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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  February 24, 2014 9:00am-10:01am PST

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right now, power play, today in ukraine as a warrant is issued for the expresident on the run. criticizing the west for recognizing new government as ukraine looks to a new future, can the country survive the political upheaval throughout the country? >> the president is very forceful in his dealings with putin, but it's not necessary nor is it in our interest to return to a cold war construct, which is long out of date and doesn't reflect the realities of the 21st century. >> takedown. how did u.s. and mexican authorities capture the world's most wanted drug kingpin. the stunning details of the arrest 13 years in the making.
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and ground breaker, jason collins makes his tri as first openly gay player in the nba. we'll look at the impact off the court. >> message to other athletes, doesn't matter period, be your true authentic self and never be afraid or ashamed or have any fear to have your true self. >> very good monday to you. i'm kristen welker in for andrea mitchell. the new interim government has issued a warrant for the arrest of ousted president viktor y yanukovy yanukovych. russia is openly questioning the legitimacy of the leadership and criticizing the west for recognizing that new government. for latest from ukraine, i'm
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joined by chief foreign correspondent richard engel. you have been there on the ground. we know how fragile this situation is. what's the latest there today based on what you're seeing? >> it's actually not very fragile here in kiev. what we're seeing now is an expansion of this conflict as people are starting to realize what the geopolitical consequences might be. very strong statements from the russian foreign ministry and that singing behind me, the protest square where this revolution began has become something of a memorial square and filled with flowers and people coming here all day to pay respects for the roughly 100 people in the country over the last 72 hours. there is increasingly religious component to this as the churches in this country most of the churches not significantly the russian orthodox church but the other churches are firmly behind the takeover here. what we're seeing now is the
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larger political significance of this coming to play with russia coming out absolutely against the political takeover that is coming here, saying that the revolutionary -- the people who took over the government are ultranationalist radicals and comparing what is happening to the rise of the -- germany before the nazi takeover. >> richard, what are the implications of those statements by russia for a transition to a coalition government in ukraine and the u.s. and its involvement? >> reporter: i think it's hard to know what russia's next move will be. it seemed initially that russia is taking a wait and see approach. it's hardening its line, denouncing this government and on "meet the press," we saw the national security advicer rice talking to david gregory, endorsing the government saying that as far as the u.s. is concerned yanukovych is
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finished, no longer the president here. he doesn't want people to talk about -- they don't want to turn into a cold war ideology. it certainly seems the cold war ideology is returning with ukraine being pulled between europe and the united states on one hand and russia, which does not want to see this country fall out of its sphere of influence. >> richard, we're seeing these images of yanukovych's compound. they show how lavishly he lived. do we have any sense of where he is? we have the video emerge over the weekend of him being taken from his compound by helicopter. do we have any idea on this monday where he might be? >> reporter: no, we really don't. there have been so much conflicting reports. i could run you through the rumors of where he was thought to have been been seen but we frankly don't know. the rumors range from a russian warship to a monastery. we have been looking for him and so far the whereabouts are
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unconfirmed. he was last supposedly seen in that video when he left in the middle of the night getting on to a helicopter with suitcases. it seemed that he was preparing for what turned out to be a one way trip. >> richard, just finally, tymoshenko released over the weekend. she says she doesn't want to become the next president. but what role do you expect her to play in this transition that's under way? >> reporter: it's hard to know. she would be the front-runner at this stage but there are many who were involved in the revolution in the square who don't want to see any of the old players. she had her own problems with reputed links to organized crime in this country. so it's possible we will see an entirely new cast of characters but at this stage, she's probably the leading political
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front-runner and certainly the most well known of the politicians in ukraine who clearly suffered at the hands of the previous government was jailed and ill in jail, but her political comeback is by no means guaranteed. >> richard engel reporting from kiev, thank you. as political instability continues in ukraine, russia and u.s. attempt to assert their influence. susan rice appeared on nbc's "meet the press" yesterday. >> it's not in the interest of u.s. or russia or europe to see the country split. it's in nobody's interest to see violence return and situation escalate. this is not about the u.s. and russia, this is about whether the people of ukraine have be democratic and be part of europe, which they choose to be. >> what will be the role of the u.s. and other world powers be in ukraine's politics?
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joining me now, former u.s. ambassador now at harvard and senior foreign affairs columnist at global post. thank you for joining me, appreciate it. >> thank you. >> we're just learning that deputy secretary of state william burns is going to travel to kiev with officials from the treasury department. other economic advisers. what does that mean the u.s. clearly trying to follow through with what we heard rice say over the weekend, which is that the u.s. will provide aid along with its allies? >> this is a very sensible strategy that the obama administration is following and susan rice was exactly right yesterday. this cannot be a return to the old cold war of 30 or 40 years ago. it's a very practical measure by the u.s. to support as europe is doing this new interim government. the ukrainian parliament put yanukovych aside and they took away his powers because he fled the capitol and hasn't been seen
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since. they are trying to stabilize the country and move it towards the may 25th elections. if the u.s. can convince the ukrainian interim government to seek support from the international monetary fund from the world bank to have a measure of political support from europe, that's the right approach. that's where washington should be in this 21st century struggle for power between moscow and the west over ukraine. >> and ambassador, as we just heard richard engel reporting, russia has had some very strong language for the u.s. prime minister medvedev saying they don't recognize the transition government and that the west, u.s. should not get engaged in this. how does that factor into how the u.s. might proceed here? >> well, it was an inevitable
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the russians would react. as you now russia and ukraine have been linked culturally and economically and politically for many hundreds of years going back to kiev in the tenth and 11th century. the russians have always seen ukraine as part of their empire. in the last 20 years, an essential partner of russia and now to see yanukovych flee and fail miserably and see the protesters succeed in kiev and the ukrainian parliament take reigns and begin to steer them in a westward direction towards the european union, that's a blow to vladimir putin and what he stands for. you can be sure the russians will react. we saw that in medvedev's statements. obviously the world community needs to convince the russian s this cannot be a repeat of decades past when they used
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military force, they need to respect decisions maeld by ukrainians and allow these elections to go forward peacefully. >> just a quick point on putin. we saw images of him enjoying the olympics but there's certainly another side which you raise. a lot of people see him as the architect of the government crackdown that occurred in ukraine. >> i think that's reasonable to assume that the russian government was advising president yanukovych, the departed president to use force against the demonstrators. you see this vit tree olic hateful language from moscow describing people in streets of kiev, likening them to nazis. it's completely inaccurate but does give an indication that russia is going to play for keeps here. i think again very smart of the obama administration to put this on a political level and stress the need for peaceful change not for the use of military force. >> and i quickly want to get your reaction to something that
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ambassador rice said in reference to her handling of the benghazi incident. take a listen. >> that information turned out in some respects not to be 100% correct. but the notion that somehow i or anybody else in the administration misled the american people is patently false. and i think that's been amply demonstrated. >> she's defending herself there. what do you make of it? >> i've long thought ambassador rice was criticized unfairly over benghazi. the recent "new york times" report does indicate that some of the facts of her critics were just plain wrong. so i think benghazi has been overly plik sized and it's unfair to go after ambassador rice. >> thank you for your insight. we appreciate it. >> thank you. >> as the sas the sochi games co
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a close, a look at the final medal count. russia is on top with 33 medals total, 13 of them gold, followed by the united states and norway. team usa added more hardware in the four man bobsled, they slid into third place bringing home a bronze for team usa. last night's closing ceremony capped off a successful and controversial and successful games for russia. the olympic flag was lowered and handed off to the mayor of south korea's city, which will host the next summer olympics in 2018. it was different than the other times i tried to quit. [ male announcer ] along with support, chantix varenicline is proven to help people quit smoking. it's a non-nicotine pill. chantix reduced my urge to smoke. that helped me quit smoking. [ male announcer ] some people had changes in behavior, thinking, or mood, hostility, agitation, depressed mood, and suicidal thoughts or actions
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in three weeks president
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obama will publicly pay tribute to courageous service members overlooked in our country's history because of their race and ethnicity. awarding the medal of honor to 24 of america's heroes. nbc's chief pentagon correspondent jim miklaszewski joins us now. what's behind the timing behind the 24 new medal of honor recipients? >> congressman dated this 12 years ago when they ordered the administration at the time to begin looking at possibilities that there are some service members in world war ii korea and vietnam wars who were discriminated against when it came to be considered for medals of honor. 12 years later and going through hundreds, like 600, 700 possible cases it was finally narrowed down to these 24. and interestingly 17 of them are hispanic. there is one jewish service
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member who will receive post homously the medal of honor and one african-american and five are listed as caucasians. now of those 24, only three of them system remain alive and are expected to show up at the white house for the ceremonies headed by president obama march 18th. >> i want to read you something that a a vet had to say with an interview with the "washington post." i never thought much about it but i think this is something the military always should address because in almost every process we have, someone is overlooked. what do you make of that? what has the reaction been within the pentagon? >> the reaction in the pentagon has been very positive. when you consider the timing, world war ii, the korean war, it was 1948 that president harry s truman desegregated, integ rated
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the u.s. military to allow african-americans to serve side by side in all capacities and all commands with white soldiers and commanders. but if you talk to the historians, there was ram pant racism in the military that continued for years. there was racial strive particularly during the vietnam war between african-americans and whites and so some of the scores hadn't even been settled by that time. chuck hagel even talks about his experience in vietnam where he had an african-american lieutenant who was his commander and they essentially had to link arms and force the white members of their command to segregate with the blacks. that many years later in vietnam. so it's not surprising that it would have taken the pentagon this long in part because of the
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700 or so cases. many records have been destroyed and many of those who witness the events are long gone. it was difficult to come up with a composite of names. they came up with these 24. it is interesting that the vast majority, 17 of them, are hispanic, only one african-american, one jew, leonard kravitz, whom by the way -- it was this order by congress was loosely named the lenny kravitz act to force the military, the pentagon and all of administrations to study the past discrimination in the military and try this many years later to make things right. >> just incredible. thank you so much for that report. we appreciate it. >> okay. >> well, the taliban claims it is calling off talks over captive american sergeant in exchange for prisoners being held at guantanamo bay. a spokesman said they are
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suspended talks because of the changing situation in afghanistan. he went missing from his american base in afghanistan in 2009. the white house tells nbc news they are not in talks with the taliban about the 27-year-old soldier but would like to see him return home soon. joining me now is "washington post" diplomatic correspondent ann gearan. we appreciate it. >> pleasure. >> what do you make of this statement from the taliban? let me read it to you. quote, we have been holding bowe berg daul since 2009 and wanted to exchange prisoners but our supreme leader asked us to stop it citing the changing situation there in afghanistan. what do you make of that? why do you think they are calling off the talks? >> it sounds as if they are a little spooked by a lot of things. they are not specific about what changing circumstances means. but if you think about the current political climate in afghanistan, it's pretty
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topsy-turvy. we have hamid karzai who will leave office in april. he is barred from running again. the field is wide open for who may succeed him. in the meantime, he's holding out not signing a security agreement with the united states which will govern a whole host of things, troop level for next year is the thing that is most immediate in most american's minds but a lot of other things about how the united states will operate in afghanistan. and if you're the taliban, you're watching that really closely. they want to know who's going to be in charge where. how many forces will be where, what the new government in afghanistan's relationship with the united states will be, what the relationship with pakistan will be? a whole lot of things affect what happens next. all of that said, there has been some kind of proto discussion, talks about talks, third party
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talks, we don't really know the specifics of it. and what the taliban appeared to be saying in the statement yesterday is, even as tenuous and tangent shal as that kind of contact is, it's too much for us right now. >> is it part of the issue for the united states, at least, that there is a short window to get this accomplished? they want this to be done before the troops leave afghanistan because they lose some of their leverage once that happens? >> absolutely bowe bergdahl has been a prisoner of war for nearly five years. the u.s. is looking at the clock and knowing all of the combat troops and most of the troops period will be leaving the country this year. president obama has promised that is absolutely iron clad going to happen. my guess is there won't be a re -- will be a residual force left, pretty small, but in no way the same kind of thing where the u.s. military was the most
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powerful force in the country. that will be gone. and they are worried they will lose some negotiating leverage. >> i want to follow-up on that. you talk about the residual force. we're learning it might be as fall as 3,000. what are you hearing about that? >> that's the very low end of the range one hears. that would really very much sir couple describe what the force is able to do. it's described as a train and desift mission with counter terror capabilities and force of 3,000 wouldn't be able to spread itself thin across the country to do any part of the mission. >> not what the military is recommending to the president? >> no. >> ann gearan, thank you so much. take a look at this. record cold temperatures this winter have set the great lakes into a deep freeze. now a new image illustrates the remarkable expans of ice as seen
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from space. earlier ice cover over the great lakes hit 88% for the first time since 1994. a programming note now, it's a very exciting day here at msnbc. we debut our new lineup, we hope you caught the daily rundown and jan sing and company and news nation. "andrea mitchell reports" has moved up earlier at noon eastern every day. coming up, ronan farrow daily along with the reid report at 2:00. this rounds out with "the cycle" and "now" with alex wagner. if i can impart one lesson to a
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players and it's weird obviously this but at the same time it is what it is and it's part of life. >> jason collins, is trying to take a historic turn on the hard wood in stride but the short term contract with the brooklyn nets will have big ripple effects across our nation. joining me now, susan page and jonathan capehart, msnbc contributor and "washington post" editorial writer. thanks both for being here. jonathan, let me start with you. what do you make of jason collins getting out onto the court and playing? what is sort of the national impact of that? >> well, look, he's just crashed through the last remaining sort of glass closet that there is. he was a first professional athlete to come out of the closet last april now the first professional athlete to actually play in one of the big four professional sports. in this case it's basketball and the team that chose him is the
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brooklyn nets. what's historically significant on top of all of that, it was in brooklyn, the brooklyn dodgers where jackie robinson broke the color line in baseball. this was a huge, huge deal. >> susan, you heard jonathan talk about the significance and the other thing that's interesting, he wants to wear the number 98, the year that matthew shepherd was murdered. it was so much symbolism surrounding yesterday. >> he took to the floor and there was applause by fans from both for both teams. then it stopped and they played basketball. he crashed through this big barrier and people move on, which is really what you hope will happen when things like this occur. >> everyone has said they are excited to get to the point when this isn't -- shouldn't say everyone, excited to get to the point when it isn't such a big
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headline. on the other side of things, arizona, let's look at what's happening there. the legislature passed a bill that would allow businesses to deny service to the lgbt community on religious grounds. the governor brewer has said she doesn't know how she's going to decide, whether or not she's going to sign this. do you have any sense of what she's going to do? signali >> signals are she will not sign. she's in her last year in office. signing it would be hugely controversial across the country. arizona has the super bowl next year and may face the same boycotts they faced when arizona enacted that very tough law against illegal immigrants. i think the indications are she probably won't sign it. this is an area where public opinion is changing pretty fast and the idea that it is acceptable to discriminate by law against gay couples is something that i think we're just moving past that as a country. >> jonathan, where do you fit
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arizona into the broader discussion about same-sex marriage? you have a number of states legalizing same-sex marriage and folks saying it's a reaction to states legalizing same-sex marriage. >> it certainly flies in the face of what we've been seeing over last few months, just since december or january we've seen constitutional amendments against same-sex marriage, declared unconstitutional. utah, virginia, might get this -- also nevada. so what arizona is doing is going backwards and everyone knows it's going backwards, which is why we're seeing people on the left and right particularly republicans come in from arizona, senator flake and mccain saying do not sign this bill into law. >> and jonathan, i want to get you on the record. do you expect governor brewer to sign the legislation. susan says no. >> i would be very surprised if
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she signed the legislation, there's a lot of pressure not to sign it but i would like to think that a governor who's being told by people from both parties and across the idealogical spectrum that this is discrimination, my hope is she would do the right thing and not sign it. >> we had an announcement over the weekend from former president george bush, who announced that he's launching a study, how to reintegrate veterans into the workplace. i'll get your reaction on the other side. >> get slightly emotional talking about because i was an emotional -- i'm in there with them and my spirit is always uplifted when i visit with vets. we have a society incredibly comfort and too many people saying woe is me, not our veteran community. they say what can i do to continue to serve? >> former president getting emotional there and really thgs the first time we're seeing him
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enter a debate or discussion in a long time. >> george w. bush has stepped back from the public eye since he left the white house. this is clearly an issue about which he feels strongly. and it's one way to address the repercussions of the two wars that were launched during his tenure. i think this is going to be one of the main things he tries to focus on during his post presidency and one on which americans are really going to unite. >> i want to move to the big announcement out of the house. we have learned about yet another retirement today, representative john dingell, longest serving member of congress in history. 11 democrats and 9 republicans who are retiring. put this in a broader context. we've been reporting on these retirmts and when you look back historically it's not that much larger than what we've seen in past years. >> david walsh has looked at the numbers and this is an unusually
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large group of people but notable one. john dingell was first elected to the house when dwight david eisenhower was serving his first term in the white house. what kind of history and span of time is that? it's pretty incredible. >> jonathan, let me turn to you and get your thoughts. what do you think the implications could be in 2014? >> well, for the house it means the democrats are going to have another seat to try to hold on to and makes it a little more difficult for democrats to retake the house in 2014. but it means it's a loss of institutional memory, of i'm thinking star power but that's not the right word to describe congressman dingell. he's a star within the party but has the brain power and knowledge and political savvy that the party, you know, the party is going to lose that when he retires. >> jonathan capehart, susan page, thank you both so much for
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this great discussion. >> thanks, kristen. >> the politics of snow have plagued many government officials this winter including bill de blasio, the "today" show's al roker publicly scalded the mayor. >> schools all throughout the northeast closed with the exception of new york city, which i think is inexcusable because the mayor has not closed the schools. it's dangerous out there. >> and angry there. this morning the two buried the shovel so to speak. >> i want you to know we have a little snow coming up the next few days. >> you've been peeking. >> i would like you to join us, this is the sanitation department official hat, join us with snow clearance -- >> my dad was a bus driver and used to drive a snow clearing bus. >> new york strongest. >> they've done an amazing job.
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only from xfinity. tensions continue to run high with no sign of anti-government protests ending any time soon. over the weekend more proof of a deeply divided nation. as thousands of demonstrators turned out in the venezuelan capital. protesters are calling for president ma dur ro to step down because of food shortages and falling economy. chief global correspondent traveled to venezuela last week and joins me now. bill, what is the very latest on the ground there that you're seeing? >> reporter: well, there's no question that the protests continue in intensity. no question that this is the biggest challenge to the rule of
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maduro since he assumed power under a year ago and no question that those demonstrations are not going to stop. they are on both sides, protesters dressed in white and pro-maduro supporters dressed in red. they haven't clashed so far but everyone worries that that is a possibility. there's no question that we are not yet at a tipping point. we are not yet at the point where president maduro's rule is seriously challenged in the sense that he could go. the two things driving this, number one, yes, this is a political crisis, a crisis of a socialist revelation which has been going for 14, 15 years now and many of those student protesters believe the revolution has promised a great deal but hasn't actually delivered. but it's also an economic crisis. venezue venezuela sits on the largest oil reserves but this is a government that can't manage to
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keep the lights on and country with the biggest inflation rate at 56% and remember, it is even illegal to public the annual inflation rate and one of the worst crime rates in the world. an average of 71 murders a day every day. so those are the kinds of things that people are protesting about, not just whether maduro does fill the shoes of hugo chavez, the answer to that at the moment is a resounding no. >> bill, there are implications for the united states as well. obviously u.s. officials watching this quite closely, secretary kerry condemning the violence there. what are the implications for the u.s.? >> reporter: there is yes a bit of a war of words at the moem. president maduro's latest remarks were that john kerry was arrogant, asking them to respect people's right to protest.
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maduro has always used the trick of blaming other people. he blames people inside the country as being fascist and revolutionaries and also blames the united states. he says the u.s. is behind all of this and wants civil war. now, the secretary of state john kerry and state department describing that as absolute nonsense but maduro has three times expelled u.s. diplomats. the situation is fluid. i think there are two big questions, number one, can the student demonstrators get enough momentum and traction to make this more than just a student protest? because we saw that seven years ago and it didn't work. number two, the question for the government is, can they control these protests without being so heavy handed that they make things even worse? there's no question that events in venezuela are on a bit of a tight rope. no question that these
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demonstrations will continue. >> and bill, i want to shift gears now. you are standing on cope pa ka ban na where the opening ceremony is 894 days away. there are reports that rio has a lot of work to do. is rio going to be ready? >> reporter: i don't want to make too many xpar comparisons but between venezuela and brazil, there are protests about the lack of basic services and cost of the olympics and soccer world cup which happens this year. protests too about the high crime rate and actions of police, but the two places couldn't be more different. i've spent a lot of time with brazil's -- rio's mayor and he assures me the city will be ready 100% guaranteed. olympic officials aren't so sure though, remember rio won the games over three other cities,
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including chicago yet it was the least prepared to host the games. olympic officials are saying rio, you haven't got a moment to lose, we're going to constantly supervise you and keep an eye on the project. some things aren't built but a lot of it for the olympics and 894 days, a lot of things are not ready yet. >> we know you will continue to track it, bill neely, thank you so much, appreciate it. it was a spell binding finish this weekend to a county spelling bee in missouri in a fete of intel lekt and endourns, they duelled on stage for 66 rounds. organizers declared the epic battle a tie when they ran out of preapproved words. that must be a first. they'll rematch next month to decide who will represent missouri in may's national competition in washington, d.c. how do you spell nerves of
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what's your policy? taking down el chapo guzman was the first step now they want the kingpin to face justice in their country. mark potter joins me now. appreciate it, mark. first i want to get to that point. mike mccall over the weekend said that guzman should be extradited to the u.s. is that realistic? do you anticipate that's going to happen? >> not for some time. the mexicans have already said they want to try him first and want to put him back in prison from which he escaped 13 years ago. u.s. officials have a lot of charges against him and six or seven u.s. cities and like to see him come here to face those charges. but the reality is that he is in mexico. he is a mexican. the mexicans captured him and
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they want to try him first. and it's a matter of pride in the country. so i think it's highly unlikely we're going to see him here in this country for quite some time. this search for chapo in mexico lasted for more than a decade since that escape in 2001. but he was always in the mountains, very hard to get and very protected. he paid off everyone. he was a robin hood and paid locals and he was highly protected. what we're hearing is that a year ago, he started to come into the city and he was tired of being in the mountains and came down there to party and they had a couple of opportunities to get him and missed him. just a week ago we're told they raided a safe house where he was and they tried to break down the door but it was still reinforced. while they were doing that, they believe he was inside and escaped by going out through a tunnel dug through the bottom of the house and went out to a drainage ditch. he was then picked up and got
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away. but other people there were apprehended and interrogated and they gave up the fact that he also had a place in the resort city and they then focused on that. on saturday morning, the mexican marines burst into that building on the fourth floor and kicked down the door to the apartment and found him asleep in bed with his wife. he was still grog gi when they came in and arrested him there. the end of his reign as the releader of the cartel, the man that so many people say is the biggest narcotics dealer in the world. >> and mark, just put this into context for us, obviously someone is going to step into his position, but this really is quite a big blow. to you anticipate escalation of violence in the wake of this arrest? >> many people fear rival traffickers will try to take over his routes and that could lead to violence.
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he was a man who was believed to be very, very much in control of that organization. head of the cartel. now that he's gone, there will be disruption. this is seen in mexico as equivalent as the killing of escobar in columbia. this is huge for the mexicans, not only symbolically but also in fact and there are some people who believe we may see a drop for a short while in some level of drug trafficking in the u.s. until other cartels figure out how to take over and that could be a bloody fight. >> mark sppotter, we appreciate your reporting. now some sad news to report, e news confirmed harold ramis passed away, the film maker and actor was best known for ghost busters and caddie shack and
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seasoned veteran who will yell into my ear when screw up. it's time for today's headlines. >> the president was in full control of the country 72 hours and now a wanted man. >> now that the olympics are over we need to watch behavior of the russians. >> putin will want to crack down more. >> they are very worried about what's coming next. >> mexico captured its most wanted man. >> extradition to the united states where there are multiple indictments, san diego, new york, chicago. >> colorful end to the 22nd olympic games in sochi. >> the producers have a sense of humor. >> jason collins. >> first gay player to play in the nba. >> make yourselves at home, to which some of you are thinking that's been the plan all along.


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