and perhaps that's the reason why he's returning to the familiar target, which is trying to strongarm a leading member of congress in a way for this white house, for this president. that chaos, that disruption is his demonstration of power. >> and i want to ask you quickly about gary cohn. he's a jewish american. he had to stand next to the president during that stunning set of comments about his many sides argument in response to charlottesville. we're finally hearing from him. he gave a pretty extensive interview to the financial times. give us the highlights. >> reporter: the bottom line is
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this was remarkable because it was the first time we're hearing from gary cohn. he's a jewish american that was standing by the president's side during that stunning news conference. he right now is contradicting the white house lines saying this administration can and needs to do much better in basically condemning these hate groups. he said citizens standing up for equality can never be equate would the kkk. he goes on to say he has faced enormous pressure to resign and to stay in his post. that he's reluctant to leave as he describes it, because he doesn't want the neo nazis to win, to be forcing him out of the post. the reason why this matters is, just simple speculation that he might leave, had a big impact on wall street. they like him being the guy behind the scenes here. there were concerns about what would happen if he left. he is the face for this white
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house of tax reform, one of its top priorities as we head into september. >> thank you so much. former republican senator danforth in missouri writes -- the title first of all is trump is exactly what republicans are not. part of what he writes is the fundamental reason trump isn't a republican is far bigger than words or policies. he stands in opposition to the founding principle of our party. that of a united country. joining me now, former senator john danforth, bill crystal, charl charlie sykes. senator, it's good tuesday yo s. was there something that sparked this article, has it been building for you? >> it's been building, it just popped out. >> why now? >> well, i mean, it could have been yesterday or last week,
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maybe it should have been. but it's, to me, is a very, very important thing to say. you know, i am a republican. i've always been a republican. i'm loyal to my party. but donald trump is not. he is not just different on a few issues, he's fundamentally opposite of what the republican party is, the way it was founded. it's the party of abe raham lincoln. he's a divider and uses every opportunity he gets to set one group against the rest of the country. to say to people they don't really belong. he's the opposite of what the republican party is. and he's the opposite of what a founding principle of the country has been, and that is to hold together all these diverse groups and interests in one country. >> you know, it's interesting that you mention abraham lincoln. i was scrolling through. you also mentioned lincoln in
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the op-ed you wrote. i want to read a little bit of it. you're talking about december 18, '62, abraham lincoln told congress. the dogmas of the past are inadequate to the stormy present. we must rise with the occasion as our case is new, we must think and act anew. we must disenthrall ourselves and then we'll save our country. you go on to call president trump a talented demagogue. what do you make of what's going on right now? and people like senator danforth who are coming out and saying what he's saying? >> it's a big moment and we're trending to treat it as a psycho drama. so and so are having a fight, bob corker now. it's a fight for the soul of the republican party. it may lead to a split in the party, it may lead to people like me, and i suppose jack danforth leziaving the party.
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josh hall, the leading candidate to be the republican nominee for the senate isn't going to appear with donald trump. i suspect hall will end up in a primary with some trump supporting republican. the attack on bob corker, i think they would be happy to see a trump supporter nominee. looks to me like across the country we'll have an actual fight in 2018 beyond the sniping, and the psycho drama for what the republican party stands for. is it a trump republican party or is it a different kind of republican party? >> of course, the president keeps taking the shots at his own party. this morning he tweeted if senate republicans don't get rid of the filibuster rule and go to a 51% majority, few bills will be passed. eight dems control the senate. obviously, charlie, you don't even have to be paying attention closely to know what mitch mcconnell has said, to know what republicans have said. this is not going to happen. they're not going to get rid of the legislative filibuster.
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is this about him anticipating losses in 2018 and saying it's on you members of congress? >> that's exactly what it is. donald trump is prepared to tear down the republican party and tear down his own agenda as long as he doesn't get blamed. in trump world, he never loses. if he fails, it's because he's been betrayed or he's been stabbed in the back. i agree that we can get caught up in the psycho drama. this is an important historical moment. i'm grateful to senator danforth for speaking out. he is saying what a lot of people are thinking. jeff flake said a lot of what people are thinking but have not yet come forward and said. they really are reminding people that, you know, the republican party is not defined by donald trump. should not be defined by donald trump. and what senator danforth has done is to express what the conscious of a real republican
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looks like. i'm very grateful for that. >> i was thinking as i was seeing what gary cohn said today about the fact that he had a lot of pressure on both sides, people who said after the comments the president made on charlottesville, you have got to leave there. as a jewish american, as somebody who has been very involved in supporting those causes, you have got to leave. other people who said we need people like you inside the government, we're concerned about what happens to the stock market if you leave. there's a lot of push and pull for people. and, yet, there are folks who are deciding to come out you can correct me if you think i'm wrong. i don't think people think the president is going to change. is there something the republican party is doing that they need to change to make sure that something gets done, that the american people are served here? >> i don't think the president -- i don't know.
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i don't know donald trump. i doubt that he's going to change. but the question is whether the public believes that donald trump is the republican party. and he's not. and what we have to do as republicans, i don't have any intention to leave the republican party. i've always been a republican. i believe in the party. i think we need a reasonable, good strong conservative political party in our country. and that's what the republican party has to offer. so in my view we have to keep the republican party. i believe in it. but we have to disassociate from donald trump. if the public gets the idea that donald trump is the republican party, we're sunk. i mean, people say, okay, a lot of republicans who are sticking with him. well, 35% of the american people aren't going to like anybody. so we are sunk as a party if we
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continue -- give the impression that we are donald trump and that people who vote for republicans are going to vote for donald trump. we have to make it very clear that he is not of us. >> bill crystal, there's a little bit of a qualifier there i'm hearing from the senate that we are sunk if. how close is the republican party to going off the cliff? i was thinking as i was watching the phoenix rally and somebody shouts for the death of john mccain and the president criticizes him. your senator is undergoing chemotherapy right now. we're all thinking and praying for him and his family. the contrast with john mccain when something was said about barack obama in a rally that he was doing and he took the microphone away and said no, that's not true. he made a stand that that's not who he was and his party was. how close is the republican party to what concerns senator danforth? >> it depends on the behavior of the republican party and the
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republican party will be defined by the behavior of its members of congress. do they bend over backwards to continue excusing donald trump or do they say we're here to constrain donald trump as we are to support him. not to cheerlead him. do we have our views on policy? more importantly to the point of which we encourage people to stay in the white house, let's make clear we're doing that because we want them to contain trump, not to simply go along with him. and so i think everything depends on what republicans and congress do. maybe we'll end up with a republican party that is a distinct as senator danforth looks. we could have a republican party that looks complicit with donald trump. one has to put country above party. >> there are folks who are saying, the next 48 hours critical for this president. he is faced with his first natural disaster, how he and his government responds is going to
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go a long way to how a lot of people may feel. because, obviously, this is a crisis that's going to affect millions of people. do you think this is a test or is that overstated? >> no, it's a test. but there will be many tests for this president. you know, one thing we've learned is that 48 hour periods do not define who a president is. there's no question about it, hurricane katrina, superstorm sandy were, you know, major events that had political fallout and this could as well. >> thanks to all of you, appreciate it. >> thank you. and let's take a live look at galveston, texas. that's where hurricane harvey's outer bands are already beginning to hit the area with rainfall. you see the water is very choppy there. we'll be live next. this is "andrea mitchell reports," only on msnbc. when it's time to move to underwear
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we're following the latest developments with hurricane harvey. barrelling towards texas as millions brace for impact. the storm expected to pack winds of up to 130 miles per hour bringing a storm surge of up to 12 feet and a down pour dumping as much as two feet of rain. all flights out of corpus
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christi's airport has just been canceled. mandatory evacuations are underway for low lying areas. that governor has declare adstaaed a disaster zone. how are things working? >> reporter: we're in galveston. we have seen a lot of rain off and on throughout the day. this is the outer band of the hurricane. here in galveston, it's 200 miles from corpus christi which is where all eyes are focused on. it's going to see the most rain and highest surges. the winds are not supposed to be as strong in galveston and the surges are not supposed to be as high. still a dangerous situation. they want people to keep an eye out. there have only been a few voluntary evacuations in this area. a lot of people are choosing to stay. we were at a business nearby who said they were open until the letters fly off the sign.
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we'll see days of rain, likely heavy rain, possibly 15-20 inches over the course of a few days. that's what's got people concerned. they're sticking around, especially in the low lying areas to see if there's going to be any flooding, trying to put up sand bags. we know those have been hard to find. there are fears that the power could go out and could go out for several days. folks are getting prepared with generators. you cannot have a curvonversati in galveston without them mentioning hurricane ike. it devastated the area. a lot of people are thinking about what happened then. you also hear a lot about a hurricane that happened in 1900. it was a monstrous hurricane that killed thousands of people. they have built a sea wall which held up pretty well during hurricane ike. there is still concern that if surges come in it could cause flooding. >> thank you for that.
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troy brimmage is the mayor of freeport, texas. he joins me by phone. i know freeport is under a mandatory evacuation order. are most of your residents following the guidelines and how prepared are you? >> yes, ma'am. for our mandatory evacuation, it's for our low lying areas, just off the intracoastal here. the rest of our city we have issued a voluntary evacuation. and that is based upon not winds, but the rainfall amounts that are expected. our conference call with the national weather service indicated our tide surges have increased. that was another concern and a reason for our decision to call for that evacuation. >> what are your biggest concerns right now. >> the rainfall and the amount of time that we get it in. we have prepared with three extra pumps that pump 6,500 gallons per minute, in addition
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to our permanent city pumps. we have placed those in strategic locations where we've had significant flooding in the past. and our plan is to be ahead of that water and pump it out of our city, out of our levee system into the river out into the gulf before we have significant flooding. >> is there any help that you need that you're not getting in terms of whether it's state help, fema help, do you feel like you're as prepared as you can possibly be? >> i feel we're more prepared than we've ever been. the help from the commissioners, our city employees have gone above and beyond. we couldn't ask for anymore. >> mayor, facing the eye of that storm. thank you so much and good luck to you. prayers and thoughts with you. >> thank you, and same to you. coming up, operation shutdown. president trump digging in on his threat to shut down the government over border wall funding. democratic senator chris van hollen joins me next to discuss what that would mean.
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hollen. seems like he's putting the problems on your doorstep? >> it's reckless and unprecedented, really, for a president of the united states to be essentially calling for a government shutdown if he doesn't get his way. he has said he'll shut down the government if he doesn't get money to build a border wall, a border wall which is ineffective. it's a waste of taxpayer money. if i remember correctly he said mexico was going to pay for that. now he's saying he's going to shutdown the u.s. government. >> there are more than a few analysts who say at least privately a lot of democrats would love that. mitch mcconnell said they would have to own the shutdown. do you think democrats would say you know what? if it happens, it's on him? >> well, i mean, if it happens, it's on him. no doubt about it. he's telegraphed that's his plan of action. but that's a very different thing than saying we would like a government shutdown. of course, we would not. it would be incredibly disruptive to the country. it would disrupt services like
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social security and medicare. the payments would go forward, but the people who administer the payments could see their -- be dramatically cut. it would have very widespread negative implications around the country. and, of course, comes when we've got to deal with the debt ceiling issue. so, chris, to hear the president of the united states say that he will threaten a government shutdown, is reckless. and, of course, if he moves forward with what he said he wanted to do, he will bear the responsibility. >> well, you bring up the debt ceiling, and obviously, the markets have shown nerves about that. if it would come to something like that, a real crisis of panic, you know, we're talking about trillions of dollars, which are at stake, including what, almost half of americans who have money in the markets largely within their 401(k)s. how confident are you that you can take care of the debt ceiling and avoid a shutdown? >> after hearing what the
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president had to say, my confidence level is going down. and that's the problem. that's why you see the -- >> do you think that cooler heads will prevail on capitol hill? >> well, i certainly hope so. you need a partner in the white house to deal with this. and, essentially, you've got a president of the united states who instead is insulting republican leaders in the house and in the senate. which, obviously, makes it difficult for people to come together. but i can assure you that democrats are going to work very hard to make sure we keep the government open and that the united states meets its responsibilities. but you need a partner. and the president seems to be in no mood to do the responsible thing here. >> you just returned from a bipartisan congressional delegation to asia. this is something you went to to talk about easing tensions with north korea. it's fallen out of the headlines for the past couple of days. for a while the tensions were intense. they were escalating, a lot of back and forth with the leader there and with the president of
quote
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the united states. nikki haley was at the cameras at the u.n. and i want to play for you what she had to say. >> north korea's been a situation we haven't taken our eye off of at all since the last icbm testing. we'll continue to stay strong and aggressive. we're going to continue to hope that they do want to come to the table and talk by stopping all the nuclearization and topping all of the irresponsible actions they've taken. >> did that change your view at all? i wonder what you think about what you heard from nikki haley and where you think we are with north korea right now? >> i want to give a big shoutout to senator markey who organized this delegation to focus on the issue and threat of north korea. and i think we all came away thinking we need to dial down the rhetoric, but we need to dial up the pressure on north
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korea. especially economic pressure. and china, of course, is absolutely essential in doing that. so in addition to implementing the new u.n. sanctions, we believe that the chinese should cut off the oil supplies that are currently flowing to north korea to really squeeze their economy in a serious way so they come to the table for serious negotiations to denuclearize the korean peninsula. >> i want to read part of this op- op-ed. complete denuclearization is not going to happen. but curbing kim before it becomes a threat is achievable through the tough stubborn diplomacy that stopped iran short of a bomb. is he right and can that happen? >> well, i do think the first step toward total denuclearization is a freeze. a freeze in their nuclear
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weapons program, their missile program, especially their icbm program. the intercontinental program that allows them to hit the united states. in order to get them to do that, we need to really raise this economic pressure level. and that's going to require cooperation from all parties. so i do think it's achievable if we're steady about it. if we tone down the rhetoric and we work together. so i do believe in congress, you're going to have a bipartisan effort to really enforce the u.n. sanctions and make sure that china, especially, is serious about doing it. we saw that china was cutting down on the trade that was coming across the chinese north korean border, but we continue to get reports that chinese banks and financial institutions are used as conduits for north korea. they continue to supply oil to north korea, which is really
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what allows that economy to continue. >> senator chris van hollen, good to talk to you, thank you so much. have a good weekend. coming up, testing, testing, the president faces his first natural disaster test. hurricane harvey barrels its way towards the gulf coast. how will his people respond? that's next on the inside scoop on "andrea mitchell reports," only on msnbc. later, gary' i have a motorcycle! wonderful. ♪ ♪ i'm goin' up the country, baby don't you wanna go? ♪ ♪ i'm goin' up the country, baby don't you wanna go? ♪ geico motorcycle, great rates for great rides. so find a venus smooth that contours to curves, the smoother the skin, the more comfortable you are in it. flexes for comfort, and has a disposable made for you. skin smoothing venus razors.
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at the top of the hour, the president took to twitter to let us know he's closely monitoring hurricane harvey, and he tweeted this photo of a briefing inside the oval office. he says he's been in contact very closely with fema, that he's fully engaged. let's get the inside scoop from heidi president balancea, senior political reporter for "usa today" and msnbc political analyst. jeremy peters with the "new york times" and msnbc contributor. heidi, the hurricane is going to be the president's first big test of this kind. is he ready? is his team ready? >> well, natural disasters, chris, as you know, can be defining moments for presidents. just ask george w. bush. the risk for trump is that we don't know yet just how devastating this is going to be. and he does have several vacancies at some of the main agencies that oversee these events, including the national oceanic and atmospheric
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administration, including a temporary director at the department of homeland security, which oversees fema. and the coast guard. and so if there is a major event here, let's hope that president trump learned from some of the mistakes of president bush during hurricane katrina. number one, get those supplies in, and get them in quickly. if you remember, some of the most damaging images for president bush were all of those people huddled into the super dome. didn't have the supplies they need. people waving from rooftops. and two, if there is a major catastrophe, go there and go there quickly. bush's mistake was he hung back at his ranch on vacation for a couple days and had those pictures of him flying over katrina at a distance. no, get on the ground. and i guess we'll see how this plays out. hopefully it will not be on a scale of katrina, which we know killed hundreds of people. >> absolutely. and chuck grassley, obviously, has the same concern. that you just voiced. and he tweeted today, donald trump, hash tag hurricane, keep
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on top of hurricane harvey. don't make the same mistake president bush made with katrina. i mean, one would hope, jeremy peters, that a president or anybody who is in a position to deal with a natural disaster like this, would not have to be reminded that it's probably not a good idea to let people die. to let what happened after hurricane katrina during hurricane katrina happen again. but what is your sense of how the white house feels? do they feel this is a test? how much nervousness is there on capitol hill among republicans? >> it's a huge test of his leadership, no doubt. and heidi is absolutely correct in pointing out that presidents need to be physically present as quickly as possible in situations like this. one thing, you know, president trump does have going for him, despite the fact that his leadership is under serious questioning by members of his own party, is that he does grasp the importance of the ceremonial aspects of the job. and i think that this would not
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be an area in which the president would fall down on the job. interestingly enough, the fema directo director he has appointed won high praise across the board. was confirmed, i believe, with 95 votes. he used to run alabama's emergency management division. so he's in a good position. >> so, heidi, what is going to constitute that they have done their job? you do have this fema director who, you know, was not somebody who was highly controversial. presumably, a lot of the people who have dealt with this before in fema, the actual folks on the ground have dealt with this before. it's not like there's been a wholesale purging of fema. what's going to be -- is it easy to say as long as everything gets dealt with, as long as all the localities, as long as all the governors say fema did for us what we needed them to do, he passes? >> it is going to be the images
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of whether people are able to be rescued, whether there is in a timely fashion. it is going to be the scale of human suffering. and, frankly, how many deaths there may be as a result of this. and let's hope that it is minimal. of course, people on the ground, the local authorities, share a lot of the responsibility. but the end of the day, those images will be spliced with trump's promises and trump's tweets that he is sending out right now. >> heidi, jeremy, our thoughts and prayers again. they are with the people in the path of this storm. thanks to both of you. and we'll be right back. or even trouble with recall. thankfully, the breakthrough in prevagen helps your brain and actually improves memory. the secret is an ingredient originally discovered... in jellyfish. in clinical trials, prevagen has been shown to improve short-term memory. prevagen. the name to remember.
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