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tv   MSNBC Live With Katy Tur  MSNBC  August 8, 2017 11:00am-12:00pm PDT

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and now a major problem for president donald trump. but it is not unexpected. it just happened a lot sooner than most expects predicted. north korea has tested 14 intercontinental ballistic missiles, including one that experts say could potentially reach as far as chicago. over the weekend, the u.n. security council imposed new sanctions on the country, hoping to strangle its military financing. u.s. ambassador to the u.n. nikki haley was asked about all this this morning on "today." >> can you start him economically in time to prevent him from combining those two things? the missile and shrinking the nuclear device to fit on that missile? >> we tried to ask him, what's your end game. he has to decide if he strikes the united states, is that something he can win? >> nbc's kristen welker, who is
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in new jersey where the president is this hour, that's where she is, kim delaney in our washington newsroom. courtney kubae is at the pentagon many keir simmons is following international reaction from our london newsroom, i want to start with kristen and where craig left off a moment ago, we asked whether the white house has had a response to this. has the white house had a chance to be briefed on this, should we expect any sort of announcement from the president of the united states today. >> we just spoke with one of the officials and asked if there was any reaction. no reaction yet. we know president trump at 3:00 is going to be meeting with hhs secretary. the focus of the meeting is going to be the opiod epidemic, i would be very surprised if
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reporters didn't shout a question at president trump about this latest discovery. we'll have to see if he decides to respond. he has had very tough words, tough talk for north korea, in recent days, we know he spent an hour on the phone with his secretary of state as well as his chief of staff yesterday talking about the latest threat from north korea, and, of course, all of this comes in the context is important, after the u.n. unanimously voted to impose an unprecedented billion dollars worth of sanctions on north korea. it was striking they convinced the united states and russia to get on board. we know secretary tillerson has been traveling throughout asia, he has pressed leaders in the region to really take the lead in terms of isolating north korea, they feel as though they are making measured progress, the big question remains will north korea do anything
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differently because of this latest round of sanctions and tough talk? or will we see china, thailand other countries step up and try to choke out north korea? that remains an unanswered question. we continue to monitor these break i breaking developments here from new jersey. 12k3w >> i want to go back to ken delaney about nikki haley was asked about the sanctions and whether or not they would be enough to stop north korea from doing exactly what they were able to do. a report was leaked they were able to do five hours later. so how much quicker did this happen than experts expected this to happen, and were they totally caught off guard, at least partially caught off guard by this? >> they may have been many u.s. intelligence insights into north korea this rather bizarre
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country are rather limited it's not like the communications intercepts are very good. this country isn't fully connected to the internet. yes, to answer your question, this has happened sooner than the most recent public intelligence assessment suggested it might. at the same time, strategically, looking back over years, analysts say this was inevita e inevitable, it was going to happen. the hard questions that are going to be asked now, did the obama administration handle this issue the way they should have? were they tough enough, they had a policy of sort of ignoring north korea. on the theory they really wanted attention. it turns out what north korea wanted was a nuclear weapon on top of an icbm. and they have achieved that. >> the transition, the day after the election, the president sat down or at least had a phone
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conversation with donald trump, and told him that north korea was going to be the biggest threat, to watch out for north korea. the president is tweeting at this hour, as this news is breaking, but he's not saying anything about north korea, he's talking about the failing new york times and amazon and the secret clinton plane meeting. we're not hearing from the president in regards to north korea. he said this would never happen under his watch. courtney, what is the pentagon saying at this hour. >> there's been no official reaction from the pentagon on this i want to pick up on what you were talking about, this is not a surprise, necessarily that north korea was attempting to
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gain the technology to mill tarrize a nuclear warhead. they believed that north korea already had the capability to mill tarrize a nuclear warhead. it's the speed with which they have been able to nminiaturize nuclear warhead. just last month, one month ago on july 3rd. they tested their first successful intercontinental ballistic missile. now they not only have the length, the distance of a missile that could hit the united states, but now, the ability to miniaturize a nuclear warhead that would be able to go on one of these icbm's. it's not surprising they have been searching out this technology. >> we knew this was going to
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happen, i think what we were not expecting was the speed at which they were able to do that. courtney, staying on you, the distance that an icbm launched by the north koreans can travel we've been hearing a lot of reporting on this, perhaps as far as chicago. maybe as far as new york city? >> some of scientists assessments have been that the most recent test on july 28th -- it would -- think of it this way, they shot this straight up into space, and it landed virtually straight down in the sea of japan. think about that, if they had shot it straightforward, and it essentially hugged the curvature of the earth, it could have been able to hit the continental
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united states. but again, what they haven't mastered, what the u.s. is not sure they've mastered is the ability for reentry on the ballistic missile to actually come back through the atmosphere without breaking upon that reentry. >> thank you. joining me now, msnbc international security and diplomacy analyst. thank you so much for joining us, admiral. what happens now? what sort of options are on the table for the u.s.? they've said all options. explain what that means. >> i think unfortunately, it's the same set of bad options we had 24 hours ago, it's exacerbated by the collision of these two streams we've talked about, one is the miniaturization of the nuclear weapons, the other is the
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ability to deliver them at range. the streams have now evidently crossed, which makes us in a very dangerous moment, what can we do? first of all, the option of a massive preemptive strike is a bad one, it would cause the north koreans to lash out, probably cause the deaths of a million or more people on the korean peninsula. we would be unable to achieve real tactical surprise if we were trying to mask forces to do it. and therefore kim jong-un would have an ability to strike. so that massive military option not very good, option number two,dy ploep ascy. that's what we've been working so hard to do for two decades, without very good effect. we've had a little bit of a plus over the last day or so, with the united nations, security council resolutions, 16-0, russia, china on board,
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potentially over time that could begin to impact the korean economy. north korean economy, but it is still unclear whether that will be sufficient if china doesn't fully act on those sanctions, and the jury's out on that. and third and finally, katie, you can look at some sereptitious forces, you run the risk, if you did a decapitation of kim jong-un of not knowing what comes after, it's a bad basket of options, the best one to continue to pursue is diplomacy. at the end of the day, we may have to live with this and impose a real deterrent regime on north korea. >> they have incurred $3 billion of economic sanctions. we know that basically, all of
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the country's money goes to making sure they have the capability, mil capability, militarily to defend themselves. why not impose tougher sanctions, sanctions that would strangle the economy, so they cannot continue to do the testing they are doing right now? >> katy, you've got my vote, if you can put that in front of the u.n. security counsel and get it through. >> who would stop it? >> china would? for all of their happy talk about wanting to resolve this situation. in the end, china likes a divided korean peninsula, they want to avoid a mass of refugees. they want to avoid a reunification which would create an economic juggernaut, the same
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way the unification of germany created in europe. they have no significant interest in actually following through on these sanctions, unfortunately, what can we do? we can continue to put pressure on china. we can work with our allies in the region to build military options if we have to go that route. we can increase missile defense to defend ourselves and our allies, we can continue to press the united nations, we can impress cyber and special forces. it's not a good attractive package of options. >> i hate to go back into politics on this, the president -- we're expecting a statement from him in the 3:00 hour, the opiod crisis, he has a panel out there in new jersey. we are hearing from him right now, hearing from him on twitter, which is the way he likes to communicate with the american public. we're not hearing about this
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news, he tweeted about poll numbers, the new york times and amazon. don't believe the fake news suppression polls. here's the thing, we're talking about north korea right now, having developed technology to allow them to miniaturize a nuclear warhead that could potentially reach the united states. instead of staying shrine the and conferring with his advisers is on his phone tweeting about poll numbers, the new york times and amazon. >> you know, i think that what we're hearing today is not fake news. what we really need at this moment is a chief of staff, general john kelly to gather the team around the president, sort of shut down the externals and compose a strategy.
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and it ought to include the 6 or 7 things i just spoke about. we have to achieve alignment and expand that outward to our allies, friends and partners in the world. you are exactly right that a series of episodic, disconnected tweets that don't seem to really address what's clearly the news of the day, week, month or year, but what is is the miniaturization of the nuclear warhead. hopefully general kelly will start to impose some discipline and we'll see a strategic response out of the white house on this. it is the first big crisis of the administration. >> absolutely. thank you so much. from one supreme allied commando of nato, let's go to wesley clark. talk to me about what you think
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is the best option going-forward. diplomacy hasn't worked so far. what can the united states do. >> i think jim gave you the package of things that have to be done. none of them are likely to reverse the situation we're in. if the objective is to eliminate the north koreans nuclear potential, and ballistic missile capabilities, that's not an achievable objective for anything short of general warfare in northeast asia. if that's the objective, that's where we're headed. we have to look at what's a reasonable objective, what would be a reasonable objective? strengthen deterrence, build up south korea's ability to respond at any level of provocation from the north, make sure the north knows it, work with the chinese, the russians, make sure our
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japanese allies are comfortable with what we're doing. stabilize the situation. and can we use sanctions? can we use diplomacy? sure, all of those things have to work, the first thing is to get the right objective in place. i think if you do diplomacy, maybe the objective can be of the diplomacy there will be a freeze or roll back of the nuclear and ballistic potential. that's a phase three/phase four objective of the diplomacy. the first objective is stability right now. let's not have any missed calculations, let's not put ourselves in a situation where responding to president trump, this young man in north korea believes he's about to be attacked and therefore he's going to attack first. we don't want war to begin by accident or miscalculation. that's the first responsibility of the white house at this time. >> take a look at this graphic
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we've prepared, showing how many missile tests that north korea has attempted in 2017 alone. we started on february 12th, this is a couple weeks after president trump was inaugurated. one after the other, test after test, now we're finding out they have the technology to miniaturize a nuclear warhead. this is happening a lot faster than most people expected it to. >> yes, but as we said previously. this was sort of inevitable. there's intelligence scientists in north korea, they've had assistance from other countries, maybe china, maybe russia, maybe iran. >> you think they had assistance. >> at stages i think they had assistance. intelligence is limited. so when you put people to work on engineering problems, you can
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solve those problems, given time and resources, they've had -- they've had since 2002 when they were declared a member of the axis of evil and more or less we put the crosshairs of our target on them. we didn't prioritize it, we went after iraq first. north korea took their lesson from what happened with iraq. they knew they had to get nuclear weapons, in order to guarantee their survival. >> general, stay with us. i want to go to a daily beast columnist. north korea takes on the world. he joins us now on the phone. gordon, thank you very much for calling in. we appreciate it. i am curious, what exactly is kim jong-un's aim with this? what is his goal? >> i think, of course, he wants deterrence, the other thing he wants is, he wants the ability
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to blackmail the united states. to break the alliance with south korea, get our 28,500 service personnel off the korean peninsula, and then try to destroy the south korean state. the destruction of the south korean state is at the core of the kim regime. i'm afraid kim will use his arsenal in a blackmail way. we saw vladimir putin try to do this in 2014 with regard to the baltics, there was very little push back then, and i think kim learned a lesson he may be able to do it now with the feckless response from the international community. i hope he doesn't think that way, but it's a real possibility. >> what happens after that? >> you could have what everyone hopes to avoid, a general conflict on the korean peninsula, which would be horrific as everyone has talked about. there is a possibility that the countries in the region, when they see they're on the brink of crisis, will be able to step
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back and fashion a solution, we will be able to come to some equilibrium, we have to be concerned the worst scenarios now have an unacceptably high risk. >> americans are aware of this threat and it's growing in concern among the american people. chicago council on global affairs conducted a poll that said the majority of americans favored deploying u.s. troops to north korea if they try to attack south korea. gordon? >> well, i mean, it -- we are not going to deploy troops there unless we're in a war fighting situation. the alliance won't hold for one reason or the other. i think deterrence generally works. we deterred the soviet union for decades, we're deterring china for now. is the north korean regime
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stable enough? there were a number of signs showing extreme turbulence. the whole question of deterrence is regret, we have to make a determination whether we can deter the north korean regime. i think we can, it's not an easy question to come to an answer o to. >> what's the biggest thing we can offer them to deter? >> the biggest aspect of deterrence is the complete destruction of the north korean state. the north koreans know this. >> wouldn't they just respond proactively to that? wouldn't they fire off one of their missiles if they believe the state is going to be broken up? >> deterrence is always risky. it was risky during the soviet union. it took years and years for the
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u.s. and soviet union to work out a model of deterrence. we haven't done that yet with the north koreans. we hope they realize the military mite of the u.s. is mighty. >> jordan chiang, thank you very much for calling in, appreciate your expertise, sir. >> joining me now is ned price. thank you for being here. the president has tweeted again, this time, retweeting more jobs numbers from two days ago. i hate to put these two things side by side, but there's a lot going on right now, it's a big development, the american public is by and large pretty scared of what's going on in north korea, and the president of the united states is i guess conferring with -- not conferring, he's watching the news, he isn't in
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any sort of meeting, he's tweeting, and he's not tweeting about this, what's your reaction? >> well, a couple things, katy. i think only half facetiously, in some ways, that is the perfect response from the president of the united states, the commander in chief. i would not want to see president trump engaging in a back and forth or even just a forth with north korea over twitter. he should allow his diplomats, military generals, and everyone else who is charged with looking at this problem, the time and space that they need to forge the international coalition. to enforce sanctions, to take up other messages to degrade and deter the north koreans from doing anything more provocative. i personally wish he hadn't tweeted anything, if that's what he's going to tweet, that is fine by me.
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we can hope and i suspect in fact the president was briefed on this finding, if the report in the washington post is accurate. the president receives an intelligence briefing every morning, if this assessment is in fact true, and we can assume it came across his desk. in an ideal world, the president was not taken by surprise. >> they say they got their confirmation from a dia report. nbc news has confirmed the general aspects of this story with a u.s. national security offici official. with that, we're going to take a short break right now. we'll be back on the other side talking more about the international reaction to north korea. we have a reporter on that. the diplomatic response that could be underway and what the president of the united states might be considering for options. and just how we got to this
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missile. the washington post first reported this around noon today. they were read excerpts from a dia report and were able to confirm it with other officials. nbc news has been able to confirm the general aspects of that report as well. north korea has been ramping up its missile testing since president trump took office. 14 different tests in the last few months alone. it was expected they were going to be able to do this they would have the technology to miniaturize a nuclear warhead and put it on an icbm. everyone expected that would happen at some point. it is happening a little sooner than many analysts and experts had expected. >> over the weekend, new sanctions imposed on north korea, $3 billion. hoping to deter them, strangle them financially.
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so they won't be able to put that money into their nuclear testing. nikki haley was asked about that this morning. five hours later we found out they had this capability. let's go to ken delaney. what have you learned? >> a u.s. official briefed on the intelligence confirms to us the gift of this report. the u.s. intelligence community has assessed north korea has successfully miniaturized a nuclear weapon to the point it could mount that on an intercontinental ballistic missile. this is coming on the heels of a test last month, that many analysts said could hit main lant united states. this doesn't mean they've achieved a successful icbm with a nuclear weapon. there's another hurdle of reentry.
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you have to perfect the reentry, without the missile disintegrating. many of our guests and experts are talking about this situation through the lens of deterrence. they're saying now u.s. policy must be to deter north korea. the trump administration has said it is unacceptable to us for the north koreans to have a nuclear weapon that can threaten the united states. we will not tolerate that. the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff told andrea mitchell that is unimaginable to him, less unimaginable than war with north korea. now they're confronted with this new intelligence and they need to answer questions of the american people. >> the president himself said this would not happen under his watch, and it has happened. we're awaiting some sort of announcement from the president of the united states.
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we haven't got ing word that is coming, but he is holding a conference on the opiod crisis in the 3:00 hour from new jersey. we're hoping to get a comment from him on this most recent test. we've heard from the 3rez and that's only been through tweets. tweeting mostly about the new york times, amazon and poll numbers and jobs numbers. no one is saying they want him to be tweeting on north korea, it's clear he is aware of the news going on today. keir simmons in the london newsroom many talk to me about any sort of global reaction we've been able to receive so far? >> this is dramatic news for us, it will not be news to many of the agencies around the world. we are hearing foreign governments are reacting immediately to the revelation. we just had a look through various television channels around the world, here in europe and the middle east, in russia, and they are covering the story
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but not to the same extent as is being covered domestically. . i think the closer you get to south korea, the more those countries have lived with the threat from north korea for many, many years, for decades, keep in mind, for example, that north korea has been able to carry out a number of nuclear tests, five in recent history, we're waiting to see whether a sixth will be carried out while this is an important step, there are other things that could happen that could raise the tension further. this is not as sense as it could get. they could carry out a high altitude nuclear explosion of the kind the soviet union and the u.s. carried out in the 1960s. what will really worry many countries around the world is the increase iing stand-off if like between the united states and north korea. the way many of your guests have
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vocalized this already, the way that plays out potentially is that all sides lose control of a confrontation that ends or begins -- or begins to be a war on the korean peninsula. remember that north crow ya is a highly militarized country, has artillery ranging along its border, in sight of seoul, south korea. that's why people talk about the situation escalating from a strike by the u.s. into a war, where you could see hundreds of thousands killed. it is very concerning for all of those countries in that region in some ways, you can understand more so than it is there in d.c., but alternatively, of course, the other issue is, that if north korea was able to get to a position where it has a long range nuclear missile that could targets the united states,
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it could then blackmail u.s. allies in that region, including south korea, that gives you a picture of why people unanimously say there is no easy answer here. >> keir simmons, thank you. >> courtney, i want to go back to you. we heard ken talking about deterrence and how that hasn't been the standpoint of this administration. they've said it is unacceptable for north korea to have a nuclear waur head, the president said one they could atach to an icbm. is anyone in the pentagon privately talking about potential action that they could be take iing against north kore. >> if you talk to people in the pentagon about what they would or could do about north korea you're going to get the canned answer, which is, they're always
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planning we have had several statements from military officials about this recently. secretary mattis talked about how devastating some sort of a military confrontation with north korea would be. he talked about casualties and death -- deaths on levels we haven't seen in decades, since world war ii, and the tremendous amount of firepower that north korea could and likely would unleash in the form of artillery on seoul, south korea, and the hundreds of thousands of citizens there, including many american ex-patriots. i mean, i think that when you talk about the idea of some sort of a preemptive military action by the u.s. military, they are always going to say they have that right, they have that planning, that they will not take anything off the table, but no one around here is talking about anything like that very seriously at this point. >> courtney, thank you, let's go to general mccaffrey, who's
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still with us. an msnbc military analyst. i want to get historical context here, keir was talking about the ussr firing a nuclear warhead into the air and exploding it, that sort of dramatic and tense moment that created. talk to me about the differences we were facing back then with the ussr and what we're facing now with north korea. >> i think it's pretty different. the russians were always smart, made collective decisions. we're facing quite a different situation now. let me tell you what we ought not to worry about. they're not turning in their nuclear system for any reason. within five years, currently their capability is flaky. within five years, we ought to expect they have a significant nuclear capability to strike the
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united states. what should we worry about? his generals are afraid of him. they get shot if they don't applaud vigorously. we don't know what they'll tell him. what he's aware of. he's learned from his father and grandfather, he can strike the united states and south korea and get away with it. the question is, will there be missed calculation, in which he fires 1,000 rounds into seoul korea, because the economic sanctions are working? and then what do we do? that's the problem, and we're right on the verge of it. >> what can the trump administration do besides wait and watch? >> we get -- i think between jim and wes, you heard some pretty rational discussion of it, obviously, there's a diplomacy, there's a covert action. i think china will get scared of
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a nuclear war on their doorstep. they don't want that to happen. >> the fallout would reach them even if it wasn't fired at them. >> i think what the united states is going to have to do is to tell them privately, if you employ these weapons, if you strike vigorously against seoul, our only real military option is to go nuclear. and that would be a tragedy for the global community. but we do that before we would accept a strike on japan, south korea or the united states. >> we have a graphic from the washington post that estimates how many nuclear warheads are out there. and it's somewhere between 30 and 60 from experts analysis for what north korea has. so far, russia has the most nuclear warheads, 7,000. the united states 6,800. france 300.
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china 260, britain 215, pakistan 140, india, 130, israel 80. so general, this puts them close to being on par with the nuclear capability of israel if they have as many as 60. >> i've spent a lots of time working the nuclear doctrine. nuclear war is actually unthinkable. most of the military guys see these as political deterrence chips, not war fighting weapons. but to make them work, you have to modernize, keep them under control. we are prepared to be a first strike nuclear power. we never denied that. president obama started to take it off the table and all of his advisers correctly said, don't do that. that's where we are now, working on deterrence with a rogue
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regime that will soon have a realistic capability to strike us, japan, south korea and austral australia. >> general mccaffrey, thank you very much. we're going to take a quick break, on the other side, we'll get more reaction from the white house, more reaction on what 2 is going on in the white house with jonathan lemire. we'll be back in a couple minutes.
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well, what you're asking is, are we preparing plans for a preventative war, a war that would prevent north korea from threatening the united states with a nuclear weapon. the president has been very clear about it, he's not going to tolerate north korea being able to threaten the united states. look at the nature of that regime, it's intolerable, so, of course, we have to provide all options to do that. and that includes a military option. >> donald trump's national security adviser, h.r. mcmaster saying that president trump will not tolerate a nuclear warhead in the hands of the north koreans. a nuclear war led they can attach to an icbm.
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we have now learned today that north korea, it's believed does have that capability according to u.s. intelligence officials that spoke to nbc news and also a washington post report. reporters who saw a dia report, for more on how the white house might respond to this, i'm joined by jonathan lemire, ap white house reporter. we haven't seen the president in a couple days, we know that president obama sat him down right after the election and said, listen, north korea is your biggest threat. he's clearly aware of the news today, he's been tweeting about it, what is -- what do you suspect is going on in bedminster right now, where the president is vacationing. is he talking to his advisers? >> one would certainly hope so. he is not surrounded by much of his senior staff today in bedminster.
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no one is saying he should be using twitter to talk about diplomacy with north korea. it is surprising what he is choosing to tweet about when networks like this are going wall to wall. >> no one's saying he should be tweeting about north korea and threatening them. >> unrelated topics, to bring up the mcmaster sound you did. this is a moment where the national security advicer is taking a lot of criticism, there's a rift in the white house between mcmaster and bannon. we know there's a coordinated on line attack from conservatives and the alt right saying he's too loyal to obama holdovers. not filling the national security council with trump supporters. >> why should americans care
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that two staffers on donald trump's staff are getting into it? >> it matters in this case because mcmaster plays a key role in setting foreign policy. this is a signal to the world, to america's allies and perhaps enemies, that things aren't stable at home at the white house the way they should be. some people may decide to take advantage of had a. >> how much control is john kelly going to be able to exert over a situation like that. >> clearly he has no control over the president's twitter amount. >> there's a belief that mcmaster's position in the white house has stabilized. the chief of staff in this situation certainly would be doing all he can to ensure the president is being briefed by official channels and not just on what he's seeing on cable news, and they would have the ability to respond appropriately. we're hoping, we're expecting to hear from him shortly, he's
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delivering a message on opiods. a lot of nervous americans are hoping he would talk about this issue too. >> the majority of americans say they're growing more nervous about a potential war on the korean peninsula or one that would involve the united states. kelsey davenport, the director for nonproliferation policy. she joins us now. i want to get a sense from you. how -- if the president can't respond by taking any action. how did we get to this point? or if there's dern about him responding in that way, how did we get to this point? to the point where north korea has this technology and is this a failure of this administration, is it a failure of the last administration, the administration before that? is it -- what is your sense? >> the last several administrations, there's been a diplomacy deficit when it comes to north korea. what the trump administration needs to do now is change up the
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playbook in terms of considering a new approach to north korean policy. trump announced that his approach to north korea would be maximum pressure and engagement earlier this year, we've seen a lot of pressure. additional sanctions on north korea. united states has worked with south korea on missile defense. but the engagement piece has been missing. so right now what i think the trump administration needs to do to address this threat is send a clear message to north korea that the united states is willing to talk without conditions because that's the only way that we're going to halt north korea's progress on both its nuclear and missile programs. >> that's a real break from past administrations. >> well, past administrations have also followed in the same vein of trying to increase pressure through sanctions, but waiting for north korea to come to the table. the united states cannot afford to wait any longer. this new assessment is alarming but it's not surprising because north korea has been on the path of trying to be able to fit a nuclear warhead on a ballistic missile capable of reaching the united states for some time.
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and with more time north korea is going to refine those capabilities further. so there's a lot of urgency now to stop north korea before it can deploy a reliable icbm that's capable of targeting the united states. >> so are you saying they should accept the fact that they're going to have this technology, they're going to have this capability, go to the table and try and find a way to have common ground between north korea and the united states and get them to either stop developing more nuclear weapons or to find a way to deter them from using them? >> well, i think that the united states should keep denuclearization of the korean peninsula as a long-term goal and recognize -- >> but does that look possible with this regime, kelsey? >> well, i think it can be possible but it is far out into the future. you know, right now the united states and north korea need to begin talking, they need to begin a dialogue so that
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eventually a long-term comprehensive solution could be reached that could result in north korea rolling back its nuclear program. but to do that the united states cannot insist that north korea take steps to denuclearize before talks even start. these onerous preconditions have kept north korea from engaging in talks. the united states needs to send a clear signal to north korea that we're willing to talk without conditions and then begin a dialogue, first ideally aimed at freezing north korea's missile test so it can't refine its programs further and then look at options for rolling back those programs. >> i want to bring in shawn mcfade who's a professor at the national defense university and georgetown university's school of foreign service. he's also the author of "the modern mercenary." shawn, we were going to have you on to talk about afghanistan and the troop deployments out there and whether or not there should be contracted deployments from contractors like eric prince, but we're going to have you on
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to talk about this instead. what exactly does north korea want? if we were to go to the table and start negotiating with them, what would that look like? >> well, i think that we underestimate what they want. we're looking at it from a u.s. perspective. in intelligence we call this mirroring, when you assume the adversary wants what you would want if you were them. i think most of all what they want besides regime security is honor as they see it on their own terms. and i think it would be very unpalatable to americans to give that to them. and i think the key that's going to happen here if we don't want a military solution is that we will all turn to china to bro r broker -- this has been going on for a while. we can't ignore what china's
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doing in the south china sea. they certainly see themselves as a regional hegemon for asia and around the world. they could exploit this for a gain. i think u.s.-north korea dialogue may not go very far. >> jonathan, any sense that this white house is going to be willing to go to the table with them? you just heard h.r. mcmaster a moment ago saying that this is completely unacceptable. the president himself has said this is unacceptable. he tried to work with china, was disappointed with china. now he's threatening them on twitter. would they even consider talking to kim jong un? would that be a good idea? >> this is a president who wrote "the art of the deal." who always thinks -- >> co-wrote "the art of the deal." >> fact check true. but who thinks negotiations are always possible. he has allowed at certain moments that he would be willing to sit down with him, his teams are willing to sit down with him. but it's hard to reconcile that
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with some of the tough talk coming out of the oval office, coming out of members of the trump administration. it should be pointed out that though we have daily headlines, daily drama coming out of this white house, this is a presidency that really hasn't faced any external crises yet. all of the drama that they've been facing has largely been self-inflicted. things whether stemming from the russian probe, infighting, or rolled-out failed policy ventures. whatever it might be. this is the first real serious test, certainly the first serious international test, this president is facing and the world is going to be watching very closely. >> under pressure do they get in line? is it just they have so much extra time to fight? >> i suppose it's possible. it will be interesting to see what kind of tone he sets today, if he does address this, if he says that this is unacceptable, if he says -- if he addresses his comments to north korea and says this can't go on. i don't know if he uses the phrase red line but if he sort of says this is a moment that you know, will be a reckoning coming. >> he said he had a lot of lines. i'm not sure if it was about this but it was about something. maybe syria.
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. one more thing before we go. while the president tweeted about everything but north korea since the breaking news we've been reporting this hour, earlier today he did tweet something about that country. fox news had a scoop about apparent leaked classified documents that reveal u.s. spy satellites have detected north korea moving anti-ship cruise missiles to a patrol boat. u.n. ambassador nikki haley said
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this on "fox & friends" today, when asked if the intelligence was real. >> i can't talk about anything that's classified. and if that's in the newspaper, that's a shame. >> is that another leak, i guess? >> you know, it's one of these things. i don't know what's going on. but i will tell you it's incredibly dangerous when things get out into the press like that. you're not only just getting a scoop on something, you're playing with people's lives. >> yes. >> and this has got to stop. wherever the leaks are coming from, if somebody thinks they're getting power or fame from, it all you're doing is putting americans in danger. >> you're playing with people's lives, she said. apparently her boss sees it differently. right before her interview the president not only retweeted fox's story but he added this. "after many years of failure, countries are coming together to finally address the dangers posed by north korea. we must be tough and decisive." so here's the question. after railing against leaks and with his own justice department investigating leaks within the west wing, why is

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