tv MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin MSNBC April 14, 2017 10:00am-11:01am PDT
states is prepared to launch strikes if pyongyang carries out more nuclear tests. this as the rogue nation prepares anniversary celebrations that could involve a nuclear test. trump's travel tab. the president at mar-a-lago once again, celebrating the easter holiday. just how much do his trips cost taxpayers? and if danger. the president's border wall threatening to stop more than illegal immigration. why some say it could kill off thousands of endangered animals, as well. we'll get to that in just a moment. but we start with north korea, the biggest of several international crises, testing the new trump administration. officials there have blasted president trump's aggressive tweets this morning, aggressive tweets their words. the country celebrating its founder's birth this weekend. and analysts are worried that a show of strength possibly the country's sixth nuclear zest,
could accompany that celebration. president obama's former defense secretary talked to andrea mitchell. leon panetta cautioning against a preemptive strike by the united states. >> we shouldn't engame in ae --e in precipitous action. there's a reason no u.s. president has pulled the trigger on north korea. you have 20 million people in seoul that would be a target. we have the potential for a nuclear war that would take millions of lives. so i think we've got to exercise some care here. >> also of concern, afghanistan. the military's largest bomb reportedly killed dozens of militants there. but no word on the -- just how that attack fits into trump's largest policy there, even as russia hosts the first day of an afghan reconciliation summit, where participants are all gathering. let's start with our reporters. kelly o'donnell is following
president trump in west palm beach, florida. and from reuters, josh smith in the capital of afghanistan, kabul. kelly, let me start with you. we know that vice president pence is headed to south korea this weekend. what can you tell us about the white house's approach to the situation in north korea? >> reporter: well, the partnership the u.s. has with south korea is so critical in this, craig, as we understand they are at most risk, most vulnerable from any aggression from the north koreans. wanting to be on the same page, giving them insight directly from the vice president on this mission where he'll visit several countries in that part of the world. to ease any concerns they have, to have that face-to-face kind of diplomacy, where in this case, it's the vice president making this trip. and also at the same time, to keep things calm, to not suggest that the u.s. is prepared to
inflame the situation, but instead trying to set some parameters for what the u.s. is prepared to do with the blessing of south korea, should anything take place beyond what we're talking about now. and also this is an opportunity for pence to try to deliver from the president directly that kind of reassurance. that's why it stands out. it is an important trip, and the timing, which was unrelated to the events that you're talking about, really adds to the moment for mike pence as he visits south korea to be able to talk about the concerns seoul has, along with the rest of the world watcthing important anniversary inorth korea, with anxiety about provocation from the north. craig? >> kelly, stand by for me, if you can. i want to come back to you, but courtney, let me come back to you here. what more have we learned about this bomb that was dropped in afghanistan, what was hit, whom did it hit? reports at this point that roughly three dozen militants were killed. >> reporter: that's right. the reports of roughly 36 isis
fighters killed in this strike came from the afghans. the u.s. military is not confirming that. they're still saying they know there was a large contingent of isis fighters hit, but they don't have any specificity on numbers. the bomb itself was a 21,000 pound gbu-43. yesterday when we first heard about this, everyone was asking this question, why did they need to use such an enormous bomb? the answer is the target itself. it was a complex, an isis complex with a relatively extensive tunnel system underneath. this gbu-43 is not only an enormous payload, but it's a blast munition. so it hits the target, and then it sends out a shockwave or a blast wave that would have penetrated down into the tunnels, and taken out any isis fighters who might have been inside there. the target itself was in eastern afghanistan.
it was an isis complex. we don't know if there were any leaders there, any big fish or not. but we do know the military feels like it was a successful strike. they took out their target, and they used the munition they thought was appropriate for the target. >> courtney, thank you so much. josh, you're on the ground there in kabul. what's been the reaction there in afghanistan where you are? >> reporter: so the reaction has been quite mixed. we spoke to a number of villagers were quite close to the bomb, close enough that they felt the ground shake, saw a flash of light. in many cases, they have spent months, if notears dealing with islamic state militants coming tthei villages, in some cases occupying those villages. for the most part, when we spoke to them, they were quite supportive of the strike and were happy to see the afghan and
american forces in that area. however, the strike also drew pretty sharp condemnation from some afghan officials, including former president hamid karzai, who had major differences during his time in the office with the united states over their use of air strikes in afghanistan. >> karzai criticizing this country's military for essentially using afghanistan to test out its new toys among the criticisms. how effective, josh, in broad terms, how effective has the campaign been in kabul against isis, against the taliban as well before that? >> reporter: relatively speaking, the united states and afghan government here do hike to tout their success against the islamic state. compared to the taliban, which has seized territory around the country, as well as compared to what the islamic state has been able to do in places like syria and iraq, islamic state has been generally pretty confined
territory wise to a small area along the afghanistan and pakistan border. that, however, has not prevented them from launching some of the deadliest attacks that kabul has ever seen in recent months, including ones that have killed hundreds of people. >> kelly o., again, we're all waiting, i guess, to a certain extent to see what north korea does this week, and president trump vowed at mar-a-lago, there had been some initial concerns expressed about precisely who was traveling with the president. perhaps more importantly, who was not traveling with the president. what more do we know about who's with him and who's not? [ no audio ] all right. we see kelly's mouth moving, we cannot hear her. we've had a technical issue. we'll see if we can get that information back here in just a moment. oh, yeah, we have her back. pick up, kelly, i'm sorry.
>> reporter: are we back, craig? >> we are back. >> reporter: thank you very much. so typically we've seen the most senior members of the white house staff traveling with the white house. we're almost three months into the administration, and that is not the case this weekend. i spoke to chief of staff reince priebus. he remained in washington. others in the top circle are, as well. that doesn't mean they're not working and it doesn't mean they're not in communication with the president. but more junior members oh of the staff are with the president here in florida. that always includes someone from the national security council, someone from the staff secretary's office. they have the responsibility when the president has to sign anything or official papers must pass his desk, they're responsible. the custodians of that. so you can see that the president, anywhere he is around the world, might need that kind of access. of course, there are the secure video communications from florida back to washington. it does raise the question if
there were some imminent military action, would the president not have his most senior people around him? we saw for the syria strike, for example, all of the major members of the national security and white house people were present. it is obviously a holiday weekend. system of these top leaders are spending time with their families. when you work in the white house as president or senior staff, you're never really off. but they aren't physically with the president here in florida. >> kelly o., thank you. josh, thanks to you, as well. courtney, always good to see you, as well. nbc's kristen welker got president trump to answer a question about that bomb dropped on afghanistan thursday. take a listen. >> i don't know if this sends a message. it doesn't make any difference if it does or not. north korea is a problem. the problem will be taken care of. i will say this, i think china has been working very hard.
>> patrick, let me start with you. a lot of folks suspected one of the reasons the trump administration dropped this massive bomb in afghanistan was to send this message to north korea. what do you say to that? and if not north korea, then who else? >> the message really, all the messages are being sent to china right now, because china is the decisive player. they're the ones with influence over north korea. the trump administration has sent mixed messages to china. until the bombing of syria and this recent bomb was dropped in afghanistan, in the chinese media the talk was how trump was a paper tiger. he had raised the one china policy and questioning it, and backed down. he raised the question of china is a currency manipulator and
backed down. now maybe some of these moves in syria and afghanistan have changed that calculus. the tone in the chinese media does seem to have picked up on that. >> they seem to take him more seriously? >> yes. at least they're trying to figure out how serious he is. >> gale, i want to show everyone at home two polls. this first one shows his approval, the president's approval right now at 39%, up just one point since the last poll. the second one comes from cbs. this was fascinating to us. 39% of american voters say that they have confidence in president trump's ability to handle the north korean nuclear situation. 56% say they are uneasy. how much of this saber rattling, if you will, is meant for domestic consumption, as well? >> i think unpredictability is the word trump talked about his foreign policy. what we're seeing now is people see that we've had the yemen
raid, the strikes in syria, and now what we're seeing is the strike against isis. i think there is a real challenge that he's facing in the world. and he's now learning that when campaign rhetoric means the reality of governing, you have to make very big decisions that have life and death consequences and we're seeing that play out, because his domestic message is being overshadowed by what is happening in international affairs. >> do you think the tough talk we heard from this president over the last few weeks as it relates to international conflicts, do you think that it makes the situation better? do you think it makes the situation worse? or do we think it has little to no effect? >> i think what's fascinating is to me the big question about afghanistan is not what's falling from the sky, but what is america's commitment on the ground? for an afternoon yesterday, america's longest war got remembered. but the big question is, what happens next? for both afghanistan and syria, there's the "and then what" question?
what is the strategy, what is the end state, what is america aiming for as a strategic objective on the ground. if we have a national conversation about that, which we have not for years. craig, we've talked about the fact that in 2012 and 2016, afghanistan was barely mentioned in the presidential campaign. so if we actually have a national discussion about what is happening on the ground in afghanistan, and america's commitment to the country, then i think we would see a positive result. >> patrick, what have you been able to glean? here we are again 80 or so days into this administration. what have you been able to glean into the trump administration's foreign policy? >> it's a very hard question, because it's a work in progress. this is one of the first tests. when president-elect trump went to the white house for the first time and he met with president obama, reports are that president obama told him that he would face one big crisis, which was north korea. and so no matter who was
president, whether it was hillary clinton or donald trump, they would be facing some very serious decisions right now about north korea, because with both of the missile program and with the nuclear program, they've really been ramping up in recent years. and clearly, china is the big factor there. now, what we see from the trump administration so far has been tryi to voice more publicly and perhapse aggressively what the quiet message has been for the past two administrations to china, which is if you don't help with north korea, if you don't use your influence, the united states is going to be forced to do things, which are contrary to china's interest in the region. the things that you don't want to see us have to do. and whether that's any more persuasive because he's saying it more bluntly and more publicly than it was when it was said privately, we'll have to
find out. >> gale, what do you make of the president's reversals on a variety of things as they relate to foreign policy, whether it's syria, whether it's assad, whether it's russia, currency manipulation, what do you make of those flip-flops? >> well, i think the weight of the world lands on the president's desk, and you're seeing him recalibrate what it is that the world is asking of american leadership. i was talking to a former obama administration official recently that in some ways trump is obama foreign policy with much fewer seat belts. you haven't seen huge breaks from what the obama administration did. you have seen a delegation of pow tore the military, which we did not see under the last white house. you would talk to military officials who would talk about how there were some strikes in which the obama administration would check on even to what helicopter was used in the mission. i think trump is reversing that. he's delegating much more authority to the military. and the one challenge of that, i think, is that there are so many jobs that are unfilled.
in the civilian roles in the pentagon and also at the state department. so i think there is a counterbalancing that is challenging to find at this moment. >> gale, thank you. patrick, good to have you. enjoy your holiday, guys. that brings us to our microsoft pulse question of the day. should the united states launch a preemptive military strike against north korea? that's the question. you can cast your vote right now, the pulse is live. it's pulse .msnbc.com. about face. wrapping up a week of presidential flip-flops. we'll talk about whetherhe president is at riskf now alienating his base. and later, a potential ecological disaster in the making. environmental groups are now protesting the president's proposed border wall. they worry that it could kill off dozens of already endangered species. the animal planet's jeff corwin will join me to talk about that.
adult 7+ promotes alertness and mental sharpness in dogs 7 and older. (ray) the difference has been incredible. she is much more aware. she wants to learn things. (vo) purina pro plan bright mind. nutrition that performs. i can't wait for her to have that college experience that i had. the classes, the friends, the independence. and since we planned for it, that student debt is the one experience, i'm glad she'll miss when you have the right financial advisor, life can be brilliant. ameriprise
the bombing of isis targets in afghanistan, rising tensions over north korea have given the president some cover over reports of political disarray in the white house and the president is reversing himself on key issues like calling nato obsolete and labeling china a currency manipulate for, and freezing the hiring of federal workers.
i want to bring in jeremy peters, with washington post opinion writer and msnbc contributor e.j. dion. and hew hewitt, host of the "hew h hewitt show." jeremy, let me start with you. you wrote your column this morning on the president's reversals and how it will play out among the supporter. in your words -- >> is this, jeremy, just trump being trump or what his core supporters have come to expect? >> i think you're right, craig, that the trump being trump line is something you heard his supporters say over and over throughout the course of the campaign, and they're not changing their mind on that now.
they didn't vote for an ideology. they voted for an attitude. and a sense that they would have a president who could get things done. they don't really care what the methods are to get things done, as long as they see the country heading in a different direction. and they, i think, probably find all of these debates over currency manipulation and the export/import bank to be removed from their own pocketbook concerns at home. >> is there a point, jeremy, at which the president will lose that key support? >> i mean, i think that comes if people don't see dramatic improvement in their own lives. trump came into office promising to, very them ra memorably, to america great. if supporters don't see their lives as great, they're not going to support him.
i don't think it has to do with keeping one promise of labeling china this or that or backing nato or any of these reversals we've seen over the last couple of days. it has to do with how their family finances feel and whether or not they feel like the nation is a peaceful and prosperous place. those are the two most important drivers for the success of any president. peace and prosperity. if trump can produce those, he'll do just fine. >> e.j., a lot of the rumbling in this white house continue to surround senior strategist steve bannon. you wrote this morning, with things going badly for his presidency in your vol lcolumn, write -- >> you insist he's found tt scapegoat in steve bannon. walk us through it. >> i think that trump they have says everything that's going wrong is his fault. so bannon is the guy he's turning on, because he's decided for the time being, persuaded by
jared kushner, and by the way, never get into a fight with the president's son-in-law. but he's decided that jared kushner and some of the other people in the white house are peddling a much more establishment line are the people who he'll go with now. and bannon didn't get the health care bill through congress. there is a substantive problem for trump that goes to part of what did draw some of the support to him if states like pennsylvania and michigan. he ran as an economic populist, and what i think a lot of his voters could start hearing, and they've already started hearing, is he's totally abandoned his hard line on china. that was central to his campaign. even the way he pronounced the word "china" sent a message about how he felt. now he's let that go. he used to attack nafta over and over again. the proposal they're making to rewrite it is really not radical
at all. and so i think this carries a real risk. while i agree, there are some trump supporters who just believe in trump the man and will stay with him for a really long time, i think some of those swing voters in working class areas are saying wait a minute, who is this guy sh ? >> hew, you always sit so patiently and i see steam coming from your ears. hew, do you buy that assessment? >> i'm going to shock you, i agree with a lot of what jeremy and e.j. said, and they're both for an of the program. attitude, not an ideal loologid he's right. and there is risk on the china policy where the blue wall crumbled in the midwest. on the other hand, gorsuch, gorsuch, gorsuch. a lot of the republican party is satisfied by this enormous big
win of the first 100 days. there is the response to the syrian use of sarin, and the emphatic renunciation of the passivity of the obama years in the dropping of the m.o.a.b. so trump has had a very good right. e.j. is right -- i don't think i say that very often -- where there's no upside in getting opposite of the president's daughter and son-in-law. there's just no upside to that. so we'll see some reorganization and re-emphasis. with you the president's had a very good week and i'm looking forward to a few more of those, before the artificial 100 day deadline appears. >> i want to call your attention to something. jeremy, at the risk of discussing something that may be seen as esoteric to a lot of folks, "the washington post" reporting that the trump administration has decided to
discontinue the obama policy of voluntarily releasing white house visitor logs. they are no longer going to be doing that, citing "grave national security risks and privacy concerns." hew, is that something that concerns you? >> it's not my idea of a good move at this moment, unless it's further explained and explored. i put it in the category of things i haven't been happy with, calling the press enemies of the state, but restricting access to documents is not smart. if there is a national security reason for leaving someone off, i would simply note that. and then continue daily releases. i don't think there's upside in this. and coming off a week of big momentum switch on his side, going in his way, i don't know why they do that today. >> jeremy, you're nodding your
head. you have ten seconds. >> i agree with you. this is a strange day. >> this is a strange day. maybe it's the holiday weekend, maybe that's it. a big thanks to all of you. enjoy the ol day. >> take care. president trump spending the holiday at his mar-a-lago estate. this will be his seventh trip. count them, seven times he's gone to that florida compound. we'll te a look, a very close look at just how much these jaunts are costing taxpayers. ♪ ♪ after becoming one of the largest broadband companies in the country. after expanding our fiber network coast to coast. these are the places we call home. we are centurylink. we believe in the power of the digital world. the power to connect. and that's what drives us everyday.
before fibromyalgia, i was a doer. i was active. then the chronic, widespread pain drained my energy. my doctor said moving more helps ease fibromyalgia pain. she also prescribed lyrica. fibromyalgia is thought to be the result of overactive nerves. lyrica is believed to calm these nerves. woman: for some, lyrica can significantly relieve fibromyalgia pain and improve function, so i feel better. lyrica may cause serious allergic reactions or suicidal thoughts or actions. tell your doctor right away if you have these, new or worsening depression, or unusual changes in mood or behavior. or swelling, trouble breathing, rash, hives, blisters, muscle pain with fever, tired feeling, or blurry vision. common side effects are dizziness, sleepiness, weight gain and swelling of hands, legs and feet. don't drink alcohol while taking lyrica. don't drive or use machinery until you know how lyrica affects you. those who have had a drug or alcohol problem may be more likely to misuse lyrica.
president trump at his mar-a-lago estate for the long easter holiday. more than half of his weekend has been spent at the florida resort since he became president and the frequent trips are raising serious costs and ethics concerns, as well. nbc's gabe gutierrez reports from west palm beach, florida. >> reporter: when barack obama was president, donald trump had harsh words about his travel trips. >> what's better than the white house? why these vacations? you're in the white house. there's so much work to be done. >> reporter: now mr. trump's
traveling often to mar-a-lago, his glitzy, sprawling florida estate, also a private club. seven trips since he took office, including another one this week. more than half of the weekends. >> we have the southern white house in florida. we get a lot of work done. there's not rest there. it's all work. >> reporter: so who's gone there? a who's who of the administration, plus high level job applicants, and members of congress. many flown down at taxpayer expense and staying in high-priced rooms. plus, foreign officials, such as chinese president xi jinping. and the japanese prime minister shinzo abe. businessmen like robert craft, who traveled on air force one. and marine one. how unprecedented is this? >> i can't think of anything like this that we've seen at any time. >> reporter: steve schooner, an ethics expert, says what is so
different unlike president bush's trips to texas or president obama's trips to hawaii, president trump is visiting a private family business where he can mingle with club members who pay more than $200,000 just to join. >> the president should have divested from his properties, he shouldn't be traveling there regularly and shouldn't be driving business to his own commercial business. >> reporter: so what's the price tag? prime minister's abe's trip was a gift from the president himself. the white house won't say exactly how much, but the government accountability office estimated that a weekend trip in 2013 by president obama to chicago and south florida cost about $3.6 million. the cost for air force one alone, $142,000 an hour.
>> this is where he goes to see his family. he brings people down there. this is part of being president. >> reporter: but critics, including a conservative budget watch dog group, says the trips cost too much. >> there's room for improvement, and the president would do well to figure out way to save money for the taxpayer in the white house operation. >> reporter: every time the president visits, how much does it cost? >> it's about $60,000 a day. >> reporter: sheri rick bradshaw says it's added up to morehan $2 million since the augution. >> we can sustain this for a while longer. if it does many more months, we're going to have to make some decisions on talking with the county and make get some contingency funds. >> reporter: in eight years, barack obama's total draft costs were at least $97 million. at the current rate, president trump's travel could well exceed that. but what this adds up to is a
president spending taxpayer money to conduct presidential business while promoting his family's business at the same time. >> this is a privately owned club that, for all intents and purposes, was just another golf property in florida before. that almost now is something that americans immediately recognize. imagine what you would have to pay to get that kind of brand recognition. that's extraordinary. >> that was gabe gutierrez reporting from west palm beach, florida. pass nating. let's see what you're saying about the pulse question. should the united states launch a preemptive military strike against north korea. so far, 87% of you say no. there's still time to weigh in. protesters starting to gather at the capital in little rock, arkansas, to protest that state's plan to execute seven death row inmates in just ten days. why arkansas is rushing through what some are calling an
assembly line execution. could president trump's border wall, could it pose a serious environmental risk? nature conservationist jeff corwin explains what it could mean to already endangered animals. think again. this is the new new york. we are building new airports all across the state. new roads and bridges. new mass transit. new business friendly environment. new lower taxes. and new university partnerships to grow the businesses of tomorrow today. learn more at esd.ny.gov ♪ everything your family touches sticks with them. make sure the germs they bring home don't stick around. use clorox disinfecting products. because no one kills germs better than clorox.
we're not professional athletes. but that dsn't mean we're giving up. i'm in this for me. for me. along with diet and exercise, farxiga helps lower blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes. lowering a1c by up to 1.2 points. do not take if allergic to farxiga. if you experience symptoms of a serious allergic reaction such as rash, swelling, difficulty breathing or swallowing, stop taking and seek medical help right away. do not take farxiga if you have severe kidney problems, are on dialysis, or have bladder cancer. tell your doctor right away if you have blood or red color in your urine or pain while you urinate. farxiga can cause serious side effects including dehydration, genital yeast infections in women and men, serious urinary tract infections, low blood sugar, and kidney problems. stop taking farxiga and call your doctor right away if you have signs of ketoacidosis, which is serious and may lead to death. i'm in this for my family. i'm in this for me. ask your doctor about farxiga and learn how you can get it for free. if you can't afford your medication, astrazeneca may be able to help.
ron is in jamesville, wisconsin. how did authorities get him, ron? >> reporter: craig, good day to you. we're expecting a press conference. we're here at the airport expecting that press conference to begin about 3:00 eastern time. authorities got a call about 9:30 local time from someone say tag a man matching the description was camping out on private property on a farm and would not leave. so they called authorities in. authorities set up a perimeter. they did get some of the officials who had been working this case. they all came in and set up a perimeter, and shortly before -- shortly after i should say daybreak, they encountered him and took him into custody without incident. at this hour, we have no idea if he is in the county or if he is still on the way here, but he is expected to be put into the sheriff's office and held there until further notice. we don't know what charges he's going to face. he's allegedly the man who robbed a -- burglarized a gun
shop and allegedly stole 18 or so weapons, including long guns and handguns, as well. so we don't know what charges he will face. he did allegedly send a letter to president trump in which there were a lot of anti-government, anti-religion statements made in that letter. we don't know if he'll face charges in connection to that letter. we should tell you, there was one church that canceled services last sunday. there were some schools that had to cancel classes. we understand that governor scott walker has put the plans for this easter weekend egg roll at the governor's mansion back on. they had canceled that because of the fact that they could not find this man. they did find him overnight and took him into custody this morning. >> ron mott, thank you. the united states has recorded its lowest number of executions since 1991. 20 people were executed in 2016. that's according to a new report
from amnesty international. but the report went on to express some concerns about the "shocking number of executions scheduled this the state of arkansas." over a ten-day period starting monday, that state plans to execute seven men. jacob, first of all, why so many in such a short period of time? >> reporter: so all of them have been on death row for 20 years or more, except one i believe, maybe for 17 years. and the reason that they're scheduling all of them in this time is because one of the drugs that's used in the execution is going to expire at the end of the month. so starting on april 17th, they have two scheduled per night. the -- and they're doing that again because the drug is set to expire. the governor has the option of make thing go away, but here's what he said just yesterday.
>> there's been a 25-year nightmare for the victims that have had to deal with this. and now it's time for that justice to be carried out. so i expect that to happen. but you don't know with the court review that's ongoing. >> reporter: we're here with the arkansas coalition to abolish the death penalty. they say they expect hundreds of protesters out today to talk about this. they have their signs up here, thou shall not kill. and they'll deliver 100,000 signatures of people that want to do away with this. we're going to talk to a gentleman from utah, whose brother was executed. but you've come here today why? >> to tell the governor that just because the drugs are expiring, it's not right to kill these people. they have the right to the appeals process. some of them are mentally ill. killing people that kill people is just not right.
that's why i'm here. >> reporter: thank you very much for your time. and by saying in the hands of the judge right now, is a decision whether or not to have this go forward. a federal judge is deciding whether or not this drug is okay to use. that decision expected this afternoon. craig? >> jacob rascone in little rock, arkansas. thank you. environmental threat. the first federal lawsuit against president trump's border wall filed by conservationists, and the congressman who worries that the wall will have devastating effects on endangered species. the animal planet's jeff corwin on the other side of this break on what some say is an ecological disaster in the making. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
it's the phillips' lady! anyone ever have occasional constipation,diarrhea, gas or bloating? she does. she does. help defend against those digestive issues. take phillips' colon health probiotic caps daily with three types of good bacteria. 400 likes? wow! try phillips' colon health. when a fire destroyed everything in our living room. we replaitll without touching our savings. yeah, our insurance won't do that. no. you can leave worry behind when liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance
president trump's proposed border wall facing a new challenge this afternoon. a conservation group and a congressman have fed a lawsuit to stop construction on environmental grounds. demanding that the trump administration perform an environmental impact study before construction starts. they say "numerous endangered
species would be impacted." i want to bring in wildlife biologist jeff corwin, who doesn't need much of an introduction. jeff, always good to have you. let's start with which animal specifically would suffer from this border wall. >> well, craig, if this border wall happens, it will be an unprecedented environmental catastrophe. it's poised to cut through more than 1200 miles of habitat along the border between united states and mexico. there are over 90 threatened and critically endangered species that are in the crosshairs because of this wall, and we've got over 100 migratory boards that will be impacted from this wall. the endangered mexican gray wolf only 133 individuals left of this iconic carnivore, this amazing canine.
its head is on the chopping block skpland likely could face extinction. the jaguar will likely be pushed back toward the precipice is likely to head toward extinction because of the building of this wall. >> the birds specifically, wouldn't they just be able to fly over the wall? >> it's interesting you say that, and it's actually an excellent question, but certainly many animals that fly can migrate over that wall. but many animals actually stay very low. many of these animals, for example, birds and bats are actually passing close to the ground surface because they're heading wards plants for pollination or seeds or fruits. you may not even know this, but 50% of the desert plants in the
sinora desert, those cactus, 50% of them have their seeds dispersed or flowers pollinated by bats, and bats use seed to chlorina, so clearly that would be a deterrence for them. >> what would you say to someone that these habitats should not supercede our security? >> i understand the concern, but what we call central america has been a natural bridge uniting central america between south and north america has been this existing causeway for over 3 million years. many of the animals we have today in north korea actually evolved in south america and vice versa. you can't just stop this natural bridge for allowing migrations to take place. these animals migrate for reproduction, for natural resources like water, to have
their babies because of seasonality, and in the end, craig, we would pay the price. because the natural resources we use today, we inherited them from our children. we borrowed them from our children. and basically this policy is robbing the bank. we need these natural resources. it's what makes our country great, and if we're not wise in how we manage this, it will be an absolute catastrophe for which we will all pay the price. >> before the lawsuit, did you guys take any of these concerns to the trump administration? >> absolutely. i actually personally reached out to the administration on a number of occasions. we normally have, like, the u.s. fish and wildlife service which play very important roles in doing evaluations under the department of the interior, but clearly this administration is not making the environment a priority. when you combine their denial of climate change mixed with the
deregulation, defunding of the epa and other governmental institutions charged with the pragmatic and we management of our resources, and then you throw in this wall, it equals a perfect extinction storm. normally there would be systems at play to evaluate the potential employabilitpositiv potential impact. because this wall follows national security, it's actually away from the real i.d. act of 2005. it's been waived by 37 regional laws. so left in check, which looks like it's going to occur, it's going to cut right through central america and literally cut through thousands of acres of national parks, refuges, landscape, and these animals could be pushed to the brink of extinction. and craig, these are resources we depend upon. it's not just about aesthetic
value of conservation, it's about stuff we need for the prosperity of our country. >> wildlife biologist, wildlife conservationist jeff corwin. thanks for being here and for your insight. >> thank you. one last look at our microsoft polls question. the question was, should the u.s. launch a preemptive military strike against north korea north korea? that was the question. so far an overwhelming number of you say no. you still have time to weigh in at pulse.msnbc.com.
are you one sneeze away from being voted out of the carpool? find out how american express cards and services try zyrtec® it's starts working hard at hour one and works twice as hard when you take it again the next day. stick with zyrtec® and muddle no more®. it's about moving forward, not back.t. it's looking up, not down. it's being in motion. in body, in spirit, in the now. boost® high protein it's intelligent nutrition with 15 grams of protein and 26 vitamins and minerals. for when you need a little extra. boost® the number one high protein complete nutritional drink.
that's going to wrap things up on this friday afternoon. i'll see you back here tomorrow morning on "today." for now katy tur picking things up. >> happy easter, craig. >> happy easter. >> thank you very much. the day after the u.s. dropped the mother of bombs on afghanist afghanistan, the white house is now considering a preemptive strike on north korea. first to afghanistan where u.s. forces detonated the largest nuclear bomb ever used on isis and some key questions remain. why did they need that particular bomb and why is president trump saying he had full authorization to strike?
>> i think he's using tactics by commanders in the field. >> from afghanistan to the standoff in the u.s. and north korea, tensions escalating as north korea is poised to test a nuke underground, potentially this weekend. the u.s. destroyer positioned bombers and sent a strike group to the peninsula, telling nbc news that the white house is prepared to launch that preemptive strike. should they become convinced that north korea is about to pull the trigger? >> i think we have to be careful here. we shouldn't engage in any precipitous action. there is a reason no recent president in u.s. history has pulled the trigger on north korea. >> our team of korncorresponden and analysts are are here to break down every single detail. we begin with kelly o'donnell who is in florida where the president is spending easter