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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  March 10, 2017 1:00pm-2:01pm PST

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are riddled with 15 bullets. a year later a survivor approached him. >> how many times did you get shot? i said 15. she said, that's right. there was one bullet for every one of us who was inside. >> reporter: the sikh community says, without murphy's sacrifice, the massacre would have been so much worse. >> i know that brian nur if i is a hero. he's a hero to our community, but a much larger community as in the sikh community in america. >> reporter: a community -- >> that is absolutely extraordinary. sara sidner, thank you for sharing that. i'm brooke ball win. have a wonderful weekend. "the lead" starts now. >> thanks, brooke. the numbers he once called fake news, who put that lead in the prompter? "the lead" starts right now. he puts the deal to the test as he talks about replacing obamacare. are they still tonight same page? foreign agent man, the white house says it had no idea that the president's ex-national security advisor was a paid international lobbyist during
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the campaign. so, what happened to extreme vetting there? plus ringing in a new era, a brand-new era, pope considering a change a thousand years in the making. will married catholic men soon be able to join the priesthood? welcome to "the lead." i'm jim accosta in for jake. president trump seeming to embrace his role as the republican face of the health care bill. cnn learns the white house open to changing the bill to appease skeptical conservatives. cnn's phil mattingly joining me now. this may be seen as a starting point than a finished product. >> reporter: it's day disconnect that can threaten a major piece of legislation like this if nothing else. it's certainly creates a new hurdle, a hurdle that joins a whole lot of other ones, jim. behind the scenes, house gop leaders now running head long into the white house on their health care proposal. >> that's what people want, they want repeal and replace.
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>> reporter: as top committee chairs met with president trump today, sources telling cnn white house officials including the president himself are amenable to conservative requests to change a crucial component of the bill. >> it provides states with flexibility over how medicaid dollars are spent, giving power from washington and back to local government. >> reporter: but trimming the sunset of obamacare's medicaid expansion from 2017 to 2020 is a move for house republican leaders for now have no plans on making. >> i think right now that it would be very difficult to do. >> reporter: and despite trump's openness to the idea, gop leaders making a not so subtle pointed to. you knew what was in the bill. you knew the strategy, and you were clearly on board. >> if you walk into the white house today and the president says, this needs to change, this needs to sunset in 2017, and not 2020, how do you respond to that? >> well, first of all, i look forward to meeting with the
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president. we've been in regular contact with his team. we look forward to the president's direct involvement. >> reporter: for gop leaders, what to do about the medicaid expansion is among the most delicate issues in the bill. 31 states and the nation's capital accepted funds from the expansion which delivered coverage to around 11 million people. >> as we repeal obamacare, we want to make sure that we don't create gaps. >> here's the problem with medicaid. >> reporter: but conservatives have made clear the expansion has to go as soon as possible. >> leadership needs to have a my way or the highway, or take it or leave it kind of approach and they do that in every single piece of major legislation. i think the president understands that people with different ideas can come together. >> reporter: for now, the white house trying to tread carefully despite a comment from the president today that could be seen as stepping into conspiracy theory territory. again. >> 17 would be a disaster for obamacare. that's the year it was meant to explode because obama won't be
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here. >> right now the date that is in the bill is what the president supports. >> reporter: as house leaders try and make conservatives happy without losing those moderates. >> not everything that we would like to have in the very first phase could be in the bill. we're going through three different phases. >> reporter: that three-part process will require no shortage of back-end work. unilateral regulatory actions to future legislation. >> sometimes when you have push back on one side and the other side, from a political spectrum, you might have found the sweet spot. >> reporter: and, jim, as they have continued to search for that sweet spot, it's worth noting over the last couple of days the president and his team have met with a number of conservative groups who are opposed to this house plan. that changed today. the president sitting down with the very house chairman who wrote this proposal. one source familiar with the meeting told me those individuals made very clear to the president, this is the plan going forward. don't expect major changes in the house. and the white house said that they were behind this from the
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very beginning. jim? >> phil mattingly, thank you. for more, i want to bring in congressman steve king, republican of iowa. congressman, thanks for joining me. >> thanks, jichl. >> thanks for doing this. house speaker paul ryan says this is republicans' last chance, last best chance to fulfill this campaign promise to repeal obamacare. is any republican who doesn't support this bill then deciding to keep obamacare? what do you say to that? >> well, i don't agree with that and of course we don't have a bill that's off the floor yet and we've got a rules committee that will meet. there will be amendments that will be offered up at the rules committee. leadership will have a lot to say about which amendments might be offered. but we have a chance to improve this legislation and we always say that we want to perfect the legislation at every stop along the way. so, no, i don't agree with that, but i understand the message that's wrapped up in that. >> and do you think it's a little bit cockamamie that they
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would score before it is in the congressional office, why do you want the information before voting? >> we do want the information before voting and we should have the information before weighing in as well. i remember barack obama said he wouldn't sign a bill that added one dime to our national debt. so, you know, his pledge was pretty strong, although it's obvious he didn't keep it. and the score was way off, too. i would like to see the score and i think we're moving a little too fast. i think we should spend two or three or four weeks examining this, giving the american people an opportunity to weigh in and let the organizations weigh in so that we can sort this out as the house of representatives is designed to do. usually when a bill comes out from behind closed doors, it needs improvement before it can be presented to the president of the united states and the american people. >> and speaking of improvements or lack thereof, cnn is reporting there are negotiations underway that could bring the medicaid sunset, they want to fix medicaid in all of this, reduce the amount of money spent on medicaid, move that up to 2017 or perhaps the start of
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2018 instead of 2020. would that help you get to yes on all of this? and what about the prospect of millions of americans losing their health insurance if you start restricting that medicaid funding? >> well, that movement of medicaid maybe helps a little bit, but not that much to me. and i look at these numbers and we added a little over 20 million americans that are -- that have their own policy now that didn't have seven years ago when obamacare was passed. but 10.8 million of them were pushed onto medicaid. so, that's just kind of a separate equation in my philosophical mind. and we also have -- >> you don't think people are going to lose health insurance as a result of this repeal and replace effort? isn't there really the possibility that millions of people could lose their health insurance? >> there is that possibility, but it seems as though we are creating that as the metric through which we have to view everything else. i would say this. i'd start with this. that we were better off before obamacare passed. if we would repeal obamacare on
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the spot and give people, say, a year to adjust their circumstances, and have it be enacted a year from now, we would all be better off, then onto that we could start the reforms that are necessary. and this underlying bill ties our hands on some of the reforms we want to do. for example, there are at least ten mandates that are preserved from obamacare, actually 12 of them i can think of that are preserved from obamacare. that nullifies or neutral eyeses to a significant degree to buy and sell insurance across state lines. that and the refundable stacks credit, that's a direct subsidy up front. those things i'd like to address to make it a better bill. >> congressman, i know you've been very much out front on the issue of immigration. switchi switching gears here. yesterday we learned there was a 40% drop in illegal southwestern border crossings from january to february. that is a very big drop. do we need a wall any more, the wall the president wants to build? if it's down 40% you don't need a wall any more, right?
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>> jim, i heard that news yesterday. i heard some of it directly from general kelly and i thought that, if we ever get the border crossings down to the point we'll soon say we don't need a wall because the crossings are down. no, we do and we do because of the illegal crossings. we do because circumstances may come back to us again. and especially because the illegal drugs that come -- 80 to 90% of the illegal drugs consumed in america come from or through mexico. and we need to secure the border. we need to beef up our coast guard and keep a lot of those drugs out of america. we also need to address the demand in this country. 50,000 americans die because of a drug overdose in a given year. and that's just intolerable, jim. >> congressman steve king, thank you very much for your time. we appreciate it. >> thank you. i appreciate it, jim. >> all right. the president keeps distancing himself from his former nalgsal security advisor michael flynn and his newly discovered ties to another country. now the white house explains why it didn't know flynn was a foreign agent.
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we're the williams family, and we're usaa members for life. call usaa today to talk about your insurance needs. welcome back to "the lead." more object on our politics leads. sean spicer stressed once again president trump had no idea michael flynn was a foreign
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agent with lobbying ties to turkey. joining me now is cnn correspondent jessica snyder. jessica, it appears the white house continues to distance itself from general flynn. just hours after vice-president mike pence said that the president made the right decision to fire flynn, what more can you tell us? >> yeah, the white house, jim, taking a hands off approach here. in fact, spokesman sean spicer specifically stating this afternoon the president didn't know general michael flynn as the head of his company was acting as a foreign agent, but a source does tell me that white house counsel did know both before the inauguration and right when he was named national security advisor. in fact, democrat elijah cummings on the house oversight committee sent a letter to vp pence on november 18 after the election raising issues of conflicts of interest even though pence now saying he was just made aware this week. of course, the potential problem here is that members of flynn's consulting company secured meetings with turkish officials in mid september at the height of the campaign and secured a
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$530,000 krlcontract, all of th during election season and this was too improve u.s. business dealings with turkey but questions about the fact flynn and his company, they were meeting with turkish officials. >> absolutely. we hear so much about extreme vetting. this episode brings up the question whether or not the president's team has been fully vetted, isn't that right? >> that's right. that was a concern brought up repeatedly during the press conference today. all sean spicer would say it's not the government's job to make sure the right legal forms are signed or that the proper paperwork is submitted. take a listen. >> how would anyone know? that is not up for the government to determine. there are certain private citizens activities that you conduct and you seek counsel on, or professional advice. that's not up to the government. and that's exactly how the system works. >> the person who is in line to be the national security advisor may need to register as a foreign agent and that does not raise a red flag? >> it's a question of whether or
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not they gave the advice they were supposed to. >> yeah, and what's important here is that the white house should have known about this, especially because general michael flynn, he did file a lobbying disclosure form with congress as far back as september 15th. so, the white house should have known, but today saying that the president did not have any awareness. >> i was at so many campaign rallies where michael flynn would join in with the chants of lock her up. talking about hillary clinton, do we know he left this information out and are there any legal repercussions for this? >> there could be repercussions. the lawyer is saying they did file that congressional lobbying form but they didn't halftime the foreign agent form with the department of justice. there could be criminal implications here although that isn't usually the case. we haven't heard back from the justice department but we're not expecting any legal ramifications here. >> and of course you'll be watching. jessica snyder, thank you so much. the white house was asked yet again about proof to back up the president's claim president
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obama tapped his phones. not only did the president himself offer no proof today, white house press secretary sean spicer also dodged the question. we know the justice department had congress in the justice department as well to investigate all of this, but how much will house and senate intelligence committees learn about these wiretap claims as they take up investigations into russia's interference in u.s. elections? jeff zeleny joins me now at the white house. jeff, when you look at the wiretap claim alone, the question is does the justice department, does anyone for that matter have any evidence to support this? we still don't have that answer. >> jim, that is the biggest question in all of washington this week. as you well know, the house and senate intelligence committees have indeed subpoenaed and asked the justice department to flow vied any evidence to back up this claim. but a week into this, a week after the president made this, evidence is in very short supply. here at the white house and on capitol hill. it's been a full week now since president trump levelled the explosive accusation that president obama was spying on
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him at trump tower. but again today, still no evidence. >> thank you all very much. we're going to get to work. thank you. >> reporter: the president wouldn't say whether he had any proof to back up his unsubstantiated charges. the white house is now trying to keep its focus on health care. >> and that's what people want, they want repeal and replace. >> reporter: yet washington is consumed by russia and the widening investigation into any connections between the trump campaign and russian operatives. the congressional probe includes allegations of presidential wiretapping which no one seems to know about but mr. trump. adam schiff, the top democrat on the house intelligence committee, told cnn's manu raju he has seen no evidence, but suggests the question will come up when fbi director james comey testifies on capitol hill later this month. >> i haven't seen any evidence whatsoever to substantiate that and i think when sean spicer isn't even willing to talk about it you know there's a real problem.
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>> do you think that march 20, that hearing comey is going to be prepared to talk about this issue? >> he's certainly prepared for the question and i don't see any reason why he can't answer it. he may even welcome the opportunity. >> reporter: the top republican on the committee, chairman devin nunez, echoed his comment from earlier this week that he had not seen any proof to back up the president's claims. >> you want to find that out, at this point i don't have anything to tell you. >> reporter: vice-president mike pence did not answer a question in a fox news interview about whether he believes the president's accusations. >> do you think it's possible that president obama ordered the wiretap on candidate trump? >> i think we'll just let the congressional committees review that and answer those questions. those are knowable answers in the bipartisan congressional committee is going to appropriately review the facts. >> reporter: white house press secretary sean spicer would not say why the president has not reached out to his fbi director who met with senior congressional leaders this week. asked whether mr. trump would apologize if the investigation ultimately shows president obama
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did not wiretap trump tower, spicer said this. >> let's not get ahead of ourselves. i think it's important to see where that goes and i don't want to prejudge their work at this time. >> reporter: so, jim, sean spicer there saying that the president wouldn't necessarily apologize. he said he didn't want to prejudge it but he also said earlier this week that the president would not necessarily accept the findings of this congressional investigation. jim, the reality here is this has consumed and complicated the president's agenda which, of course, health care is on the top of and that is also ending the week in critical condition. jim? >> critical condition once again, jeff zeleny, thank you so much. according to then candidate donald trump, the unemployment numbers were always fake. but now that he's president, the numbers are good. they're real. why his rocky relationship with numbers could be trouble for the bigger economic picture. the deadly raid in yemen claimed as a success. we talked to one reporter who spoke to people who were there. they have a different story. that's coming up.
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we're back with the money lead. the trump administration is celebrating today's jobs report instead of trashing it like the president has in the past. >> i talked to the president prior to this and he said to quote him very clearly, they may have been phony in the past, but it's very real now. [ laughter ] >> they are real now. according to the labor department, the unemployment rate ticked down to 4.7%, a far cry from its peak at 10% in 2009 during the financial crisis. the u.s. economy also added 235,000 jobs last month. the administration called today's report great news for american workers after the president called past numbers terrible, phony, and a hoax.
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i want to bring in cnn's cristina alesci. the white house joked about the change of tone today but this was no laughing matter when the president was discrediting these numbers in the past, right? >> right. government data in general is very serious business and some emerging markets as you know, jim, and even countries like china, there are serious questions about whether the data is legit. so, the u.s. right now doesn't have that problem. but comments like the one spicer made today give government statisticians and economists pause and they don't believe officials should undermine the data one month and promote it when it's convenient. and some think it's dangerous. >> i hear, 5.3% unemployment. that is the biggest joke there is. don't believe those phony numbers. >> the unemployment rate is not real. >> the unemployment number, as you know, is totally fiction. >> reporter: comments like those have data crunchers on edge. >> there is a real challenge in
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today's environment and i think a real risk, maybe even danger, that there will be efforts to influence data for political reasons, for tactical reasons, idea logical reasons. >> reporter: and these headlines over the past few weeks have some people concerned. >> we now have an environment in washington in which there seem to be some reasonable number of people who would like to fit the facts to their policies rather than starting with the facts and from the facts deriving their policies and that is an immense threat to sound public policies in the united states. >> reporter: protecting the integrity of government data has become a hot topic in the nation's capital like at a recent panel hosted by the conservative american enterprise institute and the liberal hamilton project. >> the conference on government statistics more popular than the rolling stones. [ laughter ] but let's face it, the phrase alternative facts has entered the american lexicon is anything more important? >> the u.s. has always been the gold standard and we've known for a long time we have tremendous data. >> reporter: and that tremendous
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data drives tremendous dollars. unemployment stats trigger unemployment insurance. the consumer price index determines social security checks. and the census bureau says its ongoing american community survey guides more than $400 billion in federal funding every year. >> so, they're literally tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars that are driven by these data. >> reporter: that survey is mandatory. a bill sponsored by some house republicans would make it voluntary. they argued the data collection is a privacy intrusion by the federal government, but making it optional could degrade the quality of the information. >> if we lose the acs, i don't know how a lot of local governments make decisions. >> reporter: the white house is down playing these data concerns. it tells cnn the unemployment rate is, quote, one of many measures we use to evaluate the health of our economy and jobs market. and on calculating the trade deficit, the white house says it merely wants to get to the bottom of the data swamp and
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negotiate great deals. but for people who care about data integrity, they don't consider the numbers a swamp. >> we have had tremendous advantage in this country because of the credibility of our data and the credibility of our policies because they were based on sound data. if we were to sacrifice that, i think we pay a tremendous cost. >> reporter: so, jim, government data crunchers are also worried about the trump administration cutting their budgets. surprisingly little federal money actually goes into data collection as it is. it represents less than 1/5 of 1% of the federal budget according to aei and the hamilton project. jim? >> cristina alesci, thank you for the real look at the real numbers. the white house explaining why reporters aren't traveling with the secretary of state to asia next week, because it costs too much? perhaps it's the charter cheese. that's next. to make everything. i call it the internet of everything, but it's really the internet of everyday life.
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welcome back to "the lead." i'm jim accosta. staying with politics now, lots to discuss with my panel. let's dive right in. a.b., let's listen to president trump talking about obamacare today. let's take a listen. >> we must act now to save americans from the imploding obamacare disaster. premiums have skyrocketed by double digits and triple digits in some cases, '17 would be a disaster for obamacare. that's the year it was meant to explode because obama won't be here. >> that's the year it was meant to explode. a.b., can you unpack that for us? it sounds explosive so be careful. >> right. well, it's really hard right now for republicans to sell their alternate plan because they promised a lot. the president himself has promised a lot. better coverage, cheaper, less costly. and everyone can be subsidized,
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no one is going to die in the streets. it is going to be very hard to deliver this when democrats used to come out and hammer them. the cost, who loses their coverage, this is going to be a very tough issue for them this on the campaign next year. republicans, what they're doing now is campaigning against obamacare still instead of selling their new plan. so, what they do is tell you how awful it is. the popularity of the program has never been higher. it sounds like it's pretty awful to me and it's actually in a death spiral. i think republicans are right on that but they just won't sell their new product. they just want to tell you -- >> which is what they've been doing since 2010. >> 10. >> yes. mollie, why are conservatives so outraged on this? aren't they the dog that finally caught the car? they should be rallying around this. >> if you gave them the power to fix it, they would do it. when trump is talking about everything exploding in 2017, what he's referring to is you get the bill passed, once everybody is comfortable with this new entitlement, then you have to fix it. they knew there were problems
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with the bill. they thought people would be happy enough with it they would have to fix it. it didn't quite work out that way. more people report they are more dissatisfied than satisfied with obamacare. at the same time republicans are having trouble removing this entitlement even with the problems it has. >> do you think they can solve this? do you foresee a scenario where this just doesn't happen? >> i certainly see that scenario, but they could solve it. they do need to get conservatives on board. two of the things they were talking about, stopping the medicaid expansion which would go a long way to getting conservatives on board, and also making medicare expansion, holding it to people who are able bodied childless people the. that would save costs, too. >> ann, switching subjects, the white house said they had no idea the former national security advisor michael flynn was registered as a foreign lobbyist and it was his responsibility to provide that information via counsel. all this talk about extreme vetting, not so much in michael flynn's case as it turns out. >> you have to wonder how they missed that maybe flynn just didn't mention it. i don't know. he seems to have gotten a fairly
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sizeable check for lobbying activities that -- with one bank shot could very easily benefit the turkish government. turkey is an ally. this is not, you know -- he wasn't necessarily doing any skull duggery in foreign policy, but he should have mentioned it. and clearly the lawyers vetting him should have asked questions that produced it even if he didn't volunteer the information. >> an l eye, but with a controversial head of government. >> absolutely. he is becoming increasingly authoritarian. he's doing all kinds of things that the united states certainly under the obama administration protested, but they are also immensely important in syria and lots of other places. he is someone trump is going to have to deal with. there could have been a legitimate reason to try to have a good relationship with him through flynn, but this is not the way to do it. >> molly, i could not help but
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chuckle a little bit when i saw the white house reaction to the jobs numbers this morning. i mean, this was -- you would think that these were numbers that they were always, you know, confident in, that they were not fake news. but during the campaign, the president said, oh, no, no, no, the unemployment rate is more like 42%. what do you make of this huge 180 that they're doing on the numbers? should the president have ever said these things about the numbers? >> our problem is how we calculate labor force participation, unemployment rate. there are so many people that are not -- >> it's not exact science? >> we have new problems with labor force participation. so many able bodied people out of work, discouraged whatnot. when you talk about the fakeness of that, that is something that should be dealt with. there are rumblings right at the beginning of the trump administration they would and i was kind of surprised. if they were to reflect the true unemployment rate, that would
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reflect -- it would make it look like things are worse than they are. it would make things look worse for the trump administration. they're happy with the change. these are good changes. you do see a decrease in the unemployment rate. you do see this huge influx of jobs or increase of jobs. those are good things. the problems with the structural problems remain and people should pressure -- >> but a.b., to the other point, here we are dealing with unemployment numbers that the president once described as illegitimate. doesn't he have a credibility problem on this issue? or is it just, oh, you know, trump is being trump, he said these things during the campaign, we don't hold him accountable for these things, water under the bridge. >> i think that it is true, that there's been a market rally that is really historic. i think that he -- consumer confidence and other indicators have shown february might have looked it was going to be a good month. in terms of the regulatory environment, there is much more optimism after obama into the trump administration. that said, among his own
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supporters, he has a credibility problem. they know and they laugh. even though they support him, if he doesn't like a news story it's fake. if he doesn't like bureau labor statistic numbers because it's obama, all of that is trump, they accept it. it's about whether or not every month when these numbers come out, we remind him of that. he can ever grow his base past 40% of the country. >> it reminds me of during the campaign, i always felt his supporters didn't always believe what he said, but they liked the way he said it. ed, this whole situation with the secretary of state rex tillerson going on this trip to asia without his press along with him for the ride, which is just a huge departure from a tradition in washington. if you're a secretary of state, you travel with your press. he's not doing it in this case. you were going to be on that trip. what in the heck is going on there? i mean, that's just baffling. >> it's baffling if you sort of look at history, right? and you say this is the way american secretaries of state do
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public diplomacy. you arrive in a foreign country in the big blue and white united states of america plane. you get off the plane. you shake hands with people. there is a red carpet. you embody the united states walking into another country and doing diplomacy. he's not doing that. the trump administration isn't doing that, and he as its chief diplomat isn't. as far as not taking the press, he hasn't really taken a full complement of press on any trip so far. he's had two very brief foreign trips. this is really his first solo outing doing kind of a traditional american secretary of state press -- >> maybe he's not used to this sort of thing at exxon/mobil. >> he's used to flying around the world on a jet with one or two staff members. he has a different job now. >> representing this country. >> exactly. >> a.b., ann, molly, thank you so much. maybe the press will hit you at some point during this trip.
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they change their minds. thanks very much, ladies. tune in to melania trump, the making of a first lady that will air tonight at 9:00 eastern. the white house says the deadly raid in yemen was a great success, but my next guest went to the scene and spoke to eyewitnesses there and they tell a very different story. plus pope francis suggests he's open to priests being married but there's more to it if he wants to change church rules. and we'll explain that straight ahead. (man vo) it was may, when dad forgot how to brush his teeth. (woman vo) in march, my husband didn't recognize our grandson. (woman 2 vo) that's when moderate alzheimer's made me a caregiver. (avo) if their alzheimer's is getting worse, ask about once-a-day namzaric. namzaric is approved for moderate to severe alzheimer's disease in patients who are taking donepezil. it may improve cognition and overall function,
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welcome back to lead. the world lead, everyone who tried to run they killed them. that is one of the shocking eyewitness accounts . u.s. special forces raid in yemen. first major military engagement of donald trump's presidency, the intercepts iona craig went to the site of the gun battle and said the village was nearly obliterated. dozens of civilians, men, women children killed, buildings demolished and bullets reigning fr -- raining from above. the white house has said the operation in which navy seal ryan owens died was a great success and anyone who questions the success of this raid including john mccain does a disservice to his memory. cnn's barbara starr is live at the pentagon.
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barbara, a u.s. commander is now saying this mission is on him, but the military still is telling a very different story. isn't that right? >> reporter: well, they are, jim. and i don't really think it's very surprising. we've seen this very often in the past when there are fire fights when there are confrontations in front line war zones, if you will. often the military has a view of what happened, and civilians on the ground have very credible eyewitness reports of what they say happened to them. in this case, this seal raid in yemen in late january has continued to be controversial. the top commander saying he accepts responsibility that civilians died, that a navy seal died, but he tried to explain why he believes there was no misconduct. >> when i go through these things, there are some specific things i am looking for. i am looking for information gaps where we can't explain what happened in a particular situation, or we have
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conflicting information between members of the organization. i am looking for indicators of incompetence or poor decision making or bad judgment throughout all of this. so, what i can tell you is that we did an exhaustive after-action review on this. i presided over that. it was to me. it went down to a level that included people who were on the specific objective. as a result of that, i was satisfied that none of those indicators that i identified to you were present. >> reporter: now, the navy seals u.s. military forces did not remain on the ground in yemen so they have only been able to come to some judgments, some assessment about what they think happened. they say they went into this village to raid a compound looking for al qaeda intelligence. they were opened up on fire from all sides, multiple directions. their assessment is that it is likely the villagers, some villagers, plus al qaeda, took up arms against them. they believe the villagers
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probably thought that they were rival tribal factions. there had been fighting in the area in the past, and that maybe their village that night was being invaded somehow by some rival factions. that's an assessment that they have come to. it may never be exactly known exactly what happened. jim? >> barbara starr, thank you. joining me now is the intercepts [ inaudible ]. iona, as we just heard the general in charge of this said no bad decisions were made in the yemen raid, you were on the ground there. tell us what you know. >> certainly from the evidence that i saw, there was all three of those categories were filled. there was poor decision making, bad judgments, and incompetence. i think to start with, even carrying out this raid without fully understanding that every single man within hearing distance of a gunshot, within hearing distance of a helicopter was going to come running because of the current context
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of the civil war. they believed they were coming to running to fight, not americans, but huthis, by the way, americans were also supporting to fight against at the moment. they did believe their village was being raided but not by rival tribes. they believed it was the forces they had been fighting for -- fighting against, sorry, since 2014. so, i don't think -- i mean, that was a clear reign of bad judgment. clearly the raids when they knew they were compromised, they knew that the people inside the village had a heads up they were coming, possibly al qaeda knew they were coming. still they decided to carry on the mission. i think that would be a poor decision. and then to call an entire village with gun fire [ inaudible ]. that clearly happened and that's what i saw from the ground. >> and iona, a pentagon
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spokesman would not respond to your article. i think that's right. but they are strongly defending this decision to call in those air strikes because they say the seals were pinned down. what do you make of that claim? >> the seals i mentioned were pinned down because men in the village did come to fight, because they didn't know they were fighting navy seals. they didn't know they were going to have helicopter gunshot fire raining down as a consequence of doing that. but what they hit during that were civilians. i spoke to a 5-year-old boy who described running from that hillary clinton gun ship fire as he was shot at from behind as he ran with his mother and his mother was subsequently killed. and that's -- there were more than a dozen buildings that i walked into that had been hit or destroyed by those helicopters and air strikes. >> iona, i wanted to ask you because you tell us what you think you observed and brought back from the story, but i mean just being there on the ground
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and looking at the scene, what did you see? what would you tell our viewers and people about what you saw there? was this a massacre? >> yeah, these were devastated civilians. these were families, many of whom have now left the village. and that raid that night was not the end. the village has been routinely bombed now since the 1st of march for continuous nights of both joint strikes and more helicopter gun ship fire that killed another two children earlier this week, that killed another three adults. so, these are very angry people. >> there is obviously an anti-american sentiment there. are you concerned that they weren't telling you the truth? what do you make of that? >> there wasn't an anti-american sentiment before this raid happened. absolutely wasn't. and even the head of the village sheikh, he was quite clear the revenge will come from god and not from him. but a lot of them were -- had a
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lot of anti-american sentiment after what happened. before they had no intention of fighting america, the men that i spoke to. but afterwards, yes, because they had had their women and children who had been killed in that raid. >> fascinating look at that story, iona craig, thank you so much for being on the ground and reporting what you saw. thank you. we appreciate it. pope francis talking about potentially shaking up the catholic church by allowing married priests. why now? that's next. go, go! [ rock music playing ] have fun with your replaced windows. run away! [ grunts ] leave him! leave him! [ music continues ] brick and mortar, what?! [ music continues ] [ tires screech ] [ laughs ] [ doorbell rings ] when you bundle home and auto insurance with progressive, you get more than a big discount. that's what you get for bundling home and auto! jamie! you get sneaky-good coverage. thanks.
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we are back with our faith lead. pope francis is no stranger to surprising the catholic church with some of his comments on a whole range of sensitive issues from home owe sexuality to abortion now the head of the catholic church says he may be open to the idea of some married men becoming ore daned as
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priests. is he eyeing a shake up by possibly breaking away from the celibacy requirement? cnn vat cann correspondent has the answer. >> reporter: jim, it is an important comment by pope francis that he would be open to the possibility of ordaining catholic married men as priests. it would go some ways, he said, to helping the shortage of priests in some areas around the world. now, it's important to say that the pope here is not talking about allowing priests to get married. that's usually what we mean when we talk about married priests. the pope says he upholds the long-standing catholic tradition of priestly celibacy, not allowing priests to get married. but he would be open to the idea of a certain group of married men that they call in latin the tested men, men of faith and virtue, who could be ordained. we could say these were comments made in a newspaper interviewsoo there's been no action taken by the pope on this issue yet.
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presumably if he were to go ahead with it, it would require him to meet and debate the issue first amongst the bishops and issue a papal document with regards to how he intends to implement this proposal. we could also say that in the catholic church there are already married priests. these are protestant clergy who became catholic who were allowed to continue as married priests in the catholic church. there are also, of course, eastern churches who have a long-standing tradition of married priesthood. so, there is a married priesthood in the catholic church. it's just that this opening would be for catholic married men to become priests. jim? >> thank you. be sure to tweet the show the lead. jake tapper's guest, a big lineup, senators john mccain and cory booker, it all starts at 9:00 a.m. eastern. i'm jim accosta in for jake tapper. have a great weekend, everybody. i turn you over to wolf blitzer.
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he's in "the situation room." >> happening now, failure to disclose. growing controversy over former national security advisor retired general michael flynn who only disclosed this week that he was a foreign agent paid to represent turkish interests, even as he advised president trump. the white house says the president didn't know about it. so, why now? no evidence congressional leaders who met with the fbi director say they've still seen no evidence to back the president's claim that he was wiretapped by president obama. is the fbi chief ready to go public? willing to deal, as conservatives dig in against an obamacare replacement plan, the president may be willing to meet them halfway. but would that be far enough? and would it be too far for moderates who worry how the voters will