tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC October 11, 2017 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
attack after a critical report plus did steve bannon really say that about the president? tonight where he puts the chances that trump reaches the end of his full term in office. and the concerns some are invoicing over what they see as an unstable, unraveling man in the oval office, a man who doesn't sound like himself to old friends, doesn't seem to like the people in his orbit. the charges are serious. we'll have a serious conversation about it when the 11th hour gets under way. and good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 265 of the trump administration. the president spent the evening in pennsylvania trying to engine up support for his tax plan.
he also hosted the canadian prime minister justin trudeau at the white house where the pair talked about trade among other topics. but once again this white house did not spend its business day on offense, vapsing its alleged. it played defense instead on a story reported out by a team of journalists at nbc news. it says in part, quote, president donald trump said he wanted what amend to a nearly ten fold increase in the u.s. nuclear arsenal during a gathering this past summer of the nation's highest rapging national security leaders according to three officials who were in the room. well, sitting next to trudeau in the oval office the president, of course, labeled the report fake news. >> the nuclear arsenal? >> no, i never discussed increasing it. i want it in perfect shape. that was just fake news by nbc, which gives a lot of fake news lately. no, i never discussed that. i think somebody said i want ten times the nuclear weapons that we have right now.
right now we have so many nuclear weapons. i want them in perfect condition, perfect shape. that's the only thing i've ever discussed. i want modernization and i want total rehabilitation. it's got to be in tip top shape. >> again, today's story is about the u.s. nuclear arsenal, easily the most fear some single power of the presidency. it's a topic candidate trump talked about a fair amount in the years before taking office. >> three legs of the try add, though, do you have a priority? i want to go to senator rubio after that and ask him -- >> nuclear is just the power, the devastation is very important to me. >> look, nuclear should be off the table. but would there be a time when it could be used? possibly. >> the trouble is when you said that, the whole world heard it. they're hearing a guy running for president of the united states talking of maybe using nuclear weapons. nobody wants to hear that from an american president. >> why do we make them? >> because of the -- >> i was against iraq. i'd be the last one to use the
snuck wepts because sort of like the end of the ball game. >> can you tell the united states -- >> i would never say that. i would never take any of my cards off the table. >> how about in europe? >> i'm -- >> you might use it in europe? >> no, i don't think so. >> just say it -- >> i'm not taking cards off the table. >> i don't want to rule out anything. i will be the last to use nuclear weapons. it's a horror to use nuclear weapons. i will not be a happy trigger like some people might be. >> i would certainly not do first strike. i think that once the nuclear alternative happens, it's over. at the same time, we have to be prepared. i can't take anything off the table. >> a sampling there of what we have heard on camera from him. in august on this network joe scarborough reported on another encounter with trump on the subject of nuclear weapons. >> several months ago a foreign policy expert on the
international level went to advice donald trump and three times he asked about the use of nuclear weapons. thee times he asked at one point if we have them, why can't we use them? >> oh, wow. >> that's one of the reasons why he just doesn't have foreign policy experts aren't him. >> trump asked three times. >> three times in an hour briefing why can't we use nuclear weapons? >> and about that new nbc news report we mentioned, it was that summer meeting when the president reportedly made that remark about our nuclear weapons that brings us to where we are in present day relationship between the president, let's not forget, and the secretary of state rex tillerson. the report goes on to say the july 20 meeting was described as a lengthy and sometimes tense review of worldwide u.s. forces and operations. it was soon after the meeting broke up that officials who remained behind heard tillerson say that trump is a moron.
today, again, in the oval office trump was asked about tillerson and whether the two men agree in their approach to handling north korea. >> i think i have a little bit different attitude on north korea than other people might have. >> meaning your secretary? >> and i listen to every, but ultimately my attitude is the one that matters, isn't it? that's the way it works. that's the way the system is. >> our lead-off panel tonight, carol lee, nbc news national political reporter came us to from "the wall street journal" and who was one of the by lines on our report about the president and our nuclear arsenal, one of several stories, by the way, she has broken lalgt. jeremy bash, sfoerm chief of staff at cia and pentagon and an mississippi nbc national security analystment and jonathan la mere, white house rote for the "associated press," also an msnbc political analyst. welcome to all of you. carol, island like to begin with you. we heard denials to your story
carefully worded denials as your story was carefully worded. set it up with exactly what you're reporting and what the denials were. >> sure. well, what our reporting showed and to be clear, we talked to three people who were in this july 20th meeting and it was want a very large meeting. it was at the pont gon in a secure room known as the tank. and essentially the point of the meeting was to walk the president around the world and say, you know, here is the military assets we have in this area, here is the number of troops here. and as part of that whole presentation, they did a presentation on the nuclear arsenal and they showed the president a slide with a chart is that looked at the u.s. arsenal from the 1950s to current. and the russian arsenal from the 1950s to current. and the president looked at the chart, according to these three people in the room, and saw the point at which it was highest which was around 32,000 in the late 60 and said, well, why don't we have that? why not that many?
let's get those. and i don't want this other, you know, the 4,000. and so essentially saying i want to have a nuclear arsenal that's almost ten times as large as it is now. and, you know, one of the interesting things about that is that the people in the room didn't take him literally and they basically said, look, you know, here are all the reasons why that's not feasible. we are bound by treat yes, sir. we have major budgetary restraints that would incredibly expensive. and also, it is not necessary. weaponry has changed so much since the u.s. arsenal was at its peak and there's eye whole bunch of conventional weapons. so the president's comments were one of several in this particular meeting that took his advisers off guard a little bit. >> jeremy bash, i have a three-part question to you. what's preventing us from adding to our arsenal? what's the chain of command, in other words who gets to launch?
and what scarce you about the reporting of carol lee and her colleagues? >> well, what's most frightening is that this shows a fundamental misunderstanding by our commander in chief about the role and mission of our nuclear arsenal and his role in it. so first on the issue of the size of the arsenal, we have far more nuclear weapons than we have war planes for. so in every region of the world our military commanders develop war planes and they say how many tanks, troops, nukes we need. the idea of going ten fold is expensive. it will cause prolifr rags and it make the use of nuclear weapons that much more likely. so your last point, the reason i'm so concerned is in our system only the president can order a nuclear strike and once he gives that word, literally, his words are taken literally, his order cannot be countermanded my anybody. >> anybody up and down the chain. >> no. the president says go, we go. >> jonathan la mere, after that
sobering note, you were out front on this story a couple weeks back. you too reported on this meeting in the so-called tank at the pentagon. specifically, a kind of a way they drew donald trump in. remind our viewers, why were trump's businesses around the world invoked at this meeting in snoo july 20th has become in retrospect a pretty pivotal day for this administration. the president in the weeks prior to that meeting had taken to questioning the need for an american presence, a robust american presence around the world and many particular they were discussing what to do with afghanistan. this is before the president had settled on his strategy for the war there. top officials senior white house aides gathered this this window less room at the pentagon and mattis and tillerson in particular took a lead in delivering a course that you can almost deem american power 101.
saying mr. president this is why we need embassies here, forces here and this base here. and to put it in context the way the president best graps this organization, diagrams, in particular explaining why this was useful to americans in particular american businesses, one particular most of all, the trump organization to say this is why americans around the world, their business interests are sach guarded by this presence out there and sland to him why in every this mattered. now, the result of this meeting did lead to a rare win. he was pushing, maintaining the forces in afghanistan. the president weeks lighter did agree to that, even slightly increase the amount of forces we're going to have there. but the you are not current was not just afghanistan. it was sort of explained to the president why all this matters. >> jeremy, you're a veteran of the tank, i assume, after your years at the pept gon and i assume the room speaks of some seriousness upon entering. >> yeah. you know, that's the room where
the chairman, the vice chairman and the joint chiefs of staff meet. they usually meet regularly together as a group. they meet regularly with the secretary of defense and on occasion the commander in chief. and one of the paintings in the room is, of course, of president lincoln bringing our country together after the civil war. it is a very sobering room. it's where big military decisions are made. and it's concerning just to hear jonathan's report that the senior national security leaders of our country would have to explain to the president in dollars and cents terms affecting the trump organization and the president's own bottom line why we should lead in the world. >> i'm sure you're up on it. to your piece, let's start with the president on twitter with all the fake news coming out of nbc and the networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their license, bad for country? network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and if appropriate revoked, not
fair to the public. for the record nbc news does not operate on a license but local news stations too. steve submit wrote this on twitter tonight. the attack by trump on the first amendment today is likely the most unamerican sentiment ever uttered by a president of the united states. can't think of another. not to be out done, there is always besh has, remember that. historian michael besh has. back on the board tonight reminding us about richard nixon floating the idea to challenge the "washington post" owned stations, their licenses. we've been here before. carol, first of all, congrats on breaking the first amendment. i'm wondering how it feels to have this much pressure and talk kpertd and talk surrounding a story you filed. >> well, lock, you know, we feel like this is a very important story. it's a very serious topic.
and i have to say, you know, none of this surprises me. yes, the president escalated, you know, his attack on what he calls fake news, but i fully expected him to respond this way. this is how the president responds to any news report he doesn't like. it just keeps ratcheting up. but when you look at the story, you know, you can't -- the importance of this, particularly at this moment when the united states is in a, you know, highest tensions that they've seen with north korea and the president's about to throw the u.s. nuclear deal, the nuclear deal with iran into an uncertainty, this is a window into how this president thinks about the most serious issues that any president faces. and so it's not fake and we extensively reported this ask we spoke with a number of people, including three of whom were in the room, and each of them had the same thing to say about what the -- how the president conducted himself in that
meeting. >> i'll take your window met for and raise you. jeremy bash, this is all a window to the wider world. carol's buy line was on the moron story. people with hear us when we speak around the world. they can alternatives hear loose talk about nuclear women's by the only nation ever to use them in anger and kill hundreds of thousands of people. >> i think the president's position on expanding our nuclear arsenal, on talking only about mill taer options of north korea and withdrawing from the iran nuclear deal is going to cause more nuclear proliferation. brian, i would rather have one first amy than 30,000 nuclear weapons. that one amendment protects us far more than any weapon could ever hope to. >> and jonathan la mere, remember the chain of command. this is all also being watched by people with stars and birds on their uniform. people with stripes and people with bars and people all down the line who are charged with keeping these weapons tip top
shape, ready to go as they say in south korea, ready to fight tonight. >> of course. i mean, this is a time -- this talks comes at a time when the nation is facing a number of foreign policy crises. you mentioned north korea, the decision on iran looms. this is a president who is still relatively untested in foreign policy. this is a president who when dealt with his first international crisis this summer used phrases like fire and fury that he reacted angry, he reacted emotionally. he made it a personal insult that he felt was north korea's aggression. he took it personally. he want to lash back. i think there are probably leaders in clols all over this world who are very anxious about this reporting toned, who were very concerned about the stability of the leadership structure in the united states about the president's perhaps willingness to use this or at least express an interest in growing dramaticly our arsenal when most military experts around him say there's no need.
>> our thanks to two veteran journalists and a pentagon veteran. thank you all for being part of our lead-off panel tonight. coming up, the president speaks about the divide in the republican party in this new interview tonight. plus, a new poll finds over half the nation says the president is unfit to serve. in other words, it's just another wednesday night as the 11th hour rolls along. in fact, we're just getting started.
people that are democrats and i actually think we'll have democratic support. the one thing with the democrats, they stay together like glue. they're lousy politicians and their policies are terrible, but they do stick together. we have great policies, but the republicans tend not to be as unified. >> that was the backdrop for that interview tonight, a hanger full of supporters prior to the trump -- the president's speech and then it aired afterwards. president trump tonight with a kind of back handed compliment there for democrats. again, he sat down to be interviewed for sean hannity on fox news tonight in pennsylvania. today's interview comes on the heels of an l.a. times report revealing fresh frustrations inside the west wing. some of the irritation stemming from trump's relationship with those outside his senior staff. quote, allies see signs that trump is frustrated with chief of staff john kelly and increasingly unwilling to be
managed even just a little. the person close to the white house said the two men had engaged in shouting matches in recent days. the president has started to call people more on the weekends from the cell phone, which he didn't used to do, the person said, noting that trump often calls hannity after the fox news host's nightly show. tonight trump was, of course, hannity's guest. he took time to taught his tanning plan, talk about the progress of the border wall and downplay the investigation into russian collusion during the campaign. >> russia was an excuse used by the democrats when they lost the election. they said why did you lose the election? they said, it was russia. russia. it wasn't russia. it was a bad candidate. then they say awe, and it was trump at that colluded with russia. i'm saying i did? so, look, here is the story. and i think it's -- this was an
excuse by the democrats and people got carried away. >> with us to talk about all of this, phil rucker, anita could you march, and sam stein. welcome to you all. mr. rucker, i'd like to start with you. fist of all, you hear there the language of the threat of an existential challenge to his own election. we hear it often. we hear it in those words. second, we're also hearing words that you serious, grab you, get your attention like unrafrlg and unstable. regarding a sitting president we haven't heard this since nixon's final days, since his drinking days, his sul lesson, depressed, la gub reous days inside the residence portion of the white house. phil, this is serious language. >> it really is and i can tell you i'm hearing it from people
inside the white house and on the outside that there's a lot of concern about this president's foul moods. he's basically been unhappy in this job for many months, but especially now as his agenda is stalled as the russia investigation heats up. he's concerned. he has had frustrations, moments of tension with chief of staff john kelly, although i should note there's no indication that kelly is going to either be fired or quit imminently. that's for sure. but this is a problem for the president. and you're right. it's a historic moment here. and, you know, we should take this seriously. >> anita, a question i always try to ask you, how did the trump agenda move ahead today? >> well, the president was out there trying to get back to tax reform. that was what that event you were talking about in pennsylvania was. but, you know, he tried to use this interview that you mentioned to talk about that, talk about a lot of other issues. i heard a lot of very familiar things in that purview.
things he wanted to get out and he had a very friendly audience there cheering him on with sean hannity as well. how did it move forward? they're trying to move forward on tax reform, but this is after the last week of having to deal with criticism of over how he handled puerto rico and the hurricane and then his tweet storm about senator bob corker on sunday. so, you know, he got off topping and now he's trying to get back on and that's just not the way things are going to get done. >> sam, how far is this from normal? >> quite. >> where is congress? what are they up to these days. >> i think the corker thing, correct me if you think i'm wrong here, i think the corker thing opened up a real door to this presidency. people had been talking about it but it really hadn't existed before where bekd openly discuss the stability of trump himself. >> extraordinary. >> and i thought this interview which sean hannity, i don't know how you don't make news with a 50 minute interview with the president. what was interesting about the
interview is what came after which was when he started talking to his audience members of the they all love trump and they all hate the republican congress ask there's a real break that's happening in fronted of it, part of it facilitated by trump. so when we talk about the inant of trump to move the agenda, it's not just his own personal instability. it's this skchism. and the more you go after bob kosher, the more you facilitate booing of john mccain being the harder your job is going to be. >> but then u this collision in the polls in 2018, 2020. you heard mr. bannon talking about a kind of splinter team who the folks who may have r after their name, it's going to be a different branch, a nationalist bannon iet branch. >> well, that's the big bet they're making, right. you can scare the republican incumbents into submission.
that if you run a primary challenger against basically everyone, that they will vote for the trump agenda. and,up, it's possible it can work. bob corker did not say these things until after he said he wasn't running for re-election. but there are going to be some republicans, i guess, who say you know what? i'm not dealing with this. i'm going to go out on a limb. if it costs me my seat, so be it. that's a huge gamble for the white house. >> that will be interesting to see. bill kristol is waiting to see if we see that moment. philip, you contributed to a piece, speaking of the president's mood and temperament because it is germane to some of the news you and i talk about on this broadcast. you contributed this piece on the iran deal in which the president threw a fit. tell our viewers about it. >> well, he's thrown a fit over this iran deal because we've had these quarterly deadlines, basically, every three months where the administration has to decide whether to certify whether iran is complying with this nuclear agreement.
and he's been convinced the first two times in april and again in june to move forward, so fert fie iran's part of the deal. he's been convinced of that by tillerson, mcmaster, by others he views as more traditionalist in nir thinking about policy foreign and he sort of lost it the last time around. and that was an indication to a lot of the people in his administration and in his cabinet that the president wanted a different solution. so they came together to figure out this way for him to be able to dessert fie the iran deal which he's expected to do later this week while still punting it to congress to buy some time and keep some structure of the deal in place and that's the compromise that they settle odd. >> anita, some of these things in foreign policy have timers on them. they come around. it's cyclical and it's not sap like advancing an agenda through whether or not they're in town. these are things that compel involvement. >> right. definitely. and the iran deal is the first
thing on his list. he has top determine in the next few days here. also the white house has announced that trump is going on an extraordinary trip of the he's taking -- he's going to five countries in just about three weeks to asia and so that will be very key. he's going to south korea and dhien. and so north korea is looming large. there's so many things on his plate right now, domestic, foreign policy and you're right, some of them just can't wait. >> yeah. our friend mr. la mere is going on that trip. he says he's starting his sleep tonight for that. hey, sam, kicking the iran deal to congress, is that an example of what could go wrong? >> toolel, i don't think so a key member in congress, vocal critic of the iran deal came out today and said we need to enforce it but keep it, which i thought was an important tell. what i don't quite understand is why the administration wants this. we are already in one potential
nuclear stand off with north korea. the domestic agenda is a whole another bag. do you really into this stew want to throw another nuclear stand off in the middle east, especially when top foreign policy advisers to your own administration are saying that iran is in kploins with this deal. i mean, it's sort of like we're in a little bit of a crazy hand here saying they're not but your own people say they are. i'm not sure what the end game is here. all i know is the top people around trump don't want him to do this and are trying to find a with minimum damage possible. >> hate when you guys come on here and insist on making sense. thanks. terrific panel. thank you all for coming on with us tonight. and coming up, a bold new prediction about how the trump presidency may end from someone close enough to trump to have an educated opinion about this. that and more when the # 1st hour continues.
welcome back. vanity fair is out with an article on this presidency. it's called i hate everyone in the white house. trump sooets as advisers fear the president is unraveling. it goes on to say, quote, several months ago according to two sources with knowledge of the conversation, former chief strategist steve bannon told trump that the risk to his presidency wasn't impeachment but the 25th amendment, the provision by which a majority of the cabinet can vote to remove the president. when bannon mentioned the 25th
amendment trump said what's that? according to a source bannon has told people he thinks trump has only a 30% chance of paking it the full term. that will get your attention. a lot of that going around. michael, what do you make of that? if a heart surgeon said to you, look, we're going to open you up, 30% chance we'll be taking at the other end, would you take those odds? >> no, i would not. but with bannon, yeah, you never know. i think what bannon was really getting at on that was not so much that the president was somehow imperiled, but i think he was just sort of rekba sighing to him why the mission is important and to make it very clear that he's got enemies on all sides, even inside huz own
cabinet. and the fact of the matter is they want to hunker down now. i mean, bannon has declared war on the republican party nationally. he's going after incumbent elected officials. now even talking about governors and state legislators. so this is a big problem, and i think that is just sort of a one off. i don't think that bannon is sitting there thinking that the president won't make it thu the rest of his term. i think he's just emphasizing the importance to the president of just how difficult those around him have been for him. >> well navigated, mr. chairman. you've heard the phrase, both of you gentlemen, ripped from the headlines. this is the rld of eugene's column. trump has more than three years left in his term. what are we going to do? >> okay. what are we going to do? >> yop. you know, i've listened to your entire show tonight, and it has
scared the about jesus out of me. >> gets your attention. >> it has been frightening. and so let's look at the vanity fair piece, right, which i read. and i was trying to imagine the context. one assumes that steve bannon wasn't saying the 25th amendment is a threat to you, mr. president, because you are unfit and therefore, this could happen. so it must be that your cabinet is out to get you, that your vice president and your cabinet may decide that they want to get rid of you. they're enemies, they're your potential enemies too. that is a pretty insane thing for the president's chief strategist to be telling him, and i don't think that happens in a normal white house. but this is not a normal white house. so what are we to do? by solution is that congress steps up and does what the constitution says it should do.
we have checks and balances in our system. congress can investigate. congress can provide oversight. the house mainly has the power of the purse. the senate has the power to advice and concept. and congress needs to step up. and frankly, con strain this out of control president. >> both eugene and michael are going to stay with us. we're going to fit a break in and continue our conversation on the other side. and coming up, a long-time friend of the president tells the "washington post" he is shocked and stunned by some of what the president says, but to what end? again, our conversation continues right after this. 9 out of 10 couples prefer a different mattress firmness, so we created the only bed that adjusts on both sides to your ideal comfort, your sleep number setting. you can even see how well you're sleeping and make adjustments. does your bed do that? the most amazing part is they start at $699. that's $200 off our queen c2 mattress during the final days of our fall sale.
your base now is the world and america, so you have all these constituencies. show them who you really are. in my opinion, he's better than this. a new quinnipiac poll out today shows the president's approval rating at 38%. and according to this poll, most people, 55%, do not think donald trump is fit to serve as president. back with us, two very smart men on this topic. mr. chairman, i can't believe i just said those words. most people do not believe the president is fit to serve. >> yeah. it's a stunning revelation for the administration, aim sure, and for the president also. i think there's a lot of, you know, hanging out in the bubble that sort of blinds the administration and the president to what people are really beginning to pick up about what's going on, how they feel about that. yes, you've got this solid group of people in this very narrow
corner of the gop that's behind you no matter what, but as you noted with his friends telling him, you're bigger than that. the world is bigger than that, and you now have to speak to significantly more important group of americans, and that's all of us. and soing that the president is having a hard time squaring that, and it shows on a day in and day out basis. he still needs he has to do and be a reality tv president as opposed to just being president. >> you jean, we've all talked about the people around the president who say the best way to reach him is through the media, the media you know he says and reads. the top bar rack interview was so interesting in that respect. do you think it's a ways in? do you think he's doing a favor for people who are trying to prevail here? >> you know, i have no way of knowing what sort of conversation he might have had with people who wanted him to get a certain message to the
president, but i think that's certainly a reasonable theory of how this came to be, and i think he certainly, whether on his own behalf or on behalf of others, was trying to get a maeng to the president. i've read that story as a way of speaking to the president at length about his problems. every president in my lifetime has at least attempted to speak and govern and embrace beyond his base. some have been successful 6789 some more successful. some have been less successful. but everybody has attempted to do it except donald trump. and i think you see the results. i plen mean, the intensity on these sort of anti-trump camp goes up and up and up. because he doesn't reach out to them at all or try to communicate with them at all. and his base shrinks. this is want a stable situation,
stable political situation. >> mr. cham, last word if you can do it in 30 seconds. >> sure. >> do you take bannon literally and seriously when he talks about primarying incumbents. >> i do because he already has. and he's done so successfully. and the party better wake up and pay attention to what's going on. there's a lot of hell to pay and it's started already. and the request he is what kind of party are you going to be on the other side of that. >> thank you. another great conversation. thank you both. another break for us. and coming up, the talk that many feel is too casual, too reckless, too dangerous about nuclear war with north korea. much more when we continue.
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him do, but a new apnorc poll shows most americans don't approve of his approach. the "associated press" writes this about the new numbers, quote, the poll found 65% of americans think trump's comments have made the situation between the u.s. and north korea worse. only 8% think he's making the situation better. with us tonight to talk about this, jeremy bash, a civilian veteran of the pentagon has been kind enough to stick around and join us for a second round tonight. and also u.s. retired colonel jack jab obs. jack teaches future second lieutenants at west point how to avoid the mistakes of the past. so, jack, what kernts you most when we have all this as i called it loose talk about nuclear weapons in north korea? and are you calmed by the generals, former generals around
this president, mcmaster, mattis, kelly? >> well, i'm calmed by the presence of the generals, but i don't know how much influence they could actually have on a president who decides to do something irrational. i'm more complacent about north korea than most people. >> why? >> i think it's unlikely that kim jong-un is going to do anything silly because his whole purpose in life is to remain in power and launching an attack on the united states is dysfunctional to achooeg that objective. >> and what about the home team? >> that's different altogether which is why it's important to have people around the president to instruct on what to do. having said that, the president at the end of the day can do whatever he wants and that is concerning. >> and jeremy says you can lung, fak elsay stop, don't do that, you can troo i to make a phone call down the chain, but jeremy, you can't stop the demand. and you further said today they drill on this three times every
24-hour cycle. >> well, in the pentagon they prepare for a nuclear attack and they prepare for a income response. it's possible that in the korean context we could be looking at a variety of kwepgs alsituations. it's not just between north and south korea, under our war plans and our agreements, the u.s. command of south korea takes command and we fight as one. >> i think the one thing to be most concerned about north korea is a mistake. i don't think anybody is going to troo i to do something out ranges on purpose, bt a mistake would definitely cause a lot of trouble. >> how should americans, taxpayers think about our nuclear arsenal thins there's so much talk about it and the president takes every toont to say we should have the nicest, greatest. >> well, the largest number of warheads and so on, we need a
billion trillion warheads. we have plenty. i think the biggest criticism you can have of our nuclear arsenal is that it's in need of modernization. that takes money and time and the congress too, by the way. but having a lot more nukes is not going to make us safer. it's likely to make us less safe. >> it's also on a hair trigger which means it can be deployed very rapidly. many thoughtful people have said it may not be necessary to have as many weapons on a hair trigger, and i think gifbl the current context, that serves awe relook. >> jack, do you regard the opponent here as an already nuclear north korea? >> i think you must assume that it is. and there is not much chance we have of changing that because the independent variable here is china. i don't think china is going to have a positive effect on the outcome. i think it's just a matter of time before nuclear has a dlifbl nuclear weapon, but that doesn't
necessarily mean that they're going to use it. remember that kim jong-un's principle function is to stay in power and launching an attack on the united states and one of its allies is dysfunctional to the achievement of that. >> jeremy, i've asked you this and you've answered in the past, but it deserves repetition. why is it the only nation on effort to have set off nuclear weapons in anger, they have flown through two of our bombay doors and no other nation gets to kind of be the ashster of who else gets to have them on the plan et? >> well, look, this is a none proliferation regime that was set up and we are down to our benefit. we are a income power, but we want to make sure there aren't additional ones, iran, nuclear does not expand its nuclear weapons stock pile. so i think our interests in the world are for none proliferation and to limit the availability and ice of nuclear weapons.
>> there's a great danger, of course, that north korea will then export even more of his technology to actors who do not now have nuclear weapons and who don't have our at heart. that's a real danger. >> and god forbid shots are ever exchanged. isn't there an equal chance that the kind of fighting that could take place between south and north, again, perish the thought is the kind you served in, kinetic warfare of the kind of classic variety. conventional variety. >> yeah. much more deadly because you're talking about an enormous number of soldiers on both side. we have the capability of unleanering an enormous amount of conventional capability on north korea. it could be a mess. >> what bothers me, brian, that the president has taken away one of the america's great et strength, which is the power of diplomacy. he said i'm not interested in that. >> we keep feeling the need to talk about issues like this.
thank you both very much. jeremy bash, colonel jack jacobs. coming up, an update on americans who need attention in two very different places. hi, i'm the internet! you know what's difficult? armless bowling. you got this, jimmy! you know what's easy? building your website with godaddy. pick a domain name. choose a design. you can build a website in under an hour. now that's a strike! get your domain today and get a free trial of gocentral.
hurricane maria made landfall in puerto rico. the government anoupsed today the death toll has risen to 48. the guardian quotes fema officials as saying the government and its partners are only providing 200,000 meals a day to meet the needs of over 2 million people who need food. they also report fema's contract with world central kitchen which provides 20,000 meals a day in puerto rico expired on tuesday. it will, quote, take several weeks for a new contract to emerge. the "washington post" reports over 80% of puerto ricans are still in the dark without power. this one example, this one city home to about 40,000 people. this first frame shows the lights of the town visible from space at night. the next frame shows it after maria hit. the final frame shows it this week as some lights have reappeared incrementally. most of them, of course, apt to be from generators.
meanwhile, firefighters in northern california continue to battle wildfires that in some cases can move faster than they can run. it's hot and dirty and urgent and relentless work, and some of these firefighters, among the bravest of all first responders, have been working 40 hours straight. and in that region where big fires are given names, the largest one called the tubs fire is just 3% contained and on the run. another, the atlas fire, also 3% contained. 560 people are so far unaccounted for in part because when the fires approached them at night, some families just got out, got in the car and drove off. 110 evacuees have been found safe. look at what is left of neighborhoods and lives. another night has fallen in fire country. always the scariest time for those in its path. please, keep them in your thoughts.
that is our broadcast for tonight. thank you so very much for being here with us. good night from nbc news headquarters here in new york. tonight on "all in". >> right now we have so many nuclear weapons, i want them in perfect condition, perfect shape. >> the president threatens a free press. >> it's disgusting that the press is able to write what they want to write. >> reports of an absolute meltdown in the white house. tonight the nuclear dangers with the president on the edge. >> my attitude is the one that matters. >> and what to make of his threats to challenge the license of nbc news. then -- >> articles of impeachment against donald j. trump.