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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  March 8, 2017 11:00pm-12:01am PST

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going too well. president trump even planning for the bill's possible failure. and getting ready, u.s. marines on the ground in syria. hello, and welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm isha sesay. and i'm john vause. this is news room l.a. u.s. president trump is preparing for an all-out blitz to sell the new republican health care plan, but two things are not getting out of his way. his alleged links to russia and the wiretapping questions. and vice president mike pence sidestepping questions about that wiretapping claim. >> the president has alleged that the former president has committed a felony in
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wiretapping trump tower. yes or no, do you believe that president obama did that? >> well, what i can say, the president and our administration are very confident that the congressional committees in the house and senate that are examining issues surrounding the last election, the run-up to the last election will do that in a thorough and equitiable way. and the president is about to take his pitch to the american people. we get details now from jeff zeleny. >> reporter: it's the biggest sales pitch of the young trump presidency. white house press secretary sean spicer says the president is ready to hit the road and make his case. >> this is going to be a very, very comprehensive approach to make sure every american understands there is a major problem and we are here to fix it. >> trump care is a health care handout for the richest
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americans and fake health care for everybody else. >> it's the fierce republican opposition the president must first overcome. a point he is making privately to skeptical gop lawmakers. >> i got elected to a certain extent, i would say a pretty good little chunk based on the fact repeal and replace obamacare. and many of you people are in the same boat. very important, so let's get it done. >> reporter: that was the president's message to gop leaders on tuesday. but today for the second time this week he had no public appearances at the white house. the vice president was taking his turn at explaining the plan publicly hitting the air waves in six states across the country, all of which he and the president turned red in november. >> the president has indicated this is the framework but we're open to suggestions. >> yet some of the loudest resistance is coming from a congressman from ohio, who
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railed against the situation on the campaign trail. >> let's make america great again. >> reporter: but now he has this to say about president trump's health care bill. >> i believe when you look through it is obamacare in a different form. >> now, it's no question this is the biggest sales job of mr. trump's young presidency, and he will take that sales job on the road making the case in kentucky on saturday, we're told, the home of outspoken rand paul. joining us here, republican consultant john thomas, thank you for joining us. we have the house intelligence committees saying they're looking into this wiretapping allegation made by the president. republican senator lindsey graham says he wants the intelligence agencies to have more information and use more subpoena power if they have to. >> the president has asked congress to look into the
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evidence if his campaign was wiretapped by the obama administration. i will take up that challenge and send a letter to the department of justice and the fbi, asking them for any information they may have used to use a warrant. they will found out if the warrant was used directly against the trump campaign. >> and if they don't find this information? >> then i will have done my job, either there is no information, or they're lying to me. i would expect them to come forward as to whether or not the warrant was obtained or not. >> and with this subpoena, if they don't comply? >> yes. >> okay, with friends like lindsey graham, john, does he want to prove the president's claim as being accurate or is he wanting to get james comey in front of the fbi to refute. >> we do public records request, and you can write them narrowly
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or broadly. lindsey graham has power if he says narrowly, did barack obama ask for records from the fbi, if he did it differently, i don't know if senator graham wants to tell that story. >> and how much political coverage has the president used up here as you look at the lack of evidence that has been provided so far and the republicans kind of backing off. >> it is a function of who are his friends right now on capitol hill. i'm not so sure lindsey graham to your point is acting as a friend to donald trump or more of the republican party. he hedged his bet, and can be called as a friend to the party. but at the same time i'm not so sure if he is looking to have the president vindicated on this. >> okay, the white house is really struggling to explain just exactly what is going on. look at sean spicer in the white house briefing when he was asked if the president was under
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investigation. >> sean, is the president a target of the white house investigation? >> i think that is what we need to find out. there is obviously a lot of concern. >> okay, so that was answer number one, moments later, look, a white house aide comes in and hands him a piece of paper. and what do we got? another answer. >> there is no reason that we have to think that the president is the target of any investigation. >> no reason to think the president is the target of any investigation, except for what the president tweeted out over the weekend. this is the conundrum they're in. >> i don't know if it is a conundrum, but the white house staff is spinning tirelessly trying to come up with some way to distance themselves ever so delicately without making the president look bad. and i don't know if there is a clean way to get out of there. >> well, i don't think the president believes he was the target of an investigation. it was simply eavesdropping on
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him while he was on the campaign trail. look, it's not uncommon to correct a statement on the briefing -- >> we saw the likes of republican leadership, individuals like lindsey graham take their stand, what about rank and file republicans? where are they in all of this? >> they're letting the president go out on his own island with this one, they're not privy. congress has to do an investigation if they yield something. i would imagine republicans would jump on board. but at this point they're not privy to the intel president trump may or may not have, so why risk political capital on this. >> he doesn't understand that the president -- >> the president cannot order a wiretap, and i think if you understood that to start with the conclusion that the president called for a wiretap, he is calling for his own investigation which puts his own
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presidency in greater danger and his credibility in jeopardy. so i don't think he thought beyond the moment in making the accusation. >> well, i think he does understand the power of the presidency, i think people like him because of his charm he speaks like an every man. and he is making an accusation, does it mean that president obama ordered the wiretapping? details may be different -- >> but he especially said president obama -- i mean, so he didn't leave himself any room. he started in the corner. >> he called lyin ted, lyin ted, does that mean he lies all the time? >> and again, he doesn't understand the words you put out, people scrutinize them and takes it at face value. that lesson still has not been learned. >> i think you're right, the power of the words, and that is
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different than the power of the presidency. >> okay, the obamacare, and he is struggling with members of his own party. but just don't call it trumpcare. >> i'll call it the trumpcare if you want to. but i didn't hear president trump saying hey, i want my name on this. this is serious stuff, not according to branding somebody's name. this is serious business. >> to you, for a guy who puts his name on everything, why doesn't he put his name on this dog of a -- sorry, the health care plan? >> because they won the election, they had seven years to get a reasonable replacement. we saw the first draft last week, now not everybody agrees on the plan. and to your point you made some time ago they should be talking about the job numbers which is actually a positive, but instead
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they're fighting for the health care plan and also trying to fight the wiretapping claims. >> look, when president trump took office, this is no branding opportunity for him so it's no surprise he doesn't want his name on the legislation or any other legislation. >> i like the idea that my party has competition of ideas and just doesn't have group think. i think it will end up in a better outcome at the end of the day. >> for the democrats, the strategy seems to be chase down countless amendments and just stall, that seems to be the process here. >> possibly, but we're only talking about a slim majority in the senate. they can flip a lindsey graham or john mccain, rand paul has spoken out against the health care bill. and you're talking about competition late in the game. we're late to start the competition. they should have had more, you only flip two or three senators and that bill goes down in the senate. >> can the bill be flipped,
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john? >> it depends on where president trump's ratings are and where the news cycle is on that day. >> she is back, hillary clinton marking international women's day with a speech at the kennedy center in washington. >> our voices have always been vital, but they have never been more vital than they are right now. not just in faraway countries but right here in the united states. and we are just getting started. >> oh, is that an indication she is running for 2020? >> you know what? i think she is the perfect spokesperson for this as somebody who never gets up despite getting kicked down again and again, good for her if she wants to speak on that. >> this is actually good news,
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we beat up so often -- >> really? >> donald trump finally is polling better than hillary clinton. the latest numbers are out. his approval ratings are much, much higher than hillary clinton. hers continue to fall -- >> which is actually interesting, because typically when politicians are out of the spotlight like bush, their numbers go up. but in this case, she is quite unlikable. >> another mistake holiday by the democrats, america has decided on hillary clinton and if she is the loudest voice in the democratic party still? they haven't learned. and they're going to keep suffering. >> okay, john and mo, thank you for joining us. >> always appreciate it. >> that was just weird. >> it was actually. yeah. >> we'll take a break. they said they would stay in touch, but did they talk? pick up the phone, call me. things have not been so good between president trump and former president obama. we'll check their relationship
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status in a moment. plus, as president trump tweets on international women's day, thousands march in protest of him. ♪ announcer: get on your feet for the nastiest bull in the state of texas. ♪
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hello, everyone, sources tell cnn president trump has not spoken with his predecessor since the inauguration january 20th. but their staff has been communicating. >> so those familiar with all of those, the white house chief of staff reince priebus has spoken
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with the former chief of staff, since president trump made his wiretapping claim over the weekend. >> joining us now to explore the crumbling relationship between president trump and his predecessor president obama, and joining us now, good to have you with us. >> thank you. >> we're hearing that president obama was upset in response to donald trump's wiretapping claims. the fact is, president obama is essentially accused of committing a felony here. put this in some type of context for us. before now, have we ever seen a former president assailed by his predecessor this way? >> no, not only did we have the act of dueling, but a sitting
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president like president trump, who has done this to barack obama, there are presidents that had rocky relationships, jimmy carter did not get along, and herbert hoover's name was put on a dam. but going too far where somebody's name is accused of a felony, it's gone farther than the special relationship with ex-presidents and a sitting president. >> and the current administration appears to be doubling down by this notion of being under siege by the previous administration. historically when an administration takes on this kind of bunker mentality, if you will, what are the implications for the country? >> that the country gets
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unnerved, with fear and paranoia spread across the land, true facts get mixed up with other items. the main role of the president is to unite the country, not just the followers. and donald trump has yet to kind of shift into that particular gear. the attack on obama is going to create a bruhaha this entire spring. it's not just a distraction, there very well may be hearings going on to determine the falsehood of trump's claim. so it's a bit nutty. the other problem that donald trump has is in my writing of presidents, the successful ones, none of them like the press. but the successful ones know how to fake it. people like john f. kennedy, or theodore roosevelt, you see trump acting like richard nixon, wanting to destroy the press, that is somebody who doesn't
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understand the press. and in the end the press just works double hard to find out things about you, and it doesn't really get you anywhere. >> so we're hearing that president trump and obama have not spoken since inauguration day. the relationship appears to be heading south. how important is it for a president to have a good relationship with their predecessor? >> it's helpful, because barack obama knows a lot on what is going on right now, the war on terror, the middle east, climate change, donald trump could tap him as a resource, i mean after all, bill clinton came in, in 1992 and regularly started calling richard nixon, the failed president because he treasured his perspective on the ussr back then, on the soviet union. all i'm suggesting is, it's not helpful or good for our democracy that donald trump has
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taken this tactic against obama, but maybe they will find a way to heal, perhaps trump will apologize or there will be an investigation and they will find out indeed that president obama didn't wiretap trump tower. barack obama and trump were doing pretty well after the election, even on inauguration day, they seemed to be getting along all right but things have seemed to blow up right now. >> yeah, indeed, and to date we have had president obama essentially silent. he had said he would speak out if he felt american values were under attack from the president trump administration. but do you think he can continue on that path, so to speak? >> i think largely so i don't think that president obama wants to respond to every half baked tweet that donald trump does at 6:00 a.m. it would be a never
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ending job. i think he has to hope that our democratic process takes hold. in this case there will be an investigation of trump's claim. he will be proven innocent, barack obama, and perhaps we're seeing difficulty with the affordable care act, the obamacare act getting replaced by the republicans. so history has a funny way of turning things around. and i think obama knows he left the white house with 60% approval rating. he is secure in his role in history and will only go after donald trump sparingly on a case that he really feels he needs to. this was so absurd that i think he was just best to have surrogates to comment on his displeasure. >> so finally, that being said about the president, the former president not taking on president trump every time he puts out a tweet, what are your expectations for these memoirs? we know that president obama and the first lady have signed this
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million dollar deal to write these expectations. what are your expectation what will they get from them? their feeling on that right now? >> well, i know president obama will be very serious, it will be a serious memoir. i have spoken about it before. most presidents kind of do a slash dash job, policy papers, with a ghostwriter and an assistant doing most of the work. president obama is a writer, that is how he came to the public notoriety. we'll have to see how much he deals with after hillary clinton loses, meaning the end of his presidency whether he wants to get into issues pertaining to the trump presidency, but i believe he does. at least in the 2006 campaign, and his sentiments and what he feels about donald trump.
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he was paid a lot of money for these books, so was michelle, so i am sure they will be interested in the tidbits that we all will look forward to reading. >> thank you so much for the historical perspective and the insight. >> thank you so much. >> it's just that the barack obama presidency seems like ten years ago now because so much has happened. >> still going to be a juicy read, though, it sure is. we'll take a quick break, we'll look at the relationship with russia. we'll hear the challenges that john huntsman faces if he becomes the u.s. ambassador. plus, dealing with north korea, pyongyang's provocation draws choice words from the u.s. ambassador to the u.n. what's it like to be in good hands? like finding new ways to be taken care of.
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isha sesay. and i'm john vause, time to check the headlines, u.s. vice president mike pence is dodging questions about whether he believes barack obama wiretapped donald trump. mr. pence says it should be up to congressional committees to look into all of this. the vice president joins a growing list of republicans avoiding that very question. we have not heard directly from barack obama about donald trump's wiretapping claim, but sources close to the former president said he is exasperated by the claims. a spokesperson denies the charge. >> and donald trump says he is committed to the new health care plan, the president may let the obamacare collapse and put the blame on the democrats. now, president trump has tapped john huntsman to be
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ambassador. >> now, the house intelligence committee is planning a public hearing on russia's possible influence on the presidential election, and two senior senators asking the justice department for any information on mr. trump's unsubstantiated claim that the former president, barack obama, ordered a wiretapping on president trump. >> the only way you will do dealings with russia is pay the price. i did a hearing yesterday with the baltic nations, ukraine, georgia and poland, and for years, russia has been trying to stop these young democracies and they are paying a price. >> and more comments from senator graham, underscoring the challenges of a radically different relationship with the trump white house. >> yeah, you're absolutely right, isha, during that meeting
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that he held there with the foreign ministers of georgia, poland, and ukraine, he said he also believes that sanctions against the russian federation should not be lifted until the russians hand because crimea. he says that is not going to happen. and the secretaries that are no place during the trump administration do take a much harder line on russia than president trump himself. so at this point in time it really does seem the russians that were not excited after president trump was elected, certainly not unhappy to see him elected. they're in a much more sober mood at this time, they say they believe the lifting of sanctions is not something that is going to happen sometime soon. but generally many are not happy at the pace that the relationships between the u.s. and russia are evolving, they seem tore heading towards a low point. right now russia is not holding the president himself
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responsible for that but the russians by this time would have hoped for relations to be in a better state than they currently are, isha. well, we're hearing that the presidential hopeful john huntsman has been asked to do the job and has accepted and still needs to be confirmed by the senate. it's an interesting pick, given the number of scathing remarks that donald trump made about huntsman in the past. in 2012, this is what president trump tweeted. he said john huntsman called to see me, i said no, he gave our country away to china. so let's be clear, not good enough to handle the relationship with china, at least back then, but now he is the man to handle the job with russia? >> yeah, i know the president was critical of john huntsman in the days of 2013, around the time john huntsman was the ambassador to china and then
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obviously donald trump back then tweeted very negative comments. also john hunehn huntsman was v critical of president trump when some of donald trump's attitudes towards women came up. it seems the two have mended their ties, now it appears that john hune jonhn huntsman has been offered this poll. the russian news agency, on the one hand the articles there are saying look, john huntsman is being offered this job, a really matter of fact article, but also some of the negative things that john huntsman has said about russian relationships, saying the u.s. needs to remain tough with russia. saying that while the u.s. wantinwants a better relationship with russia, there are changes that need to be made.
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but for some it may be a surprising appointment, given the fairly negative history that president trump and the russians have, but on the other hand, it is something the russians have to deal with. you're right, it's an important argument that the u.s. ambassador and the russians have. if you look at past relationships, michael fall, had a difficult time here and in the end had to leave the country. it really is a very difficult post to have and certainly for some a very surprising appointment, isha. >> it certainly is, cnn's political correspondent, frederik pleitgen joining us. breaking news here, hawaii now the first state taking president trump to court over his new travel ban asking for an emergency order to hold the ban which would restrict travel from six mostly muslim countries. and the ban keeps people from somalia, sudan, yemen, from
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young the united states for 90 days, the order takes effect march 16th. okay, the u.s. ambassador to the united nations not mincing words about north korea or its erratic leader. nikki haley spoke and explained the need for the missile defense system set up in south korea. >> tell me why we wouldn't do that in light of 24 ballistic melv missiles, in light of two nuclear tests, knowing we'll protect our allies. we are not going to leave south korea standing there with the threat of north korea facing them and not help. we have not seen any good will coming from north korea. i appreciate all of my counterparts wanting to talk about talks and negotiations. we are not dealing with a rational person. >> well, nikki haley says that u.n. members are trying to
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figure out how to get north korea's attention to stop these provocations because so far resolutio resolutions and sanctions are not working. and coming up, a battle with isis could be imminent. we'll have a closer look.
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20 minutes before midnight here in los angeles, welcome back everybody. the battle with isis is heating up, the forces were in mosul, the fighters using weapons in the stronghold. at least dozens were killed when the suicide bombers attacked. isis carried out similar attacks as it fights for mosul. and the battle to take raqqah in syria is under way. u.s. officials say that troops have been deployed in northern syria. >> joining us from california,
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he is a former u.s. military attache. thank you for joining us, there was a similar deployment in iraq, they provided artillery, i guess it's safe to assume that the assigned offensive on raqqah is now imminent. >> i'm not sure how imminent it is, there is still a lot of preparation that has to be done, but you're right, as it was last august when marines were brought in to bring that fire power, as they neared mosul. but john, i think we need to be very careful of drawing the parallel between these two deployments because when we deployed the marines into iraq they were supporting the iraqi army which had two years to regroup itself, a lot of armor had been provided by the united states.
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and it had reinstituted itself. we have a militia type of organization made up mostly of kurds, very effective. but to take a fortified city like raqqah will require a lot more fire power, i just wonder where it will come from. i don't think that marine artillery will be enough. we need to put additional troops in there. and of course once you go down that slope where does it stop? >> as you say, if there is a need to ramp this up could you see the president and the pentagon actually sending in significant greater numbers of u.s. troops? >> i think if they're serious about having the syrian democratic force that is this mix of kurds and syrian arabs that we're supporting with supplies and training and u.s. special operations personnel on the ground and now the marines, if we're going to use that as the force we probably will need
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additional fire power. and i know that that is what the united states would like to do because you know we talked about just time and distance. the kurds are right there, they pretty much surrounded raqqah, where as the turks and even the syrian army are miles away. as the general said, the people in the isis fighters in raqqah are planning attacks against the west he needs to get in there and eliminate the pocket, to do that will require more fire power that is on the ground right now and that will require the president to decide just what our fire power is and what troops we'll put on the ground in syria. >> so we had the kurdish offensive, almost ready to go with the assault. you have the turkish-backed rebels, other regimes that want to be part of this liberation.
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if it does get to it with the multi lateral forces, could you have forces loyal to the syrian government? >> yeah, that is a real possibility. we've seen all of this will be done through the russians, we're not going to talk to the syrians, but we're going to talk to the russians. there was also fire power, going back and forth between isis and the syrian regime, but what we saw last week were american airstrikes basically in support of a syrian military strike to retake palmyra, but the coordination will be done between the united states and russia, and if the turks are involved, that will be through the united states and the turks. >> one u.s. official said the increasing pressure on isis in raqqah appears to be working. explain to me working in what way?
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what is actually this pressure doing to the isis leadership and the isis fighters inside that city? >> just what we saw in mosul. you're seeing raqqah, they know that the assault is coming. this is not a secret so they have taken the same precautions that they have taken in mosul, putting a lot of tarps in the city, big huge tarps to try to mask what is going on. they're raising taxes and cutting salaries and working with them. at the same time, people are fleeing, and if you look at the map with the kurds and the syrian army and the russians and the turks, there is nowhere for them to go. they're completely surrounded. bottled up. they're not getting any more reinforcements and their oil has been cut off, their supply roads have been cut off. the situation is very dire. as you know a cornered animal is very dangerous and this will be a fight to the finish.
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it will be very, very difficult, we'll see the same type of fighting in raqqah that we see in mosul right now. >> okay, colonel, thank you for being with us, insights on what is happening in northern syria. thank you, sir. still ahead, women urged to take off work and join a one-day strike but not everyone believes it's a good idea. announcer: get on your feet for the nastiest bull in the state of texas. ♪ ♪
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>> what freedom means to me is everything. it means standing up for those who voice and chance at real life has been taken away. it also means fighting for justice and coming together in complete unity in order to do so. >> i think it's the power to say and think what you want in society. >> the freedom means the ability to think according to you and not encountering any dangers along the way. cnn is teaming up with young people around the world for a student-led day of action with the launch of my freedom day march 14. >> driving all of this, a simple question. what does freedom mean to you? send us your answer via text,
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video, social media. #my freedom day. the first lady hosted a luncheon in honor of international women's day. ivanka trump was also there. >> demonstrators marched across the country, most of them peaceful. but some were arrested while protesting in front of trump tower in new york. the president tweeted, i have tremendous respect for women and the many roles they serve that are vital to the fabric of our society and our economy. well, hundreds of thousands, if not millions of women rallied around the world on international women's day. some say the movement actually left some women out. here's kyung lah. >> reporter: it's los angeles rallies like this one that have been filled with energy, determination, and the belief that this is the global next
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step in the opposition to the trump administration. >> how do we do it! >> reporter: a crowd in red to symbolize action. to san francisco, where women were out in force for the day without a woman march. in new york city, police detained the key organizers for blocking traffic outside trump international hotel and tower. as women march in honor of international women's day from mal dovea to mexico city. the american president loomed large. the movement asking women to flex their economic and political power, by not showing up for work, paid or unpaid. in north carolina and virginia, schools shut down, after teachers said they wouldn't show up for work, drawing mild criticism from the white house. >> people have a right to express themselves in our first
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amendment. as the president is doing today, by making sure that we appropriately salute the contributions that women make to this country, but there's clearly an impact in the case of schools. >> reporter: there's over 180 marches happening just today in the united states, raising awareness. women are walking out of work. and it's just showing that, again, how much women play a role in not only our economy, our society, everything. >> why are you working today? >> um, to get my paycheck. i live -- i pay my own rent, so i need to work every day. >> reporter: bonnie says she'd march if she could. but doesn't have the luxury of not working. same story for katie. she supports women's rights but says a day without a woman ignores a woman like her. >> the luxury to take the day off as a stance, are people who make more, who have a bigger cushion, who can afford to not
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do that. >> reporter: in los angeles, we spoke to women who say, yes, they have the financial ability to be here, but others, like these assistants at a hollywood talent agency, straddled need to work with need to protest. asking their bosses for the time off, so they could join the movement. >> i think often times people limit feminism to, you know, white privileged women, and it's more than that. it's more inclusive. it's all encompassing. >> reporter: there is an awareness of that criticism here at this los angeles rally, one of the first mentions from the podium was that they represent the many women who had to work, who could not come out here to protest. john, isha? >> thanks, kyung. a new statue of a child in new york is getting a lot of attention. >> it sure is. it's named fearless girl, and staring down the legendary symbol of wall street, the big grunting bull. the fearless girl was placed
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there as part of a marketing campaign to increase the number of women on corporate boards. ♪ ♪ >> you know, we do need more women. we do need to acknowledge women's rights in the workplace, in government, in society. i think by bringing in more diversity, whether it's racially or across gender, i think is going to be really good in leadership. >> it's really important to have something like that in the middle of all of this, just showing that women are here, women are capable of doing anything that a man can do. >> i think we've come a long way. america's come a long way. we can do better, absolutely better. having more women on board should not be a question we ask in 2017, right? >> i think it empowers young women and girls to say you can do anything you want. >> no matter how big that bull is, women can defy all odds.
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>> yes, we can. >> it's women's day. happy women's day. >> thank you. even though you're not wearing red. >> i forgot. >> you're watching cnn news, live from los angeles. >> news continues with max foster. he's in london. we'll take a short break. you're watching cnn. n and camellia oil formulas from whole blends. by garnier. blending our best into new illuminating haircare. paraben-free formulas. infused with moroccan argan and camellia oils extracts, ♪ whole blends indulges hair with moisture to reveal luminous shine. whole blends is truly illuminating. garnier whole blends new moroccan argan and camellia oils. wholesome loving care blended for naturally beautiful hair.
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battle over the bill. lawmakers crank up partisan politics over health care legislation that affects millions of americans. the investigation into donald trump's wiretap claims heats up. senior republicans in congress say they will subpoena intelligence agencies to get answers. and prospects for diplomacy with pyongyang looking dim after a top u.s. official describes north korea's leader as irrational. hello and welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm max foster,


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