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tv   MSNBC Live With Kate Snow  MSNBC  April 12, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT

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it starts about an hour from now. that's not all. a very busy, very important day for american foreign policy. the second meeting. 5,000 miles away has the world's attention this afternoon. secretary of state rex tillerson sitting down with russian president putin. plus, is steve bannon on the hot seat? president trump giving a less than ringing endorsement of his chief strategist. i want to introduce to you hallie jackson, michael o'hanlon here. the director of research at the brookings institution. if i can, hallie, i'll start with you. let me start with bill in moscow. that's where we've had all the action in the last hour and then i'll get to you. that press conference between foreign minister of russia and secretary tillerson, it was pretty icy. they sat there next to each
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other talking past each other. talking about policies they don't share. their view of syria quite different. tell me how you read that and how strong language was from secretary tillerson. >> when the two men sat across the frabl each other and rex tillerson sat there and listened to sergeier lavrov talk about how bad the u.s. was. he started by saying, it's been a long day. that's one of the only things they could agree with. he spent two hours with him and two hours with vladimir putin, a meeting that we thought might not take place at all. but i think mostly they agreed how bad their relationship was. as lavrov said, it is uneasy. rex tillerson saying the current
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state at a low level of trust. we can't let this continue. we need put an end to this steady degradation. then they went into everything they disagreed about. they clearly completely diametrically disagree on the chemical weapons. and also about assad. they discussed assad at th. mr. tillerson said assad should leave power in an orderly way. the reign of the assad family is coming to an end. russia can help. lavrov said the united states has an obsession with regime change. there getting rid of dictators. there have been too many of those. this meeting with vladimir putin was designed to do one thing, maybe it did that.
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maybe it drew a line. maybe this is rock bottom. and that meeting between mr. putin and secretary of state tillerson is a way for putin to show, for example, that we've got to do better than this. but yeah, as you said, right at the beginning, fairly icy press conference. lavrov as ever, garilous. er rex stilgs a lot more experienced in diplomacy today. >> i want to get into that and talk about tillerson's time in russia. as we said about 4:00 eastern time about, an hour from now, we do expect the they're on time, the president and the nato secretary general to come out and give a press conference. i can't imagine the first question won't be about russia and syria. >> and maybe the second, third and fourth questions as well.
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we know that senior white house officials are saying that russia is on the agenda for this discussion with the nato secretary general with the topics that have come up. when you look at nato. for example, the president and his administration pushing strongly for what they call other nations to pay their fair share, if you will. that said, the president is expected to reiterate what officials are calling his iron clad commitment, his absolute commitment to nato. the back drop that is hanging over this interaction. what action they might be prepared to take given where this relationship is with russia. does secretary general agree with the administration relationships are at a low point right now? even though there is a ton of tension relative to the press xompb we just saw, all eyes will be on the president in roughly 60 minutes. i don't have a read yet if we're running on time but i'll run in and check.
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>> thank you. we heard secretary tillerson saying that russia needs to help. you heard it. in sound bite. needs to help get rid of assad. move asaad out of power. and then you heard the foreign minister saying that never works. you didn't move dictators out. do you think that the u.s. has a partner in russia in any way or not? >> hi, kate. no. i don't think. so i think today's conversation as difficult as it's been is a necessary corrective to the unequally high expectation that's trump and putin to have the relationship. it is just as well that we get, looking at things a little more clear eyed. at this point, russia has no interest in pushing are assad aside. also, trying to fight isis and
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worrying a little about al qaeda on the side. we look at and it say, assad has done almost all the killing. so they're looking at this problem. just try to get one side to take the other perspective. it isn't going to work. the only hope sit a new idea that involves some idea of devolution of power, the areas with sunnis and kurds, even if assad is president for a wli, they have a fair amount of autonomy. it is the only type consistent with the two world views. >> joining our conversation as well. i promised a minute ago that i would reflect about what rex tillerson's history is with russia. let's break that out with a hat tip to our friends at the
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"washington post" forgot. tillerson's ties to russia began in 1998 when he was put in charge of an exxon and gas project. in 2013 vladimir putin awards him russia's order of friendship, an honor reserved for foreigners whose work benefits russia. and then he spoke out because they damaged common mobile's business there. do you get sentence longstanding commitment with russia is having any impact on the meetings he's having all day? >> it doesn't appear to me he really has on. a scale from 0 to 10 where 10 is lavrov and tillerson get up from the table, agree to sort out syria and bury the hatchet in the middle of assad's back.
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that's a 10. to tillerson walks out of the meeting in disgust. this meeting is about a 3. it was reasonably agreeable disagreement. but i'm with michael o'hanlon on this one. the only new idea here is some kind of a partition of syria which you can call a variety of different things. federalized system or whatever. i think at the moment it is highly unlikely that we'll see a coming together of the u.s. and russia. this is a wave of reality that is washing over the trump administration, that russia is not a force for good in the world. >> and i want to let our audience know for a expected we're watching the white house. in a couple of minutes we'll start getting tape in. we mention that had president trump is meeting with the nato secretary general. that's happening as we speak. let me see if i can get a question in really quickly. back to you. you're an expert on nato and all
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things nato. if you were in that room with president trump, what does he need to do to mend fences there? >> of course, the admiral is the real expert there but thank you for the question. i think you need to hope for and expect two very clear statements. the two that we've been watching. one, donald trump needs to could out and say i believe in article v. nato is robust. if any nato member is attacked, the united states will have their back, period, end of discussion. a lot of the top national security team has said that. he's chosen people who understand that clarity. so far he has not himself given that clarity. >> had pardon me, let's listen to this tape.
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>> thank you very much. see you in a little while. thank you very much. >> so that was just a brief photo op as they call it in the white house in the oval office. that's president trump meeting with the secretary general jens stoltenberg. now they'll have a bilateral meeting with some others in an expanded meeting. and then the joint press conference we've been talking about will be at the top of the next hour. 4:00 eastern time. admiral, let me go back to you since michael kindly said you're the real expert on nato. of course you are. you used to be the head of it all. tell me what would you expect out of their discussions behind closed doors. >> i think trump will continue
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to press on the 2% of spending goal and he should do that. we're starting to see some result of doing so. that's good. they ought to put that on the zpa table and then move it aside. will nato step up and join the fight against the islamic state, putting a mission in iraq and possibly helping in syria? secondly, he ought to talk about russia and how we need stand together against russia. and i think that's becoming quite clear. and i'll put a third one on the agenda that i hope they talk about. cyber security. increasingly, russia is using these kinds of toos as part of what is called hybrid warfare. nato needs to be vastly more prepared for that. so those will be on the agenda. >> the other big story of the day is north korea and we expect the president may be asked about that as well. this is what he said to fox
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business earlier today. this is him explaining what happened when he met with the chinese leader last week at are mar-a-lago. >> the first thing i brought up was north korea. we can't allow and it it is no good for you. but i think china can help us. i hope china can help us. we talked about trade. and i can tell you china will do much better on trade if they help with us north korea. >> trump and xi spoke last night as well. do you expense they're building a relationship and that could be productive for what's napping north korea is. >> it is better than what i expected at this point in the presidency. i would congratulate the president and his team ixt not a supporter on many issues but in this one i think they've managed to look at the china relationship a lot more pragmatically. we're not seeing the radical ideas. i think mr. trump is right.
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there is a need for tougher love. also on north korea policy. we won't be successful in north korea with purely military instruments. we'll need china to apply economic pressure. that's by far and away the most promising policy tool that any of us have to wield here. and we might have to do it by putting pressure on china ourselves but it would be much better for them to see that that is not a desirable outcome is that have the chinese put the pressure on north korea. we're seeing talk of china clamping down on the export of oil and or coal. i think these are healthy signals if china will follow through should north korea continue the nuclear tests. >> you're standing in moscow. i want to ask you about north korea. the "uss carl vinson" and all the associated fleet is in the region and just last hour, secretary tillerson said that was just an accident.
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that they're there all the time and it is not a signal. surely that's meant to be a signal. no? >> reporter: oh, yes, rex tillerson said don't read anything into it but the north koreans read everything into the movement of those ships. they see that as a threat. they know that as well as what they can see, there are also sub mart marines under the water and they see it as an existential threat. hence their threat that they would use potentially nuclear weapons at the first sign of any aggression. and of course, the u.s. intelligence would pittsburgh they haven't yet got the technology where they can put a nuclear warhead on a rocket. but nonetheless, they can still cause a lot of damage even with conventional weapons on seoul. sergei lavrov spoke briefly saying what's going on in the
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korean peninsula is troubling for all of us. so perhaps a very small point where the u.s. and russia can agree. >> all right. thanks to all of you. hallie had to head back into the white house to do more reporting. let's look at a live picture of the white house as we await a press conference from the president. up next, tight lipped. reports that president trump is staying mum on whether he still has confidence in steve bannon, his chief strategist. already stripped of his role on the national security council. think again.
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he. in a new interview with the new york post, trump would not say whether he still backs steve bannon. he said i like steve but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late. i had already beaten all the senators and all the governors and i didn't know steve. i'm my own strategist and wasn't like i was going to change strategies because was facing crooked hillary. a source said those comments were a warning shot noting that the president doesn't say these things in haste. this news comes after bannon was removed from the principles committee of the had security council last week.
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i bring this an msnbc contributor and ken vogel for politico. the intrigue just gets more intriguing by the day. jeremy, you just spoetdposted a york times" article. you wrote, mr. bannon appears to now recognize the peril of his situation and has kept a low profile inside the white house while mr. kushner has been away with his family. break this down. he's told friends ask associates using his trademark military vernacular that he understands he cannot throw bombs every day and he needs to peck his battles carefully. that all doesn't sound very great for steve bannon's future. >> no. if he picked up the new york post this morning and saw what the president said about him, he was certainly rattled by it. donald trump, you're right, does not say these things in isolation. and the way that he phrased
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this, first distancing himself from steve saying, i don't know him, which by the way is untrue. they knew each other for a very long time before this campaign. ben was in regular contact with trump. and bannon had trump on his radio show as a frequent guest. so yes, reading between lines there, trump is throwing some distance between the two of them. and what our reporting over the last few hours has revealed is that making a comment like that, we're told from people inside the white house, makes it increasingly unlikely that bannon can stay on in a position in which he is not significantly diminished. >> so you think your reporting indicates that he may not be long for the job? >> you never can say anything definitive about this white house until the trigger is actually pulled. but right now, it does not look good for steve bannon. >> on the other hand, let's play
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there out. if steve bannon were to be asked to leave and goes back to breitbart, wouldn't that be more dangerous for the trump administration? >> absolutely. breitbart has already taken shots at the administration and people they regard as are anathema to their nationalist sensibilities who are inside the administration. steve bannon, our sources tell us, has asked them on back off. if you don't have steve bannon in the white house, you will lose that mitigating influence. from that perspective, it might be no holds barred for breitbart. from their perspective, it would be a victory for the global the i have as they call jared kushner, ivanka trump, the folks allied with jared kushner and are seen as oppositional to steve bannon. and i think we would see not just breitbart but in other
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places on the hard right, we would see them unshackled and really going after the trump administration as what they see in the trump administration. >> jeremy, at its core, is this about steve bannon? or is about it jared kushner? >> it is about steve bannon getting in the way of the sacred trump family bond. i think that bannon made an error in getting on the wrong side of not the just jared but ivanka. it is not a coincidence that this has started to bubble over at the time that ivanka has taken over a larger capacity inside the white house. and her world view, jared kushner's world view, and crucially, the world view of top advisers like gary cohen is really at odds with the way that steve bannon sees the world through his nationalist, populi populist, conservative lens.
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and yes, on the one hand, a personality clash. but it is also a battle for the direction of the trump presidency. and just how true to his core campaign convictions president trump remains. >> and if you measure things by access, maybe we should or shouldn't, jared kushner travels to iraq with the chairman of the joint chiefs and steve bannon is getting moved off the national security council. >> yes. jared kushner, the rules don't really apply to him in the same way. but certainly it has been a feature of trump's political organization during the campaign. in the transition, now the white house that there are rival factions and you can measure sort of who is up and who is down by how close different members of those rival factions are to the president at different times. jared kushner, the rules don't necessarily apply to him. he is first among equals. he is the one who decides which rival factions and which are the
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leaders which of are gone. >> jeremy peters, ken vogel, thank you very much to both of you. and there was a delay there for a second because i was being handed something. this is important news coming in from the united nations. you heard russia's foreign minister talk about the u.n. resolution they were vote go on today. this would condemn the attack in syria. the chemical weapons attack last ek. russia has just cast a veto to block that security council resolution. in other words, russia does not want there to pass. it is a resolution that condemns in the strongest terps the u.s. of chemical weapons, in particular, the attack reported in april. that russia will veto this u.n. draft resolution. let's will listen in right now. we're listening to the united kingdom ambassador.
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>> we will continue to work our international partners to put an end to any use of chemical weapons, and to seek justice for all the victims. we will gather in the haig hague tomorrow to discuss how best to discuss how best, to establish who was responsible and paved the way to held to culprits to account. the catastrophe in syria is not the way it has to be. yesterday foreign ministers from the g-7 and key regional countries came together in italy to discuss how to move forward from last week's tragedy. they gave strong support to secretary tillerson's visit today to discuss how russia could work the international community to end the tragedy of the war in syria. russia has the sort of influence over the regime that could bring to an end the regime's use of
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chemical weapons and barrel bombs and could lead to a real cease fire that then leads to the resumption of serious political negotiations on a political transition. those excited if russia took these steps, the international would be ready to work with russia to bring peace to syria, to defeat the terrorism and reconstruct syria. so this is the choice moscow has in front of it. the world now waits to see if russia will respond to the g-7 and assume its responsibilities as a permanent member of the security council to help put a stop to the assad regime's use of chemical weapons and to work the international community to bring this tragedy to an end. thank you. >> i thank the representative of the united kingdom. i will now give the floor to the representative of france.
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>> we've been listening to the british ambassador. he had been harshly critical of russia. again, what just happened before we went to it was that russia cast a veto on the security council which is a rare thing, to block this resolution that would have condemned the chemical weapons attack last week in syria. up next, crisis management after a man is dragged off a united airlines flight. >> he was a paying passenger sit in a seat on our aircraft and no one should be treated that way. >> was it enough to quell the widespread public outrage over that incident?
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a look at the other top stories we're following. a manhunt continuals for wisconsin man who mailed a manifesto to the government. police formally charged him
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tuesday with stealing 18 guns, including an assault rifle and gun silenrsast week. the fbi has now doubled its reward to $20,000 for information leading to the arrest of that 32-year-old. and the secret service is now involved in the seven. federal hiring freeze is now over. it was announced faye agencies can start hiring again. the plan includes more jobs for homeland security, defense and veterans affairs. the freeze was put in place days after president trump took office when he signed an executive order to work on what he called draining the swamp. ask finally an apology for the first lady. the daily mail is retracting a story placed last week about melania trump's modeling career that she provided services beyond that. they now said it is false. they have agreed to pay her $2.9 million in damages. in a statement, mr. trump's lawyer said she will remain
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vigilant to protect her good name and rep frags those who make false and defamiliar four statements about her. we're hearing now for the first time from oscar nunoz from united airlines. you've seen the video from the kentucky man who was taken off the plane. >> the first thing i think it is important to say is to apologize to the doctor, his family, the passengers only flight, our customers, our employees, that is not who our family at united is. and you saw us at a bad moment. >> for reaction to all of this, i want to bring in cnbc
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contributor, from management consultants. let me start with you. in terms of the reporting late yesterday, the united ceo posts a letter to his team and said after three statements, he is taking full responsibility. he is saying it was horrific. he is going to fix things. what now? he does this interview with gma? >> not much more. this has been wildly mishandled. most ceos look to prior experience that's tainted business companies. the tinl scare in the early 1980s. needles in pepsi cans. this is an object lesson in how not to handle a scandal. the first response should have been to apologize. not to come at it several days later. for now, the stock has stabilized to an extent. still under a little pressure. with the video that we have now versus what we've seen in prior
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periods, this is going to stick with them for a little longer than normal. >> what about that? should he have to justifiesed right away? and why wouldn't he have? the first statement they put out seemed the blame the passenger. it said it was an overbooked flight. and we apologize for the overbooked situation is what they wrote initially. why not start with the one they put out last night? >> it was terrible. this was a gross mishandling, incompetence, frankly, that's why i've called for him to go. they should have double the right thing. this is about human decency. this is a man that we can all project ourselves being. this could happen to any one of us. and to treat someone like that. then to come out with this, it is corporate speak. who uses the word reaccommodate. >> is it possible he hadn't seen the video? >> not a chance. he was trying to be, in my
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opinion, i think this was a political move at first. he was trying to protect the employees of united, who have felt unprotected for a long time. this was a way for him to win some points and to be safe, okay? but the reality is it was a dumb move. what they should have done a long time ago is give this guy what results to a $100 million comp ticket because of what they're losing in brand value. it is really terrible for the brand. the board needs to step up. i heard him on gma. i listened to every word. when they asked him is he responsible? it took him three seconds to answer of three soekds television is a lifetime. he choked and he said no, he is not responsible. he still doesn't get it. >> we now know his name is dr.
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dow. he is in the hospital in chicago. he has retained a team of lawyers. he still has some injuries and he is recovering. is this a lawsuit just ready made? >> i suspect there is a lawsuit. it is not something that united would want to adjudicate in public and to have the video shown on the news time and time again. i would respect police the disagree whetherer oscar has to go over this. he is generally a pretty decent guy. united relative to its peers has not been performing all that well by a variety of metrics. there are other things he faces including the ongoing integration of unite a continental. i'm n sure this is item that knocks off the ceo. i think they have to do deep dive. their service has suffered considerably. >> it should though, ron.
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>>er they said, should he go? they said, we've looked at whether things have improved and it hasn't. >> i would argue, i have noticed a change in service. this is well beyond the pale. and they really do need to look at their culture and the way in which the airline operates. this being an extreme example of what can go wrong. and thls process of overbooking flights and offering airline dollars instead of real dollars to compensate people who are bump asked can't make their destinations. whether or not he should go is a deeper question that the board has to look at. >> while you've been talking about, that i've been getting
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some other information in that i would like the ask you about. this is a new enter view the president has just gun the "wall street journal." the perfect man to ask, the president telling the "wall street journal" the u.s. dollar is getting too strong and he would prefer the federal reserve keep interest rates low. that's one headline. the second headline is the president saying his administration does not intend to label china currency manipulator in a report due this week. so break those out for us. what does all that mean? >> the dollar dropped after my colleague on cnbc released that d the dollar dropped sharply. it is unusual for a president to comment number one on the value of the currency without a pre planned message and strategy intended. it is also unusual for the president to call on keeping interest rates low. the federal reserve is in the process of normalizing or
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raising interest rates. because the unemployment rate has fallen dramatically. unemployment has moved toward the 2% target. so they feel it is time to stop the easy money that we've seen since the end of the last financial crisis and normalize interest rates. the president of course who has used debt and leverage if his real estate life knows the value of low interest rates. it makes servicing the debt that much easier. he is looking at i as a real estate developer, not a president. it is unusual to make these comments off the cuff and he is not sure he'll renominate janet yellen. >> i didn't even get to that headline. >> on the china issue, could it be we're seeing foreign policy come into play? he is saying he won't call them a currency manipulator. >> first of all, he is incorrect.
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china hasn't manipulated their currency for 18 months, two years. so this gives him some leverage in that regard and creates one less issue between the two countries. >> we'll let you get a drink of water. thank you to you both. coming up, confidence boost. how democrats are looking to special tloekss get momentum rolling. and we're awaiting the joint news conference. we'll bring that toou as soon as it happens. sure we could travel, ke it easy... but we've never been the type to just sit back... not when we've got so much more to give when you have the right financial advisor, life can be brilliant. ameriprise
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republicans pulled off a key win last night to fill the old house seat. the margin of victory for ron estes, only 7 points thank very red district has democrats painting all ts as a win for they will of by comparison, mike won by nearly 30 percentage points. now all eyes to go georgia. that's where there will be a vote for tom price's seat after he was attempted to be health and human services secretary. an investigative journal. i has raised $8.3 million trying to lock down that seat. and for more on whether democrats have some momentum, i bring in the senior adviser and exchief of staff for joe biden, and ed is with us, from the
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missouri republican party. let me start with kansas. democrats are looking at this, even though it is a loss. they're saying, well, kind of a win. it was only a 7-point margin. >> it shows a lot. there are only 76 districts in the country as republican has the one. 360 more democratic districts in the country. and if democrats perform in those other glikts 2018 the way they did last night, they would gain 120 seats in congress in 2018. you know, the margin last night was 20 points up from what had hillary clinton got. all eyes on georgia next week as you mentioned but i think it was a great night for democrats. >> i'm going to guess that ed has a very different opinion. >> i have to tell you, to me it is the party of no. the democrats want to find hope
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in something. a win is a win. ron worked for al gore. bush won. a guy that wins by 7 is still called congressman. i don't think georgia will be close. it is a different kind of district. at the end of the day, i'm in missouri. nobody has any time for the party of bernie sanders. they really don't. it is not catching. on that's what this guy randal as. it is a little like when trump didn't come neat california and hillary claims to have won by so many votes. it doesn't matter if you win the goal, which is the race. >> the left side of the screen is the east room at the white house where we're expecting the nato secretary general and president trump to appear at any moment. i think they might be running a little early. i'm sorry, i'm going to cut our conversation a little bit short. we're going to take a quick break and make sure that we've got that press conference
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well, good day. our live coverage begins of this bilateral kind of dual press appearance with president trump and the visiting head of nato.
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an organization as everyone will say this afternoon, donald trump once called obsolete. for our purposes, it is the first chance we've seen the president take in several days to take open questions in a forum. it is usually two and two, two questions to the white house press corps, two questions to the press corps traveling with the nato general secretary. we will see if the rules change. the scene is set in the east room. nbc news white house correspondent peter alexander is standing by to talk with us. peter, obviously aside from the fact that the president once said his host's -- his guest's organization is obsolete, if you can take a step back from the minute-by-minute news cycle and set the scene going into this appearance today. >> reporter: well, i think it's striking, obviously, the president over the course of the campaign was heavily crical of nato and nations that fo it as you say.
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we heard from white house officials, ally nations, you noted it's obsolete, we heard from white house officials in the last 24 hours the message he would be delivering specifically to the nato secretary earl is the u.s. is 100% committed now the alliance, still the president wants that alliance to be paying its fair share as it's become a common phrase of officials close to the president here. among the issues that will certainly be at the top of the agenda for the conversation they're having as we speak, and the questions that will be posed to these two individuals today, will be the focus right now on russia, obviously, the addition of mont montenegro to nato allows the fortification of the effort to push back against russia and of course follows within a matter of several days. the u.s.' air strike, the cruise missile strikes that took place specifically in syria, president trump who had always said he wanted to have improved relations with russia, has taken
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in the course of the last several days to being much more critical of vladimir putin, himself, who he said is backing a person that is truly a, quote, evil person. referring specifically to bashar al assad. and brian, even as we speak to you, another fundamental campaign promise we've seen the president make a 180 on, of course, he campaigned on the idea that he would be labeling, declaring china a currency manipulator. it's something that certainly fueled a lot of the support among his populist base in this country. well, in an interview that took place as we understand it within the last matter of hours with the "wall street journal" president trump who even last week before his meeting with president xi said when it comes to currency manipulation, china is a world champion. well, he has now told the "wall street journal" that he will not declare china a currency manipulator. appears to be there may have been some commitments out of his conversations with president xi as he needs to get china onboard to try to pressure north korea, one of several foreign policy crises this administration is facing right now.
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>> peter alexander, thank you. and as peter was talking we have that magnificent live picture of the east room, kind of a cross section of the east room off the cross hallway meaning the grand fireplace is on our left, peter's right. you see members of not only the traveling press corps with the nato general secretary, but recognizable members of the white house press corps. in front of the two lecterns prior to the two leaders walking in. peter alexander, we'll be checking back in with you. and let's go to where the news and a lot of the attention was focused throughout the day because of the visit of the u.s. secretary of state rex tillerson. our own bill neely is in moscow. bill, other than what i'm told is a substantial satellite delay in getting to you with the p proviso that we may have to jump in if they begin at the white
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house, do me the favor of setting the scene from there for who are not caught up with the lavrov/tillerson talks. what was it like, how tense was it there and where do you think they left things between the two countries? >> tense and cold almost from the very beginning, you know, when they meltt across the tabl sergei love ry lavrov began a f minute lecture with rex tillerson sitting a cross the table and sergey lavrov read off a list of complaints basically about the u.s. position, but afterwards, we -- so we had three hours of talks between them, then rex tillerson met esident putin forwo hours and then we've had that news conference. since the news conference, brian, in the last hour, a couple other areas of russia vetoed a resolution that would have condemned the chemical weapons attacks and
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disagreeing on what was agreed at the meeting, so russia said there was an international investigation agreed on the chemical weapons attack. mr. tillerson's staff has said nothing was agreed. there was no agreement. you know, the two men -- i think the basic thing that they agreed on was the relations between the u.s. and russia were at a low point. and that it was something that had to be changed. rex tillerson said there is a low level of trust, we need to put an end to this steady degradation and mr. lavrov saying we need to deal with the irritants in our relationship. clearly, a lot of the talk was about syria. quite a lot was about assad. mr. tillerson said we discussed assad at length, tillerson said assad should lead power in an orderly way. the rein of the family is over and russia can help him recognize this reality. it has the best means. mr. lavrov said the u.s. has an obsession with regime change.
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getting rid of dictators. we've seen too many examples of that. hardly any of them are positive, so a long day for both diplomats and they, i suppose as i said, agreed on one thing, that relations were at a low point and need to be improved. brian? be bill, as one of our most traveled correspondents of this era, i know you're at home just about anywhere in the world and you covered stories just about everywhere in the world. did you ever dream you would in moscow this often, especially covering a story that has taken this specific turn? >> not at all. at the end of the cold war when the soviet union was collapsing. interestingly, of course, this morning, vladimir putin didn't just say relations between russia and the u.s. were the worst since the cold war, he said they were at an even lower point under donald trump which i think raised some eyebrows given
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the high hopes there were especially in moscow that donald trump's election would lead to better relations. i think that cruise missile attack has changed views. donald trump and russian newspapers in the last few days have been called a warmonger. it's almost as if the bromance is finished before the two men have even had a chance to meet. and, you know, before rex tillerson and sergey lavrov met this morning, vladimir putin came up with some very, very strong words. you know, not just that relations were at a low, but saying on chemical weapons, there is absolutely no evidence that syrian forces were responsible for those keck call weapons attacks. of course, the u.s. is citing its own intelligence evidence that russia -- that, sorry, that syria was responsible, so, you know, the gulf between these two countries is as wide as it's ever been. as wide as i ever remember it. when putin says


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