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tv   Tucker Carlson Tonight  FOX News  April 6, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT

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fox news channel. our correspondents are on scene at mar-a-lago in south florida come at the pentagon, and bret baier in washington with many more on the sidelines. first, we'll take you back to regular programming. tucker carlson begins on fox news channel. it starts right now >> this is a fox news alert, a lot is going on in the country of syria, we are hearing conflicting reports tonight about what exactly that is, today of course there was a chemical attack on civilians in that country and claims from the very beginning has been that attack was waged by the government of bashar al-assad. the president of the united states says his attitude has completely changed as a result of the attack, he is no longer sure that assad should stay in power, there are indications tonight that some sort of military action might be imminent. we are going to bring you that
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the second we hear anything about it. secretary of state directs to listen said that the u.s. is moving toward removing the president from power. >> we are considering an appropriate response for this chemical weapons attack which violates all previous u.n. resolutions, violates international norms and long-held agreements tween parties including the syrian regime, the russian government and all members of the u.n. security council. it's a serious matter it requires a serious response. if >> tucker: was to make of these very rapid developments, congressman scott taylor rubber since the state of west virginia, he's also a former navy seal, thanks for coming on. the justification for this is that the syrian government, the assad the government used chemical weapons against civilians in syria, why do you
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think bashar al-assad who's been in power for six years during this war, what would be his interest in doing that? >> it's a good question. we know the chemical weapons were there, there were supposed to be removed under an agreement to the left administration at russia as well. trying to figure out who exactly did it, the chemical weapons were not supposed to be there. he bears responsibility for it and so does russia. >> tucker: what would be the objective exactly? purely humanitarian to express our displeasure, or is there a strategic reason that helped the united states? >> let me say that i think the world is watching right now, the world is watching for the united states to lead to. whether that is air strikes or whether that is saying we're going to bring a coalition of the willing to put an end to this war and out of this tragic horrific incident we actually bring a coalition of the willing to put an end to the suffering. >> tucker: were started by
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attacking government installations in syria will put an end to the suffering? >> that's not what i'm certain about, the president has the ability because you very well know operating there is no border there. we have folks that are operating there, it does worry me that we have a lot of great powers, turkey, israel, russia, us, iran, hezbollah is playing in the same battle space, i'm worried about deacon flexion and the greatest explanation of conflict. this is the second administration that is offering from a third of administration 16 years ago. it is important the american people via the representatives of congress take a debate up and figure out where we want to go in congress and where we want to move as a nation. if >> tucker: that's exactly what doesn't seem to be happening above us less than 72 hours ago that -- i don't think any american inspectors have been to the site itself. we say we know it was the
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government of assad maybe it at once. there's a lot we don't know including how russia might react to all this. does it seem a little premature to start logic strikes so shortly after this event? >> that's an excellent question, we don't know all the intelligent, we don't know the utility of the sinkable we don't know all the back channels of the communications that are going on between these great powers as well. as i told you i'm very worried about syria itself escalated to a bigger conflict because of the potential for flashpoints with all of these great powers playing in the same sandbox and perhaps not the ability to deconflict. i imagine some of that is going on but it does worry me from a long-term standpoint it's important that congress picks us up as a debate and figure out what were going to do in terms of authorization of military force or not. if >> tucker: that's not happening. senator john mccain in arizona was asked today, should we do this? and what happens if it leads to a wider war with russia? i'm quoting him precisely. he said i don't give a damn if we get into war with russia, we
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will win, we are the superior military power. do you think that's a wise course to invite war with russia over the spirit of >> with all due respect to senator mccain's been around a lot longer that i have, we'd lead to the world is watching us right now, i think we can lead to end bring russia with us to try to figure out a solution for the problem that is in syria. i think we could beat russia in a war but is it in our best interests? know it's not. i don't think it's in our best interests i don't think it's in the world's best interest for that to happen. with all due respect to senator mccain, i disagree with him. >> tucker: that seems deranged, do you think that's a widespread view and a senates to have a war with russia? >> i don't think that's a widespread view. >> tucker: before launching any such strikes the u.s. government would coordinate those with russia given that there are quite a few to russian personnel and material in syria right now. >> as i said ethic it's very
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important to d conflict. you see in israel for example has operated in there as well also, you see russia antiaircraft missiles being pushed toward hezbollah. they have d conflicted with russia when they have gone into to the store those things, i think it's necessary for us to do the same thing. i think that attack, the whole world now is watching this president and this is a very distant president from the last one. he has not done yet, to not say what were going to do. you have seen and i know that you have seen the reports of preparations for a potential strike. i don't know, i don't have any information if he's going to do that. i will tell you i believe this president if he said he's going to do it, he will do it. i think the other great powers such as russia believe the same thing. i think that in itself could potentially bring russia to the table to try to find a solution in syria. >> tucker: the justification of this was a horrifying footage and photographs of children. they were killed.
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the american ambassador to the united nations nikki haley said yesterday, two days ago, how many more children need to die before the united states steps in? do you think it's our obligation to stop the killing and syria, and do you think fewer childrel die if we do this? >> i do think children will stop dying if we do this? i believe we have an obligation as a world to deal with the problem that is in syria. it's probably the most dangerous powder cake that's going right now in the world because it can spiral out of control very quickly. i was impressed by nikki haley, i back her up one. >> tucker: the assad government for good or ill is winning the war against the various insurgencies and is restoring its control over the country which is to say the country is becoming more stable,
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maybe not more morally pure but more stable. why is that bad? it's not bad to stabilize the country it's actually important that we do that. if you would ask me this question about three or four days ago i would tell you that a lot of actors over there a lot of great powers reviewing assad it is at least a short-term solution but not a long-term one. that's all changed now. let's all change because of the things that happen on the groun ground. >> tucker: which might make you pretty suspicious of those things. >> if you are a senate, not that i am. i think you should be. i think congress should debate this. >> tucker: congressman, great to see you tonight. we'll go to jennifer griffin for the latest on what is definitely in a folding storage. >> tucker i think the biggest concern amongst military members is potential for blowback should there be a strike on the facilities in syria. remember, there are 1,000 u.s. troops on the ground and syria, there are about 6,000 on the ground in iraq.
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if bashar al-assad's proxies ran in russia and decide to strike out they are extremely vulnerable. just last week we heard from a top commander in iraq that there are 100,000 iranian troops inside iraq, they are certainly working in very close quarters with u.s. troops. a lot of vulnerability. there's also the concert and i've heard express at the pentagon today that one of the issues for defense secretary mattis is that if the u.s. launches strikes undoubtedly, russian troops could be killed because russians are manning these air defense systems that protect the assad regime. they are embedded on those bases which might be targets of such a u.s. attack. there really is a grave concern tonight that the u.s. could be finding itself face-to-face in a fight with russia. >> tucker: jennifer griffin, thanks a lot.
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we want to go now to tom rogan who is a columnist for the national review here in washington thanks a lot for joining us tonight. sum it up for me, with the national security interest preserved by attacking syria. >> i think it's a two twofold, the first point is the president in his statement this week in relation to what has happened on the ground, i would say that although the evidence is classified, people i talked to both here and abroad, when you have multiple intelligence agencies from different countries saying the same thing, it tends to have more credence. the first point is he put his credibility on the line saying this is unacceptable across many, many bread lines. how does that impact the point i think in humanitarian related issues, what we have seen through assad in these attacks since 2012 is a systemic
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degradation of the notion of weapons of mass destruction and the rule of power in the world, understand american say how does this affect us? i think it affects us in the symmetry between the humanitarian issue in the strategic issue, it leads people around the world to say the rule of basic order as guaranteed by the united states is questionable. that interplay is with nations like north korea, ballistic missiles and specifically testing. >> tucker: have you been to africa recently? because the united states and the rest of the west has a set by 450 years as all kinds of open wounds have not healed in war after war and tremendous amounts of humanitarian suffering and we have an because it didn't seem clearly in our strategic interests. i don't think most americans and they should have a say in this, believe that a purely humanitarian impulse is reason enough. >> that's why connecting point -- >> mike >> tucker: the presence as we have to do it otherwise her credibility is
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undermined, we seen this in the past where presidents appear to go out and then pull back. this president's didn't say i have to attack syria now. >> i think the strong implication is there's going to be some kind of military response. >> rwanda, what we see that in terms of basic poverty in countries around the world. i do think it matters in the case of the middle east. isis matters to us, orlando, the paris, how does assad affect that? how does the notion of american power affect that? because assad has been able to desecrate the sunni population in a very sectarian sense of syria, that has led to a funneling of recruits, resources and ideological fervor to groups like isis. i would suggest and a lot of people would disagree, my grandfather was a former marine, i think there is a connection point between allowing individuals like assad that it
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makes everything crazier. >> tucker: you have to ask the obvious question which is why would anyone support this given what we have seen over the past 15 years in the middle east are our interventions didn't make things better despite a lot of effort and money and goodwill. in fact made them worse and precipitate the situation here. the same geniuses was that of pushing this. >> the difference here and what were talking about and calibrated limitary military action. the reason i personally support the president's taking action here is that i think russia strategic interests. when we have the endgame in syria it's good to be negotiations. putin is someone who is not good to give up everything. they've blocked that by what they have done, they wouldn't give that up. but i don't think the russians
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have -- bashar al-assad is not putin's best buddy. he's useful to the russians but being removed from power helps us in the sense that addicting legitimates the isis narrative, assad as the banner man for killing sunnis, he's gone. at the same time a successful government that had to buy the united states a replacement individual that i believe that future leader is something the russians would agree. >> tucker: kind of like iraq like what we've done that. if >> i would say hyder ella body is actually a very good leader. >> tucker: is a more powerful now that he was at the beginning of 2003? >> no, but i think we are in a position now -- >> tucker: who was this leader who's going to take over from assad? >> i think you have seen a former vice president in syria, he hasn't disappeared off the radar, sunni. >> tucker: you're going to put a sunni in charge of a rock the boat could happen to christians
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in iraq? they were protected, to the extent that he is retreated from parts of the country, how do you think they're to do under this new sunni governments question michael to be any left? >> i do think there will be. balancing of power. what i am looking for here is not jeffersonian neocon 2002, it's more lebanon 2004, 2005 you have a balance of power politics each country knows are not going to get anything they want, but this matching of sectarian tensions pretty >> tucker: i get to the great game theory, what i'm confused by is why assad is unacceptable. he was on his way to controlling the majority of the country i think he already did. apparently winning this war to the extent that you can win a civil war of this kind. all of a sudden the space of 72 hours we decided he's totally unacceptable on the basis of pictures let's stop pretending here, we don't really know because there hasn't really been
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an investigation because it's been 72 hours. how exactly did he go from the inevitable leader of syria to totally unacceptable in that period of time. >> partly because the president changed his mind. >> tucker: but you're not the president. >> not necessarily moral grounds, you're not ring to get rid of isis and less he goes. if he is the banner man for sunni recruitment of isis. >> there is breaking news now and at fox news channel, fox news has now confirmed the united states military has launched dozens of tomahawk missiles on sites in syria. we got word this afternoon that the president of the united states was considering military action that senior white house officials had met late last night and into this morning, that the joint chiefs of staff had come together today, tonight, the president is in mar-a-lago, and florida with
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the chinese leader xi jinping and while he was there and they were seated at the dinner table, the united states launched strikes on syria. the effort here to knock out his ability to carry out the sort of air strikes and sarah gas bombs that our military says it struck on the syrian people just days ago. jennifer griffin with the breaking news now live at the pentagon. jennifer? >> we've just learned that the u.s. launched tomahawk missiles at two separate airbases inside syria. we understand both of those locations were used to store chemical weapons. we have the name of one of them, the name of one of the bases. we understand 43 tomahawk shariad missiles from the uss porter and uss ross both of which are in eastern mediterranean. it is our expectation that it
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will be mostly a tomahawk missile strike tonight. the order was given from president trump who of course is that mar-a-lago tonight meeting with the chinese president. he was briefed by the defense secretary jim mattis as well as the national security advisor hr mcmaster about the military plans for syria. we also understand that the joint chiefs met late in the afternoon does discuss these war plans. as we know now within the last few minutes, tomahawk missiles approximately 43 have been fired as at least one base inside syria. >> the question is, what is the objective here? we know that we've taken the strikes, we know that part of the objective is to stop syria's ability to launch the sort of strikes on its own people. it's important to keep in mind that the russian military is involved here as well, have the russians been notified? >> our understanding is that prior to the launch of these tomahawk's that the russians
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would have been given a call on the hotline to moscow. that is a hotline that has been set up between the airbase from which the u.s. conducts air operations in the middle east. right now it looks as though the u.s. tomahawk's have targeted at least one air base, two locations. there was talk at some point about sending overwhelming number of tomahawk's to multiple locations. it looks as though this is a very limited strike, a large number of tomahawk's of course, 43 we are told, it's not as though they have struck at multiple bases where these russians would be located. in fact, the fact that they are not using air strikes means they did not have to necessarily take out the air defense systems which are manned by russians. we know that one of the concerns of the defense secretary jim
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mattis when he briefed the president was that russians could die in these tomahawk strikes, given the fact that russians are embedded on these bases within the syrian military. there is a great deal of concern about the proximity of u.s. forces, there are about a thousand u.s. forces on the ground in syria, there about 6,000 on the ground in a rack where we just learned last week from the top commander in iraq that 100,000 a thousand iranian troops are inside a rack mount fighting very close to where that u.s. is advising the iraqi army. the potential for blowback for u.s. troops is very high, there is a great deal of concern is that the syrian forces and their allies, the iranians and the russians that are fighting with them in syria could take out, could harm u.s. forces which are also on the ground. force protection a very important part of this operation, but it looks like a limited strike, 43 tomahawk
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missiles. targeting at least one possibly two sites where chemical weapons were stored about 120 miles from the site of that chemical weapon attack 72 hours ago. we understand that these airbases are near the town of holmes in syria. >> john roberts levitt mar-a-lago with the president's tonight, john? >> i would expect we would likely hear from the president, this is the first such military action that he has taken, the only other military action >> i'm sorry to interrupt, what's happening now is fox stations across the station from our broadcast partners are going to judge this is a major developing for u.s. foreign policy around the world. good evening from fox news headquarters around the world across the nation around the world. the united states tonight has taken military action in syria.
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the pentagon informs us that tomahawk cruise missiles have been launched from the united states navy, off the coast, at least 43 to 47 tomahawk cruise missiles striking sites inside syria, at the airbase listed on your screen. this is a base from which it's believed that the syrian military launched a sarah and gas attack on its own people. those pictures too graphic to show him this time of the evening on network and cable television, the truth is it killed dozens of syria and civilians including more than a dozen babies the president mentioned as he discussed this just yesterday afternoon. it had long been the policy of the president and this white house that the united states will not be interventionist. the united states would strike only one struck upon. it was yesterday the president first said in a joint news conference with the jordanian king of the dollar that he was deeply affected by the syrian
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military and the dictator bashar assad and his attitude toward syria changed. this afternoon just before 3:00 eastern time the secretary of state came to the cameras and informed us that the united states is working to build a coalition. a coalition to retaliate against bosch are al-assad and the syrian regime which has been carrying out this campaign which has left that more than half a million syrians dead in a civil war that stretched on for more than seven years. last night high-level white house officials came together. today members of the joint chiefs came together. the president was briefed on options and tonight is the president was meeting with the chinese leader xi jinping at his resort in the palm beaches, we got the word that the united states has launched a military attack. tomahawk missiles on syria. we are expected to hear from president trump shortly,
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south florida where we await word. >> i've just been told by a senior administration official that president trump did not call russian president vladimir putin prior to these cruise missiles being launched at syria. we had thoughts, jennifer griffin and i were discussing this earlier tonight, because of the fact that there are so many russians that are in that country and russians who might have been as jennifer griffin was saying a short time ago manning some of those antiaircraft batteries that the president might in some way telegraphed to the russian leader what was about to happen not necessarily to seek his permission for it. but to say you've got a lot of people tell them to take cover. apparently there was no direct contact between the president and vladimir putin. we should probably say that the posture of the united states over the last few hours has been such that any military leader worth their salt would probably get a good idea that something was on the way. how did the president come to this decision, were still expecting to hear more about this tonight in terms of the
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actual tick-tock. about a week ago, the abbasid united nations telegraph at the receiving chamber in syria was no longer the top priority in that country for the united states. boxer al-assad may have seen is a green light that he could start attacking his own people with impunity. that climaxed on tuesday into wednesday with reports of that sarah and gas attack that killed so many civilians, president trump saw that and you can't help but look at those pictures of the children and the babies are dying and suffering so horribly, it's a sort of pictures that could just bring tears to your eyes, he appeared with king abdullah at the white house on wednesday afternoon, the president said that he had been impacted very strongly by those images, and he was completely rethinking his approach to a boxer al-assad. now we see tonight 40 some cruise missiles being fired at military facilities in that country. >> thanks, standby this is happened for the president has been meeting with the chinese leader xi jinping.
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the number of cruise missiles that have a stroke is now at 60 at different chemical weapons sites inside syria. the host of special report and our own chief political correspondent of bret baier's live with us in washington. the timing of this with a chinese leader there, no notification of the russians, what is the message here? >> strength, president trump is saying i constrict, this is retaliation for the use of chemical weapons, there's a lot of questions online and around about the legitimacy of the month that it was in fact boxer al-assad, we are told that u.s. intelligence has high confidence. that it was launched by the syrian air force from the air. the turkish ministry of health believes that it has all the indications of sarah and gas. with forming at the mouth, the high fatalities.
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u.s. intelligence is confident that it was sod. the strength here is a signal, when then president obama was considering action after what he was called the red line of chemical weapons were used. this essentially is the reaction and retaliation for president trump's own red line that he talked about in the rose garden just the other day with the jordanian king, jordan's king abdullah. i do want to point out that russia has signaled that this would have negative consequence consequences. the u.s. administration, the trump administration was hoping to get to the united nations to do a resolution in the u.n. security council tonight, it did not. but the russian envoy warned of negative consequences if the united states carries out military strikes on syria, saying we have two think about negative consequences and all the responsibility of military action occurred, will be on the
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shoulders of those who initiated such doubtful and tragic enterprise. that is the big question because russians as jennifer mentioned are on the ground in different places in syria and we should point out our u.s. special operators would be aware of where all these tomahawk missiles are coming from from the uss porter and the uss ross, two naval destroyers in washington. >> shep: were expecting now to hear from the president at any time, were expected to hear audio from the president first and then something on camera. for those of you just joining us, the united states have launched a barrage of cruise missiles from the naval vessels in the mediterranean sea on targets inside syria in retaliation for this week's chemical weapons attacks against civilians. it was the first direct american assault on the syrian government and donald trump's most dramatic and military order since becoming president of the united states. it is a perilous region no
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doubt. remember president obama was given what was then called a list of bad options. a list of bad in 2013 an effort to stop the slaughter of the syrian people, the president made the decision to go with diplomate sea instead. now the region has become much more complicated to protect the russian backed the syrian government. the syrian government with its leader bosch rl al-assad, is murdering its own people. the iranians are involved as well supporting hezbollah and in the united states back to syrian rebels which are fighting against the syrian government and of the russians. with all of these different players in place at the same time, the possibility of a mistake has always been seen as one of the greatest perils. tonight, the united states has launched targeted strikes on syrian military sites believed to be chemical weapons depots
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and landing airstrips. jennifer griffin got the early word, we've been anticipating something throughout the day but we didn't know exactly what she's gotten word from the pentagon, jennifer to you. >> what we can -- what we know now and can update is that at least 50 tomahawk missiles have been fired from the uss porter, uss ross, the target was one target multiple sites within this arabesque, known as sherryr from homs, where the chemical weapons took place 24 hours ago. it's believed the chemical weapons were assembled, put together years ago. there are several agents put together prior to loading them onto a weapon and they were then flown and by 24 fighter jets
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that were syrian regime of pilots drop those bombs on that town and we saw the aftermath of that. we understand this base was the target because as you mentioned there are airstrips there but most importantly it is where some of the chemical weapons, chemical agents are stored. remember back in 2013, when president obama decided not to go ahead and conduct air strikes against syria at that moment, when the last sarah and the attack occurred. it is generally felt that the u.s. felt that it was too dangerous to strike the regime, president obama wants to congress to get authorization, and the u.s. backed down.
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right, president trump ordered this limited strike by tomahawk missiles to send a signal to the assad regime that using chemical weapons against his own people is not acceptable. we heard of secretary of state rex tiller some changes to tune earlier this evening, a very different tone coming from the secretary of state saying that steps would be taken to remove bashar assad, that regime change was possible. i'm told that might've been a bit of an overstatement but certainly this is a signal that president trump means business and the chemical weapons attack on those people, innocent children in the village was too much for this president. he was briefed by his defense secretary and his national security admires her and tomorrow log appeared >> shep: a jennifer griffin at the pentagon, the secretary of state rex tillis and was at mar-a-lago this afternoon. when he gave us the first
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indication at 3:00 eastern time at the very serious change had happened in american foreign policy, here's what he said the then. >> the events that have occurred in syria with the chemical weapons attack in the past day, i have horrified all of us. and a brush to the front pages into our television screens as well the tragedy that is part of the syrian conflict. there is no doubt in our minds and the information we have supports the syrian regime under the leadership of president bashar al-assad are responsible for this attack. further, it is very important that the russian government consider carefully their continued support for the assad regime. >> the russians have said that the united states consider exactly what it is it doing in this matter. something to keep in mind.
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there are hundreds upon hundreds of united states forces stationed within it syria. there are advising local forces ahead of a major assault on the syrian city of raqqa. the americans are our in country to fight the islamic state, the russians are in country to fight the syrian rebels in the midst of civil war. a very complicated region where multiple parties are fighting against each other all at the same time. it's a reason that the previous administration had made the decision to simply stay out of it. the consequences were too great. now the trump administration has taken a different tack. cara moeller is former cia military analyst and senior policy advisor for the extremism project. understand that the president has taken these actions tonight it does not come without risk. >> does not come without risk and there are few significant things here in terms of u.s. foreign policy.
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we have focused on isis and i'll have shifted our focus, now we have targeted assad airbases, syrian regime airbases. two, you had to rex tillis and coming out today noting a coalition building support, this might be an overstretch but he did say it. potential change in leadership. if we have not heard that coming out of trump administration with regard to assad. three we've seen the ad states now take a position that is contrary to the russians, the russians warning against u.s. action. three significant shifts in u.s. foreign policy happening over the course of the last hour with these 60 air strikes on targets in syria. >> shep: military leaders have warned us for years and decades and generations, you do not enter a military conflict without an understanding of the endgame appeared let's bring in general jack keane, former vice chief of staff, general david evening and thank you. what's your understanding of the goals and details of this
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mission. >> very limited military operation to strike the origin of the airpower that's delivered that horrific blow on the syrian people. and to send a message to the assad regime of the united states is not going to tolerate anymore strikes using sarin gas or any kind of chemical weapon on its people. the united states is not going to underwrite the use of chemical weapons anymore. >> shep: is at your understanding that this will debilitate the syrian air forces such that the syrian dictator can no longer launch? or something less than that? >> got a six operational bases and he can certainly launch aircraft from other bases. this is a clear warning to him that if he does he's going to lose everything. our viewers should understand that the syrian air force and airpower is not what it used to be three or four years ago. it's deteriorated quite a bit.
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it's much more of a air campaign at that anything else and that's what manifested a couple days ago. the russian airpower however is very effective. they have capabilities very similar to ours and they in connection to the iranians which is significantly underreported are the major factors against the opposition forces in syria today. iranian ground forces, russian airpower, a backseat is syrian airpower. nonetheless, they delivered the sarin gas in this administration said were not go to tolerate it. it >> shep: what you described as russian forces working along with syrian forces against the rebels were backed by the united states and we watch a strike at the middle of that. what degree of concern is there against the ground and have strikes against raqqa.
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>> there are quite removed from the area we know where all of them are. the syrian forces are not good to go against u.s. troops in retaliation, we would effectively destroy that force if they did. they certainly understand that, the russians are not going to attack american forces on the ground, that would put us at war with russia, they don't want to war with the united states. all this was calculated, i know were talking about all the risk to american forces. it's a very, very low risk here and certainly the pentagon is very much aware of that as is the president now. >> for seven years the syrian dictator has been spluttering his own people, including one a red line was crossed if you will back in 2013, barrel bombs struck from fixed wing aircraft, killing civilians. now we've retaliated for the strike which happened the last week. is there and if-then plan worked
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out. if the syrian military launch is another one of these attacks on the people, did the united states strike again? or is there a plan? >> certainly we would. he has six operational airfields, we've taken down one and the air infrastructure -- airpower isn'tot just with runways and airplanes, it's also the ammunition depots that are at those fields, the maintenance warehouses, you take out that infrastructure that supports this airpower, we could have actually if we had enough ships in the area, have taken all six of those out in one night. i think what president trump is trying to say here is i'm doing a very limited military attack against the origins of the airpower that delivered this strike against the syrian people. we are not going to tolerate any
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further activity of that, we're not going to kill all of the syrian air force people at those six bases. we are only going to damage enough to send a very loud and clear message to assad and also to the russians that the united states policy has fundamentally changed as it pertains to syria from the previous administration. i think he's found a way to do that without doing unnecessary damage. >> shep: it's 20 minutes to 4:00 in the morning there, the sun will rise in an hour and a half. we've sent this message, if, in fact, bosch r al-assad receives this message, launches another air strike, kills another load of civilians in response to what we've done, does the united states have a plan for what to do next? i guess my question is if this begins an escalation, does the united states escalate with the syrians? >> certainly we would very
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quickly take out all of his airpower. that's the reality of it, i'm certain that sort of plan b. i think where we are heading here is probably some confidence that assad will not continue this. i think the russians will encourage him to not to continue to be quite frank about it. i think we're about trying to defeat isis is sort of the plan b we want to be on. in raqqa, in syria, put together as tillotson talked about to work towards actual elimination of the regime. that's going to be very tough talk about it, they propped up assad come up with the propped up the aloe whites. the russians would trade assad if there was a lot of pressure put on them but they would never give up the aloe white regime infrastructure but that gives him the two bases that they have and the relationship. not going to walk away from that.
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>> shep: what's happened is the united states is launch target missile strikes in one area inside syria, for the syrian said gas intact which our administration's of the syrian government launched killing dozens of people on the ground and injuring hundreds more. if united states has sent a message, taken out these ammunition dumps, these chemical weapons dumps sent the message to syrian government, stop attacking your own people, special report and color brought to bear back with us from washington, you always have to have a game plan when launching military action, i'm very curious to know if the syrians take this messages and say were going to strike our people again anyway in an effort to draw in the united states, i want to with plan might be? >> i think the plan might be to strike again, just listening to senior military officials, the plan they had drawn up for quite some time. remember that after seven years
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of war crimes, a lot of talk from the west but no action. bosch r al-assad probably thought that he could keep going tonight that comes to an end by president trump in this administration. the first reaction of the hill not surprising is from senators mccain and graham who applauded this and the actions of the u.s. armed forces and they go on to say unlike the previous administration, president trump confronted a pivotal moment in syria and took action. for that he deserves in support of the american people. building on tonight's credible first step, we must finally learn the lessons of history and ensure the tactical success leads to strategic process and it goes on. just per perspective, we should point out this comes after a series of meetings with arab leaders, including egypt's president lcc, and the crown prince of saudi arabia all of
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whom expressed considerable significant support for president trump, his administration and their ability but he can change the dynamic in the middle east. all of them saying pretty strong statements. one wonders whether there is an arab component to this. as you move forward into the next strategic step after the 60 or 50 plus tomahawk cruise missiles landed this evening. >> shep: is in their competent night, it appears intended to send the message to north korea, iran, and other potential adversaries of the new commander-in-chief was prepared to act and sometimes on short notice. this scene is a surprise attack and the element of surprise part of it. jennifer griffin has new details on tonight's military action from the pentagon, jennifer? >> we have just learned that the first tomahawk missiles landed at that airbase at approximately 8:45 p.m. eastern, number eight
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tomahawk is fired from these two destroyers out in the eastern mediterranean, the uss porter and the uss ross, they could carry up to 70 tomahawk missiles. we are learning now that more than 50 missiles were fired at this one airbase. to put in context for our viewers, one tomahawk missile is approximately 18 feet long, two feet wide. it carries 1,000 pounds of munitions. this is like a flying telephone pole, member we first were introduced to the tomahawk missiles during the gulf war, they were first seen in the could be seen by the naked eye because they flew so slowly, 50. from the time they were launched uss ross and uss porter, probably about half hour 30 minutes possibly longer to reach that airbase. this is like a cruise missile
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slowly through the air, not as quickly as you might expect. this one airbase airfield, fueling points, we mention that some chemical weapons, agents we believe are stored at this airbase. this one airbase took 50 tomahawk missiles, that's 50,00n this one case. it is very clear on the decision tonight to just strike this one base but this is designed to send a warning to the bashar al-assad regime. not to use his air force to kill his own people or to risk losing that air force. this is a limited strike, 50 missiles into one small area, about 120 miles from where that gas attack occurred about a 70 hours ago. >> shep: we have just gotten our first word from the president of the united states
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who is at mar-a-lago in florida in the palm beaches tonight, he's just said that the strike on syria was in the vital national security interest of the united states. we've got our first indication that something was brewing on the secretary of state rex tillerson spoke this afternoon. he works a state report for us, what have you got for us? >> he said in admitting that his role in the future is uncertain clearly with the acts he has taken, it would seem there is no role for him to government syria and it syrians people. just a week ago, the status of a longer-term status of president assad will be decided by the syrian people. he was then later asked if president trump will organize an international coalition that would lead to the ousting of bashar al-assad, secretary
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tillerson said those steps are underway. the state department official says what he was talking about those steps being underway are already international negotiations ongoing in geneva, ongoing at the united nations and that the united states under the trump administration it's only been in for a couple of months is looking at options beyond that. there's also the russia angle to this. you've been discussing it throughout the evening. he says it's very important the russia government consider carefully the continued support for the assad regime abraded in just a week the secretary of state will be traveling to russia, he will be meeting with russian foreign minister sergei left off. there is no indication yet that those meetings have been suspended, those meetings were ago as of this morning even with the events that have a habit now, the russians may change their mind on that as some of the comments we've heard from some of our analysis this evening. we do want to point your attention to something the russian government has said earlier today, when it comes about its support for assad, spokesperson saying i don't think it's correct to say about
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unconditional support. unconditional support is not possible in the current world. it goes on to say we have to keep in mind that assad and his army is a legitimate power in syria. it's not bulletproof support that you've seen or thought about from the russian regime. all of this is the u.s. will say secretary of state traveled to russia, will explore areas of potential relationship where the u.s. and russia can work together where it benefits the united states. >> shep: live at the state department to that, i mentioned we got a new word from the president speaking in south florida said it's in the national security interest the strike tonight. more from the president now, his calling for civilized nations seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in syria. the question is what is the risk of escalation? what is the risk that the syrians continued the slaughter of their own people, what with the united states do next?
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you heard the general suggest the united states would act again. a former cia military analyst now a and senior policy advisor for the counter extremism project. risk of escalation in your estimation. >> there is a risk elation when you launch 60 tomahawk missiles on the assad regime. having said that, i think the trump administration to a clear redline on chemical weapons used which clearly violates international norms. it is a horrific attack on innocent civilians. but it still remains to be seen what is the overarching trip and administration of policy with regard to the assad regime, with regard to the u.s. troops in syria, with regards to the potential creation of safe zones. there are still a lot of larger looming policy questions. this is a substantial shift in u.s. foreign policy. but i don't think we have a longer-term outlook here in terms of what the trump administration is going to do next. i think it's critical they gain
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coalition support for whatever their next moves actually are. >> shep: what sort of coalition might come together here? in the past, the coalitions were built first and then the action taken ended this case it would appear were taking action and asking for a coalition at the same time. >> we took some form of limited action here, there's more action that could be taken if we ramped up military action significantly, it would require domestic congressional approval if we were going to escalate to a war against the assad regime, that we have not seen happen yet. if we want to gain u.n. support for additional military options, we saw nikki haley make strong remarks before the security council yesterday afternoon. i think we will be bringing together coalition partners for any additional military steps, too early to say. this was an initial response to the chemical weapons attack it did not outline clear military strategy for dealing with syria at large. i think that is what we should be watching the next few days. i think the trump at the
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administration wanted to be clear that they were going to draw the redline here in terms of chemical weapons used. that is not an overarching syria policy. we don't know the overarching syria policy and we have to deal with russia who is active in syria it is going to show opposition toward any stronger ramped up u.s. military involvement there. >> shep: again, the president in south florida at his mar-a-lago resort, our chief white house correspondent john roberts is there as well. >> were told because they could not get a satellite truck onto the ground at mar-a-lago tonight either on such short notice or because the white house didn't want it there, were not sure were going to have a carry back of present statements. were told it's on its way back to us here at the hotel which is where the press corps is staying. should only take a matter of minutes and then we'll have it out there for people to see. what's really interesting about couple of aspects that i find very interesting, first of all
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that the president did not call vladimir putin to let him know what was about to happen. not to suggest that president trump would ever seek permission from the russian leader but with so many russian forces on the ground there, you might think they would want to give the russians a heads up. perhaps that did happen through military channels and perhaps the russians were stooped to pick up the signals that were being telegraphed all throughout the day to say something is definitely coming. the other thing is this was carefully timed from two standpoints. one to hit that syrian airbase in the wee hours of the night when they knew potential casualties would be limited because if you did it during the day, a lot of people would be going to work a lot of people will be filing into that airbase. casualties might be greater. it also happened just as president trump said good night to xi jinping after his visit at mar-a-lago and the dinner that the two leaders had together. it is very significant from a
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standpoint of residents trump was hosting probably the second most powerful country in the world at the same time he was waiting for those cruise missiles to hit. i think that's something a lot of people will be talking about in the hours ahead as the so much between the two leaders unfolds here in south florida. >> shep: john roberts in south florida as we went to hear from the present and that in just a moment. let's bring in general jack keane, no president enters any sort of military action without considering all the consequence consequences. all the potential consequences, your thoughts on what some of those might be. >> certainly some kind of retaliation is available to the assad regime, but it's unlikely. certainly russian retaliation is also available but that's unlikely. >> shep: what you say it's unlikely?
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>> because the united states is acted so decisively. this is the thing that has happened last eight years. barack obama was paralyzed by the fear and adverse consequences and particularly of military escalation. putin used in many times. we wanted to provide robust legal aid to the ukrainians, putin told him flat out if you do that, it's going to result in escalation. so we didn't do it. we didn't help the syrian moderates when we had an opportunity to do so and his entirety national security team advised that. the following year the redline was violent, his entire national security team told him to take action, he didn't do it. paralyzed by the fear of adverse consequences, paralyzed by the fear of escalation. sometime the way to prevent escalation is asked lee to act decisively. it remains to be seen if that is what has happened here. i think it is. time will tell us what is really
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happening here. i think finally the united states has taken a stand in terms of our own moral values and standing up to people that are being so horrifically damaged like this and it says a loud message. i think it's good to have some impact on our talks with the chinese particularly because were trying to bring north korea under some kind of leverage to stop increasing their nuclear eyes nation and building weapons that would be able to fix on icbms. this impact the chinese this president is dead serious. the president we have before dealing with strategic patients with korea's icbm problem in nuclear problem, the way that was translated was were not going to take any action. listen, no one wants to be threatened with terry action on some kind of regular basis. limited military action, your seriousness about it, does have
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a power all its own. the only reason you're doing it is to impact politically some kind of objective that makes sense for everybody involved. that's the only reason you try to do something like this, you want to estop adverse behavior, you want to accomplish a political strategic objective. it's what this is about. it remains to be seen if it's going to work. hopefully it will at least stop the killing of innocent civilians. >> general it was 2013 when the united states was mulling this exact sort of thing as present obama said he had a series of bad options that tweeted on thi. on june the 15th 2013 he said we should stay the hill out of syria, the rebels are just as bad as the current regime, what will be getting for our lives and our billions? zero. he also tweeted on august the 29th of that year, what will we get bombing syria besides more debt and a possible long-term conflict? obama needs congressional approval. then on september the seventh he
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said that president obama do not attack syria. there is no upside and tremendous downside, save your powder for another and more important today. there are certainly risks in this matter, there is nothing to say that the syrians might instead of not acting again act again to draw the event states in. i'm sure that's been part of the calculation. >> of course it is. something has happened here since those orderings that you just mentioned. the fact is an election was held and on january 20th, this person became president of the united states. i think what you're seeing here is someone who feels a sense of accountability and responsibility as the president of the united states knowing he has the power to stop a horrendous act that's taking place to do something about it spread based on the moral underpinnings of this great country of ours and other god-fearing people of the world. that is what is happening, he is
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now president he's no longer a guy like me sitting on the outside rendering opinions. he has the responsibility and he feels accountable to it. i think he's made a right judgment here to be quite frank about it and we'll see how it pans out. >> shep: john mccain waited on exactly that matter. talk about action. >> i believe you need to have two courses of action. one, immediate response. that is telling bashar assad no more flying, no airplane will fly, if it does it will be shut down. crater the runways, the pilots can be tried as war criminals, that's a presidents that was set at the nuremberg trials in nazi germany. carrying out orders is not a sufficient accuse for committing crimes against humanity. and obviously increased sanctions against russia. including by the way providing lethal defensive weapons to the ukrainians. >> shep: we are on the road to that is certainly tonight the
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united states has launched a limited strikes against syria on the one the syrian military base something upwards of 40 tomahawk missiles. have hit the syrian land this evening. it's 10:00 on the east coast, at 7:00 p.m. on the west coast, i'm a shepard smith into new york on the fox broadcast network and fox news channel from coast-to-coast on a night when the united states has launched targeted military strikes on syria. dozens of tomahawk missiles meant to send according to the white house a message to the syrian leadership and their dictator bashar al-assad not to launch sarin gas attacks on their own people to stop slaughtering their own people after seven long years of civil war. the russians of course back to the syrian military in this matter, the iranians are in the mix as well. united states troops are on the ground advising the locals as ey


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