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tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  August 28, 2017 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT

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to make a $10 donation. you can find more ways to help at that's tonight's last word. "the 11th hour" starts now. tonight, trump and russia. robert mueller's team looks into the role president trump played into writing that statement about his son's meeting with russians. plus how the trump business wants pursued a deal with russia with one associate writing, i will get putin on this program, and we will get donald elected. all this as trump today woents say russia poses a security threat and says he hopes the u.s. will some day have a good relationship with russia. also north korea fires another missile. the president heads to flood ravaged texas. and a newly pardoned joe arpaio could try to primary one of trump's republican critics. the 11th hour rgs on a monday
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night begins now. good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. i'm in for brian williams. day 221 of the trump administration and bringing a cries at home and abroad. all while he deals with the building pressure from the russia investigation that this white house cannot seem to shake. we start? southeast texas where now tropical storm harvey is still pounding the coast with historic levels of rain. experts say the storm is just getting started, with up to 20 more inches of rain expected. officials have confirmed the storm killed three. more than 2,000 rescued. president trump will visit the area tomorrow. here is what he said about the storm today. >> i want to begin today by extending my thoughts and prayers for those affected by hurricane harvey.
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right now the single most important thing is the safety and security of those still in harm's way, including the first responders who have been so terrific and brave. you can see very rapid action from congress, certainly from the president. and you're going to get your funding. >> now during that same press conference, the president was asked about russia. tonight the white house is dealing with several new headlines about the investigation into russia's interference in our election and whether the trump campaign could have been involved. >> mr. trump would you consider russia as a security threat? >> well i consider many countries a security threat unfortunately when you look at what's going on in the world today. >> do you think finishland could be of assistance helping u.s. get better relations with russia. >> i hope we do have good relations with russia. i think it's good if we have great relationships or at least good relationships with russia. that's very important.
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and i believe some day that will happen. >> if finishland's relationship with russia were to deteriorate, would the u.s. -- what kind of assistance would the u.s. be willing to give to finishland bilaterally if we needed it. >> as i said before our relationship with finishland is a very close one and we are always really to help finnland. >> actually they're a nato member so we're a oblienld to help. news organization haves published three big new reports about the russia investigation. first, new tonight, nbc news reports exclusively that justice department special counsel robert mueller's team is asking if trump tried to hide the purpose of that now-famous trump tower meeting on june 9th, 2016. they're looking at the statement that donald trump jr. released after the meeting with the russian attorney and others became public knowledge and asking how much of it the president wrote.
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according to the sources prosecutors want to know what the president knew about the meeting and whether he sought to conceal the purpose. trump's lawyer called the response minimal. that story comes on the heels of a "new york times" report from an associate who quoted that a business deal will get donald elected. the copy of the times feelt ig sater writes our boy can become president of the usa and we can get engineer it. i will manage the process. the messages were reported sent to trump's lawyer. this man michael cohen .the copies do not show whether cohen responded. he said sater is quote to prone salesman ship also the subject of a third story a "washington post" report that says cohen asked for a putin aid to help out and business deal.
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a up to executive from donald trump real estate company. e-mailed vladimir putin during the presidential campaign to ask for help advancing a stalled trump tower development product in moscow. according to documents submitted monday. cohen said the organization has reviewed countless opportunities the moscow deal was rejectsed. he says trump was never in contact with anyone about it other than cohen on three occasions. the trump organization said it never had any real estate holdings or interests in russia. all of this as it unfolds there is new breaking news to deal with. north korea fired an unidentified ballistic missile toward japan this evening. the prime minister of japan called the action reckless, unprecedented and a significant threat. our leadoff panel tonight. white house bureau chief for the "washington post" phil rucker. boston herold chief reporter. and with me in studio former
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watergate counsel nick ackerman. nick let me start with you. tonight's nbc news report cites a person familiar with the robert mueller strategy saying quote even if trump is not charged with a crime as a result of the statement it could be useful to mueller's team to show his conduct to a jury that may be considering other charges. put this into context. >> well i think what he is talking about is looking at the whole picture. when you're a prosecutor and you're trying to show somebody's motive they're intent, whether or not they're engaged in a pattern of activity, you try and put all of this together so that the jury has before it the entire picture. what you have here is an entire picture of the deception and lying from day one where donald trump has been denied any business interests in russia, has denied any involvement with any of the russians but yet as the evidence is coming out he has been -- during the campaign
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working on a project to try and get a trump tower in moscow. he had -- there is a meeting in trump tower where his son and his son-in-law attended where they were trying to get dirt on hillary clinton. so as all of this comes out you're starting to get a picture of what occurred. and that's what a prosecutor wants to present to a jury. >> kimberly, to put a finer point in this, donald trump has been denying for some time that he has any knowledge of anyone on his campaign having anything to do with russia. in a conversation with julie pace in february, a reporter here is what happened. >> can you say whether you are aware that anyone who advised your campaign had contacts with russia during the course of the election? >> well i told you general flynn obviously was dealing. so that's one person but he was dealing as he should have been. >> during the election. >> no, nobody that i know of. >> you're not aware of any contacts during the course of
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the election. >> how many times do i have to answer this question. >> can you just say yes or no i know you have to get up and ask a question so important. >> russia is a ruse. i have nothing to do with russia. haven't made a phone call to russia in years. don't speak to people from russia. not that i wouldn't i just have nobody to speak to i spoke to putin twice he called me on the election. i told you this. he called me on the inauguration a few days ago. i have nothing to do with russia. to the best of my knowledge no person that i deal with does. >> kimberly that was february, pretty strenuous, no person i deal with has anything to do with russia. >> he has been dmielg that only that neither he more anyone in the circle have any contact with russia. he denied any business dealings with russia taurl. we learned now there was at least an attempt to create a deal for a trump tower in moscow. so he is constantly contradicting himself on this. that's probably one reason why
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that robert mueller is interested in looking at exactly what he said, what role he played. i mean, sometimes as they say it's not the crime it's the cover-up. we don't know if there is either. we have to wait for the report. but if there is is evidence of some sort of obstruction that's certainly that will be very high on robert mueller's interest list. >> phillip rucker, your newspaper broke a story about business dealings of the trump organization. in moscow. >> yes. >> and the president has shone great disdain for any part of this investigation including the part that there may be russian entertains in the election. but he said clearly that robert mueller looking into his private financial dealings would be crossing some sort of red line. it looks like that's what robert mueller is doing. >> that's exactly right. look there were clearly business dealings between the trump organization and russia during the course of the campaign.
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that's almost certainly going to drive the interest of robert mueller. i imagine it will give the mueller team an excuse to dig deeper into the trump organization, to scrutinize the finances, find out if there were any other meetings, perhaps even go back earlier in the calendar before the campaign to look at earlier efforts to do business in russia. this is all going to become part of the investigation and that makes the president very nervous. but the importance of the new reporting out today is that it actually documents the first time senior level trump adviser, michael cohen an executive at the trump organization, a lawyer there, but also a dwikt l political adviser to the president for many years for many years before the campaign. it details him reaching out directly to putin's adviser to his spokesperson in the government. >> nick, put your prosecutor hat on here. michael cohen like all of donald trump's lawyers tend to dismiss and pao pao these things. in fact i think he said
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something along the lines of it shouldn't surprise anyone that the trump organization has business dealings all over the world. the job of mueller here is to figure out what interference russia had in the election. if you were robert mueller right now what's the best piece of evidence you have seen. >> the best piece i have seen is probably the memo relating to the june 9th meeting where they talk about bringing documents to the campaign. they talk about first sending them to trump's secretary and then saying well, instead we'll bring them to donald junior. i would the bet you anything those documents were the same documents hacked out of the hillary clinton campaign headquarters. very sensitive. later -- two weeks within two weeks after the june 9th meeting these documents show up on the internet and in wikileaks. and we do know that donald
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trump's chief operative, roger stone was in contact with gucifer and the julianne assange. if you put that together over the time line and then rook at the dealings that donald trump had in russia and the blatant conflict of interest that existed between trying to build a trump tower in moscow and running a presidential campaign where he has to deal with the russians, and there is he is flattering vladimir putin -- i mean i might point out that not once during any point in the campaign either before or after has donald trump ever said one bad word about putin. on the other hand he has had plenty of bad things to say about mitch mcconnell, abouts speaker of the house, and the two republican senators from arizona. that in itself raises questions.
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>> kimberly one doesn't have to be a lawyer or journalist to remember that donald trump jr. had said in release to the june 9th meet he didn't really know it was. a friend asked him to take it. he wasn't sure the topic. and then suddenly days later we see all the emails in which he said he was excited about the school on hillary clinton. at some point the pattern of dishonesty was established when the emails were release zbld in between those two things we had several statements from donald trump jr. sort of amending the one before as you said right there in the email not only was he aware what the meeting was about but that he was recommending timing about the release of such damaging information on hillary clinton. and so, yes, i mean that weighs to the credibility of every person of interest in this investigation. and i think to what extent if at all the president played a role in trying to craft that message about around what this meeting
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was about. it's definitely -- it's clearly something obviously of interest to robert mueller as the investigation goes forward. it's one more piece of the puzzle that the investigators are putting together. >> phillip let me ask you this. the president was asked a couple of times today whether if there were -- there was russian aggression against finnland -- he was hosting the president of firnland what the united states response would be a and what i thought about russia. again the president rfrzed to say he saw russia as a threat. he said he sees many countries as a threat process he never takes that opportunity to say what many americans believe. >> that's right. and as we were saying earlier he has never said a bad word about president putin so far. but it's important to point out in regard to the possible hypothetical threat against
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finland. article 5 which we've heard a lot about because the president was slow to endorse article 5. that requires we have to act to defend any nato allies if they were under some sort of assault of that kind. >> all right phillip rucker, kimberly and nick. thank you. coming up did tv ratings factor into the timing of the pardon of joe arpaio. you'll hear what the president had to say today when "the 11th hour" continues. hello, discover card. hi. can you tell me about these new social security alerts i keep hearing about? sure, just sign up online. then we'll alert you if we find your social security number on any one of thousands of risky websites. wow. that's cool. how much is it? oh, it's free if you have a discover card. i like free! yeah, we just want you to be in the know. ooh. hey! sushi. ugh. i smell it! you're making me... yeah, being in the know is a good thing. know if your social security number is found on risky sites. free from discover.
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harvey hitting friday night you chose to pardon former sheriff joe arpaio. i wonder what was hipped your thinking for issuing a pardon for the sheriff. as well what do you say to critics even some in your own party who say it was the wrong thing to do. >> well a lot of people think it was the right thing to do, john. actually in the middle of a hurricane even though it was a friday a evening i assumed the ratings would be higher than normally you know the hurricane was starting. i put it out that i had pardoned as we call -- as we say sheriff joe. he has done a great job for the people of arizona. he is very strong on borders, very strong on illegal immigration. he is loved in arizona. i thought he was treated unbelievably unfairly when they came down with their big decision to go g get him right before the election started. >> welcome back got 11th hour." president trump provided sop
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insight into why he marred pardoned the sheriff joe as the hurricane charged toward texas. politicians from both parties criticized the pardon, including arizona senator jeff flake who tweeted he quote would have preferred the president honor the judicial process and let it take its course. now today arpaio added fuel to the feud, addressing the possibility that he would run for flake's senate seat in 2018. he told the washington examiner" i'm sure getting a lot of people around the state asking me to challenge state -- all i'm saying the is door the is open. we'll see what happens. i know what sport i have. phillip rucker and kimberly are still with me. fill i want to correct something. finland and sweden have security alliance was nato but don't fall under the same article 5 obligation for nato countries. >> i apologize as well for.
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>> that was my mistake not yours. >> thank you. >> let's talk a little about joe arpaio, 85-year-old joe arpaio as recently as december claimed he had proof that barack obama was born in kenya, running against jeff flake for the united states senate seat? arizona in 2018. what are your thoughts. >> well it would be kwies a race. that's for sure. i actually interviewed sheriff arpaio over the weekend. and he said look he is a freeman now but not going away. he wants to stay involved in politics and seems to be sort of hungering for another race. that would be a pretty explosive primary battle. there is already a kpetsive battle in arizona for the jeff flang seat. there are a number of challengers. and we're seeing seeing some of the trump allies put energy behind kelly ward there. but it would be a really -- a really competitive race and would really i think challenge
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mitch mcconnell who is very much supporting senator flake as he does all the republican incumbent. >> this is an interesting point, kimberly. the republican establishment is supporting jeff flake. certainly the trump allies don't have a friend in arizona's other senator who has a great deal of affection from arizona residents john mccain. the trump folks are supporting kelly ward at least for the moment. and now arpaio possibly sticks a toe into this. what does this play out and look like for you? does it even look like republicans might lose this senate seat given what's going on? >> that's a real possibility. that's one of the things that mitch mcconnell and other establishment republicans are worried about. they want to put their support behind jeff frak and he is one of the more vulnerable republicans up for re-election in 2018. a all the talk .primary challenges and getting the president behind one or maybe now two primary challengers if
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arpaio jumps into the race makes it all that much harder, and makes it easier for the seat to turn blue. >> phil let's listen to president trump. he was asked about this in a press conference today by fox's john roberts. he -- i want our viewers to listen carefully. the president at one point in comparing this pardon to previous presidential actions -- let me i'll just tell you about it. he sort of conflated pardoning with the commuting of sentences. he only referred to things done by presidents obama and clinton, skipped president bush. he was -- he was laying out the case for pardoning sheriff arpaio, former sheriff arpaio. >> yeah, it was interesting he did that. look, this is something the president has been wanting to do for many months now. donald trump had formed a relationship with joe arpaio back five years ago when they were both the faces of the birther movement. this is the facilities
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conspiracy lie about president obama's birth place in hawaii. and they were both doing quote the unquote investigations in the birth certificate. they became sort of avatav and friends and soul mates appear and trump is looking out for him and trying to protect him err respective what the judge found in the trial. joe arpaio as sheriff of maricopa county has a long history of accusations of racial approvaling. and other poor police tactics. >> it went beyond that, though because fifrl you reported this week the president trump asked the attorney general jeff sessions about whether it would be possible for the government to drop the charges against joe arpaio and was told that would be inappropriate. >> that's right. >> this is -- this was something that the president was chomping at the bit to do, get joe arpaio off the hook.
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>> that's right. and ask that he had a -- attorney general sessions. it wasn't a clear directive necessary or -- and there was no formal review that the justice department did. but trump did actually ask sessions whether it would be possible to drop that case altogether before the trial even began. he was told that would be inappropriate. but it represents a real sort of crossing of this -- this divide between the executive branch or rather between the white house and the justice department. that is not the typical behavior of a president interfering with a criminal case like that. >> phil rucker can be, kimberly thanks for the reporting tonight. coming up what does the latest show of aggression mean for the white house dealing with a huge cries at home. more on that when "the 11th hour" continues. how do you chase what you love with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis? do what i did. ask your doctor about humira. it's proven to help relieve pain and protect joints
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>> welcome back to the 11th hour" with news breaking tonight on multiple stories. in texas, on russia and joe arpaio, came new that is north korea fired a ballistic missile through japanese airspace. that marks a real escalation by kim jong un. the japanese prime minister said he spoke to president trump by phone today following the launch. for more i'm joined by a senior researcher at yale law school.
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and our military affairs analyst. thank you to both of you for being here. mira. let's talk about this, the president had been clear on twitter and in person talking about fury and flames how terrible it would be if north korea did anything. we missed this own friday but any fired a if you duds on friday and then fired a missile across japanese airspace today. >> this comes at the end of about a two-week pause in the war o war of words with north korea that erupted two weeks ago when president trump first made the fire and fury comments. you may recall two weeks ago the north koreans following those remarks issued a plan to potentially launch missiles over gaum. >> right. >> they said in overfans they would overfly japanese airspace. >> and the missiles would land
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just short of gaum. >> that plan was really of an effort to try to call the president's bluff. he said if the north korea threatened the united states again he would rain down fire and fury upon him. the north koreans said we've got something in our back pocket we can use if you want to take it further. >> right. >> and it seemed that things calmed down and things were deescalating. but north korea shutting the window on the period of calm saying we can make good on threats too. they did not launch four missiles as they promised in the original plan. they did not actually launch them towards gaum, to the north of japan. >> right. >> but they did use a coercive demonstration of force to show us thes united states would have to respond. >> we're putting the map up you can launch south or north to japan they chose north roughly from pyongyang and they went
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north over the top of japan just for a little bit. colonel jack is the problem you had rex tillerson after the fire and fury comments saying let's everybody just calm down, particularly aimed at the north koreans even the chinese told everybody to cool the rhetoric. now what does the president do oh? >> well i think what he has to do is get tillerson to talk to the chinese to have them reiterate something that they said through one of their semi officials mouthpieces after the last launch. they are saying united states do not launch a preemptive strike. by the way, north korea if you laurchl a preemptive strike you're on your own. what the chinese need to do now is to -- is to say through the semi official mouthpiece, and by the way, north korea don't launch a preemptive strike on anybody else in asia because you're on your own then too. >> as a guy with a lot of military experience in asia we have relations -- we often talk
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about nato and article 5 but we have mutual defense treats with japan and south korea. >> and other countries, vietnam -- there is a freudian slip. vietnam asking us to be vigilant because they're concerned as well. >> the mutual defense treaties are the heart of the matter as to which we think about missile launch tonight as worrisome. if you think about the possibility that north korean missile launches could blow up mid-air as they sometimes do it might have been possible that debris could have fallen on japan which would have risen to the level of something approaching an armed attack. and because the united states is pledged to defend japan that is a deadly serious proposition for washington, too. now thankfully that did not happen. hopefully north korea will not make this normal course of business. but when it comes to the question of what the administration should do next item number one is reassure the allies in japan and south korea
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that we stand by them and we will be by their sides from defensive perspective before doing anything else. part of the purpose of the coerce demonstration by north korea is to demonstrate to south korea and japan that the united states will not be there to defend them. >> to that point when asked about finland which is not a nato member but a friend of natos if russia were aggressive what would the united states do, donald trump almost always misses the opportunity to say we will stand up for allies. >> that's right. one of the things our allies have been zwg for a long time has been to reassert the fact that we are going to mutually defend etch other. we have not done that we need to do that not just in asia you're absoluteright. >> carl, mira thank you for the analysis tonight. still ahead is there any end in sight for the flooding in houston. we'll go there next with the
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flonase sensimist. ♪ >> i think that you're going to see very rapped action from congress, certainly from the president. and you're going to get your funding. it's a terrible tragedy. we expect to have requests on our desk fairly soon. we think that congress will feel very much the way i feel in a very bipartisan way. that will be nice. but we think you're going to have what you need and it's going to go fast. >> president trump is promising a quick federal response to might be the costliest storm in uts history. it's a long road to recovery. likely taking years to rebuild damaged roads and destroyed homes and businesses. congress returns to washington next week. they are anticipating a request for billions of dollars in relief aid. president trump meanwhile will visit texas tomorrow to tour some of the hardest hit areas.
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ma ma maya rodriguez at a shelter downtown where thousands have gone. >> we're at the george r. brown convention center in hufrt. the largest shelter set up in the city of houston. even at the late hour people are still coming in and registering here. the place has a capacity of 5,000 people. but of course they've breached that capacity at this point. people are coming in. we have kids with their parents. people bringing in pets. people trying to get you know a towel to dry off. because everyone coming in is wet and cold. they're tired some have been going for hours just trying to get to a place where they are safe and they can actually get here. i want you to guys come over here as i talk to someone in charge. david brady with the american rd cross thanks for being here. tell us what the situation is
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with all the people you have in here. >> well, what it's like is it's a -- it's a situation where we've got a lot of people in this community that are out of their homes right now. and we've got a great community here that's rallied behind them, rallied behind the entire city and they're welcoming them in. they've got a warm smiling face to get here to. they've got blankets, cots, food. we've got people to talk to if they need to. it's a challenging situation because of this amazing city and state we live here in texas it's a welcoming and i'm sure for our folks having to stay here for a couple of days it's something that they're very happy to be in for this moment. >> what is there a need for right now from you guys. >> well for us the red cross we need two things mainly we need financial donations to support the effort because it's going to be long and we also need volunteers. >> you need medical professionals as well you're not
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just talking about regular volunteers but people with skills. >> that helps, nurses and doctors we've got a lot of that coordinated and going on. i know there is a lot of work still yet to be done. but right now we've got great coordination between our mayor lester turner and harris county and we're making sure we're doing the right things and serving the people who need us. >> you're at 5,000 at capacity but you have more than 5,000 people here when do you start turning people away. >> we won't turn anybody away. we are making sure we are taking care of fellow texans, do everything we can to support enemy. and we're working hard to do it thank goodness we've got amazing staff and volunteers and the community rallied behind us. >> david brady thank you for what you are doing. there you have it. there are thousands of people here needing a warm place to stay. >> that is an amazing message. they are not turning anyone away. thank you maya thank you for the great reporting since last week.
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the city of houston did not order mandatory evacuations. as we've said parts of the city are completely under water. emergency responders are overwhelmed with calls to rescue thousands of people trapped in homes. city officials reported earlier that they've rescued about 3,000 people and have received 75,911 calls. the stranded are mostly without power or running water for many help could be a long way off. joining me on the phone is houston fire chief sam penia thank you for joining us and talking with us again. >> thanks for having me tonight. >> chief what's the situation in terms of the most important things, the rescues, the time it's taking for people to get through to 911 and the pending critical responses that need to take place. >> sure. sure. well i can tell you that the situation remains dynamic and remains challenging. since in the last 24 hours we
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have responded our fire department has responded to 3800 calls for service. over 2,000 have been for water related emergencies. so you know the fact gnat rain keeps falling, the fact that we have saturated ground and really no wherefore the water to drain appropriately and efficiently is that it's causing a lot of issues for the city certainly. but you know i conbe prouder of the men and women of the houston fire department. they have been responding to each of these calls, some of them have been working close to 48 hours now straight. and tirelessly working towards to ensuring the safety of our citizens here in houston. and the partnership again -- you know it's not just of an effort by the houston fire department. the police department, the public works, other municipal employees and volunteers as well
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as the community itself getting involved in helping their fellow man. it's -- in this tragedy that's -- that's really heart warming. i'm proud to be here in houston. >> chief you got coast guard coming from all over the country. urban search and rescue teams from cities across the country including new york. the governor has activated all 12,000 national guard troops. do you have the people and assets you need to finish the job? >> well i can tell you that you're correct. we have assets from all over the country here. we have the texas task force 1 in force here. we also have assets urban search and rescue assets from fema. along with our equipment which is -- which was desperately needed. we do a significant amount of federal resources, state resources and local resources committed to this effort. but we could always use more. you know, the issues we're having is certainly our fire tracks can't get access into certain areas we need high water
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vehicles thap that's one of the items we are in short supply of. and you know boats certainly we have -- we have a significant number of boats and that we're effecting rescues on. but once we evacuate people from the hazard he zone and get them to a primary evacuation zone it's difficult to get them into the shaeelter. just because getting across the city is challenging. >> you have the gratitude of an entire nation for the work that you and your colleagues at houston fire and the rest of the rchlkers are undertaking thank you for your time sir. >> thank you. and i want to just make sure that you know i acknowledge the work that mayor turner has done to ensuring we have all the resources we need to mitigate this. >> thank you chief. thank you. come up the are members of the president trump's own cabinet
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i don't believe anyone doubts the american people's values or the commitment of the american government or the government's agencies to advancing those values and defending those values. >> and the president's values. >> the speak speaks for himself, chris. >> there was a bit of an awkward pause after that when i chris wallace asked rex tillerson to sort of restate his case. he seemed to separate himself from the president and the president's response to events in charlottesville yesterday on fox news. tillerson was not the only member of the president's cabinet to make comments distancing themselvesing. secretary of defense jam mattis told troops in a video that since surfaced on facebook to quote, hold the line. >> you're a great example for our country right now. it's got some problems you know it and i know it. it's got problems that we don't have in the military. and you just hold the line, my
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fine young solars sailers airman, marine. mold the line until our country gets back to respecting each other and to one another that americans are so dog gone lucky to be americans. >> is the president losing support of key members of his cabinet? welcome to both of you, tamara, let me start with you, what do you make of this? there has been a suspicion that rex tillerson and mattis are not kindred spirits with the president. tillerson has been out of the limelight for some time. not everybody is surprised by his comments but is this a sign of a crack? >> remember, he said something different about the situation in qatar that president trump said
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immediately afterwards and there is gary koen who disagreed with president trump on his charlottesville comments and contemplated resigning. what is really fascinating about this is you combine this with these business leaders and others who are separating themselves from the president, the business groups that dissolved and you have basically a bunch of people, including members of congress as well who maybe six, eight months ago would have been afraid of backlash from president trump or concerned about a tweet storm coming after them. and now they seem unafraid of the president. >> jeremy, what difference does it make at this point i guess is the question i have. it shouldn't surprise anybody that people are going to have these fallouts with the president, unless the president fires tillerson or mattis what difference does it make they are freer to speak their mind?
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>> i think the big problem for donald trump is that cabinet officials are no longer scared of breaking with him. the gary koen break was a huge deal. this is different than just a stylistic difference, though. this is a man who felt he was called to service, called to duty to serve his country as secretary of state and he clearly felt so strongly about this, that a mans a it is a turn as he is and chooses his words so precisely knew exactly what he was doing when he said the president speaks for himself. if i were donald trump i would be unsettled by that. >> but both of these men in the different things they did, in the facebook interview and the interview with fox news if you want to interpret it as not a
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break with the president you could. he says i don't speak for the president. you can hear james mattis saying america is divided right now. we don't have that problem in the military and likelihood that's how the president is going to play this. >> many people in the administration have said the president speaks for himself or the president's tweet speaks for itself. that's not new phraseology. but the way it was delivered, the followup question certainly delivered the message that it seems clear that rex tillerson intended to be delivered. and the president of the united states doesn't have a ton of options. he needs the secretary of state right now. he needs his secretary of defense, members of congress and of the senate have made it clear in reference to jeff sessions before, they have made it clear they don't have room on their dance card to the a bunch of confirmations right now. >> let me turn to mexico.
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the president gave a press conference today and took some questions while he was with the president of finland. he said the wall is getting built and mexico is going to pay for it. now he is using the term one way or the other it is getting paid for, maybe by reimbursement. the president is looking like there is a crack in his commitment to build the wall. >> i don't think the crack is in the commitment to build it but wiggle room on how it would be paid for. a lot of people knew that mexico is not going to write the united states a big fat check for the billions of dollars it's going to cost to build it. build the wall is going to turn to shut it down. and i think that a lot of grass roo roots conservatives believe there is little political price that they will pay for a
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government shutdown. >> unless the government needs to finance the rebuilding of houston. but we'll see how that develops. jeremy peters, tamara key thank you for being with us. thank you. coming up, an awkward moment between the president and two finnish reporters today. that's next when "the 11th hour" continues. my ancestry dna results are that i am 26% nigerian. i am just trying to learn as much as i can about my culture. i put the gele on my head and i looked into the mirror and i was trying not to cry. because it's a hat, but it's like the most important hat i've ever owned. discover the story only your dna can tell. order your kit now at when heartburn hits fight back fast with tums chewy bites. fast relief in every bite. crunchy outside.
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it can seem like triggers pop up everywhere. luckily there's powerful, 24-hour, non-drowsy claritin. it provides relief of symptoms that can be triggered by over 200 different allergens. live claritin clear. one last thing before we go tonight, a fairly standard joint press conference between two world leaders or as the "washington post's" ashley parker put it, two blonds walk into a press briefing. that stems from an unscripted moment from after they took the standard two questions from reporters from each country. president trump decided they should take a few more questions and confused one finnish reporter with another. >> i know there might be a couple more questions but do you
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want to take one more? go ahead, pick. go ahead. >> please -- >> again. you're going to give her the same one? >> she's not the same lady. >> go ahead. >> they are sitting -- >> we have a lot of blonde women in finland. >> a different reporter asked both reporters a question. here they are sitting side by side at the press conference. an american reporter for pbs posted a photo confirming that yes, they are definitely two different people. that's our broadcast for tonight. thank you for being with us. good night from nbc news headquarters in new york. we are in day four of hurricane induced crisis in
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coastal texas. we're continuing to watch developments in houston where rain continues to fall in just epic amounts and where local authorities are having to make hard decisions act essentially what neighborhoods and what areas they may have to condemn to further flooding on purpose for the sake of the greater good. today and tonight houston has been letting huge amounts of water flow out of flood control reservoirs into areas that have already been fatally inundated. they've been doing that to relieve the threat that the reservoirs and the dams that hold them together might fail because of the massive volume of water. with the entire texas national guard now activated, hundreds of thousands of americans in harm's way tonight, it is hard to overstate the magnitude of the crisis in texas. houston is the country's fourth largest city. it's also the fastest growing major city in america. and even though houston has been hit by disastrous flooding in the


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