tv MSNBC Live With Steve Kornacki MSNBC April 11, 2017 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT
votel, let's say this at the outset, you saw in action a superb press corps that covers the pentagon. they are most if not all of them experts in the field. you also saw the secretary calling on all of the journalists, most of them on a first name basis. they spends a lot of concentrated time in those hallways and a lot around the country and around the world covering our military. medal of honor recipient, u.s. army colonel jack jacobs has been watching here with us in the studio. what stood out to you? >> there are four things that came immediately to mind. the first was a question about no fly zones and safe zones. and he said no, we're not going to do that the reason he said that because you can't do that without the assistance of the russians. they are there, the iranians are there. they are not going to be any safe zones or no fly zones unless there's an agreement between us and the russians and
that doesn't seem to be in the offering any time soon. he clarified our strategy. it seems to be a disconnect between what secretary tillerson and the white house is saying on one hand and which is a little bit rabid to say the least and what the defense department is talking about. and it appears that the defense department is going to hold sway. in fact, we don't have a strategy that doesn't include isis. we're going after isis, that's the mission. this thing about bombing the airport and the -- >> cratering the runway. >> that was a side show. that happened. we did that in response to the use of chemical weapons and the suggestion is if they use chemical weapons we're going to do it again and maybe something more. our strategy is the same. we're only going after isis and isis we're focusing on. another thing was interesting when you compare and contrast what mattis was talking about
and what tillerson was talking about with respect to the russians complicity in the whole chemical weapons episode, mattis is much more sir couple inspect. tillerson said the russians are complicit or either stupid or complicit and mattis said we only know what we know and that doesn't include what tillerson said, and the last thing were the red lines. the white house talks about red lines and second of state talks about red lines, mattis says i don't talk about red lines. >> then he says, quote, use chemical weapons and you will pay a high price. >> that sounds to you and to me like a red line. so there's no doubt about the fact that the administration has decided that the use -- there won't be any use of chemical weapons if there is, we're going to do something about it.
and given the vi tube ration which they approached that question at the end, sounds like we're going o something other than bomb an air field. >> hans nichols was among those called on for questions in addition to our pentagon producer courtney kuby. hans, your take away from being there in the room? >> he said they do not have preemptive strike authority on syria. that gives an indication for the bluster and we heard several times, although secretary mattis didn't utter the word red lines, this amounted to one giant red line. he said they do not have preemptive strike authority. they have to go to the white house first. that tells you in some ways the post posture before this happened and we heard secretary mattis walking back rhetoric. especially on russia. they didn't say russia had knowledge of this attack beforehand or the circumstantial
evidence. they also didn't give us any update on whether or not that dec deconfli deconfliction line is still opening, they didn't confirm or deny whether or not that line is still operational. one of the quick note, he did say it wasn't in russia's interest and go ahead and have some sort of response. he seem eed pretty certain that russia is is a rational actor. there's two final questions on north korea and sailing of the vinson strike group towards north korea, he said secretary mattis that was not in response to any strong nand signal. he seemed to suggest that was part of normal operations. clearly not trying to ratt tle sabres there but the general said they do not want to discuss military options because they are still in consultation on north korea with our allies. >> hans nichols, our man at the pentagon.
thanks. out to seattle where retired u.s. army four star general barry mccaffrey has been watching and listening with us and general, i'm curious as to your opinion onno matter how many times you say we're not going to say red lines in syria, this closing quote by mattis use chemical weapons you'll pay a very big price. >> brian, it amused me when i heard that. there's a custom and service the first time a second lieutenant reaches his unit, the first sergeant tells you don't ever threaten soldiers. just say if such and such occurs, i will take action. that's what secretary maltis was doing. and i think in the background, there's some real threats here. we have to remember the enormous imbalance of power of the gigantic strength of the u.s. air force and naval aviation -- naval power compared to the russians and in particular in
syria. they are way out on a limb. the chances of a direct confrontation are remote. i think what -- in the background of this, of course, is if secretary mattis says they got 20% of the syrian air force, the next step is it will all go and that will materially change the strategic balance on the ground. and so i think what you heard out of this conference was matter of fact, stable, noni am prulsive, professional people trying to narrow the focus on look, we took a discreet strike. we're now waiting and watching the battlefield in action. >> general, we got into a little situation yesterday with sean spicer at the briefing where he seemedo say equate barrel bombs and chemical weapons use as actions that could bring about and would bring about a
u.s. response. the subject of barrel bombs came up again at the briefing by our math, on average in the year 2016, they were dropped from aircraft every 45 minutes. on civilians mostly in syria. tell our audience what they are and why they are such a feared and fear some and rude meant tri weapon at the same time? >> by the way, the white house tends to have some really incoherent answers to things, simply astonishing. remember in the background after president trump was sworn in, he did direct the pentagon by april if i remember, to have a plan for the u.s. armed forces to directly intervene in syria and create safe refugee havens inside the country, which would be madness of a high order. that's where jake jacobs correctly says, you would end up with 100,000 or more ground troops. but back to the task at hand,
when the spokesman spicer talked about seemed to be implying we'd intervene on barrel bombs, that would mean direct intervention in the civil war. when you look at syria and the rofrting nbc has done on the ground, video reporting is unbelievable. syria has been destroyed except for parts of damascus and some other cities. i mean this has been a war zone throughout the nation. a lot of that was done with self-propelled artillery and tank fire and high performance aircraft to include theruians using dumb bombs. the russians have fired naval missiles out of the black sea into syria. but the barrel bombs just got a russian helicopter maned by syrians hovering overhead and directly dropping these gigantic explosives targeting hospitals and command centers and innocent people.
outrageous. >> general barry mcafter friday, we have to end on that vote but it's part of the machinery of this business. thank you so much for being part of our coverage this afternoon. peelter alexander is standing by at the white house and peter, in plain english it was a rough weekend for the administration in terms of trying to stay on the same page. we heard different branches of policy at times directly in competition with one another. how are they doing on that front today in the wake of this briefing? >> reporter: i think it raised a fundamental question, whether this is aan administration reluctant to telegraph what its strategy is. and as his aids have said over the course of the past several weeks, whether it was the fact that this administration is winging it in terms of strategy right now. as you've been talking with our guests over the last several minutes, what we heard in the
clearest terms just yet, this was a focused strike specifically responding to the use of chemical weapons but as easy as it was for james mattis to make that point today, it's been difficult to get that out of the individuals and press secretary sean spicer and others here at the white house. you were talking about that convoluted answer. and as you just discussed, obviously, that would have been if they were true, that would have been the red line in effect. that would dramatically he is ra late our role in the war right now. secretary tillerson in advance of arriving at russia were he'll me with laf o rof basically saying america will hold to account anyone who commits crimes against innocence, whether that meant krem cal weapons or any attacks on innocence, which could mean a broader role in the area as well. the bottom line is one of the
real challenges, not so much mixed messaging but lack of a disciplined message, not so much for us parsing words but international community and rest of the world right now. >> peter alexander, thank you for that. hans nichols at the pentagon. hans, rachel mad dow did a thorough investigation into the following question on her show last night. was it 20 aircraft, 20% of the known openerable syrian air force and even though it was asked and answered today, i am still no closer to knowing the answer. >> brian, what i heard was 23 rare craft which they thinkments to 20% of the plating and operating aircraft that syria has. that seems to be their assessment. one other note on this april 6th response strike, it was made very clear, several points today
that the word they used was a sing you lar response, a one-off response. then you twin that with what secretary mautdis said at the end, they do not have preemptive strike authority. it looks more and more like we had on april 6th. this response was a unique response and they are taking this on a case by case basis. one other quick note, in several moments they used the term measured response. you can continue to hear inside the pentagon, the launching that 59 strike targets, 57 of them were hit to get the maude maddow point. you get to this idea of proportion proportionality, we continue to hear that. if there are going to be additional chem cam attacks in syria, whether or not the sarin gas or chlorine, a couple of incidents in march they believe chlorine was used. that seems to trigger a chemical -- seems to counts a
chemical attack and potentially trigger a u.s. response zbls which brings us back around to spicer getting in verbal limbo yesterday on this subject of barrel bombs. barrel bombs are so often dropped containing chlorine gas so it gedepends on your definitn of an actual chemical target is. >> when the secretary of defense says we've assessed several chemical weapons attacks and my colleague asks that follow-up questions, you think the chlorine attacks, i believe there's one, two in late march, count as chemical attacks and here the secretary of defense, those we have assessed to be chemical attacks and others don't matter. if the commonwealth thinks they count as -- so many countries have signed on to. even though mattis was pretty
cagey and coy by not saying regular light, it could be chlorine. >> most people know the difference with chlorine being used against in this case civilians, 45% of the population of an entire country has been moved out or on the run. hans nichols, part of our team at the pentagon today. and a last words on this topic for this segment at least from jack jacobs here in our studio. jack, we've talked a lot about general mattis, a lot of columnists had a good time on the theory that if his nickname hadn't been mad name, he wouldn't have been named but gave donald trump who likes brand gs something to hold on to and campaign on and it feels good to say. everyone who he knows general mattis was saying thgs the guy
you want. thank goodness he is in public serve and thank goness they changed the rule soe can now serve as defense secretary. and anything you saw today that would differ with that story? >> not at all. secretary matt s is is secretary of defense because the president 1 asked for a list of top party generals and selected general mat us because of his nickname mad dog, but couldn't have picked a better guy and general mcmaster as national security adviser because of general mattis. >> i know you come from this world, if you had to have one structure of management up and running, the hub and spokes and wheel i'm quite sure your answer would be you prefer to have it on the defense and national security side snd. >> that's the most dangerous thing. there are a lot of things -- parts of society we can fix over time and structure solutions to
problems and identify problems. but the difficulty is that in national security problems have a tendency to creep up and you have to take care of them quickly because often if you don't a take care of thex they turn into crisis which means extraordinary measures need to be taken. >> we'll take a look at all of this and mix it in with the political news of the day. tonight when we see you next on the 11th hour, 11:00, eastern time, we've had just had an extended after action report. the stated purpose of the military briefing, a report on the success of the cruise missile raid on the airport in syria. and the questioning took us into other areas but interesting to track these answers and track them against what other people in the administration are saying. our thanks to our guest who hemmed us cover this pentagon
and wake recharged. unisom sleepminis. a stressful day deserves a restful night. unisom sleepminis. remember when you said men are supeyeah...ivers? yeah, then how'd i get this... ...allstate safe driving bonus check? ...only allstate sends you a bonus check for every six months you're accident free. silence. it's good to be in, good hands. can make any occasion feel more special.ie so she makes her pie crust from scratch. and sprinkles on brown sugar streusel. so that you can spend more time
making special moments with your family. marie callender's it's time to savor but we've got the get tdigital tools to help. now with xfinity's my account, you can figure things out easily, so you won't even have to call us. change your wifi password to something you can actually remember, instantly. add that premium channel, and watch the show everyone's talking about, tonight. and the bill you need to pay? do it in seconds. because we should fit into your life, not the other way around.
go to xfinity.com/myaccount good afternoon, i'm steve kornacki. i'm next to the big board. there's a reason i'm here. it has been a very busy afternoon. it is a very busy afternoon in american politics. you just heard that briefing from the defense secretary james mattis, he discussed the ongoing situation in syria. also before that briefing from the defense secretary there was the daily press briefing from
the white house press secretary there, sean spicer. a lot was discussed, one thing getting attention. several moments when sean spicer was talking about the use of bashar al assad in syria in drawing a comparison or trying to draw a comparison between assad and adolph hitler. that prompted more questions and attempts at explanation from the ess secretary. a lot of people talking about th right now. let's start by playing what sean spicer had to say and how he tried to explain it. take a listen. >> we didn't use chemical weapons in world war ii. you had a someone despicable as hitler who didn't sink to using chemical weapons. >> so again, that getting some attention this afternoon. we'll try to get a report to you. we'll try to get a report to you on at. in the meantime though, it --
we're going to bring in david korn and david french, a writer at the national review. thank you for joining us and rolling with us. we hoped to get a report to the white house between that clip and now to hear more of the explanation coming up but that moment getting some attention here. david french, let's start with you, get your reaction to the comparison that the white house that sean spicer is trying to draw there. >> look, assad is a genocidal dictator but that comparison is completely inept. people gassed people on a staggering scale. and gassed people by the hundreds and thousands, this is not a historical secret here. and you don't even have to go to hitler to argue that assad is bad to argue that assad is a genocidal. asaad has been committing one long rolling six-year long war crime against his own people.
hundreds and thousands of people are dead. that is bad enough on its own terms. these kind of comparisons only invite further charges that the white house isn't doing its homework and white house isn't quick on its feet in communication or sometimes it just doesn't know what it's talking about. this is -- the very definition of an unforced error. >> and david, it is not the first white house i'm thinking back to 1990 when george h.w. bush was trying to build the case for action against saddam huein and remember then he said he considered hitler and hussein to be equivalent and that caused a stir back then. any time yeinvoting adolph hitler in any context, it seems you're going to get into very dicey waters. >> that's like the number one rule in a political spin meister's playbook, don't mention hitler. and yet spicer did it and had to clarify it not once or twice or three times but four times, he
said like, hitler didn't even attack his own people, of course he did. the jews and homosexuals and lesbians and communists and labor leaders were germans. it was absolutely ludicrous. i think a larger point other than he was ignorant and does not deserve to be in this position is that he was just so desperate to make this case against assad. it's a pretty easy case that assad is a war criminal and the bombings are horrific. he's trying to distract from the fact there's no real policy in the trump white house what to do with syria. we've had three or four different statements the last couple of days and there's no telling that this one strike had any effectiveness to it because they were using the air base the next day, not using it with chemical weapons but still using it. so it's an operation that hasn't been proven and for a policy
that may not even exist. what is he doing? going straight to full hitler. it's a sure sign of desperation. >> david french, thank you for rolling with us. i want to keep you around and ask you to stand by for a couple of minutes. we want to talk about other major things happening today but we were hoping to get a report from the white house on exactly how they are attempting to explain to clarify and add context to what sean spicer said on this subject and in his press briefing and we have peter alexander standing by. what can you tell us? >> reporter: you have been talking about this right now, the latest in a line of unforced errors, yesterday he said the u.s., this administration reserved the right basically to strike and reaction not just to the use of chemical weapons and barrel bombs as well. if true would be a dramatic escalation of america's position in the region. today we heard exactly what the
position is in terms of the strike. we witnessed last week, this was a measured response directly responding to the use of chemical weapons, nothing more. sean spicer clarifying that barrel bombs is not what he intended to say and there was no change in the post dure. we heard from james mattis saying the priority isn't changed, defeating isis. specifically his comments, the comparison he made in effect between bashar al assad and hitler. first was the statement and to put it best a muddied effort at a clarification. we reached out to sean spicer immediately after his comments in the briefing room and did give us a statement, there were a series of clarifications where he said he wasn't trying to lessen the horrendous nature of the holocaust and said however i was tryg to draw a contrast of the tactic of using airplanes to drop chemical weapons on innocent people, even that hasn't satisfied a lot of critics right now.
you're in tough territory trying to make any comparison to adolph hitler. but as james mattis said even in world war ii, chemical weapons were not used, there was the use of the pesticide and deaths of so many jews right now. but the distinction the secretary was trying to make, even back then there wasn't this crossing of a red line we're witnessing right now with bashash al assad and that was the need for the effort of deterrence. >> peter alexander, thank you for that. there's a reason i'm standing over here at the big board. when do we use the big board the most? we use it during election season and guess what today is? today is an election day. the president himself his mind is clearly on this. he's looking for something today. this is what the president donald trump tweeted a few hours ago, ron estes is running today it in the great state of kansas. i need his help on health care
and tax cuts. what's this election and why is the whole political world watching it? let me take you through what you need to know. they are voting right now in kansas and a lot of people are looking at this as an early really first test at the polls of how the trump presidency may be going over with people. ron estes, the guy donald trump is talking about, the republican candidate in a special election for a seat in congress in the fourth district of kansas. that's wichita, that's t wichita area and kansas and there's the democratic nominee james thompson by the end of tonight, one of them will be on the way to congress. here's the interesting thing, this district on paper not a competitive district when they announce there's going to be a special election here, everybody said wow, that's it, republicans will win easily, they don't need to pay attention. donald trump won by 27 points last fall. why is it -- this is a big question, we don't know and don't have recent polling. why are republicans nervous and trump tweeting and spending money and sending ted cruz in
late? he was out there yesterday, two reasons, two things republicans are nervous about here in kansas and more broadly. number one, democratic enthusiasm, think of the protests you've seen and marches and actions at town hall meet beings that republican members of congress have had. republicans are worried, it's a special election and people aren't used to voting in april. is every democrat in the district, do they have this circled on the calendars. does it matter more to democrats to send a message against trump than it does to republicans to get out to the polls? that's one thing republicans are nervous about. the other is in kansas, the governor there sam brownbeck, a close ally of estes, brownback's approval rating is roughly 30%, even struggling with republicans in kansas. could there be brownback blow back that hurts estes in this race.
keep this in mind, think back to the fall campaign. donald trump, his poll numbers were terrible as a republican nominee. people said he's not qualified and doesn't have the temperament, they were state polls popping up, could hillary clinton win texas? could hillary clinton win alaska? democrats were very optimistic heading into the election saying we're putting in play places nobody thought we would have a chance at and then of course donald trump won those places and won the presidency. that's the other question and somebody maybe republicans are hoping for. are we in the special election today and in for a repeat of what we saw last fall where all of the signs are devastating for the republicans and they win anyway? keep in mind this is just one of five. today is the state, this is the special election spring season, we have five of them across the country. after today the one that everybody is really looking at is next week down there in the suburbs of atlanta. the sixth district, this is one democrats don't think they can send a message in but maybe
doing closer than expected. they think they can win that, if they can win that one it's going to tell people they have a shot to take back the house in 2018. that is where democrats mind's are right now. guess who is out there in wichita though? in that fourth district of kansas, our very own jacob rascon rasconis covering the election. it's the middle of the afternoon. doesn't look like a whole heck of a lot of activity. is there a buzz on the ground? is one side more motivated than the other? >> you know, it's actually been pretty steady. we've had a lot of people come in here and more people in the morning and at lunch and expect more after work. it's been busier than many expected. and what we're finding is that i think half of the people solidly that i've talked to and talked to dozens as they leave, say look, this is kansas, they've always gone republican and it will go republican and they sound comfortable and very confident about that but those who i talked to voting for the
democrat, the political new comer, several of them said, i feel especially enthusiastic about this, maybe we have a real shot. we have one of those people right now. michelle, y is there more hope this time than in the last 20 years when every race has gone to republicans? >> because we have legitimate reasons to distrust the current administration. >> meaning the president of the united states? >> that's true. but also the governor. >> but the governor you're saying. because of his low approval ratings and president's low approval ratings, you think that -- >> very much so. >> it's a special circumstance. you really think there is a chance here today. >> i'm hoping. i'm hoping. >> thank i, michelle for your time. i'll also note steve that we met one person who had voted for donald trump but said he was so unhappy with his performance that he switched his vote. that's one out of dozens of
people. then one other person we talked to a woman who voted for the democrat, said her husband always votes for the republican and cancels her out but today he wasn't enthusiastic about the election and decided not to show up. steve? >> there it is, the enthusiasm factor. jacob rascon out there. thanks to both of you for sticking around. let's talk about not just kansas but special elections in general. both parties are each looking at these elections very closely. david, for democrats i think they are trying to beat the spread in kansas and probably not winning the race tonight but do they make it cloers than expected and win next week in georgia? when you look at all of that energy out there in the democratic base right now, do they need to put up a surprising win somewhere in one of these special elections to tell their base yeah, we're getting somewhere with this? >> i think donald trump is providing the base all of the motivation that's needed and i
don't think people protesting from california to maine are going to change their mind on the basis of what happens with the kansas election if it seems like the republicans are going to win a seat that is always held by a republican. that will not be disappointing. now, if it should happen to win, themocrats should happen to win that seat, i think that will get people revved up, but a loss -- this seat can do more to change republican attitudes than democratic attitudes and it already has because you see them worrying about this seat and what's happening in georgia. another difficult seat for the democrats but little bit more within reach as you know than this seat in kansas. to if they don't win and come close in georgia, that's good enough for progressives and democrats but for republicans more reasons to worry about big elections next year. >> the psychology of the republican party, i'm wondering about this and thinking back to the fall campaign and there were even republicans that put the headlines up where the trump in
danger of losing georgia and texas and then on election days he wins all of those states and gets elected president. is there a jolt? if republicans end up defying in the special elections all of the headlines about could they be in trouble in kansas and in georgia, if these revert to form like they did on election day last november, does that draw those republicans in congress who don't really know what to make of trump still? does that draw them closer to him? >> you know, it might. right now the gop is kind of getting i am perve yus to bad news. there was all of this talk about how the republicans were in danger of having red states turn blue and danger in ways maybe even in the house. this could have been a wave election and polling wasn't good and they won at every level. right now the gop is in a mode where it's sort of saying, show us if there's all of this energy out there, if there's all of this activism out there, are these new voters?
prove it to us. we'll have to say. one thing about the special elections, they are going to be forgotten pretty quick. it's about trying to judge how the nba playoffs will come out based on a game in november. it's just -- it's not all that important in the great scheme of things. it's more of a news cycle or two and the news move on and next waving of polling comes in and we're a long way away from the meaningful elections. >> steve, there's one interesting thing you vntd raised yet and that is on the democratic side at least, there's been a real success in raising money for the candidates, not from the party, the party didn't start james thomps thompson, the candidate in kansas, but grass roots raised a lot of money and in georgia, the democrat there has raise a record amount ofmoney. that just shows you tha as we saw with bernie's campaign and barack obama's campaign, there is a lot of grass roots energy
that these people want to put money behind candidates and that's always good news for a political party. >> i think i saw the number at 8 million on the democratic side and that one race down there. >> it's amazing. >> down there in georgia. by the way, david french, we can predict the nba finals, it's going to be the celtics over the warriors in six games. >> keep dreaming. >> thank you both for joining us. we're going to squeeze a quick break in. we're juggling a lot this afternoon on the other side we'll get more reaction to that press briefing we just got his first as defense secretary from james mattis, the white house accusing russia of trying to quote cover up syrian president bashar al assad's role in a chemical weapons attack. how will that change what the trump administration wanted to do originally when it came to the relationship with russia and even more, new kmentsz from the ceo of united airlines, is he making the situation better or worse? we'll tell you what he's saying now.
we're going to turn back to the top story, the top defense official speaking today about the air strike carried out last week on syrian air field in response to the deadly chemical weapons attack. defense secretary james mattis saying that syrian president bashar al assad should think before using chemical weapons again. hans nichols joins us now. a lot of messages being delivered. one that jump out at me, he seemed to be saying he thinks assad got that message. >> they think he got the message but we have to be clear here there's escalating rhetoric and deescalating rhetoric. very clear if assad acts again there will be additional action. with russia, he was given several opportunities whether he
thought russia knew ahead of time, commanders at the air bass hit on april the 6th and several occasions secretary mattis did not indict russia. they didn't say they had concrete conclusive evidence that russia knew before hand. listen tohe warning to assad on additional action. >> the use of chemical weapons, contrary to the geneva convention that syria signed up for, using chemical weapons that syria agreed under u.n. pressure to remove from their arsenal, those chemical weapons that the russians certified were gone, that if they use chemical weapons, they are going to pay a very, very stiff price. >> steve, although most of the time allotted to it was the russia and syria connection. he made it very clear at the top, the focus of the trump administration is still to defeat isis. that's the number one focus and
remains the goal and this singular one-off attack has not affected that. one thing we're still trying to figure out here, was there intentional ambiguity on the secretary of defense's party on whether or not chlorine constitutes the use of a chemical weapon that would trigger a response, whether or not chlorine in a barrel bomb would require or call upon the u.s. to use a red line. it seems as though mattis was measuring and parsing words closely. right after the presser ended, a lot of reporters tried to figure out what exactly mattis was intending to say. it's still unclear and also unclear from the white house's side just what is a chemical weapon. >> hans nichols at the pentagon. thanks for that. let's turn now to retired army brigadier mark kimmet, and former deputy director of the u.s. central command. thank you for joining us. let me ask you a basic question.
the defense secretary thinks assad got the message, this will change assad's behavior in the future. do you look at the situation and think that is likely that assad will behave differently going forward? >> i certainly hope so. up to this point he's proven that he's willing to continue this war. look, i think it's important to note that he has nowhere to go. bashar al assad is surrounded. if he loses the power inside of syria, it's not as if he can go somewhere else. i think he sees this battle as existent shal and i would expect him to continue the fight. he may have gotten the message on the use of chemical weapons but we set a bar, don't use chemical weapons but we don't have a comment on anything below that so it effectively if there was a message, it was go ahead and use what you want but don't use chemical weapons. >> how is that possible to play out at all, how the u.s. -- is that a policy going to have to
sort of come into focus based on events on the ground and u.s. deciding well he killed civilians here but it wasn't with chemical weapons, we'll look the other way. how does the u.s. piece a policy together on the kind of attacks assad is carrying out when they are not necessarily all chemical attacks? >> that's the problem we've had since this war has started in 2006. he has deliberately gone after civilians to try to break the back of the opposition. this is an issue that has been going on almost 11 years. i don't think we figured it out. >> and in terms of his ability to hold on you're mentioning that as well, a big factor there is russia, his biggest individual sponsor, russia. play for you what sean spicer had to say today about russia, putin, their relationship with syria. take a listen. >> in this particular case, it's no question that russia is isolated. they have the line themselves with north kor and syria and iran, it's not exactly a group
of countries that you're looking to hang out with. with the exception of russia, they are all failed states. there's clearly clsh russia is on an island when it comes to its support of syria or frank of acknowledgement of what happened. >> can you see a realistic scenario in the near future where russia might walk away from syria? >> i really don't. the fact remains the russians are not necessarily backing bashar al assad but trying to maintain the strategic interest they have in the mediterranean region and middle east. it may not be bashash al assad in power a year from now -- >> that does open the door potentially, could there be some kind of negotiated settlement that russia participates in that you could see happening that would get assad out in the relatively near future and russia maintains a role but assad does leave? >> certainly that's what we have been trying to achieve the last couple of years.
certainly the russians have said it doesn't necessarily have to be bashar al assad, what we have to realize, the military operations have to lead to an end state. if it is not more military operations it is a settlement. whether al assad is part of it, i don't believe that will be the case. as russians hope, syria will remain u.n. teary state with a replacement, not simply a power vacuum inside the country, that's what the russians want and quite frankly that's what everybody wants. >> retired brigadier general, thanks for the time. >> one more break here. on the other side, the social media backlash over unite d airlines, it's only intensifying today. the new ceo out with a new statement. this is his third attempt in the last 24 hours to address the situation. is he getting critics off his back or only making it worse? we'll tell you what he's saying now next.
termites, we're on the move.24/7. roger. hey rick, all good? oh yeah, we're good. we're good. termites never stop trying to get in, we never stop working to keep em out. terminix. defenders of home. i'm phil mickelson, pro golfer. my psoriatic arthritis caused joint pain. just like my moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. and i was worried about joint damage. my doctor said joint pain from ra... can be a sign of existing joint damage... that could only get worse. he prescribed enbrel to help relieve pain and help stop further damage. enbrel may lower your ability to fight infections. serious, sometimes fatal, events including infections, tuberculosis, lymphoma, other cancers, nervous system and blood disorders, and allergic reactions have occurred. tell your doctor if you've been someplace
where fungal infections are common or if you're prone to infections, have cuts or sores, have had hepatitis b, have been treated for... heart failure, or if you have persistent... fever, bruising, bleeding, or paleness. don't start enbrel if you have an infection like the flu. joint pain and damage... can go side by side. ask how enbrel can help relieve joint pain and help stop joint damage. enbrel, the number one rheumatologist-prescribed biologic. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ sfx: engine revving ♪ (silence) ♪
> united airlines's stock is down 1% at close while the full extent of the damage to be done remains to be seen. consumers have been taking to twitter over the last 24 hours vowing never to fly united again. the ceo is releasing a new statementn the last hour, the third attempt to address the situation. i continue to be disturbed by what happens on this flight and apologize for the customer forcibly removed women take full responsibility and will work to make it right. they will complete a review before the end of the month. joining me now to discuss that, branding expert at cnbc's courtney reagan. that statement we are getting, this is the first one. this direct acknowledgement of what people are seeing in the video saying the customer was
removed and talked in a very different language yesterday about that seat and tried to justify it. is that a sponsor do you read the straatement as the stock market news that the stock is down? >> possibly. the ceo of the company has to worry about a lot of things. the stock price and the image and the employees. his first statement was sort of trying to be supportive of his employees saying these are the policies and we followed them and he should have said hey, let's take a look at the policies and make sure we didn't do something wrong. he should have apologized initially as he is finally doing and we did see the stock price head a little bit higher after that third attempt at a statement that came off much more as an apology. this is not snag they will live down quickly. investors paid attention today.
>> when are we talk about anding and the value of a brand and the image of a company, what could the impact of this be. i ask from this standpoint. there are fewer airline choices than ever for consumers. you have delta and united and jet blue and not too many. even those who are upset if a week from now they are looking to plan a trip and united is the only option, is it going to make a difference? >> if you have to go somewhere and it's the only option, you will get on the plane, but you are not be happy about it and you will not feel good about it. brands are build on emotional response. you are not going to have a good response to dealing with this airline. especially if you realize that this assault on this one passenger is really an assault on every page what it says and what the ceo confirm side that we do what we want and what matters if are us. the heck with all of you. this was a long-term play that
is going damage their business for a long time. >> it seems to me the obvious solution in a situation like this is don't stop the bidding at $800. you probably didn't have to go that much higher to find someone who said okay, $1500 and i'll take it. that's cheaper than what we are enduring. from now on, we are paying you if we overbook. >> of course. the first thing you do is take what could be a problem and turn your scar into a star. the plane is overbooked, but we will give you an overnight stay and vouchers. keep the bidding going up. there are limits on how much you can give, but someone would raise their hand and say i will be happy to get off. when you are explaining, you are losing. no one cares why or how they did it. they care about how they were treated. the other thing he must do.
he really should done it at first. apologize, apologize, apologize. sincerely. mean it and do something about it. don't let it continue and let the blogosphere beat you up. say i'm sorry. we screwed up. we don't act this way. and fix it. we getting signals behind the scenes? three statements in 24 hours from the ceo. any signs that within the company he is in any trouble for this? >> that's a rea interesting question. united certainly has actually performed fairly well when you look at the ock price against competitors, but something like this will leave a little bit of a mark. you need to look perhaps at the communication strategy they have employ and why did it take three statements to say he was sorry? when it comes to the ceo you look at the financial performance of the company. these are very, very important
issues that have certainly gotten a lot of attention and the internet lives on forever and ever and these things are not going away. we saw the image of the united plane said fight club in the back. that's going to be out there for sometime. >> cnbc courtney reagan and bruce. thanks for joining us. we'll be right back. there's nothing more important to me than my vacation. so when i need to book a hotel room, i want someone that makes it easy to find what i want. booking.com gets it. they offer free cancellation if my plans change.
from the attorney of the passenger removed from the flight. let me read you what the attorney said. the family wants the world to know they are appreciative of the out pouring of prayers, concern and support they received. currently they are focused only on his medical care and treatment. there will be no further statements for now. that's from the family that. does it for us. mtp daily starts now. >> if it's tuesday, the trump white house focuses on messages to assad and putin. rex tillerson in moscow. >> assad made the russians look not so good. >> someone as despicable as hitler didn't sink to using chemical weapons. >> even in world war iimi chel weapons were not