tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC August 18, 2017 9:00am-10:00am PDT
thank you. [ applause ] right now on "andrea mitchell reports," chanting in spanish, i am not afraid. spain, stops to remember the 14 terror victims in the barcelona attack. police are hunting for the driver of that van, and they took down another suspected terror cell overnight. u.s. counterterrorism experts say the threat remains high. >> you probably have a vehicle out there, so i think the spanish look at this as there is still an active threat. this is not just forensics. this is prepare for another attack. because it could still be out there. tipping point. top republicans are questioning whether donald trump is fit to lead. after he equated white
supremacists with counterprotesters. >> the president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability, nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful. and the fallout, lexington, kentucky, votes to remove another confederate statue. virginia remembers one of the two state troopers killed in charlottesville. and heather heyer's mother says she will not meet the president. >> i saw a clip of him equating the protesters with the kkk and the white supremacists. you can't wash this one away by shaking my hand and saying i'm sorry.
and good friday, everyone. i'm andrea mitchell in washington. police in spain search for the driver of the white van responsible for killing 14 people in the heart of barcelona, one of them now identified as an american citizen. more than 100 people were injured in that attack, some still in critical condition at local hospitals. overnight, police thwarting a second attack just a few hours west of barcelona. when they opened fire on a group of suspected terrorists wearing fake suicide belts, trying to use their van to kill more people. an official are saying that authorities are looking into the possibility that one of the suspected terrorist killed overnight is actually the same man, the driver, who drove that first van in the barcelona attack. that's still to be determined. in a vigil today, people gathering at the square in barcelona to pay their respects to rally the nation. amplifying the concern across europe today, another attack. this time in finland, one
suspect under arrest after stabbing several people with a large knife in the coastal city of turku. joining me now, richard engel in barcelona, and kier simmons in cambrils. you were there for that emotional gathering today. the royalty from spain, government leaders, what are the police telling you today about the search for the driver or the possibility that the driver was actually one of the people killed overnight? >> so first the mood in the city. yes, there was a moment of silence that was held here. but it was also a rally. as you can see, i am now on las r ramblas. this is where that van killed many terrified victims. this street is incredibly crowded. there are tens of thousands of people here. they stretch for as far as the
eye can see and it's been like this all day. they've been coming, laying down flowers and they have been going to the restaurants and the coffee shops. just coming out to say they refuse to be intimidated. there were dignitaries here. there's a heavy police presence. there were members of the royal family, including the king of this country, all coming out to express solidarity. what the investigators are now working on the premise -- working on a premise that this was a cell that was activated. a cell that went into attack mode. a cell, don't know exactly how big it is. we don't exactly know how many suspects may still be at large, how many people the police are looking for. they're trying to draw connections between three separate incidents. the first one was an explosion in a house south of barcelona on wednesday. initially when that happened, it didn't get a lot of attention, didn't get any international attention. there was some reports maybe it was even a gas leak. police here believe that that
was a bomb factory. and that that bomb factory was connected to the driver of the van, who went down this street and to the militants who carried out what was mostly a thwarted attack where kier simmons is right now. when the bomb factory blew up, then the attack went into its more advanced phases with the van coming through here and then later five individuals wearing these dummy suicide vests in their van. according to police, they had an ax and knives as well going into attack mode but that attack not being successful and the militants being killed by police. >> richard engel, and not only a few hours west of barcelona, we have kier simmons in cambril where there was an overnight thwarted attack. >> reporter: yeah, that's right,
andrea. here there is absolutely nothing that would make this place stand out as a place that you would carry out a terror attack, except i guess, that it is packed with innocent people with tourists, with people enjoying the summer. the kinds of people that some of these terror cells now have, if you like, kind of stooped to targeting because they are struggling to carry out more high tech attacks. that's what al qaeda has encouraged its jihadists to do. isis more recently. what i think we see here from the evidence here, because why these -- this group slammed into a police vehicle just behind me, that vehicle overturning, then got out. one report saying one of them ran down the street and stabbed a man. why they did that here, that can only be explained by a group who
believed a net was being closed in around of them because of that explosion at a house just a few days ago. they believed the net was closing in and wanted to get as much publicity as they could. and perhaps, the short time that they thought they had. what people here in spain are left with, is the potential that what was being planned may have been far worse. it may have involved explosives. it may have involved this kind of vehicle attack. it's incredible, really, to think that after this many people dead, people here will maybe say you know what, this could have been worse. >> kier simmons and richard engel, thank you so much. president trump at this hour as you can see marine one waiting to bring him from the airport to camp david. he's on route to maryland to fly then by marine one to the mountain retreat of camp david. he'll be meeting with his
national security counsel. they' this is a pentagon recommendation the president has twice rejected. of course, the terror attack in barcelona will be part of the discussion. as well as other issues, north korea. the elephant in the room, the president's bizarre response to barcelona. repeating an internet hoax that he has talked about on the campaign trail about how general pershing dealt with terrorism in the philippines. >> there's a whole thing with swine and animals. he took 50 bullets and he dipped them in pig's blood. and he had his men load his rifles and he lined up the 50 people and they shot 49 of those people and the 50th person, he said you go back to your people
and you tell them what happened. and for 25 years there wasn't a problem. >> there is a problem. it didn't happen. it never happened. it's an internet hoax. he repeats it. that was, of course, february 16th, 2016. but he tweeted it out again yesterday. kristen welker joining me now from new jersey. has anyone explained out of the white house why he keeps repeating this? >> reporter: no. and i think the larger issue for white house officials for the president is that he's really stepping on his own message, andrea. they say simply the tweets speak for themselves. this is what we always hear from white house officials when the president sends out a controversial tweet. i take you back to his initial tweet yesterday in the hours after the barcelona attack, which was very sober. he simply said i condemn the attack, our thoughts and prayers are with you. this, obviously, brings up the credibility issues that this president has. the very credibility issues so
many republicans have raised in the wake of charlottesville. you have bob corker coming out with some very strong language saying it all raises significant questions about the president's ability to lead. and could potentially peril the country. so not only is it a problem in terms of messaging, but it's a problem in terms of the president's relationship with his own fellow republicans. that could create some significant problems, not only as he grappled with the foreign policy issues you mapped out, but also for his domestic legislative agenda. >> this is a critical time regarding steve bannon. we saw secretaries mattis and kelly had to deal with it yesterday, questions about bannon undercutting them on china and on north korea. undercutting the policy, the deterrence policy. it's quite an opportune moment
on a friday in august to have them make the case to have kelly, mcmaster certainly, who has been victimized by bannon, make the case that this is the moment to pull the plug on steve bannon. >> reporter: and he's getting a lot of pressure to do exactly that. particularly after charlottesville. because people believe that steve bannon is aligned with and feeds into some of what we heard from the president, that got so much backlash. the fact he equated white supremacists with the counterprotesters. of course, important to point out that steve bannon has done some of his own interviews in which we referred to the white supremacists those who align with the kkk as clowns and said we need to stomp them out. bottomline there's a thinking not only within the white house, but also the republican that steve bannon feeds into the worst instincts of this president. he is someone who has been
described as nationalist and they believe he could be undercutting the president's agenda. he's been in trouble before. the question is will he survive this time. >> kristen welker, thank you so much for all of that. joining me here is juan zarati. welcome, it's good to see you. we have certainly set the table. >> lots to talk about. >> let's talk about not just the dysfunction and decision making, because they have this afghan review much delayed. the president pushing back against further troop deployment, and also the influence of bannon. the disruption of the bannon influence. >> yeah, i think national security process is hard to run in normal circumstances. when you have not only so many incidents around the world, so many crisises that seem to be boiling over o north korea, terrorism problems and you have infighting at the senior most
levels where you see the national security advisor being savaged, that creates not only distrust, but a level of misapprehension that begins to confuse the policy process. let's hope it doesn't affect the decision on afghanistan because men and women's lives depend on it. what you'll see is an attempt to get to the rational place of where is our long term strategy in afghanistan. you can't abandon the government there. you can't abandon what we've tried to achieve. but this president has always said we're not going to commit hundreds of thousands more troops and long term commitment there. what is the middle ground? i think that's what the debate is going to be about. >> this has got to be a really difficult decision for the chief of staff, for retired general john kelly. because he lost a son in afghanistan. he has another son, a marine deploying to afghanistan. and the last thing he wants to do, i've been told, is take a
course that isn't enough to win and jeopardizes the lives of men and women in the field. >> exactly right. you don't want to take half measures either way in terms of withdrawing the mention and leaving allies to have to fend for themselves, you also don't want to double down in a way that doesn't give you a chance of success. success of not allowing safe haven to persist. a key theme is going to be part of the challenge you're seeing with isis is the fact that we allowed them, collectively, the international community, a safe haven, physical space. remember, they held the second largest city in iraq for over three years. you can't allow these groups to have safe havens because they adapt, strategize and reach well beyond their locality. that's what we're seeing in europe. >> and rex tillerson spoke out against racism, against the kind of disruption of -- from the
president's comments in charlottesville, let's watch. >> we all know hate is not an american value. nowhere is it an american value. we do not honor nor do we promote or accept hate speech in any form. so we condemn racism, bigotry in all its forms. racism is evil. it is anithetical to america's values. >> that's interesting coming from this secretary of state who has try todayied to steer a saf course. general mattis standing next to him yesterday at a separate event also speaking out and endorsing the decision of the joint chiefs to make that nearly unprecedented individual statements correctively denouncing the racism. >> right, for the military it's messaging within the military structures. the secretary tillerson comment is interesting. it suggests there is a sense that all of this is bleeding over into our credibility
internationally. you have to circle the wagons around that credibility, especially as the secretary puts out reports on religious freedom. pushes other countries to engage in pluralism. when we talk about democracy and civil institutions and respect of others, i mean, this is at the forefront of the question of what do we do with the islamic state, which is trying to engage in genocide against the yazidis, christians, against shia. the very core of our message nationally gets demingishiminis there's a sense we actually don't care about those issues. that's a telling comment from the secretary because it suggests there's a sense that that erosion may be occurring. >> angela merkel was one of the first people to speak out before american officials spoke out. she spoke out and said it was disgusting. >> yeah. well, and i think that then translates again, to all of our
foreign policy. it affects our credibility as we try to hold others to account, as we try to promote our interests. if we don't have credibility, if we don't have capital and if the president's voice is diminished. that's not good anybody, it's not good for american power, prestige and the perception of us to affect change. >> thanks for being here. coming up, heather heyer's mother with a strong message for president trump. that's next here on "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. ♪ ♪ hey, is this our turn? honey...our turn? yeah, we go left right here. (woman vo) great adventures are still out there. we'll find them in our subaru outback. (avo) love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru. get 0% apr financing for 63 months on all new 2017 subaru outback models. now through august 31.
i hadn't really watched the news until last night. and i'm not talking to the president now. i'm sorry. after what he said about my child. it's not that i saw somebody else's tweets about him. i saw an actual clip of him at a press conference equating the protesters, like ms. heyer with the kkk and the white
supremacists. you can't wash this one away by shaking my hand and saying i'm sorry. >> heather heyer's mother sending a clear message to president trump that there are not two sides to the hatred that took her daughter's life. joining me now is the columnist for "the washington post" and chuck todd, host of mtp daily here on msnbc. welcome both. chuck, first to you, we've seen photo ops with the president, with all presidents and victims and relatives of victims. but this is one victim's relative who is not playing her part in this photo op game. >> no, and the president again created this moment himself for variety of reasons. let's talk about this specific individual. we kept -- we've been told for four days oh, he's going to
figure -- it's a scheduling issue. has the president reached out to heather heyer's family. he's planning on it. are you kidding me? i mean, the fact of the matter is, i understand why she doesn't want to take his call now. i could argue it's simply too late. and we're in a period where, you know, the memorial service, it struck me the other day there wasn't even a question in anybody's mind that donald trump wouldn't be there. and you're just sitting there going, how could that be? and this is what i think tim scott, republican senator from south carolina, when he put it this way, he doesn't have the moral authority to lead right now. it's not calling the mother of heather heyer is among the ways he has lost his moral authority. nevermind what he's been saying about both sides and the fact that he is trying to rationalize
some of the white nationalists here. but this is how you lose moral authority, not making these calls. >> i want you to just first of all -- i want to bring tim scott into this, because you just mentioned it. of course, south carolina, this is your home state. i'll play that for you and we'll talk about it on the other side. >> i am not going to defend the indefensib indefensible. i'm not here to do that. i'm here to be clear and concise and succinct. comments on monday were strong. what we want to see from our president is clarity and moral authority. that moral authority is compromised when tuesday happens. there's no question about that. we should all call that on the carpet. >> and as we sit here, there's a rally in durham, north carolina, gentlemen, which is a rally against what they thought was going to be a protest. you've got people gathering
and -- we're not exactly sure how this all happened. people gathering in north carolina against the taking down of monuments. the history of south carolina of these southern states and monuments that were not built until after 1899 and then in the 1920s. they didn't commemorate historic heroes, they were used as excuses for the kkk to kill african-american people. >> they were rallying symbols for the imp position of jim crow segregation and oppression. and there's one in the town i grew up in right in the middle of town. built in the early 20th century. and there it stood and there it stands. and, you know, congratulations to senator scott for coming out and speaking the truth. i mean, and it is, i hope, a hopeful sign that we heard from
him, we heard from senator corker on slightly different subjects. but also on the same subject, corker from tennessee. we are starting to hear voices from capitol hill saying things that really need to be said about this president and this presidency and how it's gone off the rails. >> chuck, bob corker was really a possible inflection point. here you've got the foreign relations chairman who spoke out. let's play a little bit of that. >> the president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability, nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful. he also recently has not demonstrated that he understands the character of this nation. he has not demonstrated that he
understands what has made this nation great and what it is today. he's got to demonstrate the characteristics of a president who understands that. >> and chuck, mitt romney on his facebook page today saying that the president must take remedial action in the extreme. he should address the american people. acknowledge that he was wrong, apologize. this is a defining moment for president trump. but much more than that, it's a moment that will define america in the hearts of our children. they are watching. chuck? >> look, i give mitt romney credit. i thought it was a powerful piece. some will say it's a facebook page and, you know, shouldn't he speak out. mitt romney spoke out a lot during the campaign. it's interesting, though, that we're singling people out that were ready to go work for this president if asked as secretary of state. and that's why i think the corker criticism in particular probably resonates a lot more in
the halls of congress than any of the other criticism we've heard this week because corker has tried to give this president the benefit of the doubt. he was among the first of what i would call the mainstream wing of the republican party to start defending him on foreign policy during the campaign. i remember this before anybody else did. he was not somebody that's like, jeff flake, lindsey graham who has been fighting it from the beginni beginning. what you have here -- you could see it in his face -- i think bob corker is pained between morality and politics. i say this this one, you feel he's saying the president doesn't have the character to be president. on the other hand, the voters spoke. a lot of these republican politicians are struggling with that issue. some of them will argue if you speak out and nobody follows you, did you waste your ability to speak out? and i think that's the dilemma all of them, many of them are facing, i think, right now.
>> i think that corker is influenced -- i asked both of you to weigh in -- on the attack on jeff sessions, mitch mcconnell, lindsey graham. the really nasty references to john mccain on tuesday by the president. this republican caucus sticks together. they don't like what they're hearing. chuck, first to you. >> look, i think that it's all had -- i think that's what corker was referring to. recently he's not demonstrated, you know, the issue of stability when he shows that there. it's remarkable. he's had tougher words for individual senators than he had for white supremacists. tougher words for members of his own party than he has for some of these groups or putin. it's starting to take the toll. again, i think that these folks, they've got to decide it's -- the party is splitting on character, not on policy. which makes it more complicated. it's not the easiest split.
we're headed for a divorce. i don't think this is reconcilable anymore. but the question is, what are the terms and how does it -- and how does it play out. >> eugene, thank you they've got to do the debt ceiling. there is business that has to be done, they have to work with the white house. i also want to point out the economists, the covers of these magazin magazines, i mean, that's artwork that is conveying something so powerful. >> it really is. it's conveying what people see and feel. and it's just amazing that that's the truth. that that's the truth of the moment in which we live. and what are senators and members of the house -- what do they expect to happen? what do they really expect to happen? they expect us to somehow magically get better for president trump to change? because i don't.
he's shown an inability and unwillingness to change. he seems to be digging in and saying kind of the hell with everybody else. >> if he hadn't lost many of the military and national security leaders, chuck, before tuesday, he certainly did with the general pershing reference on twitter yesterday. that was inexplicable as the first response to the terror in barcelona. >> it is. and you know, he hadn't done that since the campaign and here he is now surrounded by generals today, by the way. i want to address something that gene said, which is the most fascinating quote i saw today was an anonymous interview with a republican member of congress that eric erickson had. and all he described him as somebody who frequently defends the president. unabashedly on television. he said some of us around here are hoping that mueller finds
something tangible. and erickson asked him are you one of those and this person says maybe. that was -- that i think, tells you where congress already is. the minute they get the permission slip from the voters to go there. they're going. >> chuck todd, we're going to have to leave it there. of course, you won't leave it there. eugene as well. don't forget -- >> i've got him busy sunday. >> "meet the press." he's a voice you want to hear on sunday or any day. "meet the press" on sunday and of course this afternoon, chuck will be back for mtp daily. the president losing support from big business leaders. we'll watch the latest rally in durham, north carolina. protests are converging around the local county courthouse. shops have closed down after the crowd grew to hundreds of people. we'll let you know of any developments. rates on home loans.
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welcome both to you. james, let's talk first of all about the decision by big business. this is unprecedented. ceos are risk adverse. they made a key decision in deciding to resign to disband their own council. >> absolutely. this is historic and extraordinary. we have just seen a mass repudiation of a united states president by the leading figures in american business. and business leaders do not want to take political views. no matter what they say, it's going to alienate someone. they rarely do. their obligations are to their shareholders, customers and communities. they almost never, you know, need to come out and make a statement like this. and they didn't want to. but trump forced their hands. there are rare instances where in the case of individual companies, they need to make a political position. maybe it's a drug company on obamacare or a consumer company that can't risk a backlash.
here we have collectively american business leaders saying this is putting the entire well being of the american economy at risk. it is going to drag down every economy. it is in our interest to make a stand. >> and bill george, take us inside the decision making. you've been a ceo, you talked to people, you know this world. how do they decide? some of them are from highly regulated businesses. >> they are, indeed. i think i've never seen anything like this before. i've talked to a number of these ceos. they prefer to work behind the scenes. but when it comes down to a moral issue, that the president won't take a stand on, someone had to speak up. and ken frazier, ceo of merck had the courage to do that. you see him in the pictures sitting next to the president. he thought he was more of a showcase. he made a clear statement that this is wrong. and no equivocation. that triggered a revolt among
the nation's leading ceos. it's amazing. it's never happened before. he was followed by kevin plank and then the women started working behind the scenes. larry think, who runs the nation's largest company. all came out clearly and said this is wrong. they felt working with this president is more a liability than an asset. they were willing to give up their access to the white house in order to make a clear statement for their employees, their customers, their shareholders and the american public. i think we've now seen the joint chiefs following their statements, very unusual. i've never seen this before. we have conservative congresswoman licongressmen like bob corker. i'm proud of these leaders for standing up and making the difference between right and wrong, clear as can be. >> you've had resignations from the remaining members of the
arts council. arts and humanity council, as well as major philanthropies, the american cancer society, i believe that was the group, correct me if i'm wrong, please. canceling charitable events at mar-a-lago. we've got pictures coming in from durham, north carolina where there's a counterprotest following charlottesville. james? >> well, you know, one of the extraordinary things about this, this was supposed to be a pro business president. he's a republican president. the people turning their backs on him this week, i don't know how they vote. but they have traditionally represented the backbone of the republican party. the republican establishment. i think there's wide concern, great worry on the part of ceos i've talked to this week that he's set something in motion that's going to be very hard to pull back. the economy suffered terribly after the race riots in the late 60s. you know, the violence that we've seen in charlottesville is not going to be the end of it. there is only going to be more
protesting, more clashes and more threats of disrupting. as you see in durham, the businesses are all shutting down. that's one town. imagine that taking place on a broader national scale. >> as we continue to see, we've got those aerials from durham, north carolina, where businesses are shutting down. bill george, these decisions, as you point out are moral decisions and also business decisions. we saw the market rattled yesterday at one point with rumors that gary cohen was going to step down in protest and then rallying on the statement from the white house that he was not. he's only one official. not even cabinet rank. >> well, i hope he stays. because we need somebody with a sound head like gary cohen there. actually, i think the business community, many ceos i know did not vote for president trump. but they said, okay, it's attractive agenda. we can get something done. we can get more attractive tax rates and make us competitive.
we can get infrastructure, regulation calming. you know, i think they now feel the agenda is totally sidetracked by continuing neverending chaos in the white house. it has nothing to do with the agenda. even though people like cohen are working hard to get things done, that was with the whole infrastructure press conference was about, was to try to save we're moving forward and he said he'd been working on tax reform. what's going to happen now? what's going to happen with the congress when they come back? can we get something done that will help have a pro growth economy? we all want that. we all want to create jobs. it's not just a business issue. everyone is very worried and it's quite unpredictable what's going to happen. this is a president who will never admit he's wrong. you saw after monday's red statement, he reverts to the true president and goes back to where he was on saturday and doubles down. >> bill george, thank you so much. thanks for joining us from vail,
colorado, by skype and james stewart, the great business columni columnist. president trump is at camp david with his national security advisors, trying to decide whether to deploy more troops to afghanistan or as steve bannon and the president himself have been arguing, withdraw entirely. playing a major role today, the new chief of staff john kelly, lost his son in afghanistan and is sending another son, also a marine, to be deployed there. joining me now is ambassador nick burns, and former u.s. ambassador to nato now at harvard's kennedy school of government, and jake sullivan, former director of policy planning with joe biden. jake, we're seeing an unraveling, if you will, and the national security and military professionals whom i'm talking to are deeply, deeply concerned
about the impact of the decision making and of the erratic behavior of the president. >> america has long relied on its moral authority to keep our people safe. that's how we have won friends, beaten our enemies. what the president is doing is squandering our moral authorities. the events have been a national security issue. i do hope the generals who are will trump at camp david impress upon him just what kind of consequence this ends up having for our national security. >> and nick burns, when we talk about how people are rattled overseas, the cover of the german newspaper right now, i'm looking at a faxed copy of it, has donald trump in a klan hat and the cut line in german translates to the true face of donald trump. that's the most widely read magazine in germany. we've already seen how angela merkel was one of the first
officials in any government to speak out after charlottesville and after the tuesday statement. >> when you represent the united states overseas, as a lot of people have, including myself, you understand that countries respect our military and economic and political power but they respect the big idea at the center of the creation of the country, which is human equality. and we're a diverse society, we're welcoming to people of all faiths and religions. if the commander in chief, the president, the most visible american at the top of our government begins to say that he sees positive aspects to neo naziism, if he doesn't denounce it, if he's not clear about that, that will affect the credibility, the effectiveness of the united states. we've been leading this great alliance since 1949 nato. it's really based on our commitment to democratic rights for our own citizens in each of our countries. that's what the president has put at risk with these
intemperate -- with his intemperate moral weakness in response to charlottesville. it's very concerning for all of us as americans. while all this has been going on, of course, there's the debate over what to do about steve bannon. it was front and center when i was at the state department yesterday. mattis and tillerson both were asked about bannon undercutting the north korean deterrence policy. you have the japanese officials standing there and witnessing all of this. now, there are reports -- we have been reporting -- i was talking to kristen welker earlier -- that bannon may well be out today. we know this president can change his mind, but there is a report by our colleague at "the new york times" who is very well plugged in that at least as of now the president has told his top aides that he is ready to dismiss bannon. jake? >> well, look, i think that what we've heard from steve bannon, both on the campaign and during
his time in the white house suggests that he's reinforcing these ugly tendencies of the president. so having him go seems like, from my perspective, a positive step. when it comes to north korea, i'm not sure that removing bannon changes the fundamental problems this administration has, which is that they're sending completely mixed messages. you have a cia director who is floating regime change. a president who is talking about fire and fury. some military leader saying there is a viable military option, others saying there isn't. as long as we have mixed messages it strikes me we're neither going to win the trust of our partners like the japanese or koreasouth koreans. >> if he does keep steve bannon, how can he keep someone who has been orchestrating a viral online attack against the national security advisor? and going up against his
secretary of state and his secretary of defense publicly by name? how can he keep somebody who has done interviews this week, criticizing his two top cabinet officials? >> i certainly agree with jake's comments. i cannot think of a president going all the way back to franklin roosevelt who would have tolerated someone like this in their administration. as you say, trying to sink the national security advisor, h.r. mcmaster. and this intemperate interview the other day where he essentially takes on the north korean policy, turns it upside down. says things that have separated, that deny what the united states is trying to do. and that forced secretary tillerson and secretary mattis to come out yesterday with side by side statements saying, in essence, we're in a diplomatic track. we're not trying to overthrow the regime in north korea. we're trying to work with china. it's hard enough to get a decent policy in place in any administration. if you don't have consistency of message, you're going to confuse
your allies. you can see the reaction today from south korea and japan. they're confused by this administration. but you also don't want to confuse your adversary, this young leader of north korea. you want to give him a clear and consistent message and the administration hasn't been able to do that. i hope they'll get there. my sense is that tillerson and mattis are together. they have common strategy. they need the president to back them up. and don't need to have bannon contradicting them every other day. >> i want to interrupt all of us, because a senior administration official is confirming that bannon will be leaving, i want to go to kelly o'donnell. bringing in kelly right now, kelly? >> reporter: this is a move that is both expected and yet it's always surprising when someone who has been so close to the president will be leaving the administration. it comes at a time when there is a storm of issues that seem to suggest that the bannon era is over. we can report that firmly now. why now? why in this moment?
a few different reasons. chief of staff john kelly has been doing an assessment of top officials. one of the things that senior administration officials have indicated is that kelly wanted to be certain that everyone was rowing in the same direction. staying within their lanes. following the new structure that has been set up inside the white house. there are many observers who would say that steve bannon simply did not do that. at the same time, we've had the events of the last several days with charlottesville and the reputation that bannon has. he would describe himself as a nationalist, anti-globalist. many would say he has been stoking the rhetoric of racial division and hatred and those sorts of things. he has been part of the strategy team that helped the president tap into the populist energy in the country during the campaign. and while he has had ups and downs inside the white house, we're at a point of critical mass. new leadership with a new chief of staff. external events that certainly point to bannon as an unhelpful
voice inside the white house. and at a time when the president who has done himself harm by not being clear about his own views with respect to where the country needs to be on matters of race and his inability to sort of take that moment and make it a moment of moral leerdship, to have bannon remaining in the strategy wing of the west wing problematic thing. we've also had republicans saying the bannon era needed to end. then we have one of simplest reason, it's a friday in summer, a time when there is less attention paid, time when the president has been formally out of the white house during renovations and construction there. and before he retakes his place in the oval office, a time to make a change. the president also today at camp david for a national security team and bannon has been at odds with hr mcmaster, the national security adviser. many have blamed him for inflaming the critical sort of
campaign on the conservative outside media against mcmaster. he had also been on the national security council in the initial days, something highly unusual for the role he had in the white house. he was removed from that position. when you look at this con influence of events, it will speak to when the president can make a decision like this and bannon in many ways his most recent press reports and conversation that became public, may have been an indication of his own self-awareness that the end of the run was here, talking about china and outside interests. so the steve bannon era is over at the white house. as the president will sort of go back and regroup with new lea r leadership team inside the west wing. >> kelly o'donnell confirming all of that. joining me now, jillian, the u.s. managing director of the financial teams and susan page, washington bureau chief of usa today and "washington post"
columnist eugene robinson. the markets reacted on the rumor that cohn was going to leave yesterday. they might react with some kind of an up swing, we don't know, that bannon was out. bannon was going after all of the so-called grown-ups in the white house. >> absolutely. i would put quite a lot of money on the fact that if this is confirmed that the markets will rally. you've had civil war, you've had the cohn camp and steve bannon and what investors have been looking for is for cohn and the rest of the group to roll out economic reform, much of that stab stylemied by bannon push back. on issues from trade to tax cuts, there's so much hanging on what happens in this civil war right now. if it is a case that cohn and his group have emerged victorious over bannon, that is incredibly significant in terms of how market leaders and business leaders look at this
white house now. >> and susan page, your paper, you're the washington bureau chief for "usa today", i've been reading since it started and never seen an editorial calling for the censure of a u.s. president. that's not the posture of this newspaper. >> yes, i think that's fair to say, calling it a test for the party of lincoln in the wake of the president's remarks about charlottesville. censure doesn't actually doing but it stands as a public rebuke to rhetoric that members of congress would find unacceptable and that was the reasoning of the editorial. nancy pelosi today calling for censure. we see democratic members of congress introducing resolution of censure. i don't think it's going to go anywhere in the republican held congress but there is a rising chorus of voices saying this is a step not impeachment but would stand up against some of the rhetoric that they've heard from the president. >> as we saw john kelly wincing
so noticeably on tuesday, now if this follows through and the president doesn't change his mind on bannon and bannon is actually out, susan, do you think this might begin to sorts of turn the page if one can be turned? >> certainly bannon has been a provocative figure. there will be forces that cheer the idea he's out. but steve bannon was powerful because he spoke -- had a message that resonated with donald trump. it wasn't -- he wasn't a power in himself. he was a power because he said things and took positions that president trump agreed with during the campaign and during his tenure in the white house. the question is does president trump change the rhetoric and positions that caused so many concern around the town? >> one of the things that was so offensive to a lot of people was the "new york times" interview with jerry peters where bannon was suggesting that as long as the democrats and liberals are
talking about race, that's great because that's -- basically embracing the southern -- what used to be called the southern strategy. >> right, talking like lee atwater once spoke in an unguarded moment about the southern strategy. you know, if bannon is indeed out, this is the latest of many moments when the tendency of the hope has been that people were able to say, okay, now maybe things will be normal. now maybe things will be like a regular white house and like washington has to run. and that hope has been thwarted every single time. so i've given up predicting that. i'm not predicting that there's going to be some magical change in the trump white house and all of a sudden it's going to be organize and everything will work right. i'm curious as to what sort of stance the breitbart, the news organization that steve bannon used to run will take if indeed
he is out. because breitbart has already been viciously attacking gary cohn and everything he's trying to do in the white house. and will that intensify? and what impact does that have on trump's base and his perception of the impact it's having on his base. we'll see. >> and gillian, from the ft's perspective, you know the publishing world as well as anyone. you don't have a situation where you've got the covers of the economist "time" magazine and -- all of these newspapers, quts new yorker" and magazines with such aggressively editorial statements -- >> yes. >> linking the president to the ku klux klan. >> what you have right now is basically almost the entire business establishment most of the foreign policy establishment, much of the military and frankly much of the international observer community
all shrieking with horror about what's been going on. and i think it's extremely interesting right now what happens with bannon. i think eugene makes a brillian question i have, what will bright bart say about this and what are breitbart supporters who were so critical in propelling trump to victory, what are they going to do as a result? will we see anger on their side? what about the merser family that played a key role in the whole saga that come with money and thinking about the funding of the whole donald trump platform going foeshd. can donald trump jettison bannon without incurring some type of penalty? to my mind it will be a key question looking to the future. >> a couple of other factors here, james murdoch, the son of rupert murdoch, he and his wife
announcing they are contributing a million dollars to the anti-defamation league. how important that is. we've seen a change of tone and in the editorial page not only the wall street journal but of the quts new york post most importantly. >> it doesn't surprise me at all murdoch is doing that, that projects views he's had for a while. he hasn't spoken about it openly. but even within the murdoch family you're seeing signs of frustration is fascinating. i wrote a column yesterday about what was going on inside the white house that said when the chaos and in it one of the people close to this said as far as the cohn camp is concerned, this is perhaps the darkest hour before dawn. maybe the civil war has come to such a head and climax, means we're at the turning point. we'll see.
certainly many are betting on that but i wouldn't count out the breitbart support base yet. >> this is a friday in august as kelly o'donnell pointed out. we have the fact that sean spicer resigned. previously resigned on a friday, scaramucci was monday but there were intervening events. i saw it so clearly at the state department. when i saw tillerson's face and mattis' face, there they are standing with the japanese defense minister and foreign minister, before the world because everyone was watching all across asia. and having to defend the steve bannon comments. >> right, and it's early on friday in august so who knows what will happen before the end of the day. you know, i think the question -- if bannon is out for the white house, is this really gettysburg the turning point or first manass is.