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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  June 20, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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considered. otherwise have done it and it's shown to make the lives of sex workers safer. back when he was asked in march, he said he didn't have an answer for that. that's going to wrap up this hour. i'll see you tomorrow morning on "today." "andrea mitchell reports" starts right now. big mistake, president trump with a stern message for iran after iran shoots down an unmanned american drone in what the u.s. is calling an unprovoked attack over international waters and iran claims violated their airspace. >> these are very precisely guided, unmanned, run by high tech computers. i would bet almost anything that was in international airspace. >> i think it's a dangerous situation. high tension wires are up in the region. >> we expect to hear from president trump this hour. no apologies. joe biden standing by his controversial comments about working with segregationist
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senators in the past. cory booker is demanding he apologize. >> apologize for what? >> booker has called for it. >> cory should apologize. he knows better. there's not a racist bone in my body. i've been in civil rights my whole career, period, period, period. and he's back. former alabama judge roy moore about to announce whether he's going to make another run for the senate despite failing in 2017 because of sexual abuse allegations and other controversies. >> i believe in the second amendment. good day everyone. i'm andrea mitchell in washington. we expect to hear mr. the president at any moment as he meets with canada's prime minister justin trudeau today. this as tensions are increasing after iran shot down an unmanned u.s. drone, a $120 million global hawk near the strait of
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hormuz overnight. iran says the drone violated iranian airspace. u.s. officials contend the drone was flying in international airspace. the president just wrapped up a meeting with his national security team and congressional leaders are also being briefed. we have it all covered for you from the middle east from the white house to capitol hill. nbc's courtney kube in the united arab emirates. nbc's kristen welker at the white house. retired army kerr nall jack jacobs and democratic congresswoman chrissy houlihan who served on the armed services and foreign affairs committees. welcome all. courtney, first to you, there in the uae, obviously tensions were escalati escalating. we know about the tanker attacks. iran's denials, the u.s. claims. the only issue here is where was that unarmed predator, whether it was in international airspace or over iran as iran contends. >> as you mentioned, the united
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states says it was in international airspace. iran says it drafted into iranian airspace. what this could be is an issue that frequently comes up here that iran believes it controls more area in the air and at sea in the strait of hormuz outside the 12 nautical mile line that most of the international community recognizes and international airspace and waterways. you mentioned this comes at a time when the tensions here are very high between the united states and iran. this shootdown of this drone is the first direct time in this tension that began in early may where, in fact, the iranian military, the revolutionary guard core acknowledges a direct attack on the u.s. military. there have been three times in recent days where u.s. drones have been targeted, one time in early june was by houthi rebels, they shot down a u.s. drone. another time what is believed to be an iranian guard core ship
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shot at a u.s. drone but missed it. the fact that this global hawk, which is a high altitude reconnaissance unmanned drone, the fact it was struck and shot down is a new level of escalation in these tension, andrea. >> the existence of these drones tell us a lot about all the slade i don't of the tankers as well because these are basically surveillance. they can be used offensively or defensively, but basically there for surveillance over the strait which is the key stroet stroke point. kristen welker at the white house, the president is going into a meeting. prime minister trudeau to arrive at the west portico very shortly. the president owes posture here. we know there's been some disgleemt among his advisers, pompeo, others, hawks arguing for diplomacy. what do we expect? >> andrea, we just got a tweet
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from president trump who said iran made a very big mistake. so that's his direct response to everything courtney is reporting on. what is he going to do about it? that is the question. that's the topic of that meeting that you just talked about. here at the white house with the national security team. president trump, as you mentioned, about to meet with prime minister justin trudeau. so i can tell you that my other teammates out, about to shout questions to president trump to try to get some specific answers about how he's going to handle this. we know that president trump has been resistant to get engaged in foreign engagements. he has been signaling that, andrea. he was asked about these mounting tensions between the u.s. and iran overnight on fox news. he said don't worry about it, everything is under control. recently when he was asked whether he was poised to take any military action against iran, president trump said, look, he would do that if he felt there was an eminent nuclear threat.
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however, he signaled he's not prepared to take any military action at that point for any of these other types of incidents that they've been tracking here. now, again, as the calculation changed in the wake of what happened, this is again a new provocation by iran based on how the white house perceives it. we know they're trying to determine exactly what they will do and what the response will look like, andrea. >> kristen, the president was tweeting about the big mistake. i wanted to play something, lindsey graham speaking on capitol hill. listen to this. >> so here is what iran needs to get ready for, severe pain inside their country, that their capabilities pale in comparison to ours. we won't let them disrupt navigation of the see, attack our allies with u.s. interests without paying a price. if they're itching for a fight, they're going to get there.
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>> how close are we to doing that? >> we're a lot closer today than yesterday. only god knows what tomorrow brings. >> kristen, i think that happened so briefly ago that this was after they were briefed. he is the chairman of the armed services, as you well know. nancy pelosi said this gang of eight, the so-called leaders, leadership in the key committees was going to be expanded to a gang of 20 perhaps. they've been briefed on exactly what happened when he responded. kristen. >> i think that's right. we know senator graham is going to be heading here to the white house to meet with president trump as well. our kelly o'donnell reporting that. so clearly he is sending a very strong signal that they are looking at some type of retaliatory action. what will that look like? how robust will it be? as you point out, there are divisions here behind the scenes -- >> kristen, let me point out. you're right inside there. justin trudeau standing with the president in the west politico. let me pause and see if there's a question.
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they've turned and gone in. we will hear from them, i would suspect, you know better than i, kristen, being right there. the pool will be brought in and we'll see whether he answers questions there. as you were just saying, we have to see what kind of possible retaliation might take place. what secretary pompeo said was that, if they hit one u.s. service member, they would expect action. they've now hit an unmanned $120 million drone and the argument is, of course, a dispute over exactly where it took place. kristen. >> right. as you can see behind me, the report evers rushing past. that is because they're now going to go to the oval office where that bilateral meeting is poised to take place between president trump and prime minister trudeau. as you pointed out, that would be an opportunity for the press to be closer to the president and try to get some questions to him about all of this. what specifically would any type of retaliatory action look like?
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that has to be at the top of the list of questions that president trump is preparing to answer. will he answer those questions? administration officials not giving us any definitive answer. they certainly have been signaling that obviously that's going to be the president's first real opportunity to respond to this. i think it's worth underscoring, there have been divisions within this administration. national security adviser john bolton typically more hawkish when it comes to responding to these types of provocations. you can see the u.s. press corps now following head back as we speak for that meeting to take place in the oval office. hopefully we'll be getting a readout of what the president and prime minister have to say any minute now. andrea, this is, of course, all taking place just as you have acting defense secretary, patrick shanahan, who was in that meeting today, poised to depart, and the incoming acting defense secretary esper going to take his place. there's no official person in that role right now as the
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president navigates this foreign policy challenge. >> i know mark esper, the new anding defense secretary is supposed to take over officially as acting on monday. kerchl jack jacobs, as kristen stands by waiting for the president to make any comments that he does make, i want to also bring up foreign minister zarif has tweeted as well saying the u.s. wages economic terrorism on iran, has conducted covert action against us and now encroaches on our territory. we don't seek war but will zealously defend our skies, land and waters. we'll take this new aggression to the un and show that the u.s. is lying about international waters. jack, i can think back to 1987 when it was ronald reagan and we
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were escorting ships through the strait of hormuz which is that choke point. this is the kind of tension we've seen before. it's a real test of a commander-in-chief. >> what's really interesting, it was brought up earlier and it bears repeating, there's a break somewhere in the administration between the president who is less hawk wish aish and some of advisers including mike pompeo, secretary of state and john bolton, the national security adviser, who wants to bring iran to its knees as best as it can using any means possible. i think the president is disinclined to do anything. you can tell by what happened out there, we have the capability of determining where a missile comes from as it is launched before it even hits the target. indeed we have surveillance -- >> jack, as you can tell, this is a breaking news day.
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congresswoman as well, the pentagon beginning a briefing. let's go to that and hear if we get an update. everybody stand by. thanks. >> -- fired from a location in the vicinity of boruk, iran. this was an unprovoked attack on a u.s. surveillance that had not violate airspace at any time during its mission. this attack is an as attempt to disrupt our ability to monitor the area following recent threats to international shipping and the free flow of commerce. iranian reports this was shot down over iran are categorically false. the aircraft was over the strait of hormuz and fell into international waters. at the time of the intercept, the rq4 was operating at high
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altitude, approximately 34 kilometers from the nearest point of land on the iranian choice. this dangerous and escalatory attack occurred in established air quarters between dubai and muscat, possibly endangering innocent civilians. thank you. >> colonel jack jacobs, you just heard that audio briefing from the air base. let's talk about what your interpretation of this. i was going to ask you, what are the chances that a global hawk could drift into iranian airspace? >> well, anything is possible, but it's highly unlikely. these will very closely monitored and controlled. we can determine its location down to less than a meter, very, very close to where it is.
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there's very little doubt in anybody's mind that this was, in fact, in the middle of the straits, already recognized as a safe passage area. i think it's interesting to note that the attack took place at all when iran would prefer not to engage the united states, and yet the attack occurred i think principally because the revolutionary guard corps wants to follow its own path and own course, thus the attack on the ships in the straits earlier this week and this attack on the aircraft today. but it points out something else, too. it points out that there's a split also in the administrat n administration, because the rules of engagement were such that we did not immediately respond to the launch, otherwise we would have attacked before the missile even hit the global hawk if it was pointed toward it because we can tell when the
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missiles are being prepared for launch, when they're launched before they hit the target, and we can also respond obviously after it hits the target, and yet, we did not respond and we didn't respond because probably the president of the united states with the chain of command sent rules of engagement down that said we would not respond, very much different probably than if john bolton had been in charge or even mike pompeo had been in charge. what's left now is the opportunity to use a wide variety of means to make life a little more difficult for iran including exactly the thing they want to avoid and that's further economic strictures. still we have the capability of attacking on iranian soil, but it's unlikely that we're going to be doing that, andrea. >> that's such valuable insight. courtney kube, before you have to go to another deployment there, let's talk about that.
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that can certainly indicate that the rules of engagement are a moderated response, moderated eggsing lags. it reflects the president's thinking, certainly and perhaps not the thinking of his national security adviser. >> tlaert, andrea. look how the u.s. military has responded as the tensions and really what's become a game of chicken has continued to go on. first the u.s. surged an aircraft carrier headed to the region. they accelerated the deployment, they brought in additional bombers, additional defense aircraft, additional troops and some patriots. the majority of the u.s. military response so far has been a combination of sending a message to iran to show they have a strong presence in the region with the hope it would be about deterring iran from continuing any kind of provocations, just to stop iran from any kind of attacks.
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what iran seems to be doing here is both through proxies and through the iranian revolutionary guard corps, taking these provocations and attacks right up to the line where it would potentially warrant a u.s. military response. look at the at statacks against saudi arabia, united states allies, commercial shipping like the tankers in the gulf of oman last week. i went to one of the tankers, the courageous, and saw the blast holes in the side of it up close. i can tell you that the blast in it, it barely made -- it was a large hole but it was not going to sink that vessel. it seems as if these provocations and attacks by iran are to send a message just as much as the u.s. military deployments are to send a message of deterrence. >> courtney kube, so interesting. i want to point out, also, for everyone that as the president was walking in with prime minister trudeau, there was a
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shouted question which we could not hear. it was a response to iran and the president mouthed the words, not audibly, you'll soon find out. with that on the table, congresswoman houlihan, you've heard all of what colonel jack said and courtney kube and kristen welker. you're on armed services, you're a u.s. veteran. what's your response to what seems to be a very calibrated escalation from iran and counteractions from the u.s. and what some would say and certainly zarif's argument would be the sanctions are aggressive, but also the decision last month for the u.s. to designate the revolutionary guard as a terror group. that was unprecedented. many believe that unleashed them and gave them the power to take actions that perhaps zarif and others in the region do not want. >> yes, thank you for having me.
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it has been an interesting conversation to listen to unfold. as we can agree, iran is not a great actor in the world and we should be very cautious about them. but even within the conversation we just listened to, there's been disagreement on what the administration would do, what the administration is thinking. if we're concerned and confused -- i serve not only on armed services but also on foreign affairs, here in congress and hear in washington, then i can only imagine what can be the confusion overseas as well. that's very, very worrisome. i would encourage the president not only debrief the g 9, but also bring this to the congress as is his responsibility, to make sure we have all the information we need to understand what exactly has transpired in the last few days and months so we can make good decisions on behalf of the people of the united states. >> there's, in fact, a nato defense minister's meeting coming up and the soon-to-be acting secretary of defense may be attending that.
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we have so many vacancies. even the acting chief of staff with no experience on this issue tells you a lot about chain of command and the advice the president may or may not be getting. >> i'm worried, as you mentioned, we may be stumbling our way into an unintentional war. we need to be deliberative and thoughtful. at this point in time i think both sides are behaving poorly without a whole lot of thought process into why it is we're doing this. both sides seem to be very significantly stating they're not interested in a war, and at the same time we seem to be escalating. >> with this confusion overseas and we're waiting to see whether we present evidence about the location of the global hawk to the united states nations and to allies. with all this confusion that you point out and the confusion of the american people, should the president at this stage -- we're more than a month into this escalation with iran -- should he address the nation? >> i would like to just in the beginning see him -- not him
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personally, but address the congress. i'm looking forward to a briefing next week. my understanding a closed door sci briefing on what has transpired so congress can see the evidence of what is going on. right now i think that's where we should be beginning the process, is engaging the congress in something that may end up being another war. >> chrissy houlihan from foreign affairs and armed services and air force veteran, one of a number of new members of congress with a lot of military experience. it's great to have you here today. thank you very much. >> thank you. appreciate it. what is the message iran is trying to send? kristen welker, let's talk about the pool. >> we're getting our first pool report of what's happening inside the oval office. president trump reiterating iran made a very bad mistake. he also said the drone was in international waters clearly. he says it's documented. he was asked about what the response would look like, the president saying obviously you know we're not going to be
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talking about that too much. you'll find out. so really underscoring that initial tweet that we saw from president trump today, making it very clears it is the administration's position that that drone was in international airspace, not flying in iran's airspace. again, when pressed on what specifically the response would look like, the president reiterating you'll soon find out. so continuing to dangle that possibility, clearly discussions going on here behind the scenes about what, if any, response the administration will take. we underscore what we heard from lindsey graham, very strong rhetoric from senator lindsey graham who will be meeting with president trump today and signaling there will be some type of response, andrea. >> joining us now, kristen, msnbc political analyst jonathan lamb mere, white house reporter for the associated press. jonathan, we believe the president is taking questions from the pool. that is not live so we'll get that turned around as soon as we know more about it.
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this is the first time we can see there a photo from inside the oval office with justin trudeau. as you know very well, the president's relationship with justin trudeau has been contentious over trade more than nipping else, but also now as a nato ally and as someone keenly interested in this mutual defense and in the iran situation. they've got to be talking, first of all, about iran today. >> yes. i'll following along with the pool reports from our colleagues inside the oval office at this moment. you're right about the relationship with the prime minister of canada. trade is certainly a source of that tension. but the idea -- foreign policy as well. ncaa toe certainly with the u.s. and president trump believing that so many of those members nations aren't paying their fair share in trump's belief towards the mutual defense pact. the president has at times been reluctant to support arco five which is, of course, the clause of nato that would insist that
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one member would come to the aid of another if one were to be attacked. the u.s. has an international credibility problem in that they need to -- if indeed they're saying iran is behind these attacks, they need to be able to prove it on the world stage. i think a number of american ally, even some of the traditional western allies like canada, really need to be persuaded. they're not going to take the u.s.'s word for it, not just because of what happened in the iraq war, but more so the credibility this administration has and more particularly this president has. there's going to be a little lift here for the u.s. if they want to take this further and get international support. the president according to what we're seeing is being very coy in the oval office, not telegraphing what the united states response will be here many iran. he is saying the drone was over international waters. he's saying you will soon see
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what we warrant to do. he's insisting iran made a mistake and saying that that nation has changed since trump took office, in particular because of the sanctions that this administration has placed on the country but also the president's own rhetoric towards tehran. >> jonathan, as you've been pointing out, we're getting snippets of notes from the pool. joining us now as well, msnbc political analyst michael steele, former republican national committee chairman. we don't know exactly the context of this because he's talked about iran and the pool report said that he said it's hard to think it was intentional. i want to be careful about that, because i'm not seeing it myself. so let's not go there. he started out talking about the economy and trade and the booming economy, markets up. that partly on the feg signal yesterday perhaps. we don't know about that. he's been beating up on the fed. he's getting back to his -- what his advisers had hoped would be
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his reelect mode talking more about the economy than some of these glooef vances, michael. this escalation in iran is front and center right now. >> it is front and center. i think it's sort of a try angulation, if you will, by the president and his team to pivot to the economic stuff as they want him to do and the party broadly wants him to talk about the good economic numbers, the hesitation by the fed to advance additional increases in the interest rates out there. then to have this foreign policy piece which goes beyond north korea, beyond russia, into something that has been nagging americans since 1979, and that is fundamental relationship between iran and the united states. he, the president can make the kaerks i pulled o case, we cannot trust them, they're not honest brokers. they have not been, they will not be.
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we'll do these agreements such as they are, on our terms. we'll first hold them accountable and keep them honest. how that plays out stla teamingicly particularly in the middle east i think is up for grabs right now. the president feels he's in a good position to make this case and to push that iranian button at this particular time, because what's the downside in his perspective? politically it's good. republicans in the house and the senate are largely going to stand with him, even democrats will be hesitant to second-guess him on this. he's positioned the argument well for himself at the moment. >> this seems to be a note from the pool saying the president said it could have been someone who was loose and stupid who shot the u.s. drone down. the president in this meeting, and we'll get the tape shortly. the pool is coming out with that tape to play it back for all of us, seems to be giving iran, the regime, the political side of
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iran the benefit of the doubt. we know there were iranian proxies as well as the military part of iran, the revolutionary guard, that has been specifically isolated and sanctioned by the united states. >> or andrea, he could be saying see how uncontrollable things are in iran, see how loose they are. they cannot control their own actors and so, yeah, i think that cuts both ways again for the president, where he can give iran a cover and come back and say some rogue person hit the wrong button, or this is an illustration by the president of eye iran needs to be checked because things are so disabled -- unstable in the country. >> apparently, colonel jack, this is exactly part of what you were saying earlier. the president has said it could have been someone under the command of the iranian government, but someone loose
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and stupid, not following orders. so he seems to be trying to give them the benefit of the doubt. as you pointed out, we did not see an immediate military response. as you also pointed out, the u.s. could have intercepted those strikes before it hit our global hawk. >> there's something else to keep in mind. we have a tendency to look at everybody else as being homogeneous, particularly our enemies. it's not homogeneous thinking over there in iran. i think there's at least some gulf between the thinking of rouhani who runs the political operation on the one hand and the revolutionary guards. there's a real dynamic tension over there. it's entirely possible that the revolutionary guards were acting on their own without collection from the mullahs or from rouhani. it rarely pays to be precipitous
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when you know your enemy is not making homogeneous decisions and executing them to achieve some specific purpose. so there is some indication looking at it from this distance that it's entirely possible that it was an independent decision on the part of the revolutionary guard because that sort of stuff has been done before by them. i think our administration is going to give them an opportunity to explain themselves. and one other thing. we have lots of ways to retaliate and they do not include the use of the military instrument of power, economic instrume instruments, cyber instruments and so on. it remains to be seen what it is that we're going to do. it's not likely to be a counterstrike. >> colonel jack, with us as well. jonathan lemire and kristen
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welker. we can see the president has said trump has called the shooting a new fly in the ointment. he said he does not feel his administration is pushing him towards conflict and in some cases it's just the opposite, that it could have been someone who was loose and stupid. we just reported that. as to whether he's open to talking with iran, he said let's see what happens. he said it would have made a big difference if there was a person inside. kristen? >> i think it's significant, an three yeah, you hear the president saying it would have made a big difference if this drone had been manned. that sort of underscores part of where we began this conversation which is that secretary of state mike pompeo has indicated that any military strike would first require someone on the u.s. side to be attacked, to be harmed. so you have the president essentially underscoring the fact that this was an unmanned
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drone, making the case that it was over international waters and saying that he doesn't believe this was intentional. still, andrea, clearly the u.s. sees this as a provocation and a sign of the fact that tensions are mounting between these two countries. what are they going to do about it? as colonel jack has said, they do have a range of different ways to respond in their back pocket. that undoubtedly is what was discussed by the national security team when they met earlier today. what have they determined? it is possible the president was presented with a range of different options. that's the likeliest scenario, and now it's going to be up to him to decide what, if any, response the administration is going to have. his critics will point to the fact that it was about a year ago he ripped up the iran nuclear deal, that that was a real check on iran. the president has indicated he didn't see it that way, that it was a bad deal. he feels the rhetoric has
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changed from iran. that's, in part, because he's been tough on iran. this is certainly at the forefront of foreign policy crises here. at the white house, andrea, they're navigating all this without an actual defense secretary in place. >> i understand acting defense secretary now withdrawn. shanahan was seen leaving. maybe he's there because the handoff was not supposed to be there until monday. gina haspel from the cia leaving. one of the actions they used before, well, we would not know because it's covert, they've used cyber. they have damaged the iranian nuclear computers and the centrifuges in the past under previous administrations as well. so we have an active cyber command. right now we're going to see -- jonathan, we'll get to you on the other side. we'll see right now the president in the oval office. >> go ahead, question.
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>> -- >> iran made a big mistake. this dloen was in international waters clearly. we have it all documented. it's documented scientifically, not just words. they made a big mistake. >> how will you respond? >> you'll find out. >> are you ready to go to war with iran? >> you'll find out. obviously we're not going to be talking too much about it. they made a very big mistake. >> what are your concerns about china and the canadians that are detained? >> it will be one of the issues we'll be discussing right now with justin. >> -- >> i guess they indicated they'll be alarmed. what are you going to do? can't win them all. he should have done it sooner. can't win them all. eventually he'll do what's right perhaps. let's see what he does.
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>> -- >> obviously we're very concerned about the asing lags by iran recently. we have significant presence in the area including leading the nato mission in bagdad and iraq. we look forward to discussing with our closest ally the perspectives on this and how we can move forward as an international community. >> will you ask china to release the canadians? >> -- >> well, i don't know that he's trying to meet -- are you trying to get a meet? >> we've got a lot of things to discuss. >> otherwise i'll represent him well. we have a meeting set up with president xi. it's on the big transaction we're talking about and negotiating. our peak are actually speaking now. we'll see what happens with that. anything i can do to help canada,ly canada i will be doing. >> do you plan to bring it up
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with president xi? >> i will at justin's request, absolutely. >> -- >> don't say when. so far i have to get the democrats to approve it. i like your positive thinking. but if -- and the if is subject to the democrats, let's see what happens. i believe that nancy pelosi and the house will approve it. i think the senate will approve it rapidly. it's going to be very biparti n bipartisan, it's great for the farmers, manufacturers. it's great for everybody. unions, it's great for unions. we have tremendous union support, too. it's a tremendous -- it shows a partnership between three countries. it's sort of three countries in a trade sense. we're competing with the european union, with china. it gives us a bigger dialogue, a much bigger platform. it's really good for all three. it's something that's very popular. i hope politically they can do what they have to do. a day after the election, it would win with tremendous
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support. we have an election coming up. i think nancy pelosi is going to do the right thing. >> will that be the end of tariffs on canada and mexico? >> we'll see. they have to do what they have to do. we understand that. we can't have big tremendous shipments of certain products. we understand that very well. >> we were very pleased with the lifting of tariffs on steel and aluminum. >> they've been lifted. if there's trans shipping, i'll call justin and he'll take care of it. if he doesn't take care of it, i'll call. >> we'll be fine. >> i think that situation is very well taken care of. very important for both countries and all three countries, the fafrmers, very, very important. more so in that case from us and canada. the fafrmers are really happy with it. the manufacturers are very happy. mexico is thrilled. you saw the vote. it was a very lopsided in a positive way vote.
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a great vote. i think it's going to be something very special. again, it's the largest trade deal by far ever entered into. we're close to having it finalized. it means a lot of jobs for our country, a lot of wealth for all three countries. we're really competing against the world. we're not competing with each other. this brings us into position where we're competing against the world. that's what we're doing. we're competing against big sections of the world including asia and including other areas. i think it's going to be very special, a very important deal, but the biggest ever made. >> will you invite the toronto raptors to the white house? i'm from the toronto star. >> that's an interesting question. they played phenomenal basketball. i watched a little bit of it. they were really terrific. congratulations, by the way. that was a great job by a great team. we'll think about that. if they'd like to do it, we'll think about that. we have a lot of other folks
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coming. and the president medal, i just spoke to them, we'll be presenting the presidential medal of freedom to roger pensky, he's won 18 indianapolis 500s, just won daytona. he won probably more than anybody the history of racing. i can't imagine anyone being close. he's going to be getting the medal of freedom. he's very tliltd to be getting it. that will be announced over the next liddal while. i guess i'm announcing it right now. he'll be putting something out in a little while. very deserving. he's a great gentleman. i've known him a long time. a very brilliant guy. when you think of all the countries that want to win indianapolis and daytona and they fight and they spend. even canada. they spend a lot of money. when a man wins indianapolis,
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when he wins it 18 times, and he just won the daytona and he won many things over the course of years, a very successful man. we talked about electric cars in terms of common sense than roger pensky. roger pensky will receiving the presidential medal of freedom. >> mr. president, you said iran is a different country. do you still hold that opinion? >> yes. when i came here iran was in 14 to 18 different sites of con flick shun. they were extremely hostile, hostile when they signed the keith, screaming death to america. i think probably iran made a mistake. i would imagine it was a general or somebody that made a mistake in shooting that drone down. fortunately that drone was unarmed. there was no man in it and there was no -- it was just -- it was over international waters, clearly over international waters, but we didn't have a man
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or woman in the drone. we had nobody in the drone. it would have made a big difference, let me tell you. it would have made a big, big difference. but i have a feeling, and it maybe wrong and i may be right, i'm right a lot. i have a feeling that it was a mistake made by somebody that shouldn't have been doing what they did. i think they made a mistake. i'm not just talking the country made a mistake. i think somebody under the command of that country made a big mistake. >> you're talking about iran's leadership? >> let's just see what happens. it's all going to work out. >> you're saying you think it was an intentional strike of the drone? >> i find it hard to believe it was intentional. i think it could have been somebody who was loose and stupid that did it. we'll be able to report back and you'll understand exactly what happened. it was a very foolish move. that i can tell you. >> do you think there are members of your administration trying to push you into
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conflict? >> no, not at all. in fact, in many cases it's the opposite. i said i want to get out of these endless wars. i kpapd on that. we've been in afghanistan for 19 years. we've reduced substantially in afghanistan. we beat the caliphate. took back 100% of the caliphate. when it was 99%, justin, i said we're going to get out and everyone went crazy. we'll finish it up. we got 100%. we're pulling that back out of syria, pulling a lot of people back. this is a new wrinkle, a new fly in the appointment what happened shooting down the drone. this country will not stand for it. that i can tell you. thank you very much. >> thanks, guys. thank you. thank you. thank you. >> [ shouting questions ].
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>> press, let's go. thank you. press, thank you. the president, as you can see, a remarkable exchange there. kristen welker, jonathan lemire, colonel jack. let's talk, first of all, colonel jack about the modulated voice you heard from the president about this, trying to say -- was saying it could have been a general who was not obeying orders, it was maybe a mistake, not the regime. we're expecting momentarily pentagon, perhaps grainy black and white video -- do we have that video? there it is. this is the video which is supposed to be showing the aftermath of the drone attack. kerchl jack, do you have return video? can you see what we're showing on the air? >> yeah, i can. >> tell me if you can ascertain the significance of this?
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is this the aftermath of the dloen attack? that's what they say it is. >> it looks like it's just exploded and the vehicle is falling from where it was hit. there's not much else to be told there except it was -- it's over the middle of the water. it's interesting what the president said. and i'll reiterate something we mentioned earlier. the chain of command over there looks -- in iran looks like this. the revolutionary guard reports directly to rouhani, but it's a bit more convoluted than that. there are lots of intervening people and people in the revolutionary guards who put their two cents into decisions that are made. it might not be just an individual who gave the order at a very low level of abstraction down at the bottom of the food chain to launch the missile.
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it may very well be that the revolutionary guards themselves would prefer to launch the missile. it's hard to say where, at what level of the chain of command that was made. i think the president probably has a great deal of information that he passed on in making that comment, that the decision to launch the missile probably was made at a level below that of the national command authority. that will be sorted out very, very soon. >> colonel jack, i was just going to say we have eyes and ears there. so it sounds as though they are aware that it didn't come from the -- >> i think there's a perception that that decision was not made in tear ran, was made elsewhere. notwithstanding that, this sort of thing has happened before and it's vitally important that iran gets the message that it's got
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to do a better job of getting the revolutionary guards under control. nevertheless, they've tried it before and they haven't been very, very successful. that means that there's continuous danger in the region from this sort of thing happening again and for it to spill over into something wider. the united states i think is not going to make an effort to make a direct attack on the country of iran. but there will be an indirect message that will be sent to iran for them to try to get these people under control. it sounds like i'm making the assumption that tehran did not issue the order to strike. we do not know what their rules of engagement were. but in the past they've demonstrated the rules of engagement are not as structured as ours are, andrea.
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>> jonathan lemire, we know they have a lot of options. this is the most moderated and i think recently briefed president. we know there was a meeting between 11:00 and 12k. he had the intelligence and that's what he was communicating. >> it sure seems that way, andrea, that he was trying to telegraph this idea, as we were just discussing, that this was not authorized by tehran. that this was perhaps a mistake. he wanted to give the regime cover here and to try to deescalate some of the tension, not all, but some, not wanting to immediately ramp up what could be next, some sort of military conflict. he repeatedly said this could have been a mistake, maybe a loose cannon, that he wanted to -- he stressed that it was an unmanned drone, an expensive one, mind you, but still unmanned, and he didn't want to see further escalation here. i also thought it was noteworthy he was asked by my colleague whether or not he felt his administration was trying to
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push him into a conflict with iran. he immediately said no to that, rejected it entirely. that question, might as well be, hello john bolton, the national security adviser who has his hawkish views on iran and have been well known for a long time. it reveals where this president has been, not just on this point of this international hot spot but others, too. his instinct is he doesn't want to have a shooting war. he's not looking to commit boots on the ground. he talked about there in those brief oval office remarks that he ran on a campaign of pulling troops out of areas of conflict including the middle east and that he's sort of an anti interventionist in many ways. we need to know what comes next. this is clearly an attempt by the president to ease some tensions. but we need to know -- when we learn more in the pentagon, learn more from tehran, what happens then? does the president change his
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tune? >> it's so interesting jonathan, and kristen welker as well, in watching this president, completely different tone both on twitter and in the oval office q&a from what we've heard previously when he's talking about tehran and talking about other aggression around the world. it just seems that he is relying on mike pompeo and other advisers -- pompeo having said at centcom earlier this week unless a u.s. soldier -- he said if a u.s. soldier is engaged, then we will respond immediately. we now know that pompeo when he was in bagdad last month was sending signals to iran to back off. they do seem to be, yis ten, looking for a diplomatic way out. >> they seem to be looking for a diplomatic way out, andrea. his tone and the significance of it cannot be overstated. this is a president who has engaged in very heated rhetoric against iran, against north
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korea prior to trying to have a diplomatic resolution with north korea. he, of course, was the one who first brought up that phrase fire and fury. we are just getting this from our capitol hill team which is reporting that the senate armed services committee, ranking member jack reid as well as multiple congressional sources are telling nbc news that the white house has invited members of congress to a briefing at the white house at 3:00 p.m. today on iran. these are going to be top congressional leaders, andrea, and will include nancy pelosi, mccarthy, mcconnell, chuck schumer, and again, the chairman and ranking members of the house and senate intel committees as well as the chairman and ranking members of the house and senate armed services committees. this is coming to us from our capitol hill team, andrea. so as the white house tries to determine next steps, clearly, making sure that congressional leaders are a part of this process and that they are briefed on whatever intelligence the president and his national
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security team has, andrea. >> kristen, courtney kube our colleague also in the persian gulf and the uae, as we've been reporting, this was a very different donald trump from previous crises and from previous crises involving iran. his language, saying it was a mistake, it's very clear that they have pretty good intelligence on who ordered this or he would not be giving them so much leeway after a global hawk was shot down. courtney? >> reporter: i'm so sorry. can you say that again? >> colonel jack is still with us. we'll make sure courtney's audio is checked out. but colonel jack, the signals that the president was sending today were pretty clear. >> yeah, he -- you know, he tries not to give anything away, but in the past he's demonstrated that he does -- he can't help himself sometimes and he likes to give stuff away.
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i think this was not just a way to defuse the situation. i think this is a promulgation of specific information that he had and we do have information like that. don't forget, we monitor not just visually what is going on on the ground. we also monitor telecommunications of all types and varieties and we do it from a number of different platforms, satellites, airborne platforms, ground based platforms and so on. so we have a pretty good idea of how the chain of command thinks about things on the other side. i think it's unlikely that he would have said something like he did if he knew otherwise. and i don't think it was just speculation, just an attempt to defuse the situation. and again, we have to keep in mind that there is something of a gulf between the harder core
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revolutionary guards on the one hand and the mullahs on the other. it's likely that we can retaliate in a wide variety of ways but it may very well be that the decision will be to try to do it diplomatically. that not with standing, we are not very pleased with the direction in which the government of iran is going and this may be an opportunity to have some conversations that will demonstrate that american resolve and ensuring that we do not want iran to carry on with its program, despite the fact that the president has said that he wants to abrogate the agreement, the nuclear agreement. this might, in fact -- properly handled, this could be an opportunity to make things go our way. >> and, in fact, michael steel, this congressional briefing is an opportunity to try to in a
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period of some crisis increase communication with the hill. the hill has not been briefed on a lot of things. there was that friday night waiver on the saudi arms deal after a congressional resolution to stop it and he did that under a very questionable waiver on the friday night of a holiday weekend. they've got a lot to catch up on. there is a resolution pending that is automatically on the senate floor next week to stop that arms sale, $8 billion to the saudis and others who have been involved now in the yemen war and there is so much between the u.s. and this congress. this is a real opportunity for this president. >> it is a real opportunity and i think the president wants to leverage as much of this as he can to get the members on his page. they understand where the president is, how the administration is responding to what iran has done. and not to have particularly --
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an interesting sort of move here to have that leadership sort of block and tackle if you will a little bit of what is going on politically with presidential candidates out there on the democratic side sort of getting in front of this narrative and framing it a different way. this way with folks in the room all the players in the room getting the briefing directly from the president and his team, it kind of mitigates a little bit of that because they're at the table. >> michael, i was really struck by the difference in tone today between lindsey graham the chairman of armed services and his good friend the president. the president is trying to downgrade this and lindsey graham was acting in a very threatening way. >> well, and that goes to some of the underlying tension -- you talk about what's going on in iran with sort of disagreements there. well, here at home there are disagreements between certainly republican hawks who want a more aggressive confrontational approach to iran, bolton and lindsey graham, and the president, who seems to be a little bit more reserved in that
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regard, recognizing i think and appreciating the full weight of his power as president and using it judiciously and not just proactively going out -- >> we have arkansas senator tom cotton a military veteran who has been calling for military action. let's go to tehran. how is it being reported there? >> reporter: hey, andrea. well, unsurprisingly, the u.s. narrative of events differs vastly from the iranian version. the u.s. says the drone global hawk was shot down in international air space. iran says it was shot down in its air space. both sides, however, agree on one thing. that iran shot it down. now, iran says that shortly after midnight local time, that drone took off from a usair base in the southern persian gulf and spent the next four hours in or around iranian air space when it was shot down at about 0400
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local by the revolutionary guard. we may never know exactly where it was downed but hitting it has become a major coup for the iranians. they have been saying all day that this shows that they can successfully target a highly sophisticated, extremely expensive piece of u.s. military hardware. and they're touting that strike as a big victory. the commander, the newly appointed commander of the revolutionary guard says the shooting down of a u.s. drone has sent a clear message to america. he added that the enemies who encroach on iran's borders will all be wiped out. he said iran doesn't want a war with america but it's more than ready. listening to his comments today, that doesn't sound like it was an accident by a military general shooting the drone down. they're taking full credit for this and they're making it sound
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like it was very calculated and if it happened again, they'll do it again. but all of this animosity is very troubling, andrea. i feel like both sides have gotten themselves into a cycle that they can't back down from. you know, in case they look weak and if they escalate it, things could get very seriously out of hand. iran's foreign minister has been saying today that iran will zealously defend its skies, land, and waters. he also says that iran is going to take this case to the u.n. to prove that this drone was shot down in iranian territorial waters. also interestingly, andrea, just about half an hour ago we heard from state media here that the wreckage, the debris from that drone is floating in iranian territorial waters which begs the question if the revolutionary guard naval forces are around that wreckage and the
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u.s. are going to recover that are we going to see another flash point very soon here in the persian gulf? >> thank you, very good point. courtney kube, we have less than a minute left. from your perspective now they've got the video, they know where it went down, they can tell even from the grainy video that we were looking at, they have the coordinates. >> reporter: that's right, andrea. you know, this is of course going to be the u.s. military's side versus the iranians' point of view of what happened here. the military is saying this happened way inside of international waters, that the drone never strayed more than 21 miles from the iranian coast, which would put it according to the international body in international waters. but then the question is will either side ever acknowledge that the other one is right or wrong? the big point here is that this is not the first time iran has targeted a u.s. drone in recent days. it is the first time that the
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iranian revolutionary guard has targeted and successfully shot one down. they went after a drone that was flying over the tanker site in the gulf of oman last week but in that case the surface-to-air missile missed and splashed down in the water. >> thanks so much for this extraordinary update from the persian gulf region. ali velshi and stephanie ruhle take over right now on this breaking news from iran. >> we'll continue to follow it. thanks very much. good morning -- good afternoon i guess everybody. i'm ali velshi. >> i'm stephanie ruhle. it is thursday, june 20th. coming up this hour, shot down. the u.s. says iran has downed an american drone while the president now is saying we will soon find out if the united states plans to strike back. >> that's the kind of drone we're talking about. trump exclusive, the president speaks to telemundo. does he consider mexico an adversary or an ally? plus, biden backlash. the former vice president talked about working with


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