For the Record with Greta, Transcript 4/10/2017
Show: For the Record with Greta
Date: April 10, 2017
Guest: Francesca Chambers, Matt Viser, Anne Gearan Ted Williams, Katie
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOR THE RECORD SHOW HOST: Hey, Katy. We have breaking
news. A governor booked at the county jail. You heard right, a governor.
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley is expected to resign.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOR THE RECORD HOST: Hey, Katie. And we have breaking
news, a governor booked at the county jail. You heard right. A governor,
Alabama Governor, Robert Bentley is expected to resign any moment now. The
Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office just released a mug shot of the governor
after he was booked on two misdemeanor charges related to campaign
Now, the governor faced impeachment proceedings today. He was accused of
abusing power and using state resources, state money to cover up his
alleged affair with an adviser. Now, those allegations include trying to
block the release of steamy phone calls. Lieutenant Governor, Kay Ivey is
expected to be sworn in later in this hour.
And turning now to Syria and the critical question, did the Russians know
about the chemical weapons attack on those innocent Syrians? The associated
press reporting late today that U.S. Officials believe Russia knew in
advance about Syria’s vicious and cruel attack on those innocent people
including children, National Security Adviser, H.R. McMaster raising that
question in an interview yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. GEN. H.R. MCMASTER, PRESIDENT TRUMP NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: What we
would do is ask Russia, how could it be if you have advisers at that
airfield that you didn’t know that the Syrian Air Force was preparing and
executing a mass murder attack with chemical weapons?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Now, NBC News has not confirmed that the Russians knew, and
in fact, senior intelligence sources telling us they have doubts about key
elements of the AP story. However, we do know that Russia teamed up with
Iran to send a warning to the U.S. saying they will respond with force to
anyone who crosses their “Red Lines”.
Now, all of this dangerously raising the stakes for Secretary Of State, Rex
Tillerson’s trip tomorrow to Moscow, and adding to the confusion of this
crisis right now, top U.S. Officials don’t even agree on whether Syrian
President Bashar al-Assad should stay in power.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: Regime change is something that we
think is going to happen because all of the parties are going to see that
Assad is not the leader that needs to be taking place for Syria.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What the United States and our allies want to do is
enable the Syrian people to make that determination.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Meanwhile, it appears that Syria has now resumed flights
from the airfield that was hit by American cruise missiles. Critics saying,
that raises questions about the effectiveness of the strike.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here’s what I think Assad’s telling Trump by flying
from this base, F you, and I think he’s making a serious mistake.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We should have cratered the runways. The signal that
they’re able to fly almost right away out of the same facility indicates
that I don’t think we did as thorough enough job, which would have been
cratering the runways.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: With me, Republican Congressman, Mike Coffman, Marine Corps
Veteran and Member of the Armed Services Committee and Former Ambassador to
Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, Ryan Crocker and Retired Four-Star General,
Barry McCaffrey. Let me go first to you, congressman, the fact that they’re
able to fly out of that airfield means we didn’t crater the runway. Should
we have cratered the runway?
REP. MIKE COFFMAN, MARINE CORPS VETERAN: Well, the nature of the attack
was a proportional response. It was - it was not to gain a tactical
advantage. It was to send a very clear and decisive message and I think
that it accomplished that task. I think that debating whether to what
extent that the runway should have been cratered, I think is on the
margins. The key issue I think we have to remember is that a message was
VAN SUSTEREN: But General McCaffrey, let me take issue with what the
congressman just said. Didn’t we also want to make it so that it was
impossible or difficult for them to once again take chemical weapons and
strike and did – and by not cratering it, they certainly could get back up
in the air right away if they intended to do more?
GEN. BARRY MCCAFFREY, FORMER UNITED STATES ARMY OFFICER: Look, Greta the,
you know, United States Naval Aviation, the U.S. Air Force, the most
powerful force on Earth, they could have obliterated the entire grid square
had they chosen to do so with B1 or B2 bombers. They wanted a zero risk to
U.S. Pilot strike and they wanted it quickly and they ended up as we
understand it destroying most of the aircraft on the ground. So, I think it
was a, you know, sort of a modest hit, and it was accomplished with no risk
and that’s what they wanted to do.
VAN SUSTEREN: Ambassador, the controversy tonight is what Russia knew or
didn’t know prior to this attack. There were Russian troops at that
airfield, so naturally, the suspicion is that they knew something was awry
that they had the capability. How does this factor into the diplomacy,
especially with ambassador - especially with Secretary Of State, Tillerson
meeting with Foreign Minister, Lavrov tomorrow in Moscow?
RYAN CROCKER, FORMER AMBASSADOR TO SYRIA, IRAQ, AND AFGHANISTAN: Greta, I
think it gives us a real opportunity here. And I’m pleased to see that
senior administration officials, including Secretary Tillerson are going on
the offense publicly against Russia. You know, when they say that we have
violated Syria’s sovereignty, we need to be saying back that you’re
protecting a mass murderer who is gassing his own people.
We need to get that message across to both the Russians and the Iranians.
And the Iranians are particularly neurologic (ph) on this because they have
suffered chemical weapons attacks. So, whether they knew, whether they
didn’t know is not the main point here. They are closely associated with
Bashar. They got him in their warm embrace, and we need to be telling them
and telling the world the quality of regime with which they associate.
VAN SUSTEREN: General, I suspect we have asked Russia before not to do
things like get out of Crimea, don’t help the separatists in the Ukraine,
you know, will they listen to Secretary Tillerson tomorrow when he says
stop helping Assad poison and kill his civilians?
MCCAFFREY: No, I think they’re in a very bad position, you know. They are
supporting a criminal regime that will never be accepted by the Syrian
people. The majority of whom are actually Sunni Muslim. This is a Shia
Minority Sect. I think Ambassador Crocker has entirely got this right. It’s
not whether the Russians knew about a chemical strike.
By the way, I don’t believe they did. It doesn’t make any sense for either
the Syrians or the Russians to have enabled chemicals. And by the way, nor
does – I know a lot about chemical weapon, nor does it make any sense that
the subsequent high explosive attack on the hospital was meant to cover up
a chemical weapon attack. It would not have achieved this purpose.
But I think what is clear is that the Russians got in there, and they have
been complicit in the murder of 400,000 or more people that has devastated
the country, put 5 to 7 million refugees out across the Turkish, Lebanese,
and Jordanian frontiers. It’s a nightmare.
VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, how do you explain I mean and the American
people say we’re all horrified at these images we’re seeing of these people
killed by the gas. They’re gasping for air, I mean they’re dying. I mean
it’s just horrible. Yet the use of barrel bombs by Syria has been
incredible. I mean they have lost 20,000 to 30,000 people killed by that.
And we, you know, there’s no such outrage. How do you explain this to
COFFMAN: Greta, it is tough. We are certainly signatories to a 1993 ban on
the use of chemical weapons. President Obama entered into agreement with
the Russians, with the Syrians to turnover their chemical weapons and
destroyed them. This was in clear violation of that. And I think we have to
- we have to limit it here because I don’t think we really, you know, as an
Iraq war veteran, I don’t think we want to get mired inside a civil war
with U.S. Boots on the ground, and so I think that this - I don’t think the
administration had a choice given that this was a clear violation of an
VAN SUSTEREN: Ambassador, what do we do? With people don’t want to get
embroiled in a civil war, I mean not only (ph) they don’t want to do in
South Sudan, they don’t want to do it in any place in the world. It’s never
been, you know, you know, anything has been particularly beneficial to the
American people. Yet we, you know, we’re very moral people and where do you
draw the line? What should we do in this instance?
CROCKER: Well, that’s exactly the point, so far so good. But this is just
the beginning. Now comes the hard part. And I see this in both moral terms
and political terms. I mean, in moral terms, the next time that Bashar goes
after his own people with conventional weapons or barrel bombs, and we do
nothing, the way that’s going to be read is that we don’t really care about
civilians being killed. We just care how they were killed.
CROCKER: That is not a comfortable moral position to be in. Politically,
it’s kind of to be at least as difficult. The support that the
administration has gotten, for example, from the Turks and from the Saudis
is predicated on the hope that under President Trump we will shift our
focus from the Islamic State to their number one target, which is the Assad
regime. So, we’re going to have quite a challenge here trying to manage all
this at different levels.
VAN SUSTEREN: General, what…
MCCAFFREY: Greta, Can I add one thing?
VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, go ahead. Yes.
MCCAFFREY: You know, the one thing that astonished me was Secretary
Tillerson’s statement that the future of Assad was up to the Syrian people.
It struck me as an outrageous statement by our head diplomat. Assad has
devastated the entire country. It’s a civil war. This is not Geneva, for
God sakes. I cannot imagine why he would imply that it’s in their hands.
That’s what the problem is, a dictatorship murdering their own people.
VAN SUSTEREN: So general, what – if you were the adviser to the
president, and look, I admit, there’s no perfect answer to this. I mean
it’s really like you want to look for the least worst answer to this
because of the terrible situation, but what would you advise President
Trump, because we have seen, you know, when we do - when we do help topple
these dictators that sometimes we don’t have anyone to replace them and it
gets even worse. So, if you were advising President Trump tonight, general,
what would you tell him?
MCCAFFREY: Well, I tell you, it’s a mess. We have no vital security
interest at stake on the ground in Syria. The Obama Administration
essentially deferred and allowed the Russians to enter the conflict on the
ground and in the air with naval forces. My only – by the way, strongly
felt viewpoint is we should have significant amount of humanitarian aid as
in a billion dollars a month to sustain these populations in misery in
Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and to some extent Iraq. We should – the debate is
all about 20,000 Syrian refugees here. We have millions of people in misery
in the European Union and the U.S. ought to try to sustain them.
VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, if the president called you tonight, what would
you tell him?
COFFMAN: Well, this is an Alawite Minority ruling over Sunni Arab
Majority. They’re never going to control the Sunni Arab areas. There has to
be – we have to do everything we can to try and arrive at a political
solution to this. It is the only way out.
VAN SUSTEREN: And ambassador, what would you tell the president?
CROCKER: I would tell him that he is off to a very good start in the
international arena. He has spoken to, met with, telephoned I don’t know
how many dozens of heads of state and government, including all those who
are central to the Syrian issue. So, he is positioned in a way that
President Obama never did get to, to start to build personal relationships
before the crisis.
So this is a great opportunity to start that process in earnest. We’re
talking to other stakeholders. How can we coordinate? Where do we want to
get? How do we get there? This absolutely should not be - whatever resort
should not be unilateral from the U.S. and again…
VAN SUSTEREN: And…
CROCKER: …as President Trump…
VAN SUSTEREN: And I…
CROCKER: …has worked so hard on these relationships, he’s in a position
to pull something together.
VAN SUSTEREN: And I asked all of you the same question because I have no
idea what the right answer is. Even with 20/20 hindsight, usually you know
what the right answer is later. I don’t even know even with 20/20 hindsight
most of these issues in this region how to solve these problems. But,
anyway, gentlemen, thank you.
COFFMAN: Good to be with you, Greta.
MCCAFFREY: Thank you.
CROCKER: Thank you.
VAN SUSTEREN: And right now, U.S. Aircraft Carrier the Carl Vinson is
headed towards North Korea, and why does the entire world expect tensions
with North Korea to spike this week?
Also, new reports of peace talks between Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner,
can they reach a truce or is another big shake-up at the White House about
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. Oh, no. This is wrong. Oh, my God. Look at what
you did to him. Oh, my God.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Imagine that your flight – there’s lots of outrage tonight
with this disturbing video shot on United Airlines and now more controversy
as the airline CEO - as he tries to apologize, uses an odd description for
what happened. Was what United did to this passenger, dragged him off the
airplane, was that illegal?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCMASTER: North Korea has been engaged in a pattern of provocative
behavior. This is a rogue regime that is now a nuclear capable regime and
President Xi and President Trump agreed that that is unacceptable. The
president has asked us to be prepared to give him a full range of options
to remove that threat to the American people and to our allies and partners
in the region.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: President Trump’s National Security Adviser, H.R. McMaster
explaining why the U.S. Navy is sending a group of warships led by the
aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson towards the Korean Peninsula. Now, this
coming Saturday is a big day in North Korea. It marks the 150th birthday of
North Korea’s founding president, Kim Il-sung and North Korea is planning
giant celebration that they do every year in the state.
Meanwhile, with the USS Vinson heading its way, North Korea defiantly
announcing it is not frightened of the U.S. The country pointing out
statement after the U.S. airstrike in Syria saying North Korea’s tremendous
military muscle with a nuclear force as it pivots will foil any aggression
by the United States.
With me, Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State P.J. Crowley and Steve
Clemons, Washington Editor at large for the Atlantic. P.J. first to you,
General H.R. McMaster says it’s provocative behavior. Let me get a little
bit cruder in touch (ph), it’s five nuclear missile tests and they keep
doing - and five nuclear weapons tests and now they have all these missile
tests. That’s a little bit more than provocative.
P.J. CROWLEY, FORMER U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, it is a
source of concern for the United States and their allies in the region, and
the movement of the ships into the region is a gesture – it is a gesture
to North Korea, but it is also a reassurance to our allies that we are
prepared to protect them.
VAN SUSTEREN: But the problem is, is that if North Korea acts, by the time
we respond, there’s an - also a lot, you’ve got 11 million people in South
Korea, you’ve got 30,000 artillery weapons not even the nuclear weapons on
the border at the DMC pointing right at Seoul.
CROWLEY: Sure, but this is - I mean, this is not the first time we’ve done
this. And in fact, we just had a recent military exercise, you know, that
got North Korea’s attention. I mean, rhetoric is what North Korea does.
What you really want to avoid is someone fires a shot in one direction or
the other, then you’re into a scenario where you don’t know where it ends.
VAN SUSTEREN: Steve, you know, usually it’s a good idea if you can keep
your opponent talking because they’re not doing something. And this whole
problem with North Korean nuclear weapons President Clinton couldn’t do
anything about it, President Bush couldn’t do anything about it, President
Obama and now we have President Trump who says he could to talk to China.
But, in the meantime, what so different here is that while they’re talking,
they are advancing the programs.
STEVE CLEMONS, WASHINGTON EDITOR AT LARGE FOR THE ATLANTIC: They’re
advancing the programs and Donald Trump and Rex Tillerson have said, as far
as, North Korea goes the time for talking is over. And so, they have taken
a very, very hard line with North Korea. I believe (ph), what you have seen
both after the Shinzo Abe Summit and then Xi Jinping Summit down in Mar-A-
Lago with Trump is of substantial portion of those discussions with Chinese
and Japanese leaders was about North Korea.
VAN SUSTEREN: But…
CLEMONS: Now, we see China deploying 150,000 troops to the North Korean
border, fearful about refugees leaving North Korea. The place is getting
hotter, and they’re sure that Donald Trump is not going to be like Obama
and just ignore that North Korea body (ph).
VAN SUSTEREN: I will take it one step further and, you know, I’m not
suggesting military action is the right – I don’t have an answer to this
like I don’t have an answer to Syria. However, is that - is that President
Trump has been so critical of President Obama on that red line remark, and
he’s essentially given a red line remark to North Korea on this.
CLEMONS: Yes, I mean…
VAN SUSTEREN: So can you tell me how this is playing out?
CLEMONS: Well, right now, it’s not playing out well in my view because as
far as I can tell, there’s no channel for North Korea to back into. There
are no talks that within the past, you would try to strong arm North Korea
or various neighbour shape the environment so North Korea would engage in
constructive talks again. That doesn’t seem to be on the table right now.
You know, it seems to me that they want total capitulation and a kind of
forward step by North Korea to say we’re going to give up our nuclear
weapons program since somehow have China miraculously become a great
partner with us in that. So I think it’s getting hotter with no real clear
plan. And as you know, you can take different actions.
If you don’t take action now, you have a lot of North Korea lives off of
extortion – off of extortion from its neighbors. If there is a military
strike of the kind we saw in Syria, you put at risk hundreds of thousands
of people in South Korea and possibly Japan.
VAN SUSTEREN: I don’t…
CLEMONS: So there’s no good answer.
VAN SUSTEREN: I don’t see North Korea backing off a bit. I mean they have
got this whole sort of pride thing that this is, you know, I don’t see them
CLEMONS: It’s more than pride.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I’m not saying it in a good way. I did not mean that
is a good thing.
CLEMONS: No, yes but in essence, North Korea is trying to rewrite the
bargain that we have negotiated for 20 years. For 20 years, it’s – you can
have a normal country – a normal relationship with the United States if
you give up your nuclear weapons. What North Korea wants to do is say I
want to have a normal relationship and keep my nuclear weapon. So, I’m
sympathetic in the current situation that does not necessarily…
VAN SUSTEREN: …which would be OK if we were just…
CLEMONS: …anything to talk about.
VAN SUSTEREN: …careful – that would be OK if we were at a standoff and
they just weren’t doing anything, but the problem is they keep moving
forward. They keep, you know, that’s the problem…
CLEMONS: …they stop Gadhafi who gave up his nuclear weapons program, get
killed by his own people. They’re not going to give nuclear weapons up.
What the Obama team thought is that by doing the Iran deal, that might
create some training wheels for North Korea to see what they could possibly
achieve new money, new investment, you know, a horizon of hope if they
engaged in a nuclear deal.
CROWLEY: But I think the, you know, part of the answer is to find ways to
exert additional economic pressure on North Korea that’s only part of the
answer. Part of the answer is that China has to be responsible to create
conditions that might enable some sort of negotiation to resume. I would
say, you know, a bar might be no missile firings for six months to a year,
and then maybe there will be conversations.
CROWLEY: Other than that, I think we just have to prepare to deter them,
pressure them and deter them. We’ve done that before during the Cold War.
VAN SUSTEREN: Here’s the problem is that, is that if they cared about
their people not having food but they don’t if they cared about that. Or if
China had shown any time in the past where they have helped, but they
really haven’t, that’s the problem. We sit here wanting these things so
badly to happen but – and we sort of look at it through our own eyes like,
you know, you can’t imagine a leader here starving his people like that,
but they do.
CROWLEY: They do, you know, but the dilemma here is that any time, as
Steve said, someone starts firing it puts hundreds of thousands of people
in and around Seoul in immediate risk.
VAN SUSTEREN: Indeed. Anyway, gentlemen, another no good answer. I mean,
not for you guys. I mean like there’s no good for any of us. Anyway, thank
CLEMONS: Thank you, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: Ahead, are two of the president’s key advisers still feuding
or is there a truce. Plus, the Alabama Governor resigning just moments ago,
we’ll tell you what he said after impeachment hearings and a political sex
Also, what the airline is saying about that disturbing video showing a man
dragged from an overbooked United Flight.
VAN SUSTEREN: Tonight, two elementary school students are in critical
condition and two adults are dead in what authorities say looks like a
murder-suicide at an elementary school in San Bernardino, California.
Police say the suspect shot and killed a woman in a classroom and then
killed himself. It appears the children were caught in the middle.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAPT. RON MAASS, SAN BERNARDINO POLICE DEPARTMENT: The children, we do not
believe, were targeted. They were – entire incident was limited to a
single classroom with on the school campus. The suspect had come to the
classroom to visit the female – the adult female that was in the
classroom. We believe the two children were the unfortunate recipients of
injuries by being in proximity to the female at the time of the incident.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: One child was airlifted. The other transported by ambulance
to a local hospital.
A new problem tonight in Egypt, President al-Sisi has announced a three
month state of emergency after two Coptic Christian churches were bombed on
Palm Sunday killing at least 45 and injuring more than 100 worshippers.
ISIS has claimed responsibility, but that claim is not confirmed.
And moments ago, Alabama Governor, Robert Bentley officially resigning
after he was booked this afternoon on two charges related to campaign
practices. Impeachment hearings had begun accusing him of abusing his power
to try to cover up an affair.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT BENTLEY, GOVERNOR ALABAMA: Well, the time has come for me to look
at new ways to serve the good people of our great state. I have decided it
is time for me to step down as Alabama’s governor. I’m leaving this office
that I have held, that I have respected, that I have loved for seven years
to focus on other and possibly more effective areas of service. I will be
leaving the office today, April 10th. But my administration will work with
Lieutenant Governor Ivey’s Administration to provide any assistance needed
to make a smooth transition.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey is expected to be sworn in
later this hour as the new Governor of Alabama.
And can two of the president’s top advisers bury the hatchet or will a
White House feud derail the president’s agenda? This question as the
president races close to hitting the 100-day mark in the office, our
political panel will be here.
And should United Airlines have to pay for dragging a passenger offer an
overbooked campaign? Our legal panel is here to discuss.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, THE 45TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I got it done
in the first 100 days. That is even nice. You think that is easy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, NBC NEWS HOST FOR THE RECORD: President Trump today on
his Supreme Court pick getting sworn in and appearing to acknowledge the
challenges he has faced in his first 100 days. One challenge is the
publicized feud between chief strategist Steve Bannon and top adviser and
son-in-law Jared Kushner. NBC News reports staff Reince Priebus held a
meeting with Bannon and Kushner on Friday, trying to mend fencing between
them. Today, White House Press Sean Spicer was asked about the infighting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is the president’s perspective on the ability, the
current ability of his senior advisers to resolve their ideological
differences and resolve their personality differences and work as a team?
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He is very confident in that.
There’s a lot of stuff that was overblown about this. That makes it out
into the media sometimes and gets a little bit more sensational than it
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Amid all this political reports that the White House is
aware of that symbolic date, 100 days in office falling on April 29th. One
aide saying, quote, we have essentially two and a half weeks to turn
everything around. Joining me, White House correspondent for the daily
mail, Francesca Chambers, National Political reporter for the Boston Globe
Matt Viser, and National Political reporter for the Washington Post Anne
Gearan, Anne, this infighting between Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner, sort
of interesting palace intrigue, but does it have an impact on policy?
ANNE GEARAN, WASHINGTON POST: Well, I mean, I think it has an impact on
decisions about policy. What to do first. And right now, the things that
Bannon wanted to do first haven’t gone well for the president. So the
policies that he would like to push are not those that Kushner would like
to push. And so far, Kushner has more of a winning record than Bannon
does. I mean certainly, the travel ban didn’t go well, nor did health
care. So yes, I think there is operationally an effect on policy. What
they do when and kind of who has the upper hand in making those decisions.
VAN SUSTEREN: Matt, so where does it stand now? Have they really mended
the fences or sort of that the public pr, everything is fine, kumbaya and
they’re going to hold hands and walk to marine one?
MATT VISER, BOSTON’S GLOBE: I think it is a – they’re trying to reflect a
kumbaya moment, but I don’t think that would last very long. They’re two
ideologically opposed people, which Trump typically likes. We know from
his business career, he has liked that conflict. He is liked delegating.
He intervenes, though, when things go awry. It seems like they have gone
even too far for him in terms of the drama that people are publicly talking
about these names that are becoming household names and they’re not
VAN SUSTEREN: Anne, Francesca, Anne mentioned the ideological impact when
one wins over the other. When you look at what happened in Syria, the
president was very aggressive in Syria. The thought is that Jared Kushner
is much more of a globalist, and Steve Bannon is much more – let’s take
care of things at home.
FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, DAILY MAIL: The things Steve Bannon wanted came first.
The travel ban, as you were talking about, health care. While they didn’t
go well, they were at the top of Donald Trump’s list. That is one way to
look at it.
VAN SUSTEREN: That hurts Steve Bannon, though. If they had gone well, he
would be riding high.
CHAMBERS: But it also shows how much Donald Trump also values those
things. How much he wanted to get them –
VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, I don’t know how much –
CHAMBERS: And now, now, but he also likes to win. And those were not
successes. So he is moving on and doing other things such as his tax plan
or infrastructure as well. When it comes to Syria and it comes to foreign
policy, I think President Trump has made it very clear that Jared Kushner
is someone who he trusts on that. He has quickly become a great source of
power when it comes to foreign policy in this White House and even sent him
to Iraq. That is very huge for someone in his position. I think when it
comes to those issues. He is going to listen to Jared, but when it comes
to the more domestic issues, he might be more inclined to listen to Steve
VAN SUSTEREN: I think the person riding high tonight in the sort of Trump
sphere is whoever said pick Gorsuch. Today, that was a victory for him.
CHAMBERS: Yeah, oh, I mean, it’s a clear victory all the way through. I
mean, they picked somebody who could be confirmed with wide Republican
support. Make the Democrats look, you know, petty for – that was their
hope, for opposing him, somebody who could get on the court quickly.
Somebody who would fully fill out the Scalia brief in terms of the space he
occupies on the court and somebody who is 49 years old and is likely to be
on the court for decades. Those are exactly the things that Republicans
across the board very mainstream Republicans and to their right wanted him
to do. He did it, and he did it in less than 100 days. And I think that
is, at this point, his biggest victory so far.
VAN SUSTEREN: Matt, I think we’re almost at the end of his victory for the
100 days, even though he has another 18, 19 days left, because congress has
gone home for two weeks. Not much he can do in the next two weeks.
VISER: The overall narrative of the first 100 days is he is been stymied
legislatively and legally on the things he is trying to do.
VAN SUSTEREN: Interesting, he does have the house and senate. He is been
stymied within his own Party, which is I think probably a criticism. He
was supposed to get the deal. And he doesn’t have his own team to get
VISER: And an articulation sort of coming in about what he wants. Some of
that is reflective of the internal strife’s that we were talking about
earlier where he is almost internally conflicted with things like climate
change, where changing regulations but they’re not getting out of the Paris
climate deal, or the Iran deal he continues to criticize without getting
VAN SUSTEREN: Also some promotion of solar energy. That is interesting.
People focus on the coal, but there’s been some promotion on alternative
energy. Not a whole lot.
VISER: Which makes it hard for the Trump doctrine internationally hard to
articulate and the Trump doctrine, what he wants domestically is hard to
articulate because there’s not one forceful, this is what we want to do,
and it’s not as simple to build a wall as he talked about in the campaign.
VAN SUSTEREN: The whole climate change, this feeds into the Steve Bannon
area. America first, and we just want to drill and get our own stuff here.
CHAMBERS: So America first is the one uniting strategy, but it’s
interesting now how they seem to be changing the definition of what America
first means going back to Syria. This is America first because it’s in our
national interests to have done this. But that is not true.
VAN SUSTEREN: A lot of people would say our moral interests. We have
looked the other way with some of the chemical weapons in the past three
years we have looked away. We are a superpower and we would like to be the
CHAMBERS: This is something again that conservatives, the Rand Paul wing
of the Party, the libertarians, are saying isn’t in the national interest
of the United States. It may morally be in the United States interests,
but it’s not in the national interest when it comes to military policy.
GEARAN: It’s just such a remarkable change from the way Trump talked about
foreign policy on the campaign trail. Like many other things that change
once you get in the White House, I mean, it was bound to change in some
way. But he did not talk about projecting the force of American ideals.
He did not talk about the moral argument for doing anything overseas at
all. It would be in fact completely the opposite, the moral force of
turning the other way.
VAN SUSTEREN: Secretary Clinton did, and looks where it got her, to some
extent, as a result of her experience as a former Secretary of State.
GEARAN: She had a different problem. She couldn’t look like she was too
much of an interventionist and internationalist or she would tick off her
own left base. She didn’t go after Trump on some of those points for
exactly that reason.
VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, especially after Libya. Still ahead, this video of a
passenger being dragged off a united flight is raising questions. Our
legal panel is here next.
VAN SUSTEREN: We’re back with the politics of President Trump’s air
strikes against Syria. A new poll shows just how divided public is. Just
18 percent want U.S. ground troops in Syria. 30 percent want just air
strikes. 26 percent want just diplomatic talks and 15 percent want no
involvement at all. Back with me, Francesca, Matt, and let me go to you,
Matt these poll numbers.
VAN SUSTEREN: Nobody knows what to do.
VISER: Just as divided as the Trump White House.
VAN SUSTEREN: Or we don’t know what to do.
VISER: I think it is a difficult situation, which maybe the Trump
administration picked the right option, given what they had in front of
them, sort of a specific pin prick right on the area that they were
targeting rather than ground troops, rather than a full-scale intervention,
it was very specific. So they’re sort of trying to find the way to respond
with those options.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Francesca, 26 percent want diplomatic responses.
I think probably 100 percent would if we all thought it would work, right?
Isn’t that true?
CHAMBERS: The strategy seemingly that they have outlined now moving
forward that involves these diplomatic talks is really similar to actually
what the Barack Obama’s administration was pursuing. They were saying we
need to have diplomatic talks that involve Russia.
VAN SUSTEREN: We actually had those diplomatic talks in September and
October of 2013, and the deal was that Syria got rid of the chemical
weapons and Russia would handle it. Well, that didn’t happen.
CHAMBERS: At the end of the Obama administration, they were still sitting
down at the table with the Russians trying to come to a diplomatic
VAN SUSTEREN: While they’re building up their chemical weapon stockpile.
CHAMBERS: But I’m saying it is very – other than the air strikes, the
position that we heard the White House put forward today is actually very
similar to that. We’re going to continue to have these talks to try to get
Assad out, but we’re also going to keep fighting ISIS on the ground, very
VAN SUSTEREN: Meanwhile, Anne, we have incredible displacement of Syrian
civilians. These refugee camps are overflowing and people are starving and
GEARAN: We don’t know yet whether the same set of calculations that
clearly changed Trump’s mind about whether this kind of air strike,
remember, we have been doing air strikes for more than a year, just a
different kind of air strikes. They’re not against Assad specifically.
And the same – the images and the moral compulsion that he felt to act on
the horror of those images, we don’t know yet whether that will translate
to a change of heart about Syrian refugees. At the moment, he official as
still wants to keep serious refugees out of the country. They’re the same
VAN SUSTEREN: Matt, the thing that was pointed out to me and I’m going to
try to speak this in a polite way is that people are horrified by the
images right now of the chemicals, as they should be, but the reason they
aren’t horrified by the – by the barrel bombs is because the people are
blown to smithereens and you don’t see them. You know, so it’s like
suddenly people are all upset. The people blown to smithereens by the
barrel bombs are no better off.
VISER: And just the images alone, we have seen for some time. I mean, we
have known about the atrocities in Syria. It’s sort of how much have we
been paying attention to it. I think President Trump responds to images.
And those images on last week were very graphic and upsetting. I think he
sort of rapidly changed. Even that morning, he said he didn’t want to be
the president of the world. But those images, once they settled in were a
pretty big shift.
GEARAN: Chemical weapons are different. I mean, these are weapons that
the world came together and said after World War I, were too awful to use.
VAN SUSTEREN: How can a barrel bomb not be awful?
GEARAN: Of course, it is. But there was a consensus, a global consensus,
obviously, widely violated since, that chemical weapons were to be off
limits. There are all kinds of horrible things you can do to kill people
in war, but you wouldn’t do that.
VAN SUSTEREN: Let me ask you, I keep going back to South Sudan every
chance I get. I throw this one in, in South Sudan, they’re using rape and
amputation of people and cutting them up and doing all of those horrible
things. Is that different than chemical weapons and barrel bombs?
GEARAN: Under international law, yes. I mean, no less awful.
VAN SUSTEREN: Should our response be different?
GEARAN: Our response in South Sudan, so far, has been to try to get
diplomatic talks started again and deal on the humanitarian side with the
flow of refugees. There are a lot of similarities. But we know nothing at
this point of whether the White House has a true strategy to try to end the
war in South Sudan or whether they even really started to take a hard look
VAN SUSTEREN: That is probably because we don’t have images and we also
can’t police and take care of the whole world, which is the awful, ugly
CHAMBERS: And that goes back again to what libertarians are arguing in
this situation. It’s really awful, but there’s only a certain amount of
taxpayer dollars and you risk a situation where you get mired in Syria the
way we have been mired in Iraq and Afghanistan already.
VAN SUSTEREN: Once again, no good answers. Anyway, not from you guys, I
don’t mean –
CHAMBERS: But we’re not talking about Russia.
VAN SUSTEREN: Indeed. Anyway, thank you, all.
A pastor dragged off a united airlines flight because it was overbooked.
Could the airline face legal action? That is next.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, now to that video everyone, I mean everyone is talking
about, a passenger bought a ticket on a flight and paid for it. And then
United over booked that flight, unbeknownst to the passenger and decided to
against his will to bump him so they had a seat for united crew they wanted
to move to another city.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh my god.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my god.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. My god, what are you doing look at what you did
to him. Oh, my god.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Happened Sunday night, United flight scheduled to depart
Chicago, people on board that flight say they were told the airline
randomly selected four ticketed passengers to bump from the flight to make
way for united employees. Aviation police dragging the man, video shows
him later returning to the plane.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have to go home. I have to go home. I have to go
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Now, the passenger was ticketed was treated for nonlife
threatening injuries. Today the CEO of United Airlines apologized for
having to re-accommodate customers and say they’re reviewing what happened.
It is reaching out to that passenger. In aviation security officer has
been placed on leave. With me are legal panel, Ted Williams and Katie
Phang, Ted, first to you.
TED WILLIAMS, HOMICIDE DETECTIVE AND CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Greta,
have you ever heard the word the customer is always right. In this
instance I think United is going to fight it out through a lawsuit. I
think that this customer, the manner in which he was treated has a cause of
action against law enforcement officers for excessive force. I think there
was false imprisonment. There was a breach of contract and clear on
inflict of emotional distress.
VAN SUSTEREN: Katie to you, this is not your standard over booking. They
wanted to put their own people, united crew on the flight. This wasn’t
even over booking.
KATIE PHANG, FORMER PROSECUTOR: It’s pretty outrageous, I mean from what
we understand they wanted to put four crew members on the flight to get to
Louisville sooner. Ted, and Greta it’s 5:30 hour drive, from Chicago to
Louisville would it just killed them to put them on a bus or shuttle and
get them there. Instead they call Chicago aviation P.D. who forcibly
removed this man. What really kills me is they said he fell down. He
“fell down.” We can see from the video when they were yanking him out of
the seat, I’ve got to disagree with Ted, I know it’s not the first time. I
don’t think there’s a brief of contract action against United here.
VAN SUSTEREN: This was not over booked flight. This was their own people
that they wanted to put on that flight. This wasn’t like, you know, we
have four extra tourists heading to Orlando and we have 120 seats and we
sold 124. They wanted to put their own people on, they’re the ones that
didn’t do that five and a half hour drive or they didn’t charter a net jet
to take him there.
WILLIAMS: There’s clearly a breach of contract. This customer bought a
ticket. They agreed to take him to a certain location. The mere fact that
all of a sudden that they tried to take him off because of individuals who
are employees, I think it’s a breach of contract.
VAN SUSTEREN: Another thing that is appalling to me. According to the
rules, when they asked for volunteers and how much money can they pay, they
didn’t get the volunteers. You’re entitled to 200 percent capped at $650
and you know that was the airline lobbyist who managed to get that put into
effect. If they offered $5,000, they would have had $15 volunteers, but
they’ve got this lid on it.
PHANG: United optic involved in this is pretty bad. They haven’t handled
this properly. They got off the whole ridiculousness of wearing the
leggings. None of us read it. United’s is 46 pages when you buy that
ticket, you’re agreeing it.
WILLIAMS: That is for pre-board. I’ve read that contract. It is not
after a passenger actually gets on the plane itself and that is what
happened in this instance.
VAN SUSTEREN: You guys think this is over booking, this is not over
booking. This is not over booking. This is united wanting to move four of
its passengers someplace.
WILLIAMS: I would agree. The passenger had the seat. United wanted to
bring some of their own personnel employees on, this is not over booking.
United is going to pay a lot of money in this one, I believe.
VAN SUSTEREN: Katie just the way they treated this man. He was
distressed. I can’t believe they couldn’t find four people with the right
dollar amount to give up the seat or one person.
PHANG: You see him in that second video you guys have just aired, he says,
I want to go home and you can’t blame him. He got all busted up by Chicago
P.D. and he just wants to go home. I don’t know how the man ended up
getting home. We need to see what happens in the end.
WILLIAMS: It’s a public relation nightmare.
VAN SUSTEREN: The CEO saying de-accommodate or re-accommodate. That isn’t
politically correct from ripping someone off the plane when they mismanage
their own flights. Anyway –
PHANG: That is terrible.
VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you both, that passenger on that united flight is
lucky, lucky that some other passenger pulled out a camera and videoed it.
Otherwise right now United might be denying it or maybe blaming him. But
that videotaping passenger wasn’t the only passenger using a camera on a
flight this weekend. Check out this photo, my colleague took. She was
this weekend in Florida covering President Trump and she tweeted this,
Kelly was on an American flight traveling back from a weekend of work, so
was the passenger in front of her returned to D.C. from a weekend of work.
Glimpse of secret service dog on flight back. Trump duty, sat quietly in
his own seat next to his handler.
By the way, that passenger, the dog, behaved and that is a little bit more
that I can say for those united in that man handling. Anyway, thank you
all for watching. I’ll see you back here tomorrow night 6:00 p.m. Eastern,
but check out my Facebook page because there’s a lot going on Facebook that
I don’t put – that never makes air. For instance, my former assistant
just got a big award. Check out, I put it on my Facebook page, fun fact.
She got an award by the A.P. for a story she did. Good night. See you
tomorrow night, 6:00 p.m. Eastern right here. Hardball with Chris Matthew
starts right now.
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