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tv   The Situation Room  CNN  June 5, 2014 2:00pm-3:31pm PDT

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airborne division which you probably know from the movie and the book "band of brothers." make sure to follow me on twitter @jaketapper. i know turn you over to wolf blitzer who is in "the situation room." mr. blitzer? >> jake, happening now. bergdahl execution threat. as president obama defends the swap, they say he would have been killed by his captors if word of the deal had gotten out. bergdahl's captor speak. jubilant at the prisoner exchange and return of five hardcore leaders. but why did they give a gift to sergeant bergdahl? plus, russia's leader offering billions of financial help to nuclear-armed north korea. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
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we're getting stunning new evidence that bergdahl would be executed by the taliban. and while many were shocked, critics say the price was too high. president obama says the prisoner swap controversy was whipped up in washington and he's making no apologies for trading five taliban detainees for bergdahl. our correspondents are standing by. let's go to barbara starr. barbara? >> wolf, the pentagon's position is remaining the same. they leave no one behind on the battlefield but there are plenty of questions for sergeant bowe bergdahl. bowe bergdahl may have tried to escape his captors on at least two occasions, a u.s. official tells cnn. but until the army can talk to bergdahl directly, they won't
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know for sure. however, a u.s. official says we have reason to believe there were times he tried to escape bergdahl may not have fully talked about his time in captivity but he is recovering after nearly a week of medical care. the pentagon says he is now speaking in english to the medical staff, participating more in his recovery treatment and is resting better. the administration continues to insist bergdahl's health and safety were at risk. and to make the point, showed senators a classified video of bergdahl from december 2013. >> he looked terrible and could barely talk. he was downcast, he was thin i
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looked around the room and when the video stopped, it wasn't very long, maybe 30 seconds, there was dead silence in the room. >> reporter: an afghan security official who was on duty near where bergdahl was captured in 2009 told cnn when local villagers spotted bergdahl after he left his base, they try to get him to leave the village, telling him the area was dangerous. the official said that bergdahl appeared to be under the influence of hallucinogenic substances. the army and pentagon have looked at the allegations that six soldiers may have been killed in a they have looked at it and right now they have no evidence that directly back that up right now, at least for now they are not planning to review
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those cases further. wolf? >> barbara starr, thank you. president obama says he's making no apologies for the prisoner swap and there was a very good reason to keep it secret. jim as could costa has details. >> reporter: wolf, the white house is not backing down on the deal to free bowe bergdahl. administration officials say if president obama had to do it all over again, he would do it in a heartbeat and says that bergdahl could have been killed if the deal to free him had become public. for president obama, there are no regrets for the deal that set bowe bergdahl free, even though it's set off another firestorm for the white house. >> we saw an opportunity and we seized it and i make no apologies for that. >> reporter: new details are emerging about why the white house kept the exchange such a
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secret the u.s. had credible information if the swap was intelligence that had the -- even the fact of the discussions leaked out, there was a reasonable chance bowe bergdahl would have been killed. >> this is not some be a strax or a political football. you have a couple of parents whose kids volunteered and i am responsible for those deals. >> they knew it would create controversy, just not like this. >> bergdahl walked away from his men and left him in a bad spot. >> administration officials say the attacks on bergdahl and even on his father for the long beard
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he grew to try to understand his son's captors caught the white house off guard. >> robert bergdahl looked like a muslim is that he looks like a muslim. >> but republicans note, democrats, including administration officials, question the wisdom of releasing taliban leaders. >> these were dangerous. that's why we held them in captivity for so long. >> proof of live video cited by administration officials as part of their concern for his health to bolster its claim that he needed to be released. >> gloria borger and john king and ryan lizza are joining me. gloria, what are you finding out?
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>> well, when this issue was first raised in 2011, there was a very powerful group of people opposed to this notion of a prisoner swap. and that included hillary clinton, leon panetta, and now we know former secretary of defense bob gates. i'm told that he was, quote, very uncomfortable from a source who is familiar with this and the fundamental discussion at the time that made him uncomfortable and the others uncomfortable was about the negotiating with terrorists and hostage takers. they did not want to do that. they are all gone. something else transpired and we have this deal and early on it was something that i was told that they didn't even consider. >> if hillary clinton and leon panetta and bob gates had accepted this do you think there would be this problem? >> i think if you had a hillary
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clinton and leon panetta who had a lot for service and friends, if you will, in congress and including some republicans and a lot more standing on some of the national security issues, not criticizing secretary clinton but congress said perhaps. and more liberal, less cautious and less likely to have a debate in the oval office about these big decisions. they think secretary hagel and president obama are three people who, forgive me, this is a republican perspective, who think they can talk you into about anything. they think there's power in persuasion. they don't view susan rice with national security standing. i'm not saying that any of those criticisms are fair but that's how they perceive this team as being the "b" team. >> they view this as a president looking at his legacy and the war in iraq and war in
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afghanistan got osama bin laden, no left man behind. also, there's another context here and that is, how does this affect the closing of guantanamo? did the administration see this as a way to potentially, okay, empty out -- start emptying out guantanamo? >> i think that's the difference between 2011 when gates and panetta and hillary clinton were against this. in 2014 when there's light at the end of the tunnel in terms of the war in afghanistan. and look, when you review the detainees back in 2009, these are the five easiest cases. they were clearly pows and everyone knows when the war is over, the international community is going to say, wait, they are p.o.w.s. these are the five at some point in the future were going to -- we couldn't hold them indefinitely. they are legally p.o.w.s. international law was going to kick in. that was certainly putting
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pressure on president obama so why not get something for it. >> the argument is five to one and we would have had to let them go anyway, the qataris have promised that they would keep an eye on them and for years we didn't think they would be effective on the battlefield. what has stunned them in the idea that people have gone after bowe bergdahl and said, was he worth it, making it personal to him, was he a traitor, a deserter, did the president give up too much for someone who wasn't worth it. that part has surprised the white house. >> and that's why they did the rose garden approach. they love him and they are worried about him and what it ended up doing was backfiring. >> you reported on the fact that
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it was so quick that the intelligence committee -- >> part of the problem with the blow back that the white house is experiencing is keeping it so tight. i don't have a real response from congress. they were scared that it was going to leak. and who in the wider intelligence committee was insulted by the release of people and what it would do both their impact once their gone but also what it would do to encourage future terrorists to kidnap americans. and that's an important question that -- are you hearing that they regret that rose garden appearance, that they saw it as a victory lap? >> that's what they are being criticized for but that's the parallel universe of washington. they believe it's the right thing to do. the obama people have an eye up here to gloria's point, we're ending the war in afghanistan and this is a piece of that final chapter, getting the last soldier off the battlefield and
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getting him home. they view it as an arc of history, barack obama keeping the campaign promise and turning the page. what they underestimated was the personal story of bowe bergdahl, the many questions that will be answered by the military. that that would become a focal point for the critics. >> whether he was a deserter, whenever crime he may have committed as a soldier, that's not our policy. that doesn't matter. we got him into afghanistan, we get him out. so they thought that would not be an issue. >> john mccain, former prisoner of war says that. i don't like this deal. i'm not arguing with the concept that we leave no soldier left behind. >> right. >> he's certainly an argument of that. >> even if it's a bad deal. >> he thinks it's a bad deal and if the administration could do it all over again and change the rose garden ceremony -- >> or consult more quickly and given as. one of the frustrations has been
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that it's like trying to get water from iraq, to get answers from this administration and their story has changed a little bit. they didn't want to give briefings. that's not isolated to this issue. it's not isolated to this president, frankly. that happens from time to time, to disdain many presidents. >> one final point. the administration sees a genuine difference between al qaeda and the taliban. taliban does not want to keep themselves together. they want to separate themselves. they are still talking about the relationship between taliban and al qaeda like it's 2002. >> and there's al qaeda and the haqqani network. it was a negotiation with the u.s. to qatar to the haqqani network. and it's affiliated with al qaeda and it is seen by the state department, hillary clinton, the secretary of state in 2012 designated it as a
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terrorist organization so the argument is, the u.s., in effect, was negotiating with the terrorists. >> and what the white house has to do now and it's starting to do it, is to explain the reasoning, the rationale for not informing congress. it could have endangered his life. i don't know if dianne feinstein is going to think that's a good enough explanation. explaining why they -- there are reasons that they could not effect a rescue of him and i think and declassify some of those documents about who these guys are. so that the american public, if you lift the veil, the american public is perfectly capable of looking at it and making a decision. >> that well was already poisoned, the consultation well. >> no. >> gloria, ryan, john, thank you. at the top of the next hour i'll speak with the president's deputy national security adviser, tony blinken.
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up next, bowe bergdahl's taliban captors are speaking out. we're going to learn why they are ecstatic about the prisoner swap and how they are now celebrating. plus, bergdahl's captors gave him what they call a parting gift. we're going to explain what they had made especially for him. and tracking the freed taliban leaders. they are supposed to be monitored for a year in qatar but why does that worrisome top u.s. officials? ♪ and cialis for daily user you.
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the new issue of "time" asked this question. you can see it on the cover. was he worth it? erin baker is joining us now from beirut. amazing bit of reporting you've done, erin, a great recall. you've had a chance to interview some of these taliban commanders who had kept bergdahl in captivity, one of whom said to you, and i'll put it on the screen, it's better to kidnap one person like bergdahl than kid f kidnaps hundreds of useless people. now everybody will work hard to capture such an important bird. in effect this guy is telling you that they are going to try to capture more american soldiers because they now see they can release mortal ban leaders from guantanamo bay. is that the gist of what he was saying? >> i think the gift is they realize the currency value of an american soldier. to be honest, this is not a new discovery. they have been targeting and
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trying to kidnap american soldiers for a long time, probably since the beginning of the war. everyone knows the value of a p.o.w. but it's a very difficult undertaking to kidnap a soldier. they were lucky in that circumstance. >> the fact that they did get five of their taliban detainees out, did you get the sense from the conversation that you had with the taliban leaders that this will encourage them even more to go ahead and find american soldiers? >> i think it's going to trickle down to all levels, instead of commando level. you're going to see foot soldiers on the lookout for american soldiers or anyone who looks like american soldiers because they know that it's valuable. >> you've also gotten some reaction. they were pretty excited, happy about this deal. what did they say to you? >> they said there was celebrations across afghanistan and in parts of pakistan where they were control. people were roasting goats,
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cooking goats are rice, a typical celebratory meal. people bringing the news of this information were given phones, computers, and cash. this is a huge celebration amongst the taliban and their supporters right now. >> how did they describe bowe bergdahl, especially his mindset? what did they say about him during his five years in captivity? >> well, my most recent conversation did not really talk about his psychological state. but we have been in contact with these commanders since 2012 when the negotiations first started. and back then they said that he went up and down. there were days where he was friendly, outgoing, trying to speak a little bit of pashto and other times when he tried to run away. what's difficult to understand is was he faking the kindness of islam in order to protect himself and escape or because he was generally interested or had
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stockholm syndrome. >> whie saw that video of the handover of bergdahl and he was wearing a tunic. you spoke with one of the commanders close to the negotiations who told you this. he said, we wanted him to return home with good memories and they described that white tunic as -- the tunic, the shawl, if you will, a gift that they gave him. tell us about that. >> well, it's a part of taliban honor. they still considered bowe as a guest even though he was captured. but at the same time, it's a dig at how the americans treat their detainees in guantanamo bay or
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abu ghraib in which they are in orange jumpsuits. i think they were trying to make themselves look better in this case. >> we know how brutal the taliban are, especially the haqqani network. he was being held by the haqqani network. they are brutal. there's no doubt about that. what do they mean he wanted him to go home with, quote, good memories? >> well, i think part of it is this warrior ethic. look, you killed us, meaning americans, and we kill americans and that's part of the war but on a human-to-human level, we're still people and we're going to treat humans the way we want to be treated. so i think it was an attempt to make the best of a bad situation and acknowledging that it's uncomfortable. >> you've done excellent reporting from inside afghanistan/pakistan. you're now in beirut. what do you anticipate in the weeks and months to come.
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are we going to see more of this? >> out of afghanistan, the opportunities for kidnapping on this scale are going to be very, very limited, especially as the number of troops go down. there's also probably going to be a higher security attention paid to this. but you know what, i think with the war next door in syria, we'll definitely see this risk as an american journalist, as we've seen already in quite large numbers or should americans get involved in the war, we'll see more soldiers as well kidnapped. >> aryn baker of "time" magazine, thank you for your time and excellent reporting as well. we'll stay in touch with you. the five hardcore prisoners released from guantanamo bay are supposed to spend a year in qatar but can america depend on qatar to keep that pledge? you're hearing from some of your sources that top u.s. intelligence officials are very
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nervous that authorities in qatar are really going to do what they say they are supposed to do. >> well, there are huge red flags. one is that at the end of the bush administration that they released a qatari resident back and within four or five months he was on a speaking tour in the united kingdom with a group called caged prisoners and they basically that the qataris had broken their word. also, qatar is a place where they allow a great deal of terrorism financing. there is home that the new emir will cut down on that. finally, even though the u.s. will be able to monitor these prisoners themselves, all of the communications has to be approved by the qatari security services. >> so what does that mean? if u.s. agents or whatever, cia
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officers are in qatar, they have to coordinate with the kwqatari intelligence service how much they monitor these guys? >> they have to get permission for the amount of monitoring. a phone call was between the new emir of are qatar and president obama. president obama said, listen, i have the word of the king of that country and therefore i think that is going to be good enough at this point and we'll see if it is. in the past, there have been a lot of concerns. >> eli lake, thanks for coming in. >> thank you. when we come back, bowe bergdahl's likely road to recovery. we're digging deeper on the key stages of the recovery. plus, some horrifying video captured after a military plane crashed into the middle of a
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sergeant bowe bergdahl likely has a very long road of recovery ahead of him after nearly five years in captivity. our brian todd has been taking a closer look at the various phases of what that recovery could look like. brian is joining us from the pentagon where he just attended a briefing. what's going on here, brian? >> reporter: wolf, i just finished speaking to pentagon officials. they have fully planned the reintegration for bowe bergdahl. this is going to be a careful process. as of now, he has not even spoken to his parents over the phone yet. he's been out of reach in isolation, five years in the hands of america's most bitter enemies. now sergeant bowe bergdahl is in the middle of a carefully engineered emotional recovery program. his father equate it is to a deep sea diver returnsiing to t surface. >> if he comes up too fast, it could kill him. >> reporter: bergdahl is not just sitting in a hospital bed. he's undergoing a three-phase
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reintegration process designed by the army. phase one is called initial recovery, including emergency medical care, early psychological support and meetings, debriefing him on any specific information he can share about where and how he was held. sources say, that's already taken place at a forward operating base in afghanistan bergdahl is now in phase two in landstuhl called decompression to make sure he's ready for regular social contact. >> decompression, almost as it sounds, is a chance between the intense captivity period of the fear of death all the time and intense period he's about to go into with the pressure of the media scrutiny. >> reporter: once the 28-year-old's doctors say he's ready to go to the u.s., bergdahl will be accompanied by doctors trained in the country's s.e.r.e. program. >> why do s.e.r.e. specialists have to move with him?
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>> nightmares, flashbacks, difficulties of reconnecting with other people, they have been through that and they have studied other prisoners of war. >> reporter: in phase three, bergdahl will finally be able to have a family reu genernion. keith was held for almost five years in colombia. he told us about his first meeting with his family saying he was only given a few moments with them. >> it's an emotionally situation that was tough. i loved them and missed them but 20 minutes into it, i needed to retreat. >> reporter: after that family r reunion, it won't be over for bowe bergdahl. in fact, it might just be getting started with him, with the most difficult part. an army investigation into how he ended up in enemy hands.
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wolf? >> which raises the questions, the stuff that he's saying during these psychological debriefings, could that potentially used against him if in fact he's prosecuted by the military? >> we asked them about that and they said that an offer of confidentiality will be made but there are also going to be lawyers present at just about every phase of this reintegration. they are also going to be there to warn him and to possibly be there to protect him from incriminating himself. >> brian todd at the pentagon, thanks very much. let's bring in roger aldridge with the center for personal protection and safety. roger, he was freed last saturday. it's now thursday night. what stage -- where do you see him in this process right now potentially? >> well, i think he's probably in stage one still because after five years of being a hostage, he is really learning how to be
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in charge of anything again. i mean, he hasn't been able to make a personal decision and it was really out of control in his hands other than what was going on in his mind. he didn't decide what to eat, when to drink, when to go to the bathroom. anything like that. so he's got to really come back into the 21st century. >> this notion that it's already been several days, not that -- he hasn't even seen his parents. certainly we just heard from brian, he hasn't even spoken to them on the phone. is that normal in a situation like this? >> it really -- in the past history, it depends on about how long they have been held. if it's a earth ma of damatter days or weeks, they probably would have spoken to him already. but the amount of time that he's been away from civilization and his family and his colleagues, it's really going to depend on the dynamics of what his psychologist and medical
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personnel are -- feel he's ready to handle at any given time but it will start with that phone call because, again, he's really trying to integrate n. a sense, from the dark ages back into civilization. >> and the military can keep -- a lot of parents would go to germany, go to landstuhl and try to see their son but the military is preventing them from doing that. is that your understanding? >> i don't know the specifics of it. i know when i was involved with the crew from the people's republic of china, 2001, i had to speak with the families about their loved ones and the way to help the individuals off ta aircraft reintegrate and bring closure to that environment and the parents, not surprisingly, in my mind, maybe to some, were very understanding that they realized that, in this case,
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bowe needs to bring some closure to those five years and become ready to be integrated back, both personally and professionally into his life which typically is made easier if he has had some preparatory training. we know i spent 33 years in the department of defense both in active duty and as a civilian in this arena and it is training allows the individual to have something on his mental hard drive to help him get through it and then when it's over to, realize that he helped bring himself back and that allows him to reintegrate more quickly than someone who has had to experience this without any training. >> he's obviously got a long road of recovery ahead of them. roger aldridge, thanks for coming in. >> thank you very much. the race between long-time u.s. senatored that cochran of and chris mcdaniel ended up in a virtual draw, at least according
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to the state rules. after all of the votes were counted on tuesday's primary, neither republican passed the 59th% threshold. so they will do it again in a second runoff election on june 24th. when we come back, a u.s. military crashes and bursts in the middle of a suburban neighborhood. how the pilot survived. and is russia's president vladimir putin teaming up with north korean leader kim jong-un? we have new details. stay with us. ♪ norfolk southern what's your function? ♪ ♪ hooking up the country helping business run ♪ ♪ trains! they haul everything, safely and on time. ♪ tracks! they connect the factories built along the lines. and that means jobs, lots of people, making lots and lots of things. let's get your business rolling now, everybody sing. ♪ norfolk southern what's your function? ♪
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horrifying video captured just moments after a u.s. marine jet crashed in the middle of a southern california neighborhood. it was one of two military planes that crashed within hours of each other in the same area. our national correspondent kyung lah is working this story. she's joining us from l.a. with details. what do we know, kyung? >> wolf, it's certainly unusual timing. two jets, one from the navy, one from the marines crashing hours apart. the one from the marine crashed right in the middle of a populated neighborhood. >> reporter: panic in a california neighborhood. >> get out. get out of the way. >> reporter: smoke consuming a marine harrier jet. the av-8b jet crashing in the middle of a community. >> i saw the cab pop off of the small burst of flames and saw
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the pilot eject and parachute open and then i saw the plane wobbling and plundering down. i said, man, this is not good. >> reporter: on this cell phone video, you can see people rushing to help the pilot, his parachute still attached. he went to the hospital but was released. the plane destroyed three homes and five others were evacuated. on this wednesday afternoon, many were home and neighbors say some narrowly missed being hurt. >> he was in his living room at the initial impact and he said the windows blew out and a gush of fire came in. >> reporter: this is the second accident in just a month of a harrier jet stationed in yuma, arizona. the marines call the av-8b a multiple jet used in missions around the world and it's able to hover like a helicopter and blast forward with near supersonic scenes and the marine
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corps will thoroughly investigate both accidents and so far they appear to be two unfortunate cases timed closely together. >> every incident that happens we investigate thoroughly. until the investigation is concludes, i can't tell you what is going to happen. >> now, 5 1/2 hours after that marine jet crashed, there was another crash of a u.s. navy fighter jet. i want to go ahead and show you a picture of it. we don't have video of the crash in the pacific ocean where it took place. it happened off the waters of california. you're looking at the super hornet that was approaching the "uss carl vincent." somehow it landed in the water. the pilot, though, wolf, was able to eject safely. >> at least he did. thanks very much, kyung lah, for reporting. this video just coming into "the situation room." the former first lady of the united states, nancy reagan, marking the tenth anniversary of her husband's death.
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laying a wreath as she does every year at his gravesite at the reagan presidential library in california. president reagan, the 40th president of the united states, died back in june 2004 exactly ten years ago. this is the first time since his death that this event has been opened to the media. up next, putin's new partner, north korea. is it a threat to the united states. and we're also learning what is in hillary clinton's brand-new book. we're going to spill some of the beans at the top of the hour. awesome, amazing, that's epic, bro. whatever happened to good? good is choosing not to overshoot the moon,
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there are new signs of a growing alliance between the russian president vladimir putin and the north korean leader kim jong-un. the surprising bond with a key u.s. adversary coming amid the growing tensions between russia and the united states. let's bring in chief national security correspondent, jim sciutto, he's got the details. >> not exactly the move of a country that wants to reset relations with u.s. putin's turn to asia began years ago as a response to president obama's own pivot to asia. tt has accelerated as the west has sought to isolate russia for retaliation of the crisis in ukraine. it has enormous implications since like with iran, russia is a key partner in the talks to scale back north korea's nuclear program which, again, the u.s. sees as a direct threat to u.s. national security. today president obama offered an olive branch to russian president vladimir putin. >> putin has a chance to get
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back into a lane of international law. it is possible for us to begin to rebuild trust. >> reporter: president putin, however, is building trust with one of the u.s.' most dangerous enemies. north korea. and its fiery and unpredictable new leader kim jong-un. the russian parliament voted in april to forgive north korea of $10 billion in debt, 90% of its debt with russia, and moscow pledged to invest $1 billion in a trans-siberian railway line and pipeline. all this essential financial help to a regime dependent for its survival on food and financial aid from china. russia hasn't filled that role since the fall of the soviet union. "we want to use modern policies
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to improve our advantage including integration," president putin said. "this is what we're doing in the post-soviet space." last month, russia signed a $400 billion natural gas deal with china, together with the north korea aid, some are calling it putin's pivot to asia. but it is north korea that u.s. officials consider a direct threat to american national security. with nuclear weapons and a rapidly developing missile program aimed at hitting the u.s. mainland. >> this gives north korea a way to say, hey, look, we have an alternative, you can't treat us like dirt anymore. so they welcome this newfound interest by putin. >> the u.s. has spent years and lots of diplomatic capital pressuring china to reduce its support for the north korean regime. north korea's increasingly erratic behavior recently has deeply frustrate ed chinese
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leaders leaving some to hope they might punish the regime. if russia fills that gap, that gives north korea a chance to live on again and thumb its nose for efforts, for instance, to curtail its nuclear program. it's a real problem. >> as you well know and have pointed out many times, russians have improving relations dramatically with china at the same time. the new oil and gas deal very, very significant. >> it takes a lot of the economic pressure off russia that the west and european union are trying to impose in the wake of the ukrainian crisis if they can replace that, backfill it with china and others. >> jim sciutto reporting. coming up, a republican senator who's also a physician tells cnn he's convinced u.s. army sergeant bowe bergdahl was drugged in that so-called proof of life taliban video shown privately to u.s. lawmakers. and we'll also share details of what's inside hillary clinton's brand new book. stay with us. you're in "the situation room."
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happening now, breaking news. new details emerging on what's inside hillary clinton's long awaited already controversial memoir. what clues does it contain about a possible white house run? health controversy. allegations former p.o.w. sergeant bowe bergdahl was drugged by his captors. was he sick enough to warrant the extraordinary measures 20 secure his release? white house under fire. efforts to placate angry lawmakers fall short. does the obama administration still believe it was the right thing to do to rescue bergdahl? i'll ask the president's deputy national security adviser tony blinken, he's standing by live at the white house. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news. >> let's get to the breaking fuse. there are new details of what's inside hillary clinton's highly anticipated new book set to be released next week. she's very subtly distancing herself from president obama on a number of critical issues. cbs news has obtained a copy of the book, has just published
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some excerpts. let's bring in brianna keilar who's been going through some of these excerpts for us. so, i guess one of the early points we're learning now, thanks to cbs news, is that she wants to distance herself from some of the major national security foreign policy decisions of the president? >> yeah, one has to do very timely, obviously, with army sergeant bowe bergdahl. for instance, she says i acknowledge, because this is an issue that stretched back in time years, whether to negotiate with the taliban. she says "i acknowledge as i had many times before that opening the door to negotiations with the taliban would be hard to swallow for many americans after so many years of war." subtly distancing herself, there, wolf, as you mentioned. this week, of course, we heard that she, you know, sort of gave a measured defense of what the president had done. she said that it was noble, this idea of never leaving a soldier behind, but we've also come to learn actually at the time she was not in favor of that. she wanted something much stronger. it's unclear if she would have
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endorsed this concept that brought bowe bergdahl home. >> and she's also making it clear, according to these excerpts, that she disagreed with a key feature of the president's policy toward syria. the civil war there. >> that's right. this one is much more clear because she makes it clear that she was at odds with president obama on whether to arm the rebels. she wanted to arm the rebels early on in the conflict. president obama, she says, did not. he didn't want to take that big step. and she says no one likes to lose a debate including me, but this was the president's call and i respected his deliberations and decision." so very much a clear break there in her own words. >> she said -- she always got an opportunity to make her case even though the president sometimes obviously disagreed with what her conclusions were. very interesting, on the war in iraq back in 2003, it started in march 2003. when she was a united states senator. at the end of 2002, she voted in favor of that resolution
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authorizing president bush to go to war against saddam hussein. now in this book she is -- >> she is flat-out, according to these excerpts put out by cbs news, apologizing for it. that vote as you know, wolf, really cost her. a lot of folks will say that that could have cost her the 2008 election. in this excerpt obtained, in the book obtained by cbs news, she says "i thought i acted in good faith and made the decision i could with the information i had and i wasn't alone in getting it wrong, but i still got it wrong. plain and simple." previously we'd heard her say, wolf, she regretted the decision but knowing what she knew at the time informed her decision and also that she said president bush sort of stretched the power that he was given. this is much more straightforward. "i still got it wrong" she says "plain and simple." >> stand by. don't go too far away. cnn will host a town hall with hillary clinton called "hillary clinton's hard choices."
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that will take place june 17th, 5:00 p.m. eastern, will replay later that night at 9:00 p.m. eastern. we'll have more quotes, by way, from hillary clinton's new book coming up this hour right here in "the situation room." stand by for that. we want to get to other breaking news we're following right now. was sergeant bowe bergdahl drugged by his captors, try to escape from them mult. times during the five-year ordeal? we're learning more information as the controversy grows along with anger, especially among some lawmakers who say bergdahl's life was not in danger as the administration is claiming. let's bring in chief congressional correspondent, dana bash, following this story very closely. what are you learning, dana. >> reporter: the administration spent all week trying to convince lawmakers they did the right thing in releasing five prisoners in exchange for sergeant bergdahl and doing it without telling congress. their attempts at damage control are backfiring. members of congress looking for
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evidence the rescue of bowe bergdahl had to happen immediately are instead getting shifting explanations. at first the white house said it didn't have time to tell congress because of the, quote, acute urgency of bergdahl's health condition. >> indeed his health was growing more fragile. he'd lost a good bit of weight and we were very concerned that time was not something we could play with. >> reporter: but after the taliban released this video showing bergdahl walking to a u.s. helicopter, some said the health argument didn't make sense. so the administration went behind closed doors to show senators a so-called proof of life video shot by berg tadahlb taliban captors last december. some who saw the video said bergdahl did not appear ill. a physician told cnn in an exclusive interview something else. >> he'd been drugged with an antipsychotic or hypnotic drug. >> what makes you say that? >> you can tell, it was ease city. his speech was slurred. having trouble reading.
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had what's called listagmus. he'd been obviously drugged. >> you're not speaking as a senator. >> i'm speaking as a doctor. >> not possible he could have been beaten up? >> not at all. there's a total response to medication. >> reporter: coburn, a member of the senate intelligence committee, tells cnn bergdahl's health was not the main reason for the hasty deal. >> they made the claim his life was at risk and i take comment outside of a secure setting on why that can't be the case. >> reporter: tonight administration officials tell cnn the video was not pivotal but merely reinforced their fear bergdahl wasn't well. on that key question of why the administration didn't inform congress as many lawmakers, most in fact, believe is the law, officials are now telling them that the reason is because they had, quote, credible information that, in fact, these discussions were going on leaked out, that bergdahl would have been killed. wolf? >> dana bash on the hill. thanks very much. let's get some more now.
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the white house deputy national security adviser anthony blinken is joining us from the white house. tony, thanks very much. i want to clarify a few sensitive issues. dianne feinstein, the chair of the senate intelligence committee, said you called her to apologize that she had not been informed in advance as the law stipulated. is that right? >> i called senator feinstein to say that i regretted that on the weekend that sergeant bergdahl was released we were not able to get to her personally before the guantanamo detainees were sent back to qatar, to inform her personally. we'd reached out to the staff of the intelligence committee, but we felt we should have been able to get to her personally and several other members including the ranking member of that committee, senator chambliss. and that's why i called her. >> and what was the real reason over the days leading up to the transfer? there were several days, intimate detailed negotiations going on through qatar.
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what was the reason you couldn't brief them at the time that, hey, guys, this is going on, get ready? >> wolf, let's step back for a minute and understand exactly l what happened here. first, the basic deal, that is the exchange of sergeant bergdahl for the five guantanamo detainees had been in the works for several years and throughout the course of those several years, there were ups and downs. congress is well aware, and the relevant committees were well aware of the basic exchange that we were working on and there were moments when it looked like it was possible then it fell apart. this january, and again this february, when the deal and possibilities revived, we reached out to ten committees of congress and briefed many of them on the status of the deal. so, congress was well aware of the deal that we ended up doing. when it finally came together, though, it happened incredibly quickly. we didn't reach an agreement in principle until about 3 1/2 days before bergdahl was actually released to us. we didn't know the general location of where we would pick
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him up until an hour, until the day before, excuse me, and we didn't know the precise location until an hour before. at every step along that process, if the fact that we were doing this exchange had come out and become public, there was a real risk that the deal would have been scuttled, that bergdahl would have been killed and, indeed, that our special operators who are involved in bringing him back also could have been in greater danger. that's why we felt not only with congress, but indeed within the administration, that this had to be very tightly held. >> so you were obviously afraid of leaks that could have endangered not only bergdahl but others going in there, the special operations forces. all right. let me go through a few other points and quickly give us some response. >> sure. >> fox news is reporting, cnn has not confirmed any of this, fox news reporting that bergdahl, quote, declared himself a warrior for islam. have you heard anything along that line at all? >> we've seen no evidence of that. but let me just make a point here. first of all, the idea that we
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are trying sergeant bergdahl in the court of public opinion in absentia without giving him an opportunity to give his story and tell us what happened, frankly, i find repugnant. we don't know what happened. we're determined to get to the bottom of it. the military will investigate appropriately. let's get the facts before we rush to judgment. >> are you going to release that so-called proof of video of bergdahl that was shown behind closed doors to lawmakers yesterday? is the american public going to get a chance to see that? >> i believe that the pentagon is looking at that. there are privacy issues that go with that, but that's something that's being considered. >> the whole notion of what -- the impact of this deal, what's going to happen. a taliban negotiator told "time" magazine, aaron baker, one of their reporters, i'll read it to you based on -- this is the quote from the taliban negotiator. "it's better to kidnap one person like bergdahl than kidnapping hundreds of useless
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people and has encouraged our people. now everybody will work hard to capture such an important bird." are u.s. troops in afghanistan and other americans more gravely endangered now because of this swap? >> wolf, first, as you know, commander in chief makes a solemn commitment not to leave any american behind on the field of battle. that's a principle that has animated this country going back to our first president, george washington. and in every war that we've had. we've had an exchange of prisoners to make sure we didn't leave anyone behind. and that sends a very strong message to every american who's serving now in uniform that they won't be left behind, that their government will do everything possible to get them. that's the principle we reaffirmed with sergeant bergdahl. second, look, the taliban has been attacking americans in afghanistan since we've been there. and they've tried to take people. this was our last remaining p.o.w. this was our last best chance to
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get him as this war winds down. and that's exactly what we did. now, the final thing i'll say is, obviously, the secretary of defense certified that the risks to americans were sufficiently mitiga mitigated. the entire national security team concurred in that judgment and that's what allowed us to go forward. >> was it strictly a deal, these five taliban detainees for bergdahl, or did the government of qatar sweeten the pot, offer the haqqani network or the taliban or both financial aid or other benefits as part of this deal? >> i'm not aware of any benefits that the government of qatar may have offered to the taliban or anyone else. what i am aware of are very clear assurances from the government that it would monitor the travel and activities of these detainees as they two to qatar and as they stay there. those assurances were given to us in writing, reaffirmed to us by the emir of qatar to the president of the united states on the telephone.
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>> one final question about one of those five detainees. mullah mohamed fasal. the allegation is he slaughtered thousands of afghan shiite muslims back in the 1990s. was there ever any consideration to handing him over to the international criminal court for a war crimes tribunal? now he's a free man. >> so these detainees were for the most part senior officials in the afghan -- in the taliban government. that we deposed after 9/11. they were held at guantanamo based on their status as having been senior officials. i'm not aware of any basis upon which they could have been prosecuted for war crimes. and, indeed, unfortunately in afghanistan, there are officials including in the current government who are involved in the civil war who have those kind of allegations hanging over them. but the main point is that there
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was an opportunity here to bring u.s. service member in captivity home, to bring him back, and it was on that basis that we proceeded. >> and since the haqqani network has been designated by the state department as a terrorist organization, was there ever any concern that the u.s. effectively was negotiating with terrorists? >> no. wolf, first of all, again, what's important here is not who held him, but who was being held, and that is a u.s. service member held by an enemy force. and our obligation, our commitment, is to bring them home. second, we were engaged with qatar and qatar was engaged with the taliban. that was the process that we went through in order to work this deal and to get sergeant bergdahl back. >> tony blinken is the president's deputy national security adviser. tony, thanks very much for joining us. >> thanks for having me, wolf. when we come back, we'll follow the breaking news. hillary clinton's new memoir has been leaked. we're learning what's inside her
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. we're following the breaking news. hillary clinton's highly anticipated new book has been leaked. we're getting a close look at some of the passages. glor gloria borger is with us, brianna keilar, and elise labbot who's covered hillary as secretary of state. cbs news got a copy of the book. we're getting quotes. there's a fascinating little excerpt on sarah palin and the 2008 presidential cycle. what did we learn? >> yeah, this is what this excerpt from "hard choices" says. it says, hillary clinton in her
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own words "the obama camp immediately issued a dismissive statement, this is after john mccain picked sarah palin to be his running mate." she says "they reached out to me, obama's campaign, in hopes i would follow suit but i wouldn't. i was not going to attack palin for being a woman, appealing if support from other women. i didn't think it made political sense and didn't feel right, so i said no." you see a difference there where she's watching obviously this other campaign, the obama campaign, which it left her pretty battered at that point. and really not signing on or sort of doing what they wanted her to do. >> you know, remember the context of this. at the time, sarah palin was talking about how much she admired hillary clinton. and was kind of trying to sort of peel off some of those women, those clinton supporters who she thought, and didn't turn out that way, might have actually moved over in her camp. and so i think this is a way of hillary clinton sort of distancing herself a little bit and also, you know, we're
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calling that, you know, wait a minute, sarah palin was actually talking, being a fan of hillary. >> i think as the book comes out and we read more about it, it's going to be like that. she's not going to do anything too much to antagonize the administration because clearly she was a member of it and wants to highlight her role there, but she also needs to show herself as an alternative after eight years of a democratic administration, here's what i would do different, and women and national security i think are two areas where she might. >> and there's another interesting passage, brianna, that first meeting they had after hillary clinton conceded, and barack obama effectively became the democratic presidential nominee in june of 2008. they had that little face-to-face encounter. i think senator dianne feinstein's residence in washington. she writes about that. >> yeah, we're assuming that's what it is in this excerpt cbs puts out because they did meet in june 2008, the first time after it became apparent that obama would be the nominee. in this book she talks about
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meeting with obama before the convention. she says "we stared at each other like two teenagers on an awkward first date, taking a few sips of chardonnay. both barack and i and our staffs had long lists of grievances. it was time to clear the air. one silver lining of the defeat is i came out of the experience realizing i no longer cared as much about what the critics said about me." >> well, of course, remember that barack obama had famously said to hillary clinton during a debate, "you're likable enough, hillary" which not exactly an icebreaker there. so they're finally getting together. their staffs were at war with each other. and who would have known that eventually she would have become his secretary of state and joined as part of the team of rivals? >> i think that that was the whole thing throughout the administration that the staffs never really quite got over it, although they worked quite well together, but you never heard the secretary or her aides really ever publicly diss the
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president. >> all right, guys. hold on. we got more to discuss. we'll take a quick break. more details from hillary clinton's new memoir includes what she says about daughter, chelsea's, wedding. the eyes may be the windows to the soul. but in the case of the lexus ls... ...which eyes? eyes that pivot with the road... ...that can see what light misses... ...eyes designed to warn when yours wander... or ones that can automatically bring the ls to a complete stop.
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and queen-size memory foam mattress sets as low as $697! that's more mattresses than you can shake a bone at. ♪ mattress discounters we're following breaking news. hillary clinton's highly anticipated memoir has been leaked. we're talking about that with gloria borger and elise labbot.
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thanks to cbs news, they've released excerpts. a moving excerpt on chelsea clinton's wedding. i'll read it from the book. "bill was just as emotional as i was. maybe even more so and i was just glad he made it down the aisle in one piece. afterward, bill danced with chelsea to "the way you look tonight." it was one of the happiest and proudest moments of my life. so many thoughts went through my head. our family had been through a lot together. good times and hard times and now here we were celebrating the best of times." a very moving normal passage. a mom, dad, very proud of their daughter. >> she's a mother. i think of that and think of male politicians who have to drag out their wives very often to humanize them as we saw during the last campaign with mitt romney and barack obama. the wives were sort of talking about their human side. i think hillary clinton as a woman when you leave her alone and she talks about her life and
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herself, that's what a lot of this book is going to be about, she doesn't need any humanizing. we know what she's been through in her life. we know what the bad times were. nobody has to tell us. we lived through it in the '90s. and, you know, so i think it will be different if she runs looking at a woman candidate. >> spent three years covering her at the state department. she is a very normal human person. >> she comes off as very relatable. i think that's why she was so popular around the world is because she really tried to relate to people as a wife, as a mother. sometimes as a politician when she would meet with hamid karzai or someone who was in a contested election saying i've been there and i think it was the human quality, that ability to connect that made her really a rock star around the world. >> that's a challenge for her to keep it during a campaign, to be who she is. >> see how she goes through the book tour first then see about a campaign tha campaign. thanks very much. cnn will be hosting a town hall with hillary clinton called "hillary clinton's hard choices." that will take place on june 17th at 5:00 p.m. eastern.
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we'll replay later that evening, 9:00 p.m. eastern only here on cnn. you'll want to watch that. please be sure to join us once again tomorrow here in "the situation room." always watch us live or dvr the show so you won't miss a moment. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." now let's step into the "crossfire" with van jones and newt gingrich. this is cnn breaking news. >> let's get started with political news that's breaking right now. here's cnn senior political correspondent brianna keilar. >> hi there, van. cbs news has obtained hillary clinton's much anticipated book, "hard choices" out officially on tuesday and in some of the excerpts we see a break between hillary clinton and president obama on some issues of foreign policy. for instance, on syria, clinton details wanting to initially arm the rebels. something that president obama was not in favor of and has not done. she says to