tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC April 10, 2017 8:30pm-9:01pm PDT
this week, secretary of state rex tillerson will face the biggest challenge of his as yet short tenure in office, a trip to russia. the former exxonmobil ceo will have to walk a fine diplomatic line and doing it while working under the added scrutiny of multiple investigations into possible connections between the trump campaign, trump administration, and russia. tillerson is tasked with convincing russia to pressure syria's president to stop using chemical weapons on his own people. all while avoiding any major conflict. and if you are wondering what the message to russia about syria will be, you are not alone. the trump administration, as we saw this weekend, is facing a
lot of questions about mixed messages on its plan. >> in no way do we see peace in that area with assad as the head of the syrian government. and we have to make sure that we are pushing that process. >> it is through that political process that we believe the syrian people will ultimately be able to decide the fate of assad. >> what haley pointed out sits' very difficult to figure out how a solution could result from the continuation the assad regime. we are not saying we are the ones who are going to affect that change. what we are seeing is other countries have to ask themselves some hard questions. >> i think the trump doctrine is something he articulated throughout the campaign which is that america's first. we are going me se our national interests are protected that we do what we can to make sure that our interests both economically and national security are at the forefront and we are not going to become the world's policemen running
around the world. >> interesting. with us to talk about all of this tonight, jack jacobs, one of only 75 living recipients of the medal of honor. cole jacobs joins us. we are happy to welcome back michael crowley, senior foreign affairs correspondent. michael i again with a process question for you. what is normally the clearing house -- and the white house has several people that speak on the kinds of per numbera issues on foreign policy. especially going into a weekend, sunday shows. where do the so less viewpoints come from other than knowing we are going to row in the same direction. >> national security council, national security adviser might have is a say. you might have a communications chief on the nsc probably in
communication with the white house communications team, you know, whoever the white house press secretary and communications director are. i wonder whether that process happened in this case because these trump spokespeople seem to be all over the map. and more generally, brian, i'm wondering whether, you know, we have a national security process that's functioning in the drishl sense where the meetings are happening regularly, everybody is coming together the policy is being hammered out in a methodical way or if we are still in a improvisational mode when itomes to t policy and the handling. both are confused right now. >> i was going to ask, sean spicer's comment. the president a week ago say i don't want to be president of the world. what sean spicer detailed collides with the notion of lobbying 60 cruise missiles into a foreign country. >> absolutely. you know, nothing that we've seen or heard from this white house in the last week squares
with the america first philosophy that trump espoused during the campaign or any number of statements trump made about foolish american interventions overseas. i mean everything trump seemed to stand for in foreign policy is being turned on its head. some of the comments you heard are breath taking. sean spicer in his briefing today even seemed to suggest that the regime's use of barrel bombs against civilians constituted some kind of red line or trigger for further american response. these barrel bombs are dropping by the dozens every day. so at a minimum, it's a real lack of discipline when it comes to the message, probably revealing incoharps about poll see. you have got to get the policy right, but also brian you have to be precise in your messaging because you are telling both your friend and your adversaries where your lines are and what kind of behavior you exempt. if you don't have clarity you have possibilities for dangerous
miscalculations. >> before i go to colonel jacobs on this horrendous subject of barrel bombs but it's germane it's in the news, we have to talk about it. let's hear one of the two times sean spicer took this up. this is sean spicer from the podium on barrel bombs today. >> the sight of people being gassed and blown away by barrel bombs ensures that ife see this kind of action again, we hold open the possibility of future action. if you gas a baby, if you buput barrel bomb into innocent people, i think you will see a response from this president. >> jack, what just happened there is he named it as kind of a threshold, beyond which you may hear from the united states. i have a stat here that shows nearly 13,000 barrel bombs were dropped in the year 2016. can you, for our audience, define the weapon here? what is a barrel bomb? >> it's an extremely
unsophisticated weapon. it's basically a barrel filled with explosive and or incendiary substance and nuts and bolts and other shrapnel, makings of shrapnel. and these things are the most unsophisticated -- they are basically ieds dropped from, as we discussed earlier, frequently hovering h ining helicopters on civilians usually because they don't have anti-aircraft weapons so the helicopters just easily hover above them and drop these weapons. >> sometimes i know they have chlorine gas on board, kind of whatever they can -- they really are improvised. they are gruesome. they are lethal. but with dozens of them falling a day. and this is line of sight, rolling them out of a helicopter onto your own people, they can't place that as the line beyond which they are going to respond. >> it's kind of interesting.
we start out as america first. thene decided if they are going to use poison gas, that's a line they can't cross. and now the line is inching farther and farther forward. you use barrel bombs when you don't have anything else when all you want to do is kill civilians. if you were going to drop them on military people, those military people shoot back typically and you can't shoot at a -- you don't want to use a helicopter over anything but civilians. it is a weapon to destroy civilians, demoralize civilians. 234 an environment in which assad does not have anything other than an air force and barrel bombs, left to their own devices, without barrel bombs and no weapons of mass destruction, assad would have a heck of a time maintaining even the modicum of control he has now. so when you keep moving that line forward, you are almost guaranteeing that the next thing that will happen will be another
american strike. and i'm not opposed to that necessarily, but we don't have a policy. and without a policy, striking doesn't make a de deal of sense. >> michael crowley, obviously we don't have a whole lot of agreement on this topic. >> no. not at all. and i think, you know, you just have to think that trump at this point is sort of improvising it. some of it may be if you want to give him a little benefit of the doubt, he is learning, he probably wasn't too tuned into the details of this stuff. now he is getting high level briefings, he is appreciating the complexity of the problem. and he is balancing disoperate views in his own administration. if hillary clinton came into office, she had a clearly defined world view, had policy papers, she had teams coming together and were spending months figuring out how she would respond to all these issues. i would wager heavily that
hillary clinton's campaign sta had meetings before the election talking abt this scenario, what would they do if assad used chemical weapons, had gamed it out. nothing like that went on in the trump team. and they are gaming it out. >> interesting thing here is trump's team doesn't exist. it's in a state of flux. until it settles down to have someone actual had he in charge, the -- >> up next, i'll speak with a member of congress, an iraq war veteran why he was opposed to last week's cruise missile strike. when "the 11th hour" continues. just like the people who own them, every business is different. but every one of those businesses will need legal help as they age and grow. whether it be help starting your business, vendor contracts or employment agreements. legalzoom's network of attorneys can help you every step of the way
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also has a degree in international relations from harvard university. he sits on house armed services. congressman, thank you for coming in. you were against this particular use of force. i must say when a lot of americans woke up the next morning and saw who was admittedly propaganda video of planes taking off from this relatively very small compact airport, they wondered what that was all about the night before. what was that attack all about in your view? >> well, that's the problem. we don't know. it was an impulsive attack. we have no strategy about what is the next step. we have no strategy what is the ovall strategy in syria. we're playing with too many sides right now. and you know, as somebody who has fought in the iraq war i don't want us to trip into another war in the middle east. this is the danger. this is danger of praising this type of attack when in the end you know there is no military
goal right now and we can essentially cause ourselves a lot of damage and even really destabilize the region more than it is now. >> the critics of the sean spicer briefing today have raised a good point. and that is if you are going to come out against barrel bombs as basic and gruesome a weapon as there is, do it before now. do it before -- what was the stat -- about 13,000 of them falling in 2016. >> right. >> this is dozens a day. and as i mentioned, many of them contain clearine gas for added measure -- chlorine gas for added measure. >> when you are dealing with the middle east, the most important thing you can do is be predictable, is to have a doctrine that people understand, both your enemies and your allies. if you are being irration and acting irration you are going to have irration outcomes of that is very, very dangerous for us to be operating in this world. without a doubt what assad did
is horrible, he did gas his own people and there should be repercussions but it should be laid out, it should be a strategy and should be something we are not just executing but executing with allies. at the same time we should be able to use the tune to also put per on people like russia. syria is client state of russia. russia was knowing or at least complicit in this type of nerve gas attack on the syrians. the fact that we are only going to crater a couple of airport fields and think that that's going to send a message when russia seems to be doubling down i i think is naive foreign policy. >> of all things, leaving the runways in fact. i heard lindsey graham use your argument in reverse. he seemed to be indicating it is a good thing that no one in the regi will be able to predict how this ainistration is going to react. >> i mean, that just goes against what we understand after hundreds of years of foreign policy.
you know, it's not a good thing. it does not help the fact that we have hundreds of men and women in harm's way right now both in syria and iraq. they are within striking distance of assad's army, of hezbollah, of many other actors that would gladly strike at our men and women if they feel threatened. and they may feel threatened just because we are being so unpredictable within our own actions including the men and women flying missions right now all over syria. this is why we have operations to deacon conflict with russia to make sure we are not shooting at each other. whatever we are doing over there we should be predictability. it doesn't mean we can be strong. it just means we are going to work in a manner that pris some strategy, some doctorate that would bring us potentially good outcomes without getting us into the middle of a shooting war this the middle of a volatile
area of the middle east. >> congressman from west of tempe, thank you for coming on the broadcast we appreciate it. >> thank you for having me. coming up after the break, congress heads home for recess but not all members are willing to face their constituents while they are aho. when "the 11th hour" continues. . ...it starts a chain reaction... ...that's heard throughout the connected business world. at&t network security helps protect business, from the largest financial markets to the smallest transactions, by sensing cyber-attacks in near real time and automatically deploying countermeasures. keeping the world of business connected and protected. that's the power of and.
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>> i am not going to support planned parenthood. my fight's not with planned parenthood. my fight is witho taxpayer's money going to any organization that does abortions. let me finish. ma'am, are you okay? >> killing women. you are killing women. >> who is abortion doing, ma'am. >> congressman tedio ho of
florida facing an angry voter tonight in his home state. only two swing district republicans that backed obamacare replacement will in fact hold face to face town halls during this congressional recess according to u.s.a. today. the headline, republicans avoid town halls after health care votes. quote, there have been roughly 30% newspaper editorials slamming so heidi, ted yoho is a trade veteran by trade, and in plain
english the folks in his distri know him and who they elected. who were the swing state members of congress you mentioned? >> right, well i thought that i could go ahead and quantify this trend that i was seeing by observing these editors that you mentioned calling on members to come and face their voters and i thought well if this is happening with local newspapers then it is happening. so i took a look at all republicans that cast a vote in committee, the bill never made it to the floor. so there were two members, representative ryan costello of pennsylvania, and lance of new jersey, who were willing to hold face to face meetings with their constituents. of course the caveat was that these meetings, they really covered themselves by saying well, while i voted in committee i wouldn't have voted for it if it came to the floor.
these are the trends where the members are shying away from the town hall forms. and in a certain way you can understand why given that some of them are being shouted down. but on the other hand, in terms of just the long-term effects of this, this is the most basic function that members of congress are supposed to serve, which is to be accountable to their constituents. and you already have the resistance kind of taking advantage of this by holding essentially empty chair town halls and dogging these members, which is -- in its own right gathering press attention,hi is exactly the outcome that they're trying to avoid by dodging the town halls. >> kaitlin, politics as i always say is the place where people are the boss and the customer at the same time. they don't have a lot to go home on and brag about, so this decision to avoid massive gathers and the people who sent
them to washington is unusual. >> it is, and what is really interesting about this cycle, you have a very active democratic base and organized by the donald trump presidency than they were by barack obama and hillary clinton during the campaign. you also have the advancements of technology that make it very accessible for people to find out when and where their town halls are, a lot of these groups are harnessing social media to get the word out to go to these sorts of things. but the really important thing here is that republicans have promised all of these things, namely a repeal and replacement obamacare over the course of seven years saying elect more of us and we will give you this. when you play that intro into the show about the 100 days of the trump presidency really the only victory they can claim is the supreme court nominee confirmed which is a big deal but that has to do with the senate, not the house. and you explained the process by which that happened.
>> and heidi, what is your 15-second answer on whether speaker ryan thought he was taking a political bullet for members in not allowing a vote? >> i think he just didn't have the votes, and certainly some of those republicans he was sparing from this outcome that these members that we're seeing here are facing on the stage. but he wants to bring i bk up again, so that is not sparing them, that is just prolonging the pain. >> this is an important issue, thanks to both of our journalists, they're getting organized to cover as many of these town halls across the country as we can get to during the two-week recess, those of us who will have the meetings. thank you. and we have called the trump administration the 2017 full employment act for journalists. today they were rewarded by
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last things before we go here tonight, this was a big day for the enemies of the american people, that is what you may remember donald trump called us as members of the press. for our colleagues today, it was a big day, the pulitzers were awarded. as we go through the titles today, the president of the united states has already given
them. let's start with the failings of "the new york times," they had a big day with the photography, and the dummies won, and the daily news won in the public service journalist category, and the phoney, "washington post," he won for national reporting and especially his reporting on donald trump. that will do it for us on this monday night, thank you for joining us. good night from new york. there is a lot going on in the news right now. today we got a new united states supreme court justice who many people will now call justice neil gorsuch. but many other people will
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