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tv   MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin  MSNBC  August 13, 2019 8:00am-9:01am PDT

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headquarters in new york city. do or die time, 2020 democrats up against the clock if they want to qualify for the next debate with the deadline just around the corner, new hints are merging who may be facing the end of the road soon. also defending the raids in a brand-new interview with nbc news. the acting director of i.c.e. touts the job that's been done by agents who carried out that massive raid in mississippi. and how the operation was handled. and back on the road. president trump hitting pause on his vacation to head to a key state that he'll need to win back the white house. we'll get to that in just a moment, but right now it's crunch time for the 2020 cont d contenders. those polling at 1% zridesperato make the debate stage. some live pictures there are is the scene in berlin, new hampshire had the vermont senator bernie sanders speaking there as "the washington post" puts his campaign going big.
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going all in on medicare for all. and they're doing it amid signs that he's lost some ground in recent months. >> it is increasingly understood that our healthcare system today is dysfunctional. all right. all over the country people know it is a failed system. and yet people say well, maybe we could do this, maybe we could come up with a 500 page program and we'll cover you if your income is this or that and only this deductible and that copayment. question, why cannot we, the most powerful, wealthiest nation on earth do what virtually every other major country does and guarantee healthcare to all people as a human right? [ applause ] >> all right. let's talk about it. joining me now nbc news mark murray. also with me is kathy, opinion edit it at the des moines register and chrkristine agreer.
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a big thanks to all of you. mark, i'll start with you. sanders could be taking a risk here by going all in on medicare for all. this is the "washington post" pointing it out in some new reporting here. critics have raised concerns about ending private insurance and raising taxes to pay for the proposal. former vice president joe biden leading in the polls has railed against it and voters are showing more uncertainty about medicare for all at democratic events. how bafg risig of a risk does te for sanders' campaign? >> it's a big risk. medicare for all is pretty popular but as you mentioned when you dig down into it, it's going raise taxes, potentially remove people from the insurance they have through their employers, also add waiting times to see a doctor, that pushes it much more unpopular. democrats found that healthcare was a very big message for them in 2018. that was actually protecting the status quo.
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it is also a little bit more risky actually trying to pursue something different. we have actually seen the democratic field break along lines of do you go for medicare for all? do you build on the affordable care act? do you try somewhere in between? as you mention there's always a risk of going too far on healthcare when the affordable care act is more popular than it's ever been. >> kathy, it's a bit risky but he does have some credible issues. those who lean democrat trust him the most on healthcare. this has been a top tier issue for democrats for some time now. here's the thing. i moderated a forum last week down in florida and i asked the senator this very question. how do you pay for something like this? his contingent is that there's money that's already in the system that would cover the coast of medicare for all. is this something that's resonating with voters on the ground in iowa? >> i would say that voters in
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iowa, first of all, are definitely primed to hear a message about healthcare. it was a big issue even in 2016 when bernie sanders ran. and if you ask voters now, healthcare is definitely one of the top issues really kind of behind picking a candidate who can beat donald trump. so medicare for all is a -- is a good slogan, but as was just mentioned, when you start digging into the details, people start having a lot more questions. that the registers and poll in spring and march had. the vast majority of iowa caucus members said they wanted a candidate who proposed medicare for all or a sort of an incremental move toward a medicare for all type plan. medicare for all had about 49%, that was a plurality. but now you have people who are
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on the debate stage, on the national stage, and even vice president joe biden who are starting to raise doubts about that plan. people are going to start to question well is this the better thing for me, is it going to cut my healthcare costs as much as it would raise my taxes? i think those questions are going to persist for a while. >> and the senators had some difficulty answering some of those questions as well. christina, this is coming of course at a time when the senator for vermont appears to be a bit more on the defensive. this is senator sanders, we just showed him there in new hampshire. this is the senator yesterday. this is the senator on monday talking about "the washington post" and some bias. take a listen. >> anybody here know how much amazon paid in taxes last year? >> zero. >> i talk about that all of the time. and then i wonder why "the washington post," which is owned by jeff bezos who owns amazon doesn't write particularly good articles about me. i don't know why.
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but i guess maybe there's a connection. maybe we help raise the minimum wage and amazon to 15 bucks an hour as well. >> i heard that and i thought that sounds like something president trump might say. >> yeah, just a little sour grapes. the bernie sanders of 2016 was a lot more interesting to democratic voters. i think a lot of people are looking at, say, a bernie sanders versus elizabeth warren where bernie sanders is consistently diagnosing the problem. too much wealth in billionaires hands and here are some issues and we should do this. and elizabeth warren is coming in and saying yes, these are the problems and here's the plan. here's the systematic plan that i will implement if i'm president. so i think that there's a frustration he's feeling because he's still polling pretty well, but a lot of that i think is still, "a," name recognition and, "b," he's carrying over these loyal followers from 2016 but he's not giving them substantive, concrete future planning the way elizabeth warren and i would even argue kamala harris and pete buttigieg are sort of providing iowa
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voters. >> that's a fascinating theory and i've never heard it expressed that way. that makes a fair amount of sense. you just mentioned mayor pete. josh letterman, our road warrior, is he in des moines. he is following south bend, indiana, mayor, mayor pete buttigieg following that campaign. what can we expect to hear from mayor pete buttigieg there at the state fair, josh? >> reporter: well, he really wants to show how he is the most qualified candidate -- >> looks like we -- >> reporter: about -- >> yeah, we're having some difficulty there with our signal at the state fair in des moines. if we get josh back, we will go back to him. meanwhile, kathy, i'll come back to you, i know your signal's strong. what are you hearing in terms of the candidates who have spoken at the state fair over the past few days? who's made the most significant impression? >> well, so it's kind of hard to compare when you talk about
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crowds at the state fair because elizabeth warren, for example, had a massive, massive crowd. but it was on slip knot saturday, right? the band slip knot was the grandstand act and the crowds on a saturday are huge. i don't want to take anything away from her, it's still hard to draw a crowd at the iowa state fair when there's so much more going on and she had a massive crowd. but i wouldn't expect pete buttigieg to have a similar crowd on a tuesday. so, you know, let's not have an unfair comparison there. >> kathy -- >> yeah. >> stand by for one minute. i want to go back to josh for a second. looks like we've got his signal back. josh, you with me? >> reporter: i'm with you. >> okay, go ahead. your report was cut off there. sorry about that. >> reporter: so pete is really trying to focus here in iowa today on how he can best represent rural america more than some of those candidates who are from the coast and haven't lived, spent their lives working in the midwest. so he's rolling out this rural
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economic plan today here at the iowa state fair focusing on a few key elements. the big ticket item that's getting a lot of attention has to do with immigration, as a matter of fact. he wants to krooet create a community renewal visa program where people have overseas would be able to come into the united states to be able to work in parts of the united states where the population is dwindling, they don't have enough people to be able to work and promote the economy. pete buttigieg also wants to pay farmers to do conservation work to help with climate change. he also wants to continue to investigate about $80 billion to create rural broadband across the country, things that he thinks will give a jolt to the economy here in rural america. >> josh letterman for us there. thank you so much. meanwhile, christina, we know this is a critical time for polling right now. a number of the candidates at risk of not make the debate stage for the third debate. houston cron colonel editorial board. they released this piece over
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the weekend asking former congressmen beto o'rourke to come home. saying, quote, beto if you're listening come home. drop out of the race for president and come back to texas to run for senator. the chances of winning the race you're in are vanishingly small and texas needs you. there's also a new campaign reportedly trying to recruit john hickenlooper as well to return to colorado to run for the senate in that state. likelihood, i mean, do you think this is something that john hickenlooper and beto o'rourke are likely to consider? >> i think people who run for office will always consider running for office. i don't think anything's off the table. but i do understand the tenor of the editorial in the sense when you have someone like mitch mcconnell who is blocking substantive policy that would help the vast majority of americans, i'm thinking gun control right now, it makes a lot of democrats feel when they're looking at 20 candidates on a stage over two nights, some of those people would be best served being in the senate. and so someone like beto who just doesn't have the traction
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that he had a few years ago, it seems like he's getting kind of lost in the messaging, maybe he's a vice-presidential contender, but maybe he should sort of step aside, let the larger conversation take hold and become a senator. because that's the some of the policy that democrats want to move forward is going to happen is if we take back the senate. >> meanwhile, mark, this morning we learn that leon castro's campaign they're running this ad, this attack ad on the president tomorrow in bedminster, new jersey, on fox news through the morning gram. in the ad he goes after the president and his racist remarks clearly hoping to grab some attention. is this the kind of thing that moves the needle for julian castro? >> he's hoping so and unlike beto o'rourke who has qualified for that third round of debates, julian castro hasn't just yet. he needs to be able to hit 2% in another qualified poll. so you're going to see candidates trying different
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things. on the julian castro front it's an ad on fox news in the bedminster new york market speaking directly to trump on fox news. you end up having kirsten gillibrand who's up with a million dollars ad buy in new hampshire to be able to boost her. and then tom steyer who announced this morning that he has crossed the donor threshold having the 130,000 donors needed. still needs to be able to hit 2% in one more poll and he's been spending like crazy. win $.2 million on facebook according to my colleague. millions more on tv in iowa and in new hampshire. so you're seeing this mad scramble for candidates who have not qualified for the debate stage doing everything possible to be able to make it in the next two weeks. >> kathy, let's talk about one more contender hoar, senator kamala harris. she left iowa with a pretty significant endorsement. the asian/latino coalition. these populations are small in a place like iowa, but give us a sense of the significance of this win for the harris
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campaign, what it means for them. >> yes. the asian-latino coalition definitely punches above its weight in iowa politics, democratic politics. it is one group that has had candidates clambering to come and speak to them. not all of the members are asian and latino. other democrats also join and follow this group. and so that -- i would say that is a significant endorsement. normally i don't put that much weight on endorsements in the iowa caucuses, but i think they're more significant this time because there's just so many candidates. and so permanent looking for all kinds of cues for ways that they can say, well, you know, this is a candidate i need to take a look at then. and that asian-latino coalition endorsement is one. she also got endorsements from some significant democrats in iowa as well. so -- so all of that helps. is it decisive? maybe not.
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but, you know, because you mentioned so many candidates in the race, they're looking for -- people are looking for ways to narrow down the list of people that they're considering. >> kathy, thank you. thank you mark murray. good to have you professor as well. let's get to breaking news. right now bottom your screen stocks surging after that announcement that some, some new tariffs planned for china. those tariffs are being delayed until at least december. stephanie ruhle joins me now. she covers business for us as well as hosting 16 shows here on msnbc. which tariffs are delayed? why the delay? >> okay. so the president likes to say he's mr. market, he also calls himself the tariff man. today, mr. market won out because the president is sort of in a box. yesterday the market was down 400 points. over the last week we have heard from the ceo of goldman sachs, the analysts at morgan stanley, at bank america warning that the trade war will tip us into
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recession. the president's got to do something about that, so what's the only lever can he pull? pull these tariffs. and why? because remember, tariffs are a tax. so in this case, it's consumer goods. it's some clothing, some shoes, some laptops, some cell phones, some video game consoles. and until now, a lot of consumers have talked about the tariffs but they haven't felt them. it's back to school. when i go to target in two weeks and i have to buy my kids clothing and sneakers and maybe a laptop, if suddenly it's a lot more expensive because that's what happens, it gets passed on to the consumer, then i, the consumer, the voter, am going to say, wait a minute, this seasonali isn't working for me and my 401(k) isn't doing really well. and the president's big argument is i'm the money guy, i'm the business guy. so a move like this kicks the can down the road but it doesn't solve the trade war, it just postpones it. >> kicks the can down the street so to speak. i want to ask you about this report looking at debts and the
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deficits in this country. apparently historic levels. >> historic. >> there was a time when republicans talked about this ad nauseam. no one seems to be talking about it anymore. is that just because there's a republican in the white house or is there some sort of economic philosophy or policy that's changed and maybe debts and deficits aren't as bad as they used to be? >> people donl ca't care about when it's on their watch. i put out a report saying fiscal hawks who cared about debts and deaf fits, where are you? we're up 27% this year compared to last year. for all those who said the tax cuts are going to pay for themselves, well we know that hasn't happened. for those who are supporters of trickle down economics, it hasn't trickled down. so there's your triple threat right there that's sort of your classic gop this is the kind of budget economy we like. and it's not what they're getting. that also could have contributed to the president saying i'm going to hold off on those tariffs because those same
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republicans are free market men and women who do not like taxes and tear rifsariffs. so thousand they have a boost in the market and that will quiet them. >> always good to have you. we want to go to hong kong right now. more breaking news in hong kong. we are looking at some scuffles inside the airport now in hong kong. we've seen this -- this has been the case over the last few days at this airport in hong kong as protesters clash with police there. protesters had moved to this airport, of course there have been protests in hong kong for almost two months now in the but now you're seeing protesters and riot police clashing. they moved to the airport because the thinking was the police might not be as aggressive as they had been with these protesters on the street. that may not be the case anymore as protesters and riot police clash for a second straight day
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at the hong kong international airport. these are live pictures inside the airport. over the last few days we have seen teargas being used on a number of these protesters. not exactly sure at this point if anyone has been hurt just yet. we do have a correspondent there. we are working to get that correspondent up as we watch these -- watch these pictures play out in hong kong. let's take a quick break here, we'll reset and keep a close eye on this. when we come back, more from hong kong. also another home raided as the fbi steps up its investigation surrounding jeffrey epstein. agents swarming that private caribbean island where he's believed to have taken scores of underage girls. also, in just the last hour one on one with the acting director of i.c.e. a week after the massive raids in mississippi left hundreds of families separated. the head of that agency speaking
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out defending their actions with gabe gutierrez. we'll have more of that exclusive interview right after this. ve more of that exclusive interview right after this
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back to that breaking news in hong kong. these are live pictures right now. this is the hong kong international airport. you're looking at protesters clashing with riot police there. also a number of international reporters on the ground as well. this is -- this is an airport
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where operations have been suspended for all flights. you're look at some of the aftermath of the clashes, violent clashes. these are protesters, this has been going on now for roughly two months there in hong kong. the protesters there are demanding, among other things, the resignation of the territory's leader. they're also demanding elections for her successor as well. and the release of some folks who were arrested in earlier protests and an investigation into police use of force as well. our correspondent in that part of the world is janis mackey. she joins me now. she's on the phone, she's at the airport, i'm told. what are you seeing where you are? >> reporter: well, we've seen a shift in the mood and in the landscape here in about the last 30 minutes. thousands of protesters have been here all day, they've been occupying both the departures
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and the arrivals levels using trolleys, suitcases, whatever they can to try to block the way. that's what forced authorities to close down the airport yet again for a second day. unprecedented in the is one of the world's busiest hubs. what we see now in the last 30 minutes or so is the arrival of a lot of flashing lights. there are police buses that are lined up all outside. there's the expectation that they're going to move in with a degree of force. there had already been some officers that came in and we saw those clashes. so there is an intense fa occasi intensification of what has been gr brewing over several hours. for quite some time the crowd was riled up because they believed they had discovered two undercovered who they claim to
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be chinese officers that were disguised as protesters in the crowd. so they became, for lack of a better word, these two officers and that really got the crowd going a lot. so there is the expectation now fire department is walking past me as you see. there is the expectation that had the authorities are moving in to shut this down. it wasn't expected that beijing was going to let this linger for much longer and there have been a lot of signals in chinese state media suggesting that this was going end. i see now that some of the protesters are taking barricades, whatever they can find, they're piling them up on the ramps that people use to come in here. you have to remember there are still some passengers that are here. they've been lingering around hoping that the flights will be posted on the board.
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so pose those peopthose people figure out how they can get out of the airport as they see the scene around them changing drastically. >> stand by for me if you can and if you're in someplace that's safe as well, do stand by for me at hong kong international airport. i want to bring in bill neely who is watching all of this unfold. he's been watching the story as well. bill, for folks who may not have been following the story as closely, what precisely are these protesters, what are they looking for? what do they want? >> well, i think at the very heart of what they've been looking for for the last number of weeks is that china honors hong kong's special status. it is one country and two systems. and initially their protests came about because china wanted to be able to extradite anyone they liked from hong kong
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virtually for any reason. now, after the initial runs of protests, china backed off. they've suspended that request or that proposed law. but they haven't got rid of it altogether. and they haven't addressed one of the things that the protesters dislike most, which is the heavy handed, as they see it, the heavy handed actions of the police. so the chinese, once again, have not set up any kind of inquiry into the police actions over the last few weeks. so week by week the protests are becoming -- have become more and more violent, certainly. when the chinese -- when beijing says that these are riots, you know, they have a case. and what you're looking at now is two things. this is a really important event, but it's also a symbolic event. hong kong airport, one of the world's busiest airports, that's exactly why the protesters went
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there, to make this, if you like, a global event. i was there several weeks ago when they were protesting outside the hong kong main legislative office. this will have reverberated around the world, if you like. and beijing knew that as well and they knew that at some point they would have to stop what was going on at the airport because flights were being canceled and it was getting, you know, worldwide attention. so they've moved in. and i think on both sides you're seeing an increase in the amount of force both consider acceptable. you know, even four or five weeks ago when i was there the protesters were not -- by and large were not throwing bottles, throwing molotov cocktails, throwing stones. they are now and the police were very reticent to use teargas and fire, rubber bullets. they're not now. they're doing it quite openly.
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you can see on your screen the picture to the right, you know, the police beating protesters. many of them wearing plainclothes and they moved in. the protesters didn't know who was one of them and who was in the police. so i think we're seeing an escalation in this dispute by both sides. and i don't think, craig, it's going to end here. i mean, it does look like they are determined to clear this airport, but i think the protesters will simply move on somewhere else. so we haven't seen the end of this. >> we are, again, for folks who are just joining us here, we are approaching 11:30 on the east coast here in the united states of america, but these are live pictures hong kong international airport. it is roughly -- not exactly sure what time it is there, bill. this is 11:30 p.m. there on the screen, they're 12 hours ahead. but you're looking at live pictures of protesters clashing with police there. this airport is the eighth
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busiest in the world as we watch some of these protesters being carried away in handcuffs just a few moments ago. we also saw one of the protesters appear to have been -- this is -- this is the scene here. riot police on the right side of your screen by the way, that's the video that we shot just a few moments ago, riot police attempting to detain presumably one of the protesters there. but this has been at least five days at this particular airport. they are calling this -- when i say they, i mean the chinese government, they are calling this terrorism. but the protesters there on the ground are saying that they are fighting for democracy. chinese officials accusing them of being radical, saying they're radical demonstrators, saying they're attacking officers. but the protesters on the ground saying that's not the case, they're calling for, among other things, the resignation -- the
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resignation of the chief executor there. we should also point out that these are protests that have had a tremendous affect on the economy. the economy has suffered as a result of this widespread protests in hong kong over the past few weeks. i believe we still have janis mackey on the ground there. are you still with me on the phone j i phone? >> reporter: i'm still with you. it seems that protesters are really guarding a confrontation here. craig, they've completely built these ramps with -- with these -- the lug gagage trolley that people use to get around the airport. they've got their umbrellas out and wearing helmets and they seem to be ready for the police to enter. it's just a matter of when they're going to do it. there have been an increase in the number of flashing lights that have been around and the
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expectation that the police have a strategy as much as the protesters do. and just from the sense of what has been building over the past several days, i live in beijing, i monitor the state media, and there really has been a shift in the language in the version of what's happening in hong kong. state media painting protesters as rioters. so now it's [ inaudible ] terrorism can justice p terrorism can justify a lot of different policies. and also that they've been playing these videos sometimes some [ inaudible ] videos of [ inaudible ] army unit drilling and practicing just over the hong kong border. so all of the signals and the propaganda coming from the mainland [ inaudible ] to the
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protesters, to the protester supporters here in hong kong that beijing has the power to end this, they have the means to end this, and it will just be a matter of when and how they choose to do so. that they've been canceling the flights over the past couple of days has in its own way internationalized the situation here making what they see as a hong kong problem to be everybody's problem. thousands of [ inaudible ] to deal with canceled flights. i've spoken to many of them this evening. they're not sure what to do. they don't know if they should try booking another one, going back to the hotel, there's no airport staff around here. there have been no security guards. it's been strangely empty of any airport personnel. the busiest and only working counter that i could see was the starbucks counter and even it's closed now. it's all suggesting that perhaps
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something is going to shift here momentarily. >> we're witnessing unrest at the hong kong international airport. inside the airport. first, it is as you can see spilled into the streets outside this airport. this is hong kong international airport. all terminal operations have been suspended as a result. we're told that members of the public are being told not to go to that airport right now. this is -- this has been the scene over the last ten weeks or so of this summer as thousands of people there in hong kong are annoyed, angry, upset at what they say has been an erosion of various freedoms and autonomy under beijing's rule. of course this is a former british colony that was returned to china back in 1997. nbc news foreign correspondent
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matt bradley also joins us now from hong kong by phone. matt, this is -- this is a story that you have been covering over the past few weeks as well. we are -- we are witnessing -- witnessing, i guess, what we could describe as a deterioration in this situation there on the ground to say the least. >> reporter: yeah, obviously this is i major problem. one of the extraordinary things is that this is actually happening now, because, you know, as you know, this airport has been occupied for last two days. so it's been extraordinary that the police haven't actually waded in until then. ny where else in the world, i believe it's the eighth busiest international airport in the world. anywhere else the police would have already stormed in long ago and disperse the thed these pro. and instead what we're seeing after two almost full days of this huge airport being on lockdown, now we're seeing the police coming in. and that's really kind of
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different. you know, it just goes to show how much this protest movement has been able to advance itself and really gridlock this city without incurring so much violence. a lot of the protesters i've been talking to, they don't talk about that extradition law that really was the beginning of these protest, as you mentioned, ten weeks ago. instead, they now talk about police brutality. and that means that this is kind of a self-per spetpetuating out machine. the things that are motivating protesters right now are the results of previous protests. so the more the police crack down on the protesters, the more they inflame the protesters in their desire to go out and gridlock various places within the city, including hong kong international airport, including the cross harbor tunnel which is a major artery throughout hong kong and some of the major streets throughout central hong kong, which as you know is a
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huge financial capital. strategy of the hong kong government is that they're trying to remind the public and remind the protesters that hong kong's economy could start to suffer. and then you might start to see a decoupling between the protesters and those that support them. there's overwhelming support for the protesters in the population. but if something happened, if the economy started to really suffer, because hong kong is nothing else, it's a place of doing business. if the economy started to suffer and if, you know, the protesters really felt like they were doing dodge to the econo damage to the public, then you might see the public turn against these young people. we've seen that in various other places. it's really a matter of time before a recession hits, before people cancel their hotels and their flights and then we start to see that the public doesn't want to have this anymore. >> matt, not to disrupt you hear, we want to listen in for a
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moment to our partner sky news. we're going to listen in to some of their coverage of this. >> when you first or just before we came on air i believe one of them was taken away by medics. we pretty much had to fight their way out. they were covered in body armor as well. they had to fight their way out. and -- we're entering -- we're back, okay. try to stay with it because a signal -- when a lot of people can dissipate quite quickly. but it's so chaotic here. >> it's pretty tense in -- obviously i know you know what you're doing, but it is very tense in there and they are being very forceful, shall we say, with that police officer. >> yeah. i can -- is that a live picture, kate? is that -- >> yeah, we've come off it for now, stuart, because it is a little bit graphic for our
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viewers. >> yeah, i believe what i think you're looking at is off to my left and you can see me now, it's just in there -- the pictures under section g, but that's where he was before. >> that's exactly where it is, stuart, yeah. >> to the left side of you. >> that's exactly where it is. >> so we're going to make our -- we'll go around there. okay. we'll go around there. you've got to -- so this is -- this is how they're stopping it or at least attempting to get the -- to stop the police getting in. i think actually this wasn't here when the police first arrived and then -- it then came -- they then came running up and tried to put these in place. that's not going to keep -- that's not going to keep the police out, as you can be sure. these images, i want to see if
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we can get to it. you're absolutely right -- completely wrong, obviously. very difficult to take any type of moral high ground if you're catching an officer, beating them and cable tying them. so i don't think people would be very happy with that. >> okay. >> so -- >> you keep going that way, be careful. stuart, just want to tell people what they're seeing. this is the police officer we believe and undercover police officer. he's right in the middle of that group. he has been -- demonstrating with the protesters. it seems to be -- protesters have their arm around his shoulder. he seems to be in some pain, i would suggest or certainly catching his breath given what has happened to him. he's leaning forwards and he's trying to -- others are around him covering their faces either with masks because they're
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worried about teargas or they don't want to be recognized or for whatever reason they're wearing masks at the moment. it does seem to be a little calmer now, but he is -- precarious position, shall we say. his hands are cable tied in front of him. some of the yellow helmets are around him. people are speaking to him. he is trying to be calm but struggling for breath on a -- heading in that direction. what does the atmosphere feel like where you are? it feels calmer than it did about a half an hour ago? >> reporter: it's very jumpy, kate. there's a guy just next to us who -- now we're -- this -- >> as we continue to watch this scene unfold here in hong kong international airport, i want to bring in ben rhodes right now.
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bench cour ben of course national former security adviser to president obama. you're watching all of this play out as well. first of all, your initial thoughts on what we're seeing. >> well, think we're seeing a really pivotal moment in the history of hong kong and china. you know, essentially these protesters have been pushed to the brink by chinese government that's gotten more and more heavy handed in its response. the protesters are going to the airport because that shows that they can affect the economy of hong kong which is their leverage to try to preserve their civil liberties, but also get international attention because people around the world, you know, understand what it means to ground flights and what it means to ground a busy airport if in a major financial center to a halt. but the chinese government has been laying the predicate for this for days casting what was a peaceful protest moment as riders and terrorists and now we see them beginning to assert direct control. and it's reminiscent of where you had a democracy movement
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crushed under the iron fist of the chinese communist party. hong kong has had de facto civil liberties since it reunified with china and now we see china trying to squash that out. >> ben, in 1989 there were roughly 10,000 people skilled in tinaman square. are you at all concerned that this could lead to that? >> i think that would be difficult in the sense that hong kong is not mainland china. but at the same time if the chinese roll in the people's liberation army, the chinese army into hong kong and there's continued unrest, you know, i think you could see widespread loss of life. you know, one of the interesting things about the square is that the chinese government essentially erased it from history in china. you can't find articles about it online. they tried to air brush it out of the historical record. it shows you that they'll stop at nothing, really, to assert
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control. and now they're trying to assert control over an area of hong kong that has been democratic and has been much more connected to the wider world than to the civil liberties, you know, that you and i might take for granted. and we're seeing what happens when repressives government tries to rip those civil liberties away from people and they stand up for their rights. i just wish that we had a government that was standing on the side of these protesters. >> ben rhodes. ben, do stand by for me if you can just for a moment because i want to bring in stephanie ruhle once again of course covers business for us. ben just mentioned that part of the motivation of these protesters in terms of going to the airport is to halt travel, to affect commerce and the economy. these demonstrations have plunged the asian financial system into an area that it had not seen for a number of years right now. the most serious crisis in decades right now in asia
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economically speaking. >> without a doubt. the sec theeconomy is their lev point. the economy centers around the world is new york, london and hong kong. business investment will be scared off at the sight of this. the image of mainland china take military action. hong kong is the crown jewel in terms of business. it's considered the window for the world into the chinese markets. and then at the same time we've got these trade talks coming up. so the image of china cracking down on its business hub, hong kong, does not bode well for the position that china is in. and then when you think about overall global markets, yesterday we saw investors pour into what we call safe havens. that's gold, u.s. treasuries. but here's where that's a big negative. we've been hearing this for months. the risk of a global slowdown. we don't have national economies, we're part of a global bhekt you're seeing unrest like this, now talking the markets, unrest like this,
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when you're thinking about the tinderbox that we've seen culturally politically in the united states, when you're thinking about an election that took place in argentina yesterday that sent argentinian currency down dramatically, this it is just this unrest around the world and its volatility that has people scared. so these images in hong kong, they are bad for global markets. >> our partners at sky news are right in the thick of it. if we can, let's listen back in to -- once again listen to their reporter on the ground there and listen to the coverage. >> it's one of the red shirts that was, again there are is the rallies right from the very beginning. >> reporter: that's right. it seems to be suggesting the hearing. but, i mean, [ inaudible ] the room is just [ inaudible ] what i have seen is some -- security and basically literally here to get through people, through passport control and the like. they can have a look at what was
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going on. presumably they will report the various authorities about what they can see. i mean, they're not in any danger, nobody's been starting any trouble with them, they just are asked to stand by. and there's absolutely nothing they can do to stop what's going on here. the atmosphere you just asked me before, around here essentially, as you can see, it's pretty hyped up. but this -- elsewhere, some of the -- shellshocked, i think. they've dropped, a few have been taken away by the police, others would have left by the metro i'm sure, maybe on the buses as well. but it's very volatile. >> ben rhodes, are you still with me? hey, ben, are you still with me? do i still have ben roahodes on the phone, guys?
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hey, ben, are you still with me? >> yeah, i'm still here. >> as we continue to watch this unfold, i wanted to ask you, if this -- if this happened on president obama's watch, how -- how would you advise -- how would you have advised him to respond? >> well, i think, you know, the first thing you'd be doing is urging the chinese government to pull back and show restraint here. if they're not going to do that, part of what you'd be doing is you'd be going around the world to all your allies, european allies, asian allies and try essentially speak with one voice in condemning this violence we see. you'd be going to the united nations perhaps and try to have an emergency session devoted to this issue. and you'd be making very clear, and, again, trying to mobilize many different countries to speak out against this kind of oppression. and trying to speak to all those major banks and companies that have headquarters or larger presences in hong kong to make the point that do you want to essentially be a party to this kind of repression?
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that if china wants hong kong to be this major asian financial center, they can't engage in this kind of crackdown, nor can they change the status that they promised hong kong that they could have this de facto autonomy that they've been encroaching on. it's difficult. i'm sympathetic to standing up to a chinese government that's big and powerful and resist that kind of pressure. but you would be trying to mobilize certainly the free world to stand up against this. >> we are looking at on the left side of your screen live pictures of the scene in hong kong international airport. the right side of your screen and the bottom. this was the scene just a few moments ago as protesters there, protesters who had descended on that airport five or six days ago at some point the situation there deteriorated here within the last hour and we have been watching violent clashes play out between the police and those protesters. of course, chinese government
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characterizing all of this as terrorism. the protesters insisting that they are agitating for a number of reforms, democratic reforms, if you will. ben rhodes is with me on the fol security advisor to president obama. how would you characterize our relationship with the government of mainland china right now and how might that relationship affect our response? >> well, you know, right now we've been in the escalating trade war with china that's gotten more and more acrimonious. if you've been looking at chinese state media the last several months, they've become adversarial and hostile towards the united states, towards president trump because of that trade war. they're not going to be in a mood to listen us even if president trump were trying to address it which he's not. we're at a low point in terms of our trade relationships. this is a chinese government
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that doesn't care much for what the united states has to say on this issue. doesn't expect president trump to speak out on behalf of human rights. that's a related issue here. you see india asserting direct control over cashmere. you see the crackdown in hong kong. i think you see leaders to act with a degree of impunity. that should be concerning to people. >> ben, thank you. i'm joined on the phone right now by ambassador wendy sherman. former undersecretary of state for political affairs. she's also an msnbc global affairs contributor. ambassador, i'm not sure if you're in front of a television right now. if you're seeing these images we've been watching play out over the last 45 minutes or so. we have seen ten weeks of protesting culminate in violent clashes between protesters and
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police. word there have been a number of injuries as well. ambassador, your initial thoughts on what we're seeing on the ground at the hong kong international airport? >> well, it's very very concerning. i quite agree with ben rhodes' comments over the last few minutes. this is really something that sadly, many of us expected that the hong kong protests would result in violence as china tried to calm down. they need to say to the citizens of hong kong they are in charge. the citizens of hong kong are saying a deal was made. a recent law has been suspended but not withdrawn would have insured that people in hong kong could be extradited to mainland china into their opaque and sometimes irrational justice
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system. this is really the people of hong kong standing up in much the way we've seen people in russia recently protest on the streets against deep dictatorial rule. this is very concerning what's happening in the hong kong. i see the tactical squad are retreating from the airport, that's a good thing. i would expect this not to end. i quite agree with ben that the president of the united states has really sent a signal by calling these hong kong protesters rioters. he has allowed impunity. the one hopeful sign in this horrible mess is that the president has decided to not go forward with many of the chinese tariffs in large part because of his concern about the american economy and the american stock market and american farm
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products and the holidays coming up in the next quarter. maybe our relationship with china will calm down a little bit. and maybe the president might find so i doubt it. the wherewithal to call it what it is, an abuse of human rights. >> stand by for us if you will. is this what the beginning of a global recession could look like? >> i mean, it could if you factor in all the global risks we're seeing. as far as the trade war is concerned, it doesn't give china a stronger hand when you look at what's happening in hong kong. think about the global financial institutions that have massive hubs in hong kong. do you think any of their employees want to stay put right now? the answer to that is no. but does this mean if china has a weaker hand in terms of a trade deal they're about to play ball with us? absolutely not. if anything, this thing gets
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postponed and postponed. while they've got this kind of unrest, which mainland china is calling terrorism, they're not sitting down with steve mnuchin and lighthizer and working out a deal with us. >> bill neely continues to watch all of this unfold as well. bill, the ambassador just alluded to something i want to spend a few more moments on here for folk whose are watching and listening us on sirius satellite radio as we watch thousands of protesters fill the terminal at hong kong international airport. this is the scene inside the airport. we've seen a fair amount of violence outside the airport terminal as well. this is week ten of protests there, bill. bill, how would you, shall we say, characterize the dynamic or evolution or maybe even deevolution of the relationship between mainland china and hong kong? >> reporter: it's interesting.
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i would very much doubt if mainland chinese will see any of these pictures that we are seeing because they are of course a deep embarrassment to beijing. what they show is not china's control over hong kong, but china's lack of control over hong kong. just one small corrective point of what ben rhodes was saying. i can understand why he's saying about the police moving in and the crackdown. i don't think there is a government in the west or a police force in the west that would have allowed these protesters to take over an airport in this way and occupy it for two days. i simply can't imagine that happening with the lapd at l.a.x. i just don't see they would not have moved in to try to clear an international airport. that's just one small
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corrective. i think what beijing is frightened about is that these scenes could be repeat not just in hong kong, but elsewhere. remember, china is a one party state. there is one system with one exception, hong kong. china does not want the citizens of let's say shanghai who might be concerned about their local rights or their local issues to think, well, we saw it happen in hong kong, let's get out on the street and occupy the local airport because it seemed to work for the hong kong protesters. so beijing is, you know, one and the same time terrified and clearly, you know, has been trying to let the hong kong authorities take charge of this right from the beginning through their chief executive carrie
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lamb. beijing was ignores these protests at the beginning. the language slowly changed. they ignored the protesters. then they became protesters, then they wererioters. now they're using the word terrorism. of course, that is to allow them to, if they have to, take any steps they need to. but i think actually it was ben rhodes who brought up the issue of teiananmen square. we're a long way from 1989 and the massacre at tiananmen square. yes, there have been deaths, but we haven't seen killings on the street. no police officer has been killed. i don't think we're at that stage yet. but we're at a very dangerous moment. you know, this is getting more global play than ever before. it has gone on for around ten
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weeks. it's getting increasingly violent. but i think we have to see it in a little bit of perspective. most police forces in most countries would do this. the fact that beijing is cracking down on pro democracy protesters in an area of the country -- where those protesters are guaranteed a right of free protests, that's the key thing. and also as i say, the key thing is beijing's terror that this will get out of hand in hong kong and it will spread right across their vast country. >> our chief global correspondent, bill neely, watching all of this play out as we have over the past roughly 45 minutes or so. president trump a few moments ago to reporters at the airport, according to our kelly o'donnell, saying, in part, quote, the hong kong thing is a very tough situation. i hope it works out.
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i hope it works out for liberty. i hope it works out for china. that coming from president trump a short time ago. that is going to do it for me this hour here on "msnbc live." i'll see you tomorrow morning on "today." "andrea mitchell reports" starts right now. good day, i'm andrea mitchell in washington. we begin with the breaking news from hong kong. police are arresting protesters who have shut down hong kong's international airport, one of the largest in the world, forcing flights to be canceled for the second day in a row. we're at the airport. our experts are gathering. janice mackie frayer, the standoff has continued for more than 48 hours and obviously the police and protesters are if gauged. tell me what you know from your vantage point? >> reporter: it's been percolating for a couple days. the authorities yesterday and
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