tv MSNBC Live MSNBC September 3, 2017 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT
good sunday to you, thanks for joining us. we have some breaking news that we continue to follow this hour. a new threat from north korea. it claims to have successfully detonated a hydrogen bomb, its most powerful nuclear test yet and one intended for use on a long range missile. now, this test is being condemned by world leaders and president trump, who's now meeting with his national security team to discuss actions against north korea. one of them he tweeted, as you see here, could involve stopping trade with any country doing business with north korea. just this morning treasury secretary steven mnuchin also saying he's already preparing new economic sanctions. take a listen.
>> it's clear that this behavior is completely unacceptable. we've already started with sanctions against north korea, but i'm going to draft a sanctions package to send to the president for his strong consideration. >> plus, help after harvey. volunteers and relief begin to arrive in texas as families continue their emotional return home. yet more help getting there. but this hour we're going to start with north korea. once again putting the international community on edge after testing what could be its most powerful nuclear weapon ever. president trump tweeting out this morning, "north korea country has conducted a major nuclear weapon test. their words
and actions continue to be have hostile and dangerous to the united states." a short time ago, as he was leaving church, president trump was asked this question -- >> mr. president, will you attack north korea? >> we'll see.
word of the test first broke overnight around midnight eastern time when the u.s. geological survey detected a magnitude-6.3 explosion. that's near the country's main testing site in the north you see on that dot there msnbc news is confirming by u.s. officials the claims that it has successfully tested a hydrogen bomb that they say can be mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile. japan, south korea, and nato have responded with swift disapproval. here's roy blunt reacting to the threat from kim jong-un earlier on "meet the press." >> you've got a leader who has both spoiled and reckless, spoiled and reckless is unique with somebody who has control of what may now be hydrogen weapons, as well as nuclear weapons. >> straight to janice mackey freyer from beijing, also
garrett hik at the white house for us to get reaction there. let's start with janice. janice, this is an ever moving story, because it is the confirmation of the claims coming from north korea, their climbs after hydrogen bomb, their claims of the size of it and that it can be put on top of a missile. what do we know? >> all claims north korea has been promising simply following through on everything they said they were going to do. china is siding on the international community and condemning it, japan vowing more pressure, south korea president calling it utterly disappointing and infuriating, and for south korea it is. the president has been trying to urge kim jong-un to go back to the negotiating table, something that president trump has dismissed, saying that talking is not the answer. and today he tweeted that appeasement will work. this test, as you say, is the most powerful yet according to
experts and it was important to note that in a statement that was read out on north korean state media today, they made a point of saying all of the components were homemade, so this is underscoring the fact that sanctions to this point seem ineffective and that north korea's been able to make its progress and will continue to progress without imports. so it underscoring exactly how little room there is for the trump administration to maneuver on next moves. there is talk that perhaps there would be cyberattacks that would be possible, energy-related sanctions are also a possibility, but that would need to involve china and russia, and so far neither of those players has been willing to put too much pressure on the regime because they don't want regime collapse. china is the pivotal player here, but it's still not clear exactly how much leverage beijing has over pyongyang. it said that the relations have
deteriorated over the course of a number of months, especially with kim jong-un's defiance. any contact at this point appears to be only between the militaries and if social media here is any indication, there is very little broad based support among the chinese public, who are, frankly, getting weary of having this unruly neighbor. president trump, of course, today tweeted that the u.s. may cut trade with any country that does business with north korea, but that would be directed at china, and if the u.s. were to give up trade with china, it would be well over 4% of gdp. it would put the global economy into disarray. it would trigger a trade war at a time of a nuclear showdown. so it's unlikely that that's going to become policy, but as ever with the north korea problem, it isn't clear what the next move will be. richard? >> nbc's janice mackey freier in beijing live. let's get to the white house.
this as we're watching some of the responses and janice was describing for us, garrett, as you heard, what the president tweeted so far and elements we understand that the united nations security council will be meeting at 10:00 a.m. on monday. that coming out from the u.s. mission to the united nations. they are saying that on this day, on this sunday, so they are mobilizing to potentially move forward on other action, and then there's also a statement potentially we're hearing and garrett, please do fill us in on this that may be coming from the white house. that's the latest? >> so far all we have heard from the white house today has been the president's tweets, but it's our understanding that's about to change. the white house press secretary says someone from the white house is going to come out here essentially under the driveway of the west wing behind me in the next quarter hour to address this issue of north korea today. we don't know if that's going to be the president, press secretary, or a staffer or military sort of expert within the administration, somewhere in between. but we'll have that for you probably in the next ten minutes or so.
what we know is that the president said he's meeting with his military adviser, including james mattis, chief of staff, former marine four star general john kelly, as well as the vice president we're told attending this meeting today. and as you've already discussed, the president made it pretty clear he's not interested in talking with or even about north korea very much at this point. he wants to take some kind of action and they want it to be tough. whether that's going to come in the form of economic sanctions, we don't necessarily know yet. it may also be in the form of some kind of military action. you heard the president today not ruling that out, saying we'll see when asked if he was going to attack north korea, but he's made it clear he thinks it's time get tough on the north korean regime and he's getting some support for that position from other republicans. here's ted cruz this morning. >> i think the president is right, that kim jong-un and other bullies only understand and respect strength, that weakness, that appeasement
encourages this action. >> appeasement there referring to the president's tweets suggesting south korean policy on north korea has been too soft. there's been some pushback, particularly from democrats who say it's not helpful for the president to antagonize south korea, obviously, our most important ally in dealing with the north. if we get the chance, that's a question we'll ask here at this statement that's supposed to, again, happen some time in the next ten to 15 minutes. >> interesting to understand what those specifics are, given south korea by many indications has not been weak on its stance towards north korea in its statements and moves and last night's response coming from south korea and example of that. we'll get straight back to you, garrett haake, at the white house when and if that statement is made, as you said, in the next ten or 15. stick around, we'll get back to you. this threat from north korea's most powerful nuclear test as
reported to date sending shock through the international community, but also raises questions about the goals that north korea's young third generation dictator, kim jong-un, the supreme leader is his title in north korea has had for the kingdom in the long run. if nuclear weapons afford him the power of a bargaining chip of being part of that elite club of hydrogen bomb equipped countries, what is it that he wants from the international community? let's go to former assistant secretary of state for east asian and pacific affairs, christopher hill. so great to have you here, ambassador, on this day and on this topic. let me just start very generally. what do you make of this? >> i think it's an extremely serious development. i mean, they've been working on it for some time and frankly they don't care about being isolated or condemned, but they might care about things that people might do about it, and i think that's why the u.s. really needs to double down with china and figure out what we can actually do. >> when you look at what they
are claiming and again we're waiting for independent confirmation and indications what the united states and japan might be doing in terms of the sniffing planes that are going to look for isotopes that potentially could be leaking out of this test site in north korea, but they are claiming it to be a hydrogen bomb. they are claiming that it is also miniaturized. they are claiming that they can put it on top of a delivery device, an icbm, icbm that could reach the united states, reach u.s. territories. is that believable based on where they have been in recent years technologically? >> well, first of all, they've done a lot of bluffing in the past, so you do have to be a little skeptical when they make all these claims. it's clear, though, they are heading in that direction, whether they've achieved putting it on a missile or not, it's something they want to do. i'm not sure how relevant it is they claim to have done it. they certainly haven't been able to demonstrate it. i think the real concern we have is, of course, why are they
doing this? what's the urgency, why have they kind of turned this into a crisis and i think the answer is this goes well beyond the ambition for so-called regime survival or somehow they are a little country that needs a couple of nuclear weapons to make them feel safe. i think they are really trying to take aim at the whole u.s. relationship in south korea and even in japan. >> so, if the positioning is north korea that it would like to join that elite club, is it going to be a situation when they do get the hydrogen bomb, because most are saying it's only a matter of time, will they follow along which has been a -- an approach internationally of mutually assured destruction once they reach that capability? or will this leader do something different? >> i think he has a different scenario in mind and i think it's the notion that somehow
north koreans believe somehow they could unify the korean peninsula were it not for the foreigners on the korean peninsula, were it not for the united states. say they create an incident, a situation where the south koreans are fighting the south koreans, the u.s. says, okay, we're in, then they say to the u.s. not so fast because if you're in, we'll target your civilian centers. a u.s. president would have to decide, gee, do we want to do this for the sake of seoul when it would expose los angeles? i like to think that a u.s. president would understand that it is absolutely imperative that we back up our alliances, because it's important in korea and the rest of the world, but i think the idea is to force the u.s. president to be in that kind of tough position. so i don't think we should just look at this as a matter of prestige joining a club of nuclear weapons countries. i think it's very much a very practical and deadly aim at our
relationships in northeast asia. >> if the claims are correct, we're looking at a bomb of 100 kilotons, more or less, if the claims are correct, which would make it six or seven times more powerful than hiroshima. if they have that capability, what is the response the united states should take on, soft power or hard power? >> well, i think it's a very tough situation at that point, but i think the united states needs to be engaged and i hope we are engaged in a strategy of how to slow this all down, whether by cyberattacks, sabotage, interrupting their supply chains, doing whatever we can do to slow this down in the space we have between war and peace. preemptive strikes of the type people often talk about, they are not going to work. you have some 20 million south koreans within range of north korean long range artillery, so
for all the tough talk you get from people like senator cruz, i'd like to see if he wanted to live some 25 miles from a north korean artillery tube. it's a little tougher when you live there, so i think it's very important that we support the south koreans and, frankly, i'm just astonished that the president has chosen this time to say, well, maybe we should b honor the trade agreement, it's really rather odd and i do hope the adults in the administration will do something about that. >> ambassador, for those who have watched and lived in that region, and i have, the question is what is it he's eluding to specifically in saying south korea has been weak with north korea? by all reports, and you are the expert here, south korea has been all but that. in fact, the united states having to, if you will, mitigate some of that energy that might be a little bit too much in dealing with north korea. >> you've got it.
you've got it. this is one of the most capable militaries in the world. i'm not sure the north koreans quite understand that about their south korean cousins. the south koreans have one of the best militaries in the world. it's up there with any nato member. they spend a lot of money on their military. everybody in south korea is a part of that. we don't need a pep talk. >> ambassador hill, i have to interrupt. let's listen to secretary mattis, secretary of defense, now speaking at the white house. >> about the latest provocation on the korean peninsula. we have many military options. we have a chance to defend our allies from any attack and our commitment among the allies are ironclad. any threat from the united states, guam, and our allies will be met with a massive
military response, a response both effective and overwhelming. kim jong-un should take heed of the united nations security council's unified voice. all members unanimously agreed on the threat north korea poses and they remain unanimous in their commitment to the denuclearization of the korean peninsula. because we are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely north korea, that is, i said, we have many options to do so. thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. >> do you believe they have a nuclear warhead that could go on a missile? >> was it a hydrogen bomb, secretary? >> secretary of defense there.
reporting not too far from there, erica warner, anita kumar, all with us right now as we get a reflection of what just came from the secretary of defense. i'm going to start with you, ambassador hill. what did you make of the language, language so key in this space, coming from the secretary of defense. >> i thought it was an excellent statement. i was delighted to see that, especially as i just said we need an adult and there he was, within seconds, laying out a very measured, adultlike terms. our capabilities, the fact we understand our obligations and the alliance, the fact we have the capabilities to protect ourselves and our allies and our territories. so i think it was a very measured and very positive statement and i think world leaders will be very pleased to
hear what secretary of defense mattis has just said. >> garrett, who might have been in that meeting, you were discussing earlier about what was the word sitting down that we would get a statement, garrett, what did you make of the statement made there by the secretary of defense? >> it was interesting. when we first learned about the meeting today, it was described as the national security team being part of it. when the president tweeted about it, we heard about the secretary of defense, chief of staff, and we see now that, indeed, this was a military focused meeting. you heard secretary mattis say they were talking about military options, he said there are many and the president wanted to be briefed on all of them. you didn't see the secretary of state here, didn't see the discussion about economic sanctions or diplomatic pressure. this was a much more blunt message. this was the white house and secretary of defense who has
probably as close of a relationship or trusted relationship with this president as anyone else in his cabinet saying we have options, we're not afraid to use them. i think about maybe the international audience for this, too, being folks like china and our allies. secretary mattis said our commitment to our allies is ironclad, we won't be backing away from this. i think a very strong statement, but also, you know, potentially one that's going to leave the president less options and potentially one that, you know, again, singularly focusing on the military part of this is, obviously, the way they decided to approach it. we'll have to see how that plays out. >> balancing words, but in addition to that, the president using quite inflammatory language regarding north korea. foi going to anita kumar on this. the meeting potentially, you have the secretary of defense, potentially h.r. mcmaster in
addition to that and the chief of staff, another general. three generals speaking with president trump and giving him solid and experienced advice, potentially on the military side but also the diplomatic side. that's a lot of smarts, if you will, sitting around the president this afternoon. >> right, i also was struck they sent out a secretary of defense. that's a rare occurrence for him to come out and speak that way. only speak about military options. up until this point earlier today we heard, you know, mostly from the president, we heard on talk shows today, we heard from the treasury secretary talking about more economic sanctions. this is a strong message they want to get across. only less than a month ago the past economic sanctions and hasn't made that much of a difference. >> as you look at this response,
very good note you brought up, anita, does this mean, then, that they are shifting gears on how to deal with north korea, at least at the white house and who might be out in front? >> well, i don't think we know that yet. something else that was very notable from the defense secretary's statement was his emphasis on alliances that we defend our allies and that might be an attempt to kind of clean up from the president's kind of jabs at south korea which were somehow surprising earlier in the day when he accused of appeasement and really bad timing in the past couple of days, which would not be a good step at this point in time with what's going on with north korea, but as your other guests have indicated, we're entering
some very dangerous, murky, and uncertain territory here. i don't think we know where we're going to go. the idea that we have defense military options on the table with north korea that we might be going to war with north korea, responding with a massive response as the defense secretary used that language, takes us into some uncertain territory and i don't think we know where it's going to go. >> and erica, as you know, congress to be briefed on this coming week on the very topic of north korea and afghanistan and others and there will be lots of questions. i want to replay, again, the statement from the secretary of defense for those who may have missed it and get more reflection. let's listen to that first. >> good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. we have a small group with the president and the vice president about the latest provocation on the korean peninsula.
we have many military options and the president wanted to be briefed on each one of them. commitments among the allies are ironclad. any threat to the united states or its territories, including guam or our allies will be met with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming. kim jong-un should take heed of the united nations security council's unified voice. all members unanimously agreed on the threat north korea poses and they remain unanimous in their commitment to the denuclearization of the korean peninsula. because we are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely north korea, but as i said, we have many options
to do so. thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. >> all right, there you heard it from the secretary of defense. kristen, this starts with you. camera position, reflect for us how that all happened. >> well, we were told just moments before defense secretary james mattis came to the microphones here that there would be a statement. press secretary sarah huckabee sanders telling all of the journalists to assemble here, not giving any indication who would be speaking to us. it was, of course, the defense secretary standing next to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, general dunford, and what we effectively saw here, richard, was an escalation of the war of words with north korea. the trump administration taking a very hard line by saying that they are assessing their military options. now, we have long been told that all options are on the table and that the president is not ruling out military action, but the
reality of the situation, richard, that remains a last resort, because senior administration officials here have said that military action in that region could potentially be catastrophic. there are so many civilian livings at risk, so what are they also considering? they are considering stepping up sanctions not necessarily against north korea. the administration and past administrations have slapped about all of the sanctions that they can on north korea. they are looking seriously at sanctioning china. chinese institutions. this was president's tweet today, he said the united states is consideration in addition to other options stopping all trade with any country doing business with north korea. that might be somewhat unrealistic, but there is no doubt that the president signaling today that he is very seriously looking at that
option. of cutting off trade with certain countries, so sending a very strong signal in terms of the language they are using and president trump himself today asked while walking back from church if he would attack north korea. his response to that, we'll see. richard? >> kristen, thank you. hans nichols, we'll see. and what we did see is that the secretary of defense in front with the first official response in front of a microphone from the united states, from the white house. uncommon here, hans. it's the most bellicose i've heard secretary mattis speak about north korea since he's been secretary of kedefense. there are four parts, he started talking about defensive measures and i think this is key when we think of the potential of a conflict there what the u.s. wants to do is assure at least american citizens and guam their defensive measures are in place. he also talked about the importance of alliances, mentioning japan and south korea and had a little bit on the
importance of the u.n., so gives you a sense of the international flavor, but finally, and this is where the rhetoric got pretty hot, he talked about the total annihilation of north korea. now, he caveated that and said we do not seek the total annihilation of a country, namely north korea. and hen he said, but we have military options at the table, at the ready, at hand, and one final point, he said president trump wanted to be briefed on each of them. that gives you a sense they are presenting a menu of options to the president to potentially choose from. this isn't just on or off, war or no war, there are a variety of options they are considering. richard? >> ambassador chris hill still with us joining hans and kristen here. ambassador, before you have to go here, you have two generals standing in front and addressing basically north korea. what do you make of that and take away in terms of potentially the tack they've
been taking moving forward with north korea? >> i think general mattis is probably the most credible figure in this whole national security apparatus of this administration, so it is unusual to put the defense secretary out there. as the first sort of spokesman on this. but i felt it was very appropriate and, frankly, very reassuring to a lot of people. he did talk about it, he did mention the total annihilation of north korea, but in the context of a negative. he said we're not looking for that. what we're looking for is denuclearization. for people who think somehow the u.s. is getting off target, we're not. it's clear we're seeing denuclearization. i think that was an important message and reassuring the allies is extremely important. so i consider it a very measured, albeit tough and resolute statement which was needed and i think a lot of people in the world will be very pleased to have seen general mattis on tv today. >> all right, thank you so much,
ambassador chris hill. i know you've got a busy afternoon. thanks for sticking around as we have this last minute announcement coming from the white house, but nobody better to have around, sir. you know this region quite well. you have a good sunday and monday ahead for you. >> thank you very much. >> you bet you. i want to bring in kristen welker again. before that, for those of us just joining us, we're watching what is now the after math, very plain language about the united states stance in response to the reported h bomb or hydrogen bomb test in north korea. this happening about 12 to 16 hours ago on the korean peninsula and the words massive military response but as have been said, what is different in this response is that we are seeing the secretary of defense making the official statement.
the first official statement coming from the white house. what's ahead for us at this moment as we try to understand what has happened in north korea is the verification of what actually happened in that test. back to kristen welker now. kristen, that may have been you saying, secretary of defense, please tell us what do we know about this test, what are the details and can we confirm it. >> that's right. you heard the secretary get a number of shouted questions that he didn't answer. let me run through what we asked the secretary. basically, most of what you just laid out, was it, in fact, a hydrogen bomb. could it be fit on the end of a ballistic missile, and ultimately, is the president preparing to go to war. he did not engage in any of
those questions. richard, what we did hear was a very carefully crafted message from the secretary of defense which really ramped up the rhetoric against north korea, making it very clear there are a number of military options that they have prepared that the president is potentially considering again based on my conversations as a last resort. look at the messaging out of the white house today, richard, as well. you have the president taking aim at south korea. the united states' closest ally in the region, effectively accusing south korea of appease m. why is that significant? because it comes as the president is considering the possibility of scrapping a trade deal with south korea. something a lot of foreign policy analysts say would be the absolute worst timing, but this could be trying to strong arm areas in the region to get tougher from north korea. they want to see that with china, south korea, japan. they also want russia to choke
off north korea economically. and so you're going to see the united states really try to turn up the heat and i think you'll see that process begin tomorrow during that emergency meeting of the u.n. security council, richard. so a lot at stake here as north korea has escalated its nuclear provocations yet again, richard. >> that meeting 10:00 a.m. on a holiday monday, not that they are going to be observe that at the u.n. given what's happened. hans nichols, the question still remain, what is it that they will do -- excuse me, what is it they have done, lanchans, and h will they confirm that? what has been the posture if these tests have happened and if they were to verify this was a hydrogen bomb, would they declare that anyway because they don't want to give the hat tip, if you will, to north korea? >> you could see them declaring it to increase pressure to the united states, so it makes sense why they would come out and verify that and do that in some
sort of way that made sense and stood up to scrutiny. i don't want to speculate too much because this is the first test of the trump administration on a nuclear event. we do know what they do on missiles. tend to give us as quickly as they can their realtime assessment what was launched, how far, how high it went. they want to increase pressure at the u.n. when you look at the four points that mattis laid out, defense, alliances, u.n., then offense. it's really the middle part of the statement with the most wiggle room. we know what the u.s. can do on the defensive side. ground-based interceptor in california, as well as up in alaska. they have the thad system in
south korea, as well as guam. that hits missiles when they are incoming missiles, intercepts them potentially up in the atmosphere and finally the aegis system. so on the defensive side, we know where we're at. we don't know where this is going to go diplomatically and if diplomacy fails, that's where you get to this hot rhetoric where secretary mattis is talking about the total annihilation. admittedly he's caveating that and saying we don't want this to happen, but any time you have a secretary of defense say total annihilation of a country and name that country, namely, north korea, whatever he says before that doesn't necessarily -- that's throat clearing. he talked about the total annihilation of a country. says he doesn't want to have to do it, but raised the spectra. richard? >> being a former general, joint chiefs chair, big visual messaging going on there that you have so well encapsulated for us. i want to get over to erica warner. erica, 60 members of congress
basically signed a letter saying we don't like the language that's come from this white house on dealing with north korea. now we're seeing strong language, but this is a different message deliverer, if you will, and might this then satisfy those critics coming from congress of this white house? >> yeah. i mean, for all the concerns that members of congress have with the language and the rhetoric that the president has used, on north korea and so many other issues, secretary mattis is someone that lawmakers have a lot of confidence in, including critics of trump, such as senator mccain, who chairs the armed services committee, of course. as you know, congress is going to be coming back into session on tuesday after a five-week summer recess and they are going to have a lot to say and do about this. there are details, as we know, still to be confirmed, but this has the potential to turn into a
full blown military crisis and push everything else off the agenda. including hurricane harvey, which had pushed everything else off the agenda. so it just shows how real world events can turn things upside down. members already issuing statements today. we have not heard from congressional leadership yet. they are probably weighing what they want to say and the language they want to use, but with congress coming back tuesday, we'll get a sense, clearly, what they are going to do on this. >> the proverbial full plate, right, for congress when they get back. finishing with you, anita. hans nichols was saying this is the first nuclear test for this presidency, also the first nuclear test as chief of staff, but not as a military man is for, again, the chief of staff of the president and that's, again, general kelly, john kelly. what's this say in terms of who was put out front about the chief of staff, you think? >> right. it's very, very striking the secretary of defense came out
and that meeting was a military meeting, as we mentioned before. that's not how it works. the pressure is really on the white house here. we're seven months into the administration. north korea hasn't stopped doing what they've been doing, they've increased it, it's escalated. president trump you saw him say less than two weeks ago, ten or 12 days ago at the rally in phoenix he held, well, north korea is starting to respect us, meaning the united states. clearly, that was premature after what happened last night, so the pressure is really on for him to find a way, for the administration to find some kind of solution. you mention he had been getting some criticism. the criticism was really twofold. it was both he doesn't have an overall strategy, people say, and also a lot of his rhetoric. the tweets that they are provoking north korea, so very telling as congress comes back to see what he has to say to them. >> those tweets laying out red
lines that may not be able to be responded to when they are crossed, based on the language that have been used. i think that has been some of the concern coming out of the president's twitter account so far in this topic. thank you so much. i really appreciate it. anita kumar, erica warner, ambassador chris hill, garrett haake, kristen welker, hans nichols. quite a group of good brains on this topic on the first half hour on msnbc here at 3:00. we're going to continue to cover that. this idea of what the response might be from the united states, based on what the secretary of defense has just said. we're going to get more of that, plus we're going to talk about this, an individual who's leading the lawsuit with eight other states that's forcing the president's hand on daca. i'll speak with ken paxton about the possible courtroom battle that could take place on that if the president chooses to save the dreamers.
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that spirit of unity might be fleeting. tuesday, president trump may scrap daca, that obama era program allowing a million young people to live and work in the united states, shielding them from deportation. ending it would result in more than 100,000 people losing their daca status and jobs every day. hundreds of business leaders, including facebook, google, apple, and a number of top republicans have grown a chorus of voices urging trump not to kill daca. public support for dreamers is strong, even among trump supporters, according to an april morning consult and politico report. 73% of trump voters believe dreamers should have a chance to stay permanently in the united states. joining me right now is texas attorney general ken paxton. attorney general, thanks for being with us today. >> thanks for having me on, i appreciate it. >> i want to talk about harvey, about the recovery, because i know you're working on ensuring
your constituents there don't get gouged on pricing, but i want to start with this. tuesday is the date, as you know, you and eight other state republican attorneys general set for a decision. your state took the lead on this very lawsuit. tell me if you can why you still believe on this day that daca must end. tennessee, in fact, withdrew support for this. they are no longer standing beside you on it. >> so let me first say over the last ten days, obviously, our focus has been on the victims of this horrific storm, but to address your question, this is a question of constitutional law, a matter of whether the president, president obama, has the authority to change law unilaterally without congressional approval. we're not necessarily opposed to any particular policy of the obama administration. all we're asking is for congress to address the issue, not for the president to act outside of his constitutional role. so that's why we think -- we know we'll be successful on this. we were successful on dopa.
wasn't about the policy or dreamers should be allowed or not allowed. this is about following the rule of law and constitution. >> and dapa, equivalent of daca except it's for parents, is what you're eluding to there. yesterday we had a chance to talk to a dreamer, also a paramedic, individual working to try to help people after harvey. let's play a little bit of what was that conversation with him. >> people that have known my entire life, it means leaving my friends, my girlfriend, coworkers, everything i have here, my church, my opportunity to volunteer and help others. i feel like i've been a big part of my community and to take me away from that, it's going to shatter my world and the world of many other dreamers. >> there is the process of laws and then there is the reality
should this what you desire to happen actually does happen. what do you say to folks like jesus? >> sounds like a great guy. i would say, look, we built this country on the idea there are separation of powers. the founders did it because they did not trust power in the hands of too few people. if we start making exceptions, we erode our constitutional form of government, we might have good policies from one president and very bad policies from another. and once we've set the precedent that the president can make up law, we've pretty much ruined our constitutional form of government, so it's really important it's done the right way and that's why congress needs to address this, not the president of the united states. >> but why specifically, if that's your stance on this issue, these are potentially affecting close to 2 million people across our country. >> because no matter what the policy president obama made up, he still made it up, and it really does matter that congress address this issue. otherwise we have rogue
presidents who will just make up law. and that is not how our system of government works. and if we make exceptions because we think we like a certain policy, then ultimately we erode the whole substitutional framework that our founders believed in and that has protected us. so that's why we stand behind the constitution. >> well, there are, again, many executive orders that you could have selected. not only from the previous administration, but certainly this administration, too. before we go, before we go, attorney general -- >> let me say this, and we did. we sued the federal government 27 times in 27 months and it was the department of education, it was on labor laws, epa, so if you look at our record, we have not just chosen one issue. we have addressed many, many issues that we thought were unconstitutional. we did it during the obama administration, five times during the trump administration. we haven't made exceptions. we really do care about the constitution. >> before we let you go here, sir, something that none of us like to talk about, price gouging, right, getting back to harvey here.
what you're doing to stop this from happening. this is just unconscionable. >> we have been trying to get the word out. we have stiff penalties, up to $20,000 per occurrence if you price gouge. if you do it to a senior citizen it's up to $250,000. we've had over a thousand complaints on water, fuel, food, hotels, and we've started pursuing those and already addressed some of them. >> my best to you, sir, in that great state of texas. especially houston, the fourth largest city and such an amazing city that's going through so much difficulty right now. texas attorney general ken paxton, thank you. >> thank you, keep us in your prayers. >> you bet ya. joining me now, attorney and msnbc.com contributor and a dreamer at arizona state university. i'll start with you on this. what is your reaction to what the attorney general said as to why he wants to move forward with this lawsuit to reverse daca? >> i think that his excuse and
his reasoning is completely inhumane and does not think about what is best for this country. in these past five years we've seen that daca has given more freedom and more opportunities to the population as a whole. it has allowed 95% of the daca recipients to receive better jobs. 54% to buy their first car, and 12% to buy their homes. not only is this an economic issue, but he is picking and choosing who he is discriminating against and trying to hide it between saying that is unconstitutional, when this entire program has only made this country better and it has helped an entire population flourish. >> raul, the statement from the attorney general is i am doing this because this should be coming from congress, this should not be coming from a president, it should not be coming from the white house. though as you heard in my questioning, he selected this. as at least the case that he
would challenge that very process. >> right. and you know what's interesting about what the attorney general was saying is that he was talking about challenging the daca program, which president obama created under an executive order. it's interesting how the attorney general is not challenging president trump's executive order of january 25th, which removed the deportation priorities, putting virtually all undocumented people in this country at risk for removal. when he was talking about this lawsuit, he tried to present it as something akin to the lawsuit that was earlier done with over dapa. they are very different. because daca was not in place, they were in the lower courts able to get an injunction against it under threat they would suffer immediate harm. that would be extremely difficult to do when talking about daca, because it exists. it's in place, it has been a successful program for five years. it's transforming lives. so they would be hard pressed to go to a court and get a judgment saying that now texas is facing
irreparable harm from daca. so we see he's misrepresenting it that way. what the president trump is also doing, if he goes this way in support of the attorney general paxton, is he's putting all republicans in the country on the spot, because they will all be asked what do you think about the president's daca decision, where do you stand. i want you to know daca is administered by department of homeland security. the same agency that administers fema. right now when texas is in the throes of this catastrophic disaster of the hurricane, this should not be what they are concentrating on. >> belen, this is typically a process coming out of congress, a law regarding immigration that the president would typically sign addressing issues that are so important to our country related to, again, those brought to the united states by their parents, their parents coming to the united states illegally.
so what is your response to that argument that he's making? and really he's saying, maybe he's saying this, congress needs to get moving. >> uh-huh. and, i mean, that is the ultimate decision that we all want. we all want a permanent solution, we all want to feel safe, but the reality is, if daca ends, there will be a gap between the program ending and a bill actually being passed. congress is not going to move in one day and pass an immigration bill that's going to save us all. the reality is, is that the day that daca ends, there are going to be 800,000 people or more who are going to lose their jobs, who are going to be at risk of being deported and going to be separated from their families. we can't afford that gap. we need to defend it and protect it now while congress does their job or else we're just turning this into a personal agenda against going after undocumented young people who are going to be vulnerable if this program ends
in the next few days. >> belen sissa, thank you for being here, a dreamer at arizona state. raul, i owe you one, it's been one of those hours, as you know. appreciate you both. >> thank you. back also to our other breaking story and we're talking about north korea, but also this issue, president trump heading into a new week of scrutiny over russia. yes, we've had some headlines over the last week. special counsel robert mueller has an early draft of president trump's letter firing jim comey, saying mueller is teaming up a new yorks attorney general and the irs. former trump campaign chairman paul manafort turned over his notes from his trump tower meeting with rugs to mueller, also a development from the last week and we also know the trump organization tried to build a trump tower in moscow. it has been a week, certainly. let's bring in democratic
strategy for chris kofinis. chris, so, you know, you pick from that list in terms of what has happened in the last week. again, still on the topic of russia. the letter apparently, by the way, showing that the president was not happy about cobb not telling the public he was not a focus of the russia probe. what do you make of the letter. >> well, "new york times" story is pretty devastating. it shows kind of the dysfunction in the white house. you have the family ties and those close campaign confidantes that are clearly playing to president trump's worst instincts and another group that are trying to rein him back in and here you have something that is potentially as explosive legally, politically, and otherwise as the firing an fbi director. it just, to me, is indicative of
how much president trump had already made up his mind long before any public rationale had been made about it and that is why he has issue and why it's feeding this larger obstruction of justice issue that's going to plague his administration right up until the time mueller comes up with a kind of a decision. >> and a part of this as we look at the reports of the irs and the attorney general getting involved in this investigation coming from mueller, that's got to be pretty -- that's definitely when it comes to the trump campaign and now the trump administration worrisome. >> yeah, it's extremely worrisome. look, i happy to have the privilege of being married to a tax consultant, so i have a little bit of insight when it comes to the irs's capabilities, but certainly getting the irs involved in this is bad news from trump's perspective. if that weren't the case, one thing that is somewhat forgotten in this, if you're a
libertarian, as i am, and you read things coming out, you're well affair of the fact every single one of us every day commits various criminal offenses, various unlawful things. when you are a guy supposedly worth billions, who is running for president, who is trying to do business around the world, the chances of you having done something wrong somewhere are pretty high, and when you have a guy like bob mueller looking into it and you have the irs also looking into it, the chances that you will have done something that's going to get you in trouble, i think, are extraordinarily high. and definitely much higher than a lot of trump fans are getting credit for. >> chris, quickly on that? >> well, i think the reality is really simple, there's no way, i think, that president trump helped himself by firing comey. he made it worse. and i think now when you add in what is an expanding investigation where they are starting to squeeze all those former aides that have left not under the best circumstances,
you're seeing the pressure ratchet up and at some point the question is going to be answered, what really happened, and i think this is what's clear based on all these media reports, president trump was clearly trying to avoid answering that question or having others answer that question. >> liz, also involved in this is -- talking about russia, trump tower, attempt in russia to build one. 30 seconds. >> right. i mean, look, i don't think it's surprising given what a big economy and big power russia is, you know, donald trump would have wanted to do some sort of property development there, right, that stands to reason. i think what's troublesome about this is, first of all, in order to develop property in russia, you have to be in good with the putin regime. that's not possible, especially when talking about moscow, so it's hard for me to believe there weren't some sort of connections there, including what's been reported on, but probably beyond that. the other thing that i think is troubling about it is, once again, we have the president sort of having to use a crude
term having tripped over his own you know what by making statements that really indicate that there was nothing there and it turns out there might have been a little bit of something there. and that's a problem he has. >> liz mayor, chris kofinis, great stuff. thank you both for joining us on this sunday here on msnbc. >> thank you. >> that does it for me this busy hour on msnbc. stay with us for more updates. breaking news, my colleague, phillip mena is next. stick around for him. have a great afternoon or evening. chores for mom" per roll more "doing chores for dad" per roll more "earning something you love" per roll bounty is more absorbent, so the roll can last 50% longer than the leading ordinary brand. so you get more "life" per roll. bounty the quicker picker upper.
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what's critical thinking like? a basketball costs $14. what's team spirit worth? (cheers) what's it worth to talk to your mom? what's the value of a walk in the woods? the value of capital is to create, not just wealth, but things that matter. morgan stanley hello, i'm phillip mena in msnbc headquarters. north korea saying they have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb, one intended for use on a long range missile, and the united states is responding. moments ago, some of the toughest words to date on north korea from the trump administration delivered by defense secretary james