tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC March 17, 2017 9:00am-10:01am PDT
not seen any evidence. >> the bottom line is that the investigation by the house and the senate has not been provided all the information. >> we've seen no evidence. >> we don't have any evidence that that took place. >> does the president still stand by -- zw >> he stands by it but you're mischaracterizing what happened today. >> the claims he was wifetapped by barack obama is bogus. >> reporter: was it phone tapping? >> no, it was surveillance. we've covered this ten times. >> i've seen no evidence of wiretapping as you say or a court order. anything like that. >> salesman-in-chief, trump convincing a group of skeptical house republicans today to now vote for that health care bill. his budget director passionately defending those controversial proposed budget cuts. >> $20 trillion in debt. we're going to spend money and a lot of money but not going to spend it on programs that cannot show that they actually deliver the promises that we've made to people. >> reporter: i'm curious what you say to those americans in
the community they tell me 800 individuals, children who need it most will no longer be provided in those most needy of communities the educational care they need. >> there are supposed to be educational programs, they're supposed to help kids who don't get fed at home get fed so they do better in school. guess what? there's no demonstrable evidence they're doing that. >> and andrea mitchell is with the secretary of state at the dmz before making his most striking statement yet about the danger of north korea. >> let me be very clear. the policy of strategic patience has ended. we're exploring a new range of diplomatic, security and economic measures, all options are on the table. >> good day, i'm chris jansing in -- good day, i'm chris jansing in washington, where president trump is meeting with german chancellor angela merkel at the white house. in an hour the two leader also
hold a joint press conference but overshadowing this visit and everything else on the president's agenda for that matter the white house digging in on those wiretapping accusations, despite top lawmakers and investigators strongly knocking down the claim, saying there is simply no evidence. ah but that didn't stop sean spicer from firing back during a very contentious white house press briefing citing a series of news reports that they say justify the president's claims. >> the president's been very clear when he talked about this and he talked about it last night, and we talked about "wiretapping" he meant surveillance, and that there have been incidents that have occurred. >> reporter: are you saying that the president still stands by his allegation that president obama ordered wiretapping or surveillance of trump tower despite the fact that the senate intelligence committee says they see no indication that it happened? >> that's -- >> reporter: the president stand by the allegations? >> first of all he stands by it. you're mischaracterizing what happened today. he was very clear about this
last night. he talked about it as you see. >> reporter: he wasn't clear. >> he put it in quotes, very broad. >> reporter: so was it phone tapping? >> no, it was sveillance and i think we've covered this ten times. >> now the controversy has triggered what could be considered an international incident. the white house having to explain to british officials that spicer was simply pointing to public reports, not endorsing any specific story or the information in it. after the british spy agency in a rare public statement vehemently denied claims, calling them nonsense, all this as the president's top diplomat secretary of state rex tillerson is overseas and issuing a stark warning that military action against north korea is "on the table." we're covering all the big headlines. andrea is in south korea covering secretary tillerson, here in washington nbc white house correspondent hallie jackson, "the guardian" political supporter sabrina
sadiki and washington white house bureau chief philip rucker. rex tillerson sending a message interesting enough arguably the president is having his most important meeting with a foreign leader. talk about the significance of his warning today. >> reporter: well, it is significant, not only because of the warning, hallie -- nikki haley said that to matt lauer two days ago. we knew all options are on the table, military options, other presidents and secretaries have said that but the context is what's so important. the fact that he's saying it now, after a strategic review of all options toward north korea, after we see signs that north korea may be preparing for another nuclear test, after four missiles were launched and hit in the sea off japan, all last week. this also being said right here in south korea, when he's about to go to china, which has been saying negotiate with north
korea. dial this down. don't dial it up into a military confrontation, and now he is saying negotiations are off the table, and that if north kor shows signs that they are evating their program to the level that is not sustainable, then this military option is on the table. so it's not a retaliatory strike, it would be a pre-emempe strike, and it's lowering the threshold for what could trigger such a strike, all done by a novice diplomat on his first trip, after going to the dmz, so it's certainly dialing up the rhetoric. there were indications that he was perhaps too soft in his earlier comments in tokyo, where he refused to be specific about the strategic review and where it's going beyond sanctions and things like getting china to participate in pressuring north korea, which is something that all of his predecessors have done as well, so after denouncing 20 years of policy towards north korea, they're trying to make this sound different and with this rhetoric today, he certainly makes it
sound different to some of the neighbors, probably alarming. chris? >> and in the meantime, hallie, we're all eagerly anticipating the president's press conference today with angela merkel waiting to see if he'll be challenged on the wiretapping allegations. how many questions, what's the format, and what are the chances he gets asked those tough questions? >> reporter: let's walk through it, chris, a quick scene setter here presumably about an hour and a half, although they are running behind schedule. the reporter also walk into the east room, where this is all set up. you're going to see two podiums there, one for angela merkel one for donald trump. the two will come out and make statements and a two and two, like the weird washington language code thing, that really means two questions from german media, two questions from american media, each leader gets to pick who asks the questions. one of the things that donald trump came under fire of from during early press conferences was selecting outlets that were perhaps outside of what is considered the traditional
mainstream or that front row of reporters, which is certainly the president's prerogative to do. the administration can ask whoever they want to ask, to ask questions. angela merkel will select a couple of german reporters. when you ask do think he'll be asked about it, depends who isoi the asking. that's part of the, if you want to say suspense building up to this news conference, it is obviously one of if not the biggest headline of the day, certainly, if not the last two weeks, since the president tweeted that claim so we will see if he in fact addresses it himself. he did talk with tucker carlson on fox but there have been developments since then including the fallout with our allies overseas. >> let me ask but that, sabrina. your parent company is in the uk, and this obviously is a whole new world. i hear from my friends who live overseas that they're watching daily briefings and they're certainly watching these press conferences. let's start with the obvious, how unhappy is british intelligence right now? >> they were unhappy enough to issue what is a very public rebuke and a rare public rebuke
of the comments that sean spicer made, implicating the british intelligence community while trying to support at the end of the day what is still an unsubstantiated claim by donald trump with respect to been wiretapped by former president obama. i think they're especially confounded, too, that this white house would drag in what is one of its closest allies and partners on the question, on the issue of security, and that sean spicer's basing his claim not off of any intelligence that's been gathered by the u.s. or off of any substantiated reporting but comments that were made by a fox news analyst. so certainly i think that statement you saw was a way of sending a message, and what we hear is that theresa may, her spokesman says they have assured that this claim will not be repeated. they have not received an apology from sean spicer but told the white house will not repeat that claim. >> you have angela merkel, the u.s. and germany on so many levels from security to trade, the economy, oobviously, very
important. what are you going to be watching for today? >> well i think that the key here will be reciprocity. it's notable angela merkel is bringing with her executives, some of the leading german manufacturers, bmw, seims trying to bring respect to donald trump's america first in trade. he did threaten on the campaign trail to impose a tax on imports by countries such as germany and others to the u.s., so i think the idea here is think twice before you do that and what the implications of that might be. i also think that it will be worth watching what donald trump's comments are with respect to nato, certainly merkel is one of those who expressed concern with respect to this administration's posture, not necessarily reaffirming the u.s. commitment to nato, so those will be some of the key factors we'll be looking at today. >> so much of this, philip, is the distraction of these wiretapping accusations, and of course the white house is also battling resistance to the budget, health care, but the president did meet with the republican study committee this morning that this is a group that has been skeptical of the
bill. now, after speaking with the president, they are promising to back it. so i mean a lot of people are, you know, naysaying about this white house, but does he still have the ability potentially to go into a room, work it, and get done what he needs to get done, or is this just really a small thing? >> it's not a small thing. i think he's hoping, the president is hoping that he'll be able to be the dealmaker, that he prides himself on having been for decades in the private sector, that he can bring these people to the table, figure out what changes can be made to this health care bill that will satisfy enough republican lawmakers for it to pass, and then be able to claimictory with a win, and this is critical r the trump administration. is ishe first big legislative fight that they've had. there are a lot of other things they want to get done with congress, including tax reform, including that trillion-dollar infrastructure plan, but they're not going to go anywhere until they get through health care and a defeat on health care would really be demoralizing for this presidency, so a lot is on the line here. >> and when you say a lot is on
the line, do you think there is a sense within the white house of just how much? >> i think so. i think they realized earlier in this week that the bill was in trouble publicly at least, a lot of republicans were coming out against it, not only lawmakers by the way, but a lot of trump loyalists on the outside, media personalities, people who are big names in the so-called trump movement, were opposing the bill and the white house really spent the last few days trying to get it back on track, trying to figure out what they can work with here, and trying to elevate the role of the president himself, as the negotiator. he's been talking about it a little bit in some of these interviews but you saw this morning in that meeting at the white house, he's trying to take some ownership of the project. >> andrea, so many different things going on, and so many stakes so high on so many different levels. so let's go back to angela merkel at the white house today. what do you see as the stakes for this visit? >> reporter: this is such an important visit from such an important leader, and one who
was so soundly criticized by candidate donald trump, he equated her with hillary clinton and talked about her in such disparaging personal terms at a lot of those rallies, and during debates, so now he's got to reset, and that's partly what the secretary of state has been having to do as he travels, reset and try to reestablish first with the japanese, then with the south koreans here, that what the candidate said doesn't matter and that america does want to engage in the world, but every time they try to do that, the president says something or tweets something. now this morning again tweeting on north korea and warning china, that china is not doing enough, just as tillerson is going to china. about angela merkel he's got to show that he has a serious person who understands that words matter, that all of his criticisms of her migration policy and of immigration really will not get in the way of this relationship. what he has just recently said
in response to the injunctions by the various judges in the last couple of days again go into, lie in the face of european policy, and particularly the policy that she has led. i don't know how they bridge that gap. on the economy she's going to talk about some of the economic issues, she's bringing the business leaders with her as you pointed out but at the same time his talks about tariff and against free trade and against multilateral trade deals just go completely in the face of the european commitment to those issues. and so i can't see how they communicate, and then the final backdrop, here the white house has so aggregated conventions on intelligence sharing, and insulted our closest intelligence ally, demanding an apology from the national security adviser and sean spicer today to the brits, that sends a signal as well to the german services. the europeans are scratching their heads and saying what is
going on here. >> stay with me, andrea. i want to bring in juan zarate, former deputy national security adviser under president george w. bush and msnbc senior national security analyst. let me pick up on what andrea just had to say. how do these wiretap claims in general, but then the accusations against the british in particular color if at all this meeting today between the president and chancellor merkel? >> well i think what you have unfortunately is what has largely been a domestic political issue around intelligence relationships, the investigation potentially around russian ties to the trump campaign, spilling over internationally in aay that begins to damage a very important relationship potentially. the british are our closest allies. they're part of the five eyes intelligence structure. we share information with them intimately, and it does begin to demonstrate that some of these issues that we thought based here in washington and largely in the beltway kinds of shall us really are spilling over in ways
that are potentially dangerous and corrosive to those relationships. that then spills over to question about what's our relationship with our european allies, and in particular, angela merkel, who has been seen as a pillar of the european unit why i. >> our go-to person in europe. >> our go-to person and certainly a voice for european unity and policy on all sorts of issues, whether it be on turkey or iran or the refugee issues. so this question of how does our relationship evolve with europe, starts to get impacted by some of these controversies, and i think that's unfortunate, because we need these ties to be strong, and certainly the int intelligence context you need those relationships which are built on trust to be maintain >> andrea, i know you have a question for juan. >> reporter: well, just the broader question about the u.s./russian relationship, how merkel would feel about that, given all of the mixed signals coming from washington about russia, the continuing investigations, and the overlay with our intelligence sharing. >> well an drdrea it's a great
question, because you know, the question of where the u.s. and europe go with russia, whether or not for example sanctions are maintained, whether or not we hold the hard line still on the issue of crimea, and what's happening in the ukraine generally, is a fundamental question, and angela merkel has been trying to hold the line in europe, trying not to soften the approach with russia, and i think she's trying to read and the europeans are trying to read where the u.s. is headed. now, i think the good news is, from their perspective, the u.s. hasn't changed policy yet, but they are trying to read the tea leaves and trying to understand if we are going to soften our approach, is there going to be a grand bargain, for example, with russia at some point, and whether or not that ultimaty changes the mode and metho o u.s./european, and russian relations on not just crimea and ukraine but on a whole set of issues like iran, north korea and other big national security concerns. >> do you think, juan, that there's a concern that so angela merkel even talked about, this she said look it's one thing to
talk to somebody on the phone, to talk at each other, you know, through other methods of, and we're seeing i guess now the picture we have it now inside the oval office, do we have that? in any case, she says it's another to take a person's measure face to face. this is the picture just coming in right now from the oval office of the president and angela merkel, but is there certain that what he says is what he says today, and can we trust it for tomorrow? >> right. well, i think the trump administration and its foreign policy is in formation and i think most leaders understand that, and i think a lot of leaders, not only look to sort of what is said publicly but they look to the conversations and relationships they build over time to understand not only the mind of the president, but also where u.s. policy is going. i think these face-to-face meetings, as well as the personal relationships matter. keep in mind there was a lot of criticism of president obama for
not forging enough personal ties internationally which obviously matters for u.s. interests. president bush was known for a lot of his very close relationships. i was in the oval office with him often when he'd get on the phone -- >> i want to ask but that. we talk a lot about those personal relationships. can they change in outcome if two leaders have that relationship, like each other, really have that sort of mind meld? >> absolutely. i mean international relations, despite all of the grand theory and all of the questions about troops and intelligence is ultimately about personal relationships and especially when you're talking about world leaders that are consequential, that when they make a decision, when they say something, when they decide to do something, it actually matters, and so absolutely. when president bush would get on the phone with a counterpart in latin america or in europe and he offered support or said he was going to do something, that changed things enormously, and often changed the complexion of an entire issue. i'll give you one very interesting example.
when president bush got on the phone with leaders to change a position on sudan, whether or not we're going to hold them accountable, that changed the entire complexion of the issue, including the way that the chinese viewed the issue of sudan, based on what the president was saying both publicly and privately, so these private relationships matter quite a bit. >> we have what we call the pool spray now. let's listen in as we see the president and the german chancellor. >> send a good picture back to germany, please, make sure. >> how did your talks go, mr. president? >> very good. >> reporter: did you talk about nato? >> many things.
[ speaking in german ] >> thank you. all right, thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you, press. >> and that's the end of the spray there. i don't know if you were able to make it out, andrea, or even if our viewers at home were able to make it out, but they were in there for less than a minute, no statements obviously. we didn't hear any statements, but asked if they talked about nato, the president said simply "many things." also noting that as we continue to watch this, no handshake. i want to get your reaction. >> reporter: well in the history of awkward photo opportunities, this is i guess not as warm as with the brits and ate l lot wa
than netanyahu previous presidents but awkward to say the least. they've got a lot of explaining to do at the white house to try to make up for past comments, personal comments about angela merkel and her approach towards migration, and her economic policies. so this is a get to know you kind of meeting, and we'll see how much they can smooth things over, but it comes as you've been saying, within the context of this huge uproar with british intelligence, and of course secretary tillerson once again not present for a key meeting with a foreign leader, because for reasons that are beyond his control, and anyone else's control of course, because of the snowstorm, this meeting which was to have been done tuesday before he left for asia, had to be postponed until today. so this is yet another instance where the nation's top diplomat is not part of the conversation and in some cases deliberately excluded from the conversations that were being held by the president and his close white house advisers.
>> andrea, thank you. you'll be back later on the show, juan zarate thank you so much. one more thing that came to us from the pool one of theerman speakers we heard a few words from angela merkel apparently whathe said was "this say good opportunity to get in touch ogs q " or words to that effect. we're continuing to watch it and of course that big press conference coming up. plenty of action still in this hour. behind me at the white house where we just saw the president and chancellor merkel meeting, before holding that press conference. stay with us. much more on "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. only invisalign® clear aligners are made with smarttrack® material to precisely move your teeth to your best smile. see how invisalign® treatment can shape your smile up to 50% faster today at invisalign.com
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let me be very clear. the policy of strategic patience has ended. we're exploring a new range of diplomatic, security, and economic measures. all options are on the table. north korea must understand that the only path to a secure economically prosperous future is to abandon its development of nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles and other weapons of
mass destruction. >> secretary of state rex tillerson today making headlines around the world saying all options, including military action, on the table to address the nucle threat from north korea. let's go back to andrea mitchell, covering the secretary's trip in seoul, south korea. andrea? >> reporter: chris, thank you, and joining me here in seoul is david sanger, the national security correspondent with the "new york times" and what we heard there from secretary tillerson very carefully reading his scripted statement is a warning to north korea, our indications are from our pentagon people is they are seeing signs of possible preparations for another nuclear test, more missile tests, a solid fuel test, as they claim they are getting closer to their goal. their stated goal of a long range missile that could be potentially nuclear tipped and reach the continental united states. certainly japan on edge, south korea on edge and south korea in political turmoil. no government here to meet with
the president impeached elections, now scheduled for may 9th. setting the stage for a novice diplomat, and it's something of a reset today, dialing it up. >> it was, andrea, so i think the main thing to get out of this is his main audience today was the chinese, who he sees tomorrow, and he wanted to sound a very tough line, so that he could make the case to the chinese that the united states is ready to go pour more resources into this, more missile defense, which the chinese hate, more cyber, which we reported on a week and a half ago, these are at tacks on the north korean missile system, more economic sanctions, which will be disruptive to the region, because what he's trying to do, when he gets to china, say all of this will be on you if if you don't contain these guys. now, the downside of what he said was that he went back for the old language in which he
would basically make the argument that the united states had to roll this program back. nobody really thinks you can do th that. at this point, the program itself is on autopilot. >> they've got their nuclear weapons. they are only trying to come up with the technology to put them on missiles, perfect the missiles and reach their targets. from their perspective in the north, they are seeing an aggressive united states. they had a news conference in beijing yesterday and basically saying these nuclear weapons you against the aggressive in the u.s., we have to get into their heads a bit, that is not a game. they really believe this. >> if you get into their heads, andrea, they'd be craze why i to give the program up from their perspective, and the reason is, they look at, for example, what happened to libya, and they say to themselves, look, they gave up their nuclear program, and when the united states had an opportunity to go wipe them out,
they wiped out gadhafi. >> david, i saw something and maybe it's nuance but i saw something in what the secretary said. he didn't say we will have the military option if they attack, if they do this. he said if they expand their program, their weapons, missile program and nuclear program beyond a certain level, we will take military action, it seemed it was hinting at preemption. >> he was moving into the preemption world which is a phrase we last heard during the bush administration, and that's where he was really taking this whole issue. >> let's talk about the larger context, for reasons not his own, because of the snowstorm, this was postponed 'til friday, the merkel meeting, so again, tillerson not at a key meeting with a foreign leader, not in the inner circle certainly in terms of foreign policy advice. tentative in this trip, trying to project strength, but you've got a president who keeps
freelancing on twitter. he had a tweet against china today,ou know, "not good, china not helping," exclamation point just as tillerson is going there. the secretary of state doesn't want to get ahead of his president but he doesn't know what the president will do next and then you've got merkel and the importance of this meeting. >> the most important thing tillerson did today was he got much more specific. he looked into tokyo like he wasn't dealing with the core of the problem. now, with chancellor merkel, the issue is even more complex, because you've moved from the asians, who are worried about whether or not we have deep commitment, to the germans and the rest of nato worried about whether we have deep commitment, so we're 50-some-odd days into this administration, they're already doing repair work, and of course with the british as well. >> and merkel and the europeans concerned about what is the secret or even stated
relationship between donald trump and vladimir putin. >> they're concerned about that but i think their most immediate concern is whether or not everybody is together on the nato mission versus russia, and they're looking for reassurance today, it will be very interesting at the press conference to see if, for the first time, you see president trump push back at the russians. it was only two days ago that russian fsb agents were indicted for the yahoo! breach. >> the world could not be very much more complicated or maybe it could, let's hope not. david sanger, as always, thank you so much. >> great to be with you. >> exclusive reporting also on the cyber attacks, the covert attacks against those north korean missile launches. and back to you, chris, in washington. >> thank you, andrea. now back to domestic politics and the battle over the president's proposed budget brewing in washington, this was
mick mulvaney defending cuts to certain domesc pgrams to help pay for a $54 billion increase in military spending. okay so what mulvaney said because we don't have that sound "we can't spend money on programs just because they sound good. meals on wheels sounds great," and do we have it? let's play it. >> we are going to rebuild our military, it's going to be bigger and better and stronger than ever. >> as soon as i take office i'll ask congress to fully eliminate the defense request. >> that was not mick mulvaney, that was the president. let's go to congressman john yarmuth, democrat, who i know is there, top democrat on the house budget committee, always good to see you, congressman. how are you? >> i'm doing great, chris, good to see you, too. >> so i want to play for you, and maybe we'll have to rewrack that, what then candidate trump said on the campaign trail about
what he planned to do once he was in office. take a listen. >> we are going to rebuild our military. it's going to be bigger and better and stronger than ever. as soon as i take office, i will ask congress to fully eliminate the defense sequester and will submit a new budget to rebuild our military. it is so depleted. as part of removing the defense sequester i'll ask congress to frully offset the cost of military spending. we want to deter, avoid and prevent conflict through our unquestioned military strength. we have the greatest people in the world. we have to give them the greatest equipment. [ applause ] >> so congressman, you talked to folks in the white house, you talked mick mulvaney. they say look on the campaign trail donald trump repeatedly said he was going to build up the military, he wouldn't touch big entitlement programs like social security, so is this just him keeping his word to the american people? >> well, you could certainly
make that case, chris, but he also didn't let the american people know what he was going to cut. he didn't let them know he was going to eliminate 20% of the budget for nih, which is doing incredibly promising research, and much of that research would stop in its tracks. he didn't tell them he was going to eliminate 30% of the diplomatic budget through the state department. he didn't talk about the fact that he was going to end programs like meals on wheels, the corporation for public broadcasting, national endowment for the arts. there are a lot of things that just when he says we're going to offset the cost, people didn't understand exactly what he was talking about, and i think now they get aense ofow cruel and heartless this budget is. >> you know, when we -- he came before the press corps yesterday in the briefing room. he got pretty hard pushback about whether or not, whether this was a compassionate budget. we have that sound now about his explanation about some of these cuts. let me play it. >> we can't spend money on
programs just because they sound good. and great, meals on wheels sounds great, a state decision to fund that particular portion, to take the federal money and give it to the states and say look, we want to give you money for programs that don't work, i can't defend that anymore. >> and in fact, he even suggested that aftercool programs that feed children, hungry children do not show any effect, that he can go to somebody who is paying their tax dollars and say your money is being well spent. your reaction to that? >> i think if you go, he talked about single mothers. if you go to any single mother and say would you be willing to spend $1 or two a year to make sure that kids get something to eat during the week when they're in school or that senior citizens who are home-bound get meals that keep them alive? i think most single mothers and just about everybody else in the country would say that's an investment worth making. you don't have to die to know that programs make a difference and those of us who have helped
deliver meals on wheels and been to visit these afterschool programs, and who have just dealt with the benefits of education funding and many of the other things that they're proposing to cut, know that these programs are important to the fabric of our country. >> so do you think though overall that the president is right when he looks for more money for defense? i want to read what john mccain put out in his statement yesterday, he said "two-thirds of navy f-18s can't fly. marine corps pilots are flying less hours per month than their russian and chinese counterparts. air force maintainers are stealing parts from museum pieces to keep their planes in the air, and just two of 60 army brigade combat teams are at the highest level of readiness." is this budget increase for defense necessary for our national security? >> well certainly those figures sound pretty upseing, b on the other hand, we're spending more as a nation on defense than the next eight countries in the
world combined. we've got to figure out how to spend it more intelligently. we're now proposing to build hundreds and hundreds of new f-35s, so maybe we don't need to make sure that all the f-18s are working as well, because they're going to be out of service anyway. i don't know exactly what the right number is. i'm sure that some increase in the defense budget is justified, and the democratic alternative budget that we'll propose will have an increase in defense spending, but that doesn't mean that you can ignore all of the important safeguards that are in the other side of the discretionary budget, and they slashed those. you're a lot more likely to die from food poisoning or from environmental hazards or from cancer or diabetes or alzheimer's than you are from an attack from overseas right now, and he basically ignores all those important things that we're doing on the other side of the discretionary budget that will keep people healthy and safe. >> congressman john yarmuth, good to see but.
>> good to see you, chris. we're watching the white house. next hour president trump and chancellor mercklogical hold the press conference. stay with us here on "andrea mitchell reports," only on msnbc. internet dial up sound hi, i'm the internet. you've got mail! what did you think i'd look like? i'm wire-y. uh, i love stuff. give me more stuff. (singing) we're no strangers to love i love that! hey, i know a bunch of people who'd like that. who's that? the internet loves what you're doing. so build a site in under an hour. start for free at godaddy. ♪...run around and desert you a heart attack doesn't or how healthy you look. no matter who you are, a heart attack can happen without warning.
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l lippert, former chief of staff to secretary of defense chuck hagel and john park, nation's security analyst at harvard university's kennedy school. welcome both. ambassador lippert first to you, how do you interpret secretary tillerson's warning today to north korea? >> well i think there were three principal audiences, first he needed to reassure our republic of trkorea allies and a strong message of deterrence to the north koreans, and third, as david sanger pointed out, he needed to set the stage for negotiations in beijing, which is going to be a tall order, because the chinese appear to be in no mood for increasing sanctions or toughening the policy. in fact, their foreign minister in front of their annual national congress just the other day gave a speech that was very soft in tone and called for more diplomatic outreach towards north korea. so i do think that that was the
principle focus of secretary tillerson's message was to set the stage for the engagement upcoming in beijing. >> reporter: how much is the overall context a problem, the president's mixed signals, the other confusion, the intelligence controversy, and an untested secretary of state trying his hand in a very complicated part of the world. >> well, what i would say is that, in regards to context, let me add a piece on the korean peninsula. when you talk about preemption it instantly brings back memories of the mid '90s, when then president clinton and secretary perry looked seriously at strategic bombing or bombing aimed at a nasscent north korea nuclear program. that's where people's minds on the korean peninsula tend to go to first. second, i would say is that, in that context, you know, using
the word preemption is something that we all american presidents have done or do. we, all american presidents reserve the right to take p pre-ememptive action against an imminent threat. to use that word on the korean peninsula one has to be circumspect. if it's to set up enough for strong negotiation in beijing, so be it but the question is, how does it fit into the broader strategy and context moving forward. >> reporter: and john park, take that question, how does it fit in with the broader strategy? is there a broader strategy? >> well i think andrea we're looking at the effort by secretary tillerson to come to the reamon and to listen to the allies and part of the ongoing north korea strategy review, so i don't think we have a particular strategy firmly in place, certainly there has been the itration of policy tools but
how those policy tools will be interconnected and implemented by whom, where, and how i think those kind of details remain to be seen. >> reporter: is it a mistake to talk about military action, when you don't have your policy in place? >> well as ambassador lippert mentioned, the nuclear concern right now emanating from north korea merits the availability of all options, and so the iteration that the military option that preemption is an option that's on the table is a very important message, but i think when you're looking at this unfolding situation, i just want to quickly look at one interesting fact that's taking place in the region, we have the rare distinction for china being the only country applying economic coercion on south korea and north korea, so in the midst of this ongoing turmoil we're seeing secretary tillerson trying to also extend a helping
hand to the south korean ally that is now the focus of tremendous amount of chinese economic pressure over the thaad, the ballistic missile system being deployed to south korea that china so adam antly objects to. >> reporter: south korea taking the brunt of that now exactly and without a government elections here now scheduled for may 9th, so thanks to both of you, john park and ambassador mark lippert. thanks so you and back to chris. chris? >> thanks, andrea. coming up, the nypd warning that the president's proposed budget cuts could hurt the city's counterterrorism efforts. we'll talk to former nypd commissioner bill bratton about the impact next here on "andrea mitchell reports," only msnbc.
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new york city's top cop is slamming the president's proposed budget, saying it would gut the city's counterterrorism efforts. >> this preliminary budget outline stands to completely cut state and local grant funding under homeland security by nearly $700 million nationwide. under the president's proposal, nearly all federal funding to the nypd would be eradicated. this funding is absolutely critical. it is the backbone of our entire
counterterrorism apparatus. >> the commissioner noted in an op-ed that while no one in washington said they'd specifically cut new york's homeland security grant funding it is unlikely those cuts will not be felt by cities all across the country. joining me msnbc senior law enforcement and counterterrorism analyst bill bratton, former nypd commissioner and executive chairman of taneo risk. good afternoon. >> good to be with you. >> the president's budget does propose to reduce or eliminate state and local grant funding, including the homeland security grant program, that's by about $667 million. knowing what you know, how do you think that could impact nypd's counterterrorism efforts? >> it would impact it significantly if those funds are in fact withdrawn. nypd gets approximately $190 million a year specifically for intelligence and terrorism activity. that is about 20% of the overall
budget in the nypd spent on that area. during my time as police commissioner, the threat remained so significant we increased the staffing from 1,000 to almost 1600 personnel employed full time to deal with the continuing threat stream of issues around terrorism. so it's a significant concern that it's even being proposed. >> since 9/11, new york city has been the target of 21 terror lots acourse cording to commissioner o'neill. what are the main reasons that the federal government funds local police terror units, what does it do? >> particularly here in new york, there's no argument that we are the number one target in the united states, and certainly one of the top targets for terrorists in the world. it funds, the federal funds here help to supply equipment, they help to pay overtime, so much of what the public sees out there, and what they don't see, the awareness system, the cameras, license plate scanner, radiation
detectors, the three boats in the harbor tha scan every vessel coming io new york harbor for radiation. it is a critical component, and a necessary component of the defenses of new york city. in defending new york city, we are defending america. we saw firsthand the events of 9/11, how that impacted this country and the world, so an attack of that scale occurring again we've been there and we don't want to be there again. >> commissioner o'neill also went after this budget in the context of how much new york has been spending since donald trump became the nominee of the party, writing today "the budget cuts come as city taxpayers are shelling out $100,000 a day when president trump is not here in the building to protect his family. the city pays $300,000 a day when trump is in new york about $24 million spent during the transition period when trump was here every day and so far we've only gotten $7 million back."
how much of an issue is this, when you look at new york's no different than any other city across america, just how tight their budgets are. >> certainly the monetary issue is of significance. it is an obligation, however, that we have to protect the president, his family, wherever they are, whenever they're there. and so the idea of providing that protection that it's something we have to do, the reality a lot of that protection, however, is in fact intended to protect against acts of terrorism, crowd control certainly is an element of it, but terrorism is the big concern. so it's reflective of the constant and in fact recently expanded need to deal with terrorism in the city, because it is the home city, the home residence of the president of the united states. >> bill bratton, always good to see you and get your insights. thank you. >> thank you. president trump about to hold that press conference with german chancellor merkel. we'll have it for you live at the top of the hour. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc.
before we go, andrea mitchell's last day in south korea but here you have this press conference between angela merkel and president trump, first time they've met, so interesting because he is very unpopular there. she has a fine line to walk. she has a re-election to worry about. >> reporter: she's been stronger in recent weeks and months,
coming back from a lot of those migration problems. is he so unpopular that i don't think you're going toee a warm anland done tald kind of moment. i think this is gng to be a careful line for her as well, not at all cozy. we will avery to see. and of course secretary tillerson goes on to china, which is going to be a difficult meeting for him. chris? >> to say the least. andrea, thank you. safe travels back. krig melv craig melvin is up next. >> chris jansing good to see you. msnbc headquarters in new york, just a few minutes from now we are expecting to see president donald trump and german chancellor angela merkel, the two holding a joint news conference on a day in which the white house so embroid in what the "new york times" calls a "full blown international incident." our government has had to answer to the british government for perpetuating a false claim du
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