tv MSNBC Live With Tamron Hall MSNBC December 29, 2015 8:00am-9:01am PST
on this press conference. gabe, what can we expect to hear? >> reporter: hi there, craig. good morning. we're expecting this news conference any minute and we're expecting to learn some more details about the arrest of ethan couch and his mother, tanya. . mexican authorities say they were picked up around 6:00 p.m. monday in the popular resort town of puerto vallarta. and this caps off an international manhunt that began two weeks ago. couch and his mother had been on the run and overnight the prosecutor's office here confirmed that they were in mexican custody. within the past few minutes or so, we just received a statement from the attorneys of ethan couch and they say, at this point we have not had the opportunity to speak with our client and we do no the anticipate being able to do so unless and until he arrives in the united states, until we have more information concerning this situation, it would not be prudent for us to make any further public statement. now of course, craig, this case
drew international attention back in 2013 when ethan couch was convicted of killing four people in a drunk driving crash near ft. worth. his blood alcohol content was three times the legal limit, and during sentencing his attorney had an unusual defense. he said that his client did not understand the consequences of his actions because of his affluent upbringing. the judge gave him a sentence of ten years probation, no jail time, and that provided widespread outrage on social media. the sheriff, however, says that he could face up to ten years in prison for violating his probati probation. he had previously said that. of course now he will be in much bigger trouble and his mother could also face charges. >> gabe, stand about i for me there, if you can, while we wait on the news conference to start. ari, what other charges are we looking at here? and also charges form the mother as well potentially, no?
>> exactly. this is fascinating. you are talking about people who got a second chance, burned it up, went on the lam, fled to mexico -- right? we would not expect the state of texas which has a very harsh approach to go easy here. potential charges against mr. couch would be at a minimum the ten years of the probation deal he didn't have to serve. they can go back to a judge and say he violated probation, you should get the ten years. beyond the fleeing itself and potentially, if provable, any false statements or other coverup that he may have done. you ask about the mother? look, she, according to authorities, we're waiting to hear, she may be up potentially for aiding and abetting a fugitive or a child under texas state law, that is illegal even if it is a minor engaged in unlawful activity and that could be a year in jail, up to a third
degree felony which carries up to ten years. again we are waiting to see what they say but we are talking about potentially serious charges prosecutors could legally pursue against both. >> i know you don't like to get into the speculation game -- are we ready to go to the sheriff? sheriff anderson speaking right now. stand by, we'll come back and talk out of this. >> we were the agency that had to work the initial accident scene, had a tremendously vested interest in making sure that ethan couch was brought to justice. felt like at the time that the court system did not adequately assess any punishment -- or adequate punishment at least. and so when he then disappeared, obviously people in this agency who had to work that crime scene and deal with the victims' families and do everything they did took it very personally. so it was a very high priority for us to make sure that we found him and got him back.
and we're very hopeful that very soon that's going to happen, he'll be back here. but the first thing i need to do is express the great amount of appreciation i have not only for the marshal's office, rick's people have just gone above and beyond in this case for us, to help locate ethan and his mom. the d.a.'s office has played, as always, a pivotal role in that. the marshal's fugitive task force that works out of this area, both the district attorney, the marshal and our agency all have people assigned to that task force. they have worked tirelessly almost around the clock on this since the disappearance of ethan and his mom. all of those people, not to mention police agencies across the state and across the country. every lead we had that we needed followed up somewhere else we contacted a police agency and they took care of it for us. everyone's been tremendously
cooperative. understand that there is a lot of things that you're going to want to know and ask about that we still are not going to be able to talk about because of the ongoing investigation part of this and the fact that we still are trying to get ethan and his mother back on u.s. soil and that is very important that we don't say anything or do anything that will prohibit that from happening or derail that. we're all scheduled to do that. we hope so. as i said early on, there was a strong feeling on the part of many people that they'd fled the country. obviously it was proven correct. we worked a tremendous amount of leads. we followed leads both locally, state wide in the country but then kept getting information that they were probably out of the country. eventually got some intelligence information that was very valuable, that they had probably
driven the pick-up truck that we put out at the last news conference, the information for people to look for. got some intelligence they'd probably driven that to the border, then crossed over the border and were perhaps still in that truck. continued to gather information, both locally and away, and learned through some interviews that what we suspected all along had happened, that they had planned to disappear, that they even had something that was almost akin to a going away party before they left town. our suspicion that his mother was assisting him and helping him has proven true, we believe. and so we followed those leads and eventually led to puerto vallarta, mexico, where they were taken into custody.
the information really kind of turned christmas eve is about the time that i think that the really kind of concrete information came in and they were able to concentrate on the area down there where they were eventually located. the problem with it was, as you can imagine, puerto vallarta at christmas time, tremendous amount of tourists down there. so american people were prevalent everywhere and it wouldn't be somewhere they would stick out. they were wise to go into that kind of area. what i think we could all classify as really good police work, found out where they were staying and where they were located and they were able to take them into custody. the mexican authorities have them in custody as we speak. we are working -- the marshals are working to get them back here to the states, at which point ethan will be taken into custody and put in our juvenile
facility here in tarrant county for a hearing there in front of a juvenile judge. we've now had an arrest warrant issued for tanya couch for hindering and apprehension so she'll be arrested and brought to our jail upon arrival back in the states. again, they are still officially in the custody of the mexican government right now. some of the questions you're going to have we'll just have to wait and not answer. some of the things i've been asked over the last 24 hours are stuff that we're just not going to be able to talk about. please understand we're not trying to withhold information, but a lot of people assisted in finding these people and those people deserve to be protected, what they told us, and they will be protected as far as we're concerned. so a lot of the information that came to us we're not going to be able to talk about how we got the information, not going to be able to talk about how we learned what we learned and
we're certainly not going to talk about the investigative technique that we got -- that they used to get them into custody. as i said, i think it was really good police work, more than anything else. we're excited that we have them back in custody. we're going to breathe a lot easier when they're back in this country and we have them locked up here in tarrant county and that's the ultimate goal. that's where we're headed. that's where we are. with that i'll turn it every o to mr. taylor, then will be back to answer questions. >> thank you, sheriff. morning, everyone. well, after 11 days of the u.s. marshal service tracking down ethan couch, we can finally say he is in custody. he was arrested last night by mexican authorities down in puerto vallarta, mexico. an echo with what the sheriff said. the working relationship that we have together here in the dal s
dallas-ft. worth area and our task force, one of the officers is assigned to the task force as well as the district attorney's office and we enjoy that collaboration. the law enforcement, state and locals is who brings fugitives to justice. this was nothing more than a textbook case of that. collaboration among all the officers, the tirelessness, dedication, perseverance, passion that these officers have in tracking down fugitives, that's why we're successful is because of that. it is because of the people. it also spans internationally, too, as we pursue fugitives in foreign countries. we have a great relationship with our mexican counterparts down there and they help us out a lot and we also help them out as well. that also carries to other countries as well. we still don't have a lot of details about his return, as well as the mother. we are still working through that with the mexican
government, but rest assured we are very happy and pleased that they are in the custody of the mexican authorities and they'll be returning to the united states here shortly. >> i also want to express my gratitude to especially the u.s. marble service for their assistance in getting the return of ethan couch and his mother. clearly, without their assistance we would not have him at this time, and we're very grateful to the marshal service as well as to the sheriff's department for their work on this case. when he is returned, along with his mother, we expect the mother to be charged with hindering apprehension in texas law, and then we expect to begin proceedings with ethan couch. as you know, there's already a hearing set on january 19th to transfer his juvenile probation to the adult system. we are bound by the sentence that he received from the juvenile court which was a ten-year probated sentence.
that sentence can be revoked. it is an anomaly of texas law that if we revoke his juvenile sentence he would stay in a juvenile facility until his 19th birthday, which is april the 11th, of next year. 2016. so if we proceed in a juvenile sentence, his maximum sentence that he will receive is four months of confinement. that, in my opinion, is not a sufficient punishment for the taking of four lives. our request of the court is going to be to transfer his probation to the adult court and deal with him in the adult system where we no longer have to be concerned about the best interest of the child, the child defendant in this case. so that's our plan going forward. let me again thank the public for their assistance in capturing ethan couch because we got -- our officers, the
sheriff's office, the marshal service received information from throughout the united states and foreign countries about the location of the vehicle and trying to find him. we're very grateful for everyone's cooperation in that. thanks. >> again, before i answer questions, let me say that probably the one group i didn't thank is the media as well. all the coverage that we got on this certainly generated a tremendous number of leads for us. you all have been very good and helpful in that. with that, if you'll raise your hand, don't yell at me. if you raise your hand, i'll try to get to everybody. understand if you've got something for them, please wait, they'll be up here after me. >> sheriff, now that he is in custody, what do you want to happen to ethan couch this time around? >> well, i'd like for him to be held accountable, as i've said all along. i don't think ten years probation as appropriate for killing four innocent people and
driving at three times the legal limit of alcohol in his blood. so i, along with the d.a., are going to be very hopeful that the case is transferred into an adult court. he is now an adult in the eyes of the state and i would like to see him put in an adult prison and serve out the remainder of his ten-year sentence. and hopefully, as we continue to investigate this, perhaps be able to file an additional case for fleeing from probation. >> are you saying ethan and his mother drove the truck all the way to puerto vallarta or was it left at the border? and also, is his father involved in any way? >> our understanding right now is that they did drive the truck down there. that's the information that we were told on different occasions. the investigation is ongoing and we're not at all through yet. i will say that, to this point, we haven't uncovered any information that the father is
involved. and that's all i can say about that. we certainly haven't ruled it out, but at the same time, all the work that we've done, we've not seen any indication that he was involved in this, to this point. >> sheriff, you said that before they left there was a sort of going away party? can you talk a little bit more about -- >> i don't know a lot to answer that question, to be honest with you. we were just told -- as we were trying to determine if this was premeditated, as rights of it was, a statement was made that they basically had a gathering before they left and kind of characterized it as more or less a going-away party, which to us meant that what we suspected had happened, that it was carefully planned and timed to get out of the country. so that was the important part of that. who was there, how it happened or where it was, i'm not familiar with. >> sheriff, just to be clear, you -- would you characterize this as a potential going-away party involving family members? you also mention that the brother may have been involved
in some way to assist them. is that correct? >> no, i don't have any information about anybody assisting. >> maybe i misheard. the going-away party involve family members? >> i don't know who was there. honestly i don't. >> mr. sheriff, did this going-away party, did this happen after of the discovery of this video purportedly showing ethan at the party where the beer pong was being played? >> i think the timeline would show that. obviously it happened right before they left and they left after the video had surfaced. >> what kind of details can you share about the arrest itself? >> not really anything. it's not -- none of us were there. it was carried out by the mexican authorities. so i really don't know other than they supposedly stopped them in a roadway. i don't know anything more about that. >> so they were driving, you're saying? >> as we understand. again, we're just getting
thirdhand information from mexico did sha mexico -- they put out a statement this morning saying where they arrested him so i assume they were mobile. >> where are this he in mexico? in another city? in a special holding facility? and are you talking weeks or days until they'll be coming back here to texas? >> that's rick's world about coming back and i wouldn't -- i don't know, honestly, where they're being held, nor would we probably answer that at this point in time. >> in the mugshot released this morning, ethan couch's hair appeared to be dyed black. do you think he was actively trying try ing to alter his appearance to evade capture? >> i think that's the natural assumption you have to make if you look at that photograph. we talked numerous times during the investigation they did everything they could to change their appearance. when you see the photo of him, he certainly tried. he was easily recognizable. it didn't seem to work too well. i don't think anybody would have
not recognized him but his hair wasly markedly darker so i don' think there's any question. >> do we know how they got their resources, how they were spending? >> there is a lot of work still going on with that. obviously during the investigation there was references made and things like that but nothing we can talk about at this point. we'll keep working on a lot of that. >> now that he has been captured, what do you want to tell the victims' families? >> i just want to tell them that we have done everything humanly possible to bring justice to them and their loved ones. and as i said many times, i don't think initially that justice was served. we hope now justice will be served and, as i have no control over what happened the first time, now we have really no control over what happens now. it is in the hands of the
judicial system which, in our opinion, didn't work well the first time. but we certainly think this time, hopefully justice will be served and i will tell the families that for the sheriff's office and all of us here today, we did everything humanly possible and you're looking at three sleep deprived people who have been working on this around the clock pretty much trying to make this happen. so they're grateful, i'm sure. i haven't talked to any of them yet but i know with what was said earlier that they're going to be very relieved that he's going to be back. >> i know you said -- in terms of the tips that came in, but generally can you give us a sense, were these just tips that people saw them on street or was this tips generated from people close to them within their circle of friends and family? >> i would say both of those are generally correct. there were people that knew them that we talked to that gave information. there were people -- i mean dozens and dozens of calls of sightings, many of which were
erroneous, but they were people that thought they saw them somewhere. we certainly had our share of those. but also people that had valuable information that were able to share it with us. >> sheriff, you said they had this planned out, it was well intended. sounds like they were planning to run -- i guess forever because none of these offices were going to let this drop. right? >> no. and i think that was the message we tried to send out very strongly. when i was asked during the investigation if -- what would happen if we couldn't find him. i said then he's going to have a long life unable to return to his home. i mean he would have not -- literally not been able to come back to america because i don't care how long he was gone, the warrant would have stayed out for him and when he tried to cross back in he would have been arrested. so he was, at best, looking at a life of exile. no way he could come back to texas or the states, for that matter. so at some point we felt like if he stayed gone long enough, knowing the way they are, they'd
try to get back here and hopefully that would be an opportunity to take them -- take him into custody. but it didn't last that long, nor did we think it would with the amount of tips and publicity we generated. i felt like they'd find him. and they did. >> you think he crossed before the warrant was issued across the border? i mean how do you think he was able to cross so easily or -- >> well, i don't know. typically crossing over from here to mexico is not a difficult thing to do. the united states doesn't check people going out of the country, they check people coming into country. so i don't think there would have been any issue or problem with them getting out at that point, particularly since it was before any pick-up order or detention order was issued. >> sheriff, you've been very advoca vocal expressing your anger about the situation. what would you say to tanya
couch and helping her son evading capture? what do you think about her role? >> i'm not the least bit surprised, to be honest with you. we saw the actions of how she acted when the initial offense occurred. we saw how she acted throughout the trial. her entire focus has been on protecting ethan. her entire focus has been on making sure he didn't see any justice done, making sure he was not accountable. so for her to assist him i felt like was just a natural next occurrence. when he was gone and they said she was gone, i was absolutely not the least bit surprised and i wasn't surprised that they were found together. i'm not surprised that she helped him. and i just think if you've seen the depositions of that civil suit, when she's asked questions about the last time she disciplined and last time -- i mean there's just no chance that she will ever think he needs to be punished or held accountable.
>> were they staying at a resort? what can you say about their accommodations in mexico? >> i don't know anything about that. i really don't. >> you said at this point you don't have any evidence that the father knew about this. but if there was some kind of a going-away party, kind of indicates others were aware they were about to flee. are you looking at others who may have knowledge who may face charges as well? >> we're looking at everything right now. that's all i can say about that. i don't know that anybody there was absolutely aware of what was getting ready to take place, but from the discussion of the gathering with be it morals was that. we're going to continue looking at everything and i don't know that there will be any further charges filed. if we come across something we definitely will pursue it because we're going to be as aggressive as we can. >> what was the father's reaction when he was told about the arrest? >> whose? >> the father's. >> i haven't -- he wasn't on my list. i didn't call him. >> was he helpful at all?
>> he was cooperative, as i've said. when we interviewed him he was cooperative. didn't really give any information, claims he didn't really know anything. so to say that he was helpful or led us any direction, i don't think so. but he was certainly cooperative and answered our questions. just said he hadn't heard anything, hadn't heard from them and didn't have any idea where they were. >> i don't know who to speak about this, but the process of getting the couches back to the states. >> i'll let rick talk about that in just a minute. >> does this look like the kind of thing where they would stash a lot of cash ahead of time to pull off something like this? >> obviously -- i don't know. i think that was their intent was to try not to leave a trail of credit cards and things like that. so i think they were probably living a cash existence, from what we believe. but again that's just speculation at this point.
>> given everything that's happened with the discovery of the video at the party and going away party and ethan changing his appearance, in the eyes of la law enforcement, does this remove any doubt that the guy in the beer pong video is indeed ethan couch? does that remove any doubt whatsoever? >> i don't know that we could say that with any absolute certainty. we also all suspected that was him. i still suspect that was him. that hasn't been proven in any way, shape or form that i know of. so i'm not prepared to say absolutely it was him. it certainly looked a lot like him and some information we got from people was that he was there. >> there you have it, sheriff d. anderson there in ft. worth, texas giving an update on the o apprehension of the so-called affluenza teen, and his mother.
headline from that news conference there perhaps being that she is also going to face charges once they are deported -- once they are sent back, i should say, from puerto vallarta. apparently the sheriff thought all along they had fled the country. they were picked up in their pickup truck. they'd gotten a fair amount of intelligence apparently at folks who were at some sort of going-away party which gave authorities the impression all of this was preplanned. want to bring in our chief legal correspondent ari melber. sounded like tanya couch was going to be charged, with among other things, hindering apprehension. >> that's right. we were just discussing that potential charge right before the press conference, craig. now we know it is the charge they want to pursue. as i was telling you, that's a serious charge. that's aiding a fugitive. people could think about that from any of those kind of movies you see where you know it is a big deal, you aren't supposed to do that, even if it is your family member. interestingly, under texas law,
the range of punishment there is huge, ranging from one year if this is seen in a misdemeanor context, all the way up to potentially ten years if a judge determines that the underlying offenses related to ethan couch's issues, basically the obviously manslaughter that he pled guilty to with regard to drunk driving that took the lives of four people, as well algs the fleeing, whether those are at a felony level or not. that will be handled down the road. the other thing in watching this was the sheriff really openly saying -- what struck me is a texas size understatement that the justice system didn't work well last time when you have an individual who ends up taking four lives, pleading guilty to it. so no debate over whether he did it. is up for up to ten years in jail and gets none, all because, as we know, as is such a notorious part of this case, because his lawyers prevailed on idea he was too privileged and too rich to understand the full consequences of his actions.
unusual for folks watching at home see a sheriff sort of run down the justice system. though did he have positive wore for all the officers who greatly helped, to the press which gave needed attention. he was obviously saying strike one on the way it went down at first. >> taking swipe at the justice system as he stood right next to the district attorney. we heard the d.a. say they plan to try to take this juvenile sentence and transfer it to an adult court. >> that's critical. we have a juvenile system in most states that tries to deal with kids as kids. under texas law the d.a. was explaining that basically if you get a sentence, you'd likely be out by 19 because then you are an adult and there is a best interest of the child thing that basically means, hey, for normal, smaller offenses -- imagine a playground fight, or a small drug offense, someone goes in to juvi, they get out by 19 and get kind of a restart. their point is having given this
guy obviously tremendous leniency once, they don't want that to automatically trigger so their plan is to ask the judge to move this to the adult court where you could ideally, in their view, reinstate the probated ten years from the original offense and have him serve that in adult court. so legally i can tell you that's not automatic, that's a process that has to play out. practically i can tell you it is hard to imagine a judge rejecting that request now. >> all right. we've been following this breaking news here in ft. worth, texas again as we wait on ethan couch and his mother to be sent back to the united states. we are also following some breaking news in chicago on this tuesday morning. the arraignment hearing has just wrapped up for jason van dyke. van dyke is the chicago police officer charged in the death of 17-year-old laquan mcdonald. a short time ago, he pled not guilty to six counts of first degree murder and one count of official misconduct. this is his second court appearance since he was released
on that $1.5 million bond. nbc's sarah dallof is standing by for us in chicago. sarah, at this point do we know when he is due back in court? >> reporter: yeah. he will be back in court on january 29th at 9:00 a.m. chicago time, craig. this hearing today was very brief. there were some procedural things, some meetings between the judges and the attorneys. but once they got down to it and entered in that plea, it was over in a couple of minutes. jason van dyke was ushered out by his supporters and hurried into a waiting car which quickly took off. laquan mcdonald's uncle stuck around after the arraignment to talk to the press. he is very disenfranchised with the justice system. he says he believes the trial needs to be televised gavel to gavel in the interest of fairness. jason van dyke's attorney also touched on that. he says he's open to it, he needs to talk to his client. he also discussed his client's
mind s mindset saying it is a difficult time for him, he is worried about his family. he was asked is his client staying in the city while this case moves forward. he had no comment. >> there had been discussion about changing venue for this trial. did that come up this morning at the hearing. >> reporter: didn't come up at the hearing but his attorney indicated after hearing that they are still considering asking for a change of venue. they cite comments by chicago's mayor that condemned jason van dyke's actions, which of could rs course we saw on that violent dash cam video. rahm emanuel discussed those, condemned those actions. and the attorney says based on those and other comments by officials he may ask to have this case moved. >> sarah dallof for us in chicago on this tuesday morning, thank you. it has been a very busy morning so far. we still have lots more to get to. donald trump targeting clinton? not just hillary.
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we're also following breaking news in the fight against isis. the prosecuting is confirming ten isis leaders have been killed in air strikes this month, and that includes one leader with direct ties to the mastermind of the paris terror attacks, who the pentagon says was actively planning attacks against the west when he was killed in an air strike in syria. he have been kohlmann, who was this guy? >> we're just beginning to learn some details about him. his name surfaced in french media as someone directly connected to the mastermind of the paris attacks and someone again that supposedly was planning future attacks and that french authorities according to french media were active live
searching for. beyond that we don't know a lot about him other than supposedly earlier this year -- very early this year he left to go to syria. what he was doing there precisely we don't know. again, if he was ties to abaaoud and planning attacks with isis two mean he wasn't just necessarily in the lower ranks but he had achieved some degree of prominence, particularly that he was a target of the pentagon would mean he was involved with external operations which has been the focus of u.s. military attacks so far in syria. >> the other nine so-called isis leaders that the pentagon claims to have killed here over the past week or so, what do we know about them, if anything? >> there's only really been one other name mentioned as i'm aware identified by the pentagon as someone loosely in charge of the islamic state's external operations, ie, again, external
terrorist attacks. about you we don't really know much about who this individual was or the other people on the list of ten. it is important to emphasize that these attacks did not -- that the air strikes did not start this month. they've been ongoing for months. we have been taking out leaders of isis for -- again, for going on two years now in air strikes. you do kind of wonder why it is the pentagon felt the need to make a statement here. whether that was the significance of the people that were taken out or to assure the american public we're making "progress" in terms of removing the top tier of isis leadership. it is difficult to know. it is important to emphasize the statement from the pentagon just came out 24 hours after isis released a statement from its leader which would again suggest he is alive and kicking and still planning operations. we haven't managed to get him and i think until we really get the top, top tier, including al
baghdadi, it is going to be very difficult for us to point to individual figures that we've taken out and say we've won. >> we'll leave it there, my friend. he have been, thanks, as always. up next, a gop war of words -- not involving donald trump. also, marco rubio's campaign this morning slamming a new commercial by jeb bush's super pac. what if one piece of kale could protect you from diabetes? what if one sit-up could prevent heart disease? one. wishful thinking, right? but there is one step you can take to help prevent another serious disease. pneumococcal pneumonia. if you are 50 or older, one dose of the prevnar 13® vaccine can help protect you from pneumococcal pneumonia, an illness that can cause coughing, chest pain, difficulty breathing, and may even put you in the hospital. even if you have already been vaccinated with another pneumonia vaccine, prevnar 13® may help provide additional protection. prevnar 13® is used in adults 50 and older to help prevent infections from 13 strains of the bacteria that cause
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this morning a new attack from donald trump aimed at bill clinton today. that as the former president prepares to hit the campaign trail for his wife next monday in new hampshire. this morning on "today," trump suggested that the former president could actually be a liability. pointing to his 2008 effort to help his wife. >> it was a miserable campaign. he did very poorly and they're bringing him out again. he's being wheeled out and we're going to see what happens.
but frankly, he did very, very poorly. he was not good for her and obviously she lost to obama and that was the end of that. but they brought him out before. >> you also said that he has -- this is a different tweet -- "a terrible record of women abuse." i wondered if you could get specific about that. what do you mean? what are you referring to in particular? >> well, if you look at the different situations, of course we can name many of them, i can get you a list and i'll have it sent to your office in two seconds. but there was certainly a lot of abuse of women. you look at whether it is monica lewinsky or paula jones or -- many of them -- and that certainly will be fair game. certainly if they play the woman's card with respect to me, that will be fair game. >> hillary clinton campaign surrogate, anne lewis, responded here on msnbc in just the past hour. >> donald trump has a pattern of using offensive and devisive language. hillary clinton is not going to be bullied and she's not going to be distracted. i'm interested -- donned says if
hillary plays the women's card. well, if speaking out when donald trump attacks women is playing the women's card, hillary is going to go on doing it and she is going to speak out and call him out. when he attacks immigrants, muslims, the disabled, other women, again, this is such a pattern of offensive language, hillary clinton's going to stand up to him, she's going to speak out and then she's going to go on talking about the issues that families care about. nbc's jacob rascon joins us live from council bluffs, iowa where donald trump will hold a rally this evening. what are you hearing on the ground there from iowans with the caucuses now about, what? less than five weeks away. >> reporter: less than five weeks away and historically this is crunch time after the holidays. this is when the iowa electorate really wakes up and the candidates know this. trump of course has his big rally tonight in the event
center behind me. then cruz is doing really well in iowa as well. he's not back out here until next week. he has a bus tour that will last six days. but today in iowa you also have marco rubio who's traveling with representative trey gowdy who gave him a big endorsement yesterday. he has three events today. he's trying to make a play. consistently he's been in third in the polls here in iowa. then additionally, you have chris christie who's not doing well in the polls. an average of the most recent has him at only 2%. but he has three events today in iowa. he of course is doing well in new hampshire. trump hit him in the newspaper about that, but today he's focusing on iowa. three events, as i said. and already he had one this morning where he hit marco rubio over a bill that he had opposed for missing that vote. take a listen. >> he was totally opposed to it. and didn't go there to vote no.
like what's it matter that you're opposed to it? he matters as much as i do. i don't have a vote in the senate. he has one, just didn't go. only in washington could you have the guts is to stand up to something and say i vote no and don't go vote. then after it gets passed put out a press release and say this is why i didn't vote. dude, just show up to work. if you don't want to work, then quit. >> reporter: chris christie can see his poll numbers -- hoping to see his poll numbers go up in iowa. trump has, as we know, these huge appearances at his rallies. yesterday more than 1,000 people. expecting around the same tonight. the big question is whether or not he can get those people who come to his rallies to actually
go out and caucus. he has a big ground game, but that question is whether he can get those people who come to these rally who are not likely caucusgoers, many not even registered to vote, to go out and actually caucus for him. >> trump in iowa, christie in iowa, marco rubio in iowa. bernie sanders is in the hawkeye state, as i understand it as well, today. in addition to the bone-chilling cold in iowa, also a lot of presidential candidates. up next here on msnbc, jeb bush on the attack as he tries to get back into the gop race. we'll look at that right after this. ♪ the lexus december to remember sales event is here. lease the 2015 gs350 with complimentary navigation system for these terms. see your lexus dealer.
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here's a piece of the ad.
>> days after the paris attacks, senators came together for a top-secret briefing on the terrorist threat. marco rubio was missing, fund-raising in california instead. two weeks later, terrorists struck again in san bernardino and where was marco? fund-raising again in new orleans. over the last three years, rubio has missed important national security hearings and missed more total votes than any other senator. >> a rubio spokesman said in part quote, bush's team dishonestly omits that marco was on the senate intelligence committee where he attended the highest level briefings on the paris attacks. it's sad to see jeb's joyful campaign reduced to such intellectual dishonesty. joined by "the washington post" political reporter ed o'keefe in new hampshire this morning, where he is covering the bush campaign. ed, bush's right to rise campaign, that super pac, reportedly spending about $1.5 million to play that ad in iowa. how does this play into bush's
new strategy to get back in the race? >> reporter: well, remember the super pac operates independently from the campaign that's being run out of miami, and they have got about $100 million to spend on television advertising. here in new hampshire, it's ads against donald trump, rubio and ted cruz. out in iowa, this new ad targeting rubio as he arrives for this bus tour he's doing. the idea is to revive attacks that have been used against the senator before to raise questions about his experience, whether or not he's really got enough under his belt to serve as commander in chief. in this case, it's targeting specifically yes, not only his voting record but his committee work, the rubio campaign as you pointed out, points out he had attended closed door briefings right after the paris attacks that the intelligence committee has. they have them pretty regularly up on capitol hill. he's been there for that. but they don't dispute his senate voting record. he's got the worst of the five senators who are running for president this year, showing up only about 64% of the time for votes. rubio's argument of course has always been that he's decided that running for president and
being president is more meaningful, more impactful than serving in the senate. >> let's talk about where you are right now in the granite state. politico calls new hampshire the gop's nightmare right now, arguing that it could be the end of the road for several contenders. how do you think new hampshire's going to shake out at the end? >> oh, if i knew, i would be spending, you know, casting those bets elsewhere. right now, clearly it's a race between donald trump and everyone else and critically, i think here for jeb bush, for john kasich, the governor of ohio and of course, chris christie of new jersey. marco rubio as well, because he hasn't really sort of decided which of these early states are his most critical but for bush, kasich and christie, new hampshire absolutely is where it really must do well for them. and that is why you are going to see them in the coming weeks spending most of their time here. they should just about declare residency at this point because they will be here pretty frequently. kasich is here today, bush is hoare tonight, if he can make it through the snow, and the idea
here is to sort of cast yourself as the anti-trump, the serious guy, the experienced guy. the one who will unite the party and not necessarily use personal attacks to win the white house back. but trump had a big rally last night in nashua, kept up the attacks on chris christie, who is surging here, was going after christie not only for his leadership in new jersey but for the fact the state's largest newspaper decided to endorse him instead of trump. >> we have to leave it there. thanks, my friend. i want to bring in former florida speaker of the house, also surrogate for the jeb bush campaign, will weatherford. thanks for being with me. i want to start with part of that statement from the rubio campaign again. this is about that ad accusing marco rubio of missing national security briefings so he could fund-raise in california. quote, bush's team dishonestly omits that marco is on the senate's intelligence committee where he attended the highest level briefings on the paris attacks. it's sad to see jeb's joyful campaign reduced to such
intellectual dishonesty. your reaction? >> well, it sounds like that ad must have hit a nerve there. look, this is the time in the campaign where going into 2016, this is the time we contrast candidates, look at people's records, and it's not a time to have thin skin in the race. so whether it's senator rubio or governor christie or donald trump, for that matter, everybody has to be prepared for their records to be scrutinized and be ready to defend their records both in iowa, new hampshire and the states going forward. >> are you saying this is the time to attack? >> i'm not saying it's the time to attack. i'm saying this is the time when people's records are going to come to light. and whether they are paid for by ads or whether they come up in a debate, people have to stand by the decisions that they have made, the votes they have missed and the things they have voted for or have not voted for. governor bush's record is second to none in this and what he's done in florida. he was a transformational governor in florida. nobody else in this race has a record that even matches his. >> let's talk about that transformational governorship in the sunshine state. a recent survey by the florida times union shows jeb bush at
12% there in florida, behind donald trump, behind ted cruz, behind marco rubio. other recent polls show similar results. why do you think jeb bush has failed to connect in such a big way with voters in the state that he once led? >> i think he is connecting. i think he's on an upswing right now. there's no question that he should be polling better than he is but i was in new hampshire ten days ago and you could absolutely feel, kou absolutely feel the momentum that is gained there. >> we are not talking about new hampshire. we are talking about florida, his state. he's at 12% in his state. >> trust me, you guys put so much stock into these polls. these national polls don't mean anything. believe me, anybody who thinks that jeb bush if an election were held in florida today would only get 12% doesn't know florida. i live in florida. i was here when he was governor. i was the speaker of the house in this state. the state of florida is indebted to governor bush, they love the bush family and governor bush and what he did. i can guarantee you he would do
a lot better than 12%. i don't believe that poll for one second. >> the polls are bad, the numbers are junk? >> well, i think we put too much reliance on polls because people haven't voted yet. let me tell you what's going to matter. in about five weeks, people of iowa are going to vote. that's going to matter. then we will go to new hampshire and vote and it's going to matter. governor bush is the only person in this race, i'm baffled by this, that has been willing to take on donald trump. this is a guy who said some extremely reckless things, chris christie has run away from it, marco rubio's run away from it, senator ted cruz has run away from it. jeb bush is the only candidate in this race that's willing to stand up and take on the bully. >> i will concede that point. you're right on that regard. however, it has been my experience that typically, people who question the poll numbers are people who are not doing well in the polls. but we will leave it there. former florida speaker of the house will weatherford, thanks to you. big thanks to you for joining me on "msnbc live." i'm craig melvin. up next, kristen welker hosting "andrea mitchell reports."
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right now on "andrea mitchell reports" breaking news. the head of the u.s. military in iraq says a key isis leader was killed on christmas eve and he has a direct connection with the man who led the paris attacks. >> we will continue to hunt isil leaders who are working to recruit, plan and inspire attacks against the united states of america and our allies. and trump versus the clintons. the republican front-runner says the former president is fair game. >> he's being wheeled out and we're going to see what happens but frankly, he did very very poorly. he was not good for her and obviously, she lost to obama and that was the end of that. plus, captured. the teen whose affluenza defense kept him out of jail after killing four people w