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there's more to know™. hello, everyone. >> announcer: head quarters in new york city on this saturday. thanks for being with us. this hour for you, president trump decides to allow the release of thousand offense classified fbi documents on the assassination of jfk back in 1963. what could those files ultimately reveal? mplus, the controversy surveillance rounding the deaths of four u.s. soldiers in niger. right now, what's being called a massive tension failure is to blame. later, what the north koreans are saying about president trump, the united states and war. plus, steve bannon war against the republican party and how it may affect the upcoming
election. now a story that changes our nation nearly 50 years ago. >> in downtown dallas, president kennedy was shot. mrs. kennedy jumped up and grabbed mr. kennedy and cried oh, no. today, president trump announced this -- that he may release some 3,000 classified government files on the investigation into the assassination. let's go kelly o'donnell. she's at the white house for us on a saturday. kelly, this brings back a lot of thoughts, memories for folks. why now are we expecting anything that could rewrite history? is. >> reporter: it goes back 25 years when president george w. bush signed into law what's knowns the jfk records actment at the time congress set into motion a release of the final
several thousands of pages of records belonging to the investigation. government files, cia, fbi, investigative documents roadwaylatroadwaelated to the kennedy assassination. this put into law the final release, subject to the national security concerns. if a future president had any reason not to make those records public. that's why it falls in the lap of the president trump, who is the custodian of this law today, who says he will allow the release. so far, the national archives has not indicated there is any pushback from any of the agencies saying specific documents should not be released. at the same time, there are sensitive documents that were the property of the kennedy family. those are not included in this. those are things like the autopsy photos.
this is really the kinds of documents that investigators used. maybe it has more do with lee harvey oswald or other figures. will there be any big secrets revealed? many believe the biggest information has already come out over the years, but this is thousands of pages that will be made available for researchers and historians to examine to see if there are details that will shed new light. president trump says it's his intention to make those public as congress along ago said it should be. >> historians hoping to maybe find a nugget and all of that. let's move on to something you have been reporting on. that's the president's call to the gold star wife, then the president's feud with frederica wilson. as you know here today, the president again slamming wilson on twitter, once more calling her wacky.
the white house isn't making any concessions despite the desired tone at least we understand they want to have coming out of the white house, especially with john kelly coming forward and trying to tamp things down. >> the white house said they thought john kelly coming forward would bring it to an end, but that was not the case. they made inaccurate statements ott congressman wilson. the president tweeted about it. he put those statements out again, calling her a wacky congresswoman. this morning he went to misgolf club in virginia. he has been spending time at the golf course today. the issue has been very sensitive because of understood lying of fallen american soldiers and how should a commander in chief try to -- it's sergeant johnson who's
being laid to rest today. his family grieving his loss. this politically and almost separate parallel line has gone out today after several days. now, we saw sarah sanders, who is the press secretary, push back when reporters point out that he made misstatements about senator wilson, saying she bragged about getting a bill passed. she did not talk habit that claim. she talked about her role in getting the building named for the fallen agents. details that have nothing do with sergeant johnson but added to this mixment sarah sanders then got in a bit of trouble herself by pushing back on the questions about kelly. here's a clip from the press briefing. >> if you want to go after general kelly, that's up to you,
but if you want to get into a debate with a fur-star marine general, i think that's something hisly inappropriate. >> reporter: now, the issue there is that sarah sanders said, of course, anyone can be questioned. john kelly is now a civil servant, a chief of staff to the president. he's a retired four-star general and he himself is a gold star father. his son robert was killed in afghanistan. was he getting the information right? when reporters asked about that, the white house pushed back. it's been one it ration after another that has put a nasty pall over an aspect that took the lives of these service members. >> i want to bring in a national political reporter and correspondent for the "new york times." she's also a. >> announcer: contributor.
we have eugene scott and franco ordonez. >> this is a solemn day. this is a day when family and friends will be remembering the a lost soldier. he was serving the united states and lost his life. on the very same day, we are seeing the president go out and tweet again, reminding people of this back and forth that we have been talking about all week. some were hoping today would not be that day. why do you think the president is continuing here to throw another log on the fire? >> i think it's because it's part of his personality. this is a president, and when he feels attacked will really not back down at any point. now because you have general kelly also in some ways being criticized for what is essentially him not telling the truth or being wrong in how he
described the speech with representative wilson -- i interviewed her several time this is week. my last conversation with her, she was doubling down, saying general kelly is a liar, saying the white house is full of white strum cysts but she'si trying t move past this, getting ready for the funeral, because she knew him since he was in middle school. you have her saying that, and you have the family in the midst of trying to bury this soldier and have to endure this. his widow's facebook page was besieged with people criticizing her. this pregnant grieving widow. >> eugene, part of this is should the chief of staff -- should general kelly apologize for getting those facts incorrectly? >> that would be the ethical thing do.
the chief of staff accused the congresswoman of saying something she did not say, and we have documentation proving she do in the say it. i think the unfortunate thing of all this is that this story of wilson in miami had nothing do with the loss of lives in the niger. the purpose of bringing it up was to show that representative wilson had questionable character. what ended up happening is that general kelly got fact checked, leading people to question his character. the right thing to do would be to apologize. >> the president was also fact checked, saying he did call virtually all of those who die in the service. even the staff having to back fill that very statement. >> yeah, it shows kind of like what kind of a hard job that the communications staff has had.
not only the communications staff, but also the pentagon. it's a disappointing story. this president, it's clear -- there's no question the president has been reaching out to military families, but he also has a very clear problem with exaggerating the truth. this is a perfect example of this. he obviously has not called all the gold star families that he said he has. john donnelly was just on the show on msnbc earlier today talking about how, look, this shows that staffers knew as the president was making these comments that it was not necessarily true. and it's a problem when you have the president of the united states saying things that are not factually accurate. it undermines his credibility. >> thank you so much. thank you all. next we're going to dive into what led to the ambush attack in
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welcome back. there is still a lot of confusion as pentagon officials try to figure out why a supposedly routine patrol in niger ended in a deadly ambush there. the "new york times" giving two very different accounts of what happened there. they're saying nigerian officials say they went on an unapproved mission. americans insist that never happened. how did they get caught up in this attack?
a congressional aide telling msnbc news a massive intelligence failure played a role in there. courtney, always great to talk with you here. we are getting information from a lot of different sources now. what do we know at this hour? >> you hit the nail on the head in the intro when you said there's a lot of confusion. that's been the case since the attack occurred on october 4th one of those reasons is the nature of the mission there. these are largely special forces soldiers. they do what is atraining mission, but they also do an advising and an accompany mission when they're there. so much of what they do is classified. they can't talk about it necessarily. it's also something that they do these kinds op engagements every day. special forces sole judges often
do what they call a key leader engagement. they meet the locals, trying to get in with them so they can gather human intelligence with them. when they're working with the niger military, they're helping them with terrorists moving through the area, stopping the smuggling of good, which funds the terrorists and even human rights to help them with the across that live in the area. in this case, what we do know is this group of american soldiers, they were engaged in a meeting with some locals. whether there was more to the mission or not we don't know. after they finish third down meeting, they were ambushed the numbers we are hearing is between 40 and 50 militants testimony latest intelligence says it's an isis offshoot. defense and intelligence officials believe it's called isis greater sahel, but that's
also still under investigation. of course, they were attacked by small arms, rpgs and it led to the death of four soldiers and two more were wounded. >> what's ongoing right now in terms of investigation into what happened? when might we expect here another release of information? >> i would think it would be weeks to even months before we actually have the full investigation completed. so there's several different ones that are under way right now. one is the very standard line of duty investigation. any time an american military member is killed overseas or here, they do these line of duties. that looks at everything from how did the mission start, what happened, what went wrong. there's also another investigation, which is u.s. military called for informal. that's looking at everything. what are they doing? where were they?
who was there at the time? how was sergeant johnson, how was he not taken out in the immediate aftermath when the other americans were evacuated out? >> good question on this day as funerals are ongoing. that, of course, a thought for many. courtney, always good turnover you here. thank you. most americans are aware of the u.s. troop presence in the middle east. we often report on that. but many americans don't know about the militaries growing footprint in africa. u.s. forces established african command. that was to fight the grows threat of extremism. in 2013, they landed in niger to combat a group with links to ices and other triable groups that had taken over the north. about 800 soldiers are stationed in niger right now to help
counter not only isis but also boko haram and al qaeda. joining us now, joe reuben, former assistant secretary of state. joel, what many americans also do not know, understandably because many of these operations as courtney was describing to us are not going to be on the headlines. they're not going open up the paper and see these ongoing. but we have operations in 20-plus countries in africa. that's half of the countries there. what we are seeing in niger meeb part of that everyday op race. can you put that in context for snus. >> that's right, richard. there are significant numbers of operations for counterterrorism purposes that we are executing the have been for some time. they're operating under the 2001 authorization for the use of military force, originally
designed to combat al qaeda. it is a big issue. there's a large american footprint. i think this incident -- it's critical to understand the strategy behind what we are doing in niger to understand this incident in this context. there's in the a lot of congressional hearing about this, not a lot of public discussion about how our forces are on the edge in this fight. they're beyond where most americans think they're going. then went incidents like we just saw with the ambush and the killi killing of our four brave soldiers it send a shock through the system in america and washington and really shakes up people's thinking. a lot of unanswered questions are at play. we roadway really need to get a better grip on what it is we are trying to achieve in africa and other places with
counterterrorism operations are undercover. >> you bring up the great point in your comments, joel. i want to go to you, nabeed. as a former double agent, you understand what the law has allowed the united states to do and to operate in key theaters. the thought now is should it be reevaluated, that 2001 decision that allowed certain military action without congressional approval here. chairman bob corker with tennessee saying yeah, they need to relook at it now. it needs to be reevaluated based on current deadlines. >> i think the authorization to use military force should always be looked at and the deployment of troops should continuously be approved. that's a no-brainer. that being said, there's nothing wrong with deploying our forces.
libya, somalia, we have a very high presence. there's a wide range of mission that is these people support. that aumf, it's important to distinguish between iraq and afghanistan and what happens here. both in terms of legal and practical how the boots on the ground operate. this is not in many cases an active combat zone. i think it's important to understand that it sounds on the tactical level -- drill down at the bottom part -- this was an ambush. this was not something that happened before. this is not something we generally tend to see with american forces here. this is not considered an active combat zone with the dpepgs of libya, and that is clearly causing a problem here. yeah, this is something we should continue to evaluate. >> joel, based on the two scenarios we are looking at,
that we were just discussing the courtney and the varying opinions about what has happened so far, what does it tell you about the way the government is working right now to find the truth? >> well, to me, there's a bit of a stunning dichotomy now in terms of how congress and the administration is handling this. there has not been a lot of public discussion. it took the press to paul out the public discussion a couple of weeks ago when asking the president about the ambush. that's troubling. these are troops in harm's way. they're not in active combat, but they're in the line of fire. their questions about the presence there, the support they'd, the use of contractors as opposed to official u.s. military, these are significant questions. the concern i have is that when we are not having acknowledgment by the administration of these deaths, it leaves open a lot of
questions about the management of this process. even senator mccain, the chairman of the armed services committee said we are not getting answers. what happened several years ago, compared to benghazi, where they were significant reviews, going over all the data as they should have -- although it was politicized and should not have been. if i were a troop in the field and the a commander, i would be wondering if management and oversight is being looked into in a way that would share the safety of the troops. >> the troops on the ground and the leaders in these 20-plus countries conducting these operations, analysts will say, do they have enough folks? >> you know, that is a good question. i want to push back a little bit
on this great msnbc reporting on the intelligence failure. . when i wore the uniform, i had the unfortunate duty of being involved in the notety communication of next of kin of the fallen. it's a respectful process. that's done with dignity. it's done in a way that you tell the next of kin answers definitively. what i'm concerned with some of this reports and to the fact that the president didn't come out on day one, it creates am by ambiguity. we have a duty to them to give them definite i have answers. that there is not unknown facts that can add to their pain testimony tro. the troops in the field -- we owe it to the families to let them know they they are. farce
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steve bannon may be out of the white house, but he's far from quiet these days. a former white house adviser is out in full force against what he calls the republican establishmentment we'll show you what he had to say. around that cigarette. when i started taking the chantix that urge just slowly diminished and it was a great and empowering feeling. along with support, chantix (varenicline) is proven to help people quit smoking. chantix reduced my urge to smoke. when you try to quit smoking, with or without chantix, you may have nicotine withdrawal symptoms. some people had changes in behavior or thinking, aggression, hostility, agitation, depressed mood, or suicidal thoughts or actions with chantix. serious side effects may include seizures, new or worse heart or blood vessel problems, sleepwalking or allergic and skin reactions which can be life-threatening. stop chantix and get help right away if you have any of these. tell your healthcare provider if you've had depression or other mental health problems.
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former white house chief strategist steve bannon continues his war against the establishment. he focused his last attack on former president george w. bush after he gave a speech on thursday. >> speechwriter wrote a high fa luting speech. it's clear he did not understand what he was talking about. there has not been a more disruptive presidency than his. >> critics suggest he has em boldened them with anti-immigration nationalist
rhetoric. bannon continues to enjoy the support of the president even as he works in line with gop leaders. joining me is chris kofenas, patrice leowuka. as you listen to his speech here, what's your opinion of the strength of what he's saying? how many of the 12s toup republican seats can he peel way to move more turnarouowards his? >> it's not clear. at the minimum, he's creating a division in the party which is destructive. if you look at the dynamics that are shaping up for '18, even the best, they lose seats. now you have a situation that's
an internal civil war that is ongoing and you have a former adviser to the president who's still arguably an adviser to the president, feeding it. it doesn't play well with modern independent voters. i'll not sure that's his game. i think his game is to weak tn republican establishment as much as possible. >> if he's doing that, patrice, if you look at his words and his choice of words, is he a donald trump presidential wing man on the outside, or is he somebody that's being critical of the president? reminding the president, hey, this is what got you to the white house is this. >> i think he's trying to play both. bringing accountability to remind the president of his campaign promises. but i also think he's trying to be strategic. he recognizing that among republicans, their party, they're starting to lose faith in their own party in the things
they voted for like repealing health care. he's saying, we have to keep accountability, both on congress and also on the president. >> interesting to listen to the word he chose here. chris, he used, again, the idea of technocrats. going as far as to try to get california to leave the union. as he makes the difference here, trying to show it's them versus us, some say, is there a line there where the democrats can come in and there's a message here for the working class? again, the technocrat is? isn't that a democratic message? >> the bannon trump win during the last election took parts and
elements of the traditional democratic message about appealing to the working clatsz, the struggles of the working class and coopt it by going further, feeding the lowest common denominator, nativists -- it's us versus them at all cost. the democratic solution is one that provides clear direction as to help people who are going to be displaced by automation because of the economy and trade and other factors. they need to see and hear and feel real solutions that make their lives better. what bannon and trump have done is feed off the anxiety and frustration that their lives haven't gotten better. we knead to be the ones to make it better. >> the democrats missed that message. patrice, then, who is it that has the energy, if bannon represents that spine of the energy coming from the gop and
what might be the new gop -- what represents that on the left from the democratic party? >> well, i don't think it's bernie sanders, and i don't think there is a leader, which is why we have seen president obama come out of hiding to try to boost some of the efforts on the leff. i think that's interesting -- to go back to the idea of automation. democrats have been putting in policies that fight for automation. i would be careful to say democrats have the solution. what i think is a solution is a robust economy that allows people to go out and start their own sbrer prizes. >> we talk about automation and artificial intelligence. it's often in ones and zeros yet we understand the completionty is often characterized in these ways we often find later on is
mediating or a long-term spike in that hockey puck that we like to look up and grasp. if that might be the case, who would be on the left, that idea person that can articulate this complexity, the idea that can bring the working class to the democratic party, which appears is still in play. >> i think you're going see a struggle between two coop of factions, if you will. you're going to see a -- >> is it barack obama? >> to some extent. he's a performer president. the day the midterms are over, the next election begins. you're already starting to see positions between the left of the party and i would say the left of the center party. the bernie sanders, the elizabeth warrens are going to be going to battle over the centrist democrats. that's going to be the big
challenge. whose vision is going address these big issues? i can tell you just from going out there and talking to a lot of american people, there is incredible anxiety about automation and about the economy and where it's headed. that hasn't gone away. who can tap it better is going to be in the best position to win in '18 and '20. >> thank you. >> the long and difficult road to recovery continues for millions of puerto ricans. some big name is going to help.
still today is struggling to rebuild. on friday, google's parent company was able to launch two stratosphere balloons. they deliver internet to remote areas where service is still down of today, as of 63 ps of clients have cell service, 40% don't. 839 antennas out of 1,600 still operation. gabe gutierrez is in san juan for us. gabe. >> the power problems here in puerto rico seem to be getting worse. on thursday, 21% of the island had electricity. on friday, that number dropped to 20%. knocking out power to a major hospital here.
a month of maria, puerto rico is an island in limbo. >> it's bad. no water, no light. >> more than 08% of it has no power. 30% have to drinking water be half the cell towers still don't work. as he met with the governor of puerto rico tonight, the president trump gauged his response. >> i would it's a 10. >> the mayor of san juan saying it's more like 10 out of 100. debate the set back, the governor pledged to use these newly arrived turbines to light. the city within two weeks. >> sit realistic that it will be up and running by december? >> yes, that's why i proposed it. >> reporter: doctors making house calls on the elderly. we traveled to the massive hospital ship where 900 have
been working around the clock. she has die beats and has been here after her generator ran out of gas. >> it's hard to see people that lost everything. >> although hundreds of patients like her have been treated and released from the ship, only a fraction of its beds for okay pid when we visited. the governor blamed a lock of communication. it's up to the puerto rican department of health to refer patients here from hospitals. the navy says it just wants to help. >> we have capacity, capability, we are standing by to receive the patients as those decisions are made. >> reporter: oneen month after maria, the official death toll has risen to 49. richard, back to you. >> thank you, gabe. coming up, former president is bush and obama are going after president trump now. t music)
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this is something you rarely see fsh a former president president criticizing a sitting spoke out about president trump without specifically using his name. >> bigotry seems emboldened. our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication. >> if you have to win a campaign by dividing people, you're not going to be able to govern them. you won't be able to unite them later if that's how you start. >> back with us, msnbc contributor and new york times political reporter. washington post political reporter. thank you for sticking around. i want to get your thought on this but first i want to play a little bit of what nbc
presidential historian said. he remarked on how rare what we saw thursday was in a moment of history. let's listen to that first. >> they did break the code. >> they broke the code. >> i think we have to pause for a moment and say how historic this was this week. you have five living ex-presidents. two of them were rough on the current incumbent. you never see that. >> if this code was broken, what does this say? >> we are really in rare times. you have not only two presidents but two presidents of different parties essentially criticizing the president of the united states. what george bush did there, this idea that he was able to just say out right white supremacy is not part of the american dream. we are not here to divide people based on race and religion. he oversaw a time when america was in some ways really coming a part by the seams because of after 9/11 and this push to
really kind of rationcially pro muslims and brown citizens of the united states. there's this idea that he is coming from a place where he had to deal with this in the middle of his presidency. he's saying it's dangerous. it says that president obama and president bush agree we're in dangerous times. >> as we all know probably had a speech writer to assist in this proce process. that's not uncommon but for the most part those who said this is a good speech from the former president george w. bush. some saying the casual cruelty word choice was quite good. >> yeah, absolutely. i think what the former presidents, both of them feel they have a responsibility to do is continue shaping the legacy and direction of this country. they are still very influential people who enjoy favorability rates and approval ratings that president trump would probably en envy.
i think people still look to them to shape the ideas and direction of what it means to be american and what it will take to move this country in a direction that is in the best interest of most people in the country. >> as you listen to former president obama and the way he was approaching his stump speeches out there for two gubernatorial races that are ongoing, what did you take away from his tone and content? >> it seems obama like bush are very disappointed with what's going on in the presidency. this is manager they feel they're not only protecting their legacies. they are protecting the legacy of the presidency. very fascinating how both the ex-presidents, both different parties delivering a very similar message and the white house while they say they didn't think that the presidents were talking about trump, it seemed like, for example, that steve bannon was when he came out last night really blazing against
george bush, for example. >> he was very specific in terms of where his criticisms were aimed at. why weren't the same level -- why wasn't the same level of specificity used by these two former presidents. why not mention that the current president or those in power today are not addressing these vu iss very issues that they laid out. >> both of these men understand there was this code that you should not be criticizing a sitting president. george bush was almost mute during the entire time that president obama was out there. there's this idea they want to have the sanctity of the office respected. the other thing that's interesting here when we talk about their legacy, we have to talk about fact that george bush still has a problematic legacy. there's a lot of african-americans angry about how he handled hurricane katrina and we're in the war in iraq. >> war on drugs. >> and then you have president
obama who is the predecessor of trump who some people see not doing enough to prevent a president trump from coming into office. you have these presidents thinking about their own lives and their -- how they could have contributing to president trump becoming the leader of the country. >> really good point. they're trying to form that place in history as history moves forward. what does this say about history that we have two presidents on the same day criticizing the current president and it's not been done before. >> they are concerned about the direction of the country and where things could be going since they left the white house. i also wanted to add one reason i think they perhaps didn't specify donald trump is because they realize that trumpism is bigger than donald trump. they were responding to this nationalistic world view that it's going to exist after trump leaves the white house and
existed before trump entered the white house. there are some people who credit trumpism to steve bannon which is perhaps why steve bannon is the one who respond and responded so aggressively because he felt like bush was attacking him personally. >> turn in history. if it is, is it a good turn and can we turn back if it's a bad turn? >> i'm not sure whether i'm willing to say good or bad. there's a movement afoot. it shows the trouble the republican party has fighting between the establishment that bush and this new nationalist, p populist movement that bannon is leading. >> great to have you three here. stay with us. much more news in our next hour. more on the possible of secret jfk documents and what they could reveal about his documents. more women come forward against harvey weinstein. we have that after this.
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welcome back. in new york city we have some breaking news this hour in the russia probe in the trump white house. axios is reporting this afternoon, mr. trump, the president is pledging to pay the legal bills for some of his white house staff and associates. jonathan swan is breaking this story. he said trump is offering to pay more than $400,000. jonathan swan is on the phone. thanks for joining us on this breaking story. what else are you learning about this? >> we just reported the republican national committee has so far paid $430,000 to lawyers representing president trump and his eldest son don junior. the white house official told me that trump will not be reimbursing the rnc for the costs.