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nuclear showdown. north korea stuns the world with a test of what appears to be a more powerful bomb than they've ever tested before. it leaves president trump with a difficult decision. bringing the fire and fury that he's promised or find another way to keep the rogue nation in check? the president's defense secretary just an hour ago delivering a strong message about the military option with a stark warning to north korea and rising price tag, the number for how much aid it will take for houston to recover from hurricane harvey. they're reaching estimates now of up to $200 billion. we'll have the latest from the still flood-ravaged city. i'm richard lui from the msnbc headquarters. thanks for jane aoining us on t sunday. north korea putting the rest of the world on high alert saying they've successfully tested a
hydrogen am bo, one that can be mounted on an intercontinental missile. secretary of defense james mattis issuing a brief, but direct statement to the threat. here is a portion of what he said. >> kim jong-un should take heed of the united nations security council 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. >> word of the test first broke around midnight eastern time when the u.s. geological survey detected a magnitude 6.3 explosion or quake near the country's main testing site in the north of korea, prompting president trump to tweet out
this warning. north korea has conducted a major nuclear test. their words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the united states. as he was leaving church the president was asked this question. >> mr. president, will you attack north korea? >> japan, south korea, china and nato all responded with a swift disapproval of the action in an emergency meeting of the u.n. security council has now been announced for tomorrow morning 10:00 a.m. eastern. garrett has been covering the story for us today. you were there, garrett, when james mattis came out and what more did he say? >> reporter: richard, we were really building to this moment all day. the defense secretary talking about the possibility of massive retaliation against the north koreans should they attack us or any of our allies, but if you go back to the start of the day, you saw with the very first tweet from president trump talking about how this action
poses a threat of a hostile action by north korea against the united states. tweets later in the day, he said that the south korean strategy against north korea had been one of appeasement and throughout the day you saw things like steve mnuchin, the treasury secretary coming out and saying we should have additional economic sanction, but no. in the afternoon, the meeting with the president of the united states was with defense officials and he wanted to hear the military options at his disposal to address this threat and you heard the comments from james mattis talking about massive retaliation and our iron-clad commitment to defend our friends and allies. so that get tough posture seems to be the direction the trump administration is going with this response and if they do, they seem to be getting some support from republicans in the senate. we heard ted cruz talking about this today and lindsay graham before this test took place, talking about the possible need for military action against north korea yesterday. take a listen to him.
>> i am 100% certain that if kim jong-un continues to develop missile technology that can hit america, if diplomacy fails to stop him there will be an attack by the united states against his weapons systems. i'm assuming the worst. let me tell you how the war ends. it ends with his utter destruction. >> lindsay graham, one of the most hawkish members of the senate. there will be plenty of republicans who don't agree with that state, but it does, perhaps, show the direction that this white house and its allies are sort of pointing when it comes to dealing with the north korean threat, richard? >> msnbc's garrett hake there at the white house just coming in about a half hour ago. thank you very much, garrett. i want to bring in gordon chang, daily beast columnist and auths a author of "north korea takes on
the world." i want to talk about what came out from secretary mattis and he used words saying, but not saying what may happen and i'll read some of the words, massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming and those are the words coming from his short statement at the white house. he also said with regard to this, annihilation is one of the words. he does not seek total annihilation, but he did use those words and we had two generals, military generals that basically gave the response to the united states. how will that be construed? >> that's war talk and certainly that's the way that they're going to hear it in beijing and pyongyang. now, at some point we may have to do it, but that point should be a long way off because there are a lot of non-kinetic options that we have, richard, that can actually disarm the north koreans and we're not talking about war. we're just talking about sanctions that have yet to be imposed and indeed, we have yet to go after the chinese for certainly very dangerous
conduct, money laundering and supplying technology for north korea's most advanced missiles in all probability. north korea's most advanced missiles and more advanced than what they fired off in july look like the jl submarine one. how come the north koreans have chinese-looking missiles. we need to have those answers before we start talking about war. >> one of the questions is how much of the technology that they claim to have used yesterday is homegrown? how much of it is indigenous versus that which they've brought in from other countries. >> with the detonation of what could be a hydrogen bomb and clearly 120 kilotons is in that range, you know, it's unlikely that the north koreans did this on their own. so, for instance, we see this in other areas and north korea's most advanced missiles and they could have developed solid fuel missiles, but it's pretty
unlikely. the other options are much more proba probable, and you know they've been semi-processed and the fluoride from the chinese. so there's a lot of help that they've gotten not only from beijing and moscow, and we allow this to tobaccontinue and we do really stop it. >> look at this picture that you have no doubt been analyzing, gord sxon that is this, what they claim to be their hydrogen bomb shaped in the size of a peanut, theoretically a two-stage device which is required for a hydrogen bomb, right? what do you glean from that picture? >> clearly, they've got good technology, but the thing about it is we really don't know and there have been pictures that the north koreans have shown us is, but the one thing we can say, even if they don't have the technology they claim they can get it and it's a matter of month ps upon no one can say
whether it's a real thermonuclear device. they've been making such quick advances in all fields of their arsenal. >> why now? >> i think first of all, they see the chaos in washington and so they believe that the trump administration is not prepared to deal effectively with them, but even more important, in china you have the run-up to the 19th communist party congress which starts october 18th and an extraordinarily sensitive leader for xi jinping and he's vulnerable and the north koreans believe they won't take effective action against pyongyang until at least the congress is over and this is a perfect spot for them. both china and the united states in their view not able to respond effectively. >> kim jong-un versus his generals, always been a question. who is doing this? >> essentially kim jong-un doesn't have a choice because it was his father and his grandfather who talked about the nuclear weapons program being the core of the regime, so he can't give it up. also, kim has tried to take away a lot of revenue from the generals when he came into power in december 2011 so he's got to
give the generals something and that something is their missile program and their nuclear weapons program because he's taken away a lot of their cash and give 10 to party officials and as opposed to the army and the navy and that's what we're seeing is we basically have a free run on their arsenal. >> that whole power play, we can spend 30 minutes. >> gordon chang, thank you as always. >> president trump has made a series of comments in response to north korea's actions to date and here's a little bit of them. >> the era of strategic patience with the north korean regime has failed. many years and it's failed, and frankly, that patience is over. >> north korea best not make any more threats to the united states. they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never
seen. >> some people said it was too strong, it's not strong enough. >> mr. president, will you attack north korea? >> we'll see. >> let's bring in the white house correspondent for reuters, iesha roscoe, chief investigative correspondent for yahoo news and michael isikoff and former deputy assistant for enter government affairs to the clinton administration matt bennett. iesha, what are you hearing from the white house right now? what happened when the president had gathered all of his top people to discuss how they would respond and then after that as we all know here, we saw secretary mattis come forward? >> well, apparently, the president had asked to hear all of the military options that are on the table right now and what they can do militarily to deal with north korea. perhaps at this point the white house is saying that what has gone on so far has not worked. the sanctions and the diplomacy, and the tough talk about fire and fury has not elicited the
response and of course, that would be incredibly deadly and incredibly consequential if you were to take any military action against north korea. >> i want to play again what secretary mattis had said about an hour and a half ago, for those just joining us and did not hear an excerpt from it so let's play a little bit of that. >> any threat to the united states or its territories including guam or our allies will be met with a massive military response and a response both effective and overwhelming. >> michael isikoff, this is a space you know well that you've been covering. what do you believe this secretary of defense may be thinking? >> it's hard to know, but i just want to take you back to a few weeks ago just before steve bannon was fired. he spoke to an editor at the american prospect in which he
said there are no military options in north korea, absent one that could cause catastrophic loss of life and he may have been speaking, you know, a pretty plain truth here that the administration officials and members of congress and the news media don't want to acknowledge that we are talking about if we go a military route, and the very real possibility that the north koreans strike back in the south and cause tens of thousands, if not more casualties. that is a pretty heavy prospect. everybody's talking about sanctions. gordon chang was saying we need to take stronger action to pressure the chinese. those are all reasonable options. it's worth pointing out that previous administrations
including the obama administration took those steps and that sanctions tend to take time and especially with north korea, a regime that has not shown a great concern about the welfare of its own people. so, you know, one scenario here is the one nobody wants to acknowledge which is that we may be in a state where north korea is going to have nuclear weapons, hydrogen bomb and thermonuclear weapons and there's nothing we can do about it. >> nothing we can do about it. matt bennett, is there nothing we can do about it? should more sanctions be investigated? the june -- june 3rd was when the security council unanimously agreed on sanctions and as michael isikoff was saying there, it takes a while for sanks to be implemented and they're still undertaking those which they agreed upon in the security council, for instance, in june. >> there's no question that we should try, but, look, i think
democrats like me and republicans have to take responsibility for the fact that president clinton and george w. bush these kinds of things were tried and they failed. the north koreans have been developing nuclear weapons since the 1990s. they've gotten good at it pretty recently and they now have missile technology and it's dangerous. it's not clear what they can do. they have 40,000 artillery tubes aimed at seoul which is a city about the size of new york, only much denser and in seoul there are tens of thousands of americans and it is an unbelievably dangerous situation and it is not clear they can take out their nuclear weapons without causing gargantuan, massive loss of life and let me point out one other thing on the diplomacy side. we need more than ever now, the south koreans to be good allies of ours and it is insane for the
president to be talking about the trade agreement on south korea which he's been doing in the last couple of days and it's like a cartoon hitting himself on the head with a hammer and that's what we ought to be doing to put pressure on north koreans. it's not only the trade deal he's alluding to, but the comments he's made in the last 24 hours specifically related to south korea, not holding up its end of the deal and not being tough enough on north korea and most watchers regardless of partisanship have not said that's not actually quite the way it is. >> we know that this president uses twitter to express himself and it's often very different from what's happening with the generals and with his secretary of state rex tillerson and the policy that they are pursuing. so we know there is a difference here and world leaderses have come to understand that there is a difference, as well. i agree completely with every other individual on this panel stemming from the fact that there are no good options for
north korea. what we have now is this brinkmannship tactic and our congress is looking at those on the defense committees trying to pull and rein in the rhetoric because you're talking about millions of people's lives and they and everyone in congress supports this surge in afghanistan. we are already dumping billions of dollars a day into the middle east, as well. we can talk strong about a strike on north korea, potentially, but in order to maintain a strong presence there and continue that beyond just a strike, that is a war on another front that we can't afford. >> looking forward, iesha, there may be some discussions and there are some 60 members of congress that said we do not like the language that the president has been using with north korea specifically, and they've asked for a briefing come this week on that very topic of afghanistan as kristen was talking about, but more importantly, it appears, north korea, too. what might be said? >> well, i think the white house
is going to make the case that they're looking at all their options. obviously, when you're dealing with congress, they're going to raise some concerns when you talk about the costs. they're already launching and we have wars on multiple fronts and to deal with north korea would be incredibly expensive and you know, not to mention the cost of life. so i think that that's going to be something that congress is going to press the white house on, but of course, the white house does have a lot of power when it comes to defense to make moves and take actions outside of congress and congress would really have to show a lot of will power to try to rein the white house in on this issue. >> thank you all four of you for being here with us. stay with us. we'll be talking to all of you straight ahead this hour. up next for you, the other story we're watching. the russia investigation. it was a busy week on that
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so it was a busy week on the topic of russia, though with harvey and now north korea, some of it has been forgotten, but as we dig into it now there are some revelations. first off about the fbi investigation into president trump's presidential campaign. russian election interference and the firing of former fbi director james comey. "the new york times" on friday reporting special council robert mueller heading the investigation now has a letter drafted by president trump and stephen miller and that may offer some clarity into whether or not the president obstructed justice when comey was fired. another explosive document, comey circulated about hillary clinton's e-mails that appears to show a decision not to charge clinton long before the case
actually concluded. also new reports that mueller is, woing with the irs in the russia investigation and news that trump was trying to secure a deal in moscow during his campaign for president. former u.s. attorney joyce vance joins us long with michael isikoff again, and yahoo news yavid jamali, former fbi operative and auth aor of the bk "how to catch a russian spy". >> joyce, when you look at the development of robert mueller now looking into his irs returns, the amount of detail that might be -- and also the attorney general of new york, those two big developments for robert mueller potentially could be gargantuan. >> that's absolutely right. tax returns are a gold mine of information for prosecutors. we hear a lot of talk about following the money. that's certainly what bob muler
and his team are doing and the news that they're doing it in connection with new york's attorney general is, of course, very interesting because we know that while the president can issue pardons for people who were charged with federal crimes, he can't issue pardons for people who are charged with state crimes. so this may be another lynchpin piece in obtaining cooperation from people who were involved in any sort of criminal activity mueller is being looking at and encouraging them to tell their stories to mueller's team. >> michael, in your investigative reporting here, what are you hearing on this very topic of the robert mueller investigation that you can add to give us some more context into this reporting coming out of "the new york times." >> first of all, on the irs and the new york attorney general front, i suspect this is more about the investigation into paul manafort than it is about the president at this point. we know that mueller and his team have been very focused on
building a case against manafort on taxes, potential money laundering and some of his real estate deals in new york. so it's most likely that at this stage that mueller is focused on, but there were two significant developments this week that are worth pointing out. first of all, in the letter, i don't know that it changes anything for the president because the president has already said russia is a part of his decision to fire jim commey. he said that publicly. he said it in the letter. he referred to it in the letter dismissing him. so this earlier letter, there's no indication at this point, it goes much beyond what we already know about the president, but -- but, the reporting does indicate, number one, that vice president pence was party to the
discussions about this early letter and that does raise questions about pence's public statement at the time that russia had nothing to do with the discussion to fire comey. if he had seen this letter in which there is a reference to comey for refusing to publicly say that he was not under investigation for russia. the credibility of pence's public statements come into question and also and perhaps more significantly that rod rosenstein, the deputy attorney general had a copy and was given a copy of this letter before he writes his own letter recommending the reasons for why comey is not fit to continue to head the fbi. that makes rosenstein a potential witness in the mueller probe. mueller is reporting to rosenstein. so there is a potential conflict
there and it does raise questions as to whether rosenstein can continue to serve as the overseer of the mueller investigation. >> and navit, as you build on what michael and joyce have been saying there, there is that question, this letter that was read and at least vice president pence, we understand, was coming and going into the oval office at that time as what michael was alluding to. what might that mean in terms of his culpability and knowing about what was later on the firing of james comey? >> i think as we look at this, the tentacles just become longer and more prevalent. it just seems that they sweep up almost everyone in the administration. the administration report hass jared kushner was very much aligned to encourage the president to get rid of comey. i want to take a pause here for a success because when we look at the criminal investigation we also have to consider this. the russians were obviously doing something. this was a russian operation and whether we move forward whether anyone pleads guilty or is found
guilty does eliminate the fact that they were successful. >> and in that discussion about potentially looking at a building, a trump tower in moscow during the campaign? >> yeah. you look at these things and you say this could have been the beginning of i a foray for how the russians made contact. these are all things that there was an intelligence operation here and the russians could build upon that. have we made sure the russians can actually come in and do this? >> more dangles? is that what we're saying? this is an in-depth operation that was fluid and as trump moved along with getting the nomination and eventually becoming elected, that operation changed quite dramatically. so we want to make sure from a counterintelligence perspective that we have the assets locked up and we saw president trump one of the last things he did was throw out 35 russian spies and seized two intelligence
compounds and that is a pretty dramatic move and that must have been connected to something tangible. >> i want to move on to the developments of this week related to the russia connection question. joyce, the white house trying to discredit james comey specifically and i'll go to the statement that comey reportedly had drafted what appears to be letting hillary clinton off the hook before he'd actually reached the end of the case. how hard is it to use this report to discredit comey as a witness in mueller's investigation? >> so leaving aside for a moment the fact that the comey statement to the public was very novel, there were obviously many folks inside of the justice department in addition to mr. rosenstein who understood that as comey usurping & the
president's pow and are putting that aside for a minute, the fact that comey was formulating his thoughts at this early stage before hillary clinton was interviewed is not particularly remarkable. the way prosecutors conduct investigations are pretty methodical. you have on one side the legal element you have to prove and prosecutors must able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to convict at trial, and on the other side you line up the facts and hopefully, if your prosecution is moving forward and your investigation is moving forward successfully you reach a point where you believe that you have all of the facts you need to prove all of the elements of the crime. the fact that comey drafted this statement is an indication that the facts were not lining up against the law and they were missing a piece that they believe they could never reach. that's not to say that he might have changed his mind had the interview with former secretary clinton panned out in an
unexpected way, and i'm not particularly concerned or compelled by the fact that he was drafting this statement in advance of that interview. >> joyce vance, michael isikoff, navid jamali in studio, a rare occurrence, but thank you. thank you, all three. tomorrow ari melber, the beat and the most powerful man in washington. robert mueller has experience in foreign battles and domestic crime and he's now running the russia investigation which could define the trump presidency. tomorrow, 6:00 p.m. eastern right mere on msnbc. don't miss that. we'll see. that was president trump's response when asked by a reporter if the united states would attack north korea and the defense secretary confirmed a short time ago that military options are decidedly on the table. what would a military response look like? we'll talk to general barry mccaffrey. learance event, you can do endless online research. or, you can take advantage of our best offer ever on an xt5.
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responded. . >> 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. >> we are all -- u.s. ambassador nikki haley announced tomorrow the u.n. security council will have an emergency meeting on the north korea situation. nbc pentagon correspondent hans nichols has more on the u.s. response for us. hans? >> richard, we have now heard from the administration and we heard from none other than secretary mattis flanked by the joint chief of staff and they're very clear that presenting military options to president trump that those are viable military option says. they don't want to use them, but in the way they described them they are pretty rhetorical, dwight bellicose. secretary mattis talking about total annihilation of north korea. he said they don't want to do
that. he stressed the importance of diplomacy and the u.s. will do whatever it takes to defend its allies and talked a lot about the alliance and finally talked about the importance of the united nations and the importance of some sort of diplomatic process going forward. i've listened to secretary mattis now for the last six, seven months talk about north korea. he always stresses diplomacy. this is the strongest i've heard him hint at military action and diplomacy is something they will continue to pursue and we have the notion of what it would mean for our allies and the defensive posture the defense is taking. we had a forceful response from the secretary of defense and we'll see whether or not it gets clouded or updated by any tweets from the president in the coming hours. >> hans, thank you for that. hans nichols at the pentagon for us. >> msnbc military analyst and retired four-star u.s. army general, barry mccaffrey. >> general, thanks for being here. you know secretary mattis and also a retired general. what did you hear from him that
was not said? >> well, i think we're in an increasingly dangerous situation, obviously. i don't think secretary mattis will do saber rattling, empty rhetoric. so i think what they're putting on the table with the president right now is can you live with a nuclear north korea with an icbm that can strike the united states? yes or no? if you can't, then they're actually considering military options. the problem, richard, obviously is we won't fight a conventional war against north korea. we'd win it. in six months it would be devastating to the korean peninsula and probably to japan and the u.n. armed forces and the danger is given north korea going to a nuclear power which they're clearly doing, there is a conventional warfare outbreak if we strike their delivery systems and their nuclear test sites.
i would anticipate at some point we would preempt with a nuclear strike on north korea. >> how likely, general, and i know you're being very pragmatic about this. how likely might that be in terms of the considerations they may have made today sitting in the white house. >> pretty unlikely. i think if we're dealing with a rational actor which we probably are, north korea. he essentially runs a criminal regime. it's not an idea lologue. this is the mafia running north korea, so hopefully he won't take steps that would result in the destruction of his regime. the problem is he's very young. he's untested. he's afraid of his generals. one of them is going to kill him one of these days, he thinks, and he's running an impoverished operation in north korea, so i think the room for miscalculation on his part is enormous. >> the news agency, we are just getting this in, general, a
second ago. the south -- south korea is now preparing for its own missile exercise or test. we don't have much more detail on that, but they had also said as you probably know, in the last 24 hours in response to north korea, that they would, quote, use the most powerful strategic assets that the u.s. possesses, that they would do that. put those two together for us. >> i think we have a pretty decent defensive system in saad missiles and the aegus navy destroyers and we have a capacity. as of yet the north koreans i don't think as of yet have a usable nuclear capability, certain certainly not an icbm. it is a strategic turning point we are now facing. are we going to live with a nuclear north korea that could strike us within 30 minutes of
the mainland or are we going too take measures guaranteed to prevent that? those measures are probably going to involve the use of military force? >> many of your cleggs were a part of the key decision today and the response to north korea. not only was retired general mattis who is now the defense secretary. we also saw the joint chiefs chair stand next to him and no doubt, h.r. mcmaster was part of this discussion and then as we look at john kelly who is now the chief of staff leading this white house through some very difficult decisions right now. reflect on their ability to bring good decision making to the white house so what is a very complex issue? >> i've told people and i think general kelly is one of the finest people i've ever met in my entire life. h.r. mcmast every, ph.d, defense intellectual, a warrior, defense in combat and none of these people will want to fight.
they'll look for a way out of it, but again, i think the key strategic question to the united states is can you live with a nuclear north korea with an icbm force. if you answer answer is absolutely not and we'll probably going to find this out, richard, on september 19th when president trump addresses the u.n. general assembly. by then if the global community hasn't come together meaning china, then i think there's a possibility of war with north korea. >>. >> retired four-star general barry mckfry and very straightforward answers today and we appreciate that. thank you so much, sir. >> good to be with you. >> all righty. we turn our attention back to the hurricane harvey recovery, forts and our other breaking story this day. volunteers are working around the clock in houston to try to help those in need because of all of the flooding there. we'll talk to some of them just ahead. shawn evans: it's 6 am. 40 million americans are waking up to a gillette shave. and at our factory in boston, 1,200 workers are starting their day
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welcome back. today is the day president trump designated as a national day of prayer for the people impacted by hurricane harvey. the president and first lady melania attended service at st. john's episcopal church in washington after visiting affected areas of texas and louisiana all throughout the day yesterday. so far, 43 people are confirmed dead from harvey. at least 43,000 are currently living in shelters and 436,000 have requested fema assistance. let's head to houston where nbc's maya rodriguez has more for us. maya, you're outside of a houston food bank, one of those so important places for folks in that entire region during this difficult time when they just need everyday staples. >> reporter: yeah, richard. this is a place that is trying to reach out and help the community. here we're in the produce section and you can see the mangoes. this is the biggest food bank in
the country. the houston food bank is huge. you can take a look at the food. we had volunteers all over the place today sorting through thing, getting those boxes ready so they can head out into the community. these were folks, for the most part who said they didn't have any damage, but they wanted to be able to give back. take a listen. >> i know houston is in need, and i don't want to spend my labor day weekend playing golf and having fun when a lot of people need help so i decided to come and donate my time labor day weekend helping houston. >> reporter: they're getting ready to distribute about a million pounds of food every sing will day here and that is a need that is great here, richard. as you can imagine, so many people are here in need, richard? >> and the volunteers so important to see that. great to see that mrj. maya rodriguez, thank you so
much there in houston. president trump is frustrated with chief of staff john kelly and that is the reporting, bringing something to the oval office something the president doesn't like all of the time. will this last or will the president put things back where they used to be? our political panel weighs in. hey grandpa. hey, kid. really good to see you. you too. you tell grandma you were going fishing again? maybe. (vo) the best things in life keep going. that's why i got a subaru, too. introducing the all-new crosstrek. love is out there. find it in a subaru crosstrek. (flourish spray noise) (flourish spray noise) (flourish spray noise) (flourish spray noise) the joy of real cream in 15 calories per serving. enough said. reddi-wip. (flourish spray noise) share the joy.
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and you break into your happy dance. if you sign up for better car replacement™, we'll pay for a car that's a model year newer with 15,000 fewer miles than your old one. liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance. it's been a busy weekend with breaking news. north korea. we also have hurricane harvey and the aftermath of the flooding. who knows what the next crisis might be, but there is one person who could sway president trump's actions and decisions like no one else in the white house. at the moment, chief of staff john kelly who we're talking about close with mr. trump yesterday during his return trip to texas as well as louisiana, and the president tweeted today that he would be meeting with kelly and others at the white house to talk about the latest nuclear test by kim jong-un
which we saw the outcome of that. but that comes after reports of friction between the president and kelly who many believe was brought in, and the new york times reporting the president lashed out at kelly after his trip to phoenix last marine gen quote, said this, later told other staff members that he had never been spoken to like that during 35 years of serving his country." back with us, aisha roscoe, kristin hagland, matt bennett. kristin? it could be day to do i, couldn't it be? the decision to put forward secretary mattis, also retired general today, this could be an indication that when it comes to kelly, it is a day to day thing. >> i think it feels like way with everyone in this administration at this point with what we've been seeing. obviously the turnover is very, very high. good signs are that both general kelly, general mattis both feel that they're serving out of real duty to this country, not out of
personal aggrandizement or trying to further their political career. also we've seen that the president has great respect for military generals. this is a guy who was raised going to military school, boarding school. this is very formational for his upbringing. so he feels a sense of duty to them. for a lot of conservatives and republicans watching the administration, this is a sign of hope that there are maybe some leaders there that are able to exert influence on the president in a more positive way than some of just these hangers-on or individuals that just stay for ten days and can't influence the president for good. >> aisha, what are you seeing in the white house in the way that bedside manner is between the new chief of staff and this president? >> well, general kelly, he's known at this point for bringing order. i think that's what we're hearing, that he's controlling the flow of information to the
president, that he is making sure that people go to staff meetings and that he's also making sure that people don't just go in to talk to the president. and so far the president seems to be saying that this is okay with him. you see him tweeting things are going great with general kelly. and he does continue to name drop general kelly and say what a great job he's doing. but in the past, of course, he's talked up people, and then they end up leaving the administration. so you have to kind of take it with a grain of salt. how much does the president like to be controlled? >> and it is a long arc of experiences for this president before they probably -- individuals such as, again, the chief of staff -- get into that inner circle long term. matt, today might have been one of those crucibles for this president as he sat across the table in this case from many of his generals, many of his leaders, at looked at general
kelly and felt this is the right person i need to have standing by my side. >> i hope so. look, speaking for a lot of democrats we hope that general kelly can hang in there because he is clearly -- as general mccaffrey noted -- someone of honor and deep experience and exactly the things that the president lacks. but this president has not taken well to people who have come in to restore order. you recall during the campaign when he got rid of cory lewandowski, brought in paul manafort, he didn't last. then brought in steve bannon to restore order. but chaos kind of reigned. it reigned through reince priebus as chief of staff as well. if you look at presidents who govern normally, like bill clinton, he had some order problems early on in his administration. he replaced his chief of staff. leon panetta came in, another very tough-minded guy and did restore order and that president really relished that. it is not at all clear that this
president wants to be handled that way. >> part of that, quote, unquote, handling according to the daily beast coming from another paper again here saying that kelly is blocking omarosa's access to president trump and others. specifically related to unvetted news stories on the president's desk and other sorts of lightning rod issues being brought by o mmarr omarosa to t office, that become tweets, that become policy potentially. >> general kelly is very good for the white house getting on message. part of the president is he sees an article or someone passes along a fit bid of information that sounds like a great sound bite, and he responds on twitter. general kelly controlling the message is not only good for the way the white house is received globally and foreign policy, in also how he is able to work with congress and get his aagain
today forward. this is all about messaging, and it is very wise. >> well, twitter. ais aisha, can kelly pull that device away from the president's hands? there's a tweet in rt coming of a doctor's book of hillary clinton's book "what happened," a caption of trump's face saying "i happened." maybe where the general kelly's going, i didn't want that to happen but there is the access the president has to twitter. >> yes. i think that at this point general kelly is taking the tans of he's going to control what he can control and there are things that are out of his control and the president's twitter is one of those things. he's not with the president at all times of the day and that the president wants to tweet something, he can. so that's always going to be a factor in this white house, is that the president is going to
say we wants to say. and we did see in some of those d chaotic weeks in charlottesville and the rally in phoenix, even though general kelly is asserting some control over the white house, if the president wants to go off and say what he wants to say, he's going to do that. and general kelly doesn't have much control over that. >> aisha rogseye yeee shah . >> thanks for being with us on msnbc. that wraps it up for us here on this hour on msnbc. i'm richard lui. stay with us for much more news in our next hour as we continue to follow new developments about north korea and the white house response to the nuclear crisis. ♪
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u.s. defense secretary james mattis responding earlier today to north korea's claims of firing off another icbm. >> kim jong-un should take heed of the u.n. security council's unanimous voice -- 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. >> and then this just in to msnbc. we are hearing from the young hot news agency that south korea is holding ballistic missile drills now