tv MSNBC Live With Ayman Mohyeldin MSNBC April 8, 2018 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
all right. that toss it for us. i'm yasmin vossoughian. the news condition vp continue now with ayman mohyeldin. a lot to break down this hour. president trump faced with a new vicies crisis crisis in syria and dals for action against animal assad. president trump launched missiles once before. will he pull the trigger once again? and the president once again taking on the fbi. what's behind his latest attack on the agency, and epa administrator scott pruitt continues to hang on despite a slew of bad headlines. some notable republicans are turning on him though, but he's still got the most important ally in washington on his side. we'll have a lot more on that straight ahead, but we want to begin with syria and the challenge facing president trump right now. dozens of people, including children, are reported dead in
this new chemical weapons attack. the national security council will be meeting tonight, and the u.n. has announced an emergency meeting tomorrow to discuss the situation. in response, the president warned of a big price to pay for syrian leader bashar al assad and his chief international sponsor, russian president vladimir putin. a position backed up by his surrogates today. >> this is one of thosishous on which every nation, all peoples have all agreed and have agreed since world war ii is an unacceptable practice. >> so is it possible there will be another missile attack? >> i wouldn't take anything off the table. >> so we want to take a moment to look at how we got here. does president trump have a coherent syria strategy? let's begin in august of 2013 when assad killed hundreds in damascus with chemical weapons crossing what president barack obama then called a red line. rather than striking syria immediately obama deferred to congress asking for approval for air strikes. there was little support there
or from one certain citizen, a certain man at the time, donald trump, sending out a series of tweets urging obama not to attack syria. ultimately in september of 2013 obama reached a deal with russia to curtail syria's chemical weapons. fast forward to 2016, presidential campaign candidate donald trump focused on an america first message with little appetite with foreign intervention in syria or elsewhere, but as president trump soon faced with his own syria crisis, well, that changed. one year ago dozens were killed in a chemical attack. the pictures from that attack seeming to affect the new president deeply. >> it crossed a lot of lines for me. when you kill innocent children, innocent babies, babies, little babies with a chemical gas that is so lethal, people were shocked to hear what gas it was, that crosses many, many lines, beyond a red line, many, many
lines. >> in reaction the president ordered the launch of tomahawk missiles on a syrian air base. important to note that air base was up and running in about 24 hours after the u.s. air strikes. now after that action syria mainly fell off the president's radar, barely a mention of it in the president's state of the union address later that year, and then, of course, at the end of march, the president said he'd like u.s. troops to begin leaving syria, though the national security team convinced the president that it was too soon to leave. and now here we are just a few days later with this alleged chemical weapons attack, and the question of how the president will respond. now to discuss all of this i'm joined by jeremy bash, msnbc national security analyst and former chief of staff at the cia and department of defense, josh lederman with the associated press, retired army colonel jack jacobs, medal of honor recipient and msnbc analyst and pediatrician and a volunteer with the syrian-american medical
society. let's again with you, doctor, if i may. what are you hearing about the situation on the ground over the past 24 hours that has left sam owes and other organizations to believe it was the syrian government behind this attack? >> well, with respect to the attacks themselves, they are very consistent with use of chlorine. chlorine itself is a heavy gas, and it permeates deep down to the shelters where people are hiding from conventional attacks. it's an effective way to kill someone that's hiding very low. it causes a very painful and quick, high effective form of execution so from that standpoint we have to consider that whoever has access to chemical weapons is going to be able to execute this kind of attack. >> let me get your reaction to the comments that have been coming out of both the russian and iranian government. they are both describing this as fake news. what is your response?
>> like all the civilians who have been killed in guaita duri -- in ghouta during this conflict. these people have died in a very horrible fashion, and we don't think there's any way to doubt that. >> let me ask you about the options that the president is facing. we know the national security council is meeting tonight. john bolton, the new national security adviser, is going to start as the national security adviser tomorrow. do we know if he's part of the consultations, in which direct he may be shaping the white house's response to this? >> we know that he's been involved in some of these discussions, even prior to
officially starting tomorrow. john bolton was spotted at the white house yesterday, so we know that he's in there. he's meeting with other officials. we don't know how he's going to shape this particular debate, but in the past john bolton has been very vocal about going hard after north korea, including militarily. he's talked about the value or merits of a preemptive military strike, but since he's been named as national security adviser he's tried to tell folks in town who are concerned that he's going to push us in a more war-like stance, that he'll be an honor broker and take all options from the different parts of the government, the pentagon and state department and help create a decision-making process rather than pushing his own view so we'll have to see how that plays out starting tomorrow morning. >> john mccain, jeremy, released this statement calling on the president to act. his fellow senator lindy graham of south carolina, a fellow republican, had to this say. take a listen. >> the defining moment in his presidency and he's challenged
assad not to use chemical weapons in the past. we had a one and done missile attack. so assad's at it again. they see us, our resolve break, see our determination to stay in syria waning. if it becomes a tweet without meaning, then he's hurt himself in north korea. if he doesn't follow through and live up to that tweet we's going to look weak in the eyes of russia and iran. >> so, jeremy, the president seems to be in a bit of a bind today from what he's said publicly with what his fellow republicans are calling for. important to note as we mentioned in our introduction, when president obama was faced with a similar situation he went to congress. a republican-led congress at the time was not up for any action in syria. what are the options that president trump faces now when it comes to a possible response? >> well, last year, ayman, the president undertook the most limited options, a small number of tomahawk land-attack crumbs that went after those specific targets that were associated with that chemical weapons attack last year.
launched from navy ships in the eastern med. so the president chose a very minimalist response, and frankly since that time there's been not been a lot of follow-up either on the diplomatic front or any front and assad has used conventional weapons and even other chlorine and other chemical weapons against his own people throughout the past year so the president really is facing a similar situation but where in effect assad is calling his bluff and the president has emboldened assad by giving a lot of running room to vladimir putin and russia and by not following up on last year's military action. >> to pick up on that point, colonel jacobs, that jeremy was just talking about, the limited targeting and the missile launch eds last year against the syrian air base, what military options does the president have here if he wanted to escalate in a way that sends a message not to do this again because clearly last year's message, last year's strikes did not deter the syrian regime, did not deter the russians or the iranians. >> well, there are lots of things that can be done, but i don't think any of them are
going to be done. i mean, we could do some fairly substantial things even to the point of blockading syria so that there's no way that anything can get in, including russian ships, but that endangered -- that gives us the possibility of getting engaged with russia directly which we don't want to do. we could target specific places in damascus not directly related to the chemical attacks and related to command and control. we know where those locations are, but that would also be an escalation. i don't think we're going to do any of those things. i think the greatest likelihood is that we'll do pretty much the same thing we did last time. have a very small number of relatively ineffective and ineffectual tomahawk missile strikes because i don't think the president wants to be getting engaged in syria anymore than we already are and he's already said so. >> it was notable in the
president's response on social media that he called out vladimir putin by name and that was a turning posture in the president's posture on putin after months of saying he wanted to work with russia on the issue of syria. safe to say that the president is changing his his posture. a lot of things. this is the problem for the aren't. can't really have it both ways. you can't say we're going to pull out. only care about defeating isis and all of our troops are going home and we'll be tough on assad and stand up to putin and his influence in the middle east at the same time when he's essentially going to be ceding syria's future to some type of political process in which putin, russia, assad, turk to, iran, are going to have a much
larger influence than the united states. >> doctor, let me ask you. you're not in a political position but what does sams want to see? what does the organization call for to prevent these types of killings from happening again? >> first and foremost, we want a cessation of hostilities. have you anywhere between 100,000 and 200,000 people still left in ghouta. these people are defenseless and have perhaps 20 to 30 positions left in the that area. they can't bear anymore than they already have. we call for an investigation looking into what exactly happened here. and we need to have access and provide for their needs medically, nutritionally. we need for this siege to end
and cleanse to end >> won't be a lot of give on that. >> let me play you this from republican senator mike rounds because he described putin's involvement in all of this today. >> i think he'll hold not just syria but he'll make it very clear that he believes hsh is also responsible. let's get all our facts together and do our strategic planning and allow the military to be effective in the way that we respond. don't get pushed into doing it based on putin's terms but on our terms. >> is there an action that the white house can take against the syrian government that does not draw the united states into a direct confrontation with russia. >> one of these things are strikes against assad's military headquarters, his intelligence headquarters and another aspect of his command and control
nodes, send a stronger deterrent than hitting the elements afill the with this political attack. at the same time we have to go to the russians and the international community with a very strong message to moscow that says don't mess with us. we're going after the person traitor of a heinous monstrous act against defenseless innocent civilians. if you get in our way we'll come after you. that's where i'm not sure that the white house is prepared to go. >> colonel jacobs if you were in syria and watched the u.s. response last year, are you at all deterred by the minimal response that the united states launched? i mean, would you be at all concerned this time around? >> no, i don't think so. may very well be. there will be attacks on military nodes, command and control nodes. i don't think you'll be deterred if you're bashar assad, and one of the reasons is that you're fighting an existential fight in that country, and you're not going to be deterred by
anything. >> you're support bid russia. you're supported by iran. i don't think there's anything short of direct attacks on assad and that will deter them at all. i don't think it's going anywhere. >> sadly to say that the killing is probably of innocent civilians in syria is probably going to go on for sometimes. doctor, jeremy bash and jeremy lederman, thanks so much. coming up, syria one of the topics that the president was on a tweet storm about today including a new attack against the fbi. we're going to look at that, and the president dismissing all of the criticism about his embattled epa administrator scott pruitt standing by his name at least for now and more on that next. captivating exteriors dynamic lighting elevated comfort
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president trump continues to stand by his man at the epa. scott pruitt's questionable spending of tax dollars for travel, security around personal housing continue to make headlines. 64 house democrats are now asking for pruitt's resignation and some republican senators also now raising questions. >> i would say ethics matter. improprit matters. the appearance of impropriety matters. stop the unforced errors. stop leading with your chin. if you don't need to fly first class don't. >> today the president defended pruitt in a tweet saying the travel, housing and security
spending was justified. the president also taking aim today at the justice department accusing once again the fbi of stalling the release of documents related to the alleged fisa surveillance and e-mails from hillary clinton's private server while she was secretary of state. joining me now are alexei mccammon, political reporter for axis and chuck rosenberg and former u.s. attorney and fbi officials and natasha bertrand staff writer for "the atlantic." great to have all three of you with us. chuck, the president has made a series of tweets about the department of justice's missed deadline to turn over a slew of documents that the house
judiciary committee is requesting. trump tweeted this on saturday. lawyers of the house judiciary committee are angrily accusing the department of justice of missing the thursday deadline for turning over unredacted documents related to fisa abuse. fbi, comey, lynch, mccabe,
clinton, e-mails and much
more. slow walking. what is going on. bad. how often are deadlines like this missed? is this out of the ordinary to need more time to produce a large volume of documents from the department of justice? >> well, deadlines can be missed if the deadline that's set ayman is incredibly short but there's a more important point here. it's not a slow walking. it's a process. imagine, and i'm sure this has happened to you, that an e-mail that you write to somebody contains three different topics, maybe one relates to the thing that the congress wants to see. the second thing in your e-mail is some other matter, some other work matter completely unrelate, and the third thing might be a personal matter. there's a going away party for a colleague who is retiring so when the fbi or justice department gets a request it's not like they have a box of documents ready to go that they can ship to the congress. somebody has to review each and every document. each and every e-mail because they have to be responsive, but they cannot provide information, for instance, about other
ongoing investigations or that contain grand jury information or contain personal information like your home address and cell number so that redaction process, the review process, is painstaking, and i wish the president understood the process and didn't just call folks and things names. >> yeah. i wonder why nobody has actually explained to him that process as well from the white house. natasha, let me switch gears and ask you something as well that the president tweeted about this morning. he criticized the fbi for
failing to question hillary clinton under oath. he tweeted this out. the fbi closed the case on hillary which was a rigged investigation. they exonerated her even before they ever interviewed her. they never even put her under oath and much more. so what risk, if any, is there for the president to keep trying to relitigate the hillary clinton e-mail server saga? >> this is just another way of him -- for him to attack fbi and the doj more broadly this.
tweet goes along with the tweet in which he criticized the doj for apparently take to go long to give these documents over to congress. what the president is the trying to do is he's trying to undermine the credibility of the fbi because it is, of course, investigating his campaign and russia's election interference. this is a pattern we've seen for months and months and whenever the president attacks the fbi or doj it comes right after he watches a fox news segment, for example, he just tagged jesse waters who is a fox news personality, and the line has been that the fbi is either slow rolling the house intelligence committee which, you know, have you to ask why would the fbi or the doj be rushing to give over documents when we saw what the chairman of the house intelligence information did with the information given a couple months which was to release it all in a memo to the public. this is just at sustained attempt by the president to undermine the credibility of the bureau and of the department that is investigating him. >> chuck, let me ask you a real quick question before we switch
gears here and that is there are reports the president is being prepped for a potential interview with robert mueller. if you were the president's lawyer, is there one area of this case that you would worry about the most when it comes to preparing the president, perhaps telling him avoid this at all costs? >> boy, that's why the defense lawyers get paid a lot of money, ayman. there's a lot of areas i'd be worried about but in particular the fact that the president would either be under oath or if not under oath still punishable for lying under federal law if he tells an untruth, if he knowingly lies to the fbi. i'd worry about the whole range of stuff but if you made me pick one thing it would be the obstruction of justice topic, ayman. >> that's a fair point. let's switch gears a little bit and talk about scott pruitt, particularly the story that continues to gain a lot of attention. the president seeming to justify spending that has come under increased scrutiny from both democrats and republicans and an epa spokesman gave nba this
statement about his spending on security in particular. according to epa's assistant inspector general scott pruitt has faced an incredible amount of death threats against him and his family. americans should all agree members of the president's cabinet should be kept safe from these violent threats. there's been some questions as to whether or not they actually received those death threats. i know buzz feed had requested a freedom of information act to find out exactly how many death threats they received. will lawmakers calling on pruitt to resign in the public take these claimed death threats as reason enough for the questionable spending? >> that's providing an answer to a question that wasn't asked, right, the statement you just read from the epa spokesperson. they are only focusing on the death threats against scott pruitt and not the issue at hand which is his excessive spending of taxpayer money for various things from travel and $43,000 for a soundproof phone booth for
the epa. this will not inspire lawmakers to rescind their calls for him to be fired by the president. the interesting thing is how trump continues to stand by his side and when there's a conservative element creating a back channel to trump, this is a leftist agenda, trying to take down another one of your cabinet members, don't let them do it, that's something that trump will listen to but when there are 64 house dems and a number of senators calling for pruitt to resign or be fired it's hard tore trump to ignore the calls for resignation even if the death threats are true. >> interesting to see whether that freedom of information act provide any confirmation to the death threats. great to have all of you with us this sunday evening. >> thank you. >> tonight, msnbc's "head lines" takes an in-depth look at robert mueller. nicolle wallace hosts the hour revealing what shaped and drives
the man at the center of the russia investigation. watch this right here at 9:00 eastern right here on msnbc. trump defending his national guard troop surge at the u.s. border with mexico and the growing tariff war with china. "saturday night live" had its open take on that. >> i've made a lot of trade cars to escalate here. that's why i just announced tariffs on more chinese products, including fireworks and finger traps. the we've also expelled the infamous chinese billionaire p.f. chang. he's dunzo. at&t provides edge-to-edge intelligence, covering virtually every part of your retail business. so that... if your customer needs shoes. ...& he's got wide feet. ...& with edge-to-edge intelligence, you've got near real time inventory updates... ...& he'll find the same shoes in your store that he found online...
welcome back, everyone. it's full steam ahead for president trump's america first policy. this morning he defended his tariff tiff with china tweeting china will take down its trade barriers because it is the right thing to do. taxes will become reciprocal and a deal will be made on intellectual property. the president is also moving ahead with putting troops on the u.s. southern border. he's calling for up to 4,000 national guard troops. arizona has agreed to send about 150 troops. texas is sending 250. far short from what the president is calling for. the president this morning shot back at critics tweeting out that people of our great country want safety and security. the dems have been a disaster on this very important issue.
here with me now ron insana cnbc contributor and gordon chang, "daily beast" columnist and author of "the coming collapse of china" and back with us retired army general jeremy jacobs. explain to us the president's position on this. how are tariffs that the president is putting in place protecting our domestic industries back here at home? >> well, the assumption is by putting these tariffs in place, we would substitute any products we might get from china with those made in america. that's not typically right now under the current kind-of-multi-lateral arrangements that we have around the world the way the global supply chain works. not the way we get products, so it is in some sense an ill-informed view of how we procure our products and our imports, particularly those that we can get only from china. >> when you look at the products that have been tariffed, do all of them have an american made replacement. >> no. >> so that it kind of defeats the purpose of what you're saying. >> it does, and it's also larger
than the nick harm that the administration has imposed on the u.s. they did a study that's suggested there's been 50 billion of harm done to our economy as a result of intellectual property theft and the president has proposed imposing $150 billion which is in violation of world trade organization rules. >> the markets have been responding to this somewhat negatively, the s&p down 500 and the dow is down. >> the dow was down 500. >> the dow would be down 5,000. >> we saw the dow down, and the nasdaq all dropped on friday. why are the markets having such an adverse reaction to this? >> they don't know where this is going. they don't know if as some of his administration officials have suggested just pure negotiating tactics on the president's part, even in the absence of a grander strategy. we saw larry kudlow -- >> he's trying to water it down. >> walked it back a bit saying the national economic director
said nothing has happened yet and a friend in industrial welding has seen his steel imports go up by 33% in the last couple of week. that was the first round of tariffs from earlier in march so there's already been a real impact on people doing business in the u.s. >> gordon, interestingly enough you think that the tariffs on china are pretty good. you wrote after decade of failing to stop chinese theft, there are no more no-cost solutions, and there is now no choice with you to impose costs on china greater than the benefits it obtains from theft. can you elaborate given the nature between china and the united states why this is a good time for president trump to imposing these tariffs? >> we need to do something because china has become much more predatory over the last five or six years, especially under economy jinping. china is actually closing up its markets to not only foreign competitors but also chinese domestic entrepreneurs, and the other thing, of course, is the intellectual property theft that ron talked about. the i.p. commission last year came out with an estimate that
said it's between $225 billion and $600 billion a year loss of u.s. and intellectual property. not all of that is china but a lot of it is. when you look at the imposed tariffs to actually put curbs on investment, what trump is trying to do is make sure that he protects american innovation because if there's no innovation, there's no american economy these days. >> let me ask you about, ron, larry kudlow. you and i were talking about it and he defended once again the tariff's position. in some way he kind of argued that it bolsters the free market. do these tariffs bolster the free market, do you think, or where is he getting that logic from an economic perspective? >> well, it's not typical of larry's philosophy. larry is an unbridled free marketeer and has been for as long as i've known him which exceeds 30 years now so it's in contrast to what he would typically say. it would embolden free markets if we could the a resip cole trade deal with this out of china and increased two-way
trade between the two countries. whether or not it works is an open question. whether or not it's a strategy, a tactic, part of a grand plan, i don't think we know that yet, an that's what the markets fear the most, that this is something that something that the president will do for a period of time and back away, or it will lead to a wider trade war which could then in turn lead to a global recession. >> very quickly, gordon, how do you assess china's response so far? have they been very deliberate or precise? their decisions strategic or just bluster? >> in the beginning they were tactical but right now they are bewi8derred. so used to u.s. presidents threatening and not carrying through and now you have a president who is at least showing flashes of resolve, and i think that's unnerving them. remember, china need us much more han we need china so the chinese realize they are vulnerable, and with trump they just don't know what they are getting. >> let's switch gears for a moment and bring in colonel jack jacobs. i want to talk about the president's efforts to secure the southern border. what will be the primary role of
the national guard troops if in fact they are going to be deployed as we saw with some of the states already committing to the president's request? >> well, nothing particularly sophisticated. administrative and logistical support, information collection and intelligence production, and perhaps most importantly aviation support so that border patrolmen can be more mobile along the border. they are also going to do fence repair. i've got to add that this is precisely the same stuff that the last administration did with the national guard when it was deployed to the border, and the same thing the previous administration had done as well, so not much different from what the last two administrations had done. the perception by some that we're going to set up ma neon gun nests and pick off illegal ail yeps as they try to get across the border is total
nonsense. mostly logistics and construction. >> one of the things that most americans don't know. data released by homestand security show border patrol arrests are at a 46-year low. the trump administration is still moving ahead with beefing up the border. we certainly hear that rhetoric coming out of white house. in fact, here's what white house homeland security and counterterrorism adviser thomas bossert had to say. >> we've got a leaking boat on our border and we're all quibbling with how much water is in the boat and how fast we're bailing it out. >> do you believe the administration, colonel jacobs, is taking the right action here? >> to send troops to the border. well, i think they are going to be -- they are going to be ineffective in doing what the president hopes they will do, and that is to stop illegal immigration, but the thing to remember is that it may very well be that the blustery talk is one of the things that's
reducing the influx of people from the south. in addition to that, there's been an increase in the economic development down below the border, and that's keeping people there and reduction and economic opportunity in the opportunities is keeping them away as well. >> ron, you want to say something real quick? >> two other risks, the mexican senate has passed a non-binding resolution to suspend intelligence cooperation with the united states, something that president nieto also warned about. if you look at the july mexican elections, a far left potentially anti-u.s. president is in the lead by 18 points. >> a lot of people are watching that election very closely. >> gordon, before we let you go, your thoughts on one thing, the confirmation coming this evening from the administration that kim jong-un has agreed to discuss denuclearization of the korean peninsula and the upcoming talks with the trump administration. is that significant, or are we just -- that something that the white house is touting that,
hey, this is significant bit of reality. >> the north koreans use the word denuclearization very different than we do. we talk about disarmament and they talk about arms control. when they use the term denuclearization, they mean the united states getting our troops off the peninsula and maybe giving up nuclear weapons of our own, but this is significant in one accepts and that is the sanctions are working against the north korean regime, both u.n. sanctions and trump sanctions, so kim jong-un needs to talk to him for sanctions relief >> colonel jack jacobs, appreciate yours as well. next, a checkup on your global headlines including a tribute on ice for the junior hockey team that was killed in a bus crash. heartbreaking. sorry i'm late. what did i miss?
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welcome back, everyone. time for a global checkup and a look at global headlines around the world and we start with canada and the international hockey world is mourning the death of 15 members of a canadian junior league team. the humbolt broncos, the winnipeg jets, chicago blackhawks honored the victim by wearing the team name broncos on the back. their uniforms and holding a movement silence before the game. the broncos from humbolt, saskatchewan, were on their way to a playoff game when the team's bus collided with a tractor trailer. absolutely heartbreaking. switching gears in germany, investigators are still searching for a motive in the aftermath of a truck attack that killed two in the city of munster, germany. prosecutors there say the 48-year-old suspect was also dead. had a history run-ins with the
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said. looking a big story making news in the u.s. to see how the international media is covering it, but tonight we're focusing on a story eve heard very little of or nothing about this week. 29 palestinians have been killed by the israeli military as thousands continue to protest at the gaza-israel border. palestinians are demanding a right to return to the land they were forced to leave some 70 years ago when israel was created and an end to the blockade of the gaza strip, home to okay 2 million people. that story getting a lot of attention across the world. >> death and violence once again, unfortunately, came to the border between gaza and israel today. >> even from a couple of hundred meters away, we can hear the palestinian chants of peaceful demonstration and god is great. >> israel says it only targeted those trying to breach the border fence. >> but it has gone mostly unnoticed here in the u.s. an op-ed in the "l.a. times" gives one reason for what the author believes is a misrepresentation of the israeli-palestinian conflict saying even if the facts are
accurately stated, the ways in which sentences are constructed and the extent to which details are context materialized can suddenly lead readers astray. after the first day of unrest, for example, the "new york times" present edition led with the headline confrontations with gaza fence leave 15 people dead. a rather ambiguous headline that on secures what did what to whom and y.try to find same story on line and it now reads israeli military till palestinians at the border and while the president condemned the attack in syria he hasn't said anything about the conflict on the israeli-palestinian border. we condemn leaders and protesters who call for violence and who send protesters, including children, to the fence knowing that they may be injured or killed. instead, we call for a renewed focus by all parties on finding solutions to the dire humanitarian challenges facing
gazans. he made no mention, of course, the use of live ammunition against unarmed civil yafnls the u.s. flexing its muscle at the united nations blocking a vote representing israel's death of 30-year-old palestinian journalist, the "washington post" humanizing the deceased newsman with a touching profile. israel has faced criticism over the use of live fire but the military saying it doesn't intentionally target journalists. those comments seeming to negate earlier remarks made by the defense minister saying there are no naive people in the gaza strip, everyone is connected to hamas and gets a salary from hamas and all of the activists trying to challenge us and breach the border are hamas military wing activists. for more on the violence in gaza, i'm joined by the executive director for the u.s. campaign for palestinian rights and robert mahoney, deputy executive director for the committee to protect
journalists. we reached out to several israeli officials as well but it's important to note they were unable to join us. let me begin with you. i want to start with what is happening on the ground right now. explain to us as you understand it what is happening inside gaza along the border. >> yeah, thanks, it's great to be with you. it's quite simple what's going on. you have a population in the gaza strip that is really sick and tired of the situation that they are facing on top of decades of occupation and first becoming refugees from towns and villages just outside of the gaza strip. they are also dealing with a very brutal and indiscriminate siege that is targeting over 2 million palestinians in the gaza strip, denying them freedom of movement, denying them the basic rights and necessities to the point where the united nations has said life in gaza may not be
sustainable by the year of 2020. palestinians turned to the mass mobilizations to challenge this policy of encagement that the israelis have placed on the gaza strip, not just demanding the right to return to villages but the right to move freely in and out of gaza and to other palestinian areas as well, which is something that israel indiscriminately denies to palestinians and gaza with the most rare exceptions and what we're seeing from the israelis is a brutally repressive response of those protests. that is the situation in a nutshell. >> okay, let me get your take on what has happened with the palestinian journalist because i want you to give us a quick sense what the conditions are far for palestinian journalists working in gaza and what do you make of the defense minister's statement that everyone is gaza is affiliated by hamas and paid by hamas. some may say that is an excuse by the israeli military which considers hamas a terrorist organization to consider everyone as a hostile threat.
>> that's false. journalists are trying to work independently, they are not all in the pay of hamas and even if they are, it doesn't mean they should be shot by israeli army snipers, journalists in gaza is are working under incredible pressure and unable to leave. the photographer killed never left gaza, even though he tried. they are going up to the fence to photograph. he was wearing a clear press marker and he was hit. we know that there are israeli army snipers, some 100 sent there to prevent people approaching the fence but reports say this journalist was between 100 and 200 yards from the fence. what threat was he posing to the security of israeli forces. >> there was a report that he was operating a drone. used a drone in the past. is that in and of itself considered by international standards and rules of
engagement a threat to a military that perhaps they thought that was a threat to them and decided to engage him? >> that's what the israelis have said but frankly drones are now a common piece of equipment and -- >> all around the world. >> and he's been using that. he was clearly marked as a journalist, he's a civilian. therefore he was not posing a threat as far as the reports we have read to anyone who was maybe 300 or 400 or 500 yards from where he was shot. >> the accusation out of israel is that many palestinians have used protests like this in the past, particularly militant groups to try and carry out attacks against israel. so i'm curious to also get, i want to read the statement to the ambassador calling on the u.n. security council to condemn hamas and reads in part that council must condemn hamas for the exploitation of children as human shield risking their lives and call for an end to the provocations that increase violence and tensions. the riots of the past week have
proven to be violent out purse thes and not peaceful demonstrations. is it only them? are there other factions involved? what more can you tell us about who's behind these protests? >> yeah, there's a collection of groups that are involved in supporting these protests. and hamas is not the only group involved. in fact, i think hamas is probably threatened by the extent of the success and organization of protests which have been very well organized, very well put on and primarily put on as i think the images that you will see from all of them under a palestinian national flag, not a flag bearing hamas' factional, you know, symbol or anything like that. so this is a eye pan palestinian event. primarily because it represents the grievances of all palestinians living in gaza and all palestinians who are
refugees. i would add a note about the journalist killed seven palestinian journalists were targeted by the israelis yesterday. it was -- ended up dying from the gunshot wound but many others were injured in what clearly seems like an intentional attempt to keep palestinian journalists away from capturing these images and bringing them to the world to see. >> very quickly, how would you rate the american media coverage of this particular flare-up and the conflict? >> it's not been as extensive as it needs to be. this is a conflict which does get a lot of publicity when certain incidents take place and one side is the target. therefore i think that the american media needs to take more notice, particularly of the killing of journalists who were trying to bring us photos. >> thank you both very much for joining us. that will do it for this week. join me back here next sunday at
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