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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  February 14, 2017 11:00pm-12:01am PST

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this is cnn breaking news. hello and welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm michael holmes in los angeles where it just turned 11:00 tuesday night. >> and i'm isa soares in london where it's 7:00 on wednesday morning. thank you very much for joining us. >> and we do begin with the breaking news. new controversy for the u.s. president, donald trump, and his campaign advisers' contacts with russia. >> that's right. multiple officials tell cnn trump aides were regularly in contact with top russian officials throughout the presidential campaign. our pamela brown has all the details for you. >> reporter: high level advisers
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close to donald trump were in constant communication during the campaign with russians known to u.s. intelligence. multiple current and former intelligence law enforcement and administration officials tell cnn president-elect trump and barack obama were both briefed on details of the extensive communications between suspected russian operatives and people associated with the trump campaign, and the trump business. now according to u.s. officials familiar with the matter, both the frequency of the communications and the proximity to trump of those involved raised a red flag with u.s. intelligence and lfraw enforcement. the communications were interpreted targeting russian officials and other russian nationals known to u.s. intelligence, among several trump advisers communicating with russian nationals, and then campaign manager paul manafort and michael flynn. manafort joined the campaign and was then out. flynn stayed on and resigned as trump's national security adviser last night. officials emphasize that
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communications between campaign staff and representatives of foreign governments are not unusual. but these stood out due to the frequency and level of those involved. adding to u.s. investigators' concerns were intercepted communications between russian officials before and after the election discussing their belief they had special access to trump. now it's unclear whether they were exaggerating that claim or not, but this all came at a time when the u.s. intelligence community was growing in confidence that russians were trying to tilt the election in donald trump's favor. this investigation, still very much under way, and the fin the the intelligence community. pamela brown, cnn, washington. >> let's get more on this. joining me now, former cnn moscow chief jill doherty. as we heard there from that pamela brown report, trump advisers were in frequent
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communication with russian operatives during the trump campaign. having covered russia for so long, would this be considered normal and routine during a campaign? >> because the reports talk about constant or very frequent, the level of communication and the frequency of it, it does appear not to be your average communication. that's, i think, a red flag. now, what it means is unclear. and this is where it gets really murky. you can have a benign interpretation perhaps, or more benign, which perhaps it was business. some of the people who were in communication, you know, have business interests or in the case of paul manafort, who was the chairman of his campaign for a while, you know, political consultant, who had some type of maybe reason for doing that. but then because we don't know exactly what they were talking
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about, then you can interpret that in different ways. it can be more, let's say, a darker scenario, which some are alleging, saying that there -- they were talking about interference in the american election. so until we really know precisely what those communications were, it's really impossible to say. but the frequency, again, i think is not normal, not average. >> and whilst we wait to know more about those communications, one thing -- one question it does raise is, what type of relationship does president trump have with president putin? have you ever seen an administration, jill, so close to russia? >> no, i haven't. i have to be honest. and certainly the comments that president trump has made, let's say, the moral equivalence comment that he made about a week ago, saying when the person
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who is leading the discussion said, well, putin is a killer, and then mr. trump said, well, we do a lot of killing too. so that type of thing is very rare. you don't find that, you know, at all, amongst somebody who is a candidate, let alone a president of the united states. there's a lot that's very, very different about this presidency. and i think, you know, in the kremlin, they understand that very well. they're looking at this very carefully. yes, during the campaign they heard a lot of nice things about, you know, better relations, and can't we get along. but now they realize, there's really no policy yet. and so as we watch the policy develop, the russians are looking at the -- look at the stronger comments about crimea. look at the stronger comments about ukraine. look at some more critical comments coming out by this administration about russia. so it's beginning to look a little bit different than the
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way it looked during the campaign. and so russia, i don't think, has any idea that they can predict what mr. trump is going to say or do. they're standing back. probably hopeful, but i think probably a little bit of concern about where all of this is headed. >> and i'm guessing it's a bit too early to find out where the kremlin -- how the kremlin is going to react to this. but, jill, what do we know, what more do we know, i should say, about michael flynn's connections in moscow? because this is just coming 24 hours or so before he was forced to step down. >> well, we do know that he had been communicating with ambassador kizlyback, russian ambassador to the united states. we do know that he appeared, i believe it was last year, at a dinner for rt, which is russian television. there are other comments that he has made. but there too, we don't know
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exactly why he was doing that. i mean, we haven't seen that transcript of the communications with ambassador kislyak. was it a general conversation? we believe, according to reports, that it was about sanctions. the russians are saying that it was not. so there's a lot of murkiness. and until the facts and the actual, let's say, communications are released, we won't know. but i can say one thing, and this is such an irony, that the president who came into office, saying that he wanted to improve relations, it may ultimately end up to be worse than ever. and i think that's really ironic. because right now, you have a lot of knives out in washington, you know, for the administration. they're worried. and they want to have investigations. and they want to have hearings. and this is going to keep it roiling. and it will be much harder to
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have some type of sane, balanced relationship with russia in that circumstance. >> yeah, plenty of murkiness and plenty of unknowns too. jill doherty, always great to get your perspective. good to see you. and joining me here in los angeles, republican pollster justin wallen and political strategist ma strategist matt zero. thank you for being here. why would you think that high level campaign officials would be in such regular contact with russian operatives during the campaign? >> well, it's an interesting thing. what's amazing about this story is just how much we don't know. it could be categorized into two things. we know there seems to be a lot of activity. it seems to be more than in previous administrations, but this administration does things differently than others, in the campaign, did things differently. when people are talking about there were five calls made or six calls made, how was that flow? were they calling back?
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what we forget is, we do have russia involved -- >> you're talking about michael flynn. we're talking about during the campaign, guys like paul manafort. why would they be in such regular contact? >> it could just be intent to establish some kind of relation. or it could be sinister, and i know that the president doesn't like to think that the russians aren't our friends, but they do like to destabilize. they're masters of it, there's no reason why they wouldn't be doing it to both sides. so we know the calls were made, we don't know if they were calls back, and what we don't know is content. to this day, none of us has seen what was said. >> democrats are asking for that. what do you make of the latest allegation? >> sure. so there's a lot that we don't know. but what we do know is stunning and frankly unprecedented. first of all, the cover-up on its own is major. hope hicks, the trump spokesperson after the campaign said there was no communication between trump's campaign and
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russia, it was a lie. sean spicer more recently said the same thing. it was a lie. michael flynn said he didn't talk about sanctions or he didn't remember if he talked about sanctions with russia and it was a lie. there must be something pretty serious if there's a cover-up of this size going on. >> or it's something totally minor. i don't jump to the conclusion that people are lying, necessarily. and i think flynn especially may look at this, this is a man who's done important global things. >> clearly he was lying. >> he was misinforming, he may not thought it important enough to speak in details. >> well, he said he doesn't discuss sanctions and he did. >> the day of the sanctions he called the russian ambassador. none of us think a major geopolitical event just happened. i think i'll interfere and tell them -- >> one of the issues is, the question being asked all day, if it was about trust, the president lost trust in michael flynn. but he knew about this. >> for weeks.
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>> why was it until "the washington post" broke the news that trust became a reason to resign? >> well, i think that comes back to content again. and that really is the elephant in the room for flynn. and it's a dangerous elephant. because what did he say that would take someone who's been in his corner from the beginning, who's been a staunch ally, and flynn's not an easy person to get along with, by all accounts, who's put up with him, been a staunch ally, what would get the president to say, all right, we have to jettison this? and at some point along there, you're going to see something at the very least that says he was disingenuous blatantly with the vice president and that simply doesn't fly. >> we also heard more calls for kellyanne conway to face disciplinary action for the ethics violation, where she was promoting ivanka trump's line. >> go buy ivanka's stop is what i would tell you. it's a wonderful line, i own
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some of it. i'm going to give a free commercial here. go buy it today, everybody. you can find it online. >> so there's a call for her to face ethics charges there. the other, you got flynn resigning, this happening with kellyanne conway. you've got scrutiny over an open-air discussion about his estate at mar-a-lago with the japanese prime minister there. and donald trump tweeted out and i think we've got this as well, he said the real story here is why there are so many illegal leaks coming out of washington. will these leaks be happening with north korea? that's not the real story. there's a sense of chaos there. we're three weeks in. >> right. first of all, there's not just calls for kellyanne conway to be censured this is the office of government ethics. but the reality is, in a normal administration, that would be the biggest scandal of the year. in a normal stragedadministrati letting someone take a picture with a nuclear football would be
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the biggest scanned approximately b -- scandal of the year. but frankly there needs to be an independent investigation. i'm thrilled that a lot of republican senators have said the same thing. >> what do you think, when it comes to investigation, particularly when it comes to russia, the republican party has always been the party that's been most hawkish about russia? we're not hearing a lot of that other than from john mccain. >> two things, just on the question of "there's been a lot." in any other administration, comparatively, nothing had been done by this time. there's been an extraordinary amount of activity. if you like it or don't, you have to look at it and say, these people are intent on accomplishing their agenda. so with that activity, they're all newbies, you're going to have mess-ups and i think we're seeing some that are quite embarrassing. >> well, as mr. trump faces more questions about ties to russia, the kremlin's taking some bold military actions in what could be a new test for the white
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house. plus, the trump administration's new policy on the israeli/palestinian conflict and how it could impact a white house meeting. we'll bring you both those stories after a very short break. y282ty ywty i am benedict arnold, the infamous traitor. and i know a thing or two about trading. so i trade with e*trade, where true traders trade on a trademarked trade platform that has all the... get off the computer traitor! i won't. (cannon sound)
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if you're just joining us this hour, let me bring you the breaking news. multiple sources tell cnn to then candidate donald trump were in constant communication with russian officials during the
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presidential campaign. now, normally, this kind of contact is not considered unusual. >> but investigators say these talks stood out for a few reasons, because they happened so frequently and involved senior campaign officials. on monday, national security adviser michael flynn, you may remember, resigned due to his contact with russian officials. >> now we're getting a glimpse into the trump administration's policy concerning the israeli-palestinian conflict. president trump will meet with israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu in washington. on tuesday night a white house official said mr. trump will not insist on a two-state solution, which would be an about-face from the previous administration. the leaders are also expected to talk about syria and iran. we have oren liebermann who joins us and fred pleitgen. oren, i wanted to start with you, i just said there, president trump will not insist, we're being told, on a two-state
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solution, which is an about-face from previous administrations. is this seen as a huge shift, or is this being interpreted where you are as a tactical and perhaps a temporary solution to help netanyahu at home? >> well, it's an about-face from some 50 years of u.s. foreign policy. but the assessment is that, it may be simply that president trump hasn't formulated his middle east policy. we've already seen him back off of some of his campaign pledges to move the embassy from tel aviv to jerusalem. he's criticized settlements here many here believe he was pro-settlement, but has recently criticized them as being unhelpful to peace. so it seems his middle east policy hasn't been formulated yet, but it may be a political favor, a political gift to prime minister benjamin netanyahu, because he's under tremendous pressure from the right-wing to abandon a two-state solution. trump's position there allows netanyahu to stand where he is. it allows him to say i support a
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two-state solution, but this is not the right time. so it could be a set-up for prime minister netanyahu to make some sort of statement like that, saying, i still favor peace, but now is not the time or the conditions. >> oren, do stay with us. i want to bring in fred. many expect mr. netanyahu to push for american support to block the iran nuclear deal. is there a real fear in tehran ahead of this meeting, or does iran believe this is just about optics? >> no, absolutely. there is certainly a fear here in iran that the nuclear agreement is in jeopardy. and you can see that in the statements of iranian firms. the head of iran's atomic energy agency, saying all the rhetoric from the trump administration shows how good the deal is. of course there's backlash in iran as by some of the
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hardliners against that nuclear agreement. so there are some to think the deal is in jeopardy. there are many people who are not happy with that agreement, but there's very few people who want to get rid of it. some of the things they've been hearing out of the trump administration, and then also of course out of the netanyahu administration as well, saying, look, we want to ged rt rid of nuclear agreement. donald trump saying he believes it's a very bad deal. that's something that concerns a lot of people. it's interesting, because i spoke to a top iranian official couple days ago, and he told me, we believe the trump administration is heavily influenced by the israelis. they believe that a lot of the decision-making, a lot of the rhetoric that's coming out is something of great concern in iran and that they're also very vocal about. >> and oren, i was struck by an opinion piece i'd read in israel's newspaper.
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i'm going to read it here. how will america look after years of trump and bannon? basically pointing to both leaders facing crises that are destabilizing their administrations. how much pressure is there at home on prime minister netanyahu ahead of this meeting? what is he trying to get out of this? >> there's a tremendous amount of political pressure on netanyahu, especially from his coalition and his party. to abandon the prospects for a palestinian state, abandon a two-state solution. again, that's coming from not only the more right-wing members and more right-wing parties of his own coalition, but even from within his own party. it was his public security minister who went on army radio a couple days ago and said all of the ministers in the israel security cabinet, including the prime minister himself, don't want a two-state solution, want one greater state of israel. that's something netanyahu has never publicly stated. publicly, he's always said he's in favor of a two-state solution, but there's tremendous pressure on him to come out of this meeting with president trump and step away from that,
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perhaps even to move toward what some of the right-wing members want, annexation of parts or all of the west bank. the questions you're asking me, are the questions netanyahu wants to avoid. he doesn't want to talk about settlements coming out of this. he wants the whole thing focused on the iran deal. that's his strength, that's where he's most comfortable. detailed questions about settlements about the israeli/palestinian conflict, not where he wants to go coming out of this meeting. >> and i was speaking to an expert who was saying, look, the iran deal is a done deal, that netanyahu will not be pushing to change that, but perhaps asking for further pressure on iran, sanctions or verification. but we also know, fred, that many consider the biggest hawk on iran to be michael flynn. he was the one who said that iran was being put on notice earlier this month. so is there a feeling with flynn no longer in the picture, perhaps iran might not be the focal point here, despite the
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fact that netanyahu may want that to be the case? >> well, i mean, certainly one of the things that the iranians here knew is that michael flynn was a hawk on the iran issue. and many believe that it would have been michael flynn who would have shaped america's policies towards iran. and some of the rhetoric they've been hearing out of washington from michael flynn, of course, saying that iran was on notice after that ballistic missile test, those sanctions, they believed that was coming from michael flynn and that he was going to be the one who was going to shape the policy towards iran. so certainly there weren't bad feelings in iran when michael flynn had to step down. there was one senior columnist who said it was a big victory for the country and they believed relations could get easier. but donald trump has been strong in his rhetoric on iran and general mattis as well, the defense secretary. so right now, the iranians are in this wait and see mode. they realize they're in a very, very delicate situation with the united states. they realize that any sort of problems that they have with the
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u.s., any sort of different diplomatic moves, military moves, could lead to a further escalation. right now, the iranians know they're treading a fine line. they're not unhappy about michael flynn stepping down, but they realize the trump administration is going to take a staunch line towards iran as well. isa? >> gentlemen, thank you very much. i could speak to you both for hours. oren lieberman there for us in jerusalem and fred pleitgen there in tehran. thank you to both of you. i'm joined now to talk about the new development that the u.s. is no longer going to push at least at this meeting for a two-state solution as part of policy when it comes to israel and the palestinians. on the face of it, it's a major departure from the norm. what's your thinking of it? >> i agree with you. on its face, it's a huge shift. but it could also be done for much more short-term political
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tactical reasons. and that is to help netanyahu with a domestic conundrum. namely, he's been under pressure from his right, saying, renounce the idea of two states. netanyahu does not want to do it, but the journalists would say, then reaffirm it. so i think what the trump people seem to be wanting to do, let's just get this issue out of the way. we weren't going to be able to implement the grand deal tomorrow morning anyway. and make sure this is yesterday's news. so we can focus on the reset between the two countries and not be distracted by what seems to be a very big headline. so it might just be a tactical move. >> so you think it could be just a temporary thing. we shall see, i as opposed to. y -- i suppose. eight years of difficult relationship with president obama, now mr. netanyahu feels he has a friend in washington and is going to get a different reception. optics are important to benjamin
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netanyahu. how much is he wanting the world to see that new administration greeting him warmly? >> extremely important. he takes a lot of pride that he's only the fourth visitor to the new washington after traditional american allies like britain, canada, japan, that means a lot to him. at a time where he felt he was marginalized over the last eight years, that he's suddenly a very wanted visitor. so the symbolism is critical for him. and i think also for trump who really campaigned on a reset with israel as well. that here, you know, the message is the music. that it's a new tone. and despite that in the obama years there was extremely close security relations. in many ways unprecedented. there's no hiding the very bruising, you know, policy disagreements that existed between washington and jerusalem over iran and differences over the palestinian issue. >> and this is the reality that benjamin netanyahu, no matter what he says, he heads up a very
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right-wing government, a lot of members of his coalition say no two-state solution ever. donald trump campaigned on saying he would do the ultimate deal in the middle east. what chance that? >> well, i think in a weird way, this statement tonight might put more pressure on the president. because the world might interpret this not as a tactical way to help netanyahu with his own domestic politics. they might wonder, is this a huge shift. they will say, mr. trump, square for us your commitment. you keep saying it over and over to the television cameras, since you've won. how are you going to do the ultimate deal if you're not committed to two states? so i think it could create more pressure on him going forward. but the most important thing, though, is to find a way that even if you don't get to the final, you know, grand deal moment, is at least, what are the steps now to keep the door
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open to two states in the future, that doesn't shut the door? and here, i think it's very important that the u.s. and israel synchronize their position on settlements and there's no blindsiding. >> the reality is, the settlements expand, particularly in east jerusalem, but elsewhere, the two-state solution gets further away. we haven't talked about the palestinians. what do you see as the risks in all that? more violence by palestinians resisting that? >> yes. >> or the option where the palestinians could have their nuclear option, which is to say, okay, fine, one country, one vote, which threatens israel's existence, period. >> you put your finger exactly on the right point. there could be violence and they could just throw in the towel and say, we give up. we want to be israelis, give us the vote. those are the two polls, i thinthin -- poles of danger. if there can't be a grand deal,
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i think it's okay, give me a sense of how you're leaving the door open. the settlers, about 75 to 85% live in a narrow area, inside what's known as the security barrier. but 92% of the west bank is outside of that barrier. and almost all the palestinians live there. so that's why i think it's very important that all sides know what's coming and they don't blindside each other. and that israel doesn't build outside the barrier, because i think if you do that, then you do start closing that door on the two states. so it's not about implementing it tomorrow. it's more about how do you leave it open for the future? and that requires synchronization by all the parties. >> david, thanks so much, from washington institute for near east policy. thanks so much. >> anytime, michael. now, russia may be testing the trump white house more on the kremlin's latest military provocation. we'll have that coming for you next. also still to come a new
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mystery surrounding the north korean regime. kim jong-un's half brother has died rather suddenly and some believe he was murdered. we'll be right back. kislyak.
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welcome back. we are following breaking news for you out of washington. multiple officials confirm president trump's campaign aides were in constant communication with russian officials as he vied for the white house. >> investigators say contact by itself isn't unusual, but the frequency of the talks and the status of those involved raised concerns. >> let's go to claire sebastian now, standing by in moscow. and it is of course still early there, but wondering whether there's been any reaction in moscow, or is there likely to be to this news that trump advisers were in frequent communication with, let's say, russian operatives? >> yeah, michael, no official reaction from the kremlin as yet. but just to tell you what we know from this side, we do know
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from days after the election that there were contacts between the trump team and russia. that came from the deputy foreign minister. he didn't elaborate on the nape of the contacts or the frequency. no suggestion from the russian side there was anything out of the ordinary. we know the conversations with flynn and the russian ambassador kislyak did take place. but whether or not it was about sanctions and putin's response, the kremlin has said that information is incorrect. aside from the official comments from the kremlin, we are definitely getting the sense here, in moscow, that high ranking politicians are extremely worried about how this could turn out for their hoped-for rejuvenation of the relationship with russia. a senior politician tweeting today that he thinks this is
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trump's enemies trying to destroy him, right up until impeachment that the target is now trump. he's also blamed the media for stirring up this controversy and for how he puts it, beating trump with the russia card. so certainly this is causing some concern in political circles here in russia, michael. >> blaming the media. heaven forbid. i wanted to ask you, claire, you touched on this, that the russian leadership has been saying they want to improve relations with the u.s., and yet there's been a few odd things that some of the u.s. say are provocative, a missile deployment, a spy ship wandering around, buzzing planes. fill us in on all of that. >> yeah, there's three separate incidents. the information that we're getting on this is coming from the u.s. side. so the deployment of a cruise missile in violation of a 1987 treaty that was designed to help
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deescalate cold war tensions. we did hear from the head of the foreign affairs committee in the upper house of the russian parliament today on that, saying that was again an attempt by the media to stir up, you know, fear around a supposed russian threat. the other incident, the presence of a russian spy ship in international waters off the coast of delaware, that has happened before. no official comment on that from the u.s. side. and finally the alleged incident that happened last week in the black sea. three close encounters between russian warplanes and a u.s. naval ship. that is certainly seen as a dangerous incident from the u.s. side. the russians say they're surprised the pentagon is concerned and that those incidents didn't take place. so, the same rhetoric that we're hearing, different stories from each side there, michael. >> both sides wanting better
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relations. let's see how it all develops. claire sebastian in moscow, thank you. now the man once considered to be next in line to lead north korea has died rather mysteriously. now we're hearing kim jong-un's half brother may have been murdered with poison. our matt rivers has all the details for us right here next on cnn. well, a 103 yeah, 103. well, let me ask you guys. how long did it take you two to save that? a long time. then it's a fortune. well, i'm sure you talk to people all the time who think $100k is just pocket change. right now we're just talking to you. i told you we had a fortune. yes, you did. getting closer to your investment goals starts with a conversation. schedule a complimentary goal planning session today. it's league night!? 'saved money on motorcycle insurance with geico! goin' up the country. bowl without me. frank.' i'm going to get nachos.
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we are following breaking news out of washington. as multiple officials confirm president trump's campaign aides were in constant communication with russian officials as he vied for the white house. >> investigators say contact by itself isn't all that unusual, but the frequency of the talks and the high standing of the people involved certainly have raised concerns. mr. trump's national security adviser and one of his earliest supporters resigned after it became public that he had misled the vice president over his talks with the russian ambassador to the u.s. >> well, let's get more on another story we've been following. south korea says the man who has once considered to be next in line to lead north korea has been murdered with poison. the half brother of leader kim
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jong-un suddenly fell ill while at kuala lumpur airport on monday. looking at him there, that's kim jong-nam. he was critical of his family's dynasty and he was living in exile. matt rivers is covering this story. a rather complicated story and joins us from seoul, in south korea and he's here to make sense of it for us. matt, this is quite a revelation. do we know how he was poisoned and by whom? what are you learning this hour? >> reporter: as of yet, those are two questions that we don't know the answer to, but we are learning more as the day goes on. so it was early this morning that here in south korea, the national security council met and it was after that meeting in a briefing with the chairman of the intelligence committee, in the national assembly here, from south korea, that he gave a very short briefing and he told reporters that he could confirm that kim jong-nam, the half brother of kim jong-un was murdered by poison at the airport in malaysia. he was poisoned at the airport and died in route to the hospital. reporters asked for proof, he
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couldn't go into any proof that he may or may not have. reporters asked if there was any specifics as to how he was poisoned or any motivations, or by whom, and he said he didn't have a lot of details. the one thing he did say is that there were two asian women, as he put it, that were the main suspects in this murder, as he calls it. he didn't go into details on how he discovered that they were suspects or why he thinks they are suspects or who these two women might be. so a lot of answers need to be fleshed out here. but we know the malaysian police say that kim jong-un went to the airport monday morning, said he felt ill, told a person behind the counter he was feeling ill, and he went to the hospital, died on the route to the hospital in the ambulance. an autopsy is expected to be conducted by the malaysians and the results of that will be released at some point presumably, although we're not sure when yet.
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so you can imagine, given all these open-ended questions and the fact that this is kim jong-un's half brother, there's a lot of speculation as to the motivation and why this might have happened. >> a lot of speculation on social media that perhaps those women used a poison pen. but we have to wait for more details. i was reading a fascinating article that basically said he was the subject of speculation to replace his younger half brother and the loyalists may have wanted to get rid of him. i know it's only speculation, but do we know where he stood politically? >> we know that he hasn't been afraid, according to some reporters and an author of a book about him in 2012, hasn't been afraid to criticize his brother. but he didn't want to assume any political role in north korea. he was at one point, the favorite song of kim jong-il,
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the former leader in 20who died 2011. but he had been living outside of north korea, living the life of a playboy, kind of a big gambler and has been banished from north korea. there's speculation that maybe the chinese have something to do with him. that maybe there's a loyalist who say if kim jong-un would falter that kim jong-nam could go back to north korea and take over the leadership role. but that's pure speculation. there's no facts to back that up, at least that cnn can confirm. so it's a lot of speculation. but perhaps unsurprising given that this is north korea we're talking about here, and the leadership there is always subject to intense speculation and scrutiny. >> we shall wait for the hard facts. matt rivers, thank you very much. still to come here on the program, the new u.s. defense secretary will soon attend his first nato meeting, and allies
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are seeking some reassurance that the u.s. is still committed to the organization. we'll be right back. stay with us.
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while the white house is in
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turmoil u.s. james mattis is about to attend first meeting. allies will be looking for reassurance after the president trump made comment before and after the election. joining me now is michael. thank you for coming in. before we talk about what we can get out of this meeting, how to you think allies from what we heard in the last hours here in cnn the fact that high-level adviser close to president trump and in close relation to u.s. relation. would that worry them russian connection? >> yes the thing that bothers them now is me may do something
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above their head. troubling to them. this meeting the meeting will confirm the fears they have. and jim mattis's job is to resay sure them. the american policy knows what it thinks that the message he will bring. >> what about view on nato, we heard them say nato is obsolete. >> jim mattis l be saying obsolete is need of -- british version means it's finish the it mean modernization. one of the things nato has to modernize they have to spend more on defense.
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in that respect, jim mattis will bring tough message to say president trump means this. others have said it and vice president done anything -- >> 2% gdp. >> that's the standard. >> how many countries meet that. >> five. four britain, poland, and greece, some are lower than that. >> are they prepared to budge? >> yes. how much more and by when. everybody is at the bottom of the spending cycle. then of course european say it's not about spending money. they have to produce plans to
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convince the white house that they have serious. president trump -- they are fright frighten of him. we believe in nato but you have to show my president that you are serious about -- then you may have something to bargain with. >> what else is on the table, what about fighting terrorism. why does nato stand on this. >> they say things about fighting terrorism but reality their on campaign is on iraq and syria. they doing things within the colation. fighting terrorism at home is matter for policing and terror services.
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nato can provided certain specialist as in anti-chemical bio lolg kal, they put it on the community in reality it's not nato's strong suit. >> plenty to talk about. thank you, very much. >> you have been watching cnn newsroom. thank you for joining us. >> i'm michael holmes. thank you for joining us. ♪ ♪ only at&t offers you all your live channels
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and dvr on your devices. data-free. entertainment. your way. only from at&t.
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hello and welcome to our viewers here in the united states and around the world. we are following breaking news. the white house has begun to great length to claim it has no improper relation to russian or vladimir putin one day after michael flynn was forced to resign another bombshell revelation. cnn pamela brown reports. >> reporter: with russian known to u.s.

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