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tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  February 15, 2018 1:00am-2:00am PST

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>> and that clip is going to be on an nra broadcast soon, precisely for the reasons that you've identified. former senator barbara boxer and josh marshall, thank you for making time tonight. that's all for this hour. our coverage continues with rachel maddow. good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters in new york. of course we begin tonight with the news of today's terrible school shooting. this one in parkland, florida, about 40 miles north of downtown miami. around 2:30 this afternoon, a former student from marjorie stone natural douglas high school returned to campus and opened fire, killing 17, wounding at least 14 others. in what has become a familiar scene in this era of heightened school violence in our country, students could be seen filing out of the building, running out of the building with their hands in the air as heavily armed members of law enforcement moved in to search the area. only today in florida some of
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the students could be seen if you looked closely holding valentines that they had received from their friends at school. the broward county sheriff's office has identified the suspect as 19-year-old nicolas cruz who was taken into custody about an hour after the shooting began. officials believe he was armed with one semiautomatic ar-15 style rifle and multiple ammunition magazines. inside the school, depending on how close the classrooms were to the gunshots and some of this video started appearing on social media within minutes. there was panic, there was screaming. as teachers tried to follow security protocols and students ran to safety. many of them barricaded themselves in closets and classrooms until hearing the all-clear from arriving members of the local s.w.a.t. teams. earlier tonight officials, including governor rick scott of florida, held a news conference on today's shooting. near the end of the briefing, broward county sheriff scott
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israel said if a person is committed to an act of violence, law enforcement can only do so much. >> if a person is predisposed to commit such a horrific event, like going to a school and shoot people, if a person is going to drive a truck into a crowded area, if a person is committed to committing great carnage, there's not anybody or not a lot law enforcement can do about it, or any entity can do about it. the only things we can do are train very hard. we have to train rigorously, and we do. we have to be able to mitigate. we have to be able to respond quickly so we can lessen the loss of lives. >> for the very latest, we want to go to nbc news correspondent tammy leitner, reporting all day from parkland, florida. >> reporter: brian, it's been about eight hours since this shooting happened. and we are still seeing parents and students coming out here, talking, grieving, supporting each other.
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but mostly searching for answers. why today? 17 teachers and students are dead. >> oh my god! >> reporter: who are. in the classroom. terrifying gunshots near the end of the school day. students posting videos on social media as a shooter opened fire at stoneman douglas high in florida north of ft. lauderdale. >> i have the gunshot victim. >> this is a catastrophic and unbelievable, catastrophic day in broward county history. it's devastating. i'm sick to my stomach. >> hands, put your hands up! >> reporter: teens streaming out single file, hands in the air, reminiscent of columbine. and so many other recent shootings. >> i'm just relieved he's okay, yes. >> reporter: officials calling it a mass casualty incident. >> i'm coming out to the east side with the casualty. got an ambulance standing by,
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critical. >> reporter: some of the victims treated on the sidewalk outside of the school. >> one of my friends who got out one of the windows, when he was running over here to go to his mom, he looked all shaken and stuff. and he said he did see two dead bodies. >> reporter: with the shooter described as a former student, still at large, scared students sheltering in place texting their loved ones. >> she was sending us texts like saying, i love you, i'm sorry, and all that. she didn't think she was going to make it. >> reporter: worried parents desperately waiting for news. many racing to the school. >> and he told me, we're still here, we hear gunshots outside of the classroom. >> oh, i'm happy because i have my son with me. i thank you jesus. i was very worried. >> it's the worst feeling for a parent to go through. >> reporter: as police sweep the campus for other possible threats, distraught families try to come to terms with another american tragedy.
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several of the students we've spoken with today still don't know if some of their fellow students are alive or dead. police are not releasing the names of the students or the teachers who have died in this shooting. we've been told that only 12 of the 17 who have died have been identified, and part of the reason for that is because a lot of the students didn't have i.d. on them, so they're still working to identify them and notify family. >> on that last point you made, 12 of the 17 identified, you and i both know what that means. there are going to be families showing up at morgues, perhaps not seeing their child, who may still be deceased in another room. what a gruesome time at that hospital. >> reporter: yeah, brian. and as you know, it's going to take days, weeks, if not months for these young kids to recover. as you know also, they're going to be bringing in counselors once the school opens back up. there will be a lot of grief counseling going on for many, many weeks to come.
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>> enormous high school, 3,000-plus students. tammy leitner who's covered this story so ably all day long, thanks very much for staying up with us tonight. we want to turn to jim guard, a math deeper at marjorie stoneman douglas high school in parkland, florida. walk us through your experience today starting with the first you heard something was wrong. >> well, i had just finished a review for a test with the kids. and about 2:20 or so, we had the fire alarm went off, which i thought was unusual because we had just had a fire drill today about 9:30 or so. so i told the kids, hang on for a second before we go out, it could have been something accidental. something burnt or what have you. we all looked at the door. then our administrator got on and said, evacuate the building. naturally, we all started
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evacuating. making sure everything is secure and all the kids go out. all of a sudden we hear code red. i yell, get back in. by then, almost all the students were gone except for about four or five. so they came rushing in. i looked out the door for a couple extra seconds, 10 or 12 seconds. there was nobody around so i closed the door. i had six kids in there with me. five girls and a boy. and of course myself. and we just turned the lights off that you're supposed to do in a code red, which is active shooter. and we heard a bunch of popping and the kids were wondering, oh my gosh, what is this? i said, look, we don't know, it could be a drill, we don't know what it is. just hang out here. we went back in towards a closet.
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and hung out there. and basically after about five or ten minutes, we realized that this wasn't a drill. >> have you ever felt more responsible for other people than you were today? >> i mean, you know -- this is my 36th year teaching math. teaching students. you know -- you're responsible for the kids every day. obviously today was certainly different. it's just -- it's hard to describe. >> i read a stat tonight, there have been 18 school shootings elsewhere in the world over the last two decades. in our country alone, there have been 18 school shootings in the last 35 days. i know you're not a politician. but you were at the crux of this public issue today. and do you believe lawmakers failed you in that moment? do you believe we can do better than this? >> oh, there's no doubt we can do better than this.
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even, you know -- if you look at the second amendment itself, a well-regulated militia. well, what is well regulated? obviously it's not well regulated enough. i don't know. all we hear is we hear the sympathies, the sympathies, the sympathies. there hasn't been any action. like i said, i've been teaching long enough, thinking back to columbine, there hasn't been much done. they can say what they want, both sides are just as guilty. >> tell me about nicolas cruz, 19 years old. i've heard various accounts of him, as a loner, having been thrown out of other schools, aspirations to join the military, obviously unbalanced. had you known about him, and when you heard the news, did it make sense to you in a perverse way that it was him? >> i had him in class, i think it was last year. i think he was in the first semester. he was quiet. he was a quiet kid in class, so he didn't really -- nothing outstanding.
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it was a basic class sort of between algebra i and geometry. i think it was seventh hour, last period of the day. i never had any problems with him. and unfortunately, people say, does this make any sense? well, no. no shooting such as these makes sense. so i really can't say anything one way or the other. like i say, he never really -- he wasn't a problem in class when i had him, but that was over a year ago now. >> authorities aren't releasing names, and we understand that. we want the families to be notified in the proper way. but have you been able to check in with the folks you know and have been worried about? >> well, what we did when i had my six kids there, first thing i did was take attendance, who's here, who's not here, what kids
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were absent, then we were all on various e-mails. and i had some teach i say, i have these kids with me, another teacher, i have these kids with me. i went through this list. every kid has a cell phone so it worked out great that they could text each other and i was able to find out where everybody was, except for three kids. and then when we got released a couple hours later, the three kids were right there. so all the kids that i had in class, thank goodness, were safe. because that's terrifying itself, obviously, your own students. but i don't know the names of any of the other kids. i guess we'll find out monday. >> how about colleagues on the faculty? >> i did hear of one. obviously i'm not going to say names right now because if that hasn't been -- >> sure. >> -- out there. but -- you know. faculty or students, you know -- one is not more terrible than the other.
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>> what do you think -- what are your thoughts like on going back to work on these children, especially the ones who had to run out today past dead bodies of classmates? how's that going to work? >> well -- broward county does have a really good social worker program. good social workers, very good guidance. even today, as terrible as this was -- we had just gone through training on this about three weeks ago. it very well could have been a whole lot worse. with this kid. i don't see how you can say it can be a lot worse when you have 17 people. but we all knew exactly what to do. you've got 3,000-some kids in there. and they were kept pretty safe. unfortunately, you know, if i were one of the parents, i'd say, well, mine wasn't safe. and that's a terrible thing.
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i have kids of my own. >> a veteran of the -- of over three decades in the classroom, and despite your modesty, we are aware that a whole bunch of parents can be happy you were on the job today because they got their kids home as a result. jim guard, a mathematics teacher at marjory stoneman douglas high school, we're glad you're well, we're glad you're safe. we grieve for the overall school community there. thank you very much for joining us on the air tonight. >> thank you so much. take care. thanks again. >> thank you, jim. throughout our coverage today, we've heard from different students at this high school who knew the suspect before he had been expelled. >> when i was in the vocational school, the alternate school, he went ahead and showed me all his layout of guns and said he'd shoot them around for fun. >> i met nick my sophomore year. he was a little bit off. i could tell there was something different about him. yeah, a little bit insane. not insane. more like the term -- more --
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>> troubled? >> yeah, more troubled. the kids predicted, joking around, he'd be the one who shoots the school. turns out this was predicted and it came to life. he got in trouble with shooting his guns all the time. a lot of kids -- would bring guns to school multiple times. >> he's always been a crazy kid. i heard people say one day he would have done this, and unfortunately, i think that was today. >> what was bit him that made you think that perhaps there wasn't something right? >> he was erratic. he was always messing with his fingers. he was always talking about doing crazy things. he was just never right in the head. he was always crazy. i never really got close to him because i had a feeling there was something wrong. >> joining us tonight, two brothers who attend the high school, brandon menoff is a senior, he was outside the school when the shooting started, knows the suspect. his younger brother aidan was inside the school. aidan, what did you first see and experience? >> so i was wrapping up in math class.
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as you know, it was at the end of the day. we were pretty much just packing up. we period a few pops. and at the time we didn't really think much of it, as it could have been, you know, a kid throwing something or maybe a chip bag opening in the hallway. until one of my friends who was previously in the bathroom came in running, frantically screaming that there's a shooter, he heard gunshots. we were all a little suspicious until the fire alarm was pulled shortly thereafter and we heard a bunch of other shots. and that's when the lights were turned off, door was locked, and we went into hiding. >> have you accounted for all of your friends at school? is everybody okay that you know? >> yes, i do. and everyone in my classroom that i was in is okay, including the teacher and the administrator that was spectating us. >> all right, thank you.
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brandon, tell us about this guy, fellow students call nick, 19-year-old nicholas cruz? >> i had two classes with him back sophomore year. i never really associated with him or talked to him until one day i got paired to do a project with him and he just started talking to me, telling me how he got expelled from two different private schools, held back twice, he had aspirations of joining the military, and he enjoyed hunting. >> people said he made unusual markings on his body, he left an incredible trail of kind of evidence pointing to this on social media. it sounds like he was the kind of kid you then took pains to avoid? >> i hadn't seen that at the time. i just always thought that he was unusual and strange. always sat alone, twiddling his thumbs, keeping to himself, laugh at himself. >> so what was your reaction when you heard that it was him? >> i wasn't surprised, but it
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was kind of unfortunate to hear. >> if you were a lawmaker, an adult in a decision-making position, how would you stop, do you think, the kind of thing that happened today? a kid who had been thrown out, comes back with a weapon, and takes out whatever grievance he's been walking around with in his head? >> gun-wise, i don't think there's any way to prevent it. you outlaw guns, just creates higher demand for it. i think it has to do with mental health, though. if he's been expelled three different times, three different schools, i think he should be helped out. >> brandon, i asked your brother this. have you accounted for everybody you know no. >> yes, sir. >> so everyone you know in your circle of friends is safe? >> yes. i'm just hoping the other 17 people aren't anybody close to me. >> aidan, what's it going to feel like, what do you know about when you guys can go back? i know it's closed for the week. i know counselors show up at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow at an off-site location. what's it going to feel like
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walking back in there? >> it's going to feel like a brand-new and unfortunately not a good-new kind of school. everyone's going to walk in knowing what happened. and there's no way of changing that. trying to go back. really, it's just going to be a grieving and really depressing time. but we should unify as a community and a society from this tragedy. >> i see you've got team colors on your t-shirt. how would you have described your high school to me before today? >> a normal school. hang out with my friends, go to school, eat lunch. never really expect any of this to happen. it's unfortunate that it did. >> i'm amazed at the composure you guys have been able to show tonight. i know you've been through just
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a hellish day. thank you both so much. i'm sorry to take your time and keep you up further. thanks so much for joining us tonight. we are so sorry for what happened at your high school today. brandon and aidan, we really appreciate it. >> thank you. >> thank you. we're going to take a break in our coverage here. more of our coverage when "the 11th hour" continues.
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i saw two girls dead next to each other, holding hands. >> you heard they're best friends? >> they were best friends, i heard. there was another body in front of me. there was three on the bathroom floor. and another one.
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>> i was just standing with my teacher, once we saw the students running, i started to think, what's happening? i heard the gunshots and i was like, oh my god. i just ran. >> i heard six shots, loud. loud shots. after i heard that, oh my god, we got to go. i started running as fast as i can. >> all the kids came inside the rooms and everything. there were teachers pulling us in, telling us to get in the rooms, be quiet. >> oh, what a joy, oh, such a joy and a relief. i just hope all the other kids are okay. oh my god. >> unbelievable to watch. valentine's day, 2018, another mass shooting in another high school, the high school at parkland california. the latest numbers are this. 17 people, students and teachers, lost their lives. 14 are injured. there are still in the hospital, some in critical condition. to give you an idea of the kind
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of city we're talking about, parkland is invariably described as a tree-lined commuter community and was listed this year as one of the 100 safest cities in our country. it's near the far western border of broward county, florida, if you know the state at all, up against the edge of the everglades to the west. joining me now is the city commissioner of coral springs. that's the neighboring town that students also attend. marjory stoneman douglas high school. dan daly is an luminous, knows the community well. when did you graduate? as i asked one of the kids in the break, how would you have described this high school yesterday? >> sure. good evening, brian. i'm sorry to be coming on tonight to talk about this.
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but you know, i'm a 2008 graduate of stoneman douglas. and prior to today, look, this is one of the top high schools in the state. probably even the country. these folks are the best and brightest in our community. and it's a heck of a school, heck of a reputation, and is known across this country. so unfortunately because of today, it's also known across this country for this shooting. >> yes. sadly, we've been saying all day, terrific places lime columbine and newtown are forever linked with an act of violence involving their name. have you been able to account -- i hate to ask this -- for all of the people in your group of friends who may go there, may have family who go there, members of the faculty? >> sure. i'm sorry to say that i have not. there are still a number of people who were teachers, fellow students who went back to teach at douglas after graduating from college who i have not heard from. it's troubling. this is something that you hear about happening other places. you hear about the tragedy at pulse nightclub or sandy hook. and you understand that they can happen, but you never expect it to happen in your own backyard. and that's what we've been faced with today.
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>> i've heard people say this afternoon and this evening that somehow this 19-year-old had a gun but he can't buy a beer. you're involved in city management, in politics. what's your view on what happened today versus the national discussion? >> sure. brian, i think it's an important question. and i think it's an important topic. we need to have a discussion about it. but i've got to tell you, i'm dealing with a community of reeling individuals and today is not the day to have that conversation. >> all right, fair point. talk to me about the people in the community. i know you've been out and about since first word arrived. how are the families holding up? and i know some of the families who were outside the school building were taken to a place where they got the very worst news in the world. >> sure. stunned doesn't begin to describe it.
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and to be honest, i don't know that it's fully sunk in for me. so i can't even begin to imagine how others are feeling. a lot of hugging, a lot of embracing, a lot of commiserating, a lot of tears. some happy when they find their loved one, some sad, certainly still to come. this is unlike anything we've ever seen in this community, unfortunately. >> what underscores what you said about these students being the best and the brightest, i've never seen such composure among young people. it tears your heart out. they're talking about something that's going to change the course of their lives, but certainly that feeling, that great feeling of coming up all four years of high school with your friends. >> sure. you know, it's not just the students, it's the teachers, it's the staff, it's the first
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responders. they can't unsee what they have seen today. what has been done cannot be undone. we've got to be able to come together as a community and move forward. i want to give a lot of credit to our first responders. coral springs police department were some of the first folks on the scene, running into the building, as everybody else was running out. the broward sheriff's office. the coral springs parkland fire department literally were there in moments, set up and ready to go, ready to address what was going on. >> by all accounts they were absolutely heroic today. again, they're all members of the community. so it's just as shocking and sad for them to respond to a high school where they may have children as part of the student body. dan daly, our condolences to anyone connected to the school community out there. and we sure appreciate you being willing to come on and talk about it tonight. >> thank you, brian. coming up for us what would normally have been our lead story tonight absent today's violence when "the 11th hour" continues. erature.
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we're following today's violence in florida. if we have news on it, we'll go immediately back to it. as we also said, what now would have been our lead story on a day absent the bad news out of florida, we have new reporting concerning the trump administration tonight. nbc news has learned that more than 130 political appointees working in the executive office of the president did not have permanent security clearances as of november of last year, a full year after the election. tonight's reporting from a team of nbc news journalists is based on internal white house
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documents obtained by nbc news. we read from it, "white house officials who are listed as not having permanent security clearances as recently as this past november include, ivanka trump, the president's daughter and senior adviser. jared kushner, president's son-in-law and senior adviser. dan scavino, the president's director of social media. christopher when dell, assistant to the president. a total of 34 people who started their government service on january 20, 2017, the first day of the trump presidency, were still on interim clearances in mid november. among them are white house counsel don mcgahn. white house brace secretary sarah huckabee sanders. white house spokesman raj shah, who had only interim clearances to access the most sensitive government information, according to the documents. white house officials said wednesday they would not comment
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as is their policy on the nature of security clearances. the concern about white house security clearances has escalated in recent days. the fallout from the rob porter scandal. a lot of people have been asking how he was able to handle the most sensitive and classified documents in our government to reach the president's desk for over a year without a permanent security clearance. with us to talk about all of this, one of the authors of that nbc news report, our national political reporter mike memly along with jonathan lemire, associated press and msnbc political analyst. kimberly atkins, chief washington reporter for "the boston herald" and msnbc contributor. and jeremy peters, political reporter for "the new york times," also an msnbc contributor. welcome to you all. mike, it's one thing to talk about the executive office of the president. i saw another poll out from your reporting tonight that 40% of the members of the national security council -- we'll stress this is a snapshot as of november. but walk us through what you
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found. >> thanks for having me on, brian. we've spent -- my colleagues carol lee, kristen welker, rich garnell sifting through raw information in this documents. as somebody who's covered the white house yourself, you're well aware of the different distinctions both in terms of the different divisions of the white house and also the different tiers of classification. the big headline was that number, 130 out of more than 500 officials within the constellation of offices and agencies within the office, the executive office of the president, are operating as of last november with some sort of interim clearance. and that's significant on its own because even our own
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reporting up until today indicated the number was much lower, perhaps 30 to 40. in the white house in explaining why the number would have been even that high has sought to say, basically, that any time you have a new administration with the sheer number of new officials coming in, you're going to have a backlog and that might lead to delays. we did talk wither on officials in other white houses in previous administrations. they said that's true that even at the end of the first year you might have a few dozen officials still operating interim clearance. but what's significant as we dove through these numbers, you take the title of assistant to the president. that's really the highest level of classification for a white house staffer. these are the people who report most directly to the president. and as of late november, there were 30 assistants to the president. and of that 30, only 10 -- i should say, as many as 10, were operating with completely interim clearances. these are the most familiar names that we have in the white house. this is jared kushner, ivanka trump, we had ty cobb along that
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list as well that we have heard since from the white house that when he started in july, he has since been granted that clearance. but it really puts to lie this idea that this was a result of a backlog, because this would have been the highest priority for a white house in making sure these people get a security clearance. we know there were 12 officials who started after ivanka trump started, for instance, who have since been able to obtain that highest level of clearance. >> mike, on the exculpatory side, i heard director clapper
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interviewed and he said there is this component. he said a lot of guys like me, veteran republican hands, veteran government types, did not volunteer to serve in this administration and because we weren't true believers, we were not called. so a lot of neophytes were given west wing jobs. that accounts for some of the backlog. but on these titles, don mcgahn, rob porter. rob porter's job, staff secretary, as i don't need to remind you, is the human funnel into and out of the oval office to all branches of government. he sees, handles, and hears everything. >> that's exactly right, brian. i think that's what's most significant in terms of these numbers. obviously 130 being quite a large number. the highest level of officials within this west wing not having this clearance. now what we know is there might be any number of issues which might result in somebody being given an interim clearance rather than being granted the full clearance. that has everything to do with something that might make somebody subject to blackmail. you see a lot of foreign travel, high debts, previous issues of substance abuse, these are all things that could raise a red flag. i think it's significant that we're talking about such a long delay in terms of these officials that there were red flags. as we saw in the case of rob porter, the fbi which does the investigations, background checks that would ultimately lead to a recommendation about whether somebody should have a clearance, they completed their work by last summer. they made a recommendation, sent the report to the white house. this is what the white house is struggling to reconcile. they had in the past put the
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blame, perhaps explained away as an fbi issue in dealing with this backlog, we now know there were officials who would have had access to information which may have suggested that somebody should not have been given a clearance, they made a follow-up request in the case of rob porter. what will be interesting as we continue to do reporting is how many other officials were there knowledge of issues that should have prevented a clearance that the white house chose to perhaps overlook, the president has great authority in terms of who can get interim clearance, who did he decide based even on recommendations by law enforcement, he wanted them to have access to these documents anyway? >> i've been given permission to grant one-time only clearance to mike memaly, who i happen to know has been up the most hours of any of us. we're proud of your reporting, that of your team, thank you.
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we continue. kimberly, first question goes to you. having just read what we heard, read the reporting that's out there tonight, we heard from the director of national intelligence yesterday. the united states is under attack. it's a bracing thing to hear. even more bracing that it wasn't in the scope of things our lead story last night. we already kind of knew it. wouldn't security clearances you think be more of a priority these days? >> it should be. that is one of the most concerning things about this whole situation. the national security experts that i speak to just underscore over and over again the fact that there is an important reason why, normally, full security clearances are needed to access the kind of sensetive information that these white house personnel members are accessing on just an interim security clearance. that's especially true at a time where we've heard from the director of national intelligence, dan coats, and others yesterday. really saying, look, russia and other adversaries are actively trying to interfere with western governments. they have an interest in doing it, we have seen them attempt to do that. and when you have people who don't have full security clearancs dealing with the most sensitive information that comes across the white house, that just opens up a number of potential loopholes where
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people, espionage can take place, blackmail. it's really serious. you would think that the white house would want to do everything it could do to guard against that. and heed director coats' suggestion that people without the full clearance should stop being given this information. but so far we have not seen that urgency from this white house. >> jonathan lemire, you did some great reporting on the white house today. what is the level of comprehension in there as to the scope of this problem? >> i think it's another moment where the white house is having trouble sort of all getting on
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the same page. the rob porter scandal now has stretched into a second week. nearly every day they deliver a different narrative. as to what they claim happened, who knew what, and when. now we're seeing here too a lot of pushback on the security clearances, confusion as to who may have had what. for a long time reporting has been out there that jared kushner had only been granted interim clearance. the party line was because of all his business dealings, complex past, a lot of travel. it's going to take a long time. the more sinister or least cynical reading would be he's
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had contacts with foreign officials that has gotten the attention of bob mueller, so there is that. that might be what is the delay. what's now this new information that there is so many other aides in the white house, including very senior staff. ivanka trump, don mcgahn, sarah huckabee sanders. these are other people who have suddenly been given these interim clearances. it's a question of, why is that? is it simply because of a backlog? maybe for some it is. but perhaps for others there are red flags in the background, like rob porter had, where he had two ex-wives accuse him of spousal abuse. and now we have the white house again trying to sort of explain what's going on. we saw with the porter case, the scapegoat first was the fbi, now it's this rather obscure white house personnel security office. at the end of the day, they might need to look inward and realize it's their own processes or their own personnel that are part of the problem. >> jeremy, i want to read a tweet from the former u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york. who was dismissed by donald trump. these days he maintains an active twitter presence and hosts a better than average podcast. pretty berara says, you know who has security clearances? every member of special counsel mueller's team. it's a good reminder that the work goes on across town. >> it certainly does.
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i think another issue that this whole episode underscores is the problem, the gaping hole in national security, when people with only interim clearances are allowed to see the nations secrets. this has caused quite a bit of grumbling on capitol hill. and you heard in director of national intelligence coats' testimony the other day, he said that he thought that this was a major problem and one that needed to be resolved. now, i've heard from sources on capitol hill that members of congress are taking a look at exactly what they can do to plug that hole. maybe limiting the types of secrets that people with only interim clearance are given access to. but it does just seem odd that if there are enough red flags in your background, that you are not granted a security clearance, you would still be allowed access to the secrets with that kind of uncertainty hanging over your head. i think that's made a lot of people, lawmakers especially on capitol hill, really start asking questions about what they can do to fix that.
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>> kimberly, where the other story has taken up the majority of our time and attention this week is concerned, i want to show you a clip we've all by now seen and heard. the president today broke his silence on abuse, ar apparently reluctantly, let's listen. >> why have you not spoken out against domestic violence? do you believe the women -- >> thank you, we're leaving, make your way out. >> i'm opposed to domestic violence and everybody here knows that. i am totally opposed to domestic violence of any kind. everyone knows that and it almost wouldn't even have to be said. so now you hear it. but you all know it. thank you all very much. >> kimberly, the problem is, it's been said before. earlier today. that in this case it needed to be said. imagine needing to hear it from an american president. but because of the entanglement and the story we're in the middle of, that's what we got today. >> yes. i think that was the most striking part of the comment, suggesting that it didn't have
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to be said. it definitely needed to be said. it needed to be said by the president himself. not through a surrogate like sarah huckabee sanders did earlier this week. but it just shows how -- it's striking how reluctant a u.s. president is to address something that should be pretty universal. just a denunciation of domestic violence, that you're opposed to it. he said he's opposed to it. nobody's for it, this shouldn't be that hard. but in this case, for this president, it is. >> i hadn't look the at it quite that way. there is not a huge constituency pro-abuse. jonathan lemire, i asked you about the internal knowledge, how bad things look. how about this issue from your reporting? >> certainly west wing aides were relieved that the president finally said those words today.
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it should not be breaking news that a president opposes domestic violence. today, it was. because he said said nothing on the issue to this point. his comments last week in the oval office were to praise rob porter and wish him well, without a word for the women who allege that he abused. saturday he doubles down with a tweet sort of questioning the entire "me too" movement, suggesting it was scapegoating people, those people could not get their reputation back, those men could never get their reputation back. today under immense pressure he finally does say these words. staffers have told me and my colleagues, morale is as low now as it has been since the weeks after james comey was fired last spring, certainly the other moment was this august after the charlottesville incident when the president said there was responsibility on both sides of a white supremacist march that left one woman dead in the clashes that followed.
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people are upset. their faith has been shaken in john kelly, whose story on this has changed repeatedly. there are west wing staffers who to this point have been sort of championing john kelly, who were very displayed that on friday, in a closed-door white house meeting, seemed to present a different narrative of events that more played up his role in dismissing porter, which flew in the face of the timeline west wing officials had presented just days earlier. there's also those people who have thought been fans of john kelly, west wing aides and outside advisers whose access to the president has been cut off by kelly in his attempts to streamline and better organize the west wing. those people, the knives are out. they see a chief of staff who's vulnerable. they're ready to pounce. they're leaking bad information. they're pushing the president to make a change.
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>> jeremy, while i stress you are still a young man, you've been around awhile and i want you to talk about the new normal. we lost 17 souls in the state of florida today. two tweets from the president, no statement, no public utterance, no appearance on camera from him or the press secretary. briefing today was canceled under the umbrella of, we're dealing with the sad news out of florida. it is, when you think about newtown, how the president reacted then, it is a new normal. just another category of new normal. >> i'm struck, brian, by just how ordinary these events seem in the daily news cycle.
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i remember columbine vividly. i was sitting in my college dorm room, i was a freshman. watching those images come across the screen, the kids with their hands up being paraded out of the school by police. that was so jarring. and it's so extraordinary. and now this is something that happens every six months or something. and the death count in columbine was almost at the level that we saw in florida today. and i'm afraid given everything that is going on, given our desent thatization to these types of shootings and the calluses we've built up to these mass casualty events, that we're going to be on to the next thing. and these apologies or these statements of remorse and sorrow and offering of prayers that come from politicians now seem almost as routine and rote as thanking somebody for a greeting or a christmas card. it's just -- it boggles the mind. >> thoughts and prayers, as expressions go, expressions go. has lost its impact. with all the aerial pictures of all the students coming out of all the schools. where tragedy has visited. today's pictures may stand out. say a year from now for the fact that many of the students had valentines with them. that they grabbed off the desk. to exit the school. we're going to take on another tough story after the break. when we continue the conversation.
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it's in the news again tonight. and has to do with the white house. the manager for the a porn star stormy daniels said today her client now feels free to tell her story. this comes after president trump's personal lawyer acknowledged in a statement he facilitied a payment to daniels in the amount of $130,000. daniels manager told the associated press that trumps lawyer michael cohen invalidated a non-disclosure agreement discussing the payment. neither of the trump organization nor the trump campaign was a party to the transaction with miss clifrd. and neither reimbursed me for the statement. daniels is encountered to have a sexual relationship with trump in 06. they still deny. remind the good folks at home where mr. cohen would have gone
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public and give the story the first fresh lead of what might be many more. >> let's back up a quick second. he's been the president's long time lawyer. his personal lawyer of the trump organization. he is saying this because he doesn't want to run a foul of any sort of federal regulation in terms of campaign donation. that could be used to pay off miss daniels. he's saying the thought would be tgs my personal money. and therefore it's not under the order of then candidate trump. or the trump campaign. to make this payment to stormy daniels. it breathes fresh life into this story. another distraction, damaging
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story for the white house. and will continue thousand that daniels attorney thinks she's free to talk. i don't follow her on twitter on instagram. she is on the road doing a tour. and she'll be making statements soon about what happened with the president. >> i think that's exactly right. we're going to see someone who at least up until this point is being silent. now speaks publicly about this. which is in itself a political problem. and it's caused by president trump's own attorney. who did probably everything that an attorney shouldn't do. one, i think i agree with stormy daniels attorney. that making that statement did probably invalidate that was keeping her silent. saying that he facilitated this payment but wasn't clear whether he made it or someone else did. cited two sources the money didn't come from. didn't say where it did. and at the end saying above all else my job is to protect president trump. everything about the statement sounds like somebody with something to hide. way more -- he is going to have more trouble potential legal
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trouble from this. as well as the president having more political trouble. >> you get the last 30 seconds on what we have labeled the new normal. >> this story is another example. of something coming out of trump world that is inexplainable and dubious denial. what is most curious is the lawyer for daniels saying that at the time they received the payment, cohen said this is from me. it's not from mr. trump. now that seems like something out of a bad hitch dock movie. they create a story an alibi. it just doesn't smell right. >> our thanks tonight to john than, to kim berly. outed as a lawyer. and jermy peters of the "new york times." before we go tonight we want to revisit the story in florida. it has struck us today especially watching social
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media. that a whole lot of people from walks of life have been rather profound on this. in ways that our public servants have not. case in point. steve kerr of the golden state warriors said this. it's getting a lot of repetition. it doesn't seem to matter to our government that children are being shot to death. day after day. in schools. well, to that end we want to show you a moment that occurred earlier today on the senate floor. senator chris murphy democrat of connecticut spoke on the mass shooting. you may recall he used to be in the house. fifth district of connecticut. when the mass shooting at new town occurred in december of 2012. >> let me note once again for my colleagues. this happens nowhere else other than the united states of
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america. this epidemic of mass slaughter. this skorge of school shooting after school shooting. it only happens here not because of coincidence, not because of bad luck. but as a consequence of our inaction. we are responsible. for a level of mass atrocity that happens in this country
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with zero parallel anywhere else. as parent it scares me to death. this body doesn't take seriously the safety of my children. and seems like a lot of parents in south florida will be asking the same question later today. >> chris fur murphy. democratic senator from connecticut. our country lost 17 innocent souls to gun violence. that's our broadcast for tonight. as with every night, thank you so very much for being here with us. good night from new york. good morning, everyone. it's thursday february 15th. i'm ayman mohyeldin and we gwynne this morning with the breaking news out of parkland, florida, where another school shooting has now left 17 people dead this morning. authorities say shots began ringing out at the high school shortly before students were supposed to be dismissed for the day. the gunfire began around 2:30 in the afternoon as fire alarms started going off. florida senator bill nelson told msnbc it was the shooter that pulled the alarm. >> he wore a gas mask and smoke grenades. he


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