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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  January 4, 2017 3:00pm-4:01pm PST

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wikileaks. will trump feel differently after his private intelligence briefing on friday? trump care. president obama rallies the democrats on capitol hill as republicans make their first move toward repealing obamacare. he urges the use of tea party tactics and should label whatever they come up with trump care. why congress will, quote, make america sick again. you're hired. omerosa is hired along with his chief bodyguard and the aide fired by chris christie over bridge gate. who else will donald trump bring with him to the white house? under arrest, the head of the naacp arrested at a sit-in protesting trump 's attorney general nominee senator jeff sessions. he's denied making racist remarks in the past. allegati allegation cornell william
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brooks will join us live to talk about it. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." two days before donald trump is set to be briefed on cyber attacks, sources tell cnn his twitter attacks have intelligence officials on edge with one describing the relationship with trump as potentially hostile. republicans have made their first move to repealing the health care act. president obama was warning them to let gop lawmakers go it alone as they seek to replace the law with what he calls trump care.
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fellow reality tv star omarosa manigault trump has named communications director for the office of public liaison. during the campaign she said a trump victory would be the ultimate revenge and that every critic and detractor would have to, quote, bow down to president trump. and six people including the head of the naacp were arrested at a sit-in protesting the nomination of senator jeff sessions of alabama to be the next attorney general. the head of the organization, cornell william brooks, was among those arrested. he'll join us live this hour. our other guests include congressman shawn duffy, a vice chairman of the trump transition team, and our correspondents and legal analysts are also standing by. let's begin with donald trump's latest jabs at the u.s. intelligence community. cnn justice correspondent pamela brown has the latest information. pamela, trump's disdain appears to be growing. >> that's right. and because of that, wolf, u.s. intelligence officials say
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there's growing dismay and distress in the wake of donald trump's latest tweets against the intelligence community, this it growing divide comes just two days before trump comes face-to-face for the first time with the leaders of the agencies he's been challenging. tonight president-elect trump escalating his ongoing battle with the u.s. intelligence community tweeting just days before the high-profile briefing the, quote, intelligence briefing on so-called, quote, russian hacking was delayed until friday. perhaps more time needed to build a case. very strange. >> we had a meeting. >> reporter: intelligence officials are pushing back denying there was ever a delay in the briefing and that it was always scheduled for friday. trump also siding with wikileaks julian assange, wanted for leaking information, who in an interview with fox news denied russia had anything to do with handing over the stolen documents from the dnc and clinton campaign chairman john
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podesta. >> we have said repeatedly over the last two months that our source is not the russian government and it is not state party. >> reporter: trump tweeting, julian assange said a, quote, 14-year-old could have hacked podesta. why was dnc so careless? also said russians did not give him the info. on capitol hill today vice president-elect mike pence defended his skepticism. >> the president-elect has american skepticism about intelligence conclusions. >> reporter: u.s. officials tell cnn trump's continued public attacks are hurting morale in the intelligence community with one official saying it's a sad day when politicians put more stock in vladimir putin and julian assange over the americans who risk their lives providing objective, nonpartisan intelligence analysis. cnn has learned trump has already been briefed by
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intelligence officials on the russian hacks, but the comprehensive report due this week will provide a fuller picture of why the u.s. is putting the blame on russia. >> i would suggest to individuals who have not yet seen the report, who have not yet been briefed on it, that they wait and see what it is that the intelligence community is putting forward before they make those judgments. >> reporter: as we see publicly donald trump has been badgering the intelligence community over the russia hacks. but behind the scenes at intelligence briefings sources tell me trump is, for the most part, polite, professional, and deferential. so there seems, wolf, to be a big difference between the way he treats the intelligence community publicly versus privately. >> very interesting indeed. pamela brown reporting. our senior white house correspondent jim acosta is over at trump tower in new york city. jim, what are you picking up? >> reporter: well, wolf, the trump transition team is not backing away from that tweet from the president-elect earlier today that appeared to put more
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stock in wikileaks founder julian assange when it comes to russian hacking in the 2016 election. now trying to explain that the incoming white house president secretary john spicer told reporters trump trusts the data coming into the intelligence community more than the analysis of that data coming from the intelligence agencies. contrast that with vice president-elect mike pence. he was told by a transition source earlier today that mike pence, quote, has a lot of faith in the intelligence community and that he is still receiving his intelligence briefings nearly every day. contrast that with donald trump who is not doing it as much as that, wolf. but one potential development that might bridge that divide, i'm told by a source familiar with transition discussions, that indiana senator dan coates, who is close to mike pence, is now a front-runner for the position of director of national intelligence, wolf. if trump can trust mike pence, perhaps he can trust dan coates. >> very interesting indeed. trump also announced additional wave of white house staff
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positions. what can you tell us about that? >> reporter: that's right, wolf. not too surprising we saw former rnc staffers and campaign staffers coming over to the white house. one name that did stand out is omarosa manigault, a former contestant on "the apprentice." she was convening a big meeting among civil rights leaders. she will have a visible role over at the white house. consider this, wolf, back during the campaign omarosa warned people, warned those doubters out there, they will have to bow down to donald trump if he's elected president. here is what she had to say. >> every critic, every detractor will have to bow down to president trump. it's everyone who has ever doubted donald, who ever disagreed, who ever challenged him. it is the ultimate revenge to become the most powerful man in the universe. >> reporter: now manigault went
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on to say she was only speaking for herself and not donald trump. there are other interesting staffing changes to point out, wolf. bill step ipian, an ex-aide to former -- i should say the current new jersey governor, chris christie. he's going to be the white house political director. keep in mind christi fired steppian over his role in the bridge gate scandal but he will have the high profile job. keith schiller for the trump organization is going to be also coming over to the white house, wolf. why is that move important? it paves the way for the u.s. secret service to have full control over donald trump's protection. that was a question that was out there heading into inauguration day, wolf. >> he will be the director of oval office operations. steppian gets a job in the bhous, the political director, chris christie, not so much. >> reporter: he has not. >> he hasn't received a job in the trump administration. jim acosta over at trump tower. let's get more on all of this.
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the vice chairman of the trump transition team is joining us talking about republican congressman shawn duffy of wisconsin. thanks for joining us. let's talk about the uproar over julian assange. the president-elect is quoting him, citing him, suggesting he's a krcredible source out there. they basically see this it guy . >> they're right -- >> who is right? >> the intelligence community. assange is not a good guy, not an ally. wikileaks has released sensitive documents that have endangered our assets and interests around the world. so if he was a friend and an ally, he wouldn't release that information. it's important to look at what information does julian assange have in regard to the leaks he put out with regards to the dnc
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and john podesta. >> do you believe him when he said russia had nothing to do with those leaks? do you believe julian assange? is he credible in your mind is this. >> i want to see what information he has. again, i think -- >> you want to see what information julian assange has? >> julian assange. we look at all the information. one of my concerns with the way this thing has been handled is the intelligence community has been leaking information to you and the rest of the press. the chairman of the house intelligence community has as much information as you do, wolf. that's a problem. >> he has a lot more than i do. >> not on this situation. he doesn't. traditionally the intelligence community partners with the congressional intelligence committees. hasn't happened. >> the chairman of the init tell generals committee, adam schiff and nunes and the senate, the chairman and vice chairman, they have been well briefed on this russian hack. >> they will tell you they
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haven't. the intelligence community were offered to come in and give them a private briefing in regard to the information the intelligence community has gathered with regard to russian hacking and they said we would only release that after the report comes out publicly. why won't they brief the intelligence community -- >> why haven't they given them all the information on what they will provide to donald trump on friday when had they go up to new york and brief him, what they're going to present in the final report to president obama, but they've given him a whole bunch of information maybe just short of the final report. >> the information i have our house intelligence committee is different than that. they feel they're in the dark and this should have been a holding hand investigation. and if you don't hold hands with the congress, it can wreak of politics. when you don't have all involved, i err on the side of our intelligence community. these are reputable, good people who do good investigations. whether you're republican or
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democrat, you're american. if anyone hacks our systems or elections all of us stand together and push back on that entity or country. whether it's russia or china, we have zero tolerance for anybody who engages in this kind of sour behavior. >> there's a report just posted in t"the wall street journal" website suggesting donald trump wants to revamp the intelligence community, the cia, the director of national intelligence. he has some major shifts to get people out of virginia, for example, over at cia headquarters, get them out to the field. i don't know it if you read that report. >> i haven't seen that report. listen, in today's world, intelligence is so critical in the way we fight radical islamic terrorism or set up our defenses against russia, iran, china. intelligence is key to all of this and making sure it's fully operational is critical. >> you think there's a need to shrink the intelligence community? >> no, i think we need to grow the intelligence community. we need to grow our intelligence
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community to keep america safe. >> listen to what trump said about wikileaks, those involved in wikileaks back in 2010. listen to this. >> he's going to talk about wikileaks. you had nothing to do with it. >> disgraceful. >> you think it's disgraceful? >> i didn't hear what he said. i think there should be the death penalty or something for them, those involved, in wikileaks. but now you saw that tweet where he's citing julian assange, the founder of wikileaks, and giving him credibility. >> we have to be very cautious as we navigate these kind of situations. just because assange has come out and released information again and the dnc -- embarrassed the dnc. they partnered with hillary clinton over bernie sanders. we saw the turmoil from the e-mails that came out from her campaign chairman. but the bottom line is we are all americans and when you hack democrats one day, it might be
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republicans the other day. if you hack opm, office of personnel management, and release congressional information or the security clearances of american assets -- >> the chinese did that one. >> that's right. that is a huge problem. we can't say just because today it might benefit republicans that it's good, this is always bad because it will come full circle and impact every single american. wikileaks, again, is no friend to mr. trump, to you, to me, to any american. they do what's best for wikileaks and julian assange who, by the way, is an accused sexual assailant and is wanted and that's why he's held up in the embassy in london. >> you make excellent points. but donald trump himself during the campaign praised wikileaks for releasing all of that information that was so awkward, embarrassing to the democrats. >> here is the key. he will get a briefing late they are week. let him sit down with the intelligence community. mr. trump might have additional information which is causing him to put out some of the tweets and maybe have some concern
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about the public -- the leaked reports that have come out from the intelligence community this is all going to air out. i do think all of us as americans should have concern when you have this kind of investigation and we're having leaks from our own intelligence community. that's -- listen, they have to be more professional than that. that we're going on half-truths or half information is not the way you should be reporting or i should be analyzing the information. we should be waiting until the report comes out and that's not what's happening in this set of circumstances. >> there was a joint statement from the department of homeland security, the director of national intelligence, that concluded, and i'll read a couple sentences to you, the u.s. intelligence community is confident the russian government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from u.s. persons and institutions including from u.s. political organizations, referring to the dnc and the clinton campaign. we believe based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts only russia's senior most
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officials could have authorized these activities. that was a release not a leak. >> so 2 points. if you look at the leak with podesta's e-mail it was sim m s simplistic. donald trump thinks a 14-year-old could do it in his own basement. >> the intelligence community isn't leaking this. it wassish nude a direct public statement to the news media, and the news media released it on october 7th. >> in regard to the details of what's taking place inside this investigation and the analysis they've done on the data that they have that they've given to you was my earlier point and we might have a disagreement on this. >> there have been other leaks. but do you agree with this assessment of the u.s. intelligence community -- >> i haven't seen it, wolf. >> the october 7th statement. the one i just read to you. >> if i'm going to agree with their statement i should see the information. do i think they put out that
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information? absolutely. have i seen that conclusion? i haven't. i think all of us should have an opportunity in congress and specifically the intelligence community to look at the data and see the connection between the data and the conclusion. i haven't seen that yet. i do trust my information. >> they are confident that the russian government did all of this. >> they declined to come in and do that. >> they will testify tomorrow before the senate armed services committee. >> but if you're going to put a statement out like this, why not give them the opportunity to see all the data. this is top-secret stuff. nunes gets all kinds of information that you and i don't see and they keep it very secret. they should be able to see the information if they put out those kinds of reports. that's why this has been a head
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scratcher. >> they say they brief as much as they possibly could nunes and adam schiff as well as richard burr and the ranking democrat, dianne feinstein. it's now mark warner. >> i don't think the intelligence community in the house feels that way, that they don't have all the information and, again -- >> they don't have all the information but they have -- >> these investigations traditionally happen in conjunction, intelligence community with the intelligent house committees. they work together. why in this situation are they -- >> as someone who has covered the intelligence community for a long time, very often if it's really sensitive information and they don't want to compromise sources and methods, classified information, they'll just brief the chairman, the ranking member. they won't brief the whole committee because it's supposedly all that sensitive. >> but then you can say we'll give a partial briefing to the committee. it if we're willing to put out this information in a public statement, we should have some form of a private briefing with
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the init tell generals committee. they can say we're not going to give you all of it but we'll tell you what we have and what we can trust you with. and that is the concern of the house. i don't want to you walk away -- i trust your intelligence community. we have great people working for us. this has been handled ineffectively and puts a cloud over the investigation because who have got what information and when. >> all right. you make some fine points. sean duffy, the congressman is going to stay with us. you're not leaving. we have more to discuss including the latest battle that is now brewing over the future of obamacare. stay with us. we'll be right back. remember when you said men are supeyeah...ivers? yeah, then how'd i get this... ...allstate safe driving bonus check? ...only allstate sends you a bonus check for every six months you're accident free. silence. it's good to be in, good hands. i'm phil mickelson, pro golfer. my psoriatic arthritis caused joint pain. just like my moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. and i was worried about joint damage. my doctor said joint pain from ra... can be a sign of existing joint damage...
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we're back with the vice chairman, republican congressman sean duffy of wisconsin. we want to talk to him about
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president obama's warning to congressional democrats today about what he's calling trump care. first let's get details from our white house correspondent michelle kosinski. the president went to capitol hill to rally fellow democrats. how did it go? >> reporter: this is extraordinary and you feel the urgency here. here you have a president with days left in office. his administration winding down but him now very much gearing up democrats for this fight in congress to try to save obama care and, of course, his legacy. >> happy new year. >> reporter: president obama on capitol hill today urging democrats to battle with all they've got against republican plans to gut his signature law, obamacare. >> thank you. look out for the american people. >> reporter: democrats don't have the votes to block republicans, so his message to avoid, quote, rescuing them, helping them craft their replacement. >> the president asked us are you ready? do you have the fight in you? he didn't need to ask us that
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question. >> reporter: he spurred democrats to use tactics like the tea party did in opposing obamacare to go out to town halls, tell the stories of their millions of constituents who benefited from the plan as well as hold republicans accountable for what they come up with. the president saying democrats ought to start calling it trump care. >> they want to repeal it and then try to hang it on us. not going to happen. it's their responsibility plain and simple. the republican plan to cut health care wouldn't make america great again, it would make america sick again. and lead to chaos. >> reporter: at virtually the same time republicans also gearing up for this epic fight led by mike pence, a meeting described as more pep rally than policy discussion. >> the policies of obamacare have all been proven to be false. if you like your doctor, you can keep him. not you true. if you like your health insurance, you can keep it. not true.
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>> this law has failed. americans are struggling. >> reporter: the president-elect jumping into the debate n. a series of tweets seeming to warn republicans not to work too closely. they failed the obamacare disaster with its poor coverage and massive premium increases, it will fall of its own weight. be careful. the white house today hammered republicans for not yet present ing a replacement plan and for their ideas so far projected by the congressional budget office to add trillions to the deficit over time making it clear democrats should not negotiate with them unless they don't repeal obamacare. >> the republican ideas are actually bad for people. they're bad for the economy. they're bad for small businesses. they have bad ideas. >> reporter: at one point president obama today told lawmakers he envied them, that they will still be on the field to fight for this while he's a private citizen. what the white house wants to project now is confidence, repeatedly saying today they think democrats will win this fight based on the number of
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americans who have already benefitted from obamacare. however, the long list of votes that it will take to repeal it have already begun passed in the senate. donald trump will take executive action affecting obamacare literally on day one, wolf. >> we'll see what happens on january 20th. michelle, you thank you. michelle kosinski over at the white house. we're back with republican congressman sean duffy of wisconsin. you've been fighting obamacare for seven years, republicans, not just you. europe ready to repeal it. you have the votes in the house and the senate, you have a president ready to sign that legislation into law. where is the replacement plan? why isn't there something ready to go on day one? you've had seven years to think about it. day one, legislation to replace it with a specific plan. >> i think we have to back up a second and i'll answer your question. first of all, why are we repealing obamacare? like mike pence said it hasn't worked for the american people.
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it was base d on a lie. the promise made by barack obama that it will lower -- >> millions of people love it. >> hold on. >> who never had insurance now have insurance, 20 million who have insurance who say it works. >> i'll get to that, too. there's 350 million people in america. if you carve out 20 million, there are a lot of people that have been hurt. the promise was we would drop premiums by $2,500. all of that was a lie. america was mad when nancy pelosi stood up and said you have to pass this bill to find out what is in it. if you're going to redo health care, which we are, you want to have a great american hearings, go to town halls -- >> you're going to have hearings that will go on for a year or two? >> what we're going to do is repeal obamacare. >> without a replacement plan ready to go? >> at an effective date in the future. >> what does that mean? >> hopefully by the 20th of
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february. >> so a month after. a year down the road or two years -- >> it could be eight nonts or a year. i hope by the end of 2017, the next year we get it done. then you have a time frame to have a conversation about getting the best policy in, having a conversation with the american people. if democrats want, they have an open door to come in and talk about their best ideas. so we have an american health care reform package as opposed to what obamacare was which was a democrat health care reform package. if they want to take the opportunity we can all have this conversation to make health care work for the american people, drive down prices. and let you be in charge instead of bureaucrats in washington. >> you're a vice chair of the transition. i harper you saying by february 20th, a month into the new administration, it will be repealed in the house and the senate, the president will sign that piece of legislation into law. that piece of legislation will then say a new plan will be ready to go by the end of the year. >> the effective date of the
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repeal will be a point in the future. so that gives us time -- >> in the meantime, throughout this year, obamacare stays in it business? >> that's right. and what we have to do, wolf, make sure we're taking care of people -- whether it's 20 million or 18 million people who now have coverage, we want to make sure people still have coverage. people who are sick in the old system have a hard time getting coverage, have a pre-existing condition, we want you to get coverage. in wisconsin we had pools that worked. we want to take care of people as mr. trump said and mr. ryan said. you don't want to pull the rug out from under people and their health care but we also have to fix it. we have run, as you mentioned, for six years, seven years on obamacare, and we have decimated democrats. america doesn't like this bill. ask hillary clinton. ask russ feingold who ran in which isconsin. they lost because of the affordable care act and how it's punished people n. my district, they have one choice for health care. this isn't working for them. let's come together as americans. we don't have to say obamacare
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is the only way. let's take the good. but let's look at the bad and the ugly and fix that. >> can't you take the law as it is right now, obamacare and fix it, make it better without repealing it? >> i think the better pathway is to say let's take the better options and items out of the affordable care act, the things that work for people, and plug that into a new bill. if you have a health care plan that empowers bureaucrats over your health care that's different than you and your family being in charge of your health care. so you might have to scrap the way the system is set up but take the best principles and plug them into the new plan. i hope the democrats will join republicans and we can work together on this. what i've heard from your interviews is it doesn't seem like they're going to help fix health care. they're going to play poll it particulars with it which is too bad. >> you heard chuck schumer. sean duffy, thanks for coming in. why top officials are on edge. i'll talk to the head of the naacp about his arrest while protesting donald trump's
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liberty mutual insurance. sources tell cnn u.s. intelligence officials are now on edge over president-elect donald trump's public attacks. trump continues to cast doubt on the intelligence community's conclusion that russia was behind cyber meddling in the campaign. the intelligence briefing on
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so-called russian hacking, that's also in quotes, was delayed until friday. perhaps more time needed to build a case. very strange. in another tweet he sided with the founder of wikileaks writing this. julian assange said a 14-year-old could have hacked podesta. why was dnc so careless? also said the russians did not give him the info. phil, these tweets, what's the impact they're having on career professionals over, for example, in the cia where you used to work and the fbi where you also worked? >> boy, this is pain it will, wolf. i think the president-elect is right. he has the right in pointing out there have been some mistakes over the years that had profound implications for american security including iraq, wmd, assessing the rise of isis, looking at the arab spring after
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2011. but the substance of his comments are different from the style. i grew up with a generation of people who were with reagan, with bush, with clinton, with the second bush, with obama, now going in with president trump. we lost officers in murders by lebanese hezbollah in the 1980s and killings by al qaeda in the 2000s and this is the thanks you get. this is it. let me tell you something, wolf. melania trump said to cnn, i live with two boys sometimes. my hope is that she's not referring to two boys who are now moving to the white house. unacceptable. he can question the intelligence, he cannot humiliate the people who have offered their lives to collect that intelligence. that's it, wolf. >> he's going to be briefed, gloria bornger, by the leaders f the intelligence community including james comey and general clapper, the director of national intelligence, brennan of the cia, all sorts of others. it's a major report that they've just concluded. do you think that and public pressure will convince him to
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change his public statements? >> you know, i do not know what convinces donald trump to do anything, to tweet or to question this in the first place. what i do think he's going to have to do is once this declassified report is made public, he will have to defend his stance. he will have to say this is why i believe what i believe, and this is why i believe that our intelligence officials are wrong, and then he might have to tell us who he's listening to if he's not listening to the people as phil mudd talks about put their lives on the line every day to do this. they make mistakes. we all understand that. but you have 12 agencies now coming to the same conclusion. let's just say that we take the election result out of it and this is not about delegitimizing in any way, shape or form donald
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trump's victory this is about national security, maybe that's the way everyone can start looking at it. >> republicans, especially the national security experts, among the republicans, they've long considered julian assange, the founder of wikileaks, to be an enemy of the united states for the information he's disclosed undermining u.s. national security. are you surprised to see republicans now going out there and defending wikileaks and julian assange? >> i'm surprised. i'm shocked. i'm saddened. i'm appalled. i'm embarrassed. for them and for our party. i am old enough to remember when republicans knew that putin is a thug, and when republicans knew that assange is a treasonist person who put national security at risk. i recommend that the president-elect go to the headquarter in it langley, take a look at the wall that marks and commemorates every death. many of them died defend iing o
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country anonymously. there are stars there marking their deaths because their named can't be revealed this is just -- you know, this is unacceptable. if you want to question the intelligence, he has every right, but do it behind closed doors. do not do it in public. do not have this spectacle. and to my republican brethren and the elected officials i say speak up because this is going to be on you. you cannot stay quiet. you can't be a rubber stamp. you can't look the other way. emthankful for lindsey graham, for john mccain and others on this issue. we have to go back to being the soul of the republican party and that we respect those people who put their lives on the line for the security of our country. >> let me let phil mudd weigh in -- >> let me say something, wolf, this is not just about democrats and republicans. back in 2002 and 2003 we were grilled and i was there among them, grilled by a republican white house about information on saddam and with wmd and saddam and skad caal qaeda.
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we were never humiliated. it is not okay to rub people's noses in the dirt because you want to improve relationships voting situation where you ct a believe people are questioning whether you're the true president. the intelligence community had nothing to do with that. i've had it with the failure to distinguish the right to question and the right to humiliate. they are not the same. >> everybody stick around. stand by. there's much more coming up. we have to take a quick break. we'll be right back. if you have moderate to severe ulcerative colitis or crohn's, and your symptoms have left you with the same view, it may be time for a different perspective. if other treatments haven't worked well enough, ask your doctor about entyvio, the only biologic developed and approved just for uc and crohn's. entyvio works by focusing right in the gi-tract to help control damaging inflammation and is clinically proven to begin helping many patients achieve both symptom relief as well as remission.
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congressional republicans make their first move towards repealing obamacare. the senate voted 51-48 on a procedural motion to start debate on a budget resolution that could result in the over l overall. the president was up on capitol hill today, president obama, telling fellow democrats, just go ahead and repeal it. don't rescue them by trying to replace it. let them do it on their own. they will fail. >> clearly democrats are now playing a political game. they no longer have a majority in the senate, obviously no longer have the white house, and it's a little bit cynical. this is a big reason why the american people have lost a lot of faith in congress because they see both parties to an extent playing these political games using issues like health care as a political wedge to
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help them in the elections to come and that's what democrats are looking at now. if republicans and donald trump do not deliver for americans in the next couple of years, democrats could have a big upside in 2018 even though the senate map is going to be very difficult and, of course, in 2020. so that is what they're looking at right now. >> excellent points but how worried should republicans be, ana, if they don't come up with a plan, this all could backfire big time on them? >> i think they should be worried. it's a double-edged sword but, look, wolf, republicans have been promising the repeal of obamacare since it was passed. the house of representatives has passed that repeal. i don't know how many times, probably 352 now. so now that they've got both houses of congress and the presidency, there's just no excuse not to do it politically. it is something the base would not accept. having said that, i think they have to learn from the mistakes democrats make. when the democrats went unilateral on health care, bad
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things happened. this is too complex an issue to play politics. i think president obama is giving the wrong advice to democrats. they should figure out a way to work with republicans because -- >> if they simply move to imp f improve it, work with republicans. after repealing, forget about it. >> this is about people's lives. it affects people in the most basic of ways, their health. >> they're going to have to figure out a way that they can help people in any way, shape, or form. if the republicans have the majority, that's it. if they can repeal it, the question is, what do they replace it with? and that's going to be a long process. the question is can you keep people from losing whatever benefits they have right now that they would lose or health care that they would lose in the interim, when you come up with a new plan, and that's where i think the democrats can stake some ground here and say we're
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not going to let you lose this. we're going to help with what we can even if chuck assumer, even if chuck assumer says don't do they've got constituents and it is about elections but it's about other things. >> republicans don't have 60 votes in the senate. >> there will have to be some measure of collaborations. >> om of the democrats' constituents like a lot of obamacare so they'll have to figure out a way to deal with it. >> a lot of democrats lost their seats over obamacare. >> exactly. >> just ahead, the naacp president cornell william brooks arrested while protesting donald trump's attorney general nominee. cornell william brooks is here in "the situation room." ok, let me explain.
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six people were arrested in a sit-in protesting donald trump's nomination, senator jeff sessions of alabama to be the next attorney general of the united states. sessions' nominations to the federal bench 30 years ago was derailed by allegations he had made racist remarks which sessions denied. the president and ceo of the naacp, cornell william brooks, among those arrested at sessions' office in mobile, alabama, here in "the situation room" with us. thanks for coming in. >> good to be here. >> explain what happened. >> we went to the office of senator sessions in mobile, alabama. we entered his office and spoke to his staff and made clear we had two demands, one, based upon the record, based upon what senator sessions has done as a prosecutor, as a legislator, as an attorney general, as a u.s.
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district attorney, and as a united states senator that he withdraw his name from consideration as nomination as the u.s. attorney general of the united states. number two, in the alternative that the president withdraw his name based upon a long record of failing to acknowledge the reality of voter suppression while a faith in voter fraud and his consistently failing grade with respect to civil rights more broadly. we articulated those demands. we sat in all tay. we were unable to speak to the senator or any of his senior staff and we declined to leave at the end of the day. at that point, the building manager asked us to leave. we politely refused to leave. they called the police. they handcuffed us, put us in police vans, took us to the precinct, then to central booking, put us in a holding cell, fingerprinted us, palm printed us, patted us down pretty thoroughly -- >> show you a picture of your
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mug shot. >> yeah, and made it clear that we had to show up on january 30th or we risk having -- being subject to a warrant for our arrest. so it's serious. we were charged with criminal trespass. but we have to be clear about this. we broke the law that we might have an attorney general who's willing to enforce the law for all people across the country. that is to say to enforce all of the laws. most particularly the voting rights act. >> a spokesperson for senator sessions put out this statement saying these false portrayals of senator sessions will fail as tired, recycled, hyperbolic charges that have been thoroughly rebuked and discredited. that was the statement that they issued in response to what you and your naacp colleagues were doing. >> make no mistake, we're not attacking the senator personally. what we are doing is pointing to a record. not only 30 years ago did the senator make racially offensive statements about the naacp about the aclu -- we have senator
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testimony to the contrary. in addition, we have a long-standing record extending across decades that substantiates documents and continues what we saw in 1986. that is to say he has supported i should say stood against immigration rights reform. he has expressed support for voter i.d. laws which the fourth and fifth circuit have held to be unconstitutional. in his home state of alabama, the one state the one case of voting rights he's prosecuted, he prosecuted three civil rights activists. >> today one of your senior vice presidents, hillary shelton, attended a meeting with amoroso working with the donald trump transition, a listening session as it was called representing the naacp. what have you heard about that? >> it was a meeting of 100 or so people. it was described as a listening
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meeting but note this -- we appreciate the trump administration listening at the meeting. we encourage people -- we encourage the administration elect to listen to the country. that is to say to reject senator sessions as attorney general. >> you'll go back to alabama january 30th and plead guilty? >> i won't plead guilty and we will suffer the consequences, pay the fine, or go to jail because we're clear about this. people lost their lives for the right to vote. and this is not the last step but the fist step, continuing step of opposition. >> cornell william brooks of the naacp, thanks for coming in. >> thank you. >> to our viewers, stay with cnn for two very important upcoming town halls, vermont senator, former democratic presidential candidate bernie sanders takes questions from a live audience monday night with our own chris cuomo moderating. then house speaker paul ryan joins jake tapper for a town
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hall next thursday night. that's it for me. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." "erin burnett out front" starts right now. growing alarm among intelligence officials. why is donald trump siding with wikileaks founder julian assange on the u.s. election pac? and a historically black college divided. the school band set to march at the trump inauguration. will they show up? and a surprising new theory on what sunk the unsinkable titanic? was it fire and not ice? let's go "out front." good evening. i'm erin burnett. growing concern in the intelligence community about donald trump. u.s. officials tell cnn thr alarmed by trump's

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