tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC May 16, 2013 10:00am-11:01am PDT
and this evening we'll continue to talk about these in greater detail. iraq was also another area of discussion for us on regional issues. transparent elections in iraq and the participation of insuring the participation of all political groups in the elections are both very important in iraq. with everyone's participation we would like to see a peaceful period in iraq and this is what both he and the united states would like to see. with respect to the middle east, peace process, we discussed with the president this important issue which is very important for regional peace. in the attack against myanmar, which was taking humanitarian aid to gaza, turkish citizens and one turkish american citizen were killed. and as you know, we are working with the government for
compensation for those who lost their lives. and the visit that i will pay to gaza, will contribute to the peace in gaza and to unity in palestine in my opinion. the turkish republic of northern cyprus is always in favor of, in cyprus, we believe that there is a lot of opportunity to reach an agreement on the cyprus issue. and this is an area in which we continue to focus on. we have discussed iran, azerbaijan and all of these issues and we have also briefly touched upon some developments in africa and also about myanmar. our joint fight against terrorism will continue to be the case, as i said before. and we also touched upon issues related to the defense industry. and i can say that this has been
an historic day, historic turning point in the context of turkish/american relations on the issue of regional and global issues, the partnership between turkey and the united states serves peace, stability and unity and we'll continue to do so even more in the future. i will cut my remarks short, not because i am trying to flee from the rain, rain is considered to be a great source of abundance, but i will stop here to say i hope our discussions will be beneficial for our future relations. >> before we get started, mr. prime minister, do you want an umbrella? because we can arrange it if you need it. you're okay? all right this will be incentive for the press to ask concise questions and for us to give concise answers. i'm going to start with juliana goldman of bloomberg. >> unfortunately we all forgot
umbrellas, mr. president, i wants to ask you about the irs. can you assure the american people that nobody in the white house knew about the agency's actions before your counsel's office found out on april 22nd? and when they did find out, do you think you should have learned about it before you learned about it from news reports as you said last friday. and are you opposed to there being a special counsel appointed to lead the justice department investigation? and also, mr. prime minister, what is the status on efforts to normalize relations with israel? and do you still plan to go to gaza in the coming weeks? >> with respect to the irs, i spoke to this yesterday, my main concern is fixing a problem. we began that process yesterday by asking and accepting the resignation of the acting director there. we will be putting in new leadership that will be able to
make sure that following up on the ig audit that we gather up all the facts and hold accountable those who have taken these outrageous actions. as i said last night, it is just simply unacceptable for there to even be a hint of partisanship or ideology when it comes to the application of our tax laws. i am going to go ahead and ask folks, why don't we get a couple of marines, they're going to look good next to us. just because -- i want i've got to change of suits but i don't know about -- our prime minister. there we go. that's good, you guys, i'm sorry about. >> but let me -- let me make sure that i answer a specific question. i can assure you that i certainly did not know anything
about the ig report before the ig report had been leaked through press, through the press. typically, the ig reports are not supposed to be widely distributed or shared. they tend to be you know, a process that everybody is trying to protect the integrity of. but what i'm absolutely certain of is that the actions that were described in that ig report, are unacceptable. so in addition to making sure that we've got a new acting director there, we're also going to make sure that we gather up the facts and hold accountable and responsible to anybody who is involved in this. we're going to make sure that we identify any structural or management issues to prevent something like this from happening. again. we're going to make sure that we are accepting all of the
recommendations that the ig has in the report and i'm looking forward to working with congress to fully investigate what happened. make sure that it doesn't happen again. and also, look at some of the laws that create a bunch of ambiguity in which the irs may not have enough guidance. and not be clear about what exactly they need to be doing and doing it right. so that the american people have confidence that, that the tax laws are being applied fairly and evenly. so -- you know, in terms of the white house and reporting, i think that you know, you've gotten that information from mr. carney and others. you know, i promise you this. that the minute i found out about it, my main focus is making sure we get the thing fixed.
>> you know, i think that it's going to be sufficient for us to be working with congress. they've got a whole bunch of committees. we've got igs, already there. the ig has done an audit. it's going to be recommending an investigation. and you know, attorney general holder also announced a criminal investigation of what happened. between those investigations i think we're going to be able to figure out exactly what happened. who was involved. what went wrong. and we're going to be able to implement steps to fix it. and that ultimately is the main priority that i have, but also i think the american people have. they understand that we've got an agency that has got enormous potential power and is involved in everybody's lives. and that's part of the reason why it's been treated as a quasi-independent institution.
but that's also why we've got to make sure that it is doing its job scrupulously and without even a hint of bias or a hint that somehow they're favoring one group over another. and as i said yesterday, i'm outraged by this in part because look, i'm a public figure. if a future administration is starting to use the tax laws, to favor one party over another or one political view over another, obviously we're all vulnerable it doesn't matter whether you're a democrat or republican, you should be equally outraged. at even the prospect that the irs might not be acting with the kind of complete neutrality that we expect. i think we'll be able to fix it get it done and we've begun the
process and we'll keep going until it's finished. all right, guys, i think -- >> your question about gaza, according to my plans, most probably i would be visiting gaza in june. but it will not be a visit only to gaza. i will also go to the west bank. i place a lot of significance on this visit in terms of peace in the middle east. and i, this visit in no way means favoring of one or the other. i'm hoping that that visit will contribute to unity in palestine first of all. this is something that i focus on very much. and i hope that my visit can contribute to that process. thank you.
>> my first question to you, prime minister, you talked about chemical weapons and we know that turkey has some evidence. did you present that evidence to president obama in today's meeting? and what does turkey expect from the united states in this process? question to president obama about syria. you had said earlier that chemical weapons would be your red line in syria. do you believe that at this point in time, syria has overgone the red line? and you said that assad should go. will the u.s. take initiative to see assad go in the future? >> let me first of all say that chemical weapons and missiles, rockets, all that have been fired. all that information is shared between the relevant bodies within our administrations and it's not just turkey and the united states.
for example the united kingdom, and ale others have that those documents, that information, because we share information. and the u.n. security council other relevant authorities, will also receive that information in the proper time so that more information is provided to the public. so we'll continue to work in this way. >> well, as the prime minister indicated, you know, our militaries, our intelligence, and diplomatic personnel are constantly sharing information. and i've said in the past, we have seen evidence of the use of chemical weapons inside of syria. it is important for us to make sure that we're able to get more specific information about what exactly is happening there.
separate and apart from the chemical weapons. we know that tens of thousands of people are being killed with artillery and mortars. and that the humanitarian crisis and the slaughter that's taking place, by itself is sufficient to prompt strong international action and that's why the prime minister and i spoke extensively about the steps we're taking on the humanitarian efforts. the steps that we're taking to strengthen the opposition, politically. so that it is inclusive and representative of all the people inside of syria. the steps that we need to take to continue to strengthen the capacity of the syrian opposition that are on the ground fighting to protect themselves from the assad regime. and that we continue to try to mobilize the entire international community to put more and more pressure on assad, so that he recognizes that he is no longer legitimate and that he needs to go. and that we are able to move to
a political transition in which the institutions inside of syria are still functioning. but we have a representative multiethnic, multireligious body that can bring about democracy and peace inside of syria. with respect to what i've said in the past around rebels, what i have said is that the use of chemical weapons are something that the civilized world has recognized should be out of bounds. and as we gather more evidence and work together, my intention is to make sure that we're presenting everything that we know to the international community. as an additional reason, an additional mechanism for the international community to put all the pressure that they can
on the assad regime. and to work with the opposition to bring about that political transition. now there are a whole range of options that the united states is already engaged in. and i preserve the options of taking additional steps. both diplomatic and military. because those chemical weapons inside of syria also threaten our security over the long-term as well as our allies and friends and neighbors. but this is also an international problem. and it very much my hope to continue to work with all the various parties involved, including turkey. to find a solution that brings peace to syria, stabilizes the region. stable i'ds those chemical weapons, but it's not going to be something that the united states does by itself. and i don't think anybody in the region, including the prime minister, would think that u.s. unilateral actions in of
themselves would bring about a better outcome inside of syria. >> jeff mason? >> thank you, mr. president, i would like to ask you about the justice department. do you believe that the seizure of phone records from "associated press" journalists this week, or before it was announced recently this week, was an overreach and do you still have full confidence in your attorney general? should we interpret yesterday's renewed interest by the white house in a media shield law as a response to that? and how do you feel about comparisons by some of your critics, to this week's scandals to those a that happened under the nixon administration. >> i'll let you guys engage in those comparisons. you can go ahead and read the history i think and draw your own conclusions. my concern is making sure that if there's a problem, in the government, that we fix it. that's my responsibility. and that's what we're going to do. that's true with respect to the irs in making sure that they
apply the laws the way they were intended. that's true with respect to the security of our diplomats. which is why we're going to need to work with congress. to make sure that there's adequate funding for what's necessary out there. now with respect to the department of justice, i'm not going to comment on a specific and pending case. but i'll, i can talk broadly about the balance that we have to strike. you know, leaks related to national security can put people at risk. they can put men and women in uniform that i've sent into the battlefield at risk. they can put some of our intelligence officers, who are in various dangerous situations that are easily compromised, at risk.
u.s. national security, is dependant on those folks being able to operate with confidence that folks back home have their backs. so they're not just left out there, high and dry. and potentially put in even more danger than they may already be. and so i make no apologies and i don't think the american people would expect me as commander-in-chief not to be concerned about information that might compromise their missions or might get them killed. now the flip side of it is, we also live in a democracy, where a free press, free expression, and the open flow of information helps hold me accountable. helps hold our government accountable and helps our democracy function. and you know, the whole reason i got involved in politics is because i believe so deeply in that democracy and that process.
so you know, the whole goal of this media shield law, that was worked on and largely endorsed by folks like the "washington post" editorial page and my prosecutors was finding a way to strike that balance appropriately. and to the extent that this case which we still don't know all the details of. to the extent that this case has prompted renewed interest, about how do we strike that balance properly, i think nowes is the time for us to go ahead and revisit that legislation. i think that's a worthy conversation to have. and i think that's important. but i also think it's important to recognize that you know, when we express concern about leaks, at a time when i've still got
60,000-plus troops in afghanistan and i've still got a whole bunch of intelligence officers around the world who are in risky situations, in outposts that in some cases are as dangerous as the outposts in benghazi, that part of my job is to make sure that we're protectsing what they do. while still accommodating for the need for information. so or the need for the public to be informed and be able to hold my office accountable. >> for the prime minister i want to ask you, sir, if the united states does not step up its involvement in syria, in your view, how will that affect the war? and what plans do you have to react to bombing of the border town that the president mentioned. >> mr. prime minister, you're right, i have complete
confidence in our attorney general, he's an outstanding attorney general and he does his job with integrity and i expect he will continue to do so. >> you are talking about the part of the glass which is empty. i'd like to look at things with the glass half full instead of half empty. we are what we would like to see is the sensitivity on the part of the international community. >> and good day, while prime minister erdogan is speaking, he just introduced our team here, i'm andrea mitch until washington, joining me, chris cillizza and nbc's pete williams and kelly o'donnell. pete williams, you just heard the president express confidence in eric holder and link the a.p. leak investigation to the need for national security. he hasn't been asked or said yet whether or not he been briefed specifically on that national
security issue. it would be hard to believe that that had not come up ott a national security meeting, given the fact that there was a counterterror operation going on in yemen? >> i think we can be quite confident that the president knew all about the operation that was involved here and that is the source of the government's stated concern about the leak. but yesterday, attorney general holder said the president was not told about the decision to subpoena the a.p.'s documents here. he said there would be no reason to tell the white house about it. since it was a criminal investigation and they don't normally keep the white house informed. of course holder has said that he took himself out of that. because he had been interviewed about whether he talked to any reporters, he felt to avoid a conflict of interest, he should take himself off the case. but it is interesting, andrea, that the president of course he was asked the question, whether this should provide new interests in the shield law, he seemed to say yes. and i think one result of this controversy among both democrats
who were the initial proponents of the shield law protection and some republicans, are joined now by more republicans this time around. so maybe it has a better chance. >> let's go back to the white house, to the rose garden just for a moment. the president is about to answer a question from a turkish reporter. >> expectations, what is your general observation about this visit? >> we would have preferred assad go two years ago. last year, six months ago, two months ago. and you know, there's been consistency on the part of my administration, that assad lost legitimacy when he started firing on his own people and killing his own people. who initially were protesting peacefully. for a greater voice in the
sooner the better. in terms of the question, how, i think we've already discussed that. there's no magic formula for dealing with an extraordinarily violent and difficult situation like syria's. if there was, i think the prime minister and i would have already acted on it. and it would already be finished. and instead, what we have to do is apply steady international pressure. strengthen the opposition. i do think that the prospect of talks in geneva involving the russians and representatives about a serious political transition that all the parties can buy into, may yield results. but in the meantime, we're going to continue to make sure that we're helping the opposition and obviously dealing with the
humanitarian situation and will do so in close consultation with turkey, which obviously is deeply invested in this and with whom we've gotten outstanding relationship with. >> thank you very much. as you know, we will be meeting again this evening, so we'll have time to go in further detail. as i said before. >> kelly o'donnell here. the president juggling the syrian situation obviously there's very important meeting with erdogan. and uncertain ally, the a critical ally. at the same time erdogan saying he will proceed, and go to gaza, something the president did not want. the the prime minister wanted to see something from the u.s. >> and world audiences specifically watching the parts of the news conference that may not be as great of an interest in the u.s., given some of the other things we've been talking about. but this is critical and the president making clear he will
not do a unilateral action by the united states specifically asked about that. asked about the red line. and so this is a key partner who has been important in other events, when we go back to iraq and some of the delicate relationships there, back in 2003 and later and now a critical partner in that part of the world and looking forward to iran. chris cillizza, you're watching from the "washington post." as we look at the president, trying to juggle all of these second-term challenges, foreign and domestic. he gave a very strong defense of eric holder, at the same time defended himself on the irs, saying that they did not know about it. that they are outraged and angry, and there's no need for a special counsel. >> as i was watching the press conference sitting here, all i could think of is welcome to the modern presidency. which is just your ability to dictate. president obama probably thought that he would like to be talking about immigration and the economy and the debt ceiling and some good news, actually on the debt reduction this week.
what is he talking about. irs, syria, which as you both, you and kelly point out, extremely difficult international issue and ap. phone records being received. i thought it was interesting that the president before turning it over to the prime minister, made sure to give a very full-throated endorsement of eric holder, he's an outstanding attorney general, i expect he will continue to be so. on the irs, in the argument from the beginning for the obama administration, the president found out about this on when news broke of it friday. the larger question here is this -- is something that falls within the federal government, this is if he is the buck-stopper, if he is the decider, obviously george bush terminology, but if he's the guy that's the face of the federal government, should he, can he and even if he didn't know, does
he still bear responsibility? his argument is i do bear responsibility. that's why we're taking the actions we're taking. i think we're too soon after the event of him asking the acting director or the acting director to step aside, to see if that sort of lances the political boil. somewhat of an unsavory image, but i think that's what the president is trying to do. this has been a bad week, let's leave it as a bad week, not a bad month or bad year. >> is that possible as the president and prime minister erdogan leave the rose gasheden and go back to the oval office. david gregory from "meet the press." is the president too passive? >> what you see from the president today is an attempt to try to separate a lot of these issues and to just sort of drill down and solve problems. he used that the idea of fixing the problem over and over gab. didn't take the bait on a question about comparisons to nixon. doesn't want to engage in the idea of the second-term curse and all of these things coming together at one time. he wants to deal with these
things quickly. everybody knows within the white house this irs story, scandal is the most toxic. not just a passive response, but a question of the real whens, the real whys, who directed this kind of filtering. who knew what in the broader administration and in washington at the irs, but also within the administration and how is it dealt with going forward this is an issue that unites republicans as opposed to some of the other issues that are on the agenda right now. so i think the best thing you can do is try to be offensive about putting information out there. going on the offensive with regard to benghazi, calls for congress today to implement some of the recommendations, beef up security. talk about contingency planning with regard to use of the military of this kind of thing if he ever were to happen again. that's his posture right now. we found some problems. let's be the fix-it administration when dealing with these problems. to chris's point to avoid a
malaise taking over the white house for a longer period of time. >> peter alexander in the rose garden. i hope not in too much rain. you were part of the group brought in to get the dump, a classic washington dump of 100 pages of those emails that they had resisted putting out last week when they were selective leaks from the hill. of sometimes not quite accurate emails from those exchange as they were writing those talking points in response to a request from the ranking democratic member from the house democratic committee. do they think they've gotten ahead of the curve or is it going to be lingering? >> i thought what was interesting, when the president made his remarks, he connected the attacks in benghazi to the national security leaks indicating the challenge that that poses for his administration. saying he has no apologies for what has been done. at least to this point and acknowledging that there's a need to find that balance, i think the metaphor for how the
president came into this day was the shot of him standing alongside the prime minister of turkey. with the two umbrellas being held by the marines over their head. that's what they felt like, they're trying as david indicated to get on the offense on these issues, specifically on the issue of the benghazi talking points, the white house has insisted that that's a side show. that there is no "there" there. saying specifically today, even before the questions were asked by reporters that he's calling on congress, trying to push it back to capitol hill. indicating thatting can needs to fund the state department's charge to try to protect the u.s. embassies around the globe. they feel confidently that those emails showed no real connection to the white house and having read through them as best i could. it doesn't show that. it shows more of the diplomatic intelligence wrangling that happens in the ugly process that's a community of voices trying to create a few talking points. >> dissension within the c.i.a. from the number one to the number two former c.i.a.
director, david petraeus and his deputy. >> pete williams, i want to ask you about the special counsel issue. i remember full well when the special counsel was first agreed to by the clinton white house second term and how true to the first lady at the time, hillary clinton's warnings, a narrow investigation into whitewater later expanded. what ken starr reached into, led of course to the personal disclosures and to impeachment. at least the impeachment charge on the hill. if not the conviction. so the administration now, you heard the president saying no special counsel on the irs, will they be able to contain it, do you think to an ig investigation and a criminal investigation ordered by the justice department? >> i don't know what the potential conflict is between the justice department and the irs, the question always come up, can any administration investigate itself. we no longer have the independent counsel law which existed at the time of the clinton administration, that's
been done away with by congress. this administration and the last one has been reluctant to use prosecutors from outside the justice department. they've gone to u.s. attorneys who were not involved in the case, that's what they've done with the leaks for example. that's being done by the u.s. attorney, two u.s. attorneys. one looking at the leaks of the yemen operation. one looking at the stuxnet leak. when it came to the c.i.a. interrogation for example, where the c.i.a. people violated the law, that was done by one of the u.s. attorneys from connecticut. so the tendency has been to use other u.s. attorneys and i suspect that's what they'll do here. >> david gregory, let's talk about the second term phenomenon. is this just the normal conflation of problems that hit any white house in the second term? or is there something peculiar to this white house, perhaps to its isolation to the fact it
doesn't reach out more broadly and to the passivity that some have criticized this president? >> i think those are contributors. in terms of getting legislation done. but it goes to the point that is shared with other administrations. that so often events that you are not control of. end up controlling you. and in large part, you know that's what happened even in his first term with the financial crisis that he inherited. now the president is facing the irs and these kinds of things, the difficulty becomes what i think is some common theme here. government overreach. how it ultimately unites republicans who are already moving against him. whether it comes to implementation of obama care. the house having a vote to repeal obama care. or immigration reform. real questions about whether the federal government can administrator these kinds of programs when you have at the very least, incompetence, if not something worse going on in the irs.
that's going to be the debate in all of this. and we haven't even mentioned guns this was a big failure for the president, getting some kind of gun safety measure. the idea that it's somehow going to come back seems more and more far-fetched. timing is what matters here, andrea, as you know, because ultimately as the president loses time, he was waxing on about this at a fundraiser earlier this week. he can't get the time back to move the legislative agenda. we get closer to the time where these issues start to gel for the mid-term election and then kind of away we go. in terms of being able to come back and deal with the things he wants to deal with. immigration and specifically the budget. is that something that's still being discussed on capitol hill, capitol hill and the white house. >> although there's a little more running room now, chris cillizza, you could speak to this. the fact that tax revenues are up. a short-term now, this isn't going to solve the long-term entitlement program issue when the boomers retire. but short-term, they have more money now, the debt ceiling has
been, the breach of the debt ceiling won't be reached until september, october, rather than the spring so they've got a little bit more flexibility as revenues come in. >> it opens the window a little bit longer, andrea. it's not august now where we absolutely have to have some sort of deal on the debt ceiling it looks like it might be october or november, but i do think david is right on this the problem for the president is every day that he wakes up and has to answer questions, he didn't answer smartly a question about comparisons between his administration and the nixon administration. but the more he has to answer questions about irs, and i don't see that one going anywhere. that one has the longest life, or the a.p. investigation or benghazi, the longer these things happen. the longer that the hill is entertained with these things, we've got a third of all house committees are now investigating some aspect of the president of the united states. the longer that goes, the harder it is, even if you're the president of the united states, there is a bully pulpit.
it's just not as high as it was once. you can't turn the ship to exactly what you want it to be. and every day he can't turn that ship is one day closer to the mid-term elections, once the mid-term elections happen, i want to echo david, the 2016 campaign which frankly has already started. he struggles to get his agenda. you're seeing the sand go through the hourglass and i think he and his administration are well aware of that. >> from your perch on capitol hill you can see that the house republicans in particular are reinvigorated. they're looking forward to the mid terms and they think that they can just keep pushing hard. >> they're energized. they feel the public is behind them in greater part than perhaps before the facts they believe are in front of them. there's a lot they're going to be doing. at the same time you've got exhausted staffers and limited resources, one committee person told me they've only got four investigators to go through thousands of documents, they believe they've got a megaphone
on some of these issues and will for the foreseeable future. >> see you in a few moments and pete williams, thank you all so much. a big issue on capitol hill, and this afternoon, coming up for the white house, a high-level meeting combatting sexual assaults in the military. masses massachusetts congresswoman, a leader coming up next.
bubut we stillll need your s signature.. vovolkswagen s sign then d drie is back.k. and d it's neverer been easisir to get a j jetta. that's t the power of german n engineerining. get $0 dowown, $0 due at t signing, $ $0 dep, anand $0 firstst month's p pt on any n new volkswawagen. visit vwdedealer.com t today. i'm a veteran and a survivor of rape and harassment. in the military. earlier this year, i testified in front of the house armed services committee on the largest sexual abuse scandal in air force history. if the chain of command had been removed from handling sexual assaults before i was attacked i believe justice would have been served or perhaps it would have been prevented in the first place. >> air force veteran, jennifer
norris, as senator kirsten gillenbrand introduced legislation to try to tackle the problem. >> when we take these cases outside of the chain of command, we give the victims the basic confidence to know that justice will be had and that there will be accountability and transparency in their case. >> that's how we will be able to achieve the reforms that we think are needed to insure justice and fairness for every victim. >> massachusetts congresswoman, nicky tsongas is co-author of two separate bills to deal with the military's pervasive culture of sexual abuse. thank you so much, congresswoman, good to see you again. >> flad to be with you. >> how many of these stories do we have to hear before somebody takes charge in the administration and at the pentagon. the president is having a meeting with secretary hagel this afternoon. it does seem as though this has been going on for years and
years. and not until you -- >> we've played an important role as i've looked at this issue from first coming to congress, i was elected in 2007 and soon had a hearing around what the various branches of the military service were doing to address this issue. i was taken a bit aback by it. and maybe a month later i went to a wounded warrior luncheon i met a nurse who served multiple times in iraq and afghanistan and when i asked her if this was the issue that the hearing suggested it was. she said ma'am, i've never been assaulted but i am more afraid of my own soldiers than i am of the enemy. what it comes down to is about four different things. one is the crime itself. and all the efforts that we have to put into preventing the crime. second of all, the legislation that senator gillenbrand has introduced, sort of the role of the chain of command, making a decision to move forward with the case.
but second of all, all the powers that the chain, the commanders are given after there's been a trial. then third the issue of retaliation. the recent support that came out showing that 62% of those who seek to move forward bring charges against their assailant, suffer professional retaliation. and then the uniform code of military justice, which you know, as those of us in the civilian world were not intimately familiar with all the details. but i have to say, the recent decision in which a commander overturned the decision, a guilty verdict of a jury really was very eye-opening. we've got to come at this in lots of different ways. i've introduced a bill with congressman turner, it is bipartisan, that focuses on a commander's authority after a jury decision has been rendered. it would remove its authority, that commander's authority to overturn a jury decision. we've also seen all the variety of sentencing that's given to someone who is found guilty and
we in our legislation would say at the very least someone who is convicted of assault has to be removed, dishonorably removed from the service. >> we had another instance where a second commander, a woman general overruled a unanimous verdict. there was a hearing on the senate side last week when an air force official in effect blamed the victim. said when you've got people coming into the service from this hook-up culture. people coming in who are already participating in these kinds of sexual activities. >> what do you say to the command authorities? i say people are entering a profession, this is not comparable to any aspect of the civilian world. it is people who are willing to serve their country. defend our country. risk their lives, risk their long-term health. whether meltal health or physical health. this is a profession. they should not be at risk from
their very own. whether it be the assailant or the command structure that deals with these crimes as they move forward. congresswoman nikki tsongas from massachuset massachusetts. >> thank you for your interest. in texas, a powerful storm ripped through north texas overnight. killing at least six people. look at the sky. the national weather service says it was an e-4 storm. the second most dangerous on the fujita scale. 60 homes built by habitat for humanity were destroyed. searching for the missing, putting lives back together. hardest hit was granbury texas. 35 miles southwest of dallas. thousands of residents heard warning sirens and scrambled to take cover. >> it's rough, very rough. everything is demolished. >> the houses are no more, all leveled. >> destruction from 1-10, it's probably about a 10.
six americans including two u.s. troops have been killed in a suicide bombing in afghanistan. the brazen attack makes this month the deadliest month all year for coalition forces in afghanistan. former clinton defense secretary, william cohen joins me now, secretary cohen, thank you very much. two more troops. this was not taliban and it was not al qaeda or pakistan, taliban. this was another islamic terror group we understand. what is the future for afghanistan as we withdraw? >> well it's going to be difficult for afghanistan to survive as a quote in a form of democracy that we've been promoting. i think the question will be, how many troops are we going to leave behind. if it's not at a certain level, then i think congress will say, mr. president we have to get out altogether. much will determine, be determined by the president saying how many he wants to leave behind and how many congress say is acceptable.
i think the smaller the number, the less likely we'll have any there. in any event it will be very difficult to sustain the gains we have made to date and that's just unfortunately the situation we face. and we haven't seen enough of at seen enough of a transition to the the bulk. >> it tells us there was an interagency rivalry going on. what was described to me as a knife fight between the state department and the cia. and there are internal problems in the cia. mike morel, the deputy, and petraeus disagreeing about whether al qaeda references should have been left in. to try to spin it, that we had won the war on terror against al qaeda or as the white house claims, it was simply trying to eliminate confusing references before the fbi had begun investigating. as an outsider, a bystander, you have no stake in this. what do you think? >> a combination of both.
i think there were those in the administration that wanted to minimize it was a terrorist attack because the president by prior statements saying we are winning that war. i think it was a mistake to put that out. yes, al qaeda has been weakened but it is like a cancer and the cells continue to spread in various places at various levels and it is a long term commitment. terrorism is not going away. to the extend they tried to say this is not terrorism, a mistake was made. on the other hand. it is clear that the fact is that the issue being missed here is that why did the cia not have better intelligence about the nature of the threat? why didn't they have better intelligence about the inability of the militias in libya to provide security and why aren't we putting more money now after all of this, a loss of life, why aren't we doing more to protect our state department personnel on the front lines? that is the issue rather than the war between the state or cia. we've got people at risk and we're not protecting them.
we should be trying to find out why not and why can't we fix it now. >> you were on the watergate committee. you voted to impeach richard nixon as a house member and as a republican. is this watergate? the president was asked again today about the comparison made to the nixon white house. >> i think the comparisons are inappropriate, certainly at this point. the notion that you would have the irs conducting investigations based upon political ideology or political positions, that smacks of anemones list. to the extent it was very limited. you don't have it reach that well. you have an instrument of government being used for political purposes, that's something we have to come out strongly against. i think it won't go away initially. in the watergate example, to me
the most crucial point was there is a breach of faith. an historian wrote a book called breach of faith. people in this country don't believe, they don't have faith in the presidency. the congress, the judiciary, the military. >> the press. or the media. >> or business. and it is the breakdown in the faith in our government and the fact that we live under the rule of law and those rules seem to be stretched or broken. that could undermine the commitment of many, many young people. i saw a report that a large number of the so-called millennials have lost confidence and cynicism can affect us for years to come. >> do you think a special council should be brought in on the irs case? >> at this point i would say no. i think congress can exercise its oversight to investigate further if it appears that this is much higher and there were other levels of government at the white house level. then you can talk about a
special prosecutor at that point. what stories will be news in the next 24 hours? chris cillizza is back. we're at a meeting with secretary hagel, other officials to talk about sexual abuse in the military. this is coming off the second time in as many weeks that we've had allegations of sexual misconduct within the military. this is an amazing thing about this week. and you and i know it well. in any other week, this is a hugely dominant story. in this week, it is a story that we'll focus on and we should focus on but it has been in many ways drowned out. this is an important moment for the president, an important for newly put in his job, chuck hagel. this is a problem and all parties know they need to address. hope any they get it addressed. learning about the allegations in the last few days, it is scary stuff. >> indeed it is.
martin dempsey will be there as well and this is a focus of our program. we will stay with it. thanks so much. that does it for us for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." tomorrow on the show, my friend and colleague of the new york times will be here to talk about syria. and my colleague tamron hall has a look at what's next on "news nation." coming up, more on the developing story out of north texas. the search for seven people right now still missing after tornadoes tore through several neighborhoods last night. six people reported dead. plus we're getting new information into exactly how strong one of those twisters was. we'll get the latest live. plus, olympic gold medalist cullen jones talks about his mission to try to save lives one child at a time by teaching children to swim. cullen will join the news nation live. [ children laughing ]
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the "news nation" is following developing news. the ongoing search for seven people still missing after deadly tornadoes ravaged parts of north texas. six people confirmed dead. officials who just toured the damage about 40 miles south of ft. worth, texas, describe the as, quote, total devastation. we're now getting some of the first satellite images of one of those giant twisters. take a look at that. the national weather service says it was a mile wide with winds up to 200 miles per hour. a massive emergency response jumped way as dozens of people have been hurt and hundreds are homeless. >> serving demolished. >> reporter: what was it like when it hit? >> hell. it was like hell. >> destruction 1 to 10, it is probably about a 10. there's nothing left over there. >> authorities credited early
tornado systems for saving hundreds of lives. meanwhile habitat for humanity said all of the homes it built in the town of granbury were destroyed by the twisters. gabe gutierrez is in hood county, texas, with the latest on the emergency response. what is the update on those still missing? >> reporter: tamron, good afternoon. as you mentioned, seven people still unaccounted for. that number is down from earlier this morning when there were 14 unaccounted for. the local sheriff said several people were found with family and friends and that is what he hoped happened with the seven people still missing. the death toll remains at six people. total devastation here. we've been moved back from the worst part of the damage because of that search effort and the clean-up effort that is right now underway. as you mentioned, that neighborhood that was devastated here was built largely by habitat for humanity. and crews are still going through the rubble, trying to find anybody that still may be