tv Hugh Hewitt MSNBC April 7, 2018 5:00am-5:30am PDT
thank you so much. thank you. so we're doing it. yes. start saying yes to your company's best ideas. we help all types of businesses with money, tools and know-how to get business done. american express open. ♪ >> morning glory, america. i'm hugh hewitt. is is it a trade war or not? do we need the national guard at the border or not? what does it mean when john bolton arrives at the white house on monday on the back of russian sanctions and what the heck are we doing in syria? i will get an answer to that age-old question is the pope catholic? a new book about pope francis raises that question, as well as the even morin trying one, who does he and donald trump have in terms of governing styles.
i'm joined by three of d.c.'s brightest young stars. matt, courtney kube, and alaina plot. courtney, i'm going to start with you. the week began with ambiguity about syria and ended with rock-hard sanctions against russia. three different entities slapped with sanctions even when the beginning of the week seemed like they were handing syria to beauty in. what gives on both stories? >> well, it has been an interesting week. we saw some of the strongest actions yet from the trump administration on friday when he sanctioned a number of the u.s. sanction russian oligarchs. 12 companies they control. the reasoning behind this is because of what the u.s. says was their malign and malicious activities both with respect to elections and cyber attacks. also for the invasion of crimea, which was several years ago.
and then of course for russia's continued support of the bashar al assad regime in syria. as you mentioned, hugh, we had news out of syria this week. last week, president trump surprised a lot of people in ohio at an infrastructure speech when he said the u.s. military would be getting out of syria soon. he repeated that sentiment earlier this week. and then there was a big nsc meeting where they discussed this. his national security team basically convinced hum the u.s. needs to continue the mission to get rid of isis. it is really a small pocket they are continuing to go after in iraq. it is known as the lower e euphrates river valley. this is easily two to six months worth of work there. it has been slowed down recently because of many of the syrian democratic forces, the u.s. allies there, many of them have moved up to afran where the turks moved in and have been
threatening the area up there. it seems for now the u.s. military is there. >> michael, it is said that the president believes in strategic ambiguity, the so-called mad man theory richard nixon invented. is that strategic ambiguity or a tkaeu by day president? >> it's a tkaeu by day president. it looks everyone from russia, israel, turkey to united states congress on their toes. i think the emblematic moment this week was when donald trump was in west virginia thursday. on a speech -- he was supposed to deliver a speech on tax reform. what did he do? he threw the pages up in the air and said that's boring and
talked about whatever he felt like, including the latest trade decisions. so trump is a fly by the seat of your pants president. and that does have the consequence of leaving a lot of people, including our adversaries kind of wondering what he will do next. that gives him some leverage. it leaves a lot of his allies wondering what is he going to do next. >> it might leave the west wing wondering what he will do next. a lape that, $50 billion of tariffs. president trump has come up with $100 billion. and larry kudlow runs back saying don't worry, not to worry. what is the real policy? >> i've been fascinated, hugh. you know i cover capitol hill by the delineation of the response. the first time trump proposed tariffs against china, republicans on the hill were reluctant to speak out. they saw it as a negotiating tactic, a bargaining tool. now, with this threat of 100 billion in counter-counter
retaliatory measures, they are skittish in the way you eye dee logically would expect them to be. kevin kramer, who is running against heidi heitcamp saying i'm urging sop sonny purdue to an end to this. they don't know whether these tariffs will go through. for the first time you are seeing republicans on the hill like chuck grassley, kevin kramer, seeing how this adversely affects their con teufp swepbts, visa is sa a video farming communities. >> the lowest in 40 years. but of course the drugs coming over the border. we had 66,000 who died of o.d.s. what does it moon when jerry brown in california doesn't want
to seem to go along even though it is the president's decision? >> he seems to be the wild card. arizona, new mexico, texas, the governors seem to be on board with this. that's what we hear from military officials. this is an unprecedented move. president obama had an additional called operation failings to try and stop drugs. it involved the national guard, about 1,200 national guard soldiers. but it is important to point out what they will and will not be doing. as far as we know for now. there are still a lot of details we don't have yet. they are still being worked out specifically what they will be doing. we know it will be a 2,000 to 4,000 troops. president trump said that on thursday on air force one. we know they will be doing -- it will be a support mission, customs and border patrol support. they will have aircraft that will do surveillance.
they will not be stopping or in any way imprisoning any immigrants coming across the border. we don't know, though, hugh whether they will be on the border or sent back. and also in operational jump start under george w. bush. they did everything from rebuilding roads and driving, patrolling border. we don't know specifically. i think that is still all being worked out with the governors. it is important to remember this is not an unprecedented move. >> i agree. >> we have seen it under both democratic and republican presidents in the recent past. >> it is not as controversial as it is made out to be. john bolton arriving on monday. he prepared his whole life for this job but said nothing. you can only have one national security adviser. what do you expect out of john bolton in the first week and month of his tenure as national
security adviser? >> i expect quite a bit. john bolton has one thing that a lot of trump appointees have not had and that is extensive experience working the bureaucracy. and i think bolton is going to be able to implant himself and start shaping what the national security council personnel looked like, more america firsters and protecting them, their positions. and also he's going to be able to play the inter agency process pretty well vis-a-vis mike pompeo, who will be secretary of state we presume. and mattis. he will become an essential member of the trump administration. >> alaina, last word to you. among those congress people concerned with foreign affairs, are he this welcoming of john bolton's arrival like i am from the regan era. we're clapping and applauding. how about up on the hill? >> hugh, i have heard nothing
but enthusiasm, especially from my sources in the house intel committee who have been weary about mcmast or from the start. i think the combination on of a pompeo/bolton team is the best personnel move that president trump has made in the eyes of conservatives on the hill. i think this will be absolutely a positive move for him and give a lot of freedens with his base. >> thank you, matthew, alaina, courtney. i'll be back with big questions not how many divisions does the pope have. that was stalin's question. but how many divisions has pope francis caused and what do they mean?
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welcome back. i'm hugh hewitt. monday through fridays you can hear me on the salem radio network 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. on saturday mornings you hear me right here on msnbc. a columnist at the "new york times" and author of a kopbt verse new book about pope francis "to change the church" pope francis and the future of catholicism. i made reference to two things before going to break. the first was the stalin snide question. how many divisions does the pope have. and often surprising and even shocking review of the management style beloved around the world. it turns out ruthless within the vatican. the most kopcontroversial is ro under francis is much like washington under trope. a paranoid and jumpy place full on of ferment and uncertainty. let's start there.
why the comparisons between the president and the pope? >> because they are both populist figures elected within tradition-bound institutions who are impatient with norms and rules and sort of, you know, the way things have always been done that seems to get in the way of their agenda. and i'm not -- you know, when i make that provocative trump/francis comparison, if you take them as political actors, obviously trump is very much a conservative or right wing populist and the pope liens to the left. but in the context of washington, d.c. and rome, they are both seniority of similar embodiments of popular discontent with western institutions. they both entered in certain ways into institutions that seem to be in crisis. and they both have a kind of vision of, you know, making america great again, making
catholicism relevant again, let's say. >> you can actually have a successor volume to change a presidency or to change an institution. they both work through calculated am by beauty. one of the things that arrived -- i told you on my radio show i felt itten grossing, disturbing and saddening. we will talk about why. but the trump/francis use of ambiguity, their speech, half words, footnotes and asides, it is striking they leave themselves to go to any direction. >> i think some of that is -- again, a populist politician's instinct. in francis's case it is more strategic than in trump's. i was listening to you guys talk before and debating whether trump is practicing the mad man theory or trying to keep everybody guessing. with trump, you're trying to keep everybody guessing because trump himself doesn't know day to day where everybody is going. with tran sis, it is different.
francis is is in a strange position as a would-be liberalizing pope. i think it's pretty clear who wants to generally open up catholic debates about a whole range of doctrines up to and including the very existence of hell, which he was quoted in a sort of hard to tell whether it was real interviewing question just before easter. and he wants a truce with the sexual revolution around all of these issues, divorce, remarriage, same-sex marriage, and so on that have been so fraught for the church's relationship to its own flock and the western world. but he is the pope. he is not supposed to change anything, right? if you want to be technical about it, the pope is this absolute monarch whose power is sir couple described by the fact that he is supposed to act completely in continuity with his predecessors. so francis makes these ambiguous
moves, in a like papal document, or a secular eighth aoeest italian journalist who doesn't take notes. we don't think this quite accurately reflects what he says, even if he said them explicitly would be earth shattering. so he moves this way because of the rules of the office require him to move ambiguously if he wants to make these changes. >> what's alarming is you can't walk away -- we are both catholics. people should know that. i take away from it the pope is playing such "hardball" poll tux, passing over archbishop gomez who leads the largest congregation in mexico city, or philadelphia, a native american. both men would have bridged the gap between sort of conservative theology and progressive politics. they are both advocates for the poor and dispossessed and
undocumented. are you shocked that the world has such awe different view of the kindly pastoral pope that he played the hardest of "hardball" inside the vatican? >> he is playing "hardball" against catholic conservatives who aren't always, as i think you and i know well, are the favorite figures of the mainstream press and mainstream media. so i think he is able to maintain an image which is real. he is really a charismatic figure who knows how to vividly he embody images from the new testament to tate christ with these public gestures. he is able to maintain that side of his image while also playing "hardball" in part because his opponents are also the wing of catholicism, the media and the people who like the pope tend to think deserve to lose, right? ultimately there's a general media assumption that eventually, maybe 50 years,
maybe 200 years the catholic church has to evolve in the way liberal protestantism has evolved in. if you have a pope trying to do that in this complicated, fraught, ambiguous way, the media would be a little more forgiving on his side than when a more conservative pope is playing "hardball" in this kind of way. >> you summed it up. he is a combination of. it is wonderful phrasing of what comes down to a pope who could land the pope in a skimp. has he erred on the fight and missing the grand opportunity in front of him? >> i think what you said before about this idea of catholicism as really one of the few institutions in the western world that does sort of bridge
liberal conservative divide. it is no secret is the church's economic message, while it's open to all kinds of interpretations, does lean a little bit away from sort is of libertarianism, free market economics, and so on. but at the same time, the church's message on marriage, family, sexual isity is from the point of view of our society, conservative. it starts with radicalism. the new testament is a radical document. at this point it's a conservative message. that combination is distinctive. and i think in the beginning of the francis pontifficate, when the government party has gone populist, there is a big opportunity for a pope this sort of charismatic and beloved to present catholicism as a real alternative to right and left. instead, by taking the church sort of deeper back into the debates from the 1970s over how much you can adapt to the sexual
revolution and so on, he's missed that opportunity. it has just in effect plunged catholicism back to civil war which defenders would say is necessary. you have to file the your way to get through to new growth in e evagelization. i try to tell the story but i'm not certain how the story ends. >> the book is "to change the church" the author ross douthat.
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but harry reid invented a rule in november 2013 that allows a majority of senators to change an existing rule with a simple majority vote. perhaps mitch mcconnell should use the rule to change to unblock the log jam of nominees or he could begin to keep the senators in session around the clock and on the weekends. after all, far more democratic senators face tough reelections than republicans this fall. if they are forced to stay in d.c. rather than campaign or skip recorded votes, fine. either way, the democrats need to pay a political price for their fourth grade antics. the president needs his team, especially his national security team beginning with a ready to go clear nomination of richard grinnell as ambassador to germany. they should open the week with his nomination and judge what to do based on the democrats's reaction.
leader mcconnell should invoke the reid rule. by mike pompeo is and gina haspel are ready for floor action, we'll know exactly what the rules are and how the voting will proceed. pompeo and haspel are in need of confirmation. those think pompeo will be confirmed easily, but haspel faces a tougher fight. i wrote this week in the "washington post" why haspel needs a yes vote and quickly. behalf the outcome, the senate needs to get to work, like the work americans put in routinely, 60, 70-hour weeks. that's what is expected. not tuesday through thursday sessions. the gop has to turn out in the fall in the senate so the house remains in republican hands. watching the senate take up the challenge of breaking democratic obstructionism as harry reid did a few years back is exactly what the politics of the moment call
for. thanks for watching today. keep the conversation going. i'll see you next week on saturday morning right here on msnbc. ♪ whether it's a big thing, small thing, or something unexpected, pnc will be right there when you need us. because when it comes to your finances, if you focus on today, tomorrow has a way of working itself out. you wouldn't accept from any one else.day, why accept it from your allergy pills? flonase relieves your worst symptoms including nasal congestion, which most pills don't. flonase helps block 6 key inflammatory substances. most pills only block one. flonase. the blade quality you'd expect from gillette at a price you wouldn't.
a very good morning to all of you. i'm alex witt at msnbc headquarters in new york. new this morning for you, preparations under way by at least two u.s. border states to send more national guard minutes to the u.s./mexico border. this coming days after the president called for troops to secured area until his border wall is built. just last night, defense secretary james mattis signed a memo approving the deployment of 4,000 troops. here's what the official with the texas national guard told reporters yesterday about how the deployment from his state will unfold. >> within 72 hours, the texas military department will have 250 personnel, along wit