tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC March 31, 2018 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
lose, they are trying to keep the their people together. >> that is a testament to how effective they have been. >> a colony and a nation, out on paperback, what donald trump mean whs he talks about law and order. it seems relevant. that is all this evening. here is rachael. >> we are in the middle of a swirl of international news and international intrigue, involving to what is becoming a big fight between russia and a fairly united west. it has this unexpected modern twist of our own government being a bit of a question mark, block box in that two-sided fight. richard has a lot of reporting
on that tonight. we are going to england. richard ingle is live. >> you can see the impress of cathederal lit up behind me. this has been the focus of world attention. over three weeks ago, someone used a chemical weapon, a military grade nerve agent less than two miles away from where i am standing now. the world changed since a deflected russian spy and his daughter were found poisoned on a park bench. it sparked the worst since the cold war. many russian diplomats many of
them thought to be thinly disguised spies. something truly remarkable happened. the trump administration, reluctant to oppose any sanctions on russia, joined in. ordering 60 diplomats to leave the country. the government decided to tell putin, enough is enough. what we used to call, once upon a time, the free world. yesterday, the kremlin responded, ordering 60 minutes out of russia, and shutting down the american consalatech. how meaningful is any of it? will the expulsion of some diplomats be the end of the story? crushing his ambitions, which seem unlimited. >> we started treating russia,
he has been working to make russia a world power. manipulated social media, tried to influence elections, and showing that russia matters, for the most part, we let him do it. it is hard to suggest that cold air is back. it feels chilly right now. we will tell you about aggressive moves around the world. tonight, since we are talking cold war, we will start with a spy story.
>> do you live under a false name? >> yes. >> he is useds to switching identities. he used to do it for a living, joining the kgb in 1984, spent the next decade or so playing the game. >> this is your kgb id card. >> license to kill. >> his job, find agents working for the cia, and in supply lingo, turn them. he got turned himself. when the russian spy masters found out. he turned and ran. >> do you feel safe now? >> no. >> he is a hard man to find. we don't know where he lives or what name he goes by now. he just showed up for the oparticipate
oparticipated time. he said an old friend called him out of the blue with an urgent warning. >> he said, look around, something bad is going to happen. >> reporter: the source said his name was on a hit list. >> so, still. the same christopher steele that wrote the dossier on trump? >> yes. >> he is the former british spy, who used his linking the president and the inner circle to russia. also on the list, bill brower, an american-born investor that successfully lobied north sanctions. >> i have been on a hit list for a long time. i haven't been hit.
he was once the biggest foreign investor in russia when he accused them of being involved in corruption, he became -- >> it is all scary. >> the only thing scarier than finding your name on a hit list, is when someone else on the list is hit. on march 4th. sergei, a former russian spy was found on a park bench foaming at the mouth. his daughter, next to him. >> he will remember, the call, the list, the name. >> do you have any doubt that he was poisoned by russian intelligence? >> i am sure he was poisoned,
and intentionally. i believe it was planned and execu executed. >> that was not obvious to the first responders on the scene. they didn't know the background. he was a russian paa trooper that became an intelligence officer. he was turned by british intelligence and became a double agent. in 2004, he was caught, tried and sentenced to 13 years in prison. then, 2010 -- >> it sounds like something out of the cold war, 10 people arrested on charges for spying for russia. >> sent to the u.s., to over a burger, president obama and he
cut a deal. just like that, he was freed. soon after the squap, valdimir putin went on russian tv to make a ominous threat. >> traders will kick the bucket. the money they got in exchange, they will choke on it. >> so, in sleepy salisbury, he tried to rebuild his life in england. it was lonely. his wife and son passed away, and his only daughter lived in russia and kept her distance. a month ago, she flew into town. going to the cemetery to say their respects. from the cemetery, they went straight home. at 10.
after a quick drink, they went to a pizza place for lunch. leaving at 3:35. 40 minutes later, police and medical attempts dispatched to a nearby park, where they found them unresponsive. >> on the bench. >> jamie payne was one of the first people to find them. >> his arms were up like this. >> suspended in the air. >> yes. >> nothing in his body, when he threw up, it was like pouring water out of a bowl. >> clearly poiched. but with what? it was a top secret russian nerve agent. >> it is a secret weapon of mass destruction. anchlgs form
anchlgs -- >> he walked us through the crime scene. >> generally, it kills you within seconds, if not minutes. destroys your nerve, you stop breathing, your heart stops, you die. >> how much would it take to stooers seriously injury, if not kill these people? >> we are talking about if breathed in, it can kill you instantly. >> counter terrorism experts descended on salisbury, the military carried off his car and the ambulance, in case they were contaminated. 50 bypasses were taken, and 500 diners were told to watch their
closing, only one person, a police officer showed symptoms. >> that was thea the house. >> that was a major clue. it took weeks, investigators are now convinced that contamination took place at the house. the poison, they come to believe was on the front door. >> they would have die d how may people would it take to carry out an attack like this? >> we are talking about a drop of agent. very easy to carry. the fact that they seem to have gotten away without being detected. this week, the prime minister accused moscow of being in the
attack. >> the russian government. >> putin responded. >> this is complete fantasy. while celebrating his re-election. >> is there any other chance anybody else other than the russian state could have done this? >> is that the only place in the world? >> it is a russian nerve agent. >> the cold war. >> the type used in salisbury was made at a military factory in southern russian.
valdimir bootleg. it needed to take down the soldier within ten minutes. >> russian stopped producing nerve agents after the cold war ended. the bbc showed video that they were operating well into the 90s. they insisted that anyone could have stolen the formula. >> there is nothing complicated about it. >> tonight, this stuff is so technical, the facilities, you need to make it. only a state like russia could do it. >> russia most famsly, the
with one word. detrailal. putin is a former spy myself, which may be why he feels stronger about hunting down spires against mother russia. >> classic information campaigns, and putin is well we will talk about another kind of weakness putin loves to exploit. >> we will have to put together deterrent forces on the ground near the russians to make sure this does not continue. so you're looking for male customers, ages 25-54,
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>> we are here in the english city of salisbury tonight, where a former russian spy and his daughter were found near death after a russian nerve agent attack. life here is pretty much back to normal. what happened here what russia is up to. they have been getting away with military force, money and the use of proxy. no where has been that more deadly and more effective than in syria. it is hard to call anyone a winner in a war that left
hundreds of thousands dead. millions displaced and a country in ruins. if there is a winner in syria, it is putin. showing russia is a force to be reckoned with. president trump said he plans to pull troops out of syria. they are still fighting the remnants of isis. we know, we were just back. >> c-17 transport on a runway in kuwait. >> it is heading for one of the most dangerous war zones in the world. bringing supplies for a mission
most think is over, the war against isis. that mission isn't over. we heard it is hitting a roadblock, we wanted to see for ourselves. the cargo, unloaded, we step off into the cold syrian night. the last time we visited this area, weiss had to sneak in through a hole in the fence. that was nearly four years ago. there were no american boots on the ground. just a small town under siege by isis. and fighting for its life. the brave stand, these men and women took captured the world's attention. they were the first to stand up to isis and fight back. eventually, u.s. forces came to their rescue. then, a handful of american special forces operators came in to help. that was the beginning of a partnership that changed the
course of history here. coming back here now, we found children playing in the streets. and a people, rebuilding their lives. there are now 2000 american troops based here. their director of operations, general jonathan braga, took me on a flight over the lands that once made up the so called islamic state. the militants are not finished and control an area half the size of rhode island. but they lost any claim to having a state here once they lost their self declared capital. >> this is known as the isis amtheater. you will see the ditches here. >> what are these? >> mass graves. >> it was their capital city, where it dispensed barbaric justice.
including the beheading of american hostages. general braga wanted to show us the spot where a u.s. missile found jihady john. >> it is a satisfaction that jihady john met his maker here. and it is satisfaction, you have the heart beat of a city coming back. >> general braga made a point of walking around without his body armoron, to a visit to a local school. a hero's welcome. braga, the home address of rad ic ical -- it was a stunning victory. it wasn't won by american troops alone.
the milit ya, their seclur values and fighting spirit impressed the american commanders right away. >> willing, able. >> mutual trust. they truftd our forces on the ground. we trusted them. and i can look at you right here and tell you that they have not broken one of those promises made at any time. >> with growing trust, came growing support. the americans helped arm, train and mobilize a force of more than 60,000 fighters that drove the enemy out of one town after another. >> this was one of the most successful partnership relationships that i think in u.s. military history. >> that partnership could be coming to an end.
president trump said on thursday, the u.s. will be ending of the mission. >> we are knocking the hell out of syria, we will be out of there soon. >> that means the kurds will be without american protection. that couldn't come at a worse time. the kurds are under attack again. a local milittia with forcing the kurds to divert away against isis, and sending them to protect towns and villages. it is a member of nato and an american ally. it is bombing the kurds with american bombs and planes. >> they want to wipe out the kurdish area. is the u.s. going to sit back and allow that to happen?
>> that is not my decision to make. that is being discussed at the highest levels of government. >> as a human, as a man, does it tear you up? >> sure. i would be lying to you if i said it didn't. i. >> that debt is paid in coffins, a field commander swears revenge. >> we will not forget our martyrs, how can the world let those who defeated isis be killed like this? the commander fought alongside the americans for years. she said her people have been betrayed. >> americans need to remember the sacrifices made. we liberated this land together and we should protect each
other. >> reporter: for now, american and kurdish fighters are still holding the line together, the war on isis has stalled. giving the remnants of isis a respite. >> how dangerous is it if isis is allowed -- >> dangerous, i don't want to contemplate that future. that is not a world i want to live in. >> while president trump says time is running out for the u.s. mission in syria. the syrian regime backed by russian force system taking more and more territory. american troops have had a deadly run-in with russian missionaries. a small base pointed west. >> there is a substantial amount of combat power, sitting in three miles in that direction right now. >> reporter: braga said it is hard to determine if it was russian troops, russian --
>> they will say they libertied it from isis. which is true. there is nose reason for this much combat power to be staring at us this close. >> the russian military sent thousands of troops and weapons to prop up the syrian government. while general braga awaits his orders, thoes forces are taking ground. a fact not lost on america's allies here. >> we met the leader of the kurdish-lead milittia for a rare interview. he made it clear that relationship with the americans was falling apart. >> the american policy is a grave insult. we fought isis together with the americans, now, they let our people die and don't protect them. we will invite other powers in,
powers that can protect us. >> it feels like a free-for-all. turkey is pushing in, is there a danger that this collapses? this war on isis? >> it is a wicked problem. there is great games within great games going on. our job is to keep killing them. >> coming up, our russia is obstructing the battle for justice in syria. >> syria is russia's most important ally. they are any investigation that is independent, accountability was dealt a blow in syria.
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for a limited time enjoy two free perks like complimentary wi-fi and drinks. plus savings for everyone in your stateroom when you book now during the celebrity cruises sail beyond event. >> welcome back to on assignment. as you saw, we recently spent time on the front lines in syria. there is another battle going on, it has been going on for yea years. just in syria. i have to warn you, the story does contain disturbing images.
>> justice, they say is just another name for victory. and the dictator is winning, he has bombed, and gassed his own people. and getting away with mass murder. asad buried his own people under a pile of rubble. the evidence. >> in the heat of battle, piles of documents and government buildings, police stalgzs, military out posts, left unguarded. a small group of syrian activists, swooped in and stole them away. we joined them. they cross the the board with a trunk full of stolen document, it is the first time a television camera was allowed in the process. the leader asked to be called adam. >> this is the most dangerous
job in the world. why do you do it? >> because i want to see an end to the cycle of revenge. >> he had close calls, some of his teammates arrested, killed. high said it is worth it. >> we witness crimes against humanity. the killings. i am a lawyer. i believe in criminal justice. delivered by the bag full to an american war crimes investigator. he works with the department of justice and accountability. collecting 750,000 pages of evidence from syria. one of the new documents from syria caught our attention. it named dozens of syrians
arrested for protesting against the asad government. all of them appear to have accepted guilt. >> confessed. every one of them confessed. >> when it says confessed, that means under torture. >> torture would be implied. >> the paper trail of a war crime? >> this is an important part of the paper trail. the evidence is as strong as it has ever been. war crimes against their own citizens. >> people have risked torture and death to get it. to get photos like these out of syria. >> how many pictures did you get? >> photos of victims. >> the photos were the regime's own record of the crimes, the work of an official photographer
for the police. he smuggled them out. and now goes by caesar. >> they were dragged behind cars. >> four years after the explosive photographs shocked the world, caesar is still in hiding, we agreed to disguise his voice to protect him. he and his photos are known and famous. >> ceasar has brought the world unanswerable evidence. i believe that caesar's evidence made justice for syria inevitable. >> but caesar, afraid for his life, and for those he left behind in syria. he didn't come to germany at all. there is a cruel irony in the
fact that caesar's award was handed out here. it is closely remembered as the play chosen by the u.s. to bring nazi leaders to justice at the end of world war ii. >> for the first time, criminal war leaders are being brought to court. >> this is where justice jackson said that. >> those of great power, make deliberate use of it. >> this is the beginning of international justice. >> steppen wrap is an pleasured war crimes prosecutor. >> how does it compare to the evidence that was shown in this room? >> the caesar evidence is incredible. it is actually better evidence than we have in the nazi concentration camps. we didn't have them putting on
the body, the corps, a card to identify it. >> filling one, copies of the gruesome images. >> if they found them, they would have killed me and my family. >> you risked your life to get the photographs out. was it worth it? >> it is more than just my own life. it is the life of my family and all the people who helped me smuggle these pictures out of syria caesar escaped with his flash drives in 2013. the human ambassador for human rights made sure they were seen all over the world. >> torturing and murdering his
own people. under international law, if a commander, a political leader. they are committing crimes, guilty in the same way as if he gouged out the eyes, and burned them with electric shock. >> the syrian government called the pictures fake. forensic experts interviewed caesar and examined his photos, and when confronted with the pictures. >> caesar said the syrian government demonized himself, to bring asad to justice. >> nothing is happening. >> security council is called to order. >> establishing an international court would take a un
resolution, and time and time again, russia has used veto power to stop that from happening. >> syria is russia's most important ally. they are dead set against justice. they are dead set against any investigation. the one on poison gas, an independent body to. it is all bias. no. >> he worked on the case for president obama, he said that administration didn't fight the russian veto as hard as it should have. >> what message does it send to other dictators? >> it is a message that has effects on everybody. attacks are possible. ambulances, doctors, nurses, use of poison gas.
we are in the 20th century. these rules are violated. what happens when someone else faces a counter insurgency? >> there a going to look back at syria, torture, kill your way out of it. you get away with it. >> the trump administration has no ambassador for human rights or the inclichbation to stand up to russia. so the case against the syrian government isn't going anywhere, any time soon. >> accountability was dealt a body blow, in syria. it is on life support. >> n we will look at the bets putin has made over the year. he has perfected a trick, how to win even when holding a bad
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and it may take longer than usual for any bleeding to stop. seek immediate medical care for sudden signs of bleeding, like unusual bruising. eliquis may increase your bleeding risk if you take certain medicines. tell your doctor about all planned medical or dental procedures. i'm still going for my best. and for eliquis. ask your doctor about eliquis. . welcome back to on assignment. many commentators said he was overreaching, that they would get bogged down in the fight. that didn't happen. it is the u.s. that says they are about to leave syria. why? because putin has the better poker face. this narrow strip of kurdish territory served as the base of operations since they arrived in
syria. now, turkish forces are invading this safe haven. at the same time, the syrian forces are coming the other way. turkey is formallian ally nation. why they are avoiding requests to halt? there is another power. putin sent upon trys in to back up the syrian government. the u.s. sent in the forces to fight isis. syria became a proxy fight like the good old dayings of the cold war. the enemy, the americans came for, isis is nearly vanquished. so is america's reputation as the only power that matters in the world. the u.s. deunderstand maed asad
goes. putin bet big on the asad regime and won big. syria is only one front in putin's war. he keeps making audacious bets that the u.s. keeps folding. in 2014, redrawing borders set after world war ii. nobody stopped him. >> russia's decision has global condemnation. >> the ukraine said that he attacked their presidential election. they said that putin used spies, and fake news, in bulgaria, the netherlands, germany, france and the ik. using the same tactics, putin, wanted to under mine our political process, nobody stopped him. now, according to the british
weapon. they used a poison on british soil. >> by placing these audacious, outrageous bets, he has, like it or not, made russia great again. next, my interview with barry mccaffrey. >> the attempted assassination was a signature assassination attempt. that was a statement, no matter where you are in the world, if you oppose me, i will come and kill you.
the president's refusal to push back against russian president vladmir putin. retired general barry mccaffrey tweeted he reluctantly concluded that president trump is a serious threat to u.s. national security. it's apparent that president trump is for some unknown reason under the sway of mr. putin. the president ordered 60 russian diplomats expelled. i wanted to know whether that changed general mccaffrey's view of him. he spoke earlier and i began with the president's ploon an t pull out of syria very soon. something he's been mulling for weeks. >> thank you so much for joining us. the president said yesterday he was pulling to pull u.s. troops
out of syria very soon and quote, let other people take care of it. what other people do you think he means? is he talking about russia? >> pulling out now, leaving this mess is likely to result in emboldening the assad regime, russians and the turks to finish off the kurds. >> russia is making a power play in syria. it's not just syria. we have seen the annexization of crimea, interference in elections. where does this end? >> putin is a clever politician and kgb officer running a strategic enterprise. the break up the eu and nato.
the sort rhetoric is like nothing we saw during the cold war. these new weapons and the threatening notion of preemptive nuclear attack on western europe of autonomous nuclear torpedos headed to the east coast and the united states. it's unprecedented. >> most americans still even though there's this controversy against facebook used social media every day and russia has started using it as a weapon of war, it seems. how does that fit into the larger picture of how confrontation with moscow? >> when i talk about weapons of mass destruction i include not just nuclear, chemical, biological but cyber warfare. we're ill prepared to deal with it. >> when you look at what happened earlier this month with two people affected by a nerve agent, does it seem like we're entering a more dangerous phase with russia? >> that attempted assassination
was a signature assassination attempt. that was statement no matter where you are in the world, if you oppose me, i'll come and kill you. >> the expulsion of 60 russian diplomats is an greater since the cold war. have we spent the message? >> probably not. we'll have to put the forces on the ground near the russians to make sure this mischief does not continue. >> now that president trump has taken this action, do you still think he's a threat to national security? >> i think he's now either growing into the recognition of the degree of threat of mr. putin and russian intelligence services or he's being pressured into it. >> thank you so much for spending some time with us tonight. >> all right. good luck in your work. >> more from here in a moment. stay with us.
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one cause for dry mouth. dry mouth can cause increased cavities, bad breath, oral irritation. i like to recommend biotene. biotene has a full array of products that replenishes the moisture in your mouth. biotene definitely works. it makes patients so much happier. [heartbeat] before we leave you tonight, we go back to the question we started with. did something change because of what happened here? we have been talking about putin's aggressive foreign policy for a while, but it took two people foaming at the mouth on a park bench to bring the world together to take action. not the war in syria. not meddling in the u.s. elections. it was the use of a chemical weapon in europe that got nations rattled. the question is did russia go too far this time?
is this going to be the turning point? that's all for us at on assignment. don't forget to follow us on twitter. we'll be back soon. for now, thanks for watching and good night. good evening, i'm lawrence o'donnell and this is tonight's "last word" live from los angeles. no one got fired from the white house today, no one forcefully escorted out of the building by security. every cabinet member who had had a job at breakfast today still had the same job at sun down today because the president of the united states spent his 104th day playing golf. so far the golfiest president of all time has not actually fired anyone while playing golf, except possibly some caddies who are not on the white house payroll. many inside the white house are reporting this week the white house staff has moved beyond