tv MSNBC Live With Hallie Jackson MSNBC October 23, 2017 7:00am-8:00am PDT
that wraps up this hour. i'm chris jansing in for stephanie ruhle. coming up, more news with hallie jackson. we start this week with fewer answers than you might expect with what happened in niger with new questions coming from the public, from lawmakers and from the widow of one of the soldiers kill in the ambush. this morning, breaking her silence about her co ndolence call with the president. >> it made me cry because i was very angry at the tone of his voice and how he said it. he couldn't remember my husband's name. the president, ever the counter-puncher, thinks this is a fight worth having. we're talking about his new
tweet aimed at that widow next. plus, another tweet on and different fight. this one for your 401(k). republicans may, may cut back big-time on how much you can save now and pay taxes on later. but the backlash has some slamming the brakes. then there's yet another fight brewing about that border wall. remember that? and who pays for it. coming up, we head to the construction zone for a firsthand look at what the wall may look like. we have a lot to get to this morning, but we want to start with the latest on the niger investigation with hans nichols doing double-duty at the white house along with garrett haake at the capitol. hans, there are a lot of questions and some are coming from the widow of ladavid johnson that she still wants to know after burying her husband this weekend. >> reporter: she wants to know where her husband died, why he died and how he died. she wasn't allowed to view the
body to give her questions on what was inside the casket she kissed. she's giving her version of the telephone call she had with president donald trump. and it was, as she described it, a painful experience. >> the only way he remembered my husband's name is because he told me he had my husband reporting for him. that's when he actually said, ladavid. i heard him stumbling on trying to remember my husband's name. and that hurt me the most. because if my husband is out here fighting for our country and he risks his life for our country, why can't you remember his name? and that made me upset and cry even more. because my husband was an awesome soldier. >> reporter: now president trump as you mentioned taking issue with that account, tweeting this morning, he said, i had a very respectful conversation with the widow of sergeant la david johnson and spoke his name from the very beginning without hesitation. so now we have conflicting accounts yet again about what
happened in this phone call. >> so hans, let's tick through a couple questions here. you mention in the beginning there that this widow, as she explained, was not able to see her husband's body. is that typical? is that sort of what you might expect when a soldier comes home? >> reporter: apologize in advance for being a little graphic here, but it depends on the condition of the corpse. and that is an issue that is usually made at the pentagon on whether or not they will allow it to be shown. that's why she had a question of it. the issue of when he died, his body wasn't found until 48 hours after. but his beacon was transmitting for a moment to give some hope that testifies still alive. so they still don't know but haven't said the time and cause of his death and whether or not he was hit by friendly file, enemy fire, shrapnel, we still don't know. >> when will we know that? >> reporter: i can't predict it in part because they want to get
it right. they don't want to do it fast, they want to do it right. but look, the initial accounts of this have changed. there's confusion on who picked up the wounded the dead, the french or american helicopter. we have learned his body was found a good mile away from the initial ambush site. and "the new york times" story over the weekend also cast a lot of doubt on these accounts. because the nigerian forces are telling their investigators something significantly different than what the american special forces were on there. namely, the nigerians say they went to the mali border giving chase to what could have been terrorist insurgents, however you want to describe them, the american in their account were ambushed outside of that village. those are raddically different accounts to get to whether the mission was pre-approved, what the mission was about and whether they were actively going out looking to engage the enemy, which is what pentagon officials have said. they do not have the authority
to do. this is a train, advise and assist mission. >> hans nichols at the white house doing double-duty for us, normally at the pentagon, thank you. feoff been talking about the questions here, not just from members of the public that want to know more but from lawmakers, too. who want to get more information, they expect to get more information, too, possibly as early as this week? >> reporter: yeah, that's right. hans just laid out some of the questions here. and there are lawmakers in both parties who are angry that they have not been able to get those specific answers to what went on in this specific mission. but more broad answers to the questions of what the united states military footprint is like and what we're doing in niger. we have heard that john mccain, the chairman of the senate armed services committee, really essentially the most powerful single legislator when it comes to oversight of the military says he does expect to get a briefing of some kind this week to hopefully clear up some of these questions. but broadly speaking, we also
heard over the weekend from folks like lindsey graham, a senior member on the armed services committee, even chuck schumer saying they didn't know that we had a thousand troops in niger. so the oversight part of this has got to change in terms of the mission more broadly and you're hearing that from lawmakers and hearing that from specific complaints about this mission. one of which came from james langford, the senator from oklahoma this morning. >> we have some stories that said our soldiers actually engage in the battle that pursued them. we have others that said no, they attacked us. we have to find out what happened. we have known that our guys have seen them several times on the horizon, but typically those folks have not engaged with us and we have not engaged with them. most of the folks are advisers helping the locals to be able to take the fight to them, obviously the fight came to us this time. so we want to find out details to see what we can do to protect our men and women. >> reporter: and haley, we are three weeks out now, this is not a fog of war situation.
this is a situation where lawmakers expect to know more than they do. and this week they're demanding those answers. >> garrett haake live on capitol hill, thank you very much. i want to bring in folks hanging out for the next hour. sara westwood and betsy woodruff, how is it possible that senator schumer didn't know we had these troops in niger? >> on one up hand, it is conceivable that the senators didn't do due diligence. and the other potential explanation is that the briefings they have been receiving from the pentagon haven't emphasized the role that the u.s. military has in africa. and the latter seems to probably be the better explanation. in part, because we know secretary mattis was on the hill late last week and specifically told senators graham and mccain according to senator graham that the u.s. is planning on expanding its troop presence in africa as well as, this is really important, rolling back
some of the rules of engageme engagementmeengagement. so it seems like the africa conflict and the presence of the special operations forces in africa is part of the global war on terror is something the pentagon will be more open with capitol hill about. >> you have the president this morning, i'm looking at the clock here, within the last 90 minutes to two hours here, after myesha johnson appeared this morning emotional and in raw terms talked about the conversation she had with the president, talked about the conversation with her dead husband. the president said the call was respectful and i never stumbled over his name. here's the thing, this is a president that as candidate talked about john mccain as a prisoner of war. he he often likes to talk about being attacked and attacks back. should this be surprising? >> i think there's a lot of hope that general kelly's statement would be the final word on this back and forth between myesha johnson and the white house,
that this would end the conversation that general kelly has moral authority on the issue of military service and gold star families, that no one in either party can come close to. so they were hoping general kelly would put an end to it. and for president trump to continue took back and forth with this gold star widow, he's afternoon amplifying the differences in the phone call. and that's a disappointment to people in the white house who hoped general kelly was going to end the fight that donald trump started. >>. this ends another discussion for another day. >> right. and part of the reason is that this widow is openly talking about the conversation. that's a change compared to last week. and given that the white house spent so much of its energy talking about this individual conversation over the past week, it makes sense we hear her side. >> where does this end? how does it end? >> that's a really good question. i don't know that we have an easy answer to that. look, ultimately the president has to decide, is he going to
spend part of this pivotal week, this week when he has a lot going on, including a little thing called tax reform, tax cuts, going after the gold star widow? or is he just going to move on and change the conversation topic? and it is an open question. >> we talked to many of the lawmakers looking for more information on what happened there. it is important to remember framing-wise, it is not just about this conversation between the president and one woman, one widow. it is also broadly about real questions over the ambush and what happened. john mccain has been demanding answers from that. you know that and know the meeting between secretary mccain and mattis. he was on c-span and took what a lot of people perceive as a swipe at president trump. he's what he had to say. >> one aspect of the conflict, by the way, that i will never, ever countenance, is that we drafted the lowest income level of america and the highest income level found a doctor that would say they had a bone spur. that is wrong.
that is wrong. >> president trump got a draft defer for bone spurs. senator mccain never mentioned the president by name, but when you look at the sort of clean-up work, you can call it, that the white house has had to do over the past week, it relates to the military, all of it. whether this situation with the gold-star family and general kelly. whether it is the military justice statement relating to bowe bergdahl, there's a lot of questions or a lot of backdrop to this that has to do with the commander in chief role and military service. >> and it is not surprising entirely to see senator mccain take a swipe at president trump. he has been one of the most criminal intent critics in the gop. but the longer we don't know what happens with this specific ambush in niger, the more this becomes a political liability for the president. there was nothing amiss in the immediate aftermath of the attack. we weren't really talking about it until two weeks afterward. >> i'm going to ask both of you to stick around because betsy eluded to something else happening this week that is a big deal and critically
important. the fight over tax cuts, tax reform, whatever you want to call it. the president wants an overhaul and wants it fast. he's telling republicans to get a new plan passed now or face the wrath of voters in the midterms next year. we'll talk about what trump, the president, is saying about those rumblings of a big cut to your 401(k) after the break. watch me. ♪ i've tried lots of things for my joint pain. now? watch me. ♪ think i'd give up showing these guys how it's done? please. real people with active psoriatic arthritis are changing the way they fight it... they're moving forward with cosentyx®. it's a different kind of targeted biologic. it's proven to help people find less joint pain and clearer skin. don't use if you are allergic to cosentyx. before starting cosentyx you should be checked for tuberculosis. an increased risk of infections and lowered ability to fight them may occur. tell your doctor if you have an infection
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tax cuts. it will be the biggest kuts ever in the history of this country. i want to get it by the end of the year, but i would be very disappointed if it took that long. >> the president is saying to call it tax cuts, not reform. that's one of the piece of advice the president gave to republicans over the weekend. another piece of advice, pass the tax cuts or lose in 2018. he's heading to the hill tomorrow to meet with senate republicans and map out a time line for the tax bill. "the wall street journal" is detailing a proposal reportedly being considered that would really cut back on how much you can contribute to your 401(k), but the president just this morning is pouring cold water there in a tweet saying, quote, there will be no change to your 401(k). joining me now is doug holt deacon, president of the former director of the cbo. and we also have sara and betsy back with us. while the president is focusing his pep talk, doug, on the politics of this, let's talk about the policy.
because that is what underpins the whole thing. and there is still a lot we have no idea about when it comes to the tax plan. one of the things is the 401(k) issue. let me explain to folks essentially what this means. this is something where people can put money into their account, pay no taxes now, pay taxes later. right now if you're under 50, you can do as much as $18,000 a year without paying taxes. if you are over 50, $24,000. supposedly, what is being considered is cutting that back to $2400. that's a big difference. and here's what jim cramer -- >> why would you do that in? >> here's what jim cramer had to say. listen. >> the one thing we have done right is the 401(k). this is the middle class tax break. are you really going to help the middle class as the president says and take away the number one tax break? >> what jim said. >> done. >> this is really simple. they are looking for money, they have lower rates, broaden base,
this is part of let's find something to broaden the base, but the reality is that americans don't save as much as they probably should. this has been the most successful saving incentive we have had. and to do it just for budgetary reasons is probably going to wrong direction. >> so we are not -- raise your hand if you have a 401(k) you put money into. all of us. a lot of americans as jim talked about is a primary way people save money. president trump seems to understand this is creating a raucous. is this a problem? >> we don't have a plan. we have seen one-off deductions, it is a 401(k). you can't get tax reform done if you ask the question, can we have the tax reform or the tax reform minus my favorite provision? because everyone has a favorite provision. you have to make the choice, do you want this tax code, this poorly growing economy or do you want a better tax code and more rapid growth?
that's the real choice. >> when we talk about the policy questions and our first read from the political team laid it out, politics versus policy, it is not what you're discussing but whether the question of whether there is a fourth tax bracket added. house speaker paul ryan was talking about this saying essentially if you have a fourth bracket for the highest income earners, you won't get a tax cut, which might make this more pal palatable for democrats to come aboard. >> that's part of the negotiation from the beginning. the difficulty for republicans is that these are not on a piece of paper. they are the incentives for businesses to locate america, hire in america, raise wages in america. the tax code right now is pushing all that stuff overseas. the reform would bring it back to the u.s. that's the best thing for the middle class, but that is not written down anywhere. so they have to come up with something to look more pal atable and less tilted to the rich. >> when the president goes to the hill tomorrow, what is the number one thing he needs to figure out with republicans
here? >> he needs to figure out that his role is to provide them with coverage that is very hard. tax coverage hasn't happened for 30 years and there's a reason. congress is going to be able to hear, please don't touch my thing. congress has to say, i'm going what the president asked me to do and that you elected me to do. they need that badly. >> you turned this into the politics part of the discussion, which will be a part of it. >> i thought i would just toss it over. >> one of the things, once the policy gets figured out, how do you sell it? which the president is trying to do. "the washington post" has an interesting headline this morning that says lawmakers find trump to be an untrustworthy negotiator. senator joe manchin is talking to the president about the tax reform push. here's how he reacted to the 401(k) proposal we have been talking about. >> the conversations i have been talking with and having with president trump is mitch
mcconnell, paul ryan, wherever it is coming from. the president was adamant and said, it is not a tax cut for the rich. >> private conversation versus public krvegconversation, do yo think the lawmakers can trust whatever is happening here? >> that's an extremely good conversation and a lot of raw emotions after the health care unsuccessful efforts. many are not happy that the president brought them to the rose garden to celebrate the package just passed in the house. and later privately told people in conversations leaked that he thought that was mean. that has done significant long-lasting damage. the president's credibility on the hill and it will hinder him on tax reform. >> also, some republicans are still smarting over the fact that he had this oval office meeting with chuck and nancy, the democratic leaders where, he supposedly said he wouldn't fight for the border wall. then later the white house comes out on a sunday evening with a plan that says, well, we do need border wall included in any daca
immigration deal. so president trump even though he's caught between the pressure of conservatives who don't want any kind of tax plan, that raises the deficits and democrats who want to preserve every deduction possible in ways that would blow up the deficits. he has to find some sort of middle ground that may not be there. >> what is that middle ground, doug? sarah raises a critical point, and it is one you hear people ask about how to pay for the plan, what do you do? how does it affect the deficit? what is he going to do? >> we started out the debate to revolutionize the tax reform. now we are at a point where he has drawn a line in the sand that says we can look up to a trillion and a half dollars. the key will be when the bill appears, does it generally produce better growth? that's the only way to evaluate this. if it doesn't produce the growth, then it's not going to help the middle class as much as they would like it to. it won't address the deficit concerns they have. and people won't get re-elected in 2018. all things converge on the same issue.
can we get better economic growette? >> let's hit one more point for 2018, which is the discussion about the president's, i don't know, call it an ultimatum, do the tax cuts or you'll have problems in 2018. he's probably not wrong about that. you have steve bannon, the former chief strategist, somebody who by all accounts and by our reporting is still in the president's ear in a lot of ways, talking about taking it to some of the primary challenges, essentially, come the midterms. here's what mitch mcconnell had to say about steve bannon's discussions over the weekend. >> some of these folk that is you have been quoting, as i said, or specialists, are nominating people who lose. that won't help president trump achieve his agenda. >> so underneath the top line of all this is this sort of simmering undercurrent of mcconnell versus bannon. how the us that play into the fights happening on the hill? >> it makes them more stressful. any time you have incumbent republicans worried about the tea party or conservative challengers makes them nervous. nervous senators often regardless of what is stressing
them out are harder to deal with. the other piece of this really important, though, is that it is not just mcconnell, trump and bannon turning the screws on these device. it is also donors. there's a lot of folks in the republican donor community who feel they made huge investments to give republicans control of the entire government. and if tax reform doesn't happen, they're going to feel like they got a raw deal. >> final thoughts? >> something fundamental as lowering taxes is monument tall to the republican party. there will be a real question why they control all three branches of government and depressed turnout among republican voters. >> doug, thank you for coming onset to talk taxes. sarah and betsy, stick around. you heard it mentioned a little during this conversation, this is the border wall, but first that hearing, sentencing hearing for bowe bergdahl who pleaded guilty to endangering fellow soldiers in afghanistan after deserting his post was just delayed moments ago. we are heading to fort bragg to fill you in after the break.
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that elected officials take a stand on impeachment. a republican congress once impeached a president for far less. yet, today, people in congress and his own administration know this president is a clear and present danger who is mentally unstable and armed with nuclear weapons. and they do nothing. join us and tell your member of congress that they have a moral responsibility to stop doing what's political and start doing what's right. our country depends on it. we are back now with a look at the morning headlines. president trump is disputing
what a gold-star widow is saying about a condolence call. myesha johnson said she died when she got the call from the president about her husband dying in niger two weeks ago. the president said he had a very respectful conversation with the widow of sergeant la david johnson and spoke his name from beginning without hesitation. we'll be watching this story all day. and the senate is set to vote on the $36.5 billion hurricane relief package. the money will give needed boos help out the flood insurance program to pay for claims related to hurricane harvey. once the bill passes, the next step hits the president's desk for his signature. and in an nbc exclusive, we are learning robert mueller is investigating tony padesta and his firm. he is looking into whether
podesta's company violated the foreign registration act after working on a ukrainian public relations campaign that was run by paul manafort. in a statement to nbc news, the spokesperson for the podesta firm is cooperating fully with the special counsel's office and is taking every possible step to provide documentation that confirms a timely compliance. the spokesperson for mueller's office declined to comment. and we've got some news coming in just the last couple minutes here. army sergeant beau bergdahl's sentencing hearing is being delayed. it was set to happen today and is pushed until wednesday morning. bergdahl was expected to face a military judge just within the last couple of minutes here for endangering his come raptd rrad afghanistan. morgan radford is live for us. why did the judge delay the sentencing? tell us what is going on there. >> reporter: well, it's all based on emotion that was filed
by the defense, hallie, and that motion was based on president trump's comment. but just to take you back a little bit, we were inside the courthouse and saw sergeant bergdahl arrive. when he arrived, he seemed relatively reassured and calm, although there were no visible outward signs of emotion, but as we mentioned, the headline today, hallie, president trump was front and center. bergdahl's lawyer arguing that president trump's comments constituted a personal attack against bergdahl, both not only on the campaign trail, but once he became president. and he said those comments were unlawful and they were unfair. and that's why the defense filed a motion today to have, in fact, the entire sentencing dismissed based on those comments. so we expect to see this now resume on wednesday. but remember, this is a man who in 2009 deserted his post, which is why he did plead guilty just last week. there were soldiers who were injured in the pursuit of trying to recover bergdahl, something
he since said was very inexcusable. and even today in the courtroom, the judge gave bergdahl the chance, the opportunity to withdraw the guilty plea and doubled down and said he was continuing to plead guilty. and remember, what was on the table? one, he was facing up the life in prison. number two, he could have been dishonorably discharged. and three, he could have been stripped of his rank and pay. now we're waiting to see on wednesday what is exactly going to happen. >> i'm interested in some of the color you were talking about bergdahl walking in, he did not seem visible, was it a packed courtroom? can you tell me what the scene is like in fort bragg? >> reporter: there were less than 100 people inside the courtroom. and then there was an overflow room, but still less than 100 people. and remember, this is fort bragg. i'm from north carolina, this is a heavily military zone. so this is a completely locked down courthouse. there are several checkpoints. we all had to turn in our
cameras, cell phones, no cameras were allowed inside. so we are going old school writing down our notes. and that is what we saw, so we're focusing on the color, focusing on his reaction, which frankly, hallie, was minimal. that's why it was kind of a fast-paced evidence that was presented today. and we expect to see more of that on wednesday. >> so morgan radford, we'll press pause on this conversation for now, but i know you'll be back for us on wednesday to talk about all this from fort bragg. morgan, thank you very much. coming up after the break, we are headed over to the border where jacob zoberoff is for us. you're in tijuana? what is up? >> reporter: i sure am. in four days from now, president trump's signature campaign promise, at least the prototypes of his border wall, are scheduled to be complete. we have been here monitoring the progress. we are on the ground with the border patrol and here on the mexican side of the border. will they actually happen? we'll try to answer that when we come back right after this break. stay with msnbc.
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the border. hey, jacob, what you got? >> reporter: hallie, the reason we are on the mexican side of the border, it is virtually impossible to see these from the american side. border protection has kept people at a far distance on purpose. basically to prevent people from getting too close. they expect a big protest, they didn't quite get those. what this is here is the vietnam-era landing strips called the primary fence, put up in the '90s. people jump over it, like 70 people a day go over it. those are president trump's prototype border walls to try to stop that entirely. will it? that's the question we posed to the border patrol when we took an up-close look. take a look. just east of san diego between the two existing border fences, mock-ups of president trump's proposed border walls are coming together. what are we looking a in the. >> there are a total of eight protoe types, four out of concrete and four out of alternate material. >> reporter: they are pretty
feet tall? >> 18 to 30 feet tall. >>reporter: they made that requirement at a time when apprehensions along the border are already on track to be as low as ever without trump's wall. will this lower the numbers even further? >> it is hard to gauge. there is always going to be some form of crime or in this case illegal migration. can we do our job better? absolutely. i think the walls will contribute to that. >> reporter: the full wall isn't funded, only the samples built by contractors. but if president trump can somehow convince mexico or congress to pay, the wall won't be as long as the one candidate trump proposed. >> so currently we have just under 700 miles of fencing along the border. we don't have any intentions of fencing off the entire southwest border. it's not necessary. >> reporter: so what happens now? does the president come out here and literally say, okay, i like that one? >> we're going to test it for breachability, for the sub-terrain aspect, can we dig under it, scale over it? >> reporter: what happened? people are crossing. >> almost on cue, a group of
asylum seekers jumped over the existing fence to turn themselves in to border agents on horseback. a small group of three people just jumped over in the middle of the day. the girl with a pink backpack. can you explain what is going on? >> this is the reality of every day border enforcement. the united states is the draw for people with dire situations where they are at. we are going to continue to witness this. it plays out on a regular basis for us. >> reporter: and it did just here, just now. >> yeah. >> reporter: another reality, people just a stone-throw away will ultimately determine whether trump's wall works. we made our way to the mexican side of the border and this is the primary fence. the thing that donald trump doesn't think is big enough to keep people out of the united states. and this is the spot where earlier we saw the folks jump over the wall and into the u.s. so what do you guys think? it's a high wall. you think people are still going to try to cross?
[ speaking foreign language ] >> reporter: this man came over and told us he tried to experience crossing the border when he was younger. is the new big wall going to stop mexicans from coming to the u.s.? [ speaking foreign language ] >> reporter: trump's wall meant to keep immigrants away today is drawing mexicans as a tourist attraction. hallie, the contractors have until thursday to finish their projects. looking over the wall right now, they are still in there hard at work when the breachability test begins, can people get over it, under it, through it. then the administration picks their favorite. then the biggest task of all, perhaps pardon the pun, getting over the tall wall and getting
someone to pay for it. with apprehensions as low as they have been on track for the all-time low this year, it will be a tough task. >> jacob zoberoff, thank you so much. let's bring in sarah again. now it looks like it will have to be lawmakers to pass this. who is it going to be? >> that's a good question. the border crossings are heading into dramatic lows right now. the incentive to fund the wall is lower than it otherwise would be. and president trump was getting to the end of what he can do unilaterally. building the prototypes and bidding out to construction companies. this is generating interest on its own. he's getting to the end of what he can do. >> and this thing is not cheap, $1.6 billion is what the administration is asking for, and the senate said no, we're
not going that. >> and these things almost run into cost overruns. the initial budgeted amount tends to be very conservative estimates of how expensive they will be. >> let me ask you this, the california attorney general says he will sue, basically, saying the administration is overstepping its legal bounds here. is this just the tip of the iceberg? are we going to see more states with democratic attorneys general perhaps do this? >> without a doubt. most of the states along the border, i believe, have republican attorney generals, but there are so many different jurisdictions and different interest groups that will be able to sue that the legal battle here is going to be a real mess. >> is this travel ban 2.0 with the critical campaign pledge ending up tied up in courts? >> that could obviously be the case. clearly, like betsy said, because the border wall has to cross through so many different seat states and counties, different types of terrain and different types of people with private property on the border. they will have to take that away from private citizens to end up being a huge mess for the administration. >> pull out your crystal balls quickly for me, december 8th,
you have potential for a government shut down fight, does money for the border wall boost those chances? >> i don't think the border wall will be on the table to generate a government shutdown. i don't expect that to happen. >> congress is so tied up trying to get the basic elements of their job done with lowering taxes, i don't think they'll get to something extra like the border wall. >> sarah and betsy, thank you for being with us. much appreciated. up next, we'll talk about something a lot of people are talking about, something kept secret for more than 50 years. but now the congressional deadline is coming up thursday to make public the thousands of records related to jfk's assassination. so what is in the files? and what will it mean for decades of conspiracy theories? for your heart...
in drug stores nationwide. prevagen. the name to remember. so you're looking now at vice president mike pence through the cluster of folks there arriving just a couple minutes ago at the marine barracks in washington. he's there with h.r. mcmaster commemorating the 34th anniversary on the attack at the base in beirut. we'll keep a live look at the shots here just moments ago when the vice president arrived along with tom bossert.
we'll monitor and bring you news as we get it. in the meantime, we're talking about what happens in 72 hours or so, more than 3,000 files related to the investigation into the jfk assassination could be released by the national archives. here's the backstory of this, 25 years ago congress got really frustrated with a lot of these conspiracy theories, particularly around the oliver stone movie "jfk" in 1991 and said release all the files related to the investigation over the next 25 years. well, guess what? the 25-year deadline is thursday. and president trump is not blocking the release of the files and letting them go public. there is a catch, though. there is always a catch. the white house says if the fbi and the cia give a compelling and clear reason to keep the documents secret, then they will be kept secret. joining us now is a presidential historian and former director of the lbj presidential library and the author of the upcoming book called "the last republicans." mark, thank you for joining us
here. so the question, i did this story for the "today" show this morning, and one of the folks who works here says, what is really in these documents? what do you think is in them? we don't know, what but do you think? bombshells, probably not, right? >> probably not bombshells but it will add to the story. i have to believe, this is 54 years after the assassination of our 35th president. i can't imagine that anything that was -- that is relevatory, hasn't surfaced to this point. couple years ago, the cia de-classified the president's daily briefs, that lyndon johnson was receiving at the time. if there was something really big, we probably would have gotten a hint from those documents. >> why is it important to you that these documents are part of the public record? >> it is important that all of our records are eventually processed and made available to the public. it is one of the hallmarks of our democracy, that we offer
transparency to the american public. so it is -- something as important as the assassination of a president has to be brought forward to the public. we have to see documentation relating to the event. >> i talked to another historian who said, yeah, they're curious to learn about what might be in the documents about lee harvey oswald, the six-day trip to took to mexico prior to killing kennedy. that seems to be a little bit of a missing piece to the puzzle here. details about that trip. >> this is such a byzantine story in general. there is so much to know. so that's one of the pieces of the puzzle that needs to be resolved. i have no doubt, regardless of what comes out in the documents, there's going to be additional questions. some years back i talked to gerald ford, who was at the time the lone surviving member of the warren commission, put together by lyndon johnson, to investigate the assassination of
president kennedy. he said, i was never completely convinced it was just one gunman, but i never saw anything that made me think that it was something broader. there was nothing that came to light that made me think there was some conspiracy. there have been many theories brought forward but nothing holds water at the end of the day. >> let's talk about the conspiracy theories. guys, when you look at the theories out there, one of the people who have pushed the conspiracy is the guy in office, president trump. he brought out this tabloid story about ted cruz's dad right before i think it was the indiana primaries. now, here we have, under his watch essentially, though not by his doing, the release of some of these documents coming out here. not going to lay conspiracy theories to rest. >> there are some questions that will be answered. at the end of the day, the conspiracy theories will probably survive. the three of us were probably
born after the generation that was endlessly fascinated with the one or two gunmen theories and the grassy knoll and -- >> but the mystique survives on. >> it is amazing how this historical moment has generated so much fiction also. you look at the fictionalized depiction of one of the conspiracy theories, about how lee harvey oswald may have coordinated with others, according to the conspiracy theory.cia and fbi, mark, could make a push to the president the next 72 hours and say, block these documents based on a national security interest. why might that be happening? it is not necessarily because they wouldn't want certain information getting out there, but sources and methods plays into this, too. >> our intelligence agencies are always going to be conservative about these things. one of the things they reveal are how our intelligence agencies do business.
people don't want, in these agencies, don't want the international community to know how they conduct their business. that's one thing. again, i can't imagine there are any major secrets to be kept at this point. >> yeah. >> bear in mind, too, these documents can be redacted. they can be released but there can be forportions of them bloc out. >> i want to mention, you're the inaugural ceo of a national medal museum. the president will be presenting a medal to rose from the vietnam war. there has been focus on our men and women of combat the last week. what do you hope this museum offers to the public? >> we don't have any museum that honors our greatest heros, our medal of honor recipients. there is no national museum that brings these stories to light. i'm hopeful that we can get this thing built, to not only commemorate these stories but unite americans in what it means to be patriotic, and i think inspire us to find the heros
within ourselves. >> presidential historic mark updegrove, thank you perspective. i also want to thank sarah from the washington examiner and betsy from the daily beast. we'll be back with today's big picture. cd's, baseball cards... your old magic set? and this wrestling ticket... which you still owe me for. seriously? $25 i didn't even want to go. ahhh, your diary. "mom says it is totally natural..." $25 is nothing. abracadabra, bro. the bank of america mobile banking app. the fast, secure and simple way to send money. my "business" was going nowhere... so i built this kickin' new website with godaddy.
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the goal, drumming up more than $400 million to help refugees like this boy. he's 10 months old. he's crying while being weighed in a refugee camp. obviously incredibly malnourished. the u.n. desperately needs more money to help with the crisis that's only getting worse. this is now the biggest exodus from myanmar to bangladesh from a single country since the rwandan genocide. as always, we'd love to hear your thoughts on facebook, twitter, snapchat and instagram. i'll head over to the white house this afternoon for the rose garden joint statement with president trump and the medal of honor ceremony this afternoon. for now, i'll turn it over to ali velshi. >> i always look forward to the medal of honor ceremonies, in the midst of all this news. we can honor somebody with the great work they did. good morning. i'm ali velshi.
stephanie is on assignment today. monday, october 23rd. let's get started. >> i need to see my husband. i haven't seen him since he came home. i heard him stumbling, on trying to remember my husband's name. that hurt me the most. it made me cry worse. whatever ms. wilson said was not fabricated. what she said was 100% correct. >> lawmakers are demanding answers about the deadly ambush attack on u.s. soldiers in niger and the military's presence there. >> the pentagon is looking into whether the troops diverted from their patrol route to undertake an unapproved mission. >> an aide briefed on the american deaths tells nbc news the ambush stemmed, in part, from a massive intelligence failure. >> i didn't know there was 1,000 troops in nieger. >> senator graham didn't know 1,000 troops were in niger. did you? >> i did not.