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tv   Morning Joe  MSNBC  April 7, 2017 3:00am-6:01am PDT

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chemical weapons. there can be no dispute that syria use of a banned chemical weapon. under the chemical weapons convention and ignored the urging of the u.n. security council. >> president trump pulled the trigger on an attack against syria. last night the u.s. military launched multiple cruise missile strikes against the syrian air base whereas sad launch a criminal attack. >> quote, there is a new sheriff in town. president trump sending a message to friends and foes alike. >> the air strike tops what will be a huge morning on "morning joe." president trump meeting with leader of china, the chair of the house intel committee devin nunes stepping down from leading
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the investigation into russia's involvement in the election. by the way, the senate just went nuclear, changing its rules to confirm judge neil gorsuch to the supreme court. this morning we'll be joined live on the set with the chairman of the armed services committee, senator john mccain, also member of the foreign relations committee senator marco rubio. "new york times" columnist tom friedman joins. bob woodward as well. welcome to "morning joe" on this friday, april 7th. with us on capitol hill, we have columnist and associate editor for "the washington post" david ignatius, washiton anchor for bbc world news america katty kay, and john heilemann. good to have you all, this morning. we begin with the breaking news. the united states has launched cruise missile strikes against a syrian air base. yesterday evening 59 tomahawk missiles were launched from the u.s.s. ross and u.s.s. quarter
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in the eastern mediterranean sea targeting the shayrat airfield near the city of homs. it follows a chemical attack on tuesday by the syrian regime against a rebel-held area that killed nearly 100 people including dozens of children. turkish authorities say autopsies supervised by the world health organization show sarin gas was most likely used. the pentagon says the strikes targeted syrian aircraft and infrastructure including fuel supplies, storage, ammunition, air defense and radar systems. according to u.s. officials extraordinary measures were taken to avoid civilian casualties and no personnel were targeted. a syrian military spokesman claims at least six people on the ground were killed. russia, which also operates out of the targeted airfield received warnings of the strikes through secure channels. so here we go.
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>> david ignatius, just last week the trump administration sounded like it was going to follow the obama administration's position which was to essentially yield syria and the people of syria to the fate of assad and putin. donald trump appeared over this past week to be mugged by reality, as the old saying goes. >> i think he found the consequences of embracing assad which is in effect what he did, just too horrifying. i thought the president was sincere in saying looking at those photographs of the little children choking to death as they died was abhorrent. i think he said frankly, i changed my mind. i didn't think that i would embrace this policy but i did. it's now fallen to donald trump to enforce the red line that was first enunciated by president obama that he did not follow through on. significant consequences for his
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presidency. he's chosen the least drastic of the military options that general mattis, the secretary of defense put before him, but he has acted. >> i want to make sure our viewers understand that in answering this next question -- i don't know where you stand on these attacks, you would be in no way endorsing the attacks of last night. but can you explain why so many people, not only in washington in the foreign policy community but across the world were disheartened and concerned after assad's first chemical weapon attack was met with no response and how those fierce would have multiplied if they had not been answered the second time? >> joe, we've had in the last four years a lesson in the credibility of what american power is. when a president says, as barack obama did, that use of chemical weapons will cross a red line established by the united states and then doesn't take action to enforce the red line, air goes
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out of the balloon. we watched that with president obama. by taking that action, donald trump has restored the credibility of american power. he now inherits nightmarish problems in syria. in terms of the credibility of american power, i think most traditional washington commentators would say he's put more umph, more believable back into it. >> yet, katty, when the history is written of however this story ends, just like some looked at statements made to saddam hussein in late 1990, leading up to his belief that the united states would president act if he went into kuwait, certainly a lot of people will be looking at the statements of this administration, especially rex tillerson just last week saying, well, this is really up to assad
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and the syrian people, perhaps gave assad the belief that he could launch another chemical attack on his people and the united states would do nothing. >> there are a slew of tweets out there from the course of the campaign as well with president trump saying that barack obama would be crazy to take action against syria, that this was not america's problem, and the focus should be back here at home. having said this crossed a lot of lines for him, president trump put himself in a position where he had to take some kind of action. there are now still a lot of questions about why he acted now when he'd already seen victims of chemical attacks from a few years ago, that the images were all out there. >> i saw that a lot last night. he's president now. and when you're president now it rests on your shoulders. you can't tweet and run into the back room. he's president. he saw it happen, and i do think despite what donald trump said in the campaign we're going to
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see him act more aggressively against isis. we're going to see him respond to these type of attacks because i think that's probably a lot more who he is at his gut. >> clearly for the people who thought he would be an isolationist president, not going to get involved, yesterday dispelled that. he's going to have to deal with the fallout. if it's a small tactical strike and limited at that, maybe the fallout will be limited as well. this does raise questions about the relationship with russia, the fight against islamic state and whether it complicates that. president trump is now more fully engaged in the middle east than he was 48 hours ago. >> to your point a second ago, joe, your question -- i saw john mccain on this network and he was asked did nikki haley's comments last week invite the syrian chemical attack. mccain answered by saying forget about that. what invited this was not just those things, was donald trump's soft talk on russia over the
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course on 18 months. he's being tested not just for things that his administration said five days ago, but things he said 18 months ago where now vladimir putin and assad are testing him at this very moment. that was before he decided to launch the 59 cruise missiles last night. it is the case. there are a lot of things that led to what assad did. now donald trump is taking is action. somebody said the other day on another network when trump gave his speech to the joint session, this is the moment when he becomes president. i think that the moment when someone becomes president of the united states is the moment when they first use american military might. whether they like him or don't like him, that's the moment where you stand back and say, okay, he's the president of the united states. not approving or disproving. this is it. >> on the russian front, it is extraordinary we launched missiles into a country where
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there were russian troops. that, of course, reframes some of the russian-trump debate on how obsequious he's going to be to vladimir putin. this is open to schism and i suspect what the russians find, the more they taunt him -- they say it really didn't cause much damage. they'll find weldonald trump wi say, okay, thank you for your intel, we'll now attack again tonight. that's who donald trump is. >> a spokesman for vladimir putin say the missile strikes represent a significant blow to u.s.-russia relations. according to the kremlin the american operation was a breach of international law insisting the syrian army has no chemical weapons at its disposal. russia released video that purports to show the aftermath of the attack with planes still in the hangar.
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let's bring in nbc news pentagon correspondent hans nichols. what can you report for us e specially given what the russians say they saw happen? >> reporter: all night what struck out was the deconfliction line, that the u.s. gave russia effectively a warning, used it multiple times. when they took strikes on that base, they new russian personnel were also at that base. that gives you an indication that donald trump has a remarkable amount of confidence in these tomahawk missiles and the precision from the united states military. we haven't gotten specific reaction from the russian side of it, namely that some of these tomahawk missiles were not successful. they have their eyes and ears up. this is the u.s. side of things, i. isr, they'll probably be taking a closer look this morning now that it's in the daylight. one other reality the pentagon is waking up to is that the u.s. troops that are in syria, and they're just shy of about a
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thousand, they're there not only with one more hostile actor, but also with the hostile actor, the syrian regime, that has chemical weapons. they may have to review their entire intelligence on this. this 2013 deal brokered by john kerry, that seems to be it left some chemical weapons there. that's not something we heard a lot at the pentagon, that the assad regime was still armed with these chemical weapons, they were taken, frankly, a little bit by surprise. >> thank you hans. we were told over the past month by former obama officials that this issue had been taken care of. it has not. david ignatius, it's interesting when i talked to several white house officials last night, i kept asking how other countries responded. what they told me, of course, we'll find out in the light of day when the press releases start going out, but said it was
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praise across the board. some countries, especially some arab states, thanking the president for acting. even canada was grateful that the united states acted against what they consider to be this international crime. what does that mean for u.s. foreign policy going forward in syria if this gets more complicated? >> it means that the traditional alliances become stronger. the gulf arabs have been pleading for this kind of tough-minded u.s. policy. they think this conflict really is about the u.s. and its allies versus iran. i think the space to watch in addition to russia and russia's reaction is iran's reaction. iran has proxy forces in lebanon that could strike at israel. iran has proxy forces in yemen that could move to close a strategic strait there by mining
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it further. the u.s.-iran dimension is going to be a big part of this. i was hearing enthusiastic support from french officials, certainly from emirate and saudi officials. this is the nd of strong american presidential action that they've been wanting to see now since the syrian war began. so there will be no arguments from them. >> joining us from outside boston, former nato supreme allied commander, retired four star navy admiral james taf rid dis. david was talking about this tough-minded u.u.s. policy, but also a show of moral authority for sure, in light of o what we've been watching happen in syria for years. what are the potential ramifications or challenges ahead with countries like russia
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and iran. >> if you could, begin your comments -- first of all, we want to know, as to what mika said, this is a show of strength, we also needed to do this as a show of moral authority. before you agree with those two positions, that the united states needed to act after the events of this week? >> i absolutely do. i think it was appropriate and i think it was legal under international law. as david said, it sends a salutory and most-needed message to our allies. it pushes back on their heels a bit the russians and iranians. the interesting ally to watch is turkey. their reaction has been very positive. now the game is on for, okay, what comes next? you know the old saying, a single swallow does not a spring make. a single tomahawk missile does
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not a spring make either. we've got a lot of work to do to sit back, look at the diplomatic options, look at the conversation with russia, where does that go. what follows now are the interesting set of constraints. in terms of the right decision, this was it. it's the appropriate level of force. it was well done militarily, good day for the navy, and i feel overall this will have at least a stopping effect on the flow of activity. we'll have to see if we can negotiate with the russians in a way that really puts some kind of constraints on bashar al assad. >> katty kay. >> admiral, a tactical strike can be just that, a tactical strike. this one seems to have been successful in its aim. what does it do in terms of the long-term strategy and how does it change the situation on the ground in syria do you think? >> to the latter, katty, it doesn't change the tactical situation on the ground to any significant degree. the air force of assad still has
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great capability in order to corporate this kind of work. but what it does do, it sends a message that the united states does intend to be involved, is willing to use force, will act to try and put constraints. so i think there's a greater strategic impact than there is tactical impact to be honest with you. >> and also, how important -- i'll ask you the question i asked david ignatius. how important is it of a message not only to send to assad but also to send to the leaders of north korea, send to the leaders of iran and other countries that, even though assad has killed 500,000 of his people, caused 5 mill i don't know to flee, used chemical weapons against them, and it seemed as if there were no international norms anymore, no red lines that could be crossed, how important do you think it is strategically that that message is now out there? yes, he struck one of several
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airfields, but is there not a better understanding in damascus this afternoon that, if he uses chemical weapons again, there will be another airfield or another airfield or another military target hit? >> that's exactly the thought that the administration wants to plant in syria but also globally. as we used to say in the soviet union, it is no coincidence comrade, that these strikes occur during the mar-a-lago summit. another part of this message is she jing pi, who is watching this unfold literally on time. this is another thing for the events in asia, that the united states may be willing to use military force there and that may have a clarifying effect in the conversations with china today. >> thank you very much, admiral. greatly appreciate it.
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david ignatius, the last point he made was a point that two top trump officials, well, aren't you concerned you're in the middle of a chinese state dinner. he said we would only be concerned if he didn't get the message. that if we will do this in syria, if we have to do this in north korea, we will. we don't want to, but they actually were -- i won't say they were pleased with the timing. they certainly weren't disappointed with the timing. >> it's dramatic pre dinner theater. it sets the table. it establishes the credibility of american power. trump's problem in dealing with the chinese and everyone else is he big talk, is he bluster but no delivery. by taking action quickly and in a way that's moved with surprising speed, i think he's demonstrated this isn't just talk, i mean it.
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i'm going to enforce the positions that i take. that obviously has effect in these major trade focus negotiations with china. >> the chinese also saw general mattis coming down and saw mcmaster, saw some professionals down there. they did not see steve bannon going around with a group of people at breitbart advising the president. the president brought down the best and the brightest that he had, and the chinese saw that. let's talk about reaction from the hill so far. tell me what have you seen, what have you heard from the hill? >> well, my inbox is full overnight with bipartisan approval of what the president did. democrats basically saying we need to place this in the context of the larger strategy, need to consult more with the hill. but chuck schumer and nancy p l pelosi saying, good, we approve, now let's have another conversation. republicans broadly supportive except for a couple of exceptions like rand paul who are not in favor of this and want to see a more restrained
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foreign policy. lindsey graham and john mccain strikingly putting out a joint statement last night. two guys who in some ways pose the greatest political threat of all to donald trump. democrats can't hurt donald trump. they near the minority. the only real threat to donald trump is within his own party. because of mccain and graham's icon class and willingness to break with their own party, those guys pose a potentially huge threat to trump. >> by the way, add marco rubio to the list who came outerly last night praising the president. he will be here later today. >> the only reason i don't put him in that category initially is because he's so young. mccain has the stature, when mccain takes trump on it has a gravitas that no one else in the republican party has. to see mccain and graham last night not just praising trump, but praising him full somely. he has neutralized for the
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moment at least the threat, the threat that those two can pose. for the moment they're fully in his corner where normally they have been sceptics of him. >> politically it's gone beyond that. former members of the obama administration saying some type of action needed to be taken. the obama administration was paralyzed by the fear of a slippery slope, being dragged into something where they coul't conol the consequences of, they didn't act. now they must look and say, look, if this is one strike and it works and it prevents further chemical attack, we didn't do that. >> i have to say out in the twitter sphere last night, the new media landscape, the only people outwardly critical seemed to be the russians and allies of steve bannon who conjured up some deeply offensive, deeply
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offensive conspiracy theories and were outwardly attacking some breitbart people outwardly attacking donald trump and jared kushner for being, quote, cloeblists. why don't they just cut to the chase and call them international bankers. this is something that obviously shows that steve bannon's influence inside the white house is badly damaged. >> that situation has gotten really ugly. we'll get to that. the chairman of the intel committee is out as the top investigator into russian meting of the election. president trump is set to press china's leader face-to-face over north korea. the battle wages in the white house for president trump's ear and right now steve bannon is losing that bigly. "new york times" jeremy peters joins us. chairman of the armed services committee, republican snapt tore john mccain joins us onset. plus senator marco rubio and former defense secretary to
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president bill clinton, william cohen. you're watching "morning joe." we will be right back. knowing where you stand. it's never been easier. except when it comes to your retirement plan. but at fidelity, we're making retirement planning clearer. and it all starts with getting your fidelity retirement score. in 60 seconds, you'll know where you stand. and together, we'll help you make decisions for your plan... to keep you on track. ♪ time to think of your future it's your retirement. know where you stand. ♪ time to think of your future whether it's connecting one of or bringing wifi to 65,000 fans. campuses. businesses count on communication, and communication counts on centurylink. it's my decision ito make beauty last. roc® retinol, started visibly reducing my fine lines and wrinkles in one week. and the longer i use it, the better it works.
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[ [ screams ] ] [ shouting ] brace yourself! this is crazy! [ tires screeching ] whoo! boom baby!
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rated pg-13. [ screams ] leading up to the bannon story. let's bring in "new york times" reporter jeremy peters who has a front page story on the battle for president trump's ear. >> i heard a couple of people saying yesterday, it really doesn't matter, this is palace intrigue. actually it makes all the difference in the world on whether you have people who actually are mainstream, people who have been pushing some pretty bizarre theories. you can look last night, people pushing bizarre conspiracy theories even about the attack being staged. so what have you learned? >> joe, you're exactly right. this is not your typical story of who is up, who is down in the west wing. this is a larger story about the
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struggle for the essence of the trump presidency. on the one hand, you have people like jared kushner who argue that this geyser of bad headlines have been afflicting the trump administration for the first 2 1/2 months are terrible and not going to indear him to the voters he's going to need to get things done in congress and to get re-elected if he chooses to pursue that path. on the other side, though, you have steve bannon who makes the point, look, mr. president, not a single democrat is going to vote for you. those are not your people. that's not your base. they elected you -- >> obviously though, jared, as he fights bannon, obviously has a 34% number on him. does the president realize he's at 34%, 35%, and a lot of his problems, whether it was the executive order or whether it was bannon's horrible job
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insulting and threatening members of the hill on health care actually are all in bannon's lap? >> that's exactly right. the way that this has unfolded or the lack of progress that you've seen on a lot of the issues trump would like to take care of, like to put behind him, is a real problem arguing against the kind of approach that bannon and some of the other hard liners are advocating. i do think that trump understands loyalty above all else, joe, and he knows that his people want to see him do things like the travel ban, and they want to see him take another crack at health care. so i think at what point does that become untenable is the real question here, and does he go much more below 36%. i think at that point he has to have a really hard discussion with steve bannon. >> what surprises me is that you have now, john heilemann, bannon
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openly attacking -- i've been hearing this for two weeks. people have been calling me saying what's going on. steve bannon is openly insulting jared kushner. it wasn't until i read this article that i realized a lot of those insults were to his face. he's insulting him to third parties. i wonder if he should call cory lewandowski -- yes, he values loyalty overall most anything else, but he values family first, especially ivanka. i'm wondering when steve bannon is trashing jared kushner, how he wonders this little power play is going to end? >> there are a couple of things to say, kind of at 30,000 feet and knowing the history of how these things generally play out. one of them is that steve bannon is a newcomer to donald trump's world. donald trump didn't know steve bannon three years ago. >> steve bannon will take the credit for all of donald trump's philosophy. >> i understand.
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my point s when you think about who is going to be durable, who is going to be lasting in this white house, steve bannon had a huge effect on the campaign. in the end he's a relative newcomer in trump's orbit. if you have to take a bet on who will win between donald trump's son-in-law and this newcomer that came in -- you think about bannon -- whether it's wise for bannoning the waging war with someone who will be there until the last day of the administration -- >> also, jeremy, explain this, because i know you've reported this before, not only did steve bannon get there late, but jared kushner and everybody around the white house knows this and most reporters know this, he is the guy that was running the campaign for the most part, running the operation, running the targeting operation that a lot of magazines were mocking until the night of the election. i told the story several times, the exit polls came out,
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everyone said trump will lose five of six swing states. i called jared that night to offer condolences. he said i'm looking at numbers, we're going to win michigan, ohio, pennsylvania. he said at 6:00 at night, watch wisconsin, my numbers have it close. we may even come close in minnesota. so it's not just that he's the son-in-law. he pieced together -- >> an improbable campaign. >> who does steve bannon think he's going up against here? >> you hit against something that i think gets to the root of this conflict and how it's ruptured between bannon and kushner. during the campaign they didn't have that tension. there wasn't the ideological division there. they were there under the surface, but it's only once you get in the white house and you have to make decisions over policy that these divisions really burst out into the open and become hugely problematic in terms of how you run your white
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house. yeah, in the campaign they were always on the same page and bannon was very deferential to jared. that's what i heard in my reporting. now that's no longer the case. >> let me ask you this, what was the turning point, because i've got to tell you, in all the times i spoke with jared and all the times i spoke with reince and all the times i've spoken with all the people in the white house, they have always been deferential to steve bannon. when i've been critical of steve bannon on tv, they've pushed back hard. what was the turning point? when did steve bannon start to attack jared kushner? >> i think it was a culmination of things. i think that the pushback on some of the executive orders that bannon and trump have been getting from not just jared, but from ivanka on the environmental regulation, rollback on some of the transgender student protections and, of course, the muslim ban. there's an agreement especially from ivanka that the headlines
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trump has been facing are brutal and they've got to let up. the publicity is just too much to bear. then you have the health care debacle. i think that was really a final straw. >> jeremy peters, thank you. the u.s. has been striking syria for years, only now for the first time the target is country's regime. what it means for america's role in that country's long running civil war. tom friedman and bob woodward join us in just a few moments. plus two members of the judiciary committee on opposite sides of the nuclear option. senator chris coons and mike lee are here, plus former senator kelly ayotte who helped introduce neil gorsuch to the senators deciding his fate. "morning joe" is coming right back. had. the classes, the friends, the independence.
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. years of previous attempts at changing assad's behavior have all failed and failed very dramatically. as a result the refugee crisis continues to deepen and the region continues to destabilize, threatening the united states
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and its allies. tonight i call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in syria. >> president trump is calling on the global community to step up in the face of syrian atrocities. will he get buy-in from the rest of the world? chairman of the armed services committee john mccain joins us just ahead. plus a top democrat on the house intel committee, congressman jim himes reacts to the big shakeup when it comes to the big investigation into russia. >> chairman nunes steps down. >> he should have. it's amazing, he didn't look like he was going to. he was digging in. "morning joe" is coming back with tom friedman and bob woodward.
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i really believe that we should have and still should take out his airfields and prevent him from being able to use them to bomb innocent people
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and drop sarin gas on them. >> that was hillary clinton at the women in the world conference yesterday hours before the u.s. launched those air strikes. joining us now, two pulitzer prize winners, "new york times'" tom friedman and associated editor of "the washington post" bob woodward. good to have you with us. >> tom, let's start with you. nancy pelosi, chuck shumers actually standing behind the decision to strike syria yesterday. what about you? >> i think it's important decision. i think it was the right decision. it's not going to solve the syrian crisis, but no one pretends that it will. the use of poison gas by this regime, the way it did, the scale it did, it had to be responded to. >> what is the cost to the international order -- let's forget about barack obama. let's talk about this past week, what would be the cost to the international order, to international values and norms if we had not responded?
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>> it would have been i think truly significant, joe. the message is you can again use this weapon of mass destruction. whether you're isis, the syrian government, shia militia or even north korea. i think this sent multiple messages. you don't want to exaggerate it. it's one event, one day. it's very important that the united states -- we're the last bull work of defense for these values. we took this decision now and i thought it was very important. >> bob woodward, we were saying earlier in the show that donald trump appeared to be mugged by reality, just a week ago nikki haley, rex tillerson were saying we're going to leave syria to the syrians to figure that out. they could not avoid what they saw on television. >> it also shows that he can pivot fast and it's good in a situation like this. but i think it's very important to look at what the options were
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in this. hillary clinton was saying they have contingency plan for taking out the major airfields in sy a syria. there are about six of them and they hit just one. this is donald trump who always builds the tallest building, always does the big thing doing something small it's kind of one-tenth of what bill clinton did in 1998. >> but you're saying they have contingency plans if they need to attack the other five? >> the contingency plan. it's a menu, the president can select and do this. he didn't take out all the airfields. this is a very modest little effort compared to what could have been done, to what bill clinton did in iraq in 1998. >> is that positive? >> now trump is challenged. he's going to hear that -- >> last night administration officials were also saying,
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after the attack, they said this was measured and it was proportional to what we needed to do. wouldn't you agree with that? >> it was. it was probably the most limited of the options on the menu that secretary mattis provided to the president. it leaves them a lot of room for further escalation if they choose, or ways to respond if the russians or syrians retaliate. what i'd like to ask my colleagues starting with tom is the question famously that dave petraeus asked as the iraq invasion started, tell me how this ends. >> the best case scenario, david, what's been -- we want to negotiate a solution that moves assad out but does not collapse the syrian government. that's the key thing. we don't want to produce another iraq where the syrian system collapses and then you truly have chaos. what has been missing in our diplomacy, and you and i have talked about this, david, weave had no leverage.
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we really had no leverage on the russians or the iranians, i think this begins to introduce some leverage into the equation. it may be that putin says, if the reports are true, that assad did this without consulting the russians. this is a huge embarrassment for the russians and the iranians. notice they're ducking. they don't want to be the protectors of a poison gas user. it may create an opening where we can have a dialogue with putin, how do we ease this guy out and together we can fight isis. the weakness of trump's strategy, when he came in, he said i'm for fighting isis. the message was, russians and rye rainians do what you want. unless you change the political context, you can't fight isis alone. the best case scenario, and i make no predictions, is that this will begin a dialogue with the russians and the russians may say maybe it's time to start working with the americans, ease
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this guy out, because he's not a long-term survivor there. the iranians and russians have very different conditions. >> you have to look at what happened in this operation. this is the classic less is more which is new for trump, and he's getting a kind of praise and acclamation that he normally does not, particularly from democrats, and i think it may be an internal lesson for him. the second thing is for trump and his -- >> what do you think the lesson is? >> i think the lesson is sometimes you don't have to kill them, you don't have to nuke them, you don't have to say things like the media is the enemy of the people, that you can criticize and dial it back. i know there's a lot of discussion in the white house about dialing back sometimes is
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better. i think the other element here which is really important is this is kind of first blood for trump and his national security team, and there takes place a bonding, kind of like being in the fox hole together, though the fox hole is the situation room. apparently it's kind of worked and somebody said -- mattis, we don't have to do this big. we don't have to go over the top. >> i also think it puts him in the fox hole with some people who really are qualified to advise him. put him in the fox hole with this foreign policy team as opposed to his little cabinet. >> it was the first major decision of a national security council and i don't think it's a coincidence, david ignatius, that we get news a day or two
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before this bannon was kicked off the national security council. >> steve bannon was kicked off and jared kushner, still in many ways a family business. jared kushner has bonded the trump family, as it were, with our national security leadership, traveling to iraq with the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, sitting with him as he speaks to the prime minister of iraq, to the key leaders there. jared kushner has become the most popular man in the arabian gulf, the emirates, saudis see this as a person helping to reshape the policy of the administration. it was a confluence of things. this is a trump who learned the measured use of force not the spasmodic pound the table use of force. that's interesting. >> it's more than interesting. when he became president people were saying you're a quick
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learner. you're going to learn this. you mastered the american political system. >> right. >> so now you're going to have to make these kinds of decisions. and this is going to potentially have an effect on him. now, remember, as president obama usedo always say, in these matters there is never 100% certainty that you've done the right thing. and assad can do things. putin can do things. the iranians can do things. there are players here who can make a move on the chess board that's quite dramatic. and then the question is, can this team, national security team function? >> that's right. >> by the way, there's not certainty even 100 years later, david ignatius, 100 years after the united states entered world war i, we were having debates online yesterday on whether that was the move to make. so you never know for sure. i want to talk really quickly --
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then we need to get to congressman himes -- about bob said this didn't happen in a vacuum. it doesn't happen in a vacuum. you also have, of course, a fight against isis in the eastern part of the country. so as you degrade assad's ability to attack, you also, of course, have the isis issue, but apparently the united states is starting to move more fwresively against isis in the other part of the country. >> has said for many months the political mess in the west is not the u.s. military's problem. that's for diplomacy. that's for -- what the military is going to do is move toward raqqa. it's an urgent issue. they feel right now terrorist plots are coming out of raqqa toward europe. i was told there are five different strands of terrorist operations originating in raqqa. it's urgent. >> right. >> there is a very clear plan to
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go in with some additional u.s. force, get it done. i think we should look for much stepped-up campaign in raqqa over the next few months. >> a lot of things could erupt in a very negative way, as bob points out. this is just the beginning. joining us now, democratic congressman jim himes of connecticut. >> good morning. >> why your reaction to these strikes? >> well, i take a little bit of issue that this doesn't happen in a vacuum. part of the reason you're seeing bipartisan support for this, it does two things. number one, it takes a lot away a lot of machinery of death from a very bad guy. a lot of people will be alive six months from now that wouldn't have otherwise, had this not happened. in any way, shape or form does it change look there's two deep questions that americans need to ask themselves this morning. number one, this is yet another
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military action by a president in a situation where we were not attacked that was not authorized by the congress of the united states. and as a member of congress, i have to say there's a reason that our founding fathers said that congress should be consulted. it gets the american people behind an action. it creates some deliberation. the other question that we really need to ask ourselves -- and i think most people think that this action last night probably will not draw us in further. it probably will keep a lot of syrian syrians alive. a profound isolationist who is now acting as a global policeman. so what about tomorrow and some other dictator in the middle east does something truly awful, are we compelled to act there? >> do you support what he did last night or not? >> like everything else in the middle east, there's good and there's bad. >> right. >> here, i think what he did was proportional. i think it doesn't change the
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chess board. it's hard to say this was a mistake. like everything else in the middle east two weeks from now we could be scratching our heads on deeper issues. >> of course but do you support the president's action last night or do you oppose the president's action last night? >> i don't mind that he took the action that he did. >> does that mean -- jim, does that mean that you support it? >> he accepts it. >> no. again, i accept it. i think it's important that assad get the message and that, frankly, others get the message around the world that when they step over the line into the use of unconventional weapons they're taking a significant risk. somebody might take away their air force. i don't think that's a bad message to send. >> let's move to, i was going to say, the other big news of the day. there were actually about 87 stories yesterday. >> where do you want to go? spin the wheel. >> nunes, chairman of your committee, decided to step down from the russian investigation,
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at least for now. tell us how that went down and were you surprised? >> yeah. feels like 100 years ago now, doesn't it, even though it was 24 hours ago? i think that was a good thing. a lot of us have a lot of confidence in congressman mike connoway. i work closely with tom rooney, who will be assisting him. the behavior of chairman nunes the last couple of weeks was, at best, puzzling. even though internally we were making progress on the investigation as chairman nunes went on those many trips to the white house and did all that stuff, i do think having mike connoway at the head of this investigation will give the american people confidence that the head of the investigation is not being torn between investigating and doing the work of the white house. >> so you believe that the house intel committee can do its job fairly? >> i do. >> thank you so much. congressman jim himes, always
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good to see you. >> thank you, joe. >> how important, tom, was that for you, to see nunes step down? >> i think it was really important. his behavior was appalling for someone supposedly leading a serious investigation. his midnight romp over to the white house, whether it was midnight or not, was completely delegitimized the whole thing. >> what is the key question for you as we try to peel back russia's activity in the elections, whether there was collusion or not, the unmasking question, the leaking question. what is the key issue you want resolved? >> i want to know if a foreign power, the russian republic, intervened in our election in a way that tipped the balance in some way. i don't think putin elected donald trump. i think he was elected by the million people for a million reasons. >> and jim comey. >> exactly. but i think it is incredibly important to understand whether
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a foreign power using cyber warfare attempted to and succeeded in some ways in impacting our last election. that is a direct attack on the most core essential value we have, which is that we have free and fair elections. >> and the intelligence chiefs have concluded across the board hey, look, that happened. people who have read the highly classified reports say there's 100% certainty. now there neveris they say in this case there is. the big, daunting question for them is the how. how did they do this? >> so can you nullify it. >> right. >> suppose in two years we look back that there were all kinds of activities, all kinds of ad buys, all kinds of money coming into the country. >> we'll get to that and hillary clinton actually talked about the election and how it all went down yesterday as well.
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it is nearly the top of the hour. the 7:00 am hour here on "morning joe." we're speaking with columnist and associate editor for the washington post, david ignatius. >> whose father yesterday -- you've got to tell us. >> worth mentioning. >> big weekend for my family. my father is 96 years old. will have a guided missile destroyer named after him, launched in passgagoula, mississippi. i always thought of my father the man. now i'll think of my father, the ship. >> associate editor at the washington post, bob woodwoord. following breaking news that the united states launched missile strikes against a syrian air base. 59 tomahawk missiles were launched from the uss ross and uss porter in the eastern mediterranean sea, targeting the
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shayrat air field near the city of homs. it follows a chemical attack by the syrian regime which killed hundreds of people including dozens of children. world health organization says sarin gas was most likely used. the air strikes targeted aircraft, air defense and radar systems. according to u.s. officials, extraordinary measures were taken to avoid civilian casualties and no personnel were targeted. a syrian military spokesman claims at least six people on the ground were killed. russia, which operates out of the targeted air field, received warning of the strikes through secure channels. they have their version of what happened as well. >> right. and i would warn our russian comrade friends, if you tell donald trump that he didn't damage your air fields adequately and try to mock him,
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he will come back tonight. i shouldn't be -- like you've talked to enough of his people. >> one thing we know about him. >> you should know this. don't tempt him. right? you've been talking to him nonstop through back channels, right? what are you doing? so anyway -- >> oh. dark humor. >> no, no, no. it really is. it's just not a smart move. >> it's not. >> on the russians' part. we started to discuss this last hour. talk about the paul that would have hung over the international community had we not responded to the chemical attacks this week? >> let's put syria in context, with respect to what congressman himes had to say. two very big things for america are at stake. since the beginning of the syrian conflict, five, six years ago. libya implodes, syria explodes. >> right.
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>> 5 million people across the world. >> it's shaking jordan, lebanon. these are basically pro-western, pro-american regimes. that is a threat to us. it's also unleashed this torrent of refugees on europe, destabilized the european union and produced a backlash of populist parties emerging all over europe. people don't like to talk about the eu in this country. it's like the most boring thing in the world. it's the united states of europe. >> a point that a lot of people don't understand. those 5 million refugees that have flooded across the middle east that have destabilized jordan, they've also destabilized politics across europe. >> the european continent. >> if you're looking at the rise of these populist leaders, this didn't happen in a vacuum. this was, in part, because of our inaction -- not america, the west's inaction in syria. >> refugees from subsahara and
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africa. and liba we uncorked africa, so all these refugees -- and syria. this has destabilized the other united states of the world. i'm a big believer two you state are better than one. if the eu were to fracture, that has important strategic implications for us. does this mean we need to take over syria? no. this cautious approach is very wise. >> certainly sends a message. i remember reading a column of yours in 2003. you went up to damascus, if i'm not mistaken. you found a surprisingly pro-american attitude in damascus. >> right. >> people of damascu and people of syria have felt abandoned over the past five, six, seven years. >> those are really important elements in this. but the large roman numeral one message is the wrap on barack obama was that he wasn't tough enough. he would not act. trump has made it clear, i will act. and the other factor in all of
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this, it was done quickly. >> yeah, right away. >> and any one of -- david ignatius, you all know, the military will sit around and say we want a plan. we need more satellite photos. we have to set up the targets. give us just another week or another month. and someone said don't screw around with this. we're going to act. >> and there was a seamlessness to it, very early in this presidency. >> will we get leverage out of this, vis-a-vis, iranians and russians, for a diplomatic solution? i don't want america to take over this problem. no one in america does. will we increase our leverage to actually engineer something going forward? i don't know. >> we srnl know the status quo was unacceptable. david ignatius, you were talking about the timing before. you said it's a very measured attack but, more importantly, the timeliness of it.
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they moved quickly. >> this chemical weapons happened tuesday. by thursday night 59 cruise missiles were fired from two war ships in the eastern mediterranean. >> there you go. >> taking out the air field where the weapons were launched. decisive use of american power. i hate to say it but it's like what russia did when it intervened in september 2015. it shows that power can be used quickly and decisively. general mattis, secretary of defense, is of all the four stars in the pentagon the person who was most consistently recommending do it, sir. do it. move with enough troops. get it done. he said that in tora bora, in fallujah and now said it in dealing with this problem. >> let's bring in secretary of defense william cohen. was this the right move and how would you advise the president on what to expect next? >> it certainly was the right move. the question is, it's good that xi jinping is in florida with
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the president. you would turn to sun suu who would say tactics without a strategy is the noise before defeat. we've had a tactical strike and the important thing is, to put it in a broader context, what is the overall strategy for dealing with syria, russia and north korea? what's happening is they're putting together a comprehensive strategy and not just look at this as a simple strike and sending a signal. more to come. unless you know what the more to come is going to be. i think it's an important statement to make. i think certainly it gets the attention of the russians. by the way, i would seek to bring about a diplomatic solution in this context that it is time to embarrass president putin. he wants respect. that is the one thing he has been barking about as such, i
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get no respect. he wants respect. we should not give it to him. he has enabled assad to carry out these heinous crimes. he is equally responsible for that. i think what we have to do is continue to point out that russia is now supporting a criminal operation. being criminal in itself by supporting it. i think that combination with other economic measures will help bring about at least an ability to negotiate a solution. >> joe, the responsibility that putin holds here, isn't that something we need to hear from trump here at some point? >> no doubt about it. and i do, though, think there were so many things that happened strategically last night that i want to follow up on what the secretary said. we did send a message, mr. secretary, to syria and assad. we also sent a message, of course, to the chinese.
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>> yes. >> but we also sent a message to vladimir putin, one that i've been calling for, for some period of time, when president obama was wringing his hands about crimea. i always thought the best thing to do would be to run military operations in poland and keep running them, and keep building up those forces. again, because it does, at the end of the day, come down to the fact that he wants respect, the fact that russian foreign policy has been run on resentment now since christmas day 1991. >> joe, you and i have been on the same page on this. three years ago i was calling for the establishment of a safe zone so that putin and assad couldn't, quote, weaponize those innocent people and send them scurrying into europe to try to destabilize our european allies. this has been long in the making. we have waited a long time
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before taking action. i think it's a very positive thing. i hope it's not just a one-shot proposition but rather -- and i have confidence of this -- that secretary mattis is someone who understands the need that you have a comprehensive approach and you've anticipated already what the iranians might do, what the russians might do and have con contingency plans in operation to respond to anything those in the region might do. >> mr. secretary, bob woodward is here and has a question for you. >> sir, hi. how are you? as secretary of defense, there are not too many people who remember operation desert fox in 1998. >> right. >> when president clinton and you said, okay, we're going to attack saddam hussein in iraq. and as i recall, it was 70 hours of attacks, 350, much bigger
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than what president trump did yesterda yesterday. >> 78 hours of attacks. >> okay. i'm sorry. imprecision. the question is, should president trump do more? because there are other air fields there that could be attacked in the same way and, as i understand it, the presentation to him was if you attack six of these, the big ones, you can, for practical purposes, eliminate assad's air power, at least temporarily. should they take another squeeze here or should there be more attacks? >> i think they have to pause for the moment, quoting the chinese strategist again. he said be prudent but not hesitant. i think the prudence comes in to say let's look at the damage that's been done, the reaction that's coming back.
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if they're going to escalate then we're going to move even more quickly and do much more damage. so i would say be prudent on this. you made your point. we're not walking away from the world because the world is never going to be walking away from us. so i think this is a major step forward. because the president, to this date, has articulated an isolationist policy. or at least a retrenchment policy. and that's what our allies in the asia-pacific region saw when we killed tpp. that's what the chinese saw. they were very pleased we killed the tppp. allies in the region saw us as walking away and disengaging. now i think they're going to get a different signal that president trump, who also talked about let's come home, america, let's have nation building at home. you can't have nation building at home when the world is coming undone. you have to remain engaged. i think this sent a signal to the syrians, russians, chinese,
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iranians and to everyone in the region that we're not disengaging. we're more engaged than ever before. >> david ignatius? >> mr. secretary, secretary of state rex tillerson goes to moscow next week, probably to talk with president putin. what should tillerson say to putin specifically about syria? >> i think he should say you agreed to help in syria. you established bases there. you protected your client state as such. you are responsible for not supervising your client state. you promised to get the chemical weapons out. you didn't get them out. and now we're going to hold you to it. and this is going to be a very bad relationship with russia unless we find that we're going to be working with a willing partner who will keep his end of the bargain. i think it should be that subject with the president.
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there are other issues, of course, crimea, what's going on in the baltics, other aggression actions that have to cease. in terms of syria, that's the message i would want to carry to him. >> mr. secretary thank you so much for being with us. >> secretary william cohen, thank you. >> good to be with you. so, tom friedman, again, we have been talking about the one air field versus six. i'll ask you the same question that was asked of secretary cohen. what do you think donald trump, general mattis, general mcmaster, the national security team should be looking at now with the options they still have in front of them? >> how we can translate this into diplomacy. what exactly this bought us. i happen to agree with secretary cohen. every day iran and russia are the protectors of a user of
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poison gas and i would be driesk that home every day. i do not think they're comfortable with that. there is no military -- >> do we all agree, by the way, that syria is in the end going to be split in two? >> i don't know how it's going to be split but there is going to have to be some -- >> it is now split in many parts. the question is, can it be put back together? i would think most of us would say not for a while. >> some de facto arrangement where people aren't killing each other and kids can go to school? >> and people can live. >> one hand keep the leverage on the russians and iranians. you are protecting a user of poison gas. they might finally come to the conclusion, this assad guy, we don't want to collapse the government but it's not worth it for us. that might open up all kinds of diplomatic opportunities. >> the parallels are pretty extraordinary, bob woodward.
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here, you have the united states of america trying to lean on russia to make sure that they lean on assad. meantime, we're talking to china, trying to get them to lean on north korea. donald trump has already said if you don't do it, we're going to have to. yes, it's very complicated but as barack obama said during the transition to donald trump, obamacare is not your problem. the problem is that the north koreans will be able to nuke seattle in the next four years. good luck. >> exactly. and onef the things that trump is experiencing is what's going on in theiddle east affects china, russia, north korea and you have got to play the hand very, very carefully.
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the mystery here is how does assad survive so long? he gets support from russia, iran but has had millions of people -- >> it's extraordinary. his father was seen as this hard-nosed leader. the son came in -- i don't know about you all, but i think most of washington saw him as weak. somebody that would be able -- >> weak eye doctor was the initial -- >> exactly. >> the way you framed that question to bob, i think, is really important. to me, the central challenge of running american foreign policy today. in the ye in the era you and i grew up in, it was how we managed our strengths and so much of foreign policy somehow you manage weakness. managing weakness is hell on wheels. it's just really difficult. you call people, their country, they pick up their phone. the phone comes off the wall. people can't deliver things. it's really, really difficult. >> wait a minute i disagree with that. >> okay. >> i think the way that trump
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and mattis and mcmaster -- this isn't about managing weakness. we still have the most powerful military. >> i'm not talking about our weakness, bob. i'm talking about the weakness of these states where they basically fall apart in your hand. not our weakness, their weakness. >> syria has not fallen apart in anybody's hands. >> it's in a lot of different pieces now. >> assad is still there. >> the mayor of damascus. >> you ask the cia about that and i think they really can't explain it. it makes no sense. >> we have to go to -- hurry, hurry, hurry. >> i know we have to go to break. it's important for our viewers to hear. you touched on this before about the gulf states being positive about trump. i understand it's sort of like nixon in 1973 and '74. everybody across the world are saying, wait, why are you being so tough on this guy? we like him. explain about donald trump and how he is viewed across the world in gulf states. we understand merkel doesn't
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like him. but this is fascinating. we have heard from people, i know you have, across the world have actually heard people saying thank god we have somebody we can get on the phone when we call him. >> i think people in the gulf are traditional sunni gulf arab allies say somebody has our back. somebody supports our interests. somebody puts human rights issues as important as we think they are second. and i think it's possible we're seeing the beginning of a broader effort to roll back iranian power that has become so dominant in the region, it's a destabilizing factor. i would look at yemen. i would look at an effort to push back iranian power in yemen, following what's happened in syria. >> at the end of the day, though, unless the peace process that is needed is one between iran and america and the shiite world and the sunni muslim world. until and unless this happens, we are going to have one version of this after another.
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one side gets a little stronger. then the other side -- but it's always i'm weak. how can i compromise? i'm strong. why should i compromise? >> we talk about the gulf states. what you really are talking about the saudis, egyptians, uae. their feeling that barack obama abandoned them. >> right. >> and essentially said oh, the middle east, the saudis and their allies, our allies have half of it and iran gets the other half. and what trump is saying, no. that's not the way we're going to do it. and that's going to be a big shakeup potentially. >> the region you're looking at right now, obviously, we're looking at the middle east. and you look at egypt right there. and we've heard it said before. we heard it during the arab spring, that the rest of the arab world centers around egypt.
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at least it has traditionally. i heard from more sunni arab leaders and more diplomats when barack obama said mubarak must go that that was the knife in the back. and our relationship with that part of the world has not been the same since then. they are beyond -- >> one thing that al qaeda, mohabaism is a product of that regime. >> i completely understand. i'm trying to explain why world leaders may not have the same feeling, at least in this region, about donald trump as we do domestically. >> but practically, let's look what happened. what has trump done? he has met with the egyptian leader. he has met with king abdullah of jordan. >> right. >> he has met with the saudis.
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he's trying to recement that and reorient it. now whether it works or not -- but as we know, in anything, it's all about what are the personal relationships and the friendships? and he's trying to do that. >> interesting. king abdullah in jordan, that has developed into one of the most interesting friendships, relationships because every time donald trump meets with him, he makes a momentous policy change after. it happened after the prayer breakfast and it happen this had week as well. >> okay. bob woodward, tom friedman, thank you both. >> and that, in the words of socrates, ain't nothing. >> thank you for being late, tom's latest book, is a great read for what's happening in the world right now. still ahead on "morning joe," the u.s. is relying on a 16-year-old military authorization to justify last night's air strikes. it's time for congress -- is it time for congress to reclaim its
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war powers? >> why change anything now? >> we'll tk t senators john mccain, marco rubio, chris coons and mike lee. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. you totaled your brand new car. nobody's hurt, but there will still be pain. it comes when your insurance company says they'll only pay three-quarters of what it takes to replace it. what are you supposed to do? drive three-quarters of a car? now if you had liberty mutual new car replacement™, you'd get your whole car back. i guess they don't want you driving around on three wheels. smart. with liberty mutual new car replacement™, we'll replace the full value of your car. liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance. (de♪p breath) (phone ringing) they'll call back. no one knows your ford better than ford and ford service.
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i am deeply concerned about what went on with russia. and i think it's important that we all work together, regardless of party or partisanship or anything else. we start acting like patriotic americans because a foreign power meddled with our election. certainly misogyny played a role. that just has to be admitted. and why and what the under dlyi reasons were is what i'm trying to parse out myself. with men, success and ambition
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are correlated with likability. so the more successful a man is, the more likable he becomes. with a woman, guess what, it's the exact opposite. the outside intervention, the combination of the comey letter, wikileaks played a much bigger role than what many people understand yet had the d determinitive effect. >> that was hillary clinton at the women in the world -- >> ask me who my hero is. you would think it's ronald reagan. i love ronald reagan. my political hero, my real political hero, margaret thatcher. 1975. she goes into the middle of socialist great britain and
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just -- she grabs the conservative party by the scruff of its neck and yanks them into a position they can win in 1979, one of the most remarkable political turn arounds of all time. she was strong. guess what, i've got pictures of her all over my house. i read her book. >> isn't it a great story where she called men vegetables or something? any how -- >> the waiter came in and said what would you like to eat? and she said steak and they said vegetables? and she was with her cabinet and she said they'll have steak, too. it's not about women being strong that repels voters. >> yeah. it's -- any how, she talked about her own role in the loss. clinton said there were things i could have done better. joining us now, democratic senator chris coons of delaware sits on both the judiciary and foreign relations committees. along with us, opinion writer at the washington post, george
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will. john heilman, wherever he is -- >> in a box somewhere. >> there he is. >> the senate goes nuclear. what's your reaction? >> democrats feel that judge merrick garland was badly mistreated. republicans are deeply agrieved that judge gorsuch was the subject of a filibuster and the resolution is that the opportunity for any future filibusters is now gone against supreme court nominees. >> very thoughtful commentary basically saying both sides have a point. i can't hear anybody talking about blaming this without what harry reid did. but if both sides have a point,
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when do we step back from the abyss and start giving qualified judges, regardless of their ideology, 90 votes? >> i spent time with a dozen senators, both republicans and democrats, trying to come to an agreement, similar to what the gang of 14 was able to do. susan collins was a great partner in doing this work and on my side senators bennett and king. in the end we don't have enough trust that the point for us to be able to get past this point. what i'm hopeful we'll see today and over the next couple of weeks is a strong bipartisan commitment to defend the legislative filibuster, what makes the senate the senate and not the house. >> you had a democrat like pat leahy who you could tell was genuinely agrieved that they had to go the way they went. stuck his neck out a little bit. liberal groups pounded him. john mccain saying anybody celebrating this is an idiot and
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yet mccain had to fall in line as well. do you see any possibility of the senate in the future stepping back? >> i'll tell you what i think they ought to do. they ought to go back to 1970. that was when mike mansfield, great man and wonderful majority leader of the senate, said from now on when you file for clo cloture, we're going to set aside that bill. you could have cloture, fill bust fillibusters and no one was inconvenienced. we need to spread the pain around again. make it so you have to filibuster and the senate can't move. the senate is agrieved. the filibusters are exhausted. there's pressure for compromise. between 1917, 100 years ago, just as we entered world war i, and the filibuster was put in
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place, the cloture rules. in 1970, there were, i think, 53 cloture petitions filed. since 1970 there have been 1,700 filed. it's promiscuous, meaningless. get the senate back to what it was. >> make them stand up. >> sure. >> make them talk. >> agonizing adventure. >> has been advocating for and just demonstrated this week exactly how painful it can be. he did a 15-hour filibuster, held the floor the entire night. >> good lord. >> it would be something that many members of the senate would then hesitate to ever invoke cloture or prevent cloture. >> after what happened yesterday, aren't we now set on a course -- it was lack of commity that led to yesterday and yesterday will take us exponentially further in that direction, won't it? >> yes. >> how do we keep this from
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going forward? >> one of my real hopes that the steps taken by president trump will bring us together. senate foreign relations. one of the unintended consequences of a trump presidency may be to make the isn't great again. in foreign relations we can and should step up to our constitutional role to assist on declaration of war and military force. there is no clear strategy for how we're going to both confront assad and defeat isis. >> do you agree with the senator, george will, that there has to be an operation of force moving forward? you talked about things that have changed through the years. that's certainly one of them. >> i do. last time the united states declared war was june 5th, 1942, on hungary, romania and somewhere else.
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it was tidying up world war ii. those missiles flew 100 years to the day we declared war on germany. that started with a small pistol shot in serejevo. we're counting on them to not have an accident. that's very risky. >> john heilman so much to try to digest from yesterday whether you talk about the attacks against syria or you talk about what's going on with gorsuch, nunes. but you guys have been covering the hill for the past several weeks for show time, for the circus. what have you seen up close? we sit around the table and talk about this every day.
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you've been in the belly of the beast for several months. >> the level of partisanship is extraordinarily high. there's a level of activity that is frantic with three heads of state the country visiting with the seyrian missile strike with the gorsuch confirmation, with nunes, bannon's demotion from nsc, easily the most eventful week of the young trump presidency. the steady state story throughout the entire time has been russia. it's been the thing that has hovered over trump throughout his presidency so far. i want to ask senator coons about that. i saw him yesterday at the brookings institute. right at the moment when the announcement happened that congressman nunes was stepping aside as chairman of the house intel committee. senator coons, do you think that the house committee now has any chance with nunes out of regaining its credibility, which had been so badly blown over the last couple of weeks? >> i'm hopeful that that's
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what's going to happen. there are members of the house intelligence committee i spoke with, too, yesterday, who recognize that their role in oversight, that their role as an equal chamber of the congress with the senate was really compromised by congressman nunes. and so i think they're eager to step forward and demonstrate they can be responsible. i'm encouraged by how the senate intelligence committee is progressing in a bipartisan way. frankly, many of my colleagues have already called for a newly created independent commission or a special committee. that would take us off track for six months while legislation is passed, new staff is put in place, new procedures set up. we need to focus on the functioning committee that we have, senate intelligence committee that's making progress in this important investigation to get to the bottom of all the allegations about potential coordination between the trump campaign and russia in the interference in our last election. >> george will, was it a wise decision for nunes to step down,
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at least in the limited role of the russian investigation? >> sure. he had become the star. if we're going to make congress great again, congress has to demonstrate that it can conduct oversight in investigations. that's a good bit of what congress does. >> and everybody calling for special investigators. i'm sorry, i think of lawrence walsh dropping information two or three days before the 1992 election. people who think that that somehow removes politics from investigations has a very short view of history. >> they all develop a great white whale syndrome, that they have to get their prey. and it becomes distorting to them. it distorts the entire system. it's another forfeiture on the part of congress of its responsibilities. they're clear. >> as we close, one bit of news from you, senator coons. you and srnt collins are delivering a letter to leaders schumer and mcconnell urging them to preserve the 60-vote
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threshold for confirmation. thank you very much. >> thank you as always. >> for being on the show and george will, thank you as well. >> i was saying we used to only get you when you were talking baseball. >> i only write about politics to support my baseball habit. >> it's worked well. >> we understand. senators john mccain and marco rubio have had their fair share of differences with donald trump. striking syria is not one of them. both senators join us ahead with how they would advise the white house going forward. "morning joe" is coming right back.
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mr. president, this will be the first and last partisan filibuster of the supreme court nomination. >> when history weighs what happened, the responsibility for changing the rules will fall on the republicans and leader mcconnell's shoulders. >> the senate has itself to play for deepening split on capitol hill. former senator kelly ayotte about the fight over the supreme court and her longstanding call for u.s. involvement in syria's civil war.
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47 past the hour. joining us now, former congre e kelly ayotte. she was a member of the armed services committee. great day to have you on, on many fronts, to hear your insights. >> we'll talk about neil gorsuch first. what's your reaction to last night's strike against syria? >> my reaction is strong message and i think a message of new sheriff in town to assad and putin and to the ayatollahs. clearly a response to the horrific use of chemical w weapons, one we didn't get from the prior administration. i do think it sets a tone. i think very interesting also sets a tone with the president's meeting with the president of
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china as well. >> right. it sends a lot of messages. what are some of the risks and challenges moving forward for this president who sometimes speaks before he thinks, some say. this could be complicated. >> syria is always complicated. the challenges are going to be what happens also with the refugees. >> right. >> do we establish a safe zone, which many of us have called for? what will happen also with supporting the syrian moderates that we've been previously supporting on the ground? it has to be part of a larger strategy here if we're going to have success and obviously our continuing support for the kurds. so i think also a strong message to russia, because, as you see secretary tillerson going to visit with the russians, you know, this new meeting and what's our new relationship with russia, clearly a different tone than, i think -- >> hope that message is kept intact. >> a very strong message here. it's going to set -- >> coalition forces flying over
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isis troops in the northeast of the country and russian planes in the area as well. are you concerned about what the obama administration was concerned about, about some kind of of slippery slope, getting dragged into something that was perhaps not foreseen or not wanted. >> i think you always have to think about it. it has to be part of a larger strategy, and have a lot of confidence in general matt is, so the folks around him, so that remains to be seen, but i think a very strong message that there's going to be a different tone set, especially with russia, assad and of course the iranians who are supporting assad. gorsuch, which has your task, you know you are fine with the nuclear option broadbandic voked. in the larger sense, people are worried that the standard is lower is that we'll have
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increasingly polarized court nominees, because it will be easier to get people through. there will be no incentives to get centrist judges. >> i think that is a consideration, and unfortunately, though, i know many of my former rep colleagues did not want to go down this road. when this happened in 2013, many including myself didn't think it was a good move when harry reid was in charge, but if you look historically it has not been invoked. to block such a qualified nominee and put us on this road, i don't think overall it's disappointing, but it had to happen. i don't know what choice the republicans were left here. >> kelly ayotte, thank you for being here. go sox.
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tonight i ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in syria from where the chemical attack was launched. it is in this vital national security interest of the united states to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapon there can be no dispute that syria used -- chemical weapons -- violated its obligations under the chemical weapons convention and ignored the urging of the u.n. security counc council. president trump pulled the trigger on an attack. multiple cruise missile strikes against the syrian air base from
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which the president assad launched the chemical air strike. following the attack, president trump sending a message to friends and foes alike. >> in just a few moments we'll talk to a member of the foreign relations committee, senator marco rubio, but first here on said the chairman of the -- republican senator john mccain. also with us david ignatius, catty kay and jo-- katty kay. all we've had heard for six years is syria is too tough, a lot of wringing of hands 5 million people, two chemical attacks, you actually have been warning about this outcome for the past four to five years. so you tell us, was last night an appropriate attack?
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did we do enough? >> i think it was appropriate, but i would like to say, despite all the enthusiasm we see this morning, if i might quoelt churchill, it's the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. we have a middle east in chaos, the european being destabilized, the spread of isis throughout the world. this is the challenge testify bashir assad and we also have the challenge of isis, so there's a lot more to go. the signal i think was sent, just as you said, was a very, very important one. >> was it important not only to russia and assad, but also to china and north korea? >> and our friends, as have been discussed earlier. david mentioned it. a lot of the arab countries are willing to be partners with us, as long as they think we can rely on us. if we're really going to stabilize that reason it's going
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to take arab participation, who are cared to death about the continued successes of iran. this is 1,000 years old rivalry between persians and arabs. it's just another manifestation of it. >> david, what we hear from the sunni arabs over and over again over the past five, six, seven years is that they didn't feel like the united states had their back. does last night change that in a sense? >> it begins to. these are people who have a deep sense of insecurity, anxiety, anger toward iran. the shielded iran has been pushing them around. the question i have for senator mccain is what is the right measured next step? the president began something last night. what's the right next place to go? >> by the way, could i also comment before i say that, this is a team that the president has assembled that i have praised.
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the question was that a lot of us had -- get that, david. >> i apologize. i told the white house not to call me. >> i think the question was, would the president listen to this team? arguably the strongest team i have seen in the white house. the national security team. obviously he did. obviously he listened to that team, and that's what's most encouraging to me, is that he respects matt is, he respects mcmaster, he respects kelly. i think that's very important. i think the next step is to see what the reaction and then be prepared to take other action. you know, it's not just chemical weapons, but it's barrel bombs, other atrocities that have been committed of those 400 some thousand who have been killed a small number by chemical weapons. the rest is gross violations of
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international law. by the way, i would move forward with the safe zones. i would move forward with the army in training of the free syrian army, which you would have to rebuild from a very low level, but i would go ahead and move forward with those plans. and by the way, you have to settle the problem with turkey, as you know, about the kurds. >> we've been talking about the president now surrounded by a new dynamic, in the foxhole with the national security team, which most people think, as you do the stronger team in years. >> i've never seen better people. >> me too. i ask how important it is with the world watching now with almost a psychological reset happening, as the country watches this unfold, how important is it that the president is methodically moving forward, no tweeting, no blurting, no lurching. no, seriously. >> i would love to see the tweeting stop, but i would also like to see pigs fly, but i doubt -- i just think it's in
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his dna. but perhaps there could be more restain. i would hope that would happen. he now has an opportunity to reboot with the american people. >> i agree. >> at least as far as national security is concerned. i've heard you all discuss the polling numbers he has. i think he will see that the american people probably approve of this. what american didn't see the pictures of those dead babies? i mean, you know -- >> an opportunity. >> it's not a positive reaction to a military strike. it's that most of the people that have seen this, and understand what happened, understand that this was the most measured response that he could have, and kat tismkatty, one card down. he has five more airfields to strike if assad steps out of line again. >> the yes is how many of his
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cards does he choose to play on the table, right? was this a one off, a reacto showing he was somebody who stood by his words and that it ends with there? senator, you have quite a long list, the safe zones, the air force d. you want coordinate with the american allies. >> i agree there's a lot of enthusiasm, but we also should be asking questions and have some skepticism. if it stops here and you don't get the list of things you have laid out quite clearly, how meaningful is this in terms of what's actually happening in syria and to syrian civilians? >> as i mentioned, this is a beginning. a lot of hard things have to be done, but without this, those other things couldn't have been done, either. so again i've had conversations with mcmaster and mattis at length. they realize this is a long,
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hard slog. after all, it's been eight years in the making. to think we'll reverse that in a matter of days, weeks or months, but the signal that's being sent, as you all have been discussing, the signal is important, but the hard work still lies ahead of us. >> do you think it will happen? >> i do. i do, because i think that that's what the thinking of the smartest people i know is as well. a lot of it is not going to be very easy, but i think you're going to have most enthusiastic partners in this effort than we had -- the skepticism that existed before. let's all face the facts. when the president drew the red line, didn't act, we all know what the results were. now the president basically has reversed that action and restored credibility. coincidences are nice, i'm glaed he's talking to the chinese president at the same time. >> it doesn't hurt. >> that's not something that was
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lost on the administration. i talked to top administration officials last night after the news broke and asked if they were concerned that the chinese leader was there. and to a person, they all said concerned? we're glad he's here, because we're going to be talking about north korea next, and at least in their conversations with me last night, said they were going to make it very clear to the chinese leaders that they were not going to stand by and allow north korea to get nuclear capability to strike seattle, portland, san francisco and los angeles. >> the most immediate crisis we have is not in the middle east. the most -- is this crazy fat kid, who is honest -- >> you were -- >> he's not rational, from everything i've read about them.
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the worst kind of adversary is a nonrational person with nuclear weapons. i would hope that the meetings would be that he could take sufficient action to stop it. they can do it. >> a little known fact about mika and her family -- >> what? >> they left her with santa claus ringing a bell in times square back when she was 5 years old. out of sight, out of the mind. >> we have done the same thing with john heilman. >> okay. i was wondering where the segue was. >> we found him. john, heilman, just a good chance to tell a story. john heilman, you have a question for senator mccain. >> i do, of course. senator mccain, you just made a comment about how strong the team around president trump is on national security and foreign policy. until a couple days ago steve bannon was sitting at the table
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with the national security council. he's no longer doing that. do you have a comment on that, whether you think that's a positive development, negative or neutral? >> i think it's positive, because no political person has ever been on the national security council, and by the way, i've always said that he had a very strong team around him, but i've also said during this period of time, will the president listen to them? i think that question was answered last night. >> moving forward, that team is going to have to find a way to help him communicate effectively day after day after day. as you said, this is the beginning of a long convoluted process. >> part of that process, obviously the more complicated part of that process is david ignatius has been talking about this morning, has to do with what's going on in eastern syria. more complicated, but as david has reported this morning, and maybe you can help us out here, there is going to be a
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tightening of the grip on isis. >> yes, and i believe you'll see them take mosul and see them take raqqa, but there's a huge problem looming out there, which is erdogan. he does not want the kurds taking raqqa. we have dependent on the turks for a lot of things, including the taking of incirlik. >> how do we resolve that? erdogan, who's been anything but a good ally. >> the faster we take raqqa, the quicker we'll cut off the stream of terrorists coming out of raqqa. at the same time if you use the kurds, then you have a contradiction and really be problem with the turks, i.e. erdogan, who believes the kurds are a greater enemy than isis is. there haing to be some intense
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negotiations. what's the answer? i think you could use the kurds up to the outskirts of raqqa, and i don't think i would want them in, and i'm a great supporter of the curtis. >> david? >> i want to ask about what many see as the wild card in this confrontation. that's iran. the u.s. has 5,000 or more troops who are vulnerable in iraq, over 1,000 now in syria. the iranians have shown their ability to strike with very advanced munitions that cause real harm to our troops. what should we be doing to deter iran from any attack like that. >> david, obviously the answer is to tell them that the price that they would pay for attacking americans would be higher than anything that they might benefit, but the iranians will not go quietly into the night. they are in a superior position in iraq as well as syria, as
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well as -- they have that shia crescent that we have discussed in the past, and they have been close to achieving it. so i think that one of the worst things i have seen in my lifetime was to see american sailors on their knee with his their hands clasped behind their necks. we can't let that kind of thing go unanswered. >> rex tillerson goes to moscow and meets putin. what would you like his message to putin to be when it comes to syria and the future of assad? >> i think we have to -- first of all, it is unacceptable for anyone who uses chemical weapons in gross violation of any norm. it's not accepted for them to be supported by vladimir putin. we expect them once we probably have to do some more things to force the syrians to the table and say, look -- it may end up in a partition, but it's not to
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stop. 6 million refugees? we talk about it all the time, the destabilization of europe, needless deaths of over 400,000 people, we've sat and watched it, and we've become numb until you see those pictures. do you think putin is getting there? he didn't stop the barrel bombs. >> i think when we didn't stop the barrel bombs is because we didn't act. one thing that vladimir putin understands, and that's power. he as an old kgb agent and hellbent on restoring the russian power. we have to get some defensive weapons to ukraine. >> i wonder what page they are on, the russians compared to this president and you're administrati administration, because the russians are even painting this strike as not being very effective. is that wise? >> which is not wise. >> this were back to the days of
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the soviet union. we really are. we're back to the golden days of yesteryear where the spokesman says the most outrageous thing. >> well, look at us lately. but having said that it's not wise perhaps to try and create fake news out of this attack and say that, you know it wasn't -- might we strike again just to prove a point? and do you expect this president to change his verbiage on vladimir putin? >> i hope so. and i think that he is beginning to obviously have a significant shift there peace through strength. we have to rebuild our military. it's in terrible shape. we have to do a better job there. even though putin is the old kgb colonel, he is a pragmatist. i understands.er. he understands those boundaries.
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it's a whole other program about the propaganda effort as well as cyber. cyberis the -- cyberfess is the new bald. >> george will came on earlier, and it made sense to me. he said, if you want to stop the filibuster or slow it down, make them stand on the floor and make everything in the senate stop until the filibuster stops. >> i understand that's the way it was when you first came to the congress back during the coolidge administration. >> it was. i was we want in with siem in 24. 24 was a big year for people like me. >> yesterday was a dark day in the history of the united states senate. we abandoned the veto -- excuse me -- the process that then allows the majority to bakley rule. the result will be when the republicans are in charge you'll
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see more conservative supreme court justices. when the democrats are in charge, you'll see more liberal supreme court justices, because they don't have to rely on the 60 votes. they don't have to -- >> why don't we go back to how it was pre-1970, and make people filibuster, stand on the floor? >> i'm all for that, but the action taken yesterday now brings on the tyranny of the majority, which was not -- which is why we were bicameral. yesterday benjamin frank link was spinning in his grave. >> senator mccain, a great honor to have you? >> thank you for coming in. >> you're doing a terrible job. >> thank you so much, we strive to do a worse job every day. i think we are succeeding. >> he's evolved a bit, hasn't he? over time? >> we've been talking to senator cheerful, john mccain. up next marco rubio on yesterday's attacks.
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. years of previous attempts at changing assad's behavior have all failed and failed very dramatically. as a result p. the refugee crisis continuing to deepen and the region continues to destabilize, threatening the united states and its allies. tonight i called on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in syria. >> donald trump last night, david ignatius there were two headlines mccain said we continue to do a terrible job on this show. he's right there. secondly you said for the big news and takeaway, he was talking to general manage master every day, he was talking to the
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senior of defense ever day, general mattis, and that there is actually good communications between john mccain and the team. >> joe, i was struck by what senator mccain said. there's been a reset in the last week in the foreign policy structure of this administrat n administration. this administration was did i ametrically oppose to do what john mccain. he was the traditional international order that prompt and steve bannon were trying to overturn. he told us he is now talking on a daily basis with the people making foreign policy. that's a different trump administration. >> he says it's the best foreign policy team he has seen assembled. >> and with different implications in terms of american -- >> there's been a course correction. we just heard it. >> somebody else who has been calling for a course correction, especially this week, a member of the foreign relations committee, senator marco rubio of florida.
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so good to have you with us. we were looking at your tweets earlier in the week, and all along, you were saying we can't sit back and do nothing. i have a picture of the father who lost both of his twins and said, something must happen. was the president's orders last night, was a u.s. military's action last night, was that enough? >> i don't think anyone is saying it was enough. it was certainly enough for the purpose of that mission. confess to destroy the air base. one of the reasons why it was effective, it had a clear goal, the goal was to degrade and destroy an air base that was not just a great strategic value to the assad regime, but the one used to carry out the attack earlier in the week. i think the bigger issue is what happens from here on out. we spent a lot of time debating tactics, air strikes or no, no-no-fly zone or not having
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with. i do believe the nsc is working on a strategy. the problem is when you're working on foreign policy, you can't control the timing. unlike domestic policy, you can't control the timing. i think what happened is the events got ahead of the planning. i believe after last night, you're going to have to continue to work on what the u.s. needs to do and where we want to end up. i believe it's the combination of the removal of assad and also the defeat of radical groups. >> you can choose either way to answer it, we've been asking, what is the significant to the world community seeing that the understand is standing as a more leader, or what would the responsible have been in the united states again allowed assad to use chemical weapons and we did nothing? >> if in fact assad had been able to do this, the message
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would be if you commit this horrible war crime and you gas people and whatever some other leader will did i as to do, you're going to get a lot of headlines, a lot of criticism, a nasty letter, but nothing will happen. that's been the calculus. he sits there and says if i do this, it's going to help me in the battlefield even if thousands of innocents have to die. the price i pay is just some bad publicity, a lot of heat, but ultimately nothing else. that dynamic needs to shift. i don't think last night in and of itself will shift it, but i think it begins to shift it. i believe it also applying to other parts of the world. if you're kim jong-un sitting there in north korea, you're wondering what am i dealing with in washington, d.c. this and maybe a little more concerned than 48 hours ago. >> david ignatius, certainly he understands he's dealing with somebody different.
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>> he's clearly willing to use military force, but i want to ask the nor, we've had an initial shot of 59 cruise missiles, but should the american people as they watch this morning be thinking, we may need to be entering a situation where u.s. troops are mo are at risk? you've talked about a no-fly zone. would you like to see u.s. troops in syria taking this flight more aggressively? >> that may be quite possibility at some point, but it has to be in furtherens of a strategic goal. it goes back to the tactics versus strategy. the strategy need to be we need to empower some non-jihadist syrians groups, syrian sunnis. a lot of these are foreign fighters. even the al news ra, al qaeda-linked fighters, they're foreigners who have flown into syria because of the vacuum that created this opportunity. there has to be a sunni alternative to assad's rule.
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you have to empower people on to have a seat at the table. if the deployment of american force in conjunction with our ally says in the furtherance of a strategy such as that, i do believe you can build support. if it's just a tactic without any clear strategic aim, it's a much harder sell. that's why i think the strategic component is critical to gaining public and congressional support. >> the bbc's katty kay is with us. she has a question. >> there is some concern this might lead into a broader engagement on the 35r9 of america and america would lie allying to become engaged in that process. how much appetite do you think there is here in the united states and amongst america's allying to be the first step in a broader, more complicated, more intense engagement? >> one of the big debates in europe is about imbase, the
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refugee crisis, the refugee flows. that's all emanating out of the syrian crisis. there wouldn't be a refugee crisis if there weren't refugees being driven out by violence and by the sort of attack. by the same token, we're also dealing with the attacks occurring in europe, isis-inspired and the like. why is that happening? because syria has become an ungoverned space in which the radical elements can operate. i think there has to be an appetite to get involved. for all of our allies and for ourselves. as long as assad is there, assad will never again be able to govern a unified syria as we once knew it. you saw the images of these people carrying their children to the grave. they will never accept assad as their rightful ruler. they will do one of two things -- leave, or join whichever group is the best armed to kill and remove assad,
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and that's where radicalism begins on grow. there were people that/never been jihadist, but link up with whatever group that's effective, because they want to punish and remove the people who did that to their families. that's something that upneeds to care about and something that america needs to care about. >> senator, we'll change subjects here. you have been a very independent voice among republicans regarding the investigation of russia and the possible collusion with associates of donald trump. are you confident now that there can be an independent investigation in both the house and the senate, given the fact that chairman nunes stepped down in the house? do you believe that's preferable to an independent counsel? >> a couple things. number one, i can't comment on the house process. officely i read and hear the news about it, and i'm not steeped in it. i don't generally comment on
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house situation. as a former house members, you probably understand why. i can comment on the senate. i think the intelligence committee is working in a positive and bipartisan way. just today, i'll do some work before we head out for recess. i'll go down and continue some of meyer work. i believe we'll produce a report to the american people and to tower colleagues. that report will detail what the active measures campaign looked like. if in fact there were any sorts of collusion among anyone, as i've said before i'm not prepared to opine on that, if the facts lead us, we're going to put it out there and you'll be able to make up your minds. the part that no one is talking about, we need to understand, this is not just about learns what happened in 2016. this is about figuring out what to do. it's happen in france right now. >> this happened to democrats in 2016, but as you pointed out to
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your republican colleagues, it could happen to us in 2020, us being the republican party. >> during the middle of my reelection campaign, i said i will no answer any questions about wikileaks, because it was work of a foreign agency. i think we're focusing on a lot of things that we should be focusing on the entire forest, not just some of the trees. one of the goals that putin had was to undermine confidence in our democratic institutions. what he was hoping for in many ways was no matter how the election turned out there would be accusations of fraud, infighting among us, he would be able to go to the world and say the american democratic process they all preach about isn't fake, isn't good, isn't real. they're going to continue to try to do that. it's not going to end in 2016. you're absolutely right. vladimir putin is not a republican, and he's not a democrat. he is a former kgb agent, well trained in the heart of
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disinformation. he has weaponized that by the way of the internet and he's doing it today in europe with alarming success, and in particular i encourage you to look closely at what's happening in france and that election, where they are actively helping le pen, and very aggressively helping in trying to undermine ma chron. >> senator marco rubio, thank you. >> thank you so much to being with us, we greatly appreciate it. >> thank you. thank you. while we were talking to senator rubio, actually two texts from two am bass endorse. i won't identify where they are from, but they're key allies. one from the middle east saying it was a punitive reaction to syria. it won't fix syria, but doing nothing won't, either. we now have a u.s. that is willing to act. that might provide the much-needed leverage to reach a solution. >> to the point we are talking about earlier.
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and then one of the america's largest allying, i will characterize it this way, who has been through some turbulent times with donald trump, said we are very supportive of the attack and we're the first out supporting this, and they say this is the right move at the right time. >> so we have the jobs numbers that have just crossed. sara eisen is standing by. how do they look? >> it's a mixed picture for the nation's labor market. 4.5 unemployment rate. that toss to be the headline, the lower unemployment rate in this country since back in may 2007 even as more americans entered the labor force. the disappointing part came in the headline number, only 98,000 jobs were added economists were looking like a number up 175,000, so that's a marked deterioration. one thing i will say is we kind of expected that number to be
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funky, because of the weather. february was unusually warm, so we got a big boost in jobs in destruction and march was stormy and unusually cold. there would definitely be a weather impact, but the headline usigh is that unemployment rate. wages rising, but certainly not as strong as the last month. as we continue to watch for any impact that the boost in confidence we're seeing from ceos is really translating into hiring. coming in a bit light, but more people entering the labor force, and fewer people unemployed. back to you. >> sara eisen, thank you. a lot of breaking news this morning. it is so frustrating the way the united states measures unemployment. here we are, 4.5%, that's an eye-popping number, but 98,000
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such an anemic number for jobs. there never seems to be any consistency to the numbers. >> it comes in low and people say yes, but that's actually a bad sign, boo you it reflects the people not entering the workforce. >> they're often subject to revision. i think the big question is this consumer confidence, business confidence number, and whether we're going to begin what economists call animal spirits, where people say we really are in a different period. and that's when we get sustained job growth and a path out of this. so much of that -- and infrastructure bill. these are not just things we talk about for the heck of it, and sort of playing inside baseball. this really matters.
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the market has factored those things in. david ignatius, we have allies that have not been pleased with how the united states acted under barack obama, and have not have been pleased about how the united states operated until donald trump over the first 60 days, who this morning are breathing a sigh of relief. >> the obama years taught us when america steps back, others step forward. we just learned in the last 24 hours, when america steps forward, others step forward with us. >> hopefully. still ahead, senator mike lee wanted president trump to make hess case to the american people before striking syria. we'll get his reaction today, now that the pentagon is waging a new mission overseas. plus tom brokaw joins us as well.
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joe," the president has taken issue with the way he's been portrayed on "saturday night live." it's reported he has a reaction
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to this skit, which may help him explain why he removed steve bannon. >> that wasn't it, actually, but it's a good story. also, we want to thank johns hopkins, the johns hopkins university for hosting us for a great discussion yet. a lot of important questions from the in the meantime generation. and we're going back to baltimore tomorrow, katty kay is hosting an amazing conference, the confidence code for girls. i love it. >> you and joe are going to speak. we are honored. they'll love you both. >> thank you so much. >> this is a moment where girls lose their confidence, we're going to stop the fall off the cliff. >> thank for you having us. >> we may learn something ourselves. we'll keep it right here on liberty mutual stood with us
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joining us now, republican senator mike lee of utah, and in
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new york tom brokaw joins us as well. very good to have you. >> senator, let's start with you. you've had some concerns about the trump administration launching any attacks without coming to congress first. mashed be done now? >> anytime we send our young men and women into harm's way, i think the president owes it to the american people to come to congress and present a plan. the constitution says in order to declare war, you have to go to congress. we want to hear what the president's plan is and have the ability to debate it. >> we had george will on earlier this morning. he said we haven't declared war since 1942. why should we start now? >> it's what we're supposed to do. the fact we might not have followed it religiously in the past, it doesn't excuse us. that's not to say that the president as commander in chief can't order a direct military operation, a finite operation in time, but within a very short
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period of time, the president is expected to come to congress, present a plan, congress should declare war, authorize the use of military force. putting aside the pros for a moment which i understand may be difficult to do, is what about the attack itself? what about the strike itself? do you think it was measured? do you think it made sense? >> it's really different to ascertain that. it's one of the reasons why the constitutional process is so important. it requires the president to lay out a plan. the president has access to information the rest of us don't have. it may well by proven out in time that he did the right thing. we just don't have that information. >> tom brokaw yew reflections on last night? and do you have a request for the senator? >> my real question is i think the strong impression is this cannot be one off. this despot has been doing
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things like this in his country for a long time. you have to remember aleppo, which triggered a whole flood of immigrants into europe and destabilized a lot of those political situations. so going forward now, what is it that the obama -- pardon me -- that the trump administration has to do, and what will be the tone in congress if he comes to them and says we have to kickstart the war in the middle east? >> i think congress will be eager to hear what he has to say. i think there's been a long tradition of respect and a certainly amount of deference by congress towards the presidency, but we need to have the conversation, he needs to make the presentation. most importantly he needs to link up what he wants to do in syria with the american national security. explain why the american people will be safer as a result of what he wants to do.
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>> it appears -- go ahead, joe. i'm sorry. >> tom, do a follow-up and then we'll get to david. >> i think our friend david ignatius has correctly characterized this as a tipping point, but to be successful, you probably have to put more boots on the ground again, engage in very tough terms with russia, which is being defiant and what happens to assad who's been in power for a second generation. where does he end up? this is a very complex situation, and it comes at a time when the national security and foreign policy team in the trump administration by all accounts is in a lot of chaos. they have to work on two fronts. what they do in the middle east and what they do at home. don't you think, david? >> i do, tom. to follow up on that, i want to ask the senator, does the president have an opportunity here to open up and in effect
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restart with the american people, with the congress that's been so divided? is this a moment to build on? and how should he do it? >> it certainly could be if he brings people together and makes the case on how it affects national security, especially if he can identify what it is he sees in a post-assad syria. if he can say this is where i think we should go with it and how i think we can get there, i think he can bring people together. >> katty? >> you yourself have not always been in favoref expanding the military footprint ithe middle east. if the president cameo you and said we will need to enforce a no-fly zone and there are risks associated with that, we want to ground the syrian air force, for example, would you say yes? >> well, saying yes would entail some type of authorization for the use of military force. you can't create a no-fly zone without effectively declaring war. i'm not enthusiastic about the
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idea in the abstract, about you if he came with the right plan and i thought that plan could work, i would consider it, especially if he can tie it up with american national security. >> final thoughts, tom brokaw? >> can i make one more observation? that is all of this is going on when the president xi from china is here. my guess is he went home and conferred with his colleagues and said that's their problem, another big distraction for the west, we can take advantage of it. maybe not so much in those terms, but that's certainly what beijing is thinking. they're completely removed from the vexing problems and the hard decision that will have to be made. that will play into the future as well for our foreign policy in that part of the world, on the expansionist policies of the chinese regime, especially as they move for the middle east. >> a different way of looking at it. tom brokaw, thank you very much. senator mike lee, thank you so
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to keep you on track. i realize that ah, that $100k is notwell, a 103fortune. yeah, 103. well, let me ask you guys. how long did it take you two to save that? a long time. then it's a fortune. well, i'm sure you talk to people all the time who think $100k is just pocket change. right now we're just talking to you. i told you we had a fortune. yes, you did. getting closer to your investment goals starts with a conversation. schedule a complimentary goal planning session today. in a moment, a potential shake-up inside trump's inner circle. mike allen has the short list for a possible chief of staff replacement. but first, a look at some of the ground we have covered so far this morning.
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the united states has launched cruise missile strikes against a syrian air base. >> president trump sending a mess and to friends and foes alike. >> i think he found the consequences of embracing assad too horrifying. >> he had to take an action. >> it puts him in the foxhole with people qualified to advise him. >> do you support the presidt's tion? >> i don't mind he took the action he took. >> do you support it, the im? >> he accepts it. >> no. again, i accept it. >> i think this begins to introduce some leverage into the equation. >> i think that the moment when someone becomes president of the united states is when they first really use american military might. >> a spokesman for president vladimir putin said, quote, significant blow to u.s./russia relations. >> it takes arab participation. who are scared to death about the continued successes of iran. >> there has to be a sunni alternative to assad's rule. so if the deployment of american
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force with allies i do believe you can build support for it. >> it doesn't change the tactical situation on the ground. >> i would seek to bring about a diplomatic solution in this context. that it's time to embarrass president putin. >> the senate just went nuclear. changing its rules to confirm judge neil gorsuch. >> i think it's a sad day for the snth. >> for them to block the nominee. >> action taken yesterday now brings on the tyranny of the majority. >> joining us now, senior politics reporter at "usa today" heidi prisbella. >> how's that? >> i guess it's okay. chris matthews can say it. we love him. co-founder of axis, mike allen. it's prisbella, right? >> you should know how to pronounce a polish name. >> exactly.
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does reince priebus potential shake-up, what do you know? >> what we are hearing from the white house, you are hearing the same things, that the president wants to win and he's calling around talking to friends about what is going wrong and he keeps saying, the team, the team, the team. you have two accelerants. you have the president wanting to get better results. and second, you have the gravitational piece of the more moderate wing of the white house, the jared/ivanka wing that wants a less bannon and more of them. and so between those, you could have some big changes and so we're told the president is considering changes that include new chief of staff and the departure of steve bannon, the architect, the one person we thought to be there for a long time. and joe's been saying for a while, he could have a short shelf life. >> and the shelf life seems to be shortening by the hour. and i'm not so sure, though, about reince priebus. >> who's on your list for
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replacements of chief of staff? >> top of the list of people talked about, kevin mccarthy, the number two house republican, house republican leader, californian. second -- >> yes? >> not a choice clearly. >> no. >> color mika skeptical. >> right there with you. >> gary cohn. just might -- i don't know, might be persuaded to take it. >> i have to say reince may end up being like cher. and may end up surviving everybody. >> i like mike's list but i have a different list. this is my list. right here. that's my list. that's my short list. jared, jared, and jared. >> so, heidi -- >> heidi, obviously a lot of people talking about the infighting inside the white house. and 's not just palace intrigue. it really does matter whether the president follows steve bannon's vision or jared/ivanka
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and deanna. >> this is something that's really bothering me now which is that all of the analysis if bannon is kicked out, he was a bad tactician or reince was a bad tactician. no. where is the populism? where's the populism that trump ran on. it's not just the execution of travel ban or the health care ban and what they're made of, what they represent. where's the infrastructure plan? guys, i'm up on the hill all the time. i talk to senior senate leadership on the democratic side saying they're making it so easy for us to wholesale oppose because they did nothing to try to reach out to democrats and do the big shovel ready infrastructure plan. >> not only that, they tried to pass a health care plan and would be very easy to campaign against saying, you know what? taking away $800 billion of your health care benefits and giving
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them to the richest americans in tax cuts. >> that will do well. >> you can put it on the bumper sticker. >> the walk the plank idea is so true for both sides and the white house trying to rush through and getting a win and the house republicans don't want it. >> yeah. >> john, do you have a question? >> heidi, i totally have a question for heidi pryzbyla. is that going to poison the water in the senate? >> oh yeah. because you don't talk to anybody up there not thinking it's not a precursor to a full-out end of the filibuster for legislation, as well. look. increasingly, politics on the hill have become a zero sum game and maybe, you know, there's a contrary strain of thought that's a good thing because we are getting nothing done. i have spent years of my life that i'll never get back sitting outside committee rooms where the end result is what? we just keep the lights on in the government? >> nothing.
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yeah. amazing. >> might not be able to do this. >> the lights might go out. >> day 100 april 29th. >> i have to say it really is staggering, regular order. hasn't existed for five, six, seven, eight years. the committees don't work. nothing works. >> and part of that, a big part of that is due to just the primary system that we have. it's more fundamental in terms of electoral system. the redistricting fights to have and maybe get it to work eventually. >> heidi, mike, thank you so much on this huge day of news. stephanie rule picks up the coverage right now. >> thanks. good morning. i'm stephanie rule. breaking news today. strike on syria. missiles into the country.g targeting the airbase responsible for this week's chemical weapon attacks. new video this morng

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