Skip to main content

tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  August 9, 2017 9:00am-10:00am PDT

9:00 am
right now on "andrea mitchell reports," fire and fury, president trump drawing a red line with a thunderous warning to north korea. >> north korea best not make any more threats to the united states, they will be met with fire, fury and, frankly, power the likes of which this world has never seen before. >> the great leaders that i've seen, they don't threaten unless they are ready to act.
9:01 am
and i'm not sure that president trump is ready to act. >> and a world apart, as the president's comments were ricocheting around the globe, the secretary of state was playing catch up. ironically heading to refuel in guam. the u.s. territory that north korea has in its cross hairs. >> so i think the president, what the president is doing is sending a strong message to north korea, and language that kim jong-un would understand because he doesn't seem to understand diplomatic language. >> and house raid, the fbi working for special council robert mueller, raiding the home of the president's former campaign manager, paul manafort, using a search warrant from a judge. >> what this says is that the fbi and special council robert mueller was able to convince a judge that there was probable cause to believe a crime had been committed, and that paul manafort was not necessarily cooperating with the inquiry.
9:02 am
>> and good day, everyone. i'm andrea mitchell in washington. the white house scrambling today to explain whether the national security council weighed in before the president made his startling comments about north korea. but today on twitter, the president's words were a little more balanced, tweeting my first order as president was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. it is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before. hopefully we will never have to use this power but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world. fact checkers were quick to point out that updating the arsenal is only in the thinking stage. joining me now, nbc white house correspondent kristen welker in new jersey and bill neely in south korea. bill, let me go first to you, you were there in south korea, what is the mood after all of the bombast really from both sides. used to it from the north koreans, not so much from an
9:03 am
american president. >> exactly, andrea. there are two levels here, officially, the south korean presidency is saying there is no imminent crisis and they're watching for any new provocations from north korea. but deep under the surface there is real anxiety because, you know, south korea has heard this kind of rhetoric from north korea for decades. it has never heard it before from a president of the united states, excuse me, from any president, and, you know, there is real worry here because there is a new reality. first, that intelligence assessment which has shown south korea that its neighbor to the north does have a nuclear capability, and statements now by president trump and uncertainty. what does that statement mean? is this a new red line? what does president trump mean by threats? and there is no country that is more nervous about this than seoul because where i'm standing
9:04 am
here is a city with a metro population of 25 million. this would be the first casualty in any war and they have lived for decades with 10,000 artillery tubes pointed in this direction. but now there is a new reality, so while the official statement is rather calming, echoing perhaps the words of rex tillerson, underneath there is real anxiety, because they simply don't know what u.s. policy is going forward. is it the policy of president trump and some of the statements talking about war or is it the cool head of rex tillerson saying as he did to the north koreans we don't seek regime change, we don't seek war, you know, there is confusion here and amid that confusion, that's very, very dangerous because miscalculation can lead to war and war would lead to the destruction of this city. andrea? >> and, of course, the
9:05 am
implications for the rest of the world as well. bill neely, thank you very much. kristen welker, trying to sort out just who is behind that statement with the president ad-libbing on his own, was it planned, he had talked to john kelly, my reporting and i'm sure yours as well is he had not talked to the secretary of defense. >> that's right. and secretary of state seemed caught off guard by that as well. and, of course, you had that very different tone when he landed in guam. it was a preplanned trip, a refuel if you will, andrea. but he obviously had a very different tone than we heard from president trump yesterday, trying to de-escalate the rhetoric, saying the american people should feel as though they can sleep well tonight. in terms of who was behind the statement, the reporting so far is indicating that the president really took the lead, was it written out before hand, we're still trying to drill down some of the facts and who looked at it, reviewed it before hand.
9:06 am
again, that reporting is still ongoing. bottom line, the official word from the white house, according to one administration official we just spoke with is that the president and that his chief of staff john kelly have been in constant contact with members of the national security council and that, of course, the president has been in constant contact with his chief of staff, who is here with him in new jersey on this working vacation. but clearly the president's comments have gotten a lot of backlash including from members of his own party, senator john mccain, as you played at the top of this show, andrea, saying that this could be a dangerous escalation with tensions already mounting between the united states and north korea, andrea. >> kristen welker on the case in new jersey where the president, of course, is and we'll have more meetings today. ben rhodes served at deputy national security adviser to president obama and joins me here now. let's take us back to november 2016, after the election, president obama meets for the first time with donald trump, in the oval office, and it has been
9:07 am
widely reported there was one national security warning that he gave to the incoming -- to the president-elect when they were still on good terms and what was that? >> well, it was certainly one of them, that north korea would be at the top of the list in terms of national security challenges. this is an issue that affects multiple presidents. north korea tested its first device, nuclear device, we dealt with the nuclear missile programs, what we're concerned about, though, is whether or not north korea was reaching ining t where they could miniaturize a weapon, put it on the warhead and put the united states within range of its nuclear arsenal. >> it goes all the way back, really in fairness to the bill clinton administration when there was an agreement and what we thought was going to be a freeze of the program, but they cheated. subsequently discovered, george w. bush canceled the negotiations, the relationship, and then later on they made more advances. so different -- three presidents tried both negotiating, not negotiating, multilateral, one
9:08 am
on one talks on the sides of the margins. nothing has worked. this is a hard target. >> it is a hard a problem as it is in national security. not a partisan statement. whoever is present is going to deal with a very unstable regime in north korea that believes that its only insurance policy for survival is this nuclear weapons program. >> one of the things the president tweeted today was that one of his first priorities was modernizing, upgrading the nuclear arsenal. which is under the energy department. he did sign something. he signed an executive order. we looked it up, on january 27th. what, if anything, has been done. >> nothing. first of all, his statement is physically impossible. you cannot change our nuclear arsenal in six months. second of all, they haven't passed a budget the. frankly we have seen him make extreme statements and false statements about all manner of things. it is more concerning when you're talking about nuclear weapons. >> what is the impact -- let me
9:09 am
take you back a step. you were deputy national security adviser. before president obama, who you served would make a statement about north korea, either at a news conference or in a written statement, what would go into making that kind of a statement? >> this is the most dangerous flashpoint in the world, so every word that a president speaks about north korea is usually carefully crafted and vetted with the secretary of defense, the secretary of state. we would preview any new language with our allies. and clearly it seems in this case that none of that happened. this is not the language that worked through any type of interagency process, doesn't seem like it was previewed with south korea and japan, who are within range of those north korean rockets. it is an incredibly destabilizing statement. either he's threatening that we're going to have a catastrophic war that would take the lives of hundreds of thousands of people potentially or he's just making an empty threat that we're not going to follow through on that is destabilizing and could divide us from the countries you have to work with in northeast asia.
9:10 am
>> there has been some supposition he was trying to send a message to beijing. take this seriously, i am serious about using military action if i have to, so you better do something on the sanctions front. that said, secretary tillerson has not spoken to the rug russi or the chinese in the last couple of days. he said he had had not spoken to them since the summit in manila. >> this is amateurish this is the way in which they tend to send a message to beijing. there is nobody home at the state department. there is no -- secretary of state for east asia. no ambassador. >> there is an acting holdover, susan thorton, traveling with him. >> but they have not nominated anybody for the secretary of state position. that's who foreign governments look to, this person confirmed by the senate, nominated by the president. also not put someone forward to be ambassador to seoul. we need our diplomats on the field. they're not even there. what we're left with are these kind of empty threats from president trump, and, frankly, discordant messages. if you stack up the statements
9:11 am
made by rex tillerson, jim mattis, president trump, they're all over the map. one day we're saying we're assuring them there will not be regime change, the next day raining down fire and fury. in northeast asia, that is incredibly destabilizing and frankly i'm sure right now if you're living in seoul or tokyo, you're wondering what the policy of the united states of america is. >> they're talking about guam and the north koreans have been as bombastic as they usually are when they talk about targeting guam. guam has been in range of the north korean missiles, of the intermediate range for quite some time. >> yes, but i think it is important to caveat here. it takes a number of different breakthroughs from north korea to be able to put a warhead on a missile, fire that missile at a target, have it be able to go in through the atmosphere again, and cause a nuclear yield. we do not have indication, even with the ports yesterday, that they have mastered that technology. so what i don't understand is
9:12 am
why are we precipitating what feels like a nuclear crisis when frankly it is unnecessary and we have not coordinated with the other countries, china, japan, south korea, chief among them, to shape a diplomatic strategy to try to reduce tensions rather than just ratchet them up. >> and actually, the defense intelligence agency was leading this and now trying to find out whether there is a real intelligence community, consensus, about that assessment and you're absolutely right, they haven't figured out the re-entry, haven't figured out the targeting, the accuracy of an actual hit. >> yeah, there is few issues that the intelligence community spends more time on. frankly we should all wait until there is a formal assessment from the intelligence community before leaping to conclusions that north korea has escalated the capacity to threaten the continental united states with a nuclear tipped missile. we're not there yet. so i don't understand why, again, frankly unprompted by anything, and doesn't seem like it was part of a diplomatic strategy or part of a decision
9:13 am
by his own national security council you have the president of the united states issuing the threats. this is literally the most dangerous place in the world, most dangerous flashpoint in the world, we're talking about nuclear weapons, we're talking about even a conventional war that could put tens of thousands of americans at risk in seoul and millions of south koreans and japanese. we frankly we're not talking about fake news and dick blumenthal's service record, the most serious national security issue in the world, and this is not the kind of language we expect from an american president. >> and white house officials on other networks are comparing this to the cuban missile cri s crisis. is that a way to dial down the rhetoric? >> no. and frankly i don't see what is gained from that. to try to create, manufacture this climate of fear and crisis, when it is not necessary. look, they just passed u.n. security council resolution, new sanctions, that's a good thing. we should be focused on patiently and methodically imposing those sanctions and leveraging them to try to get a
9:14 am
diplomatic resolution that, again, limits the north korean program in the interim as we aim for the ultimate goal of denuclearization. >> ben rhodes, former deputy national security adviser, thank you very much. and coming up, prepare to act, a top senator says kim jong-un is not lying. how far will the u.s. go to stop him. that's next right here on "andrea mitchell reports," only on msnbc. liberty mutual stood with me when i was too busy with the kids to get a repair estimate. i just snapped a photo and got an estimate in 24 hours. my insurance company definitely doesn't have that...
9:15 am
you can leave worry behind when liberty stands with you™ liberty mutual insurance. looking for a hotel that fits... whoooo. ...your budget? tripadvisor now searches over... ...200 sites to find you the... ...hotel you want at the lowest price.
9:16 am
grazi, gino! find a price that fits. tripadvisor. her long day as anne. hair stylist starts with shoulder pain when... hey joanne, want to trade the all day relief of 2 aleve with 6 tylenol? give up my 2 aleve for 6 tylenol? no thanks. for me... it's aleve.
9:17 am
9:18 am
this man kim jong-un is not lying. he's saying that he's going to build an icbm with a nuclear weapon on top to hit america, and i don't want to live for the next 50 years under that threat and he'll have a hydrogen bomb one day with a bunch of missiles if we don't stop him now. >> senator lindsey graham on cbs today arguing the president was right to serve notice on north korea. others include ing dianne feinstein disagree with the president's rhetoric, saying it is too hot. joining me now is chris van holland. thank you for being with us. senator feinstein made the point it was, quote, too bombastic and that she thinks that diplomacy is the only path forward. >> well, i think she's right that diplomacy combined with ratcheting up and implementing, enforcing the economic sanctions, working with china and others -- >> she was pointing out that is a diplomatic option and that's we did at the united nations. >> that's right. the united nations passed another round of sanctions,
9:19 am
important to distinguish between what is on paper and what we actually enforce, why senator toomey and i introduced bipartisan legislation to ratchet up the enforcement just like we did with the iran sanctions. the u.n. passed stiff sanctions on iran, but much of the world was look the other way. the united states needs to say to chinese banks and financial institutions and others, if you're serious about stopping north korea, you got to stop doing business with north korea. if you don't, you won't have access to the u.s. markets. >> that would be another whole level of secondary sanctions. that would be saying to the chinese, you have to choose between doing business in the dollar economy, basically, in the u.s. system, or doing the business with north korea. >> that's right. i think we need to. the chinese have now signed on to u.n. sanctions which on paper are very serious. so it is a little bit like calling the chinese bluff. are you serious about actually implementing these, if you are, you should have no problem
9:20 am
turning off the spigot that some of your banks are providing, not all, some, to north korea. >> you have senator toomey from pennsylvania on this, you have enough support to begin moving on it? >> i think we have very broad support. the congress passed one round of sanctions against north korea, part of the package signed by president trump. but in the senate, we believe that what the house did not go far enough in terms of leveraging the secondary sanctions against north korea. that's the way to go. this hot rhetoric from the president only elevates the north korean leader. this is what the north koreans love to do, engage in this hot rhetoric and it actually puts the president of the united states on par with the north korean leader. we don't want to do that. he should follow the advice of tony roosevelt. speak softly and carry a big stick. that has served presidents very well. >> which john mccain was talking about on the radio last night, in disagreeing with what the president did.
9:21 am
at the same time, lindsey graham, i want to play another bit of that interview on cbs today, lindsey graham is supporting thered rhetoric. let's watch. >> china, deal with a nut job in your backyard or realize there will be a war in your backyard. >> he has a way with words, senator graham. >> there you go. i don't think threatening war is a very smart thing for the president of the united states to do or others to do. what we want to do is ratchet down the tensions, but at the same time, be very firm and ratchet up the pressure through economic sanctions and diplomacy. that's a smart combination. right now the real danger is the uncertainty created by the president's words and undermining u.s. credibility. u.s. credibility is important, important that our adversaries and allies know when we're serious and if you're just flying off in different directions and you have the
9:22 am
secretary tillerson policy and president trump policy and secretary mattis policy, it just creates confusion, which undermines our credibility, which is so important. >> speaking of credibility, on the russia investigation, the mueller team, the fbi agents, federal agents, raided the home of paul manafort today in virginia and that's an indication according to the people covering the investigation for us that he's not cooperating fully with mueller in turning over documents. there was a court order. so there was probable cause of a lack of cooperation and of need to find this stuff that warranted sending in the fbi. >> i think it is a very clear sign from special counselor mueller. they're not messing around, they're serious about this investigation. they're going to demand cooperation. and they owe that to the american people to get to the bottom of this. i would like to get to the bottom of it as fast as possible when you have people withholding documents and information, that just sort of covers up what the
9:23 am
american people need to know. >> and i just realized that was actually last month, late last month, it has been reported today, but the raid happened on july 26th. and speaking of cooperation, also, on the house side, former house member, we now learn the details of why house intelligence committee staffers showed up in london, trying to find the author of that controversial dossier, christopher steel, former intelligence -- current intelligence guy, and the staffers were republican staffers, it turns out not only did adam schiff not know about it, the democratic ranking member, but mike conway, the republican, who is subbing for the chairman did not know and according to the guardian on rachel maddow's show, they were sent there by devin nunez, the intelligence chair, who is recused from all of this. >> and discredited in the process and had to step down because of his collusion with the white house. the apparent collusion. look, this is another example of
9:24 am
how you've got the trump administration, allies, trying to muddy the waters. it is all the more reason we need special counsel mueller to act quickly and get to the bottom of this. >> senator van holland, thank you very much. another tense day in paris after a 36-year-old man allegedly slammed his bmw into a group of french soldiers injuring six of them three of them seriously in an affluent suburb, home to france's main intelligence service. they're calling the attack a carefully timed ambush. police say the principle subject was shot and captured by s.w.a.t. teams on a highway 150 miles north of paris. and coming up, blind spot, the challenge for the intelligence community when it comes to north korea. former deputy national security adviser ron zaradi joining me here.
9:25 am
♪ if you have moderate to severe plaque psoriasis,... ...isn't it time to let the real you shine through? otezla is not an injection or a cream. it's a pill that treats plaque psoriasis differently. with otezla, 75% clearer skin is achievable after just 4 months,... ...with reduced redness,... ...thickness, and scaliness of plaques. and the otezla prescribing information has... ...no requirement for routine lab monitoring. don't use if you're allergic to otezla. otezla may cause severe diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. tell your doctor if these occur. otezla is associated with an increased... ...risk of depression. tell your doctor if you have... ...a history of depression... ...or suicidal thoughts,... ...or if these feelings develop. some people taking otezla... ...reported weight loss. your doctor should monitor your weight and may stop treatment. other side effects include upper... ...respiratory tract infection and headache. tell your doctor about all the medicines you take... ...and if you're pregnant or planning to be.
9:26 am
ask your dermatologist about otezla today. otezla. show more of you. hi..and i know that we have phonaccident forgiveness.gent, so the incredibly minor accident that i had tonight- four weeks without the car. okay, yup. good night. with accident forgiveness your rates won't go up just because of an accident. switching to allstate is worth it. words from a doctor... stage 2 breast cancer. i have three little kids. my baby's seven years old. i can't have cancer. we really wanted a cancer team. so we thought that we would travel to cancer treatment centers of america and see what they had to offer. one of the things that we loved about ctca was that there is no one option, that they give you a series of options, and you do what's best for you. every patient that walks through the door is being discussed by this team in various forms. dr. fernandez was wonderful. he said it was up to me to do what's best. it's about giving her options,
9:27 am
where amy has all the information to make a decision that's best for her. we left the hospital on day one feeling like this is go be okay. we're gonna beat this and this is the place that's gonna help us do it... that feeling is priceless. learn more at cancercenter.com cancer treatment centers of america. appointments available now. there's nothing more important so when i need to book a hotel, i want someone who makes it easy. booking.com gets it. and with their price match, i know i'm getting the best price every time. visit booking.com. booking.yeah!
9:28 am
i think americans should sleep well at night, have no concerns about this particular rhetoric of the last few days. i think the president, again, as commander in chief, i think he felt it necessary to issue a
9:29 am
very strong statement directly to north korea, but i think what the president was just reaffirming is the united states has the capability to fully defend itself, from any attack and defend our allies and we will do so. so the american people should sleep well at night. >> secretary of state rex tillerson trying to calm nerves this morning. 3:00 this morning on the way to guam after ominous threats from both president trump and north korea. joining me now, juan zarati, a deputy national security adviser for george w. bush in the white house. thank you very much. >> great to see you. thank you. >> what kind of options do we have if that's what is considered or threatened here? >> we have seen clearly in terms of the response to some of the rhetoric from north korea, we have flown over aircraft, the b-1 bombers, aircraft fighter jets, that are placed in bases in the region. we have our military facilities in the region that can launch aircraft.
9:30 am
we also have sea-based options, right. we have submarines, we have aircraft carriers, we have destroyers. all of those can be used for cruise missile attacks. i think the military has been thinking about north korea for a long time. they have plans off the shelf and we have got a variety of tools. no one wants to go to that option, of course, but as we see the military option being discussed, no doubt u.s. military planners are refreshing those plans as well as dusting off some of the old plans that they have seen. >> and what do we have to worry about from the north koreans in terms of retaliation in. >> the most immediate and concerning is obviously their conventional attacks on south korea. you have their munitions targeted on seoul. i think that's the principle concern for any military planner, the fact that you have conventional attacks, missiles, that are trained on huge population centers in the region. so it is less a concern about the west coast to the u.s. or a missile raining on washington, d.c. at this point, and it is more the conventional attacks on
9:31 am
south korea, even japan. that's why the thaad missile defense system in place in south korea is so important. it is why the south koreans are talking now about even expanding that -- >> only one deployment. >> only one deployment, subject of much political debate in seoul as you know, andrea. they now have rethought that. and now they're thinking about it further about expanding that program. that's a system that the north koreans don't like because it takes away at least some of their deterrent capability. the chinese don't like it either. the missile defense system is one tool in the tool kit that the u.s. and the south koreans can use. >> what about cyber? the north koreans behind the russians and the chinese and iran among adversarial actors, the north koreans are pretty sophisticated. we saw what they did to sony. what can they do to us? >> we underestimated the pace of the program.
9:32 am
there is an underestimation of the cybertools as well. they have demonstrated what they can do. they have done largely cyber attacks for profit, and for some degree of destruction and disruption, the sony case, the best example. it seems the north koreans were behind the wannacry cyber attack that affected the british health system most dramatically. the reality is they have cyber tools. they demonstrated they can use it. they hit south korean banks a few years ago. and so they have the capability not only to infiltrate, but potentially to destroy data and systems. and that's something that the department of homeland security clearly is thinking about, they have to worry about, and as pressure ratchets up, we have to worry not just about missiles, but cyberattacks and malware out of pyongyang. >> and it is also part of their criminal enterprise because they went after the central bank of bangladesh. now, they have access to hundreds of millions of dollars if not billions of dollars if think keep hitting central banks
9:33 am
around the world. >> absolutely right. >> they have added cybercrime to their portfolio of elicit activity they have engaged in to raise money for the regime. we know for over the course of years something i worked on in the treasury they have engaged in counterfeit of hundred dollar bills, called the super note, drug trafficking, money laundering, proliferation, they were building the syrian nuclear program, remember that, now they have added cyber crime to that portfolio. they took $81 million from the central bank of bangladesh, as part of this heist, pulled the money out of the philippine casinos, entire scheme, and they have now perfected the use of ransomware and some tools to make millions of dollars. and so to your point, yes, they have got money, they have got money from their coal trade, there are other endeavors, listed activity and now cybercrime. >> you scared the heck out of me. thank you. >> hopefully not too much. >> thank you. coming up, out of the loop? there is no evidence that the secretary of state was at all involved in the president's red
9:34 am
line rhetoric. so who was? you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. shawn evans: it's 6 am. 40 million americans are waking up to a gillette shave. and at our factory in boston, 1,200 workers are starting their day building on over a hundred years of heritage, craftsmanship and innovation. today we're bringing you america's number one shave at lower prices every day. putting money back in the pockets of millions of americans. as one of those workers, i'm proud to bring you gillette quality for less, because nobody can beat the men and women of gillette. gillette - the best a man can get.
9:35 am
that's a good thing, eligible for medicare? but it doesn't cover everything. only about 80% of your part b medical expenses. the rest is up to you. so consider an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan, insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company. like all standardized medicare supplement insurance plans, they pick up some of what medicare doesn't pay and could save you in out-of-pocket medical costs. call today to request a free decision guide to help you better understand what medicare is all about and which aarp medicare supplement plan works best for you.
9:36 am
with these types of plans, you'll be able to visit any doctor or hospital that accepts medicare patients. plus, there are no networks, and virtually no referrals needed. there's a range of plans to choose from, too, and they all travel with you anywhere in the country. join the millions who have already enrolled in the only medicare supplement insurance plans endorsed by aarp, an organization serving the needs of people 50 and over for generations... and provided by unitedhealthcare insurance company, which has over 30 years of experience behind it. ♪ call today. remember, medicare supplement insurance helps cover some of what medicare doesn't pay. expenses that could really add up. these kinds of plans could save you in out-of-pocket medical costs. you'll be able to choose any doctor who accepts medicare patients. and there are virtually no referrals needed. so don't wait.
9:37 am
with all the good years ahead, look for the experience and commitment to go the distance with you. call now to request your free decision guide. this easy-to-understand guide will answer some of your questions and help you find the aarp medicare supplement plan that's right for you. president trump's controversial remarks about north korea are not the first time he has suggested the use of nuclear weapons. this was president trump speaking to tim russert on "meet the press" back in the fall of
9:38 am
1999. >> the former secretary of defense said you could not launch preemptive strike against north korea because the nuclear fallout would be devastating to the asian peninsula. the military told you, mr. trump, we can't do this -- >> give me two names. give me two names. i don't know. you want to do it in five years when they have warheads all over the place pointing to new york and washington. is that when you want to do it? you bet doter do it now. >> let's get the inside scoop from new york times white house correspondent and msnbc political analyst glen thrush and washington post diplomatic correspondent ann gearen and washington post op-ed clubbist michael gershwin. thank you all for being with us. you and peter baker are reporting today that the back story on how improvised that fire and fury statement was. tell us what you know.
9:39 am
>> well, it is funny, andrea, for those of us who kind of watch this thing, watch the statement yesterday as if it were this zapruder film frame by frame, you could see him peer down at a document that was on the desk, he was attending an opioid conference. >> i thought he was reading something. >> it was the fact sheet for the opioid event. the fire and fury comment, it was something they were batting around owl dall day. there were a number of meetings specific to korea, plus the presidential daily briefing, but i was told he was informed of the washington post story, which disclosed that the north koreans had achieved miniaturization of nuclear warheads, he had gotten really riled up. they told him to expect to talk about it. but that was the extent of the briefing, and interestingly enough, his new chief of staff, john kelly, knew that he was broadly going to speak about
9:40 am
this, knew he would speak with some force, but was in the words of one close aide surprised that the president made that statement. >> well, it was surprising to a lot of people. surprising to the people in pyongyang to say nothing of beijing and tokyo. but the fact is from talking to barry mccaffrey and jack jacobson and others from the military world, they were saying there is no way that mattis, kelly or mcmaster signed off on this kind of language. and ann gearen, you covered the pentagon and the state department and the white house. you know what i speak -- of what i speak. >> probably tillerson didn't sign off on it either. >> tillerson didn't even know about it initially. >> exactly. he's trying to soften it. even as he defended it today as the president speaking plainly in terms that the north korean leader can understand. he also, you know, clearly was trying to take this down a notch. >> and speaking of rex tillerson, he didn't mention
9:41 am
north korea at all when he was in malaysia, the stop before the refuelling in guam. as i was talking it in real time and speaking to reporter on the trip, trying to figure out why hadn't he mentioned it given the heightened alarm about north korea. it was because it was not coordinated with the state department. michael, you wrote a column for the washington post entitled rex tillerson is a huge disappointment. you said if cabinet members are to be judged by the gap between expectation and performance, rex tillerson is among the worst, he was supposed to be one of the adults in the room, a steadying force, but tillerson is ineffectual and destabilizing, unfamiliar with the workings of government, unwilling to provide inspirational leadership, disconnected from american values and seemingly hostile to the department in his care. that's tough stuff. >> yeah, i think that it is pretty broadly shared, including at the state department by the way. this is a leader that we're in the middle of a crisis, but more broadly supported 30% cuts in
9:42 am
his department, used the reorganization as an excuse not to hire a lost people, including assistant secretaries as was mentioned earlier. i think people view him as someone who is not positive about the future of the organization itself. that's had an effect on morale. >> i want to get back to glen in a moment. ann, the pushback really strong pushback including his defense of the reorganization to the embassy staff in kuala lumpur last night is that they want this, that they want the waste, you know, squeezed out, they want better working conditions. he's been strongly defensive on this point. >> yeah. it is his operating principle. but he has built an argument that the driver for this is really state department employees and others watching the workings of the department. he said the other day that he
9:43 am
heard in responses to an employee survey many of which were highly critical, he heard in his words a cry for help, help us fix this. no doubt there was some of that, but there is also, as you well know, a whole lot of disdee spare and dissatisfaction in the halls over there where people don't feel they're being listened to or valued. >> and glen thrush, when we talk about the national security process, the fact that you're reporting that john kelly knew about it, but did not give him language to use. as presidents are given language, michael was a speechwriter for george w. bush, you would give a couple of thoughts that would come from the national security council staff, the president can use, not use or embroider on his own. but is that the case here, where there was no interagency process, formal process on north korea or was it a rolling series of meetings and then he was just on his own at that opioid meeting? >> i think it was the latter. i think there was an interagency process in terms of talking about the policy and discussing
9:44 am
the intelligence i've been told in bed minister yesterday, he got his normal presidential daily briefing in addition to the other briefings. but this is a president who, again, operates outside of the parameters of the way we have seen presidents operate. in terms of communicating, he views himself, despite the polls that show a majority of, a vast majority of americans including republicans, who don't think he articulates himself well, especially on twitter, he thinks he's his best messenger. unlike under the obama administration, where they would huddle for seemingly hours to craft a precise statement, i'm not saying that's necessarily the best way to do it either, it -- the way it tends to happen in this administration is there say brief huddle, they give some input and the president decides to do what he wants to do and that's how you get a fire and fury of the likes of which the world has never seen. >> and we understand that defense secretary mattis put out a statement saying north korea should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to
9:45 am
the end of its regime and the destruction of its people. so strong statement coming from the pentagon now. the other topic that is fascinating to me, just trying to understand better how this white house works, is the good news folders. there was a report from vice news, glen that the president gets a folder full of positive news about himself twice a day. information collected by the republican national committee, passed on to the white house, is this standard operating procedure for white houses? >> no. in fact, the other way around. i remember writing a story under president obama, where they took away his -- they took away his ipad because his friend valerie jarrett kept pointing him in the direction of negative stories. so it was the exact opposite under president obama. he didn't like reading positive news stories, he fixated on the negative ones. it goes to show you and you see this in these over the top public -- for the president, from vice president mike pence, this is a man who requires this
9:46 am
sort of reinforcement. doesn't come as a surprise, because we heard of similar practices during the campaign, but it is really pretty extraordinary. >> was there a good news folder put on george w. bush's desk every morning? afternoon? >> not at all. in fact, when you go to foreign countries, you get profiles of foreign leaders that talk about this sort of thing, about weaknesses. foreign countries can exploit this kind of weakness. when the president has this narcissistic desire for affirmation, that doesn't -- it seems compulsive. >> we have seen foreign leaders who like to flatter him, we have seen it in riyadh, in tel aviv and jerusalem and certainly in paris. so if there is flattery in abundance -- >> seems to like it. >> everyone likes to be praised. michael, glen, thank you so much for all of your reporting, all of you. coming up, the standoff, how will north korea respond to donald trump's fire and fury? we'll ask someone who sat at the
9:47 am
negotiating table with the north koreans. this is "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. ♪ [brother] any last words? [boy] karma, danny... ...karma! [vo] progress is seizing the moment. your summer moment awaits you, now that the summer of audi sales event is here. audi will cover your first month's lease payment on select models during the summer of audi sales event. going somewhere? whoooo. here's some advice. tripadvisor now searches more... ...than 200 booking sites - to find the hotel you want and save you up to 30%. trust this bird's words.
9:48 am
tripadvisor.
9:49 am
9:50 am
ahyou the law? we've had some complaints of... is that a fire? there's your payoff, deputy. git! velveeta shells & cheese. there's gold in them thar shells. i take exception to the president's comments, because
9:51 am
you've got to be sure that you can do what you say you're going to do. in other words, the old walk softly but carry a big stick, teddy roosevelt's saying, which i think is something that should have applied. because all it's going to do is bring us closer to some kind of serious confrontation. >> over and over again, he criticized president obama for drawing that red line in syria. he has now drawn a far more stark, a far more inflammatory, a far more dangerous red line. >> msnbc's nicolle wallace, and, of course, senator john mccain, both talking about president trump's fire and fury threat. joining me now, ambassador wendy sherman, former undersecretary of state under president obama and msnbc global affairs contributor, who knows north korea. to know it is to love it. >> something like that. >> we've both been in pyongyang, but you've spent a lot more time there than i. isolation hasn't worked, say the
9:52 am
critics. negotiation hasn't worked. they cheated on past agreements. tell me what does work. >> there are facts we need to remember here. the agreed framework did, in fact, ensure that for eight years there was no more material, the stuff that creates a nuclear weapon, that was produced in north korea. and there were no nuclear weapons. now, it is true, when bush 43 came in, they discovered that there was a secret uranium enrichment program. but, you know, the soviets cheated and we didn't blow up every agreement we had with them. you try to work it through. i think probably in retrospect, the bush administration would say perhaps they should have hung in there. the greed framework probably didn't have a long life, because the republicans were against it from the very get-go. they thought we were paying off the north koreans and we shouldn't. but we shouldn't dismiss
9:53 am
negotiations diplomacy. but it should happen in a context of the kind of pressure put on by the u.n. security council resolution. and by things that were moving forward, i thought, in a fairly decent way until the president of the united states decided he should create a new policy. >> and back in october of 2000, i believe, when you and madeline albright were in pyongyang and negotiating with the north koreans, there was actually a move towards perhaps normalizing relations. but time ran out on the clinton ad miles an ho administration, and it was bush v gore and there would not have been time to have left the country and go to asia and instead went to camp david to negotiate middle east peace. >> you remember history exactly right. it was at the end of the administration. we were trying to get -- take a moratorium that had been put in place on missile launches and make it permanent on long-range missiles. and imagine if that had happened, which the bush administration decided not to pick up and to continue, if they had played that hand, which i
9:54 am
think secretary powell wanted to do, but the president wanted a new policy review. we might not have these long-range ballistic missiles. >> you're absolutely correct about secretary powell, because i remember that blowing up in the spring of 2001. >> right. and soon afterwards in march when president kim day jung came here, he sent secretary powell out to say we're going to take a different approach. and administrations have a right to do that. but the one thing i would point out, in each of these cases, the president of the united states made a coherent policy speech, a clear statement about what they wanted to do, what they were trying to accomplish. right now all we have is policy by tweet and press statement. we haven't heard from the president of the united states how he wants to approach this very serious threat that the american public is worried about. and i think the american public is owed, by their president of the united states, a clear, articulation of policy. >> now, secretary mattis has put
9:55 am
out a statement, fairly strong statement, a written statement, from the pentagon. and he clearly was not involved in the crafting of the fire and fury rhetoric yesterday. but he said the dprk, which, north korea should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the destruction of its people and should stand down on their pursuit of nuclear weapons. doesn't seem they're going to stand down on the pursuit of nuclear weapons they think is key to survival. >> absolutely. they believe it is key to their survival. and what i think would be a coherent policy if we had one is to use all tools at our disposal to get them to realize that their real security comes from entering into serious negotiations that can be verified and monitored. china is clearly playing a role. and if the president's message yesterday was really -- and one this morning through all of his tweets was to china to say to them, you know, you can't predict me, i may just do something crazy here and we may end up in war so you better
9:56 am
enforce these sanctions. there are better ways to do it. in fact, secretary mattis and secretary tillerson have also been tough, but they have done so in language that is respectful and dignified of their office. >> wendy sherman, ambassador, thank you very much. >> thank you, andrea. >> good to see to you. up next, more ahead on the north korea threat right here on msnbc. stay with us. so that's the idea. what do you think? hate to play devil's advocate but... i kind of feel like it's a game changer. i wouldn't go that far. are you there? he's probably on mute. yeah... gary won't like it. why? because he's gary. (phone ringing)
9:57 am
what? keep going! yeah... (laughs) (voice on phone) it's not millennial enough. there are a lot of ways to say no. thank you so much. thank you! so we're doing it. yes! start saying yes to your company's best ideas. let us help with money and know-how, so you can get business done. american express open. so you can get business done. i am totally blind. and non-24 can make me show up too early... or too late. or make me feel like i'm not really "there." talk to your doctor, and call 844-234-2424. let's take a look at some numbers: 4 out of 5 people who have a stroke, their first symptom... is a stroke. 80 percent of all strokes and heart disease? preventable. and 149 dollars is all it takes to get screened and help take control of your health. we're life line screening... and if you're over 50... call this number, to schedule an appointment... for five painless screenings that go beyond regular check-ups. we use ultrasound technology to literally look
9:58 am
inside your arteries... for plaque which builds up as you age- and increases your risk for stroke and cardiovascular disease. and by getting them through this package, you're saving over 50%. so call today and consider these numbers: for just $149 you'll receive five screenings that could reveal what your body isn't telling you. i'm gonna tell you that was the best $150 i ever spent in my life. life line screening. the power of prevention. call now to learn more. tap one little bumper and up go your rates. what good is having insurance if you get punished for using it? for drivers with accident forgiveness, liberty mutual won't raise your rates due to your first accident. liberty mutual insurance.
9:59 am
thanks for being with us on this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." and follow the show online on facebook and on twitter at
10:00 am
mitchell reports. craig melvin is up next right here on msnbc. hey, craig. >> hey, andrea. good to see you. good afternoon to you. craig melvin here at msnbc headquarters in new york. on the brink. north korea threatens to strike guam after president trump threatens to unleash fire and fury against the regime. so what now? mixed messages. as the president steps up the rhetoric, his secretary of state clearly tries dialing it back, reassuring americans they should, quote, sleep well at night. why are the president and his men saying different things? and predawn raid. the home of former campaign chairman paul manafort was raided. what that means for the russia probe. we'll get to those things in just a moment. but we start with a nuclear fallout over president trump's fire and fury language regarding north korea. his secretary of state, rex tillerson, landed in guam today, appearing to try to stamp out the president's rhetorical fires. nort

77 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on