tv MSNBC Live MSNBC April 14, 2018 5:30am-6:01am PDT
hello, everyone. msnbc world headquarters here in new york. >> we are following today's breaking news on the u.s. military strikes in syria. >> explosions rocked two cities in syria last night moments after president trump announced strikes would be used to punish the syrian regime for last week's suspected chemical attacks on civilians. >> the purpose of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread, and use of chemical weapons. establishing this deterrent is a vital national security interest of the united states. >> moments ago tweeting out a perfectly executed strike last night. thank you to france and the united kingdom for their wisdom and power of their fine military. could not have had a better
result. mission accomplished. nato and european union expressed support for the mission. as you can imagine, syria, iran, russia all condemned the strikes. they called it an act of aggression. earlier today, the french government said it had a high level of confidence it was behind last night's attack on civilians. even in the an accepts of official lab reports on chemical samples. british prime minister theresa may gave her take on last night's joint military action earlier. >> this was not about interfering in a civil war, and it was not about regime change. as i discussed with president trump and president macron, eu79 was a limited, targeted, and effective strike with clear boundaries that expressly sought to avoid escalation and did everything possible to prevent civilian casualties. >> a very different perspective coming out of syria this morning. they have been showing images of
pockets of locals dancing in the streets as an apparent act of defiance against those missile strikes. and any show of support for their president bashar al assad. joining us from istanbul, richard engel. good to have you with us on a very long night for you as well. let's talk about the reaction coming out of turkey. how is turkey likely going to receive the news of these strikes? >> so there has been a cautious welcome of the military action from turkey. and i think that's the kind of response you're seeing from a lot of countries in the region and beyond welcoming that something was done but even more thankful that this didn't trigger a wider war, that it didn't cause the seven-year conflict in syria to escalate even further, spill even further beyond the country's borders. going back to the breaking news a moment ago, the tweet from
president trump. he went there. he used the phrase mission accomplished which accepts president bush used it in the 2003 invasion of iraq, many of the u.s. military, many u.s. politicians have been shying away from that phrase, mission accomplished. since there was an accomplished mission overnight, three targeted strikes and three different areas in syria. but the syrian regime is still in power. the syrian war is still ongoing. bashar al assad's air force remains intact. he can still carry out conventional attacks against the syrian people. he could very well carry out chemical weapons attacks. although now there is an implied threat that more actions are to come. while there may have been a successful campaign, the mission in syria is not accomplished. >> as we have been talking about, richard, the reason for these attacks was to stop these
come weapons attacks there. do you get a sense from what has taken place and what you're hearing that it will do exactly that, that it will stop these chemical attacks from the assad regime? >> it's hard to know at this stage. it might. it is sending a message to russia and to assad that there is a price to be paid and there could be future prices to be paid for using chemical womenea. it is also sending a message that the united states is not interested in regime change, does not want to pick a fight with russia. it recognizes that russia has a role in syria and will continue to have a role in syria. so effectively signaling to russia, to iran, and to the syrian regime that bashar al assad can continue in his war, can win the war, can continue to push rebels out of the few
pockets they have left outside of damascus and a few other areas just not by using chemical weapons. and already we are seeing that defiance in damascus. people say the are jet stream is still standing the next day. maybe they will get the message there is a price to be paid for chemical weaponsment or maybe won't. >> you can understand one of the long criticisms of this war is so many countries involved in this operation would tolerate the fact that on a daily basis they would kill with barrel bombs sometimes dozens more innocent civilians and didn't do anything about it. and now when it comes to chemical weapons attacks, they want to draw the red line. it highlights the complexities. >> go ahead, richard.
>> well, no, i was saying to your point, 500,000 people have been killed according to some estimates in syria. the conflict has gone on for seven years now. military action is taking place under president trump twice for attacks that killed somewhere is in the range of 150 people. the u.s. objective seems to be and in this case french and the british objective seem to be quite limited. stopping the use and proliferation of chemical weapons, not necessarily stopping the deaths of thousands of syrians. >> the criticism we have been talking about up until this point, up until they fired the missile strikes last night, a year ago when they did this, it obviously did not work. >> there have been chemical attacks throughout the course of the year as well. this happened to be one of the ones that grabbed more is significant headlines. nbc's richard engel is live in istanbul turkey.
thank you, richard. let's bring in courtney kube joining us from washington, d.c. courtney, it has been a long night for you as well. you have been monitoring this the last several hours. what are your sourcing saying about the strikes in terms of the targets they went after. how successful is this mission purely from a military standpoint in terms of objectives stated? >> they went after three specific targets. the objective was to take out bashar al assad's ability to carry out another chemical weapons attack on his people. so what they went after. number one, a production facility, research development and production facility. this is a syrian military, syrian regime structure that they hit. they also hit a storage facility, chemical weapons storage facility. and took out a command and control structure. this is another syrian regime military building.
so what is it? was it a success or not? they struck the targets they were going after. we don't know whether there was syrian military killed or civilian casualties. we were told late last night in a briefing that there were no u.s. hits. so all u.s. aircraft returned back to their bases safely. so what they did not go after that would allow the syrian regime to continue to hit their own civilians with chemical weapons is the delivery mechanisms. april of 2017, we saw the u.s. strike a specific syrian military airfield and take out some aircraft and pock up the run way. that was meant to target their ability to deliver these weapons. we don't have a good sense yet how many of a chemical stock may have been impacted here. secretary mattis said this would
curtail the regime's ability to hit innocent civilians with chemicals. we don't have a good sense exactly on of what percentage exactly of the stockpile was hit. >> courtney, we're just getting a tweet now from the president. a perfectly executed strike last night. thank you to france and the uk for their wisdom and the power of their fine military. could not have had a better result. mission accomplished. courtney, from what you understand and from what you're learning, what would be the tipping point for the u.s. government to follow up on the strike that they delivered last night to syria? >> so that's an excellent question and one that we don't have the answer to. the syrian regime has carried out chemical weapons attacks in the form of weaponized chlorine on several occasions since the april 2017 strike the u.s. took. we know that. verified cases where they have struck their civilians with chlorine gas, weaponized
chlorine. is that the new tipping point? secretary mattis didn't necessarily say last night. we reported earlier this week that the u.s. has samples that prove that the attack a last weekend in douma included weaponized chlorine and there was the presence of another nerve agent. when asked about that, secretary mattis didn't give a lot of specificity. he wouldn't rule out that it might have been s he erin. or another nerve agent. they are still looking into that. it is not really clear. would another chlorine gas attack, weaponized chlorine attack on the people there elicit a response or retaliation against the regime? we just don't really know that. but secretary mattis was very clear about the fact that they are willing to continue to sustain this, as was president trump, if this continues. >> all right. courtney, thanks so much for joining us. we appreciate it.
thanks, courtney. and we are monitoring the pentagon briefing you see at the bottom of your screen. we will bring you the briefing when it arrives. we are expecting 9:00 a.m. eastern time. criticism from congress. was congressional approval absolutely necessary for this military action? answers from a member of the armed services committee next.
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back with breaking news this morning. u.s. military strikes on syria are getting support from nato but condemnation from russia. putin has called the action an act of aggression. russia also claims soviet made defense systems intercepted 71 crews missiles launched last night. the pentagon is expected to provide details of the military operation in a news conference in about 15 minutes from now. >> all right. democrats and at least one republican criticizing president trump for not getting congressional approval to launch
the strike in syria in the first place. the white house firing back saying, quote, we feel it is the president's authority under article 2 of the constitution. when there are chemical weapons being deployed in strategic areas where there are battles with isis, that is in the national interest. first and foremost, give me your reaction so far to the strikes in syria. >> well, first of all, thank you for having he me on your show this morning. you know, the strikes were appropriate, proportion tphal. the nda we passed last year that the president signed said he would report to us with a plan for syria, as well as the rest by february 1st. he's failed to do that. i represent thousands of military personnel in my
distributed. we take military action very seriously. the least we can do is have a comprehensive plan as we go forward. >> congressman, let me read a tweet by justin who tweeted out these offensive strikes against syria are unconstitutional, illegal, and reckless. the next speaker of the house must reclaim congressional war powers as described in article i of the constitution. speaker ryan has completed abdicated one of his most important responsibilities. it seems from that tweet, congressman that congressman amash is kicking it down the road to the next congressman that comes in. is there anything this congress can do between now and the midterms and to capitalize on what seems to be some bipartisan level whether or not the president had the legal authority to conduct this. is there something this congress can do? >> well, this congress ought to demand that the president follow the law, again, the law that the
president signed and come up with a syrian policy that we can look at, talk about and debate. but just to conduct foreign policy in the middle east by tweet and by the seat of your pants is not appropriate and it's dangerous. >> congressman, what do you want to hear with regards to a greater syria policy after his strike last night? >> i want to know are we going to increase the number of troops that we are going to put in syria. what are we going to do diplomatically. are we going to use certain economic sanctions? are they going to apply to syria? are we going to apply them to russia, to iran? there is a myriad of options we could and should employ. but i don't have access to the experts. i don't have access to the generals and the diplomats like the president does. that's why we asked him to come up with this plan. and, again, it was due by february 1st and we're still
waiting. >> from the intelligence that you have, congressman, what do you think should happen? do you want to increase the number of troops in syria? do you want to see sanctions put in place? >> what i would like to see is really humanitarian aid for the syrian people. you know, we absolutely have to protect our troops over there. but the notion that we're not going to do our part to accept syrian refugees while the rest of the world does their part to me is a little bit disingenuous while we're dropping rockets and missiles over there. again, that strike was appropriate, i think. it was proportional. it had a purpose. i appreciate what secretary mattis had to say last night. but overall we need a more comprehensive syrian policy. >> congressman, really quickly if i may, were you privy to any of the information the u.s. government had as to whether the syrian government was in fact, behind this chemical weapons attack? >> no more information than what you have seen in local sources.
obviously these missiles were launched as all of us were headed back home to our districts. i was actually already back in richland when the attack was announced. look, i accept is secretary mattis at his word. he believes that syria was responsible for the deployment of these chemicals. and i do as well. >> all right. congressman, great to have you with us. thank you very much is for joining us this morning. >> he brings up a good point. it's a criticism we have heard over and over again. there have been a decrease in acceptance of syrian refugees in this country. the united states is not accepting refugees to provide them safe harbor in this country right now. all right. coming up, even, as the congressman asked, what is the strategy going forward? the president is prepared to sustain attacks on syria. has secretary of defense telling a different story. an update from the pentagon at
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welcome back, everybody. president trump declaring mission accomplished in his latest tweet on the missile strikes. he wrote perfectly executed strike thanks to france and the uk. could not have had a better result. >> president trump says the u.s. is prepared to take further action if they do not end the use of chemical weapons. take a listen. >> the purpose of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the strong production, spread and use of chemical weapons, establishing this deterrent is a vital, national security interest of the united states. we are prepared to sustain this response until the syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents. >> let's bring in joe watkins,
white house aide to george h.w. bush and rick tier, former cruz campaign spokesman and msnbc political analyst. rick, let me begin with you. give your take aways from the announcement. does it look like this white house has a clear and real strategy behind the strikes? >> no, there's no strategy. this is a perfectly put pretty please, don't do it again. the president said there would be a big price to pay. he was looking at russia when he said that. has russia paid a price? no price at all. has iran? no price as all. how about assad? minimal damage. when we look at how much we had to invest to take out the three buildings and remember, russia has chemical weapons and they
are willing to use them as they have recently in london. the idea that this will have any effect is just laughable. there's been no price to pay. i think it's dangerous. >> joe, rick bringing up a good point. some arguing assad and his team are in a better position following the strikes. what is your take on that? >> rick is on target. minimal damage done at great cost to u.s. taxpayers. of course, russia knew in advance they were coming, so there was no surprise. i'm glad at least that general mattis has been very restrained in his conversation and not reckless in his discussion. there needs to be a co-ord naited plan going forward. we are no stronger for this. this is just a very tepid slap on the wrist and doesn't, in any way, demonstrate the strength of
the united states or the united states displeasure of the use of chemical weapons. >> let me ask you about the american public's perception. do you think they are going to see the strikes in the vital national security interest of the united states? is this more for domestic political consumption? >> arguably so. it's notable the strikes were announced on the same day that everyone was expecting the president to fire bob mueller and the same day that james comey launched his book tour and the same week that paul ryan announced his retirement. it's convenient the president now has a way to say he is victorious on the missile strikes. he didn't seek approval from congress to launch and shouldn't have done in the first place. >> thanks for joining us, appreciate it. we are following breaking news. u.s.-led strikes out of syria. the pentagon calling the military action a one-time shot
to syria for use zing chemical weapons. will it work? that's the big question. we are expecting a briefing from the pentagon at the top of the hour. hopefully more information on what's taken place overnight in syria. we'll be right back, everybody. hey grandpa. hey, kid. really good to see you. you too. you tell grandma you were going fishing again? maybe. (vo) the best things in life keep going. that's why i got a subaru, too. love is out there. find it in a subaru crosstrek.
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it's up to you, with tampax pearl. you get ultimate protection on your heaviest days and smooth removal for your lightest. tampax pearl and pearl active. for up-to 100% leak-free work outs. welcome back, everybody. top of the hour, we are following breaking news, a pentagon briefing expected any moment following strikes on syria overnight. the u.s., french and british forces firing response to a suspected chemical attack on the syrian people. good morning, i'm yasmin. >> it's 9:00 a.m. in the east, 6:00 out west. here is the latest that is happening. we begin with new video released by the u.s. military of the missile strikes on syria.