tv MSNBC Live With Hallie Jackson MSNBC October 27, 2017 7:00am-8:00am PDT
also breaking overnight, have you seen the secret files yet? they're out, most of them anyway. those now declassified government documents about the kennedy assassination. we will tell you the most interesting thing you should know about what's in them. and new this hour, that tiny energy company facing fire from congress, answers questions from our own stephanie ruhle you just watched it about its moves to get the lights back on in puerto rico. we have that new interview plus the audit expected today on the progress whitefish has made or not so far. we want to start overseas in south korea where richard engel is in seoul. 35 miles south of the border with north korea. richard, kind of a key moment here for the man running the u.s. military. what have you been seeing? >> reporter: i think it's a key moment not just for the man running the u.s. military, i think this is a key moment in asia. next week president trump is coming here, he's coming with a
large show of force for the first time in years we will have three aircraft carrier groups in the pacific, there are already about 32,000 u.s. troops in korea. there are more planes coming as well, a submarine. so with this armada that is heading to the region enter president trump who says his goal is to stand up to north korea to try and build consensus and a coalition to contain north korea's nuclear program and today defense secretary mattis was up at the dmz that very tense border area between north and south korea, criticizing the north korean regime, but saying that diplomacy he still thinks and the administration is still convinced is the best option. >> so, richard -- >> as the u.s. secretary of state tillerson has made clear, our goal is not war, but rather the complete and verifiable and
irreversible denuke zags of the korean peninsula. >> reporter: so denuclearization is the goal and he wants to get that goal through diplomacy and clearly a show of force backing up that diplomacy, but north korea has said repeatedly that as far as it's concerned denuclearization is not an option. it wants to have a nuclear weapon and wants to have a nuclear weapon that it can put on a long range missile that can reach the united states until it gets to that stage it says it will not even discuss any curbs to its nuclear program. >> so, richard, you talk about the show of force and we're looking ahead, it's not even a week actually to today to head to where you are the region because president trump is visiting asia. talk a little bit more about this u.s. military buildup that's happening here. >> i think it's quite significant. the u.s. has put north korea, the north korean problem, i
think, at the front burner of its foreign policy agenda. we've been talking over the last several months about isis, there was the operation in mosul, operation in raqqah and i think right now front and center is the korean crisis. so in order to show the u.s. is seriousness and trump's personal toughness, if you will, he is arriving in the region with an armada, tens of thousands of troops who are already here, ships coming into the region. not only are there going to be for the first time in years these three aircraft carrier groups in the pacific, but they are also expected to take part in some sort of war game which would be the first time those three carriers did that kind of activity in about a decade. so that's an escalation from the u.s. >> yeah. >> and then there is a deep concern about -- among u.s. military officials i'm speaking to here that kim jong-un could take this opportunity while trump is in the region and the ships are in the region to do
some sort of provocative act from the north korean side. so this is -- this is why i'm saying it's not just a pivotal moment for the defense secretary who was up on the -- at the dmz today, i think the entire region could soon become significantly more tense than we've been used to seeing it over the last several months even. >> richard engel, live in seoul. thank you very much. i want to head over back in d.c. to the pentagon with nbc's hans nichols. the pentagon and white house talk about military options but from all of our reporting there just aren't many that don't involve putting seoul, the 10 million people who live there right in the cross-hairs. >> and the americans that live there and the american families that live there. >> and the american military members, sure. >> it's the o plan, which is the operations plan, one of the first things for any sort of kinetic operation is getting united states service members' families out of the country. you know, i would just kind of follow on richard's reporting there. this idea that it's been ten years since there have been
three aircraft carriers in the region doing joint ops, a lot of times the pentagon wants to have it both ways on this story, hallie. let me explain what i mean by that. on one hand they're saying this is long planned, don't read anything into it, but at the same time they look at you starkly serious and say this is a capability as it is a demonstration of our cap abilities, the united states is the only country that can do this. they want to have it both ways. they want to say that it's not directly timed to anything and any rhetoric coming from the korean peninsula, but clearly they want to show allies in the region as well as north korea that the u.s. has this awesome capability with three carriers as well as the bombers they have in guam, as well as the ground troops, the variety of forms of artery they have. one quick follow on that, hallie, secretary mattis while at the dmz was told by his counterpart saying they just don't have any sort of plan for knocking out all the artillery pieces buried in the mountains, those long distance artillery. there simply isn't a plan and
mar 'tis' response to that, understood. hallie. >> hans nichols at the pentagon. thank you. i want to bring in our panel for the next 60 minutes, white house reporter for the "washington post" jenna jackson and nick johnston. let's talk about what the administration has been saying about options in north korea picking up where hans left off. listen. >> they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. >> i'm perfectly happy kicking this over to general mattis because he has plenty of military options. >> you have got to be ready to ensure that we have military options that our president can employ if needed. >> the united states has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy north korea. >> that is so much tough talk, right, but as hans, as richard point out there are not a lot of
good options here. where is the red line for the president when it comes to north korea? >> well, they're waiting to see something actually happen. >> right. >> and they're being careful not to put too bright of a line down. with secretary mattis being over there today, he's kind of setting the stage for the president's visit. quite often the president talks a lot about, as we just heard, fire and fury, destruction, it's coming and things like that, and it's interesting to point out that the secretary was also talking about diplomacy, which has really been the message of the state department. that we can talk about this, this does not have to get to fire and fury. >> what is it about the asia trip here that we're leaving on a week from now that's going to change the president's mind? is there anything that will change the president's perspective. >> what richard engel said was interesting, that could raise the temperature of the region. we have had trump talking about the issue in almost incendiary
ways from the united states, how will he change his message and language while over there. what i thought was interesting about general mattis, speak softly and carry a big stick. he is calling for diplomacy but there are three aircraft carriers off the coast. >> what is the goal for when president xi meets with president trump over in china when this happens because that is obviously the critical underpinning to this relationship part. >> that's the linchpin, what president trump needs to convince president xi is to continue the pressure on the north koreans, to continue the economic pressure to try to get them to change their minds. the diplomatic process happening at the u.n. with ambassador haley, but president xi needs to do more. >> they're working this from all these different angels, the strong talk, the image of the force of the united states gathering around north korea and then also the diplomacy. trying to find a way somehow even after all of these decades of trying to just denuclearize
the peninsula. >> when you look at the relationship with china when we talk about president xi he got another five-year term from congress after that kim jong-un sent this letter of congratulations, we know the president called to congratulate xi as well. no mentions, though, from kim jong-un in that note like in previous ones of friendship or brother hood. what should we be reading into this if anything from that. >> that's difficult criminology there, the hardest thing to figure out this relationship between china and north korea and the china is the one thing keeps the chinese military operating, keeping the country fed and the one pressure point that the administration has left. >> president xi is trying to play both sides here. you know, they're a close neighbor with north korea and president trump and president trump came into office saying terrible things about china and the two have somehow -- >> you remember from the campaign. we were there. >> exactly.
the two have somehow forged a friendship. so there is a motivation there for china to do things that they hadn't done before. >> i hope your bags are getting packed. you're coming, right? >> i'm not. >> we will see you all next week for sure. nick, you as well and for the rest of the show, too. coming back we want to talk about what everybody is talking about today, which is those top secret jfk files finally released. most of them because you know some are being held back for national security reasons. so we're going to get into what we've learned so far and when we might see the rest of those secret files next. i was a good soldier. i had purpose and i loved it. you never told me you were a hero. you are my hammer out there. don't let these young guys see you fold. ♪ i'm only human ♪ i make mistakes get down! ♪ i'm only human ♪ it's all it takes ♪ don't put the blame on me thank you for looking after my son. we're brothers. we look after each other. thank you for your service. rated r.
now playing. i'm in the kitchen. i need my blood sugar to stay in control. i need to shave my a1c i'm always on call. an insulin that fits my schedule is key. ♪ tresiba® ready ♪ (announcer) tresiba® is used to control high blood sugar in adults with diabetes. don't use tresiba® to treat diabetic ketoacidosis, during episodes of low blood sugar, or if you are allergic to any of its ingredients. don't share needles or insulin pens. don't reuse needles. the most common side effect is low blood sugar, which may cause dizziness, swtiting, confusion, and headache.
check your blood sugar. low blood sugar can be serious and may be life-threatening. injection site reactions may occur. tell your prescriber about all medicines you take and all your medical conditions. taking tzds with insulins like tresiba® may cause serious side effects like heart failure. your insulin dose shouldn't be changed without asking your prescriber. get medical help right away if you have trouble breathing, fast heartbeat, extreme drowsiness, swelling of your face, tongue, orhrhroat, dizziness, or confusion. ask your health care provider if you're tresiba® ready. covered by most insurance and medicare plans. ♪ tresiba® ready ♪
this morning we are getting our first look at some of those secret jfk files. president trump signed off on the release of nearly 3,000 documents that have been classified for more than 50 years, but some of the records were held back, a lot of them were very heavily redacted. i left nbc news national correspondent peter alexander at the white house yesterday. peter, you were up all night going through whatever these documents were, and there are some interesting nuggets in this release, not as many as people thought, though, right? >> reporter: there may be more to come some historians and scholars and sloouts it's like discovering a dusty box of papers in your folks home. offering random detail, raising questions about lee harvey oswald and the jfk assassination. president trump rights in a memo i am ordering that the veil finally be lifted, but not
entirely at least not yet. >> new details this morning from one of the country's greatest mysteries. >> we are through the looking glass here, people. >> so what's been revealed from those 2,800 records released shortly before a employed knight deadline? we now now the soviet union initially thought far right americans planned the assassination as a coup, all while fearing they would be blamed for the assassination. hours after lee harvey oswald was shot j. edgar hoover wrote he was concerned about having something issue to we could convince the public that oswald is the reassassin. then a british newspaper reporter received an anonymous call 25 minutes before the jfk assassination, tipping him to call the u.s. embassy for big news, but not all questions have been answered, just 24 hours after president trump promised
the long awaited release would happen as planned, at the last minute the president blocked the release of thousands of records, bowing to pressure from the cia and fbi to keep the heavily redacted documents secret, writing, i have no choice but to accept those redactions rather than allow potentially irreversible harm to our nation's security placing the bulk of the files under a six-month review. >> has a huge disappointment and total mess. you can't imagine a more disorderly release of this documents about a turning point in american history. >> reporter: of more than 2,800 documents posted last night only 52 of them had never been seen before in their entirety. overnight the white house announced the remaining records will continue to be released with some redactions in the coming weeks up until this new deadline of april next year the president tweeting about the topic this morning, saying jfk files are being carefully released. in the end there will be great transparency, it is my hope to get just about everything to public.
hallie. >> just about everything, peter alexander. is it nap time for you yet? ? er no, it's after anchor for andrea today at noon then i have a breather. >> we will see you back here. thank you very much. i want to bring in jeremy bash and back with me jenna and nick. jeremy, let's pick up where peter left off here. i love talking to you like this because you are an intel guy which i love. why would the intel community redact pieces of this, not want pieces of this to be released? it's all about sources and methods. >> let's go inside the intelligence agency and inside the cia. >> you know this stuff. >> there are three reasons to redact something, one is a person's name and that person or their family members may still be living, we don't want to out them as a potential source for the u.s. government. the second is a way we collected the information. i can't imagine frankly 54 years later that any of those methods are still being used. >> that's the point, it was so long ago you would think that would have fallen off -- >> and the third bucket is the other countries that worked with
us, the liaison partners and politics have changed, i don't think there's much to buckets two and three, so the question is are there in i individuals still alive who were sources for the u.s. government, but there i think the redactions would have been a few words here, a few words there, what we saw were massive amounts redacted, massive pages withheld. i think this was a bureaucratic screw up, i think the agencies deprioritized this as they should. this isn't a pressing national security issue and no one said attention to it and trump should not have raised expectations. i think this is a lot less than meets the eye. >> open the door on that one there because like i go back to my college days when i would get a paper due the next week and scramble in the last minute. they have had 25 years to figure this out. why is onus not on the agencies for not having known this. this is not like a surprise deadline. >> i agree, they should have done this a long time ago, i just don't think we should think there is sensitive deep dark secret they're trying to cover
up. i think this was bureaucratic inept tud. >> when you say the president raised expectations do you mean by his tweets. >> he said the veil is going to be lifted and everything will be known when the agencies weren't ready. they should have advised him and he should have known. >> tough stuff. you seem annoyed. >> it fuels conspiracy theories we are still withholding information about something that happened 54 years ago and i don't think there's any scenario in which real secrets about what happened aren't publicly known. >> that j. head gar hoover memo starts out there is nothing further on the oswald case except that he is dead. this was right after lee harvey oswald was shot. he seems to be a little concerned the public would have to be compelled to believe that oswald was, in fact, the only killer and not part of a larger conspira conspiracy. >> one is that he was trying to cover something up, the other that they knew the truth that oswald was acting alone and wanted to make there was public faith in that conclusion. >> there still isn't to this
day. >> the majority of americans believe oswald was not acting alone. the cia director at the time had some documents that discussed the potential cia plots to work with the mafia to kill castro and maybe oswald was working as a castro agent in revenge. that's the kind of thing that's a bank shot conspiracy theories that people will still look into. >> people meaning some of those sitting in the oval office. you think back to the campaign -- what? >> i was going to say, again, this is old news. we know the cia launched the bay of pigs and there were plots to kill castro. that's not anything new. >> what do you make of the conspiracy theory part of this, this is a president trump who broadly is something who has raised conspiracy theories before, suggested them, talked about them. benji has done a ton of reporting on the conspiracy theories that the president has if not endorsed at least put out there back into the public view,
including, by the way, rafael cruz. >> right. >> i think back to that moment on the campaign trail when i watched ted cruz lash out essentially at then candidate trump. i was with a producer who was on capitol hill and who asked ted cruz about this in a very tongue in cheek way and i want to play you that moment here. >> are you confident that the release of the jfk files will vindicate your father? >> i look forward to seeing what's in the files and, you know, politics is a strange process. there are ludicrous claims and then there are claims that go beyond ludicrous and this one falls into the latter category. >> broadly speaking, though, president trump conspiracy theories he seems to not be able to quit them. >> this is great television. we are talking about it, it's fascinating. for as long as i've been alive, who shot jfk. i think the president is interested in the fun yarn. >> i think that's why he wanted to release all these documents
and was teasing it days ahead of time as if this was a big finale to a show that people have been watching for more than 50 years. a lot of people close to him have been studying and obsessing about it and wanting to know what was in those files. >> roger stone wrong them. jeremy bash, pleasure to have you on set. jenna and nick, hang on a little longer because we want to talk about how congress is basically moving full steam ahead on tax reform after you watched them on this show yesterday work on passing that budget, but can tax cuts by turkey day really happy like lawmakers want? up next the big sticking points and why this thanksgiving timeline ma i not be totally realistic. so, that goal you've been saving for,
you can do it. we can do this. at fidelity, our online planning tools are clear and straightforward so you can plan for retirement while saving for the things you want to do today. -whoo! while saving for the things oh, you yeah!ht butch. (butch growls at man) he's looking at me right now, isn't he? yup.
(butch barks at man) butch is like an old soul that just hates my guts. (laughs) (vo) you can never have too many faithful companions. introducing the all-new crosstrek. love is out there. find it in a subaru crosstrek. what is an answer and how can you measure the value of one? today trusted answers from trusted sources are rare and precious commodities.
they're out there but finding them on your own has never been harder. it's why at thomson reuters we provide you with the intelligence, technology, and human expertise you need to find trusted answers. the answer company. thomson reuters. we are back now with a look at your morning's headlines. we're learning new details about that ambush in niger that left four u.s. soldiers dead. according to the "new york times" moments after american and miejerrian troops were under attack four of the special forces were separated from the larger group. french helicopters arrived after the fire fight but only rescued seven of the 11 americans, leaving those four others behind initially. they were considered missing in action. attorney general jeff sessions just a couple seconds ago speaking here in new york on the administration's efforts to
fight the deadly opioid crisis, saying government can't keep doing business as usual, that we have to do more. he says the administration will take a three pronged approach of improving prevention, enforcement and treatment. that speech of course comes one day after the president declared the epidemic a public health emergency. actress rose mcgowan is talking publicly for the first time since she accused harvey weinstein of rape. they will give the open remarks of the women's convention in detroit and also serve on a panel. the actress has been a leading voice on social media since this scandal broke. mobilizing what she calls the #rose army, urging women in hollywood and around the world to talk about their own experiences in sexual assault. president trump is giving a friday morning pat on the back to republicans today on twitter of course. congratulations to speaker ryan, steve scalise and the republican party on budget passage yesterday. now for biggest tax cuts.
but if republican leaders thought that squeaker of a vote on the budget was hard they have not seen anything yet. you have deep divisions when it comes to this tax cut plan and making things even more complicated republicans want this thanksgiving deadline. that is like a month away, fewer in capitol hill years or days or weeks. msnbc's garrett hague is over on capitol hill. mitch mcconnell is saying we will work through thanksgiving recess. that seems unlikely. >> it's important to note that it's a friday, a month before thanksgiving and your united states senate is not here today. they are back in their states. >> looks empty behind you there. >> reporter: that's right. the senate has to wait on the house on this. tax legislation has to come from the house. we will see this tax bill finally come out of the house ways and means committee next week. that budget vote yesterday is a little bit of foreshadowing of the problems republicans will have hashing this out amongst themselves, regardless of any artificial deadline of when they get it dup, they have some
issues to solve here. the budget fight yesterday a lot of it had to do with this issue of state and local tax deductions, you saw this mini revolt from republicans in new york and new jersey, pennsylvania, high tax states saying my constituents really care about this, i'd rather have this fight now than later, republican leadership would like to see them have that fight behind closed doors. that's just on the house side. i think once we have a better picture of where the numbers stack up we will see a much more robust debate on the senate side about things like how much does this really help the middle class, which is what the president has been selling, and what is it going to do so the deficit which has been a huge talking point for republicans over the last eight years. >> garrett haik on capitol hill. thank you very much for coming into work. >> don't say quiet out loud. >> for you and all of us. i'm sorry. i want to bring in rick newman,
jenna and nick are back with us as well. you heard garrett running through politically what the sticking points to be. i want to pull up something on the screen to remind everybody of what the president wants in this tax plan. he wants to cut the corporate tax rate and cut down the number of individual tax brackets to three or maybe four, you would see a boost in the standard deduction in the child care tax credit, it would also scrap the deduction for state and local taxes. you look at this here, rick, how much of this list ends up in the final bill? >> that's -- i mean, that's the great question. we don't know what the take a ways are. that's why we have had so much analysis of this already without knowing -- so they're giving us the good parts, the candy, where is the spinach? i will hand cap this. i think if there is a final bill it will include a lower corporate tax rate, it will be difficult to get to 20%, it will be difficult to get to 25% but that might be plausible. i think maybe a 25% corporate tax rate, there have to be -- if
you're going to cut corporate taxes you have to cut individual taxes a little bit so i think there will be meaningful tax cuts there, i think it's plausible that the upper tax bracket that 39.6, the so-called fourth bracket i think that actually could get put back in so that at least a marginal bracket for the wealthiest people just stays where it is with no change there. we have heard a lot about the state and local tax deduction being eliminated, i don't think that will be eliminated i think that that will be reduce sod that people at the upper incomes lose a little but not ordinary people. >> can i play devil's advocate for a second because putting on the nerd hat we have new numbers this morning on a better than expected report on the economy which grew at a rate of 3%, unemployment hovering around 4%, stock market doing pretty well. do we need tax cuts? can we afford them? >> so the most broken part of the tax code is actually the corporate side, the business side and it's partly because of all the loopholes that are in
there, but it's also because the last time the corporate tax rate was set other countries tax rates were much higher, the advanced countries around the world have been lowering their corporate tax rate. we need to find a way to be competitive with those other countries. that's the real problem. on the individual side i think you could make a case we don't need individual tax cuts, what we need is better fundamentals in the economy so real wages go up. >> tax cuts are something republicans will always say we need, this is something paul ryan has been trying to do forever. >> he has been trying to do full on full scale reform. >> and i don't think we're going to get that. >> that's not this. >> not even close. the key issue is we haven't seen the bill, we have seen a lot of principles and the budget vote squeaked through and until we see the bill just like we did with the healthcare repeal we don't see where do the moderates go, are these republicans from high tax states going to revolt over this state and local reduction. >> it's a lot to tig figure out. can they do that by
thanksgiving? into that's an optimistic deadline. a lot of lawmakers are saying show us the bill. how are you going to pay for this? how is this going to impact my coulden stit wentz and they will run the math and see for a majority of people in their district is this going to be popular or unpopular. there are going to be a lot of people opposed to this plan. >> especially when you look at 2018. you talk about in one of your columns why every taxpayer might get a raise next year, talking about how we could feel the impact of the tax cuts before the midterms. >> this talk about will it get done by 2017 it doesn't matter if it gets done by 2017. there will be a bill, it will be more modest than everybody thinks, probably done first quarter, early second quarter of 2018. congress can make individual tax cuts receipt a active to january 1st, 2018 which means the irs would change the withholding schedules and corporations -- every employer would then literally change the amount of tax withheld from people's paychecks so call it cynical or
not, that would actually amount to larger -- a bigger paycheck for most taxpayers going right into the 2018 midterms. >> rick newman, always a pleasure to have you on. i'm going so ask jenna and nick to hang out. coming up we're taking an inside look at how the twitter bots influenced the election. they say they caught 250,000 suspicious accounts every day. baa baa black sheep, have you any wool? no sir, no sir, some nincompoop stole all my wool sweaters, smart tv and gaming system. luckily, the geico insurance agency recently helped baa baa with renters insurance. everything stolen was replaced. and the hooligan who lives down the lane was caught selling the stolen goods online. visit geico.com and see how easy it is to switch and save on renters insurance.
for her compassion and care. he spent decades fighting to give families a second chance. but to help others, they first had to protect themselves. i have afib. even for a nurse, it's complicated... and it puts me at higher risk of stroke. that would be devastating. i had to learn all i could to help protect myself. once i got the facts, my doctor and i chose xarelto®. xarelto®... to help keep me protected. once-daily xarelto®, a latest-generation blood thinner... ...significantly lowers the risk of stroke in people with afib not caused by a heart valve problem. it has similar effectiveness to warfarin.
xarelto® works differently. warfarin interferes with at least 6 blood-clotting factors. xarelto® is selective, targeting just one critical factor interacting with less of your body's natural blood-clotting function. for afib patients well-managed on warfarin, there is limited information on how xarelto® compares in reducing the risk of stroke. don't stop taking xarelto® without talking to your doctor, as this may increase risk of stroke. while taking, you may bruise more easily, or take longer for bleeding to stop. it may increase your risk of bleeding if you take certain medicines. xarelto® can cause serious, and in rare cases, fatal bleeding. get help right away for unexpected bleeding, unusual bruising, or tingling. if you've had spinal anesthesia, watch for back pain or any nerve or muscle-related signs or symptoms. do not take xarelto® if you have an artificial heart valve or abnormal bleeding. tell your doctor before all planned medical or dental procedures... ...and before starting xarelto®-about any conditions, such as kidney, liver, or bleeding problems. it's important to learn all you can... ...to help protect yourself from a stroke. talk to your doctor about xarelto®. there's more to know™.
we have some breaking news for you now on something we've been covering on this show. catalon catalonia's fight for independence from spain. i want to get over to lucy cavanaugh following all of this. bring us up to speed here. >> reporter: this is a standup that's been escalating for a few weeks now. what we saw today was a major escalation, the cotillion parliament passed a resolution to basically create a cotillion republic to succeed from spain. the senate of the central government in madrid voted to take control over this rege. catalonia has its only parliament, police force, language. on october 1st the region voted to basically declare independence in a widely disputed referendum. the people split on the issue, a lot of folks stayed home, didn't vote, 43% turnout. spain declared this referendum illegal and sent police officers
to pull ballots from voting centers, but then it escalated, heavy clashes in the streets, hundreds of people injured. this set off a game of cat and mouse between the central government and catalonia. the prime minister used what's known as something called a nuclear option, basically invoking article 155 of the local constitution there which basically let's spain remove catalonia's president, sack the government, take control over the police force and local media and also to call for a new election. in just a few moments ago the majority of the senate approved this move which is the first time in spain's history one of these regions will be taken over. there is still room to maneuver, to negotiate. the spanish government has to decide how and when to apply these measures. it says they are temporary and aimed at restoring law and order, but will the people gathering out in the streets of barcelona right now agree, we will no he in the next few hours and days ahead. >> definitely keeping an eye on this story.
what appears to be a brewing constitutional crisis in spain. we want to turn back to here at home. we're gearing up to what's going to go on next week when reps from facebook, twitter and google are coming here to capitol hill to answer questions publicly in front of the senate and house intelligence committees, it's part of that investigation into russian sbeer feerns in the 2016 election. ahead of those meetings twitter is making moves. first, it promised more transparency, stricter policies surrounding what they call issues-based ads on their platform. then twitter banned adds from sputnik and rt, those are two kremlin-backed news outlets. it's not clear how the president plans to reign in the relentless flood of automated bots, these fake accounts that can fast and furiously retweet misinformation. nbc news business correspondent jo ling kent has more on frankly what i find a fascinating story. >> reporter: bots help drive the conversation in the lead up to
2016 and now there are new bigger questions on how much they may have influenced president trump's election or hillary clinton's loss. we went to the heart of silicon valley to find out how powerful they are and how affordable they are and how any of us can buy them. inside the intelligence lab at the institute for the future sam woolly has been tracking how bots influenced the 2016 election. >> so-called fake news can have real world consequences. >> fake news, it's fake. >> reporter: bots are fake automated social media accounts that can post, retweet, like and share thousands of times faster than a real person. >> politicians, journalists, people that really spread and make news were actually sharing bot content online, they were sharing fake stories because like us they didn't really know what was going on. >> bots can add thousands of fake followers to a politician's account to make them appear more influence, this he retweet posts to spread information quickly and widely often using popular
mash tags and trending topics to get more users to engage in a disinformation attack. >> it helps real people see that stuff and engage in it, right? >> exactly. yeah, it's more shut.more insidious, spreads better. >> reporter: nick found russians were buying armies of bots that were difficult to trace. >> essentially you can go to a website that's publicly available and buy 1,000 bots for maybe even just a couple of dollars. >> definitely. >> for $25 i'm buying 10,000 retweets. >> the goal is to seed and fertilize the conversation. one of the things the russians did is use bots to get momentum and once real people start following you or me all the bots step away. >> in two hours the bots we purchased retweeted our tweet 500 times, in two days 10,000. >> there is an arms race going on between twitter and bot builder. >> twitter says it catches 450,000 suspicious accounts every day and will continue to strengthen against attempted manipulation. >> is this legal to be able to buy all of these bots and
influence people? >> the u.s. government in terms of the laws that there are surrounding being able to buy followers or buy fake content it's the wild west. >> experts say the 2018 election is already under threat as russian bots attempt to sew confusion among american voters. >> if the person that speaks the louders is able to win we start to look like a authoritarian country. >> the cyber bar of bots against facts the truth is at stake. >> reporter: all of this information is likely to be useful to congressional investigators and as we know, twitter, facebook and google will be facing off with congressional investigators on capitol hill next wednesday and that -- and those conversations are likely to lead to possible regulatory additions for the tech industry and they certainly are not looking for that so they are trying to preemptively strike here. >> you know the lawmakers have been talking about this, something that you and i have talked about before on this show. thank you very much. jenna and nick are back here
with me. let's talk about numbers here because there is some research from the indiana university that found between 9 and 15% of twitter accounts are bots. meaning if you see you're scrolling through ten, one of those is probably a bot. twitter was built to be friendly to those bots, you know, particularly for advertisers and companies who want to spread their messages quickly so there is not a lot of incentive here, right? >> twitter is an easily man i'm lateable platform and also one since there are so many users plugged in and using it, politicians were watching it to get clues as to what people were thinking. >> what they were talking about, right. >> journalists did that, too. so often after a debate we would talk about what was trending on twitter and what people were talking about. but, you know, some of those conversations might have been being pushed by these bots. >> i think what's important to notice here is that, first, i talked to sarah if i wisher who reminded me that half of all internet traffic is bots.
some of that is good bots but a lot is bad bots trying to spread malicious things. these things were built originally to scan ad networks which is why no one paid attention and congress didn't worry about it. that same way you can get trending things, that's what impacted the election, that's why congress is paying a to this. >> deputy attorney general rod rosenstein was out talking about the influence of those ads and it raised eyebrows. listen. >> i think what people need to keep in mind is that there is a distinction between people trying to sway american elections and succeeding in swaying american elections. american citizens are pretty savvy, when they decide who to vote for i don't think they would be influenced by ads posted by foreign governments, i think people are more thoughtful about that and in the way that they make their decisiones. >> okay, rod rosenstein, there's a lot that's been happening over the last 11 months we have learned and it seems to me one of the crucial pieces is that people don't know whether it's fake or not.
they don't know whether the ads are scams or bots or fake or from a foreign government or whatever. >> they are looking at it by ads specifically is too narrow. putin's goal in the ee section las to sew confusion. >> make chaos. >> this mess of information that makes you think i don't know what to believe so you don't know how to act. >> so often when i'm out in the country talking with people who are supporters of the president they just throw their hands up at this and say -- >> old news. >> right. i didn't vote for trump because of something i saw on twitter or this or this. they just brush off all of this. but, again, then they admit in those same interviews, you know, i don't really know what to trust on twitter anymore. i don't really know what to trust on facebook gentleman en more. there is a lot of people since the election that have thrown their hands up and say i don't know what to trust what is out there. they trust the president and his message but anything they are seeing on social media they don't know what to trust and there is a lot of good information that's out there. >> right.
and valuable stuff. jenna and nick, thank you both for hang out with me for the last little bit here on this friday afternoon. i appreciate it. it's a pleasure having you on the show. coming up next we will go back to what's happening in puerto rico. it's been more than a month since hurricane maria devastated the island, almost 75% of it still does not have power. now the governor of puerto rico and congress want answers about that little montana company that got that big old contract to get the lights back on. we are getting our first look at that deal, what's in it and that new interview with a rep from the company after the break. for your heart... your joints... or your digestion... so why wouldn't you take something for the most important part of you... your brain. still does not have power. in prevagen is now the number one selling brain health supplement in drug stores nationwide. prevagen. the name to remember. ♪
♪ everyone deserves attention, whether you've saved a lot or just a little. at pnc investments, we believe you're more than just a number. so we provide personal financial advice for every retirement investor. but on the inside, i feel like chronic, widespread pain. fibromyalgia may be invisible to others, but my pain is real. fibromyalgia is thought to be caused by overactive nerves. lyrica is believed to calm these nerves. i'm glad my doctor prescribed lyrica. for some, lyrica delivers effective relief for moderate to even severe fibromyalgia pain. and improves function. lyrica may cause serious allergic reactions, suicidal thoughts or actions. tell your doctor right away
if you have these, new or worse depression, unusual changes in mood or behavior, swelling, trouble breathing, rash, hives, blisters, muscle pain with fever, tired feeling, or blurry vision. common side effects: dizziness, sleepiness, weight gain, swelling of hands, legs and feet. don't drink alcohol while taking lyrica. don't drive or use machinery until you know how lyrica affects you. those who've had a drug or alcohol problem may be more likely to misuse lyrica. with less pain, i can do more with my family. talk to your doctor today. see if lyrica can help. words from a doctor... stage 2 breast cancer. i have three little kids. my baby's seven years old. i can't have cancer. we really wanted a cancer team. so we thought that we would travel to cancer treatment centers of america and see what they had to offer. one of the things that we loved about ctca was that there is no one option, that they give you a series of options, and you do what's best for you. every patient that walks through the door is being
discussed by this team in various forms. dr. fernandez was wonderful. he said it was up to me to do what's best. it's about giving her options, where amy has all the information to make a decision that's best for her. we left the hospital on day one feeling like this is go be okay. we're gonna beat this and this is the place that's gonna help us do it... that feeling is priceless. learn more at cancercenter.com cancer treatment centers of america. appointments available now. remember that accident i got in with the pole, and i had to make a claim and all that? is that whole thing still dragging on? no, i took some pics with the app and... filed a claim, but... you know how they send you money to cover repairs and... they took forever to pay you, right? no, i got paid right away, but... at the very end of it all, my agent... wouldn't even call you back, right? no, she called to see if i was happy. but if i wasn't happy with my claim experience for any reason, they'd give me my money back, no questions asked. can you believe that? no. the claim satisfaction guarantee, only from allstate. switching to allstate is worth it.
so over on capitol hill, the house committee is putting the puerto rico electric power authority on notice. that authority known as prepa has until november 2nd to give some information about its $300 million contract with whitefish. whitefish is this small montana company that's on the ground right now trying to get the lights back on. that contract has come under some real serious scrutiny. more than half of the island is still in the dark. here's a spokesperson for whitefish just in the last hour. listen. >> the contract was done in the procurement people at prepa. the contract speaks for itself is the ability to get the work done.
>> reminder, this morning 74% of puerto rico still does not have power. gabe gutierrez is live in san juan for us. we had a look at the contract this morning. there's one piece in it that goes over audits done by the government, right? talk us through it. >> reporter: hi, there, hallie. good morning. that part of the contract is getting attention. let me read you from that contract. quote, in no event shall prepa, the comptroller or any representatives have the right to audit or review the cost and profit elements of the labor rates specified herein. basically, you can't audit this contract. despite that the governor ordered an audit. he's expecting results of the initial part of that audit, the one done by the puerto rican office of management and budget. he's expecting those initial results today. we have no time frame on that. but he said it's coming out at some point in time. he's waiting to take an official stance on this until he gets
some of the results. within the past hour, a spokesman for whitefish said that portion of the contract is standard. despite that whitefish says his company welcomes that audit. governor rossello was asked about whitefish during a conference yesterday. here's what he had to say. >> if there is no wrong doing, if it has been done correctly, then we will push forward. there is wrong doing, you know, in this process or any other process, there will be hell to pay. >> reporter: now, fema is distancing itself from this contract. we leasing a statement saying in part, based on the initial review and information from prepa, fema has significant concerns with how prepa procured the contract and has not confirmed whether the contract prices are reasonable. so still a lot of questions regarding this contract as we mentioned up to $300 million to help rebuild the grid here.
whitefish is not the only entity here restoring power or trying to restore power here in puerto rico. there's another contract with a company based in oklahoma. $200 million to a company called cobra. and also the army corps of engineers working to restore power here. it's very slow going. 74% of puerto rico is still without power and we are more than five weeks after hurricane maria, hallie. >> looking at some of these images here, gabe. it's still devastating for the island. you've been on the ground for the last five weeks. when we talk about whitefish because that has really cut through the consciousness here in washington. you've got lawmakers talking about it. i've had conversations about it with folks back over at the white house. what do people on the ground say about this? are they concerned about this montana company that had two workers coming in trying to staff up, build up to get their
li lights back on? >> we were speaking with a woman here in san juan yesterday. one of the areas that's very hard hit. she actually had not heard of whitefish. why is that? nobody has power here. it's hard for them to get information here. they just want the power back on here in puerto rico. and yes, the thing you have to understand about why this controversy is getting so much attention and locally here the local media is focused on it because there's a huge distrust of prepa. this puerto rican electric power authority. it went bankrupt in july. certainly this contract is now being heavily scrutinized that prepa awarded. now again, this company that had two full-time employees, now they have more than 300 contractors here. in washington and here in puerto rico, a lot of questions being skds. >> gabe, we'll look for more of your reporting tonight. thanks very much. we're going to be right back with today's big picture.
so that's the idea. what do you think? hate to play devil's advocate but... i kind of feel like it's a game changer. i wouldn't go that far. are you there? he's probably on mute. yeah... gary won't like it. why? because he's gary. (phone ringing) what? keep going! yeah... (laughs) (voice on phone) it's not millennial enough. there are a lot of ways to say no. thank you so much. thank you! so we're doing it. yes! "we got a yes!" start saying yes to your company's best ideas. let us help with money and know-how, so you can get business done. american express open. i'm ryan awith chantix.king everything i did circled 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. decrease alcohol use while taking chantix. use caution when driving or operating machinery. the most common side effect is nausea. i don't even think about cigarettes anymore. ask your doctor if chantix is right for you. many insurance plans cover chantix for a low or $0 copay.
we are back with today's big picture. this friday, we thought we'd end on a lighter note. literally. because this is obviously not the animated movie "up," but it sure looks like it. that british adventurer tom morgan. he's sitting on a camping chair tied to party balloons. that's it. that's all he got. he managed to get 8,000 feet into the air. he flew for 15 1/2 miles. that's a lot of miles across south africa. he was planning the first-ever
helium balloon race in africa but could not wait to get started. i would go on assignment for that. staying on the ground. picture via reuters. as always we'd love to get your thoughts online. appreciate you joining uses for this hour of msnbc. i'm headed to the white house but here's ali velshi and stephanie rhule. >> could he steer that thing? >> i guess. >> that's amazing. >> because she can't answer it, she needs to go on the road and report it. >> i do. >> hallie, we'll see you this afternoon. good morning, everyone. i'm ali velshi. >> and i'm stephanie rhule. it is friday, october 27th. let's get you started. >> the pressure's on to get something done on taxes. >> we're frying to give people a break on their taxes making it easier to plan for the future. >> many corporations take