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tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  February 20, 2017 8:00pm-8:31pm PST

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blundering into frozen conflicts around the planet. >> to use the expression, grab them by the [ bleep ], describes a sexual assault and, therefore, suggests that he shouldn't be afforded a by the [ bleep ] refers to a sexual assault and therefore he shouldn't be afforded a visit to our queen. >> the american people have voted for donald trump. get over it because he's president of the united states. >> i think it's difficult to be opposed at the morality of this invitation or just astonished at the stupidity of the invitation. >> so much better than watching our congress. "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts right now. tonight on the news media, iraq and nato, the trump's team message in munich sounds very different from the word of the boss and commander in chief. with world leaders worried about american foreign policy in the trump era, who should they believe?
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plus the president picks his replacement for michael flynn. who is lieutenant general h.r. mcmaster? and as anti-trump rallies break out across the country, this president's day, a closer look at the dizzying first month of a presidency that is anything but business as usual. "the 11th hour" begins now. >> and good evening once again from our headquarters here in new york where we have just witnessed the first month of the trump administration. at least 47 more to go, this weekend alone was another wild one. the president told his followers that the news media are the enemy of the american people and we saw a lot of swedes calling each other frantically wondering if there was a terrorist attack that they somehow missed. for the president, another weekend at his private florida resort, another round of 18 holes. he is now back in washington. in several cities today there were rallies on this holiday
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monday, based on the theme not my president's day. just today two big names in the nation were overseas, assuring separate audiences and venues everything is going to be okay. after everything the boss has said about the nato and the europeans and more, vice president pence reassured the europeans and nato as did secretary of defense mattis. >> i think nato is obsolete. it was done at a time you have the soviet union union, which is larger, much larger than russia today. we have the threat of terrorism. nato doesn't discuss terrorism. nato doesn't have the right countries in it for terrorism. >> the united states of america strongly supports nato and will be unwavering in our commitment to this transatlantic alliance.
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>> you know, it used to be to the victor belonged the spoils. now, there was no victor there, believe me, but i always said take the oil. we should have kept the oil, but okay. maybe we'll have another chance. >> yeah, i think all of us here in this room, all of us in america have generally paid for our gas and oil all along and i'm sure that we will continue to do so in the future. we're not in iraq to seize anybody's oil. >> one overseas journalist was more blunt in asking mike pence who exactly the world should believe. >> vice president, you've given your assurances today here in brussels to european leaders that the u.s. is committed to working with europe. president trump has said very different things. he said that the eu is a vehicle for germany, that the u.k. was smart to get out and he expected
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other countries to follow. who should european leaders listen to, you or president trump? and can they be certain that what you say, the assurances that you give won't be contradicted if a tweet or a statement at a press conference tomorrow. >> it's my great privilege to serve as vice president for the 45th president of the united states and the president directed me to go to munich and come here to brussels with a very specific message. to go to the munich security conference and make it very clear as i do so again here today at nato's headquarters at the united states, is expressing strong support for nato, even as we challenge nato and challenge our allies to evolve to the new and widening challenges and further meet their responsibilities. >> and inside the understated confines of mar-a-lago today, a surprise from the president and a big hire for him, an active duty u.s. army three star
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general h.r. mcmaster will be the new national security adviser. while it took seconds for folks to notice that the president checked his paper to get the title right, he is a battle hardened, genuine intellectual, a best selling author, a west point grad who went on to fierce combat and various combatant commands. he will replace mike flynn and fill the employment ranks not a moment too soon. let's turn to our panel. we have political analyst and "washington post" national political reporter long time purveyor of real news, robert costa. political reporter for real clear politics, we welcome kaitlin huey burns to the broadcast and our friend, our own ali velshi. ali, no pride in admitting i stayed up late friday night waiting for pence's speech in germany and i saw a speech that
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could have, give or take, been delivered by any vice president in the modern era. >> right. >> the rally in melbourne florida the next day by his boss, not so much. >> and then you go back to pence in brussels talking to nato and once again saying exactly the same thing american administrations have said for decades, we're fully committed to nato, some of you don't pay what you should pay and we would like you to pay up. that's the end of it. we are back to the position the u.s. has had on europe and on nato just like we were before. the issue is, as you said, is it donald trump or is it mike pence? is it donald trump on iraq and its oil or is it james mattis who said we've always paid for our oil. the idea that donald trump thought we should be involved in iraq or libya because of their oil to get their oil, that's a war crime. to the victor does not go the spoils. he says that but it's not actually true.
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but this has been an idea that's been in people's minds for a long time. iraq was an expensive war and why can't we cash in. iraq is the second largest producer of oil in opec, second only to saudi arabia. they hold 9% of the world's oil reserves. >> kaitlin, it's been that kind of a weekend, that kind of a first 30 days. there's government by twitter, there's government by fox news and there's government by rally and then by today's appointment, which is being warmly received. >> it is being warmly received. i think you're hard pressed to find any criticism on both sides of this pick. you have people like john mccain, who has taken no time to give this president much credit at all. you're also hearing from democrats, highly ranking democrats, praising this pick. the only criticism they can find is how much independence will this person really have, which
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is a warranted question. to ali's point, during the c confirmation hearings, the piggest questipig e -- biggest questions were what kind of independence can you show on these issues? trump did praise the differences that they have saying i respect their opinion. the question still remains what kind of latitude do they have? the president of the united states is still the president shaping domestic and foreign policy. i think that question remains as the vice president is abroad, what kind of power he has. >> robert costa, before i let you answer, i want to ask you to join us in listening to the words of senator lindsey graham at a gathering in germany on the subjects of donald trump and russia. >> if you're worried that we're not going to look long and hard at what russia did in our election because trump won and
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republicans are in charge, you don't need to worry about that. we are because if we don't, it could be the chinese and the iranians next. it could be republicans next time, 2017 is going to be a year of kicking russia in the ass in congress. >> all righty, then. the republican from south carolina. robert, what do you make of that, the recent comments to chuck todd by john mccain as the sort of same-team counterbalance to the other end of pennsylvania avenue? >> brian, as i've been reporting the story, i've noticed a disconnect between republicans and those at the white house close to donald trump. there as a message coming out of pennsylvania avenue that there's nothing to see here. they say they have assurances from top intelligence officials that all of these reports are being overblown. but when you go down the street to the capitol, top republicans
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on the intelligence committee and others like senator graham are saying not only is there maybe a story here, but they're going to mount real investigations to try to look into the connections, the possible more connections between russian associates and figures and people from the trump campaign last year. >> robert, we had an interesting occurrence, it was a weekend of interesting occurrences when the administration tried to tell journalists and their audience to disregard these unnamed sources in so much of the journalism out of the white house. what has been stunning, and this speaks to your day job, is the bonanza of leaks coming out of the first month of this white house. those of us who doesn't have that daily beat, is it as wild as it appears to be? >> it is wild, not necessarily for the reason some may think. it's not just the white house and the leaks coming out of the
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white house, what i've noticed is this is still a party getting to know its own president. you have members of congress on capitol hill who are openly talking to reporters each day about what they're seeing in the white house, things that give them pause and this is i think a threat to trump's own presidency that many members within his own party right now privately are saying to people in the press and allies and others that they just have mounting concerns about the way this white house is being run, in part because beyond priebus, they don't really know the players. >> kaitlin, i see you nodding, in part as well because over 90% of the positions requiring senate confirmation are vacant. >> exactly. he still has a lot of work to do. republicans in congress are balancing the support in their districts for donald trump. if you look at the polling, 90% of republicans support donald trump and in republican disabilities, that number is high and figures to remain high. we have this really interesting divide between senators on capitol hill and republican lawmakers on the house side.
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senators of course representing bigger states, more have longer terms of course, some of them are not running with this president any time soon so have a little more latitude to be more vocal in their criticism. >> six years is much more of a cushion than two years. >> and lindsey graham and john mccain, when it comes to security and military issues, they both ran for president and lost. though donald trump thinks it makes them losers, it has emboldened them. they are holding up the republican end of this fight. >> and as i like to say about john mccain, he's been scared by the professionals. he'd love to have that five and a half years of his life back. >> he was a hostage to refused to be released when he was given the opportunity. so there's not much you can do to rattle him. >> robert, one last try at this, the 30-second version if you can, this seems like a period
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between charges and the ungentle way to put this is a lot of people walking out in washington seem to know what's out there. >> in russia? >> yeah. >> what everyone's trying to figure out and this includes republicans i'm talking to in the senate and the house, is there were certainly some kind of calls or some kind of relationships between various political figures in trump's network and various people in russia. what was the extent of the conversation, was there a pattern? that's what people are trying to map out and fill in the gaps. >> robert costa, thank you for returning to our broadcast. we miss you when can't talk to you every night. coming up after our first break, why some who know the new guy announced today wonder if the president is ready for the general he just hired when "the 11th hour" continues.
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so i just wanted to announce, we've been working all weekend very diligently, very hard, that general h.r. mcmaster will become the national security adviser. he's a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience. >> i'd just like to say what a privilege it is to be able to continue to serve our nation and i'll do everything i can to advance and protect the interests of the american people.
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z >> the president and his new national security adviser, u.s. ar army lieutenant general h.r. mcmaster. with us, retired four-star army general barry mccaffrey, west point class of '64, combat led to two purple heart, two silver stars and notably two distinguished service crosses. your combat experience is jermaine here. both of you generals are combat and command veterans of the gulf war one. i have a dual question to start you off. number one, can an active duty three star turn down the commander in chief? can he say no and take a pass on this job? and more basically, tell us about the general that you know. >> i think he could turn it down. if he'd gone in there and said, mr. president, i simply don't want to take on these responsibilities, i can't imagine they would have continued the discussion.
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and if pushed, he could have always said, well, i'm going to submit papers to retire. so i think you've got somebody who's willing to take on these responsibilities. i've watched this guy with great admiration for years. he is a serious intellectual, with a book that will get read for another hundred years. he excoriated the joints chief of staff over the vietnam era. he and david petraeus and mcchrystal are probably the first to figure out -- the only thing that surprised me about this appointment, brian, is this fellow, though he's very easy to get along with, does not tolerate foolish ideas easily. so i used to joke that it was a miracle they made him a general
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because he definitely speaks truth to power willingly. >> that's an interesting question. the new president has shown, um, that he likes the community of generals. a cynic would say, well, for the most part they have agreed with him, those in his orbit, including but not limited to mike flynn thus far. is he ready for the general he is going to get with in 54-year-old philadelphia native? >> well, we're about to find out. i think h.r., again, is an organizer, he's an intellectual, he's straight forward. i think it's probably great news in the washington community. the people in the pentagon, the state department and the cia that know him will say we've got an honest interlock tur in the white house and i'll bet he gets along with the people over there. i think it's good news for
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america. a surprisingly independent-minded officer. i personal would rather see him be in civilian clothes, by the way. i would have recommended that he retire and serve in a civilian capacity. general powell served as an military officer, others have done the same thing. but he'd have more tools at his disposal if he was in civilian clothes. >> more what? i'm sorry. >> more tools of his disposal where he's sort of freed from the military fraternity/sorority of officers. i would have rather seen him serve in a civilian capacity. >> and give our viewers the 30-second version of how awful and miserable and sleep deprived the job of national security adviser in the white house is. >> well, it's unbelievable.
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i spent a lot of time over there in three administrations, sitting in the white house situation room. it's a 24-hour-a-day job, some of the brightest people in this country, from the various departments of government work there. a couple of thousand people in the white house general support and the national security adviser is at the center of the whole thing. he's got to sort out how do we get objective, balanced decisions in front of the president of the united states. it's an awesome responsibility. this is good news to see someone of h.r.'s caliber taking on this responsibility. >> barry mccaffrey, who knows something about awesome responsibility and always improves our conversation by agreeing to appear with us. thank you very much for agreeing to coming on tonight. >> our next break and when we return today marks one month from the trump presidency. from the oath of office to very fake news weeks have a look back just ahead. i love how usaa gives me the peace of mind
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last thing before we go here tonight is where we started this evening. donald trump was inaugurated one month ago. things have been moving fast and tonight some of the highlights that have gone by as the calendar has flown by. >> this american carnage stops right here. >> inaccurate numbers involving
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crowd size were also tweeted. no one had numbers. >> sean spicer, our press secretary gave alternative facts to that -- >> what do you mean? alternative facts? >> there are certain things that we may not fully understand when we come out, but our intention is never to lie to you, jonathan. he said 3 to 5 million people could have voted illegally based on the studies that he's seen. >> do you think that talking about millions of illegal votes is dangerous to this country without presenting the evidence? >> not at all. >> the president of mexico and myself have agreed to cancel our planned meeting. >> i'm establishing new vetting measures to keep radical islamic terrorists out of the united states of america. >> it's not a muslim ban. >> perhaps other countries needed to be added to an executive order going forward. >> i noticed chuck schumer yesterday with fake tears. i'm going to ask him who is his acting coach. >> the qualifications of judge
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gorsuch are beyond dispute. >> as of today, we are officially putting iran on notice. >> they were the masterminds behind the bowling green massacre and most people didn't know that because it didn't get covered. >> is it right for the president to say "so-called judge"? doesn't that undermine the separation of power and the constitution right next door? >> well, i don't think it does. >> putin's a killer. >> we got a lot of killers. >> radical islamic terrorists are determined to strike our homeland as they did on 9/11. all over europe, it's happening. it's gotten to a point where it's not even being reported. >> who is the state senator? want to give his name? we'll destroy his career. >> go buy ivanka's stock. i'm going to go shopping and get some myself today.
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>> what about the russians and sanctions in the report -- >> what report is that? >> the united states stands behind japan, its great ally 100%. >> the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned. >> general flynn does enjoy the full confidence of the president. >> the president decided to ask for his resignation and he got it. >> i think it's very, very unfair what's happened to general flynn, the way he was treated. >> there's zero chaos. this is a fine-tuned machine. >> that plane, as beautiful as it looks, is 30 years old. can you believe it? what can look so beautiful at 30? you look at what's happening last night in sweden, sweden! >> but you don't get to tell us what to do, reince. you don't get to tell us what to do any more than barack obama did. >> general h.r. mcmaster will
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become the national security adviser. >> and again for those following at home, 47 more months to go, 95 months in the event of a second term. that is our broadcast as "the 11th hour" has long since passed and we are starting week five of the administration. thank you for being with us. "hardball" begins right now. >> the trump probe goes bipartisan. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. president trump has a new national security adviser and a brief statement at mar-a-lago today, he named major general h.r. mcmaster to serve in that role following his dismissal of lieutenant general michael flynn last week. while flynn's out of the whi

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