tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN March 10, 2017 5:00pm-6:01pm PST
pardon me. my apologies. my apologies. >> i'm sorry. kid with the walker is where i really cracked up. never mind the little one with the belly and the dancing. feels like my life. thanks for joining us. "ac 360" with john berman starts now. >> john berman in for anderson. the economy added 235,000 jobs last month. tonight the trump administration eliminated 44. u.s. attorneys, the country's most important federal prosecutors, all obama appointees, told the quit. this and of itself is not unusual. these political appointees are often asked to resign during political transition. but tonight some never even had the chance before they found out through media reports. speaking of the media, the administration acted just a day after a prominent right-wing talk show host loudly called for
a purge. jessica schneider has been working on this. what are you learning? >> the president has phoned two u.s. attorneys tonight telling them he's declining to accept their resignation. those are the two acting deputy attorney general dana bente and rod rosenstein, up for deputy attorney general. we saw his confirmation hearings this week. as for the firings of the other 44, those came swiftly and abruptly. the people i talked with said they were flabbergasted this happen sod suddenly, no notice. it is normani for a president to want his own u.s. attorney appointees but in this case the remaining 44 u.s. attorneys who had been appointed by president obama, they had no notice and some like you mentioned found out through media reports. others just from a department of justice press release. one source saying this could not have been handled any worse. another one saying you don't just tell people to clean out their desks effective at midnight tonight, especially since some of those u.s.
attorneys are traveling right now. of course, john, you did mention that right-wing talk show host calling for the purge. that was actually sean hannity last night saying in his words it's time now for the president to fire anyone and everyone who is actively working against him. sean hannity even cited the fact bill clinton fired 93 u.s. attorneys when he took office, but tonight people are noting that those u.s. attorneys got a lot more notice than this time around. i did talk to a previous u.s. attorney who said that, you know, when president obama came in, he was given eight months' notice and he se this is just bad for morale at the department of justice. >> joining us is matthew axelrod, served as a deputy to acting attorney general general sally yates before she was fired. matt, your reaction to this news and how it was handled. >> both surprising and
disappointing. itis not unusual the president would want his own appointees in mace and that's typical and u.s. attorneys are typically asked to resign at some point in time. what's so unusual here is the timing and that people were asked to resign by the end of the day. a lot of these women and men have been in department for 20 or 30 years and that's how their service is ending, being told to go by the end of the day. that's what's so surprising. >> i appreciate it may be difficult for these people and their staffs, but in the end, is this more than anything than just about feelings if they all knew this was coming eventually? >> it is. these are the chief federal law enforcement officers in their districts and spent years building relationship with state and local law enforcement leaders, other federal law enforcement agency heads in their districts and those relationships are very important and important to the mission of the department of justice. those relationships take time to transition and that time has
been deprived because of the u.s. attorneys were asked to go by the end of the day. >> what needs to happen in this transition from one u.s. attorney to another? >> typically there would be meetings with law enforcement leaders so the outgoing u.s. attorney could introtus the leaders to the incoming u.s. attorney who usually is and in this case will be career law enforcement professionals who are working in the office. their work is mostly e internally focused whereas the u.s. attorney has been the public face of the office and working externally. those transitions are very important. >> have you had a chance to talk to any of your former co-workers, these u.s. attorneys? are they literally told to get a box and be out of the office by the end of the day? >> i have had an opportunity to speak with some of them. these are apolitical people, the chief federal law enforcement officers in their districts,
many serving for 20 years, 30 years, through democratic and republican administrations alike. they are not ideologues. they are on the front lines every day prosecuting terrorists and child pornographers and violent criminals. i don't think they were told to get a box and p be out by the end of the day but they were told today would be their last day. >> do they blame sean hannity for bringing it up yesterday and having it happen today? i think people are at a loss to understand why it hammed today. this actually was an issue that was discussed with the -- during the transition and the transition team made a recommendation to the white house to keep the u.s. attorneys on for some period of time to allow for an orderly transition. i think people are just uncertain as to what changed so that now it happened in the manner that it did. >> matt axelrod, thanks for being with us. appreciate the discussion. let's bring in our panel. jason miller.
maggie haifrman who had the story of these firings first. kayleigh mcenany is here. kirsten powers is with us as well. also former south carolina democratic legislator bakari sellers. maggie, you broke the story. exactly what's the controversy here if there is a controversy and is it fair? >> every president gets to clean house. they don't all do it in the same way but they get to put in their own people and that is always the case. what was unusual again as we said earlier was the abrupt nature of how this took place. all done in sort of personal phone calls throughout the day, on a friday, and be out by the end of the day, clean out your desk by the end of the day. this one that is most interesting and not much attention outside new york but a big story in new york is the senate district united states attorney who oversees a ton of corruption cases including ones
involving governor cuomo, big de blasio and who met personally with then president-elect donald trump who asked him to stay on. he told reporters he agreed to stay on. jeff sessions had also asked him to. that's the one that was the most surprising because he's not being exempted in this request for a resignation. what that means for those cases remains to be seen and in terms of the timing of why they did it now, i've heard from two white house officials who said they've been planning on this for a long time. but that as haufen been the case with the trump administration it was not rolled out in a very smooth way. >> ferrara told he was going to stay on and --? as we often see with this president, he'll say something and something different happens. >> as we often see with him, he watches cable news of all varieties. we know he watches sean hannity, he's friends with sean hannity. it doesn't feel like a coincidence that hannity yesterday calls for a purge inside the justice department and today there is one.
>> this would have surprised mae little bit, certainly as you talked about in the lead-in, it's up to every president. they want to replace folks and put in who they want in that position. certainly whether it's at the u.s. attorney level, whether we're talking ambassadors, the president should be able to put his own people in. but today on friday, the only thing we should be talking about are 235,000 jobs, great jobs announcement. i felt it was stepped on. a little bit of a head scratcher. i know the president's probably in my opinion one of the greatest geniuses of anyone out there. it really surprised me this came out today and they moved like this. >> kirsten powers, a former trump communications guy, says that the trump white house just bungled the communications on this. is that fair? >> i guess, unless they wanted to do it on a friday and so they figured something they didn't want to necessarily get a lot of attention and typically that's when you do something like this. so it could be that they thought by monday this story will be over. i think that, you know, i went back and looked at what
republicans said when bill clinton did this. he actually fired all 93. and they called it extreme and unprecedented. >> the reason there weren't 93 today is so many had already left. it would have been 93 probably. >> extreme and unprecedented when bill clinton did it and they were actually given time and people were held over until you had people to come in and take over for them. what's unusual about this is there are ongoing investigations that people are handling and if they're being told to clean out their desk and leave then these investigations are just being left, you know, in the middle of them with nobody for them to transition them to a new person. that is extreme. >> there are legal considerations. >> there's no reason for it. >> kayleigh, what about that? >> we've seen these transitions before and they don't have to be this. >> as kristen mentioned, bill clinton fired 93, reagan fired 89. this is not unusual. people are saying it's uns predented the way trump did it. what's also unprecedented and unusual is this administration
is being beset by latin americas. every day we get a new story leaking confidential information, people committing felonies, leaking informs about fisa warrants potentially, all sorts of information. that's unusual. that's unprecedented. i frankly am glad donald trump took sean hannity's advice or anyone else's, i don't care where it came from, communications-wise jason might be right, maybe not the right way to to it but substantively speaking, getting rid of people who are leaking left and right, obama holdout sas very smart move. >> to be clear, president trump himself sort of leaked the idea of fisa warrants. president trump himself is the one who very publicly said he was being wiretapped right there. so it's not just leakers inside who are fomenting this. but kary, bill clinton did fire 93 u.s. attorneys. he did. this does happen. >> yeah. i don't think -- i think politically speaking it's not that big of a story because it's something that has happened, just to contradict my friend, kag leigh, slightly, the calls, the leaks, the sources are
coming from within the house. and i don't think they're coming from these dedicated public servants who are now united states attorney s. this political jousting has been going on for a long period of time. myself, for example, i was hoping to be one of the people considered to be the next united states attorney from south carolina. i don't think i'm going to get the phone call for this president. however, i do understand that jousting has been going on for a long period of time. i currently work for a former united states attorney, so i know this on its face is not that big of a story. but what keirsten was talking about is the problem is the problem with this trump white house. it goes to michael flynn, goes to a lot of things. the transition team, it was horrible. with all due respect to my friend jason who was on the transition team at that time, they failed to do their job and do it adequately. now you get to a point you have cases which are open and people leaving today. we have these day to day line attorneys that work every single day to make these cases on behalf of the federal government. and yes, they are trying to
prosecute terrorism and, yes, they are trying to prosecute child sexual conduct, children sexual conduct and exploitations. now they're left without any guide, any direction whatsoever? you have high-profile cases not just right here in new york, but throughout the country that are going on that these united states attorneys are leading that now they have no home. >> all right. we'll find out perhaps in next few days what the justice department intend to do. next, late word on the president's wiretap allegations. we were just talking about them. a new big flashing sign that lawmakers investigating it may be losing their patience with the white house. later, today's jobs report, the kind that candidate trump used to slam in this remarkable admission from the white house, they were phony then but now they're real. really? [ sighs ]
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lawmakers have said they see no evidence of supposed wiretapping. tonight a white house source tells us the president has not spoke on the fbi director james comey about this or anything all week. also today another michael flynn eruption. he was working as a foreign agent for another country during the campaign and getting paid for it. big-league and bigly. there are questions tonight about what that white house new back then and later what he was vetted, if you could call it that at this point for the national security job. more from cnn's jeff zeleny. >> reporter: was president trump aware his first national security adviser adviser, general michael flynn, was
registered as a foreign agent to represent the government of turkey? >> so we're clear, general flynn filed with the department of justice two days ago. >> reporter: sean spicer said his lobbying business was private and took place before he joined the administration. although at the same time he was advising the trump campaign last year. >> that is not up for the government to determine. there are certain private citizens' activities you conduct and you seek counsel on or professional advice. >> reporter: flynn's contract with the government of turkey ended after the election. spicer dismissed a series of questions about the lobbying disclosure. >> no, no, no. the person who was in line to be the national security adviser may need to register as a foreign agent. if that doesn't raise a red flag -- >> it's not a question of raising a red flag, john. it's a question of whether or not they gave him the advice they're supposed to. >> on day 50 of the trump presidency, this was the latest distraction at the white house. it's been a full week now since
president trump leveled the explosive accusation that president trump was spying on him at trump tower, but again today still no evidence. >> thank you all very much. we're fwing to get to work. >> reporter: asked three times, the president wouldn't say whether he had any proof to back up his unsubstantiated charges. white house is focusing on health care. >> that's what people 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 today he's seen no evidence but suppose the question will come up when james comey testifies on capitol hill later this month. >> 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: chairman devin nunez echoed hi comment from earlier this week he had not seen any proof to back up the president's claims. >> we want to find that out but at this point i don't have anything to tell you. >> jeff zeleny, we're learning about a deadline to produce evidence, aren't we. >> we are indeed. the house intelligence committee has given the department of justice a deadline. they say by next week on monday they want any relevant information on this wiretapping allegations. now, so far as you said, no one has said that they have seen anything, not a democrat, not a republican, no one here at the white house except the president, but he hasn't talked about it. they are giving hem a deadline on monday. this is all building toward that first hearing on march 20th, a week from monday. fbi director james comey one of the first witnesses to be called. >> the question is how much will he say. jeff zeleny, thanks for being with us. pack with the panel. jason miller, fbi director james comey, the president hasn't spoken to him this week about
this or anything. does that seem odd to you? >> no, i don't think so. it will russia stuff or whether the taps, this is going to go to the house intel committee. they'll investigate it. they'll put forth their report. they'll frakt there. i'm certainly not going to get ahead of the white house on this. one of the things i would point out is there hasn't been any evidence that's been put forward saying that the trump campaign or anyone in trump world was colluding with the russians, but still seems okay to go and chase down that rabbit hole. what we do know as a matter of fact is that there were people who are being tapped. we know there were two fisa court applicatioapplications, o rejected, one accepted. >> there were reports of fisa reports, yes. >> but they were talking about the fact there were specific conversations where they had transcripts of people's phone conversations. we know with mathematical certainty that there was tapping that was going on. now, we'll leave it to the house spell committee to get to the bottom of it.
>> there were reports there was tapping going on. there's no evidence at all according to anyone who's spoke than president obama ordered wiretapping of president trump, which is a world away, a universe away from there being investigations on somebody maybe connected to trump world and having there be wiretaps on them. >> i'd push back a little bit and say we do know absolutely that the administration ordered it because otherwise how would the phones be getting tapped and getting this? >> the administration is a broad term talking about the justice department or intelligence services. they're technically all part of the administration. but i understand your point. >> folks were being tapped, to be clear. we know that. we read it in "the new york times." >> the russian ambassador phones. >> what we read in "the new york times" is there was team surveillance on the russian ambassador. people don't like the word routine surveillance, you know, those two words together, and that's understandable, but that is as we know it where those transcripts came from. any broader suggestion there is no confirmation of the fisa
court order report and certainly there is nothing so far that we've heard that substantiate what is president trump said about his predecessor. >> michael flynn, the former very briefly serving national security adviser. the type of thing that maybe should have come um during the vetting process that he was working as a foreign agent for turkey and getting paid a lot for it during the campaign? >> look, i think you're right, it should have come um in the vetting process and particularly today during the perress briefi when spicer was asked a question about you had the transition attorney who was informed about this and instead of directing that, why didn't that information get disseminated to trump himself for someone in the hiring process. he kind of didn't have an answer to that. my inclination, i believe the white house didn't know about this. i believe they didn't know he was considering registering as a foreign agent but i think it was overlooked in the transition process. my father always said if you have to eat crow, eat crow now. the southern way of saying it sometimes you have to own up to
the fact we missed this one, it was overlooked and that's what sean should have done today. >> bakari? >> that's not true because the white house did know about it and the vice president sefkally knew about it. elijah cummings sent a letter directly to the vice president of the united states during the transition process letting him know that there were relationships between michael flynn and turkey. and so when we're talking about what the white house knew and when they knew it, which is a famous phrase, from before i was born, if i may say, i do think that the ineptitude of the transition is something we keep coming back to, something we talked about in the first segment, something we talk about now, and something we'll talk about in the future. >> the vice president never got that specifically and that letter by the way was sent the day he was hired so it never made it into the vice president's -- >> the fact that the vice president during a transition period never got a letter that informed him from a ranking member of a house committee that there were nefarious relationships or at least relationships he should be aware of just shows the flaws in the
transition process. i think that's all i'm saying. i'm saying that this transition process did not live up to the standards and for anyone to say what the white house didn't know about it is willful ignorance at best. >> i want to talk about another series of data points that we got over the last 48 hours people are looking at and going, hmm, that's odd. faraj from great britain who is friends with donald trump and was pushing the brexit met with julian assange of wikileaks, walked into the ecuadorian embassy in london, had a meeting with assange and wikileaks released all that stuff hacked during the election, you know, it's one of these things where i don't know if you can connect the tots but there are a lot of dots here. >> there are a lot. we have to be careful about speculating about things we don't know. there are things that look bad. it doesn't mean we necessarily know that somehow that was connected to things that were happening with donald trump. i'm a little -- i like to wait and see and get more facts before i start making
accusations. can we go back to this fisa stuff? >> sure. >> you're saying that we know people were being tapped, if you want to accept that. then that is more of an indictment of the trump people than anybody else because if that happened, that means a fisa court had reason to believe that they were doing something nefarious. so that's what's sort of ironic about this accusation is that indirectly donald trump is sort of saying that they were doing something wrong. unless you believe the fisa court just lets them go and taps whoever they want. the other thing i was going to say is why doesn't he declassify this? if this is true, why doesn't he declassify the information around it and release it and let everybody see it? >> i'd push back and say what we saw with this previous administration so, many aspects of the federal government becoming politicized, whether it's the irs targeting people, certainly the folks of the clinton campaign would take issue with the way that the certain aspects of law enforcement was run, particularly during this past year. and i think bakari would probably agree with me on that one. >> that's the height of irony
for you to invoke director comey in your it was. >> but, look, i think the fact we've seen so much of this happen before, i mean, we don't know the details on it, clearly it was rejected one time, gone with another time, but all this is is a big chase down the rabbit hole to smear p president and say there's some sort of foreign involvement that made him win when the fact of the matter was he ran a better campaign -- again, the president may have dug this rabbit hole himself with that tweet last week. we'll find out more in next eight days p. >> we know from "the new york times" they were recording conversations -- >> recording someone else's conversations weather e don't know with whose and why. >> they did not tap donald trump and if you can't say that, that's the ultimate rabbit hole being chased. >> thanks, girs. up next, president trump and the white house press secretary are praising the new jobs report, the same kind of report candidate trump used to call phony. knowing where you stand has never been easier. except when it comes to retirement. at fidelity, you get a retirement score in just 60 seconds. and we'll help youe decisions for your plan...
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235,000 jobs last month. again, the trump team is taking credit for the numbers but keeping them honest on the campaign trail including back last february when 237,000 jobs were added, more than last month, and back to last may, when the unemployment rate first hit 4.7%, then candidate trump had a darker view of the numbers even suggesting the obama administration was cooking the books. >> the unemployment number is totally fictional. the 5% figure is one of biggest hoaxes in american modern politics. it is such a phony number. don't believe those phony numbers. that number, 5.2%, is such a phony number. >> we have a statistic, 5%, doesn't exist. that number was put to make presidents and politicians look good. okay? it's not a real number. >> the unemployment rate is probably 20%. we probably have a 25% unemployment number. when you hear 4.9% and 5%
unemployment, the number's probably 28%, 29%, as high as 35%. i hear 5.3% unemployment! that is the biggest joke there is in this country. >> all right. so are the numbers phony or are they real? white house press secretary sean spicer, he knew he would get that question today and he did have an answer. >> i talked to 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. >> a lot to discuss. join us former labor secretary robert reich, professor at uc, berkeley, and author of saving capitalism. steven moore, a senior economic adviser to the trump campaign, now cnn senior economics analyst. steven, you are supportive of the president's policies, not always his words. the words today from the white house on these job numbers, somewhere between rank hypocrisy and admission that during the
campaign you just sort of make stuff up. >> well, john, you're burying the lead a little with that question because the main point is that it was a good jobs report, kind of -- >> we'll get tho that. i promise. >> but anyways, look, i know on the campaign trail that, you know, donald trump was saying things like you can't believe these numbers, they're made up and so on. i never believed that. i don't think that's what he meant. i think what he meant is the statistic on what the unemployment rate is true today and true a year or two or three years ago about less than 5% unemployment isn't true. we have so many people that can't find a full-time job. we have so many people that have exited the workforce for one reason or another that we're not anywhere near full employment in my opinion. i don't know if robert reich would agree with that. but we've still got a lot of the work to do to rebuild this labor market. >> that's not what e this said during the campaign or today. >> but, you know -- >> i understand. >> take it literally. >> what he said today is my jobs
are real and the jobs before weren't. that's what he said. secretary, weigh in. >> i think steve smoor absolutely right, don't take donald trump literally about anything. what he said during the campaign, what he says now, i want to side with steve a little bit on the substance here, and that is that we do have in this country a continuing big problem with labor participation, that is the percentage of people who are of working age and who are not in the workforce for one reason or another, many who are too discouraged to look for work. that is a big and continuing problem. today's labor market jobs report is good news, but it's not particularly better than it was february of february 2016 or february of 2015. about the same number. it's a continuation of a recovery, a jobs recovery, that started about seven years ago and it's good news, i'm glad it's continuing. donald trump cannot take any credit for this at all, even his own head of the national
economic council, gary cohen said that he's not -- you know, it's too early for donald trump to take any credit for these numbers. >> go ahead. >> i mean, look, the economy really turned around and the stock market really turned around on a dime on november 7th of 2016. we saw the rocketing forward of the stock market, we saw in previous months, bob, the highest rate of consumer confidence and investor confidence that we've seen in 25 years. there's something going on here, john, in my opinion, and i think there's a new bounce in the step of the economy. bob is right you can't judge an economy by one or two months' jobs report, but everything that has happened since the election has really been very positive. you can't point to much neg they've's happened since the election in terms of -- >> i'm not pointing to anything negative, steve. i'm simply saying this is a direct continuation of what we had before. the only thing that happened -- wait a minute. the only thing that happened on election day and nearby election
tay, soon after election day, was the stock market took off. now, we're talking about jobs today. this is a jobs report. the stock market reflects expectations of investors about future profits. >> true. >> obviously they expect a huge corporate tax cult and a lot of regulations being slashed and that's going to improve corporate profits, but it says nothing about jobs. >> hang on, steven, because jamie donovan says donald trump has awakened the animal instincts in the market and the business community, as disturbing as that imagery might be on one hand, does he have a point? we talk to ceos all the time who tell us that because of the tax cults you're talking about, mr. secretary, because of the regulation cuts, they are more optimistic and perhaps more willing to invest in their own companies. >> wait a minute. there's no sign that they are investing more. in fact, what we've seen is that they are buying up their own stocks, yes. they are doing more akwy significants. yes. but there's no sign they're investing more in jobs here in
the united states. >> i see it very differently, bob. i mean, look at what happened with factory orders in january. very positive. the preliminary results for february very positive. in fact, really good announcement bnumbers. that means companies are spending. you're right, you can't read too much into three or four months, we're in agreement, but so far you have to feel pretty good right now about the way this economy is moving. it's not great but it's pretty good. >> steven moore, secretary -- >> i feel pretty good about how it's looked over the last six or seven months. >> i feel pretty good about -- >> give donald trump credit. >> i feel good about this discussion. if i had economics teacherings like you guys i might be in business right now. thanks for being with us. >> thanks. just ahead, is that an icy chill blowing through the state department or just your imagination? secretary of state rex tillerson is holed up in his cone of silence even as evidence mounts he may be being sidelined.
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in the latest of a string of surprises coming out of the state department, starting with the cone of silence secretary tillerson has taken since taking the helm, fuel rug mors he's being sidelined. michelle kosinski reports. >> reporter: secretary of state rex tillerson meeting with iraq's oil minister but once again taking no questions from the press. many questions here lately conspicuously unanswered. like the state department press office not even being told that mexico's foreign minister eventually secretary tillerson's equivalent, was in d.c. to meet not with tillerson but with white house adviser and trump son-in-law jared kushner and two other officials. >> we'll take that and get back to you. i was unaware he was -- foreign minister was in town. >> reporter: it turns out according to a mexican official that the foreign minister did talk to rex tillerson by phone just before his trip and they randomly bumped into each other at a restaurant wednesday night where they did briefly talk
face-to-face. the official says the kushner meeting was more a casual gathering, just a continuation of progress in an important relationship that has been repeatedly rattled by donald trump's tweets and statements. it's not only the mexican foreign minister meeting that rex tillerson has not been a party to. diplomatic sources say there have been other meetings with foreign officials and, again, jared kushner. one source says the chinese ambassador now feels he need to deal primarily with, yes, kushner. a former top state department official say diplomats want to see rex tillerson succeed but many feel that's not happening right now. they feel jared kushner is essentially acting as secretary of state and they wonder why tillerson would want to take a job where he might appear sidelined. even if that was just an appearance, it still matters the influence you have when you do meet with world leaders. top positions at state remain unfilled, press briefings just started this week, and tillerson
has resisted bringing a press corps with him on trips, even the extremely important visit days from now to china, south korea, and japan. prompting senator ed markey to call on tillerson to allow better access, saying he is sending a dangerous signal to other countries about the u.s. commitment to a vibrant media. the decision to exclude reporters from your trip falls into a broader pattern of efforts by the trump administration to sideline and undermine the press. the white house says tillerson's just trying to save money by not bringing along a press corps, an odd response considering journalists pay for their own travel. the state department says it's still being worked out. from tillerson himself, though, no comment. michelle kosinski, cnn, the state department. >> joining me now global affairs analyst tony blinken who served as deputy secretary of state in the obama administration. tony, how concerning is it the fact that the state department wasn't even aware-the visit of
foreign minister and he didn't meet with his counterpart but jared kushner, the president's son-in-law? >> it is concerning and seems to be not an isolated event but part of a series. what i've heard from former colleagues at state is that a whole series of foreign leaders have come to town not met with the department or the secretary of state but have met with mr. kushner. it is concerning because it does seem to take state out of the foreign policy loop when it in fact is supposed to be at the forefront of what we're doing. >> two questions. is this intentional? do you think the administration is trying to take the state department out of the foreign policy loop? and from the other side, if you're coming here from china or mexico, why do you make the decision or allow yourself to be pushed toward white house official rather than state department? >> look, i don't know what's behind this. i think a few things are going on, though. first, look, mr. tillerson got off to a really good start when he came to the department the
first day. spoke to the entire team. made a very good first impression. but since then, he has not been front and center. apparently not been in a lot of meetings that are important at the white house, abroad, and as i said hasn't met with a number of senior foreign leaders coming to town. that tends to diminish your influence, and so when foreign leaders are coming, if they want to go to the place where they think they can have the biggest impact, and it starts to feed on itself. so the more word gets around that mr. kushner is the guy who's taking these meetings, the more foreign leaders will hook to meet with him. >> sean spicer, the white house press secretary, was asked today about this notion of a deep state, whether he thinks there are people inside the government working against the administration. listen to his answer. >> i think there's no question. when you have eight years of one party in office that there are people who stay in government or affiliated with, you know -- joined and continue to espouse
the agenda of the previous administration. so i don't think it should come as any surprise that there are people that burrowed into government during eight years of the last administration and, you know, may have believed in that agenda and want to continue to seek it. i don't think that should come as a surprise to anyone. >> again, as someone who has worked in the state department, tony, do you think in there's any merit to what he says? >> totally disagree. certainly not been my experience. i've worked in government for 24 years through three administrations, two democratic, one republican. during the republican administration i was in the senate, on the hill. but i work closely with career foreign service officers and civil servants throughout that period. and i can tell you almost to a person they are professionals, they're not ideologues, not partisans. they go to work every day trying to advance the interests of the united states. >> tony, great to have you with us. thanks so much. >> thanks, john. just ahead, america uncovered, a collision of faith and politics in the heartland. muslims who support president
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you expect. america uncovered try to get away from talking heads and see how the rhetoric affects real people. muslim americans in a chicago suburb. faced an anger and ugliness they never seen before. thanks to donald trump. >> i have some of my close friends that turn their back on me. >> pakistani americans and muslim, the backlash wasn't against their faith, but politics. >> i supported donald trump. >> rasheed campaigned for trump and got to immediate him. went to his inauguration. all of which earned them scorn from muslims. >> i had to receive comments like i never knew you were racist. you're anti-islamic. trader. brown guy trying to be white. >> trumps campaign about muslims bothered many people.
including his friend. attends the same mocsque. a life long republican who voted for hillary clinton. >> i was concerned about mr. trump's statement at the time. >> total and complete shutdown of muslims entering the united states until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on. >> how could you support a man who could seem to be so anti-muslim. the statement about the muslim ban came out. i wasoffended to be very honest. i took a deep breathe and looked at the message behind the statement. >> the message wasn't of discrimination. instead they heard trump identifying a problem they see in their own faith. one they say american leaders and even many muslims up until now have an openly faced.
violate radical extremism. >> the war is not out of islam. the first war we have to win is the war against the radical sgls the terrorism is a by product of war. trump is taking action against some muslims. to protect all americans. still they admit the first travel ban was a mistake. >> i think that was too much. i did not agree with him in the beginning. >> you think it's better now. >> it's a little better now. it is, but again, his message is he is not -- it's not he's hating all the muslims. he's just trying to protect the country as a president. that's his job. >> he sgredisagrees. saying the best way to protect america is not by shutting people out. >> i want to look and see america as being number one in the world, but i think it can do that by reaching out to the people. >> like many of donald trump's supporters rasheed and con say
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coming up here on cnn special report melania trump plaking of a first lady. hour ahead takes a look at incredible journey from she vienna to trump tower to white house. quick prove of randy's report. >> melania trump is to my imagination emerging as rather a m mona lisa of the first lady. appearance and posture she seems to signal a strong impression. it's a centered quality. it's a independent quality. >> an independent quality that adds to the mystery of melania trump. >> i see in some way the same expression on her face at every moment. i know she's hiding from us. to some degree i feel great
everyone think for her. it would be hard to be the one subject of so much attention and who knows that everyone is trying to figure out what's going on inside of you. when all you really want is to be a private person. >> now here's the full cnn special report. melania trump, the making of a first lady. >> the following is a cnn special report. her journey to the white house spans two continues innocents. melania trump turned wife of a bombastic billionaire suddenly in the spotlight herself. i will fight to the tend. i don't want to it damage my reputation and name. >> answering questions about past. >> he's an adult. he knows the consequences. >> and making promises ant the future.