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tv   Deadline White House  MSNBC  October 27, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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alex witt. >>. it's a very horrific crime scene. it's one of the worst that i've seen. >> it's a terrible, terrible thing what's going on with hate. >> he made anti-semitic comments about killing jews as he came out of the synagogue. >> we could hear the shots and we were standing in our living room and we could just hear rapid fire. >> there's nothing much i can do right now. i feel horrible for all those people inside. >> if they had an armed guard inside, they might have been able to stop him immediately. >> these were our neighbors, these are fellow pennsylvanians. and this is an incredibly sad day. there you're hearing leaders of today and those affected by the shooting, this terrible shooting. i'm alex witt at msnbc world
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headquarters. the president has landed and deplained from air force one. listen to what he's saying. > making america great again and it's happening. you'll never get your points across because we have a media that's very biased against certain opinion and frankly against me. so i -- it's the way it is. and i can soft coat it any way you want but that's the bottom line. tonight i will absolutely change my tone. i thought it was important to be here. otherwise, he becomes too important. when he makes you change, things and schedules, then he becomes too important and we can't let that happen. we can never let that happen. dick grasso did a great job with the new york stock exchange years ago on september 11th. we can't let these people become important. thank you. >> mr. president, when will you -- update on the khashoggi investigation league. >> all right. the president again having disembarked from air force one. he is going to a rally in
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murphysboro, illinois. that is where our colleague geoff bennett is standing by in anticipation of the president at that rally. notably the president said he's making comments tonight and spoke about he would change his tone for tonight but he did not change his tone from what is typically trump, that you have coined his twitter trump. the trump that is not on the teleprompter. he goes and blames at media for the tone in this country. >> and i think when he attacks the media, alex, what he's doing, he's using the media as a proxy trying to neutralize the argument that he is in any way responsible for this current political moment, a current political moment marked by violence. and so yes, the president is here in murphysboro. it was an open question whether or not he would hold this rally. a number of political candidates in pennsylvania have canceled their campaign events in
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response to this unspeakable tragedy that unfolded today in pittsburgh. you saw the president say there we can't let these evil people stop us. the question is what will the president say when he takes the stand in a few moments time. will he be conciliatory or more combative. we know the president feels he's at his political best whether he he's on the offensive on the attack. and in a tweet yesterday, i believe it was yesterday about there spate of mail bombings, pipe bombs someone had been sending through the mail, the president said on twitter that this has really prevented the gop from getting out their message. the coverage of the pipe bomb saga had blunted republicans midterm messaging nine days i think we are from the midterm elections. you have to wonder if the president takes that into mind now. he views a lot -- most things through a political lens and yes, here he is in this district that has a hotly contested
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congressional race. the president set to speak to had his supporters. >> the president may neil he is at his political best in a campaign like there. there are many of us that wish today of all days he could be at his presidential best. we'll see if he takes on the kind of tone that will reflect that tenor. nbc's ron mot is right on the scene in the squirrel hill neighborhood in pittsburgh where their disaster unfolded some eight hours ago. what is the latest from there? >> as you might imagine, this is a devastating blow to this city but specially this neighborhood. squirrel hill is a predominantly jewish community. a lot of folks' families emigrated to the city about 100 years ago and this synagogue a block away where you can see there's a heavy law enforcement presence is as anchor in this community. three congregations celebrate their faith here. this gentleman walked into a
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baby naming ceremony and opened fire. we believe in a third floor classroom where perhaps there was one of the three congregations holding their services. there were other people in the building. we don't note a firm number but in between 50 and 100 people. people once they heard the shots they locked and sheltered in place down in the basement. as we have been reporting, the gentleman apparently after the shooting on the third floor was in the process of leaving the synagogue when he was engaged by the first responding officers, retreated back inside the building where he was holed up and then that ended about an hour later. he suffered multiple gunshot wounds. police tell us tonight he is in fair condition. so they will be able to hopefully get some information out of him. all of this happened shortly after services got underway. services to begin around 9:45. one of the questions, one of the many questions that will be asked about the suspect is if he had any prior access to the
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building, was he aware there were three congregations there. there was a regularly scheduled class to be in the third floor classroom that had been canceled but the room was still being used apparently by one of the three congregations. at least 11 people injured, six injured four of them the responding police officers. it's a devastating day here in this beautiful neighborhood on the east side of pittsburgh. there will be mourning here for quite some time. obviously in the jewish faith, the services that end the sbab bath are taking place tonight and around the country security stepped up here and around the country, as well. >> with the overcast skies it may look later than it is in terms of the day. sundown is at 6:23 p.m. that will be the official end of this terrible and tragic shabbat. let's go to justice correspondent pete williams joining us with more on this long day for you. let's get right to it in terms of fbi will be taking the lead in this investigation.
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the potential charges of a hate crime. they had hope id nope to file charges today. have they been able to do so yet. >> no, the charges haven't been filed but i would think they will be in the next couple can of hours. he will be accused under a law that makes it illegal to interrupt someone's right singling them out because of their religion. that charge could carry if upon conviction a maximum sentence of death. the authorities say robert bowers walked into the synagogue today carrying at least four weapons, an ar-15 style assault rifle and three guns. we don't know which he used in the shooting. he fired his weapon, came back out, had an initial exchange with police outside, went backing in to hide. the police pursued him. he was shot ultimately surrendered and was taken to the hospital and now in fair condition. four law enforcement people were
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injured who were in that exchange of gunfire with him both inside and outside and two other people were also injured, a 62-year-old woman who had soft tissue injuries and a 70-year-old man wounded in the torso and said to be in critical condition. three reasons for a hate crime charge, at least. one is the mere fact of attacking a synagogue. secondly witnesses say he yelled anti-semitic comments as r as he shot and left. thirdly the social media postings that law enforcement is well aware of, now they are anyway, on a posting site called gab. he had for weeks, been posting virulently anti-semitic remarks. just an hour or so before the shooting, he again went to the this website and was criticizing jewish refugee organization, one of several organizations that
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the health and human services people use to help resettle refugees. he said that this organization call is bringing in what he called hostile invaders and his final posting is screw your optics, i'm going in. so that will obviously be of interest to law enforcement when they file these charges. they say that before today, he was not known to law enforcement and they also say a alex, they believe he acted alone. >> all right. nbc justice correspondent pete williams. i know you'll stay on the case for us. joining me by phone everyone from doctor, the chair of emergency medicine at university of pittsburgh medical center. doctor, welcome to you sir. let's get an update on the patients transported there. did you receive all six of the injured which would include those four officers? >> yes, we did. upmc president by tierian and
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mercy received those six patients. perpetrator went to a different facility. >> doctor, so are any of those discharged yet or are those still remaining in surgery? can you give me an update on those six? >> one of the parents was seen in the emergency department and discharged. the remaining five all required more extensive evaluation and treatment and still admitted to the hospital. >> doctor, we were told that the four police officers, two police officers and two s.w.a.t. officers that they received nonlife-threatening injuries. they may be in surgery depending if bullets hit their extremities but can you confirm at least those four officers serving the citizens in pittsburgh are injuries of nonlife-threatening nature? >> i think they all have potentially dangerous injuries but none are showing serious serious manifestations right now. all are showing improvement. >> okay.
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we did hear about one victim who was shot in the torso. presumably somebody who was attending the shabbat services there at the tree of life synagogue. can you give us an update on that individual? >> that was the oldest patient that was brought from the scene, a 0-year-old man who had gunshot wounds to the abdomen. initially went to the operating room for evaluation and stabilization of those injuries. it's a technique that's he actually been integrated from military medicine called damage control to give the body a chance to reset after such a devastating type injury. he has returned to the operating room after a few hours of stabilization. that's not unexpected. obviously, that's a very serious set of injuries. and it's hard to know what the overall trajectory of his recovery will be sfloob doctor, are you able to distinguish between those that suffered from gunshot wounds everyone an ar-15
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style rival or from a gunshot wound from a handgun. >> we are told the perpetrator had one assault weapon and three handguns. can you tell from the injuries of those six patients which kind of weapon they were attacked by? >> no, i don't think dweek that with a great deal of precision. particularly given these were all fairly close quarter events. they're all high velocity wounds. i don't think there's a particular pattern in the initial faces that would help us shed light on that. >> you have been widely acclaimed for the services that you and your fellow physicians and nurses were able to do today. tell me the challenges of something like this. when you get a heads up you have incoming and that they -- there are multiple victims of a gunshot attack, what does that do to the operations there in the emergency room? >> well, both centers that
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received patients in our system are level one trauma centers. and this is something that we plan and practice for and are ready for every day. so that part of it is not particularly unusual. obviously we don't get these kind of numbers. the first and biggest challenge is getting an idea of how many parrishs and what type after injuries might be coming in. as you can imagine, in the beginning, there were a great number of people in whom the potential for exposure to the gunshot event was high. so trying to get a better understanding and being prepared for is it five people or 25 people that might need our services. we were able to at both facilities ramp up very quickly using those plans we very in existence. >> dr. done yealy from the university of pittsburgh medical center from a very grateful community. thank you very much for joining me, as well on the phone. >> thank you. now here in studio, joining me michael balboni, a former new
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york state homeland security adviser and legal analyst danny cevallos are here. thank you for being here. michael, i'm reminded of the conversation we had, you were jetting updates from colleagues in law enforcement. and when we heard the word about the long gun and the handguns that were being used, your sources told you that this man came with al intent to kill because of what? a remarkable amount of ammunition. tell me what you've been told. >> he carried a bag full of weapons knee this event and many more than he would need to just -- if he just wanted to kill 20 people. in other words, he really wanted to create havoc in what he did. it was a high capacity magazine for the ar-15. we don't know what yet what the handguns were. the semi-automatic. we believe they were semi-automatic. if they were, we don't know that yet, they would have 15 round magazines typically.
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if you take together just the magazines, you're talking upwards of certainly over 60 -- 70 rounds. >> yeah. >> in addition to which the firepower itself, it's a 223 round that the ar-15 uses. it's a very -- it penetrates very well in terms of concrete and of plaster board. >> hold on. it penetrates concrete and plaster. >> thin concrete and pieces it can go through. shap yell. so when you fire it in a close quarter, you can create real mayhem. and there's no information that it was modified. and there was flow information that he had made into an automatic weapon but a semi-automatic weapon means you can pull the trigger as fast as you can and it will continue firing till the rounds are depleted from the magazine. in this close setting of a synagogue with people there to pray, for him to come in it is the most horrific scene you can
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imagine which is what we're hearing when people describe the scene after. >> you and i were here earlier when the public safety director for the state of pennsylvania was taking to his first public comments about this and he was practically moved to tears. a long-time veteran of the kind of work he does, he's been on the scene of plane crashes and this was sthechk that has left him have shaken. that would go along with the kes description of the kind of trauma caused by these kinds of weapons. it is an extraordinary thing to be reporting on. let's talk about the hate crime aspect with you, danny. that have comes from where and how does that lead to potentially, i believe pete williams said we will we potential will i have a death penalty case here. talk about that. >> hate crimes are relatively new in the united states. the first in oregon in 1981. we didn't get real federal hate crime legislation till about
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2008, 2009 and what we're talking about in terms of federal charges, there are several different charges that could be applied in a case like this. where you have the use of a firearm, the interference of someone's religious practices or with religious practices, and resulting deaths. of course, don't forget you have aggravated assaults on police officers who arrived and they have a special status at least under pennsylvania law. so you have both pennsylvania potential death penalty case for murder with aggravating circumstances. you also have a number of different federal laws and one at least that provides for the death penalty. that's the interference was religious practice plus resulting death. i expecting that we're going to see at least that charged within the next day or so. but the federal prosecutors have a number of different options at their fingertips as do pennsylvania prosecutors and there's no double jeopardy fifth amendment bar to success and in
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prosecutions. the feds can prosecute and then the state can prosecute. although federal law does express a preference in hate crime situations the state formally has the first bite at the apple. >> does the state have then the possibility of the death penalty? >> yes, pennsylvania has the death penalty. in practice, it hasn't been used in over 20 years. so like the federal system, it is a death penalty in name only. and that's what a lot of critics say, it isn't used often enough to really be a working death penalty. >> we will see what robert bowers is charged with, the 46-year-old man who right now is receiving treatment for wounds he received. gentlemen, thank you very much. i'll be speaking with you both again. we'll take a short break right now. on the other side of it, we'll talk with richard cohen of the southern poverty law center. we want to show you some four minutes before the end of the sa bath day, there is a vigil under
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way right now for the victims of the pittsburgh synagogue shooting. we'll be right back. ttsburgh sye shooting we'll be right back. you might take something for your heart... or joints. but do you take something for your brain. with an ingredient originally discovered in jellyfish, prevagen has been shown in clinical trials to improve short-term memory.
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let's start today. we'll be with you every step of the way. i am a techie dad.n. i believe the best technology should feel effortless. like magic. at comcast, it's my job to develop, apps and tools that simplify your experience. my name is mike, i'm in product development at comcast. we're working to make things simple, easy and awesome.
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it is 22 past the hour. and we are taking a look at the president. >> hello, illinois, special place, great people. hello, illinois. and i'll tell you what, with this crowd, mike is going to win big. he has to win big. he has to win big. but it's great to be back in the heartland with thousands of hard
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working american patriots as we work to re-elect a great man, and actually to be honest, we have three great congressmen here with us today. we're going to get every one of them in office. and i want to just thank you, but i do specifically, he's been so great on steel and getting you jobs back. i felt i owed to a congressman to come up today, mike bost. thank you. we've been fighting for you and very hard. before going any further, i want to address the horrible shooting that took place earlier today. the hearts of all americans are filled with grief following the monstrous killing of jewish americans at the tree of life synagogue in pittsburgh, pennsylvania. you've all seen it. you've been watching it. it's horrible. the suspect is in custody.
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the federal authorities are on the scene and leading aggressive federal investigation. state and local law enforcement has been incredible. this evil anti-sympathetic attack is an assault on all of us. it's an assault on humanity. it will require all of us working together to extract the hateful poison of anti-semitism from our world. this was an anti-semitic attack at its worst. scourge of anti-semitism can be ignored or tolerated and it cannot be allowed to continue. we can't allow it to continue. it must be confronted and condemned everywhere it rears
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its very ugly head. we must stand with our jewish brothers and sisters to defeat anti-semitism and vanquish the forces of hate. that's what it is. through the centuries, the jews have endured terrible persecution. you know that. we've all read it, we've studied it. they've gone through a lot and those seeking their destruction we will seek their destruction. now, when you have crimes like there, whether it's this one or another one on another group, we have to bring back the death penalty. they have to pay. the ultimate price. they have to pay the ultimate price. they can't do this. they can't do this to our country. we must draw a line in the sand
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and say very strongly never again. tonight, everyone in this arena and every citizen across the land sends our prayers to the victims and their families. we all do. we also send our gratitude to the law enforcement offices who were incredible. and who risked their lives and sustained very, very serious injuries during this horrible attack. we salute the heroes of american law enforcement. we always do. we always will. we know how much we appreciate them and yet, they're underappreciated. they have done such an incredible job for so long and it's a tough job.
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we see it now. we see it now maybe like we've never seen it before. and this is the time to renew the bonds of love and loyalty that hold us all together as americans. these bonds have always sustained our nation in its hour of need. you know that. everybody here knows that. and they are always more powerful than the forces of hatred and division, anger and ebola. in america, we love our families. we love our neighbors. and we protect our community. we trust in god. we protect the freedom of worship. en and we believe in the power of prayer.
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we defend our constitution. we defend our heritage. and we rally around our great american flag like nobody does. all of us here tonight are united by the same american values. and we are all fighting to defend these values in this election. this is a very, very important election. this could be and i've said it and i've heard it and they have spoken it many times, this is our most important midterm perhaps ever. >> we'll keep a close eye and see what the president is saying. he's in murphys borough in southern illinois there on behalf of representative mike bost running against the democratic brendon kelly. it is unlikely the president will speak about brendon kelly
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given he is a democrat. he spoke about his sentiments regard the terrible shooting there in pittsburgh and we are also looking in pittsburgh at the right of your screen at a vigil, the sun has gone down. the end of the sa bath day happened some five poob minutes ago and people are carrying a vigil for those 11 victims and others shot but are in the process of recovering. joining me right now is richard cohen, the president of the southern poverty law center. richard, i want to share with you some sentiments from those that are in the squirrel hill community there in pittsburgh in which the tree of life synagogue resides. some 80% of those residents said they have been very concerned about an increase florida state anti-semitism verbiage, the concern about attacks they've had their own anti-and he semetic experiences in this past year, insults, terrio typstereo.
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a leader in the tree of life sin nothing said he never spoke to his congregants what to do during a shooting but the thought crossed his mind. the fact you have 80% of the squirrel hill residents concerned about a rise in anti-semitism, the fact that you have a spiritual leader of that synagogue thinking that he needs to contemplate speaking to his congregation about what to do if an attack happens during church services, what does that say to you. >> it says that our country is in a world of hurt. a lot of trouble. and you know, earlier today, the president talked about and being a terrible thing about the hate that's going on and he said something needed to be done. and i guess my advice to the president would be, he needs to look in the mirror because he is energized the radical right in unprecedented ways. ever since he came down the tower that bears his name in new
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york to do claire his candidacy, he ran a campaign marked by about xenophobia racism and anti-semitism. the idea that he can't look and see how he has contributed to what's happening in our country, it's very, very, very disheartening. the other thing i would say is, i think the words that president just uttered were, as well spoken and i'm sure well written for him. but the problem is, i think the president has shown himself to be someone without very much empathy for his fellow man. and i think and for that reason, it's very, very difficult for the president to heal the country at a moment like there. he says okay. i'm going to be nice now. whatever. and what that tells you is that being nice is not something that comes naturally to the president. i think our country is in trouble for all of these reasons. >> you know, richard, you touched on something that i want
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to talk about. and my colleague geoff bennett who covers the white house has made a very clear distinction between teleprompter trump and twitter trump. you can expand twitter trump to being off the cuff trump, maybe campaign rally, campaigns like today trump. to your point, i know we will hear, for example, from sarah sanders who say the president made these statements. he stands by these statements and to your point, he made good statements that were talking about not standing for this kind of behavior, that our country must come together. but do you believe that it is in his heart the way that he s off script? is that the side of donald trump that you think actually reaches more american citizens or at least those in his base that come to his rallies? you hear thousands of people that come to hear him speak at these rallies. which trump is the real trump? >> look, i don't want to say anything about the people who come and speak at his rallies.
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they're good americans. but mr. trump's campaign told us everything we needed to know. he played footsies with people like david duke. he goes on alex jones info wars thing and says he has a very, very fine reputation. since ruch announced his candidacy, hate groups have increased by 20%. and hate crimes have increased by more than 10%. these things are not coincidences. mr. trump has given people license to say and act on the worst instincts that are in their hearts. >> but richard, we had this week a focus on those 14 packages that were sent to 12 individuals around this country. when the president was queried about that leaving the white house yesterday and asked if he bore any responsibility for this, he said no, i don't think so. >> he never apologizes for anything. you know, immediately after his election, we saw a rash of hate crimes, hate incidents that bore his signature. what i mean by that is, you know, people used his name.
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they used his slow sban, make america white again, used some of the ugly words he had spoken. what did he say to leslie stahl immediately afterwards? he goes gosh, i have no idea why this is happening. the truth of the matter is he knows exactly why it's happening. recently after the pipe bombing incidents what he said was he started to blame the media. he never takes responsibility for the hate he has unleashed. >> he was blaming the media earlier in his off the cuff remarks, something we've become sadly so used to. richard, final thoughts in terms of the future of this country under this president. do you anticipate more hate crimes like there? this one today at the synagogue is being designated as a hate crime. >> you can only hope not. but you know, unfortunately, i think of we have to fear the worst. mr. trump has to use the words of representative mark sanford,
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a republican in congress, mr. trump has unearthed some demons in our country and our social fabric being frayed. i don't know how easy it's going to be to put it back together, quite frankly. >> sobering thoughts from you, richard cohen, president of the southern poverty law center. thank you for joining me. on the phone right now, i'm joined by a reporter for the pittsburgh tribune review. megan, i i understand that you are sitting at a coffee shop which would be someplace where the mood of the citizens of that community, they've probably come together. i imagine there's not a lot of prib olt in that area around but.tell me what's going on there? >> reporter: things are pretty subdued here. i'm a little ways outside of squirrel hill, the neighborhood be in which the shooting took place. but all around, the weather here in pittsburgh is gray and rainy and everyone is feeling that ha and then some. >> i can imagine.
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talk about the somber nature of things and the resiliency of those people particularly those in the squirrel hill neighborhood. you may have heard me speaking earlier with richard cohen in which i shared that there was a poll taken or people expressed 0% of the people in that community expressed a concern about a rise in anti-semitism in the neighborhood. is that something that you have been aware of, as well as a reporter? >> reporter: to have a lower extent, yes, but generally not. the area that i am working with but i can speak to what i saw this morning. that was a lot of very shell shocked very torn party squirrel skr hill residentsquirrel hill . so many expressed numpness. it's always in the back of your mind bud you never think it will happen here.
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>> how many times tragically have we heard that exact phrase expressed all over the country and notably today from the squirrel hill area. megan, thank you very much for joining us from the pittsburgh tribune". we're going to take a very short break. on the other side, we'll get more on the investigation. i have my colleague jonathan dienst in the studio. i have my n dienst in the studio -these people, they speak a language we cannot understand. ♪ [ telephone ringing ] -whoa. [ indistinct talking ]
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investigative reporter jonathan dienst. it's remarkable your connections so you know what's going on. talk about the investigation. what are the investigators doing right now in law enforcement? >> right now, they're working to search his apartment, his car, they're trolling the social media postings to try to backtrack everything about this man leading up to the hours to today's attack and back to previous posting steps, where did he get the weapons, who was he in contact with, were there any warning signs, did he tell anybody he was planning to do this. in a way he did because this morning on social media, two hours before the attack, he posted that he was about to do something. >> yeah. he said i'm going in at the very end. >> neighbors describe him as a loner, oddball. everyone voicing surprise and shock by this. the adl and other watchdog groups say he was not on their
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radar screen even though his hate-filled writings that he allegedly posted were out there for all to see. but there's a lot of that language out there on the web. you can go anywhere and it is overwhelming in terms of the amount of hate if you google and find these sites. >> it brings up a good point. there is freedom of speech in this country but at what point, is there a tipping point that law enforcement will use to then say this is somebody that we need to keep an eye on or investigate. oftentimes, we see these kinds of attacks, these kinds of can crimes and just what you're saying, this person was not necessarily known top law enforcement in any capacity. >> there are squads in the fbi, in homeland security, in local police deps, the nypd that does cyber an patrols, part of the counter-terrorism and intelligence divisions where they are scrolling to see if anyone is making threats, anyone online. they do their best to track it. it's overwhelming.
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>, of course. does it have to be a specific threat? is that when someone gets flagged? >> it would be improper for police departments to start keeping data on people who are expressing their free speech. >> angry. >> we've had this debate here in new york. you had a whole controversy here when the new york police department was conducting surveillance and using informants at certain mosques after 9/11. there was a debate as to what is the appropriate role of law enforcement to try to root out extremist terrorists while not stepping on the rights of the majority of law abiding citizens out there. so it is a constant debate. it's a constant struggle. one note about this suspect, he is part of that the par far right movement apparently. he was even criticizing president trump, calling him a globalist. in terms of his writings and raptings, he was apparently way, way out there. >> and again a loner, right? >> a loner and upsetting stuff
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when you read it. >> officials at the news conference that happened at 4:00 p.m. today asked for everyone's patience in terms of the investigation to allow that to be conducted thoroughly. i'm sure people will grant them that. there is the expectation charges at least will be filed anytime. do you think tonight. >> jeff sessions put out a statement saying hate crimes charges will be expected. those have the potential to carry the death penalty and they're treating this very seriously. again a lone aker. there's a lot of work to do in these investigations. you have a major major crime scene inside a synagogue where you have innocent families slaughtered with a guy carrying an ar-15. you have police officers risking their lives coming to try to stop this guy. four shot. you have a scene outside the synagogue, scenes inside. you have to go to his house, had his car, online. there's a ton of work to do. we're reporting at lightning
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speed trying to keep up and keep track. but there is a lot lot more work to do on this investigation. but you can expect they have enough to file the charges. those are expected very soon. >> jonathan, not only do i thank you for speaking with me but also earlier today in the throes of the first three hours when it was pretty chaotic. you were a voice of a lot of facts and reason. >> thanks for having me. >> let's go to mark hatfield, the president andc eo of an organization founded to assist jewish refugees around the world. frighteningly enough it was an organization that the suspect in the shooting this morning apparently had a fixation with. mark, with a good evening to you. i can only imagine the day you have had today. talk about when you first realized that hias was beak recognized by this man. >> i was in synagogue myself
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this morning and kept getting messages that i was ignoring and finally i looked as the my phone and saw all of this. i've been in a state of shock ever since. i had not heard of this person until that moment. >> tell me about hias. what exactly does your organization do. how long have you been operating? talk about your organization, mark. >> so hias is actually the oldest refugee agency in the world. we were established in the lower eastside of new york at the end of the 1th century to help jews who were fleeing persecution, fleeing hate in eastern europe and russia. and since that time, we've undergone a transformation. weep describe ourselves as once having welcomed refugees because they were jewish and today we welcome refugees because we are jewish. and we act out of jewish values to protect refugees to welcome them here to the united states.
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we do this in partnership with the u.s. government through the refugee resettlement program and with local organizations around the country including jewish family and community services of pittsburgh where we resettle refugees and we also work overseas protecting refugees in their countries of first asylum. >> so you anticipated my question there with regard to pittsburgh itself. you do have a connection to pittsburgh. specifically to people that have been resettled in that squirrel hill community be? and or congregants of the tree of life synagogue. >> well, in pittsburgh, we've undergone the same transformation we've undergone as a national agency. we will traditionally resettled jewish refugees in squirrel hill and around squirrel hill through jfcs in pittsburgh. but today, we resettled refugees of all ethnicities an all religions in all areas of
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pittsburgh. very fuel of the people we help today as refugees are jewish because thank god, there are very few jewish refugees these days. so yes, our affiliate in pittsburgh helps refugees of many nationalities. they were helping syrians till they had a hard time coming into this country. congolese, burmese, they welcome many different nationalities to pittsburghing. > mark hetfield, i'm glad to have you talk about hias. i hope you won't be deterred by what has happened today. thank you for your time. >> we'll be right back, after a short break here on msnbc with the very latest. on msnbc with the very latest. and an ice plant. but we brought power to the people- redefining what that meant from one era to the next. over 90 years later we continue to build as one of the nation's largest investors in
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without drawing a drop of blood, again and again. the most personal technology, is technology with the power to change your life. life. to the fullest. welcome back, everyone at 52 past the hour. i'm alex wood here at msnbc world headquarters. i'm joined in the studio as we continue our coverage of the attack on the jewish synagogue in pittsburgh. i'm joined by jonathan greenblat, national director of the antidefamation league. you gave me some chilling statistic in terms of the rise in hate crimes. i want to get to that. talk to me about today and where this lies in the pantheon of hate crimes here in the united states against people of the jewish faith. >> this is nothing other than short of a heartbreaking, horrible day the likes of which
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the jewish community in the united states literally has never seen. it was the most lethal and violent attack on the jewish community in over 200 years of history in this country. >> and we've had bombings in the synagogu synagogues. >> there have been other attacks, shooting attacks at the federation in seattle a few years ago, the jcc in kansas city a few years ago, in los angeles about ten-plus years ago, but nothing like this, a mass shooting with upwards of 11 people killed. killed on a saturday morning when they were in services, and there were multiple services going on including a bris which is the service to welcome a child into the world, a baby eight days old. >> and a baby given the jewish name on that day, the celebration of that. >> our hearts break, and our thoughts and prayers are with the community of pittsburgh and all the members of that congregation who were literally affected by that. i want you to reiterate the
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number of hate crimes, the uptick in hate crimes for both 2016 and 2017 that the organization has been following. where do those stand? >> we've been tracking anti-semitism and other forms of bigotry for over 100 years. for the last 40 years we've been tracking anti-semitic incidents in every community across the country every day, and in 2016 after about a 10, 15-year slow decrease we saw a 34% increase in 2016, and then a 57% increase in 2017. that was the single largest spike that the adl has seen in four decades of tracking this. i'm talking about acts of harassment, vandalism, and violence directed against jewish individuals and institutions. so we are living in a moment right now where the temperature is cranked to the highest it's been in recent memory, and so we look at a tragedy like this, and we have to understand that it's
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happening in a context of increasing anxiety for the entire community. >> i was going to ask you about the sentiments that members of the jewish community, the faith culturally, religiously, how they have to interpret all of this. i mean, there's got to be fear. >> sure. >> anger. >> sure. but how does that percolate? what are your concerns about the reaction after an incident like this? >> i've been on the phone all day with jewish leaders around the country, with folks on the ground in pittsburgh. we're fighting anti-semitism every day. leaders are struggling with what do we do. the fact of the matter is nearly every jewish institution, whether it's a synagogue or a school or a community center or an office like those of the a did, dl, we all have security in place. many have armed guards in order to defend because there have been attacks and crimes in the past. what's so horrible and tragic about this, although one could say there's a silver lining, is
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that that ssynagogue, the tree f life synagogue had had an active shooter drill months ago with support from law enforcement, so the staff on the ground knew what to do, and that training saved lives. >> there are reports that many of the congregants that they got down into the basement and locked themselves in. i mean, that would stand to common sense reason but also probably they knew where to go thanks to that kind of training. >> that's right. i think this is a reminder that every jewish institution and every house of worship. just before i started at a did, -- adl, we saw the horrible crime in charleston where a black church was attacked by di dylann roof, whether it's a jewish synagogue, every house of worship in this moment needs to take precautions because of the environment in which we're living in. >> jonathan greenblat it's been
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a very difficult day. thank you so much for joining me. the realities are very heartbreaking. >> thank you for your time. >> thank you. joining me now, "politico" reporter and co-author of the political play book, daniel litman. let's get right to how you think this is going to be spun, if you will, in the political world. we know that the president right now is out making statements at a campaign rally. he did speak -- i know i'm quoting my colleague geoff bennett, but i find it absolu absolutely a perfect representation when you have a president who is a teleprompter trump versus twitter trump where he gets out and expresses his thoughts in often a meandering way, often an angry way, sometimes an incomprehensible way. talk about this and if you think this will become some sort of a political football. >> i hope it won't, but i'm sure his, you know, white house speech writers were working today to try to find the best
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way for him to, you know, basically comfort the american people during this time of an attack, and we had two attacks this week with the bomber in florida, and he was criticized for his response to that where he was thinking more in terms of, you know, the political implications for him and the republican party, which he thought he was going to lose politically because this bomber was attacking democrats and not actually about the country's best interests, and i think, you know, if those people that the bomber attacked were republicans, like, you know, top republicans he would be on the phone within minutes making sure that they were okay, you know, giving his thoughts to them. instead, he did not call any of those people that were attacked earlier this week. >> yeah. the president does not take responsibility for the tenor under which these attacks have happened, not the 14 package
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bombs that were sent to the 12 different individuals across this country, nor at this point he has yet to say anything about that but the anticipation would be that he would not take any sort of responsibility for the tenor of things that led to this man shooting up a synagogue earlier today. do you know if advisers within the white house, daniel, speak to him on any regular basis about the rhetoric that he uses, the way he conducts himself, particularly on twitter? >> i think my sense from talking to people around the white house and around president trump is that many of his advisers and his aides are just too afraid and too scared to actually tell him when he's gone too far, and, you know, his twitter habit has not been able to be controlled by anyone, and so he sees that as one of the reasons he was elected, so he's not going to change who he is because he
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feels like it would betray voters. so i think, you know, reading bob woodward's book, you see that the rational people in the white house that were from the republican establishment, they have almost all left, and it's down to people who are original trump campaign ak coe lates. >> thank you so much for joining us. i appreciate that, and our coverage of the shooting in pittsburgh will continue right now. these incidents usually occur in other cities. today the nightmare has hit home here in the city of pittsburgh. >> this was an anti-semitic act. you wouldn't think this would be possible in this day and age. >> i went to the day care there when i was really little on the third floor where we heard he holed himself up. >> they heard the shots and the mom and dad, friends of mom and


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