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tv   At This Hour With Kate Bolduan  CNN  March 3, 2017 8:00am-9:01am PST

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hello, everyone, i'm kate bolduan. the big question right now, where is president trump's new travel ban? it was of course promised days ago, the revised version of it. but radio silence since. and new this morning, a government document could call into question the need for this new ban at all. a spokesperson at the department of homeland security confirming to cnn that a dhs assessment found most foreign born violent extremists do not enter the united states already radicalized, in fact it found they become radicalized after living here several years. our senior correspondent jeff zeleny, this is an assessment from the department of homeland security. what is the white house saying about this? >> reporter: they're being utterly silent this morning about this travel ban. you'll remember the urgency around this, the president saying it was so urgent to get this done, that's why they signed it during his first week in office.
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of course that did not hold up to legal challenges. so they've been working on another one for several weeks. but kate, the silence around this is really quite surprising. we've asked administration officials what they think about this. and they have simply not responded. so the reality here is, behind the scenes, they are still trying to craft a second travel ban that will hopefully in their view stand up to legal challenges. but they're not yet saying anything about this dhs report. but it is one of the reasons, kate, this has taken so long to get done. >> and also as we're learning, problems within even the white house and their own advisers about what countries to include. jeff, great to see you, thank you so much. a lot more could be coming from the white house, we'll stay close to that. let's continue this conversation about this assessment, about this travel ban, with cnn terror analyst paul cruickshank. paul, you've been studying and tracking radicalization for
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years. when you see this dhs assessment, does this square with trend you're seeing? >> absolutely. there's a vast amount of academic research on this, suggesting that right now, the biggest threat in the united states is coming from people who are born in the united states. the majority of isis-related cases in the united states right now are people who are born over here. what this dhs assessment is saying is even with those coming from overseas into the united states, the majority of those are being radicalized several years after they're coming to the united states. and this is not surprising, because isis and al qaeda and all these other jihadi groups are able to reach an audience of radicals here in the united states with their propaganda and able to persuade some of them to try to plff attacks in their name. you have this assessment from dhs that they've pulled from
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open sources, and you're looking at more sources than anything else, what are you seeing that's happening once folks get into the united states, what's radicalizing them? >> there could be a number of different factors that leads to radicalization. they might be exposed to isis propaganda on the internet. they might be exposed to people in the united states who are already radicalized and are helping to persuade them to follow that line of thought. and so the problem isn't really so much outside the united states, it's inside the united states. and that's where the majority of the threat is right now, kate. >> and dealing with the propaganda is the hardest part, how to combat the propaganda, that's the most difficult part they're saying they have to track down. great to see you, paul, thank you so much. let's go to capitol hill. joining me at this moment, republican senator from kentucky, rand paul. senator, it's great to have you. i do want to get to talk about
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obamacare, and i know you want to talk about it and your big day yesterday. but first, because this is the topic we're on, you were a supporter of the president's first original travel ban. does this dhs assessment change your view of how it should go? >> i do think we need to have scrutiny of those who come to visit our country, how long they stay, and whether they go back home. 9/11, all these people had come to visit our country, some on student visas, but some of them were overstaying their visas. i think there does need to be more scrutiny of the program. in my hometown of bowling green, kentucky, two refugees from iraq had fingerprints on a bomb that had been exploded, a terrorist bomb in iraq. we had it in our database but hadn't done sufficient screening and we allowed them to come into the country as refugees. we do need to do a better job. it's hard. if somebody tomorrow says i'm coming from aleppo, who do we call in aleppo?
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aleppo is in rubble. how do we have paperwork proving who they are. >> so your generally supportive, is what i hear from you. but let's move on and talk about your big day and the republican plan to replace obamacare. you're not only pushing your own replacement for obamacare, you literally went on the hunt for the house republican plan that's still being drafted. just for our viewers, here is what you had to say yesterday. >> this is being presented as if this were a national secret, as if there were a plot to invade another country, as if there were national security. that's wrong. this should be done openly, in the public, and conservatives who have objections, who don't want obamacare lite, should be allowed to see the bill. >> senator, what makes you concerned that the fix is in on this, if you will? >> when we heard it was secret, we wanted to see it even more. with something secret, you do
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worry that people are hiding things. what we think is being hidden from conservatives is there's a lot of obamacare lite in their bill. there's a new entitlement program that will increase at about 5% a year forever. there is also a cadillac tax or something similar to the cadillac tax that was in obamacare. and there's also an individual mandate, believe it or not. instead of paying the mandate to the government, they're going to tell you you have to pay the mandate, by law, to an insurance company. so a lot of conservatives will be upset to know we're keeping those things from obamacare and there needs to be an open debate about it. so as we speak, my staff is still going around washington, looking for the bill. >> as everyone kind of understands it, the bill is being handled by the committees and is still being drafted on the house side. have you been told for certain that you're not going to get a chance to analyze it, read it, debate it? >> here is what's troubling. the only paper copy i have of the bill has come from a news organization that leaked it.
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so someone leaked it to a news organization but they won't let me see it. >> that's not even the most updated -- they say that's not the updated version of the bill, it's still being drafted. >> that's what they say. the thing is, the members of the committee said they were allowed to look at it but not take a copy of it. i'm not allowed to look at it or have a copy of it. i think it's 99.9% written. it's being sent back and forth to cbo. we're also told by many people in washington, take it or leave it, the house is going to send something over and you either take it or leave it. i can tell you right now, conservatives are inclined to leave it. we want a complete repeal bill and the replacement bill should be separate because we do have differences of opinion on a replacement. we're in agreement on repeal. if you're going to keep federal programs and have new federal programs, conservatives don't want that. that's going to need to be a separate replacement bill, not part of the repeal bill.
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>> on your hunt for the plan yesterday, rone republican congressman had something to say about it. >> he's the master of theatrics, this is rand paul getting his name out there again, walked over with a bunch of cameras and trying to make a big scene. this is what he does. >> he says it's a stunt. what do you say to him, senator? >> there are differences in our party. there are big government republicans who want a big federal program. >> big government republicans? those words don't go together very well. >> well, there are big government republicans. if you do a new refundable tax credit, that's a new entitlement program. we can't pay for the current entitlement program. it's not conservative to have a new entitlement program. it's also not conservative to have a new tax on health insurance. that's just not conservative. it's also not conservative to have an individual mandate. if they're not embarrassed about the obamacare lite bill they have, they should show it to us. but they also need to realize
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they are not going to be able to do this against the wishes conservatives. we have enough votes in the senate and enough votes in the house to say, look, hold up a minute, if you want these big government programs, put them in a separate bill. we are going to have a repeal bill but it should be the repeal bill we already voted on. we all agreed to a clean repeal bill about a year ago. let's vote on the clean repeal and then if there are ideas replacement, i have some, big government republicans have some, let's vote on those separately. >> they're working on -- the house is working on its bill. you have your own bill. where is the support for your bill, then? >> well, the house freedom caucus has endorsed it. that's 40 conservative members. there are, you know, a significant number of senators who are saying they're not comfortable with the obamacare lite bill. so i think there is still going to be some negotiation. but this isn't going to be the establishment gets what they want. the leadership -- >> have you talked to
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leadership, senator? have you talked to -- have you specifically reached out to paul ryan and said, hey, can i see what's in the bill? >> i've been part of the movement since 2010 that was the grassroots tea party movement that called for repeal of obamacare. i have my finger on the pulse of that movement. they don't want obamacare lite. and they're not going to settle for it. and neither are conservatives that are the representatives here. we won in 2010 on a message of complete repeal. we won in 2014 on complete repeal. president trump has said he's for complete repeal and replacement but they don't have to be in the same bill. what i'm saying is the way forward is, every republican has said they're for a repeal. let's vote on repeal separately from replacement. there is disagreement on replacement. but we can get to where we need to be if you'll vote on the bills individually. >> have you reached out to paul ryan to get a look at the bill ing drafted? >> leadership is aware i'm
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interested in finding the bill. i won't go int personal conversations. i think everybody knows i want to see the bill and i think they've had a pr disaster by putting it under lock and key and trying to keep it out of view of legislators and the copy. the only leaked copy is coming from the media right now. that's a huge mistake, and i think they understand that now. i'll be surprised if we don't get a bill in the next couple of days. the sooner the better. >> of course, it's going to go through the two relevant committees and there's going to be a whole markup and the whole process, as you know, and you love regular order, so that is part of the process we'll watch closely. before i let you go, i know you have time constraints, finally, jeff sessions now says he's going to recuse himself from any and all investigations involving the trump campaign. as this has all panned out, are you satisfied with how this turned out, senator? >> i think there's a lot of confusion on both sides of the aisle with senators not remembering who they met with. we had a democrat senator who this week was adamant that she had been on armed services for ten years and never met with the
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russian ambassador and then it turns out she had. i think people can forget about all the times we meet with ambassadors. when you look at the clip, i fully believe jeff sessions thought he was referring to the campaign and some sort of nefarious russian presence, he didn't think he was being asked have you ever met with the russian ambassador. there's no way in the world he would intentionally try to say something that was easily proven false. i think he answered it with regard to what he thought the question was. i think it's going to sort of itself out. i think some of this is still sort of caught up in the electoral politics of people who are really unhappy they lost the election are going to grasp at anything they can do to try to slow down the process of really repealing obamacare, reducing taxes, and getting rid of regulations. >> he's recusing himself from the investigation into any of those contacts. senator rand paul, great to have you, thank you. >> thank you. coming up for us, new details on u.s. air strikes going after a high value target
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in yemen, just weeks after the raid that killed navy s.e.a.l. ryan owens. now a search is under way for hundreds of al qaeda contacts uncovered during that operation. plus president trump calls it a witch ht as new contacts between his top advisers and russia are revealed. the big question: why can't anyone seem to remember these meetings? and e-mail irony. democrats slamming the vice president after a new report says vice president mike pence used a personal e-mail account for government business when he was governor, and that account really was hacked. >> the hypocrisy is too spectacular. irony has just not only died, irony drank a gallon of antifreeze. feeling 100% means you feel bold enough to... ...assist a magician... ...or dance. listerine®. bring out the bold™
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russia was involved in an operation to try to effect the results of the election in the
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direction of donald trump. so in that context, the ambassador with other members of the russian mission become different and require much more scrutiny in my view. >> right. again, those meetings may not have been nefarious. it's just the strange nature, why it raises so many questions that folks can't remember them, deny them, and are forced to acknowledge them later on. thomas, you were working at the state department until just a few days after the inauguration. a lot has been written now alluding to this russian ambassador. what's your assessment of him? >> first, i very much agree with steve that it's not so much about ambassador kislyak. he was doing his job. the interesting question is first why there seems to be determined effort on the part of trump administration officials and campaign officials not to remember, and even to deny any contact. i think it raises the question
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not only of what the russians were doing, what the context of the russian action was. it also raises questions about the integrity of the attorney general. i heard former attorney general gonzales in the last hour refer to ambiguous questions he received. go back and look at what senator franken asked orally and what senator leahy asked on paper. there was nothing ambiguous about it. i think americans don't want to have an attorney general who is such a good attorney that he knows how to stay just this side of an indictment for perjury. i think they would like to see an attorney general who has a sense of ethics that the president clearly lacks. and i very much hope that there is no aspect of the investigation that is touched by attorney general sessions. >> it sounds like right now he will be recusing himself and it does appear that that exchange with senator franken is becoming
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something of a rorschach test, depending on who you talk to. steve, these meetings, these new meetings that we're now learning about between this russian ambassador and trump folks, is being described by the trump team as basically getting to know you meetings, albeit they have a problem of not disclosing the meetings until they're forced to. could all of this be above board? >> well, again, the context is critically important. sure, the idea of a ten-minute courtesy call type of mting in trump to our between ambassador kislyak and members of the trump camp, is that reasonable? sure, that's reasonable. is it reasonable that a senior senator, sessions in this case, met with a foreign ambassador? senators meet with foreign ambassadors all the time. the problem, again, the backdrop is one of the russians trying to interfere with our election. and the reason that this has become in my view so
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politicalically polarizing is because if there was collusion and cooperation between the trump campaign during these meetings with the russians prior to the election, then it could call into question the actually validity of the outcome of the election. that's a very serious thing. it's so political that that's why we need a political apolitical, in my view, assessment and investigation as to what really happened. >> i also find very important not looking back but looking forward. what all of this means for, importantly, for the american people, what this means for donald trump's policy toward russia. we haven't seen a lot of change towards that policy, even though words have been very different than actions. that's something i'm keeping a close eye on going forward. thomas, i would love to talk to you about that, steve, thank you, you as well. breaking right now, a st. louis man arrested for threats against jewish community centers. what it may have to do with a romantic relationship and why this is not the end of the investigation, that's next. plus disciplined,
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presidential, best week ever? or is it back to the drawing board? we'll take score of the president's big week. with travelocity, there's no fee to cancel or rebook most flights within 24 hours. travelocity® wander wisely™ youthat's why you drink ensure. sidelined. with 9 grams of protein and 26 vitamins and minerals. for the strength and energy to get back to doing... ...what you love. ensure. always be you.
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breaking news, a man has been arrested in st. louis in the threats against jewish community centers. >> reporter: the man does not appear to be the main person behind the waive of threats that starting centers across the nation, rather a copycat, jumping on anti-semitic acts and doing it to harass a woman he had a relationship with. in one indication, juan thompson used his ex's name and told that cent s is behind the bomb threat against jews, that she lives in new york city and is making more bomb threats tomorr tomorrow. the next day the adl received
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another bomb threat by phone. the fbi says thompson continued with a similar pattern of trying to frame his ex in several different states, also to the jewish history museum in new york city. in some cases he even tried to make it seem like his ex was framing him. authorities say thompson had been targeting his ex, harassing and intimidating her since july of last year and the threats he made against the jewish centers was a culmination of that. evaluated been picked up in st. louis this morning. he is expected to be charged with cyber stalking. later today, we also know thompson, a former journalist, he was fired from an online publication called "the intercept" although he denies any reason for that firing. >> brynn, thanks so much, a serious issue, these threats against jewish community centers, and this is some part of the explanation, it appears. thanks so much. we're also watching breaking news overnight, u.s. officials say they conducted air strikes in yemen including one targeting
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a high value al qaeda member, this as the pentagon is working to locate and monitor hundreds, now, of individuals possibly connected to the terror group. those names were part of the intelligence retrieved during the raid in yemen in january where one navy s.e.a.l. was killed along with many civilians. a former deputy assistant to president obama. after the fact, this news that hundreds of contacts were uncovered and that the administration is now working to track them down. how big a deal is this, in your view? >> i think we don't know. there's a lot we don't know about the raid. obviously i'm not privy to the details because it wasn't briefed to us before the administration handed it over to the trump administration. you've seen conflicting accounts. some accounts suggested there could have been a high value
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target, even the aqap chief. more recent accounts suggest it was moth an -- suggest it was an intelligence gathering exercise. it's hard for me to evaluate. that said, this group, aqap, is a significant threat to the united states. the obama administration prosecuted a ruthless air campaign against them to include strikes like we saw last night. so it would be good news if the trump administration continues to go after this group. >> and of course outside, looking in, but i mean, from your view, do you think -- and there are three reviews, after action reviews going on into this raid. do you agree with the view of the white house at this point that the mission was a success? >> i think it's really hard to say. obviously sean spicer said there are a number of reviews going on, both about the raid itself, about the downing of the osprey aircraft, about the civilian
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casualties. we'll have to wait to see what those reviews say. i do think, the other night we saw in the president's speech this tremendously emotional standing ovation for chief owens and his widow, i think they deserved every second of that and more, but they also deserve an investigation, owens' father has asked for that. frankly they are also owed by the trump administration a more deliberate process moving forward than the one that authorized this raid in late january. >> you think it was faulty, the process? >> i think the process was faulty, because it didn't involve the kind of careful, deliberate process that would have brought in the intelligence community, the state department. it was essentially decided over dinner. maybe it was the right thing to do, but if you run a bad process you're likely to get people killed. >> thanks so much for coming in, good to have your perspective. coming up for us, it started with a widely praised speech and ended with a recusal from his attorney general. did president trump's team just
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a week of newfound discipline for president trump. but a new storm is brewing that could easily overshadow his agenda. the week began with the president's well-reviewed prime time address to congress but ends with the specter of russia again looming over the white house as attorney general jeff sessions recuses himself from investigations into russian contacts by the trump campaign. john phillips, and alex burns is here. gentlemen, bill, this is the game today. good week, bad week. you get a first stab at it. on the one hand you have the
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president's newfound discipline, his big speech, he's curtailed much of his extracurricular tweeting. so good week? >> started out as a good week, ended as another bad week, would be my quick assessment. he gets good marks on the speech, even though it was substance-free. then quickly this disarray at the white house over sessions, first of all, donald trump admits he didn't even know about those meetings until he read about them in "the washington post." then he says he shouldn't recuse himself. sean spicer says the same thing. then sessions steps up and recuses himself. now we have a meeting with jared kushner and the ambassador, meetings with two other top aides to then-president-elect trump and the ambassador. they're nowhere on the muslim ban, oh, we're going to do it wednesday, no, we're not. they're nowhere on tax reform. front page article in alex's paper today, they're nowhere on climate change. >> okay, okay, bill press,
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you've laid it out enough. >> you get my point. >> john phillips, so, bad week, then? >> well, any week that ends with me being on with the three of you is a good week. >> stop sucking up. it works every time. >> his speech was a big home run to begin the week. and i think that that carried over and his poll numbers are going to jump up. any time your poll numbers jump up, you have more capital with congress. deputies are clearly obsessed with russia. they think this is politically a winner for them. but i would be hesitant to do that if i were them because i think the republicans made a huge mistake in 2012 and beyond when they focused so heavily on benghazi. a lot of the bad details of benghazi were out before the election and the voters reelected president obama anyway. they should have dropped it after that. a lot of the allegations we're hearing about russia's meddling in the election and trump's ties to russia were out before the election. so voters were aware of this
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when they elected donald trump as president. so democrats are going to continue to beat on this dead horse. i don't think it's going to do them any favors electorally. >> one bone of contention, though, my friend. a lot of this stuff with russia coming out was not known before the election, hence why it's news now. >> exactly. >> but i digress. alex, it's either a good bad week or a bad good week. let's talk about obamacare and rand paul's treasure hunt that he took throughout capitol hill with a copier, as i failed to point out earlier. house republicans are preparing to move things forward next week. rand paul doesn't like it. some other conservatives don't like what they've seen so far. how is this going to play out? >> the only honest answer, kate, is we don't know. obviously the russia stuff has overshadowed the end of this week. even on tuesday night, which was a really good night overall for donald trump. >> an important one. >> a lot of republicans were hoping he would use that pulpit, use the platform and power of
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the presidency to really shove that process forward, right, because they're having a lot of trouble as a party coming to a kind of consensus about a plan fo getting rid of obamacare, replacing it with, as donald trump would say, something terrific, right? and absent some kind of leadership from the president it's still really hard to see how they put the pieces of the puzzle together. even at the high point this week, there were reasons for skepticism that this would work for donald trump. >> it was just announced that germany cans lore angela merkel will meet with donald trump at the white house march 14th. control room, tell me if i got that wrong. march 14th, a very big deal, alex. if we remember, that relationship has been an interesting one. she was -- donald trump in the campaign, she was the best leader at one point, then very critical of her, then when he took office, he said chancellor merkel and vladimir putin were
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on the same footing. >> which is an extraordinary statement for an american president. and chancellor merkel responded with this extraordinary statement saying germany valued its relationship with the united states but that that relationship was based on a set of values. she certainly seemed to comply those values were challenged by donald trump in the campaign. >> that will be one of those meetings we'll all be listening to. john phillips, "the indy star" reported that vice president mike pence used a personal e-mail for state business. a number of e-mails were not released because, according to them, "the state considers them confidential and two sensitive to release." and the account was also hacked at one point. not a private server, john phillips, but the irony is a little rich. >> oh, yes. i'm sure we'll be hearing comparisons to hillary and her
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e-mail server all day. here's the difference. when you're the governor of indiana, you're e-mailing about hog futures. >> those are very important. >> not things that put the country at risk. there is a world of difference between what he was e-mailing about and what hillary clinton as secretary of state was e-mailing about. >> kate. >> bill, he has a point. i do not think mike pence had security clearance when he was governor. >> no, he didn't. but actually some of the e-mails were about terrorist threats to the state of indiana that he was talking to his security people about. was this illegal? no. was this a great big deal? no. but the irony is juicy. at the very least we need an fbi investigation and 15 hearings in the house just to level the playing field. >> i just fell off my chair. i don't think i started sweating thinking about 15 more hearings on capitol hill. thank you guys for pointing out, this isn't going to change anything, right?
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>> no. >> but do you think that maybe this could move us in the right direction, alex, of maybe elected government officials using the proper e-mail for the proper reason once and for all? >> anyone at this point who isn't following normal pretty conservative e-mail protocols is really just asking for it. you do think the big picture on mike pence's e-mails, we've seen now a number of times, trump and pence and republicans and congress run into the reality that they raised the bar on certain issues of ethics and transparency in the campaign against hillary clinton and that bar is now being applied to them. >> you've got to love the bar. great to see you guys, thanks so much. all right, guys. this is coming up, another weekend at mar-a-lago. soon president trump will be touching down in florida where he first will be heading to orlando where he will be speaking at a catholic church. you can be sure he will be pushing education reforms. then he'll head to the winter white house. details ahead.
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at all new cnn original series "believer" we see the rituals and peculiar practices in some instances of a religious sect in india. watch this. >> thanks. okay. okay. >> maybe i'll take this off right now and then -- just thank you. okay. thank you.
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thank you. why are people on that side of the river so afraid of the agori? i see. feels like a mistake. maybe just somebody distracts him and i just leave. i can be very polite about it. >> i have the camera guys cracking up. >> everyone is cracking up, and also a little scared, thankful you're still with us. stop it. what was going on there?
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frnlg so shg >> so this is a -- >> what did you say that was so offensive? >> i think it was asking questions. i was very nervous. these are aghori gurus, they reject the concept of purity in hinduism, so they take part in these spectacular displays of self-pollution. so they'll eat rotted corpses, feces, drink water from the g g ganges and do anything to shock the system so that anything you think pollutes you is pure illusion. i was there to learn from them and i think this guy immediately thought i was there to be his disciple. as soon as i sat down, he was like you belong to me. you are mine. eat this. drink this. and so i -- >> did you eat anything? >> i -- i ate what he gave me. >> doounow what it was? >> i do know what it was, yes. a piece of a -- of a corpse's
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brain. it was a brain. yeah. a little piece of brain. >> okay. so -- so, that's one episode. where could you possibly take us after this? >> the important thing to understand is underneath those practices is a beautiful belief expressed in other ways, which is taking care of orphans, or leprosy patients, people because of the cast system in india don't have anyone to care for this religious group does go out and care for them. that's the point of this episode. >> so you see beauty in it. >> every one of these episodes you start out by knowing a religious group that may seem scary, maybe frightening, foreign, through my journey, through my experience delving into that belief, you start to realize maybe, you know, it's not so different after all. that perhaps you even share some beliefs with them. >> so you're a practicing muslim. frnlgt yes. >> through this process, and
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you're curious, known to be very curious, through this process did it change your view of faith? has it changed you? >> no, what it's done is strengthen my faith. i always say that religion and faith are two different things. my faith is personal and individual. the religion that i use is how i express that faith. that's the point of this show. while these different religious groups may be speaking different languages, they may have different words for god. they may read scriptures in a different way, but underneath it all, the faith they express is not just familiar but similar. for me, this was a -- a lived experience of that truth. >> faith, of course, is at the core of some of the greatest battles and wars of all time. dating back to forever and ever. what do you hope people take from this? it seems like you're trying to find the commonalty. >> i hope people get that we
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have more in common than we don't. religion has been responsible for wars and conflict. but faith is different than that. faith unites us. we may express that faith in a different language but what we're expressing is often a different thing. if you can get that from this show, maybe you can apply it to the world around you. we could certainly use that right now. >> fascinating. quite a start, too. great to see you. thank you very much. remember, "believer" airs this sunday night, 10:00 eastern right here on cnn. coming up, the big question hovering over the white house, where is president trump's new travel band? what is the hold up? are there problems in the works? the possible new clue. plus a bizarre scene playing out on capitol hill. one senator tries to find the replacement healthcare bill, so he goes on a scavenger hunt to look for that bill. another talks to a statue.
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