tv MSNBC Live MSNBC October 21, 2017 5:30am-6:00am PDT
hey there. good morning. >>. i'm alex witt here at msnbc at world headquarters in new york. here's what's happening for you. funeral services will be held for army sergeant la david johnson, one of four green berets killed in niger. the ambush attack by militants stemmed in part from a massive intelligence failure. in other news, republican lawmakers are considering a
sharp cut in 401(k) limits to offset a $1.5 trillion tax cut. >> new revelations in the aftermath of the attack in niger. pentagon correspondent hans nichols has the latest. hans, with a good morning, what do we know? >> reporter: it seemed yesterday the story shifted to capitol hill where there were a lot of questions and potential warnings about a new war against isis. a brief by jim mattis about the ambush that left four american soldiers dead in niger. congress is bracing for a new front in the fight against isis. >> we don't want the next 9/11 to come from niger. >> reporter: senator lindsey graham calling for more congressional oversight, while warning americans about the changing battle field. >> the war is headed to africa. it's beginning to more morph. >> reporter: he sum is mondayed to capitol hill to tell how
elite soldiers were taken by surprise. >> we can always improve on communication, and that's exactly what we'll do. >> reporter: the internal investigation gathers steam. the fbi lending forensic support looking into how a team of well-trained special forces was ambushed, the pentagon said, by a group of 50 isis-linked fighters. military officials say special forces who were meeting with the tribal elders before the attack may have been delayed intentionally, allowing isis to attack. and a senior congressional aide extensively briefed tells nbc news that the ambush that killed sergeant la david johnson and three other soldiers stepped in part from a "massive intelligence failure." but the pentagon warns such conclusions are premature. still, there are urgent questions about why the team was, posed without drone support directly overhead. earlier this year the u.s. commander for africa warned only 20% on to 30% of his intelligence requirements were satisfied. >> it is very dangerous when you carry out any mission and you
don't have extended eyes and ears around yourself or the human intelligence to determine when you have met a threat. >> reporter: the last soldier who died, sergeant johnson, was mourned by his family. alex, this morning the "new york times" is reporting the american and nigerian forces are giving different attacks of what happened to investigators. that is adding to the uncertainty, the unclarity. one other note, secretary mattis said yesterday he wouldn't say whether or not president trump authorized this specific mission. pentagon officials tell nbc news this type of operation wouldn't require presidential authorization. >> all right. thank you so much for that report. now a dispute between the white house and frederica wilson. here is part of a report from peter alexander. >> reporter: president trump ignore onning questions about
niger. >> phrt, did you authorize the mission in niger? >> thank you all very much. >> reporter: but his top aides are stick to go a false claim chief of staff john kelly made while condemning frederica wilson who detailed conversations with a widow. >> if you are able to make a sacred act all about yourself, you're an empty barrel. i'll put it a little more simply. as we is say in the south, all hat, no cattle. >> reporter: kelly's comments intended to correct the record now appear at times to have misrepresented the facts while denouncing the congresswoman's remarks of a dedication at a field office near miami. >> the long traditional of empty barrels making the most noise stood up there in all of that and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building. >> reporter: but this video of the ceremony -- >> mr. speaker, i need your help. >> reporter: from the south
florida sun sentinel shows wilson never claimed she got the money herself, instead recognizing lawmakers from both parties for the building being named after two slain fbi agents. >> joining me now m is snbc political and league contributor, joe watkins, white house aide to president bush, and rick tyler, msnbc political analyst. big welcome to all three of you. joe, i want to start with you here regarding this "washington post" editorial which says john kelly owes the congresswoman an apology. does he? if so, wouldn't it be better to do this, get this behind the white house and move forward? >> yeah, he does owe her an apology. i think john kelly is a big enough person to apologize as well. he ought to set the record straight. anybody that watched the speech that she gave a couple of years ago can see kelly misrepresented
what she said. it would be right to set the record straight. >> how did this go so wrong? >> this whole episode is so sad and, you know, disappointing and angering really. we lost four servicemen. and what we have now is the president of the united states aided by his chief of staff really turning this into a political football. it is sad, but it's, you know, part of a kind of familiar theme with this president which is that he's really weak. he can't accept responsibility. he can't acknowledge mistakes. he can't take criticism. he can't apologize. and his instinct is, you know, never to stand up and take the high road and to lead. it's always to fight. and so he started this. he has escalated it. has prolonged it.
and i think that that's, you know, why we see where we are today. he could have put an end to this and not initiated it. unfortunately it has cast just a terrible light and it is unfortunate for the families that have suffered the ultimate sacrifice. >> yeah. regarding john kelly, rick, what sarah huckabee sanders was highly inappropriate to get into a debate with a four star general. she said of course everyone can be questioned. what has the back and forth done for the white house and how should this end? >> well, unfortunately i think it shattered john kelly's reputation or at least damaged it significant isly. john kelly made a very good point about frederica wilson going public with the phone call she overheard between the president and myeshia johnson. he made his point and he made it
well, he made it eloquently. for someone so high lu regarded, unform the standard for losing your reputation becomes lower and lower. he did that by trying to impugn her reputation. he didn't need to do that. now he has brought in two slain fbi officers into this whole just -- just awful, awful story. it's just pro foundly disappointing. i do think he owes the congresswoman an apology as a man of honor. i don't know that the president will allow him to do that. unfortunately, i think this is just going to keep going on. >> rick, here's what's getting lost in all of this. the real work in washington. isn't there tax reform that needs to be passed? the president said lawmakers should forego christmas break. >> they are going to need this. but with the passing any large scale reforms, i don't consider this bill a reform. i think it is a tax cut. i could support it on some
level. but when you try for a large scale reform, you need the public support behind you which means a focused communications effort with the american people. and when they're for it and we get distraction after distraction after distraction that keeps us from getting the work done, that's exactly what happened with health care. don't be surprised if it happens with tax reform. >> what about what we saw with senator john mccain, two presidents speaking out about the divisive politics going in america. >> when we lose sight of ow ideals, it is is not democracy that has failed. it is the failure of those charged with preserving and protecting democrat is seu. >> we will not thrive in a world where our leadership and ideals are absent. we wouldn't deserve to. >> if you have to win awe campaign by dividing people, you're not going to be able to govern them. you won't be able to unite them later. >> your relationship with the
bush family, were you surprised to hear president bush come out so forcefully? >> not at all. he spoke as an american. yesterday josh from msnbc said he was so happy to see him show up in selma at the bridge along with democrats just to celebrate that great moment that changed america. and he said he did it not as a republican but an america. and i agree. i think president obama, president bush spoke as americans and spoke about what is important for america going forward. >> do you agree, rick? >> yeah. it is no cosmic coincidence that president bush after nine years and president obama after nine months and john mccain is in stark is contrast with how the white house conducts itself. >> maya, was this more powerful in that neither named donald trump. would naming him have only widened and fueled the divide?
>> they didn't need to name him. it's plainly clear when you talk about rejecting the politics of, you know, fear and division and seeking to get to our better angels that we're talking about the environment that donald trump campaigned on and he has taken with him to the white house and continues. you didn't really need to name him to know what they were referring to. and i just think it's remarkable that you saw in one day not one but two former presidents, one republican, one democrat come out. one president who for eight years never came out and criticized his successor in another party. but both feeling compelled in the circumstances of what we're experiencing in this country right now to actually stand up and provide moral leadership in a leadership vacuum and stand up for our fundamental values and really to stand for unity in
this country and higher aspiration to our ideals. i think it's really remarkable. and i also think it is a statement about where we are in our democracy. >> maya, can you surmise why president obama decided to speak out now. he does not want to be "the voice" of the democratic party. for others to take over on now. >> he is out campaigning for governorships that are up. that democrats need to be able to win to role back some of the draconian measures put in place by virtue of republicans having achieved the governorships in so many states. so he is out with an alternative vision for the country embodied in the candidates who are running. running this year for the democratic part. they will be running incomes year for the democratic party. and it's effort to make sure that we can actually put forward
a positive vision for the country, a vision that unites the country and ultimately a vision that will make people's lives better. >> okay. maya harris, joe watkins, rick tyler, good to see you all so much. a new report that says trump supporters pushed russian propaganda before the election. >> and represent francis rooney will discuss the tragic deaths of the soldiers in niger. before we go, there's a love story of sorts emerging from the ashes of tragedy in northern california. there's a married couple who safely escaped the raging flames but returned to the ruins to find pretty much everything destroyed except keepsakes of their love, their engagement rings. while they were found in a little box that survived the fire, a fireproof safe did not. >> we're safe. that's really what matters.
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do you think we're doing enough to prepare for future interference by russia and other foreign adversaries in the information space? >> probably not. we're not. and the matter is so complex that for most of us we're not able to fully grasp the technical dangers out there. >> u.s. attorney general jeff sessions on the unfolding details about russia's influence campaign targeting the 2016 electric. an explosive report by "the daily beast" is revealing more about that influenced campaign is and how it all played out on twitter. it says ", some of the trump campaign's prominent names and supporters, including trump's campaign manager, digital director, and son pushed tweets from professional trols paid by the russian government in the 2016 election campaign. ben, good morning to you. >> good morning. >> let's start with the basics.
what are russian trolls and how do they get linked to them? >> they are the people literally in a troll farm in st. petersburg paid for by russian oligarchs and report to vladimir putin last year it was against hillary clinton. but that turned into things about the syrian civil war, things like that. it is a group of people who are there who just stir stuff up in the west to make it appear more divisive. >> okay. so what other kinds of information or misinformation that these trolls are spreading? >> all kinds of stuff. so, for barack obama last year,
this is one we found. he was pretending to be the tennessee republican party on twitter. it wasn't. it was retweeted by kellyanne conway, donald trump jr., the digital director of the trump campaign. and what they tweeted was, you know, the stuff that in the long term -- donald trump jr. tweeted something alleging voter fraud in florida at one point. but one of the scarier ones they would tweet about is how barack obama had a love child or hillary clinton had a love child or all of these things. so it toed the line between crazy stuff in some places and very on-the-nose very sharp political commentary. >> first of all, how do you know it was a russian troll? how would an average social media user be able to detect incident was a fake account? >> that's a very good question. it is is very hard. a lot of people were duped by this. i was talking to go chris hayes,
the msncageor, he was duped too. i think i was at one point. they're very good at this in some ways. they just missed the syntax a little bit. we found out they were russian trolls becausebit. twitter deleted 400 of these accounts on facebook and 200 on twitter a few months ago. and they tied them back to the internet research agency which is the russian troll farm which is where it came from. information is slowly dribbling out as reporters and journalists sort of figure out what exactly those accounts were. but we need more help from social media companies and investigators do too. >> ben colin, it's a fascinating article. thank, ben. 31 days. that's how long it's been since a majority of puerto rico's been without power. president trump gives the recovery effort a 10.
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police in germany have made an arrest following a frightening stabbing free in munich. a man appearing to be about 40 years old attacked six people with a knife, four of them were wounded but not seriously. authorities are not saying if the man they arrested is indeed the suspect and the motive for the assaults remains unclear. today marks the 31st day since hurricane maria devastated puerto rico and the situation is still extremely dire. power is out for more than 80% of the island and it could be several more months before it's fully restored. port rican governor says the goal is to have power back up for 95% of the island by the end of the year. another urgent threat, the lack of clean water. about 1 million people in puerto rico, almost a third of the population there, still don't have access to a reliable water source and that is causing some to resort to using water sources that could be contaminated and the death toll related to hurricane maria rose to 49 yesterday. latest victim's death is linked to an outbreak of a bacterial
disease that can spread in contaminated floodwaters. about 75 cases of that disease identified so far. joining me, colonel john lloyd, commander of the corps task force, to try to get electricity restored across the island. very glad to have you hear, colonel. were you expecting it to take this long to restore power in puerto rico, given the damage and what you've seen there? and also, were this to be on the u.s. mainland, wouldn't progress be made much more quickly? >> thanks, alex, for having me this morning. this is what i tell you, the magnitude and the challenges we're seeing down here in puerto rico shouldn't be taken lightly. look, we had a cat 5 hurricane come through and damage 80% of the power grid here on puerto rico. i did an overflight of the island a call days ago to survey a lot of the damage on east and center of the island and i can tell the magnitude is
significant. especially in the mountainous most rugged terrain. where those transmission lines that run that bring power to san juan are heavily damaged. and on top of that, the challenge of just bringing in the material necessary to repair the damage is very significant. most of this, we're talking about 62,000 polls, both wood, metal and concrete, have to be brought from the mainland united states into puerto rico to do that. on top of that, we've ordered 6,500 miles of line. that stretches from about new york to beijing. the amount of line we're bringing in. we're all having to do this through barge and on planes. this is a significant challenge. >> so then how realistic is the goal of having power back up for 95% of the island by december 3 31? >> well, look, the governor's goals are aggressive. the corps of engineers with our
partners want to do everything we can to meet the governor's goals of doing that. but again, the challenges are extraordinary. i think we're going to get some of the way on those goals the governor has. but i think this is going to take a long-term effort to get where we need to be to bring power back to everybody. look, i'm humbled. i've got a lot of passionate people on the ground with me trying to solve this problem. but we've got to be realistic and understand that those very remote areas of puerto rico, they may not see power for some time based on those challenges. >> colonel join lloyd, it is a sobering assessment, sir, but we appreciate your candor and your eyes on the ground and all your help, thank you so much. >> thanks, alex. >> you're welcome, sir. we invite all of you to join us later today. retired astronaut scott kelly will be my guest. that's at 1:00 p.m. eastern right here on msnbc. [vo] the grille is distinctive. but it's usually seen from the rear. the 2018 audi q5 is here.
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