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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  December 15, 2016 12:00am-1:01am PST

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americans want for americans today, to get rid of the bullying and bellicose -- >> do you think trump can do that? >> i think he can do anything he wants, because he is not bound by ideology. he is less bound by ideology than any president probably that we've had this century. >> so the new kennedy? >> he said to leonardo dicaprio he wanted to be the next teddy roosevelt, and he could do that. i think it's important to start by surrounding yourself with advisers who share that idealism, and not people who are just working for the oil industry. >> i just have about ten seconds here, but do you think the new kennedy, that's a fair comparison? >> like i said, i think he can be any kind of president he wants. i think he could be the greatest president in history if he wanted to. >> thank you, robert kennedy. give my best to your wife. >> thank you.
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>> thank you very much. at the top of the hour, thank you for joining us. donald trump is filling his cabinet but will the most powerful in the white house be his children? this is cnn tonight. i'm don lemon. donald junior, ivanka and eric trump all at the meetings. donald junior helped interview candidates for interior secretary, and ivanka trump will reportedly take on some of the duties normally assigned to the first lady. is there a line between the trump family and business and the oval office? i want to begin right now with phil mattingly live for us at trump tower. good evening to you. what can you tell us about the tech summit at trump tower. >> it was the titans of silicon valley representing facebook, apple, google. the most interesting element is almost all of these individuals were deeply opposed to donald
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trump during the election. most supported and some even fundraised and gave money to hillary clinton. there's recognition, this t policy issues are now largely controlled by the president-elect. that's why they met today. there was not a huge amount of substance covered and not a huge amount of bearing of grievances but an understanding that this is a relationship that has to work going forward for both parties and the first of what will be quarterly meetings going forward, and understanding that whether or not the two sides like one another, on some level they'll have to work together over to next four years. >> what are you learning about the role jared kushner will play? >> he's been one of the most valued advisers throughout the campaign process. his son-in-law, the husband of ivanka trump. what has been happening over the course of the last couple weeks is the legal team has been
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trying to figure out how to get jarod kushner into the white house. there's a lot of legal issues. his own portfolio and business properties. there's also anti-nepotism laws that could create laws. they are getting closer to finding the pathway. they know he will have an explicit role in the white house. he will likely have a desk in the west wing. the title hasn't been figured but he will continue to be one of the closest advisers to the president-elect, somebody by his side at all times. his portfolio being worked out but he's be right next to donald trump when he goes into office in january. >> trump will be in court before the inauguration? >> that's right. and with a seven-hour deposition, and this stemmed from a lawsuit that the president-elect brought himself. this all goes back to his d.c. hotel. the celebrity, the well-known chef was supposed to have a restaurant in donald trump's
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hotel. he decided to pull out of that contract because of donald trump's remarks when he launched his campaign 16, or 17 months ago. donald trump sued because of breach of contract. because of the lawsuit donald trump will have to sit a couple of weeks before his inauguration in front of the lawyers under oath deposed, taking questions for seven hours. this is something trump's lawyers agreed to before he was elected. after he was elected they tried to call this off or at least narrow the scope and tighten the time. a judge rejected that request. the president-elect shortly before taking the office will be fair game for lawyers for seven hours. >> phil in front of trump tower. thank you for that. i want to bring in emily jane fox and mark preston. you're like my co-anchor. good evening. how are you? >> good evening. >> let's talk about.
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all three of the children were at the tech summit. eric trump was present for at least one of the meetings with mitt romney. is this too close for comfort? >> i don't have an issue with the family being involved in giving him counsel. my issue is the family is involved in giving him counsel at the same time they're running their businesses. in cnn money they did a breakdown. i believe trump has business or ties with 500 different companies and of those 150 have done business in 25 foreign countries. that's the issue. jared kushner providing help to his father-in-law is not the issue. jared kushner running his company at the same time as having a desk inside the west wing, that's an issue. >> and there is precedent for criticizing of a president for having his family in charge of important policy. remind us of bill and hillary clinton. >> hillary clinton did health care in 1993.
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and she was killed for it. quite frankly, she had to carry that all the way up through her senate campaign in her first run for the presidency. there is precedent for it. you go back to lbj and even before that where we've always had family members involved. >> we learned today, emily, that from the transition team that ivanka trump, they're planning to have a desk in the east wing to work with the incoming president. her role is going to be at least one would assume, sort of the role as first lady as melania stays in new york, zplecorrect? >> i think it's just going to be an unprecedented role for a first daughter. i think she wants to play a real policy position whether that's supporting women's issues as we've learned. she's also interested in climate change. i don't know that it's necessarily the traditional first lady role. i don't think that role will be filled because i don't think we'll have a traditional
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president as well. so i think her role is still being figured out. i think she still has a lot to decide on. i think there's nothing certain from my sources she is still figuring out how to unwind from her own business and the trump organization, and i think she really has no idea what really play. >> we would be talking about what the first lady's role will be, how they're going to impact the upcoming administration, we're not doing that. we're talk act the daughter this time. >> sure, i think we need to figure out melania's role. she's going to stay through june, but she is still the first lady. she's not abdicating that role by staying in new york. >> what about ivanka's own business? how does she avoid conflicts of interest? she has her own business. her brothers are going to be running her father's business. how does she avoid conflicts of interest if she's working for the administration? >> i think the same way all of them avoid it. there's really only one way to avoid true conflict of interest.
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that's divesting from the business. anything else is gymnastics, how can i skirt this criticism or that criticism, but unless you fully sell off all your assets, you're going to have conflicting interest. >> do you think a republican-led congress, the american people will be the watchdogs but the people to have a power to change things will be congress. it's a republican led congress. do you think they'll be able to do that between administration, trump operation and the children? >> i think there's an incredible amount of pressure on the republican led congress to keep a close eye on donald trump. decisions that he makes as president or rules he may repeal and how they may affect his businesses. meetings his children may have and what their involvement is with their father in the west wing and meetings they're having as well. the problem is that democrats don't have any power at all in washington, zero power. subpoena power is in the hands of the republican led senate,
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the republican led house of representatives. it remains to be seen if they'll use that. we know on the issue of russia they have decided, republicans have decided to go forward and said they're going to really look into the election hacking and much to the chagrin of donald trump and thaz advisers. there's going to be an incredible amount of pressure for them to stay on donald trump if they do see issues or problems arising. >> emily, one ivanka trump first sat in the meeting with her father and the prime minister of japan, some people said give him the benefit of the doubt. they're trying to figure it out. but sitting in on today's meetings, one would wonder how long does the benefit of the doubt last? >> donald trump gets it longer than anyone else would normally get it. but the trump kids have always sat in on meetings with their father. since they were children. >> but the president-elect? >> i'm not saying this is right. sources close to the family initially when they first had them in the meetings with them
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foreign officials said to me, look, they're transitioning out of this phase. this is what they've always done. give them time to figure out the role. to me, time is up. it's been almost six weeks since the election. you pretty much have it figured out by now. i think this is going to continue. this is the way they've always done business. >> do you think they're pushing the envelope to see how much the american people and congress will accept? >> i don't think they care. i don't think they care. >> you said it more directly than i did. >> i mean, i don't. i think they think they won, which they did, and the keys to the white house are going to be handed over to them, and the keys to power. >> that doesn't matter. they still work for the american people. >> i'm not saying they're doing it in an arrogant way -- >> yeah, they are. >> i'm not saying that. >> yeah, you are. he would hold a press if they cared. i always tell people when they say i'm sorry. i didn't mean to hurt you. the way to do it is not to do it. if you actually cared about what
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the american people thought, if you cared about precedent, you wouldn't do it. >> i think a lot of americans don't care about this. they have a lot more pressing things to worry about than whether or not the trump children are sitting in meetings. >> they don't care about it now, but they may in the future if there's a conflict of interest. let's say there's some foreign territory or land. donald trump is building a golf course or a hotel. his corporation or his company while he is president of the united states. someone picks up the phone and says you remember that guy we met, the chinese guy or whatever who led the such and such n how do i get in touch with him? that's a clear conflict of interest and can happen easily when you have all these businesses around the world. >> let me make it simpler. to the point of the kids being in the meeting today. they grew up with their father at his office. when he was building projects and what have you, you have to assume whenever they sit down at the dinner table, they're talking business. the mental gymnastics, that was
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brought up earlier. i 'groochlt that's all it is. they're going to sit around the table and talk about business. that's what they know. >> i think that until the american people in mass speak up and say this is really crossing the line, they're going to keep doing it. why should they have to change? >> to your point, the american people, they have better things or bigger things in their lives to deal with like putting food on the table and taking care of their kids and job, but fast forward down the road, they're going to -- they may say why didn't we know about this? what happened to the conflict of interest in they may not be paying attention now which is our role to make them pay attention. but our role to give it, but it's not our role to make them pay attention. then what? >> well, i mean, i think you cross that bridge when you get to it, but it is our role to continue to raise concerns about it. and i think we have to give them the benefit of the doubt that they won't do it. i don't think that the trump folks are evil, but the whole
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idea is trust by verify. the whole idea is you keep an eagle eye on it and make sure they don't do anything that's wrong. >> of course, but if it was the clintons. if it was the sanders, if it was the romneys. no matter who is in the white house, the conflict of interest, we should be looking at it. >> the trumps just get a longer leash and they always do. >> we'll see. appreciate it. when we come back blurred lines. will donald trump draw a line between his business and the white house? more on that. with no surprise overages, you can use your data worry free and even carry over the data you don't use. and right now get four lines and 20 gigs for only $40 per line. you'll even get the samsung galaxy s7, the pixel phone by google, or the motoz droid for only $10 per month. hurry, these offers end soon.
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president-elect donald trump insisting that he'll leave his businesses before inauguration day and that his sons, don and eric will take over. does it solve conflicts of interest or raise more? good evening, everyone. thank you for joining us. john, i'll start with you. donald trump's son, donald junior and eric trump appear to be actively involved in the transition. trump has said he'll have his sons manage his company. how are the boys still working on transition efforts? >> well, it's too two separate entities. they'll be running the company. i don't know why you're so convinced donald is going to listen to his kids. i bark orders at my parents
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autotime. it's someone else controlling donald trump in the newspaper. today in the washington post they said others were controlling him. you read he's a pickup truck of vladimir putin and others are picking his foreign policy team. he seems to take a lot of advice from a lot of 350e78, and he does what he's going to do. >> i would say -- listen, if my parents, if my dad was president-elect i might think differently about asking them for a guitar shaped swimming pool. i don't see the parody there, but it was an interesting comparison. >> it worked to trivialize the conversation. >> this is very serious, though, sally. >> that's the point. we're not talking about swimming pools or he gets to sort of sit there and talk about what he wants for christmas. this is very simple. you're right. they are two separate entities in theory. trump's businesses and his role as president of the united
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states and leader of the free world. he said he's going to separate these things and his sons are going to run the business. then it would suggest his sons should not be involved in setting up and deciding how he's going to run his presidency. if you're going to have a firewall, you have to make a firewall, and i think it's clear why he delayed the press conference. he was supposed to have this week to announce his sons are going to take over his business because he was going to significant there's a firewall, but obviously doesn't exist. >> i just want to do something here, just a little experiment. i'm going to read my first question again. roll that back and i'm just going to change the names here. so i will say to john. so, john, hillary clinton's daughter appeared to be actively involved in the transition efforts. she has sat in on candidate meetings and vetting candidate picks. clinton has said that she will
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have her daughter manage her company, manage the clinton foundation, and still working on the transition efforts. how is that going to play out? >> chelsea was deeply involved in the clinton's operations the whole way through. she was involved with the clinton foundation. she was involved in their various campaigns. she's part of the family. she was a u.s. senator at one point and she was a secretary of state at one point. >> you're not answering my question. >> she was the -- >> you're not answering my question. it was just an experiment. i just wanted to put that out there. but go on. >> the republican party would be talking about impeachment right now if the clintons were doing this. our system of government is based on the idea that people in power are not angels and that power corrupts. that's why our founders were so concerned about corruption. many of the articles in the constitution are designed to try
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to prevent government. it's why we have this precedent for decades and decades now. you have to put your money in a blind trust because we know that power corrupts. and we are supposed to believe that of all people the trumps are immune from the very corruption that our entire system assumes people will fall prey to? >> paris, you were saying that's not true. you don't believe it's true that it would be different if it was the clintons? >> no. i think everyone needs to take a breath, calm down. it will be okay. look, at the end of the day -- >> i don't think anyone is upset here. >> she's upset. listen, he's the president-elect. he has not put his hand on the bible and been sworn then. his pick for secretary of state is the ceo of exxon mobile. is that a conflict of interest? >> yes. >> he said he will step down at the end of the year after before
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he is sworn in. >> and keep his stock interest? >> you know you can be a trump supporter and dis'gree with some of the things he's doing, right? >> thank you for that enlightening fact. i do know that. about chelsea clinton, i don't have a problem with that. if chelsea wassed advising clin, i would not have a problem with it. you should surround yourself with people that you know and trust. here's the point that you're going to like. if, in fact, the president elect becomes the president, when that happens and his children are still actively involved in their companies and have not separated themselves and are still in the west wing, that would be a problem. i have every bit of confidence to believe if they're going to serve in the white house as employees, separate themselves
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like anyone else would have to do. >> can we get a round of applause in thank you very much. go on. >> they don't need to be employees of the government for this to be a problem. you cannot be an employee. if you're sitting in as we know donald trump junior was on the choices for interior secretary, even if you're not an employee, you are intimately involved in important ways with the managing and decision making of government, and you have every incentive there to think, well, how could my business benefit from certain things the government would do? >> and we've already seen evidence of oh donald trump bringing up some of his business, co-mingling his business interests with his new-found role in governments. we've seen it, and now we're seeing him appointing. it's not just him. >> it's a little bit more serious. i heard paris say it's a little bit more serious than that especially when you know the secrets of the world. the it's a lot more serious than just --
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>> i think they don't know the secrets of the world. i promise you his daughter does not know the secrets of the world. >> are you in on the meetings? >> no, but i tell you they don't know the secrets of the world. they don't have the appropriate clearances to know that. >> do you think donald trump is not going to try to just make money off the presidency? just straightforward. maybe he has the best interest of the american people at heart, but she's shown he has his own interest at heart. he's a businessman -- >> hold up. let me stop you. when you're worth $10 billion, you're not trying to make money off the presidency. >> but you're -- >> we already said -- when you're worth a billion dollars, let's give him that. you're not trying to make money off the president. when you gave money to run your campaign, you're not making money off the government. when you said i'm not going to take a salary, that shows you he's not going to try to make money off being the president. what we do know is that president obama and other
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presidents do make money after they become millionaires. that happens. >> but that's not the purpose of this conversation. yes, presidents do make money. they make money off books and we've said on this show, i don't think anyone had a problem with him getting a credit for a show he had already helped produce or create. that's fine. your argument, i don't understand the comparison here. >> people who actually do these ethics jobs for a living like richard painter, the kind of ethics czar for the bush administration say this is a big problem, potentially a violation of the constitution because you're not allowed to take foreign gifts from another country without the concept of congress, and when people are staying in your hotel in order to curry favor with the government because they want something from the government, that is essentially a foreign gift. you may say there's no problem but the people who do this for a living in your own party think it's a problem. >> i promise you john phillips
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will weigh in after the break.
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i think we could finally get youra bigger place. [doorbell chimes] hi! charades? yeah, let me check my score too. try credit karma. it's free. check out credit karma today.
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credit karma. give yourself some credit. generosity is its oyou can handle being a mom for half an hour. i'm in all the way. is that understood? i don't know what she's up to, but it's not good. can't the world be my noodles and butter?
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get your mind out of the gutter. mornings are for coffee and contemplation. that was a really profound observation. you got a mean case of the detox blues. don't start a war you know you're going to lose. finally you can now find all of netflix in the same place as all your other entertainment. on xfinity x1. back with our panel. john, i promised you would get to weigh in on the conflict of interest thing. go. >> yes. i wanted to piggie back on paris's point. we're talking about the hotel industry here. he's not working in a clan december tine industry. he's putting up hotels with his name written in gold. if he's doing something shady, it will be obvious to see. >> that's what he's doing now but what about the future?
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maybe they're setting themselves up for something else in the future which is what this whole thing is about avoiding that. >> if he does something shady, he'll get killed by the papers and deserve to be killed by the papers. >> except you'll come on defend him. >> it's good. i like this. we should just trust in trump. that's great. just trust our dear leader. i'm sure he has -- >> the media's not going to give him a pass. >> people don't listen to the media. he spent a year getting people to not listen to the media. >> you know what? at the end of the day the american people trusted him. >> i'm sorry, i didn't hear you. >> the american people voted for him. >> we're not denying that. it's obvious to point out there should be concerns about his businesses and government and where does one draw the line. that's all this is, and as an american citizen, democrat or republican, donald trump supporter or not, you should
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have the same concerns. no, paris? >> i don't have the same concerns because i think you all are making a big deal out of nothing. there's no evidence that he's going to do this -- >> and there's no evidence he's not going to do it. >> why don't you have faith in the system. have faith to believe this man is going to do the right thing. >> our political system is not based on faith in the goodness of our leaders. >> that's fine. let's base it on facts. >> there are facts he has been having business meetings since becoming president-elect. there is evidence that he was using some of his foreign calls with world leaders to talk about some of his business interests. that has been reported. there is, in fact, fact that you're choosing to ignore because you want us to just assume that donald trump who has always looked out for donald trump and his bottom line for his entire career is now
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suddenly not going to do that at all. again, we don't owe him the benefit of the doubt. he has to earn it. he hasn't done anything to show he's worried about the optics. >> this is why there's a separation of powers and why if he does something bad or illegal, congress has the power to investigate him, and they will. >> that's the whole crux of this conversation. that's what we've been talking about. >> he's not even president yet. >> you know, sally said i don't want to rush things. he's the president. he's not the sitting president, but he will be president of the united states. and it's not what he's going to do what he's president. all the indications as to what he's doing now, that's an indication of what he's going to do in the future. >> it's not. >> it's not? we shouldn't believe what he's doing now? >> if he does something illegal, congress will do what congress does. >> there's a reason why there's
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a grace period before someone becomes president of the united states so they can get their finances in order. >> if he put his sons in charge of his businesses which he said he's going to do and after he's inaugurated he had a meeting, say, with the tech industry, and his sons were in that meeting as they were today, they're supposed to be involved. they're supposed to be on the business side, not the governing side. if on january 22nd, president trump has that meeting and the sons are there, are you going to have a problem with that? >> no. because mr. trump is not benefitting from -- he's divested. >> but they can just be in the meeting? >> you don't understand how the white house works. people come there all the time for meetings like this who have their own personal interests at the table. >> this is supposed to be different, draining the swamp. >> we are building the swamp. >> paris, i'm going to start with you on this one.
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we watched all of us with fascination at dinner in new york city right close to where we are now between the president-elect trump and mitt romney and reince priebus. cnn learned trump wanted romney to say publicly he was wrong about trump and romney declined. and the secretary of state went to rex tillerson. what do you think? >> i was live on television when that was going on on this network. i believe that governor romney needed to apologize for what he did and said because i think it was not passing the loyalty test. it sort of seems like he was just being a political opportunist if you want my opinion. he wasn't being true to himself. >> and do you remember, paris, i asked you, i said if other people didn't have to apologize because there were other people who hit him really hard as well including chris christie and marco rubio and a number of supporters. but a number of people who
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support him now hit him really hard during the primary. i think it was you i asked that question. why does he have to apologize and not others. >> the difference between governor perry and christie is they came out to support him and went on the campaign trail in support of his candidacy. governor romney never did that. he held press conferences talking bad about him before the national audience and then wanted to be secretary of state. >> his campaign manager did the same thing. >> the point is after that, she became his campaign manager and supported him publicly. governor romney never had a tame frame where he came out and said, you know what? i support him. he should be the president. he is qualified. he never did that. he criticized him and then was considered for secretary of state. i think he needed to apologize and set the record straight because he never came out and supported him and said this man is someone who i believe in and i trust him. >> i'm sorry. i thought that we were supposed
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to choose secretaries of state based on who would do the best job as secretary of state, not whether someone is willing to publicly humiliate themselves for the cardinal sin of having criticized donald trump, right? mitt romney didn't criticize donald trump because it was going to help him politically. >> hillary clinton never criticized president obama -- wait, she became his secretary of state. >> but she came out and supported him. >> to me we learn it makes it more likely this was simply an exercise by donald trump in trying to humiliate someone who had been a political opponent rather than a serious examination of whether romney would have been the best secretary. >> that's not true. >> literally the picture shows donald trump with a grimace on his smile as romney almost looks like he has to kiss the ring. there were two points. one was to humiliate romney.
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i've heard it from sources inside trump, and the second was to do optical appearances of we're going to look like we're doing moderate sorts of things. we have gore and romney. trump people have cited this and said but he's not going to be so bad on the environment. he met with gore. he considered romney for secretary of state. but what matters with trump is not what he says, it's what he does. so then he puts in someone who doesn't believe in the epa to run the epa. he puts in a oil executive to run our diplomacy worldwide. he tries to not make it so bad by parading romney around. >> i'm going to trademark paris logic. i love our conversation. thank you. >> any time, my friend. >> thank you to all of you. when we come back, how will donald trump change our policy in syria and will it do anything to stop the carnage?
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one of the biggest challenges donald trump will face is syria. syrian regime forces have been making a push to reclaim aleppo from rebel forces who have held the city. as the fighting rages multiple sources accuse of mass executions. we have not verified that.
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let's discuss with a professional international relations and the co-author of isis, the army of terror. i'm glad you're both here to does you. you are just that from the syria lebanon border. what did you see there this. >> well, every refugee i interviewed and i was there on behalf of the american university of rome trying to recruit students actually syrian refugees to bring and give scholarships here, and every story, every man, woman, child, whoever managed to be in touch with somebody from aleppo, the story they told us were horrifying stories of mass murder, of basically rape, mass rape, of rape campaign of women committing suicide to actually, they choose suicide over rape. they don't want to be raped so they kill themselves.
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they talk about people burning in their home. they talk about the regime won the war and already won every military operation, yet they want to destroy total destruction of aleppo. what we are seeing under our eyes, what's taking place is a mode modern genocide. it's another bosnia and ro wanda where the world promised never again and here we are. they are emboldened, the russians and the syrians together with the iranian's militia because they feel the world doesn't care and they feel the president of the united states doesn't have this as a priority. the president-elect, i'm talking of donald trump. something happened since his elections. the forces feel they have free reign to do what they want and there won't be any accountability. >> what was the sigh for, michael? when she said the president-elect, this is not a priority, this has changed?
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>> well, i don't know that i did sigh about that. i mean, m sighing in general, because everything she says, i've been reporting it for five years and then some. i've described syria as a modern day holocaust. i was on the show last night describing what eyewitnesss on the ground have been sighing and what the u.n. has confirmed, the murder of 85 civilians at the hands -- and this is the important distinction. we talk about the syrian arab army. this is a proxy war. being fought chiefly by iran and iranian built militias on the ground including imported afghanistan and pakistani death squads are. these are the guys shooting women and children dead in the streets under the cover of russian air power. we can have a conversation about what donald trump purport to do about this.
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there has been one consistent threat without his candidacy for president and now this transitional period. everybody seems to be pointing to national security posts are hawkish when it comes to iran. flynn called for regime change for all islamic republic. g gym mattis has said he considers the islamic republic of iran to be a direct and long term threat to the united states than isis or al qaeda. here's the paradox. trump's avowed trumpism toward moscow. the appointment of his secretary of state. you cannot be both pro putin and anti-iran, least of all in syria, because the groups and the party of god lebanon hezbollah are completely united and strategically aligned and
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doing so@annihilation of whatever remains of the free syrian army. this is not a campaign being waged in syria against the islamic. asaad came out and said i don't care about isis in raqqa. let the americans deal with it. he's given one-third of his country away. this is about the heartland of syria. aleppo is or was until this campaign oh of extermination, syria's most populous city. and now people are trapped and there's another cease fire being put into effect -- >> i want to talk about the cease fire. you just got back, and i wonder if you can answer this question. michael reported last night, again, what you were saying about the rapes and suicides, but also that a cease fire would collapse, and it collapsed less than a day into the cease fire. who is responsible for this
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collapse? >> the syrian forces. i actually believe that what the refugees have been telling us. asaads militia, not only his army, his -- anybody that would carry weapons, they allowed him to carry weapons and basically carry mass execution, and exterminate whoever is not allied, whoever is not for a ree re jetstream. what we are seeing, don, and i hope the world is aware of what we are witnessing and seeing. this is a total meltdown of humanity taking place. there's nowhere to be safe for any syrian civilian. if you're in aleppo, according to the regime, you're a pro terrorist. remember, isis, and al qaeda in syria has been members of isis al qaeda in 2011 it was a
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peaceful protest where people demanded political reform and justice. and he crushed them from day one while he was crushing the pro activists, the people who are demanding the reforms. he releasing from the jail, actually, real jeihadists. he was accused of releasing these kind of people already in 2003 and sending them to iraq to fight against the americans at the height of the war. he started releasing them again in 2011. basically he released the people that funded al nusra from the system of al qaeda. some people became isis commanders. for him. he wanted to equate everyone in protecting in syria as actually a terrorist. the first victim of the regime was a boy. he was 13 years old. he was arrested in a city, and
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then tortured basically shot with three bullets and sent back to his home. his father was arrested and was forced to sign an agreement that actually jihadists were the people killing him. jihadists in syria -- >> i have to get to the break. can you hold your thought? i'll be right back. we'll continue it on the other side. ays at verizon, and the best deals are on the best network. with no surprise overages, you can use your data worry free and even carry over the data you don't use. and right now get four lines and 20 gigs for only $40 per line. you'll even get the samsung galaxy s7, the pixel phone by google, or the motoz droid for only $10 per month. hurry, these offers end soon. get the best deals and the best network, only on verizon.
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back now with my guests. i had to get to the break, but michael i've been wanting to ask you this. is this president obama's rowanda? >> absolutely. i saw him quoted as saying my syria policy hasn't been flawless. that's an insult to the definition of the word euphemism. this is a guy for all of his intelligence and moral wisdom when it comes to many other aspects of domestic and social policy, really did drop the ball own syria. and he did it because -- well, for a variety of reasons. number one, i think he rightly so was wary of getting the united states bogged down in another intervention, but i and
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others argued syria was not revolution at the end of a bay net. it was a regime, and asaad is the only dictator, not even sad m hussein used chemical weapons in his own capital city. that's what asaad did. he cut a deal with putin thus giving new legitimacy to asaad. this is his rowanda. we have to take into account the geo politics. term two was about getting a deal with iran over the nuclear program. one could also say a rider was bringing the mull las into from the cold. obama described this as respecting iranian equities in syria. well, they're now killing women and children in the streets of
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aleppo. it's hard for me to exonerate this president and say there was nothing that he could have done. >> i have to ask you the same question. is this president obama's rowanda? >> this is i think a scar on president obama's legacy, but this is about all of us. i mean, there is a responsibility of the international community to protect civilians. there's actually a united nations resolution. this is about all of us who must demand that this carnage must end. it must stop, and the regime has already won, and the fact that they are actually already escalating even more after basically they won everything. and they want to crush aleppo because basically they want to send a message, never question the regime. never challenge the regime. never ask reforms, but who's the winner? if he look at the winners, this is all of us.
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al qaeda and every jihadist group will use syria as an example to tell young desperate muslims, democracy doesn't work, peaceful protests doesn't work. only violence works, and asaad will go down the history as a monster of the century, actually as worse than any other arab tyrant, as the butcher of the century. >> i have to go. it is unbelievable to see, and especially if you look at the pictures of aleppo and as you said, a scar on the obama presidency. we'll continue to discuss more of that. thank you. i appreciate it. that's it for us tonight. i'll see you back here tomorrow. . .
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donald trump meeting with the top tech ceos in the country discussing the nation's business, presumably, so why were his kids and son-in-law at table? rebels announcing a new cease-fire. have we seen the last of the deadly air strikes? good morning. welcome to "early start." i'm alison kosik in for christine romans. >> i'm john berman. it is thursday, december 15th. 4:00 a.m. in the east. questions of who is at the table when it

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