tv MSNBC Live MSNBC May 5, 2013 12:00pm-2:01pm PDT
invigorating conversation. before we go you can watch this week's press pass conversation with google executive chairman eric schmidt on his new book "the new digital age: reshaping the future of people, nations and business" on our blog meetthepressnbc.com. that's all for today. we'll be back next week. if it's sunday, it's "meet the press." and a good sunday afternoon, you're watching msnbc, the place for politics. and on this sunday, topic number one, syria. >> the whole thing is escalating. >> the situation in the syria area is getting tense. >> the president needs to make it clear what we need to do. >> we don't want to be the sheriff, but we do want to be the coach. >> as war planes hit targets outside the syrian capital, the debate heats up in washington. what to do and when to do it. >> there are a lot of people who
want to kill the immigration bill no matter what. >> and congress comes back to capitol hill tomorrow, can they get a bill done? >> be hold, be courageous, fully support background checks. thank you very much. >> and gaby giffords, an inspiration to so many being recognized today for her courage. more on that straight ahead, first, though, this live picture from where president obama is expected to land any moment now. coming back from making the commencement speech at ohio state university. again, president obama expected to land any moment now. for the second time in three days, today's air strikes set off a series of explosions just west of the.
martin fletcher live for us. martin, first of all, what led israel to strike yet again. >> saying that if the syrians transfer -- began to transfer any weapons that called game changing weapons to hezbollah and lebanon, they would strike. they have acknowledged it was their planes that attacked syrian targets two and three days. the rockets, iranian made rockets being transferred to hezbollah in lebanon. war planes attacked the source of those rockets. there was a huge explosion earlier, very early this morning. apparently the rockets were destroyed and maybe other
weapons destroyed too. israel attacked because they could not bear the thought of those weapons being transferred to its enemies in lebanon then potentially in the future being used against israel. so israel decided not to wait for the weapons to be transferred to lebanon but to strike before they left syria. >> how real are the chances at this point that syria will in some way, shape or form retalia retaliate? >> well, there's -- the nerves are on edge here as you can imagine. the syrian deputy foreign minister declared israel's action what he called it an act of war. so israel on edge, they've transferred two sets of their iron dome, antimissile rocket system to the north of israel, one in the city, one set up in the city in the north. in case of any rocket attacks from syria or, indeed from lebanon. although they're taking all precautions necessary, there's
no real sense that syria will attack israel, but israel's taking all precautions. >> our man on the ground in tel aviv, martin fletcher. as always, thank you, sir. pennsylvania democratic senator bob kasey on the foreign relations committee. what do you know about the events of the past 24 hours in syria? are you being briefed at this point? and if you are being briefed, by whom? >> hey, craig, most of the information i have is what most americans have, which is the news reports. but if the reports are correct, that israel has, in fact, taken action here, i support, i think a lot of americans would support their right to protect both their sovereignty. but also their interests by ensuring that either chemical weapons or conventional weapons don't end up in the hands of hezbollah or other extremist forces. and what we have to make sure we do, as well, is to protect our own interest in that region. the -- any transfer of those
kinds of weapons, i think, is not only trouble for the region but i think in our national security interest. >> let's talk about our interests in that region, this particular juncture how real is the possibility that because of our long standing alliance with israel. how real is the possibility that syria somehow retaliates israel didn't retaliate. all of a sudden the united states gets drawn into a conflict through no fault of our own. >> we have national security interests in the region, as well. every single day of every single week, both iran and hezbollah are plotting against us, trying to carry out terrorist attacks against our people. you know the reports were the iranians were planning to set off a bomb in a washington, d.c. restaurant.
these are two major threats to the united states. that's why i think you're seeing a concerted effort in the congress. senator rubio and i have legislation that would focus on ways our government can play a constructive role in resolving and bringing to an end the conflict in syria. whether it's humanitarian aid in addition to what we've done. we've done a lot. support for the political opposition. i think you're saying a consensus or bipartisan effort to play a constructive role. so what happens in syria doesn't strengthen the regime in iran and hezbollah. senator bob casey, thank you for your time. >> craig, thank you. as the violence in syria escalates, the president's critics claim that president obama's leading from behind on his foreign policy crisis. here's rudy giuliani on "meet the press" this morning. >> a lot of action could have
been taken a year ago that may have precluded this. i think they'd be well advised to be more proactive, things are heating up. >> what will the u.s. involved going forward? joining me from washington, former middle east negotiator jackie skucinich of the washington post. good to see all of you on this sunday afternoon. what more could we have done to prevent the situation from deteriorating to the point we are now. >> there have been calls for a long time for americans to be more involved in providing aid to rebels opposition forces in syria. it is unclear whether aid would fall into the hands of islamists and people opposed in the united states. it gets messy at this point.
you wrote this article recently and say in part, there's a lot that's merurky for syria right now. a messy situation is about to get a whole lot messier. messier in what way? >> well, we have to set this in a broader context. we're coming off the two longest wars in american history. where the standard for victory iraq and afghanistan was never could we win but when could we leave? and extrication is not the kind of metric you want to judge the performance of the greatest power on earth. i think the president is really in a conundrum, really, because there's no single act that he can take right now that would significantly change the military or political arc of this crisis. we have to get away from the notion that there's an immediate solution or game-changers. we've seen the introduction of
chemical weapons, israeli strikes now, twice within the last several days, these events aren't going to fundamentally altar the conflict either. the president is under enormous pressure and i suspect in coming weeks what you're going to see is limited lethal assistance provided to certain syrian opposition groups carefully vetted. and for the syrians use chemical weapons again, i suspect the president will respond with air strikes and cruise missile strikes against syrian air assets. no easy end here. >> aaron david -- >> it's going to get worse before it gets worse, i'm afraid. >> even if we provide this limited lethal aid that you're suggesting, or sounds like you're suggesting this is what happens over the next week or so, doesn't sound like that in and of itself is going to resolve the whole situation. >> right. look at the reality. we were in iraq with several
hundred american forces. and what sort of influence do you think we really had ultimately and will have in afghanistan on the ultimate disposition of these nations. i think the problem is the relationship between military force in these situations and the end state is highly arguable. and the president in my judgment, i know it's hard to watch has been pretty cruel and undisciplined in understanding that. >> jackie, how much does a weary, war weary public at this point, how much does that limit president obama's options? >> it definitely does. but he did say in costa rica, he rolled out american boots on the ground at this point saying it wouldn't do americans or syrians good to have them there at this point. that seems to be off the table. there's a war weary public right
now. polls say the bulk of the public doesn't want american troops in syria or american involvement. now that tends to change when chemical weapons come. the president has put himself in a box, especially with this red line comment he made. there's a great piece in the "new york times" talking about how that comment was off the cuff. >> yeah. >> and it surprised a lot of his staff because it did put him in a box and now he's left with a bunch of really not great options. >> all of us have been talking about that front page article in the times this morning. it really is striking. but i want to go back here. let's talk about some of the political ramifications potentially, we see republicans putting pressure on the president to act. what kind of pressure is he starting to face from within his own party. or is he starting to see pressure? >> well, he echoed president obama's comments this morning on the sunday talk show that the israeli air strike proves the
capabilities that the syrians had were not as great as was -- that was the argument that was being used getting involved in syria, that their capabilities were really strong and they have shown they can penetrate. you're seeing some democrats come out against it. but traditionally, you're hearing it from people who are known to be hawks. and the american public is still very skittish as jackie mentioned. we're very war weary, this country. and so there isn't this strong political pressure on president obama to move on military intervention. if this crisis drags on, it could be viewed in the larger lens of how is president obama leading on the syrian crisis? >> secretary kerry's mission tomorrow is one that's going to take him to moscow or vladimir putin, of course, has been unrelenting in his support for assad. how does this complicate that trip? >> well, the reality is if kerry could work out some sort of
understanding with the russians on this, it might begin to generate the kind of pressure, both on the iranians and the regime. but i think putin was so fundamentally suspicious of the united states role, he's seen america remove all of his clients. and he has no intention of resolving this field to the americans. the other reality is, he fears the extremist regime in syria and has his own problems in the caucuses with these sunni fundamentalis fundamentalists. i think putin on this one is going to be wary of kerry's message. he's going to say, look, you've got the chemistry piece of this which is introduced, the israelis are striking. can't we find some way of introduces some resolution in the security council? i have a feeling putin is going
to be extremely wary that he'll wait and continue to try to buy time. the russians are in no hurry to see america lead from the front. >> aaron david miller, jackie kucinich, thanks to all of you. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> we will go live to california to update efforts from the ground and air to contain that massive wildfire. also, as congress gets back to work this week, they'll start pulling out the red pins on the immigration reform bill. california congresswoman joining me to talk about that on the other side of this break. you're watching msnbc. flying is old hat for business travelers.
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calls on all sides to exercise maximum calm and restraint. again, that's from u.n. secretary general ban ki moon, congress returns from recess this week and is expected to start marking up that bipartisan immigration reform bill. but with all eyes on syria today, will there be a delay on domestic agenda items? joining me now, california congresswoman. first of all, you sit on the house subcommittee on terror and homeland security. i want to start by asking you about the latest developments in syria. maryland congresswoman of the house intelligence committee acknowledged that the united states cannot try to solve this one on our own. take a listen. >> we can't be the sheriff for the whole world. we have our own issues right now. iraq, afghanistan, sequestration, those type of issues. when we move and make the move to get in, we have to do it with a coalition. the other countries in that area. >> when we make a move to get in, is this all but certain now?
are we going to get involved in syria in a major way? >> i do not believe that's a certainty. in fact, i was glad that president obama ruled out boots on the ground. we must do something for the syrian citizens. but i do think that america is cautious about getting involved in another war. >> as the violence continues to escalate there, we've seen two air strikes over the past three days. should we be prepared for more strikes at this juncture? >> there may be, but i think we have to proceed with great caution. and it must be with other allies. >> let's turn to domestic items here. congress, again, comes back this week. how likely is it that there's going to be a delay in the process of editing the immigration reform bill? >> the amendments are due for the senate bill and i think we have to proceed. this is the best chance that we have to pass an immigration bill in two decades. and it's very, very important to
fix our broken immigration system. >> former south carolina senator and staunch conservative jim demint talked about the immigration bill this morning. let's listen to it and talk about it on the other side. here it is. >> do you block this legislation this year or not? >> um, well, it's difficult to say. i think if people read the bill that it will be blocked because once you get into it just like obama care, it is not what the way it's being advertised. >> is that true? how complicated is this bill to sift through? >> this bill has provisions that are very good for america. and i don't think there's that complicated. a pathway to citizenship. there's relief for dream act students. a reduction of the backlog in family visas. >> how wide is the chasm between the house version and the senate version that's been introduced? >> well, we haven't seen the house version.
it's been secretive. we are still awaiting that. i am encouraged by what i saw in the senate bill. >> all right. california congresswoman thank you so much for your time. >> thank you so much. >> we will go live to boston next. first, though, just moments ago, president obama landed at joint base andrews just outside of washington. again, earlier today, president obama gave the commencement address to the class of 2013 at the ohio state university. >> hurricane struck our mightiest city. and the factory exploded in a small town in texas. we saw citizenship. when bombs went off in boston and when a malevolent spree of gunfire visited a movie theater, a temple, an ohio high school, a first grade classroom in connecticut -- in the aftermath of darkest tragedy, we have seen the american spirit at its brightest.
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while dramatically reducing waiting time. [ telephone ringing ] now a waiting room is just a room. [ static warbles ] well, let's go to california right now where firefighters have gained the upper hand on the fire which has burned more than 20,000 acres and damaged homes 50 miles west of los angeles. on the ground there in malibu with details on this. first of all, what's the situation there? >> good afternoon, craig. what a difference 24 hours makes, the conditions right now cool and moist and that has certainly tipped a balance in favor of firefighters here. and yes, you mentioned that there have been about 28,000 acres scorched, but two very important numbers that officials here are looking at. there have been some minor damages, but overall, no homes
have been completely lost. more importantly, zero lives have been lost. and that is a sign that firefighters here is an indication of how well they responded to this situation. right now, containment is about 60%. they expect to have complete containment by tomorrow. and an indication that the situation is getting better. they have lifted complete evacuation orders all across the county, and they have begun to demobilize some of the fire fighting resources pulled here over the past several days. craig? >> no lives lost, zero property. >> what about preparation? was there some sort of advance preparation? >> there's no doubt about it. when you talk to officials here in ventura county, they attribute the success of the past couple of days not only to the fire fighting resources but also the years of preparation that went in ahead of something like this. they expected something like this.
and over the past several years. people houses who may have been at the front lines in dangerous areas, if you will, they worked them through here. flammable subjects off of their property. also, at the same time, a lot of the people here were prepared for this. repellants put on their houses. so it's definitely a relationship fire officials here attribute to local residents and officials that were able to prevent any loss of life. craig? >> good news from california for us on this sunday. do appreciate it from california to boston now where the uncle of one of the boston bombing suspects at the funeral home where tamerlan tsarnaev's body is being kept. and the fbi is once again searching the apartment in cambridge where the two brothers lived.
nbc is in boston. let's start with the investigation. what were investigators looking for inside that apartment this time? >> reporter: law enforcement source tells nbc news, they were actually looking to find out if they could find any evidence of them making the bombs inside that apartment. they've been to that cambridge apartment numerous times. no word on whether or not they found anything there today. they did recover catherine russell's computer there a little while ago. and they found an issue of "inspire" magazine downloaded on her computer. right now they do not know if she knew about it. telling nbc today that they are still remaining neutral as to whether or not she had any prior knowledge of the attacks. but, again, they did go back and they searched the cambridge apartment once again today. on friday, they were at dartmouth, the woods surrounding also combing the area. they heard reports of a loud boom there about a month ago and looking to see if they could kind remnants of any -- or any
evidence of them testing explosives out there. craig? >> the uncle of the tsarnaev brothers who spoke a short time ago, what did he have to say? >> reporter: well, he said that he should be buried here in massachusetts. there's a lot of talk about sending him back to russia. the family says they don't want him sent back to russia. the uncle says this was really his home. he was an american and this is where he should be buried. they're having a hard time finding somewhere to bury him. four cemeteries have refused him. he did call tamerlan a lonely person. they did not say whether or not a second autopsy is being done. i know the family has requested that, but the uncle said he had no knowledge of it. >> in boston for us on this sunday afternoon, katie, thanks. up next, the white house reacting to the israeli strikes inside syria. what will president obama do? and did he go too far, perhaps in drawing that red line? also, later, honoring the adults who gave their lives to
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as the conflict in syria escalates, president obama has come under fire for saying last year that their use of chemical weapons would cross a red line for him. the "new york times" is reporting this morning that his original use of the term red line was actually unintentional. a remark that left advisers scrambling for answers. >> the conflict is spilling over into lebanon and jordan. the whole situation is becoming more and more expansive and unfortunately the red line that the president of the united states written was apparently written in disappearing ink. >> joining me now from the white house, our nbc news white house correspondent peter alexander. first of all, what's the white house's reaction to the latest developments in syria and this
new claim the administration is backing off the president's red line claim? >> yeah, craig, good afternoon, good sir. we saw the south lawn, the president getting back from a visit to the ohio state university where he was delivering the commencement address there. and a white house official told reporters on the flight out that the white house will have no specific comment about the israeli air strikes, although they did, again, reiterate the need for assad to leave power among other things noting that they were, quote, horrified by reports of more than 100 syrians who had been killed, apparently executed late last week. the white house also using the language justified in its concerns. saying that israel was justified in its concern that those weapons, the weapons apparently hit by israeli war planes were headed toward hezbollah. saying that israel has the right to defend itself. as for the latter part of your
question, specifically referring to white house's sort of effort to roll back its use of that red line language. this was first reported by the "new york times" today as we hear marine one and the other choppers picking up behind us. the president in an effort to try to make it very clear that there would be consequences ended up in their words effectively going off the cuff. according to the "new york times," white house advisers said they wish they could have that comment back because now it created this policy-specific language, this red line that was intended to have some nuance. was intended to be much wider in what it was referring to, a large scale chemical attack as opposed to the small scale skirmishes creating this new pressure here in washington. >> peter alexander from the white house where we all hear marine one about to land. thanks, pete, appreciate that. let's take it to the war room.
our political war room on this sunday. he was a campaign aide to president obama and hillary clinton. also chip saltzman. good to see both of you. chip, let me start with you. here's president obama last august delivering that now infamous red line ultimatum. >> we cannot have a situation where chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people. we have been very clear to the assad regime, but also to other players on the ground that a red line for us is we start saying a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. that would change my calculus, my equation. >> august 12th, 2012, last week, white house acknowledged there was evidence chemical weapons had been used by assad's government.
this was president obama this past tuesday. >> what is true, though, is that if i can establish in a way that not only the united states but also the international community feel confident is the use of chemical weapons by the assad regime, that is a game changer -- >> u.s. military action? >> by game changer, i mean that we would have to rethink the range of options that are available to us. >> it's not often that president obama starts to sound a little bit like president george w. bush. chip, why does the president appear to be waffling a tad on syria? >> well, i'm not sure. obviously this is an incredibly sticky situation as we've seen from the last couple of days. it's escalating very quickly. it's gone into other parts of the regions like jordan. israel's obviously gone from one air strike to several. there's iran that one's producing one of the weapons getting into hezbollah, which is
leaning closer to the assad regime. these are very intense in tough times. the president drew this red line or line in the sand and then it happened and now says we've got to rethink it, it's the game changer and the game changer is we've got to look at our options. i think the whole world, especially the middle east region is looking at this to see how exactly is president obama going to respond to this? it's going to really affect the whole region and how the middle east looks in the next couple of weeks. >> we've been talking about this "new york times" report, front page of the times today, peter mentioned it, as well, the idea that mr. obama's red line comment was an off-the-cuff comment. when he merged to issue a public version of the warning, he went further than many aides realized he would. and in the article it goes on to say that the nuance got completely dropped. this idea that the president was talking about mass casualties, not relatively small scale episodes. not small scale uses of a chemical weapon. how does this happen?
how does this -- i mean, are we -- is this really the result of the president just misspeaking? >> my sense is if you watch the way the president is speaking on this topic and you showed both clips. >> yeah. >> he's trying to be very careful and thinking of the word as he goes along and this particular president has been pretty adept at avoiding these types of miscues so to speak. but clearly he said a phrase red line that they probably didn't intend for him to say and that's caused all sorts of ramifications as you mentioned. >> chip, tom cotton who, of course, is an iraq and afghanistan veteran, this is what he said on "meet the press." >> we have to arm the opposition, i think we also need to move to imposing a no-fly zone so he cannot continue to use helicopter gun ships against civilians. >> is that where we are? is that what we should be doing next, chip? >> that's obviously some of the options we've got to look at. the bottom line, like we said, it's escalated very quickly.
the president, whether he meant to say it or not, he threw down the american marker and says it's a game changer. congressman cotton, he's had his boots on the ground. he knows what it takes to go over there. and i would tend to agree with congressman cotton's comments. >> let's pivot here. i want to talk about the big race down in the palmetto state coming up on this tuesday, of course, mark sanford, former governor, former congressman taking on elizabeth colbert bush. she's got a brother who does a little bit of television. this is, i want to show this e-mail that went out earlier today. and it basically -- it's -- they're asking for money, $3. it's infuriating, you can't turn the tv on in south carolina without seeing an ad bashing elizabeth colbert bush, and the republicans' baseless attacks are working. the race has tightened to a dead heat, 46-46, our latest projections show this race could come down to less than 300 votes. we don't want to look back tuesday night and wish we'd done more when we had the chance. are the democrats being a little
overdramatic? >> i like the way you shouted that to show us the drama. this is how these e-mails work. the people who write these things are expert at scaring their supporters and hyping the hyperbole. i don't know what the latest polls are in this race. i do think it's going to be close. we're finding out it's going to come down to five votes. >> they're asking for $3, if it can move the needle in a race. how effectively has elizabeth colbert bush campaigned down there? >> i think she's done a pretty good job. i want to thank both candidates for giving us great drama to talk about. use caps and exclamation points, as well. this is a tough race, i think she took it to governor sanford and changed the dynamics. and ten days ago, there was a poll showed her up eight or nine points and now it's a dead heat, which favors governor sanford because of the turnout model.
looks like mark sanford using a kentucky derby term is going to come from behind and win by a nose. >> way to go, orb. thanks to both of you. up next, a profile in courage giving gabby giffords the recognition she deserves. later with the president's second term agenda stalled, is he already a lame duck? you're watching msnbc.
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less than an hour from now, former arizona congresswoman gabby giffords is set to receive this year's profile and courage award at the presidential library in boston. caroline kennedy will be presenting that award to giffords for her outspoken support for reducing gun violence in this country. meanwhile, tomorrow, the congressional medal of honor society will give the highest civilian honor, the citizen
honor medal to six newtown school staffers who died in the december shooting. the congressional medal of honor society is made up of our greatest war heroes who have received the military's highest honor for their bravery on the battlefield. colonel jack jacobs is one of them, a medal of honor recipient, also an msnbc military analyst. he'll be on hand giving out the medals with his colleagues at that ceremony in newtown tomorrow. good to see you. >> good to see you too. >> first of all, what led the society to what i would gather would be an unprecedented move to honor these victims? >> well, a few years ago, we realized that two things -- first of all, our numbers are dwindling. when i was decorated, we had almost 400 living recipients, now we're down to 80, statistically we'll be down to nothing at some point. we want to leave a legacy. and the second thing is that we realized that when people are
recognized for valorous acts, there are so many others who have done things that are brave and they never get recognized. people didn't see them or people saw them and they themselves didn't survive and so we all realize that we wear the award not for ourselves but for all those who can't. we decided it was about time to recognize civilians and there's plenty of bravery among civilians. civilians who are constantly doing things for their communities, both over a short period of time and in a long period of time. >> and you decided it would be most appropriate to honor these six. >> i think we couldn't do better. it's very important that we recognize how hard these educators worked to take care of their children at a very, very difficult time. >> in several cases, literally using their bodies as human shields in an attempt and unfortunately, in many cases, in vain using their bodies to shield their little ones in the classroom when the gunman opened fire.
being a congressional medal of honor recipient, you know a whole lot about courage. how is this different than what men and women face on the battlefie battlefield? >> oh, i don't think it's different at all. that's the whole point. people are -- when people are in a very, very difficult situation, often have to make the decision between doing the difficult right thing or the very easy wrong thing. and believe it or not, most people pick the more difficult right thing to do. especially when they feel they have a responsibility. i'm somebody who believes in universal service. and i think most americans in their hearts believe that too. we live in a free society and therefore all of us have a responsibility to do something for hour communities, and i think that the actions that took place at newtown among the educators exemplifies how strongly that courage -- >> i asked you to bring your medal. >> i have it. >> most folks will never get an opportunity to see one of these things up close.
and this is yours. what i think we can -- there we go. what are we looking at here? >> it's the army medal. it was designed after the navy one. the original award during the civil war was for navy personnel, army medal was quickly devised after that. and it's -- it's a five-pointed star with a wreath an olive wreath and suspended from a blue silk ribbon with 13 stars representing the 13 colonies. there have been about 3,500 recipients, the large majority were posthumous and today there are 80. >> congratulations. thank you, sir. >> my pleasure. >> and thank you for your time and keep us posted on tomorrow, as well. >> will do. >> a fitting tribute. top posts unfilled, congress in a deadlock, syria boiling over, what's a president to do? stay tuned. you're watching msnbc.
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i think, after the last election, all republicans had a meeting that went like this. we lost! what are we going to do? why don't we just pretend we won! and it's working! i used to walk all over barack and now they just walk right through him, like he's a ghost. >> that was obviously from "saturday night live" last night. i want to bring in jackie kucinich from "the washington post," "national journal's" all allayha azadi. jackie, has the president really lost all of his clout with congress? >> i like the sound effect there. that was great. i think there's some tests that are coming forward. he, obviously, has had a rough couple of months, particularly with the gun vote that went down. but we have immigration and there's another debt ceiling fight, right on the horizon.
so we'll see how he gets through this. but, you know, presidents go through this at the beginning of their second terms. you saw it with bush, you saw it with clinton. so we'll see how he navigates this, really. 2014 is right around the corner. and that seems to be a deadline. >> alahai, organizing for action, the former obama campaign machine, it was going to use its clout to try to move the president's agenda forward. but according to politico, group failed at its first major effort, the senate's gun legislation. quote, the group didn't sway a single vote for the background check proposal and so far it has not been able to make any of those who voted against it feel any heat. what's happened to ofa? >> well, gun control is a very interesting first issue for them to try and tackle, because they're going against the gun lobby, like the nra, and their ground game has been perfected over the years. they're not just a well-funded lobby. they've got a passionate base of supports and members who are very passionate about this one
issue. and for ofa to try and move sentiment on this issue, it was an uphill battle. and so it will be interesting to see what they do when it comes to immigration and some of the other pieces of president obama's agenda, but i think gun control, to write them off completely right now, i think it was one of those weird, interesting anomaly issues. >> jackie, we're just over a hundred days into the second term, the president just finishing up with some cabinet appointments. according to "the new york times," many top-level jobs also remain unfilled. one of the worst backlogs is at the state department, where nearly a quarter of the most senior posts are not filled, including those in charge of embassy security and counterterrorism. why is it that this second-term administration seems to be having such a hard time getting things even like this done? >> well, there wasn't a lot of outreach to congress early on in this administration. so now, i think, this is one of the many reasons you see president obama going to dinner
with senators, in small groups, really trying to court some of these leaders on issues like that and like the budget and, but, you know, republicans see an opportunity here, especially, you know, holding some of these things so they could get something else. they see these other bargaining chips. so, you know, this is how it goes in the second term. >> alahai, is republican obstructionism working? >> i think president obama and the administration has kind of figured out that the way to kind of go about it is to go through the senate and work with even senate republicans rather than the house. the house trying to, we've seen through the last budget deals and trying to make something happen that it just didn't work. trying to go through it in the senate might be a better route. but at the end of the day, a political incentive for any of these republican lawmakers to compromise is very low, especially in the house. >> jackie kucinich from "the washington post," the "national journal's" alahai azadi, big
thanks to you on this sunday. coming up, israeli war planes taking aim at targets inside syria for the second time in less than a week. why and can we expect more? back here, tamerlan tsarnaev's family planning a second autopsy on their son. they insist that their boys were framed. and believe it or not, that's a theory that's gaining steam in some circles. more on that straight ahead, this is msnbc. [ agent smith ] i've found software that intrigues me. it appears it's an agent of good. ♪ [ agent smith ] ge software connects patients to nurses to the right machines while dramatically reducing waiting time. [ telephone ringing ] now a waiting room is just a room. [ static warbles ]
when what you just bought, just broke. or when you have a little trouble a long way from home... as an american express cardmember you can expect some help. but what you might not expect, is you can get all this with a prepaid card. spends like cash. feels like membership. good sunday afternoon. i'm craig melvin. you're watching msnbc, the place for politics. and we start with the question of what to do about syria. >> chemical weapons, we have to deal with it. >> unfortunately, the red line that the president of the united states written was apparently written in disappenin disappear. >> i think the president will on the toward some kind of limited military option. >> clearly, his indecisiveness
has destabilized and probably brought israel into this. >> putting pressure on the president. could the conundrum over what to do in syria stall his second-term agenda? >> there are going to be other people like this. they have to be right once. we have to be right 100%. >> so what are we learning about tamerlan tsarnaev? even as his parents try to prove what they say is a conspiracy to frame their son? and with congress about to return to work tomorrow, what can we expect them to do, to actually do? but we start with the crisis in syria. it's deepened today after israeli war planes attacked missile storage sites outside the capital of damascus. the syrian government said there were casualties and warned that syria will defend its people by all available means. nbc's martin fletcher is in teltel aviv for us on this sunday. martin, why did the israelis decide to act now?
>> reporter: well, craig, israel's been watching obviously very carefully the unfolding events in syria, the two-year civil war, and they've always said that their red line is when syria and if syria begins to move weapons that israel calls game-changing weapons to lebanon, to israel's enemy there, hezbollah, israel will attack. israel will prevent those weapons from being deployed. and that's what happened twice in the last three days. so the last attack, very early this morning, sunday morning, israeli war planes attacking syria. and what they were attacking was a specific weapons facility, that israeli said was beginning to transfer iranian weapons, fatah 110 missiles, they're called. they're very accurate, rockets with a 200-mile range. syria was impinbeginning to mov those rockets to lebanon, and sent its war planes to attack. second time in three days. and israel said it would not allow those game-changing
weapons to be transferred to hezbollah in lebanon. that means chemical weapons, long-range weapons like the ones that were attacked earlier this morning, land-to-sea weapons and ground-to-air weapons. game changer weapons, israel says, and that's israel's red line. it will not allow those weapons to be transferred. that's why they attacked this morning, craig. >> martin, what's the likelihood there will be more air strikes from israel? >> well, there's great likelihood. as long as israel believes that syria is transferring those weapons to hezbollah, many of those weapons, by the way, including those attacks that actually have come from iran, as long as those weapons are being transferred, israel says it will attack. israel's danger is that it will be drawn into the syrian fighting, with more israel attacks, of course, the more likely it is that syria, in some way, will have to retaliate. ed and today, syria's deputy foreign minister called israel's
attack an act of war. so israel is waiting to see what kind of response, if any, there'll be from syria, but definitely, israel has said that the more those weapons are transferred, the more attempts there are to transfer weapons of that kind to lebanon, the more israel will attack. and that's what everybody is worried about. and the question, then, of course is, will israel be dragged full-time, completely, into that war in syria, which israel, for the time being, has been trying to stay outside of. >> nbc's martin fletcher for us in tel aviv. martin, thanks. with more now on syria, we turn to ambassador chris hill, who has served in multiple combat zones. most recently in iraq, from 2010 to 2011. ambassador, good to see you. i want to start with congressman mike rogers, of course, chairman of the house intelligence committee. this morning, he said that there is a way for the united states to get involved in this conflict without sending in troops. take a listen. >> i argue, with u.s. leadership, and again, this is
not boots on the ground, u.s. leadership through intelligence and training and other things and coordination of their activities, which they're asking for could be hugely helpful to bringing the regime down quicker, number one, and trying to at least have a stabilizing force exist after this happens. and that's our biggest concern. >> can arming the rebels with u.s. intelligence really help bring down the assad regime? >> i frankly doubt it. the fact that this war has gone on for two years should convince most people that this is a pretty deep-seeded problem, that there are many people willing to fight on the assad side, who don't seem to have any particular affection for assad, but nonetheless, fear what the future could be. so i think the real problem here is not that the u.s. can't decide whether or not to be militarily engaged. i think the real problem is, we don't have a political process for the future. what is to become of syria? what is it going to look like after assad is gone? sooner or later, assad will go
and he'll have the same problem. so i think there needs to be much better focus and much more diplomatic effort on finding a political way forward, at which point, you can get people to coalesce around a future syria. and at that point, then, no one wants to be the last person to die in a civil war. >> it sounds as if you, like others, have indicated the same thing over the past week, especially, that the fall of bashar al aashad is something that is inevitable, if not imminent. >> i think it is inevitable. you can imagine the sort of cracks in the whole edifice of the alawite regime. but i think what's remarkable is that people keep fighting for this person, whose fall is so inevitable. so why do they keep fighting? and the answer is, they don't know what the future is going to be. they're very worried about a kind of islamic state, and i don't think anyone should be
willing to rule that possibility out. they're worried about a kind of sunni-centric state. they worry about, you know, what, if they're a christian, what will happen to them, what will happen to them if they're a kurd. you know, this is where, unlike in bosnia, and bosnia, a year before we even sat down in dayton, we worked out something called a contract group plan. we got everyone engaged and agreeing that bosnia would be a federal state. there would be an enclave for the serbs, an enclave for the cr croats and muslims, et cetera. so we worked it out and tried to get the parties themselves to support this. i don't see that kind of diplomatic work underway. i see a great deal of effort trying to bring these syrian groups together. and by the way, they don't like each other, and i doubt, because the americans tell them to lake each other, that they're going to change their opinions. >> ambassador, while we were chatting, the syrian opposition put out a statement. and again, i'm just going to
summarize that statement for you here. they say in part, quote, the syrian coalition deeply regrets the deafening silence and powerlessness of the international community in the face of such grievous violations of international laws continued by the assad regime and taken advantage of by israel in order to fulfill clear objectives. again, that's a statement that we just got in from the opposition. condemning the israeli air strikes, we should note here, what do you make of that? >> well, no muslim group that wants to be around tomorrow is going to welcome israeli air strikes on their competition, on their opposition. so i'm not surprised they put out a statement condemning the israeli air strikes. in fact, the bashar al assad people, the government people, are putting out statements to the effect that the opposition is in cahoots with the israelis. so that's kind of inevitable.
but i think mr. fletcher had it very right on what the israeli red lines are and what the israelis are going to do when they see those red lines crossed. >> ambassador chris hill, always appreciate your insight, sir. thank you. >> thank you. when congress returns from recess this week, will it be able to focus on immigration reform as planned or will all eyes turn to syria? with me now, new york congressman, hakim jeffries. congressman, good to see you. >> good to see you, craig. >> first of all, off bat here, what do you make of the latest developments in this part of the world? >> i think the middle east is going to be a difficult location with challenges all across the region. the president will demonstrate leadership as it relates to a very complex situation. craig, we've got syria with the regime and iran and hezbollah on one side and we've got al qaeda fighters and foreign entities getting involved on the other. so we've got to proceed with
clarity, but we also have to proceed with caution, as it relates to this situation. >> has there been clarity to this point? there are a lot of folks who have said that based on the white house' response, that there's been anything but clarity from the administration on its response -- >> well, this is a tough situation in a very dangerous part of the world. so i think that the president understands that this is a complex situation. we're going to continue to support israel, as it relates to the existential threats that it perceives to its own security. but i think that as long as we're able to isolate some of the al qaeda fighters and the foreign entities that seek to penetrate on the rebel side, then we will be able to move forward and support them, increasingly, in the weeks and months to come. >> you represent a very diverse district here in new york. i want to turn to immigration here for just a moment. in an interview with telemundo, president obama sounding optimistic, but also
acknowledged that immigration reform has a very long road ahead. take a listen. >> there will be a number of ups and downs and near-death experiences as this thing travels, but when you look at where the american people are, where not just democrats and independents, but also republicans and the public are, around the need for sensible immigration reform, you know, then i think that we can get this done. >> near-death experiences. what do you think is going to be the biggest hurdle, the single greatest obstacle for this piece of legislation? >> well, i think that there will be some on the house side of the equation, who will find it very difficult to support a robust pathway toward citizenship. but the reality is that anything other than the pathway toward citizenship is inconsistent with who we are as americans. we've never supported second-class citizenship, in any form. we fought that in the civil war.
we've enacted a 14th amendment that makes clear that everyone is equaled to equal protection of the law. i think that america and americans understand that we're a nation of immigrants. we're made stronger when people come from other parts of the world. hard-working, industrious, entrepreneurial people. that said, there will be some on the other side of the aisle who have a problem, as it relates to what they call amnesty, but what, in reality, really would be a tough but fair pathway toward allowing people who are currently undocumented, to ultimately experience the american dream. >> congressman hakim jeffries, good to see you, sir. i do appreciate your time. >> thanks for having me. >> thanks for coming here. it's an open invitation. i know you're close by. anytime you want to stop in on a weekend, we'll take you. >> thank you. still to come, could you live on $1.50 a day? it's tough to be sure, but there are some famous names who are trying to do it. why? we'll talk about that. first, though, the latest on the investigation in boston as the parents of the bombing suspects speak out about what they say, what they claim is a setup of
their sons. they say they've been framed. we're going to take a look at that, next. [ male announcer ] technology. it's pretty amazing. because it saves things. [ cellphone beeps ] like your marriage. [ boys laughing ] sanity. [ sighs ] [ male announcer ] and time. oh, and money. technology saves lots of money. take esurance for example. they were born online and built to save people money on car insurance. [ boys laughing ] yep. technology can do some amazing things. but it can't unhurt feelings. esurance. insurance for the modern world. now backed by allstate. click or call.
all right. check this out. according to the one fund, the boston website, the fund has now received more than $28 million, almost $28.1 million. in a letter published in "the boston globe" this weekend, family members of those killed in the recent tragedies say the one fund should be a model for the nation. they say creating one centralized trusted fund for donors and victims is the best r way to help in the long run. that letter is signed by dozens of letters of those who were killed in recent tragedies including columbine, virginia tech, aurora, and sandy hook as well. also, just into msnbc, a new
interview with an uncle of one of the boston bombing suspects, ruslan tsarnaev. ruslan tsarnaev within the into the funeral home where the body of tamerlan tsarnaev is being kept and is making arrangements for burial, but says that he does not have a place to bury the body just yet. he talked to us just a short time ago. take a listen. >> we're here to prepare his body, to wash him and shroud him, to prepare his body. >> again, that's the uncle. meanwhile, "the boston globe" is reporting that an independent autopsy on the body requested by the parents is scheduled for today. david phillipbaum is a reporter of the "boston globe" who wrote that story. david, first of all, what are you hearing about the fate of tsarnaev's body today? >> well, i think that ruslan tsarnaev, who's sort of been the voice of reason here for the family, he lives in the united states, i think he knows what the mood is here, he's stepping back from that now.
he says that perhaps his league team will take some pictures of the body, but he really wants to do the washing that has to take place and then find a place to bury him and do it right now. he's stepping back from that. now, the parents back in russia still want that autopsy, but i think they're being persuaded to let it go and let tamerlan tsarnaev be buried. >> so we don't think that autopsy is going to happen this afternoon? >> at least, i think they're backing away from it. yesterday, the funeral owner, the funeral home owner was saying it was imminent, it was going to happen. now i think they're going to satisfy themselves with photos. and i think this is pa reflection on the fact that people here from the family realize how bad it is, both from the point of view of their belief, but also from the point of view of the bad publicity the funeral home is getting and the bad attention it's getting, i think they want to bury tamerlan as soon as they can. >> you spent almost 15 years in russia, and you wrote recently
that people in russia, especially in chechnya, a large number of folks there seem to believe that the tsarnaev brothers were framed. some have even launched this free dzhokhar movement. what's behind this particular conspiracy theory? >> well, the first thing you've got to think about is where we're talking about. the north caucasus. and there is no one in chechnya who doesn't have a relative who was taken in the middle of the night, disappeared, and then russian authorities said, he was a terrorist. so -- and this is innocent people, not innocent people. so when we over here in boston have arrested somebody and it's preposterous for you and me to believe, because we know the events we've seen, the documentation, we've heard the police, we believe it, because it seems really close to the truth and why shouldn't we? out there in chechnya, they're saying, athhah, it's just like that, but only it's the
americans. this must be some conspiracy to undermine russian power or something or blame it all on the chechens. >> do they point to any evidence? they have one piece of evidence, other than this underwriting -- you know, this mistrust of authority that has been, you know, 70-year of soviet society plus the two civil wars. the one fragment of evidence they point to is the third-second clip that has two voices saying, we didn't do it, we give up. and then gunshots. but in russia that's been put up for the basis for a theory that this was all a setup. they needed chechens. they needed somebody. they basically made this up out of thin air. and as you said, that campaign is growing. you now see facebook, the russian version of facebook pictures, everyone's got -- lots of people have this free -- picture of dzhokhar, totally incident, dzhokhar.
it's really gaining a lot of traction there, amazing though it might be to us. >> david philliphoff, thank you so much. "boston globe". >> thanks for having me. so could you live on $1.50 a day? could you do it? our next guest is. what's the big idea? on the other side of this break. ♪ ♪ i don't wanna be right [ record scratch ] what?! it's not bad for you. it just tastes that way. [ female announcer ] honey nut cheerios cereal -- heart-healthy, whole grain oats. you can't go wrong loving it. heart-healthy, whole grain oats. what that's great. it won't take long, will it? nah. okay. this, won't take long will it? no, not at all. how many of these can we do on our budget? more than you think. didn't take very long, did it? this spring, dig in and save. that's nice. post it. already did. more saving. more doing. that's the power of the home depot.
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everything. everything. everything? [ all ] everything? yup! with the new staples rewards program you get 5% back on everything. everything? everything. [ male announcer ] the new staples rewards program. get free shipping and 5% back on everything your business needs. that was easy. fighting poverty by living on $1.50 a day. that's our big idea on this sunday. a week-long campaign called live below the line by the global poverty project encouraged people to spend less than $2 per day on meals. a buck 50 on food. several people did this like ben affleck, sophia bush as well took up the challenge. the group has clkted almost $400,000 for various charities. joining me now, michael treanor, the u.s. director for the global poverty project.
this was quite the campaign. required folks to spend $1.50 on food and drink every day? >> that's right. >> why $1.50? >> $1.50 is the extreme poverty line. there's $1.2 billion people around the world that live on $1.50 or its quiequivalency. >> you also participated? >> i did. >> what do you eat and drink for $1.50 a day? i would assume you would drink a great deal of water? >> i drank nothing but water and i've done the challenge twice now and i learned from my first doing it that actually protein is rather crucial. so i balanced my diet with both carbs and protein. i did a lot of rice and beans and then one egg on a piece of bread. >> a lot of rice, a lot of beans. >> you got it. >> what was the goal here? what were you trying to accomplish with the campaign? >> so live below the line is an awareness in fund-raising and campaign. we've seen fund-raisers move from, you know, telethons to marathons.
but with live below the line, we really want to educate people about the conditions that those living in extreme poverty face. it's obviously not to say that you're in any way approximating what extreme poverty is, but it does cause you to think between 24 hours, and if you do the full challenge, five days, about those really intense issues that the extreme poor have to face on a daily basis. and while doing so, raising crucial funds for those organizations working on the ground. >> when you did it, i know you did it five days the first time, three days the second time, how tough was it? how difficult was it? >> you know, it's challenging, but it's actually one of the most profound experiences that i've had. because you realize your connection to food. and my connection to food, i realized, you know, i had a tremendous degree more mental acuity when i actually reincorporated protein into my diet. you realize, actually, especially, organizations like, say, opportunity international, which do work on the ground and support -- crucial support to women, who are facing these issues on a day-to-day basis.
many people dona't know, but two-thirds of the world's extreme poor are women. they basically work two-thirds of the world's working hours, but earn only 10% of the world's income. and own only 1% of the world's property. so we educate ourself through the course of the week, and based on that education, inspire people to take action. >> what's next for the group? what are you guys working on now? i understand there's something big with jay-z and beyonce? >> we have a two tickets campaign, which if you go on to livebelowtheline.com and sign up, you can be incentivized through your social action to win tickets to phenomenal concerts all around the country. >> there's the website right there. give it to folks once again, livebelowtheline.com/us. >> thanks so much. appreciate your time. are you going to do it again, you think? >> without a doubt. >> $1.50 a day, michael treanor, appreciate all your work as well. when it comes to president obama in syria this week, it's been all about his red line and
what it really means. now, today, reports that the phrase may have been a mistake, a mistake that has now painted the president, perhaps, into a corner. we'll go live to the white house, next. you're watching msnbc, the place for politics, even on a sunday afternoon. the capital one cash rewards card gives you 1% cash back on all purchases plus a 50% annual bonus. and everyone wants... ♪ 50% more doo wop ♪ 50% more buckarooooooooos ♪ 50% more yeeeaaahhhh!!!! ♪ 50% more yeah yeah [ male announcer ] the capital one cash rewards card gives you 1% cash back on every purchase, plus a 50% annual bonus on the cash you earn. it's the card for people who like more cash. ♪ 50% more boogie ♪ what's in your wallet? cashhhhh!!! what if you could save over $500 bucks a year by changing one small thing? yeah, let's do it! let's do it. the average fast food breakfast can run you over $4 a meal per person. i know. walmart has a ton of breakfast options. a meal like this costs about $1.64 per serving. if you replace just one fast food breakfast each week with a breakfast like this from walmart,
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as the conflict in syria escalates, the president has come under fire for saying that their use of chemical weapons would, quote, cross a red line for him. "the new york times" is reporting this morning that his use of the term, the phrase "red lai line," last year, it was actually unintentional and left advisers scrambling for answers. "moving or using large quantities of chemical weapons would cross a red line and change my calculus." with such an evocative phrase, the president had defined his
policy in a way some advisers wish he could take back. joining me live from 1600 pennsylvania, our man at the white house, pete alexander. pete, what's the white house' reaction or has there been a reaction to this report that the president misspoke and that the administration did not intend to be as weighed down by syria as it is? >> reporter: yeah, publicly, craig, there is no comment from the white house on this reporting, today. but, privately, i think to point of the message, as it's communicated initially through the "new york times" is that the president's use of that phrase, that policy-defining phrase, the red line, was in some ways forcing them into a corner that they may not be wanting to be in at this point. that they are really trying to do a slow consulting process, as they go forward, being more prudent and deliberate in their thinking. the effort, they say, now, according to at least "the new york times," is that it sort of trapped the president into this position right now, saying that that language, according to one official, at least, was unscripted. we do know, again, today, at least in terms of the israeli
air strikes, as the president was traveling to the ohio state university for that commencement address, that the white house, while it wouldn't speak directly to those air strikes, did once again saying that it is in close contact with the israelis, and that it has -- that the israelis have justified concern to worry about advanced weaponry making its way from iran to hezbollah in lebanon. it's believed that the missiles were those being targeted by the israelis right now. but specifically, at least publicly, the white house is not referring to exactly what happened there. >> peter alexander from the white house for us on this sunday afternoon. pete, thanks so much. let's talk a little bit more about that red line. the brain trust is here. ayesha moody mills, at the center for american progress, david nakamura covers the white house for "the washington post," and boras epstein is back, contributor at the daily caller. good to have all three of you with me on this sunday afternoon. david, let me start with you
down there in d.c. the white house has been, you know, trying to stay focused on its domestic agenda, immigration, supposedly, going to be front and center this week. what effect could the escalation in syria have on president obama's second term agenda? >> well, i think it's a complicating factor. and it's not something, obviously, that's come out of nowhere. the white house has been lacking at this for a while. i talked to some administrative fishes a few months ago, who says they have been talking internally right after the election about the idea of maybe opening their policy idea up in this area and possibly putting arms to the rebels, which is now being talked about openly. so there's been a faction within the white house that actually prefers that option, and now they may have an opportunity to sort of move forward with that. but, obviously, it's very complicated. you heard peter king today, the congressman from new york, concerned that al qaeda has ins with these rebel opposition forces, that if they get the arms, who knows what happens next. but as that "new york times" story said, the president's in a tough spot. he pretty much that it has to do some sort of reaction to this, and that will complicate the rest of his agenda. i think on immigration, that's
going to be in the senate for a while. so they have a little time on that. but this could be a problem. >> did the president paint himself into a corner, boras, with the red line comment? >> he has. s and he's done so time and time again. since you've seen, since he became president, foreign policy has been very muddled. we saw that on china, on russia, we've seen it in the immediately. you know, look at egypt. we supported the uprising there in egypt, not militarily, but morsi is anything but a friend to the united states. this is another example of very muddled foreign policy by this president. and foreign policy is one of those thing, you cannot speak out of turn, you don't want to misspeak, especially when you talk about the middle east. ayesha, the president normally gets are high marks on foreign policy. this president is generally regarded fairly highly. >> people like him. >> which people? >> a lot of people around the world like him. >> who are these people? >> but we shouldn't trivialize the situation happening in syria, as if there's one particular solution that's going to solve the entire uprising and make everything better, because
that's not the case. the president absolutely needs to tread lightly here. one of the things he's doing is trying to figure out how to work in collaboration with nato and get our allays involved and figure out what we can do if we do, indeed, intervene. >> and there are a lot of folks who will say, without a security council resresolution, for instance, and without some sort of imminent threat posed to the united states, it could be very difficult to justify any type of advanced military operation in syria, no? >> absolutely. especially with this president, who made a big point of drawing down forces in iraq and he was against the iraq war to begin with. obviously, he spent a lot of the election talking about withdrawing from this area of the world, trying to focus on other areas of the world. they have a pivot to asia going on, trying to focus there. i think this is why the president is now saying, we're looking to have an investigation, to find out more about who exactly used these weapons, exactly what they were before making any decisions. we are buying time here. the only other decision is it's not just syria, it's iran, it's north korea.
where is the president's stand on these things and how much does a red line mean a red lain? if some of those things are in play right now, and that's why, as we said, using those words, mean thing. and if the president doesn't react to this, there's a lot of regimes who say, hey, he's not going to react. he's going to show a weakness here. >> the key development here is israel and what israel is doing with those air strikes. the president is doing the right thing by standing behind israel. what if israel takes the next steps behind the air strikes and there is some sort of military action. then you have to determine where the united states stands. if you combine action by a trusted ally, israel, and use of those weapons, which supposedly tripped the red line, the president's very much in a corner and needs to decide what he's going to do sooner rather than later. how do you think this plays out in syria, aisha. >> i think it plays out cautiously. i don't think the president will jump and do anything tomorrow. one thing that makes sense is to get him together with the u.n. security council and pull them
all together. >> we know what's going to come out of the u.n. security council. >> by himself and do anything. >> a russian security council, you're not going to see, likely, a resolution that's passed. it will probably be vetoed, anything he puts forward. this thing in syria has been going on a long time. it's not like we haven't been cautious already. >> at the very least, we can try to create some sort of space to allow the u.n. to go in and determine, were there even chemical weapons used, and to get that on the books, so if there's going to be any assumption about what's happening in syria, it's going to be based on fact. >> there's no question that assad is murdering his people. i'm not saying we should go in, but i'm saying that's the fact of the matter. >> david, one of the issues that's been raised in this broadcast today and over the past week on our air and in print a great deal as well is, what happens after assad? i mean, the fall of bashar al assad is inevitable, it's imminent. i think most experts would acknowledge that. but what are they saying inside
the white house about a post-bashar al assad regime? >> that's a difficult question, and i'm not sure anybody has a good answer. there's going to be a fight for power once that happens. and you know, one of the things the white house has been trying to get russia to move on is, you know, to sort of drop their support for assad and make this happen faster, which it would if russia did that. russia has been saying, you guys don't have a plan. there is no plan after he falls. that could get worse. that's become an issue, has been an issue for a long time. right now, i don't think there's a great deal of understanding, exactly what would happen. and i think there would be sort of a vacuum and there would be a fight between several different factions. >> the reason there's confusion is, again, seeing what's happened in egypt and libya, the outcome has not been positive for the united states of america or the western world. and egypt, again, morsi is not friendly. >> but the jury is still out on egypt and libya. >> there's been a power vacuum and the jury is out. there's nothing something you would want to see in syria and add syria to the libya, egypt
conundrum. >> a hearing on the house this week of the attack on the u.s. consulate in benghazi. is it a political show by republicans or is there actually something that can still be learned about what happened there? we're going to put that question to the brain trust. we'll have that and talk about a little bit more as well. you're watching msnbc, the place for politics. e announcer ] citi is over 200 years old. in that time there've been some good days. and some difficult ones. but, through it all we've persevered, supporting some of the biggest ideas in modern history. so why should our history matter to you? because for more than two centuries, we've been helping ideas move from ambition to achievement. ♪ and the next great idea could be yours. ♪ a regular guy with an irregular heartbeat. the usual, bob? not today. [ male announcer ] bob has afib: atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem, a condition that puts him at greater risk for a stroke.
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for more information including cost support options, by earning a degree in the field maof counseling or psychologyth from capella university, health. you'll have the knowledge to make a difference in the lives of others. let's get started at capella.edu. the brain trust is back on a sunday afternoon. david nakamura from "the washington post." boras epstein from the daily caller. boras, let's start here. and i'm certain you're going to enjoy this topic. president obama still being criticized, of course, over the attacks on the u.s. consulate in benghazi on september 11th. house oversight committee is going to hear testimony this week. could there really be more to learn about benghazi? and if so, how damaging could it be for the president? >> it's not going to be that damaging for the sitting president. it could be damaging for hillary clinton, who possibly wants to
be the next president >> do you think there's that much left out there that could be -- >> listen, we had an ambassador die and other servicemen die in the process. we need to know exactly what happened. this is not a republican assault. i think if democrats were in power in the house, the same thing would happen. you need to know exactly to a "t" what happened and prevent it from happening again. because, when you looked at secretary clinton at the time, secretary clinton's statements during her testimony, she got very emotional but kind of didn't really answer anything. what we want to know is exactly what happened, who carries the responsibility, and what can be learned. most importantly, it's what can be learned going forward. no, not damaging for obama, but could be damaging for clinton. >> there's been an investigation. there have been a number of interviews. there have been a number of folks who have already testified, aisha moody mills, how much of this is about a legitimate quest for truth and how much of this is about a political witch hunt? >> i think it's about a political witch hunt. i think there's still a great opportunity for people to pull
and prod and point fingers. there's a whole funding element, a budgetary element to this that no one is talking about. they needed to have more security there, people didn't want to fund it, oh, we can't fund it. for the republicans, i think they're trying to detract for that. they're trying to say, we're going to go the witch hunt, but we're not going to talk about why we don't think there are certain funding priorities that should go into our councils. >> that's rather unfair, though. during a hearing, that could come out as well. i would point out, if we have a situation in libya where there's ongoing military actions, obviously a hot spot, there's enough funding to make sure people are protected, the ambassador is protected. >> david, what's the official line that's being given for the reason for these hearings? >> well, i think that these witnesses have come forward fairly recently and some of them have said that they have been intimidated, they have not been allowed to testify, they worry about their careers, one as a foreign service officer who said this. they're saying, we thought it was a terrorist attack from the beginning and it was clear on the ground that that's what it
was. so anything the obama administration is saying to the contrary is that's not true. if they go forward with these hearings, there could be enough questions about who's going to intimidate you from coming forward. and that could be as damaging as anything, because we have covered the benghazi situation so long now. and so, you know, the question of, has there been intimidation and how high did that reach? that could be part of what some of that congressman tried to get at. >> david, let's go ahead and pivot here, guys. obviously, the benghazi hearings this week. also, of course, immigration. oh, yeah, by the way. lawmakers returned to capitol hill, finally going to take up this immigration reform bill, about 850 pages long. no one -- i can't remember where i read this, but somebody has already said, there's not a single senator or congressperson who's actually read the entire bill or even come close to -- >> i don't even know -- but i do want to talk about one component. and again, i want to play a piece of sound from senator patrick leahy this morning. senator leahy on "meet the press," talking about introducing the same-sex marriage component to the immigration bill and saying that
he's confident that the bill would pass. take a listen. >> we've had about ten different things that people said will kill it if they don't make the fence long enough, that kills it. if we don't have a high enough fine, that kills it. well, the fact is, there are a lot of people who cawant to kil an immigration bill. >> how do we think this is going to play out? >> i don't know. i think the short answer is -- >> and kudos to you for being one of the few people on cable news these days -- you know what, i don't know. >> we absolutely want a comprehensive immigration reform bill that includes bi-national couples and acknowledges the fact that there are a whole lot of lbgt people who are here and undocumented. that doesn't mean it's going to be uneasy to do. >> will that kill the bill if there's a same-sex marriage component? >> it sure won't help the bill. as the president has seen, getting anything through the senate, through his own party, the gun control bill got killed by his own party. getting anything through is difficult. so to pile too much on to the pizza will be a mistake. let's deal with the main issue
at hand, illegal immigration. i'm a proud republican and conservative, and i agree we need to deal with an issue, and it's not deportation or anything like that. we need to come together and say, let's give these people a path to working in the united states. >> a path to citizenship. >> not a path to citizenship, a path to working in the united states. i'm an illegal immigrant, came here, were refugees, went through the entire process. i don't believe anyone should be able to skip the process. i'm a proud citizen now. but we need to have a solution, but not pile too much on to that sandwich right now, because if you do, it will be too big for you. >> no one is suggesting that anybody be able to skip the process. it would take a lot of people 11 years to become citizens through the process as it stands. but there are a lot of people who want to curb this bill, regardless. who want to use boston as an example to not talk about immigration reform. anything we add could curb it. >> david, how has the mood changed in washington credit
card to the immigration bill? >> you mean, since the boston bombing or -- >> excuse me, how has the mood changed -- no, just in general. in the wake of boston, in light of some of the amendments that have already been suggested. >> i think there's a lot of moment still in the senate. the house is watching more warily, and i think there's opposition in the house, obviously, for a president to citizenship. some of the people in the house on the rk side are saying, let's break up this bill, do it piecemeal. the gang of eight is trying their best to keep this bill together, so is the president, because they know if it breaks up, that will kill the whole thing. the president has been saying, let's not add anything on our side, either, because that will kill it on our side or make it more difficult on our side as we try to combat the conservative point of view, which doesn't want a path to citizenship. there's a lot of momentum, but there's a lot of ups and downs and a lot of near-death experiences. >> a good move by the president.
>> coming up, congress returning to work tomorrow, again, a lot on the agenda. what will the headline be out of capitol hill when we gather next weekend here on our saturday and sunday afternoon broadcast? what's the headline? our three brain trustees have written their own headlines. they're very excited to share them with us. maybe? no, not at all? come back. we'll be right back. dry mouth definitely affected my self confidence. it's debilitating when you try to talk, when you're trying to eat, when you're trying to sleep. i'm constantly licking my lips. water would address the symptoms for just a few minutes. the hygienist recommended biotene. it's clean and refreshing, i feel like i have plenty of fluid in my mouth. i brush with the biotene toothpaste and i use the mouthwash every morning. it's changed my life. it is the last thing i do before i walk out the door. biotene gives me that fresh confident feeling. gives you 1% cash back on all purchases, plus a 50% annual bonus.
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a live look here at the ceremony at jfk's presidential lay barrier, where former congresswoman gabrielle giffords is set to receive the jfk profile in courage award. of course, right now, we are looking at caroline kennedy, who is going to be presenting that award. and here comes gabby giffords right now. just a few moments ago, while we were in commercial, caroline n kennedy said in part that gabby giffords had turned a personal nightmare into a profile in courage. and she had also encouraged all
of us to become more engaged in the political process. before gabby giffords and her suz, as we see there, former astronaut mark kelly, before they got to that ceremony, we're told that they visited some of the victims of the boston bombings there in their hotel room. we pulled that picture from her facebook page. as you can see there, gabby giffords and her husband, mark kelly, with one of the boston bombing victims, and gabby giffords receiving the jfk profile in courage award at the presidential library, jfk's presidential library in boston. the brain trust is back. ayesha moody mills, david nakamura, michael epstein. there's a lot on congress' agenda next week. new developments in the middle east. we want to get your predictions and talk about the headlines that you guys think that we will be seeing next week. aisha, let me start with you,
what's the headline? what are we talking about? >> well, the boston bombings are essentially going to derail immigration yet again. >> boston bombings and border security stall immigration reform once again. really? you think that the boston bombing alone is going to derail the entire effort? >> i think that there are several people who have already said like, hey, wait a minute, we should put the pause on immigration reform. we shouldn't do anything right now. in light of the fact that we know two of the young people that were brought into custody for being compliant in the whole thing, we know now that they were here on expired student visas. so that brings up a lot of questions for people on, well, is immigration reform something that's going to be able to tackle that type of issue when there are people here illegally. the reality, though, is that the plan as it stands would have dealt with that, would have addressed that. >> david, what's your headline? >> mine's also about immigration. and i think that aisha's right. you'll see the senators take up on thursday, the first mark of this in the judiciary committee. you'll see all sorts of amendments come forward.
there will be stuff on border security. marco rubio is a key supporter of this bill from the conservative right has said, i want to see more border security. this thing won't pass without it. you'll see the other amendments try to water down how many people are eligible for citizenship, take some of those numbers down from the 10 or 11 million right now. and that's going to be the way that some of the people attack the bill. >> boras, is your immigration related? mine is foreign policy related. i have to stick with that. absolute lack of consistent obama foreign policy. i think we'll continue see the syria situation play out, we'll continue to see president obama and the white house in a corner and unable to get out of it, and this will derail him on immigration. he'll have to use his political capital, not much left of that capital. >> boras epstein and aisha mo moodie-mills, boras, we have to get a better head shot of you. that one's not doing you any justice. that's going to do it for me
right now. i'm craig melvin. thank you so much for spending part of your sunday with us. be sure to check back in next weekend. we leave you with one last look, mark kelly, gabby giffords, receiving the profile in courage award. >> when they gathered on a sunny day to celebrate the demonstration of an amazing physical strength -- okay. this, won't take long will it? no, not at all. how many of these can we do on our budget? more than you think. didn't take very long, did it? this spring, dig in and save. that's nice. post it. already did. more saving. more doing. that's the power of the home depot. keep you yard your own with your choice lawn insect controls, just $8.88. there's a reason no one says "easy like monday morning." sundays are the warrior's day to unplug and recharge. what if this feeling could last all week? with centurylink as your trusted partner, it can.
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