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tv   New Day  CNN  March 17, 2017 3:00am-4:01am PDT

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there. no one has backed it up. his press secretary sean spicer was angry defending the president. again, despite intelligence officials and congressional leaders from both parties he faces growing resistance on a number of fronts from republican law makers blasting his budget for proposing cuts to programs that many in his base rely on. also the plan could sink as more republicans say they are against it. we're now in day 57 of the trump presidency. let's begin this morning with joe johns at the white house. good morning. >> good morning. this administration appears to be in crisis mode on multiple fronts with members of the president's own party flatly contradicting his wiretapping claims. some other members of the
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president's own party approaching open revolt on the issue of health care. so far the response from the white house has been digging in. hold on. hold on. let me -- i am trying to answer your question jonathan if you can calm down. >> white house secretary sean spicer defiant and combative. >> he stands by it but you're mischaracterizing what happened today. >> defending the president's claim former president obama wiretapped trump tower despite leaders from both parties saying there's no proof. >> we see no evidence of that. >> spicer continuing to justify the president's baseless accusation. >> there's widespread reporting that throughout the 2016 election there was surveillance done on a variety of people. >> the leader of the senate intelligence committee rejecting spicer's claim in the statement saying we see no indications
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that trump tower was the subject of surveillance. the republican chair of the house intelligence committee saying the president's wiretapping claim is wrong. >> do you have any evidence to suggest that any collection may have picked up donald trump's communications at all? do you have any evidence to suggest. >> other than general flynn we don't. >> the ranking democrat on that committee tells cnn he expects fbi director james comey to debunk it when he testifies before congress on monday. >> there's no evidence of this at all. >> this as the trump administration confronts sharp criticism over the president's budget proposal. >> we can't spend money on programs because they sound good. >> congressman harold rogers deeming the budget careless and counter productive. senator marco rubio says proposed cuts to the state department undermine america's ability to keep our citizens safe. the budget aims to slash billions from government
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agencies to boost military spending hitting hard, social services like after school programs for children and programs that feed the elderly. >> meals on wheels sounds great. that's a state decision to take the federal money and give it to the states. we want to give you money for programs that don't work. i can't defend that anymore. it's a wonderful program. it's one i would never vote to cut even one dollar. >> the white house also facing another sobering reality. the gop's health care bill may fall short of the votes needed to pass in the house. they now have 21 republicans saying they will vote no or are leaning against it. house leadership can't afford to lose another vote. >> play host to german chancellor angela merkel among other things hoping to get tips on how to handle russian
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president vladimir putin. >> it will be interesting to see what reporter she calls on and what they ask and if they ask about the wiretapping claims. white house press secretary sean spicer's combative and angry defense of the president's unproven claims is nothing short of extraordinary. here's more of that contentious press briefing. >> are you saying that the president still stands by his allegation that president obama ordered wiretapping or surveillance of trump tower despite the fact that the senate intelligence committee said they see no indication that it happened? >> first of all he stands by it but your mischaracterizing what happened today. >> i understand that and at the same time, they acknowledge that they have not been in contact with the department of justice. but again i go back to what i said at the beginning. it's interesting how at the same time where were you coming to the dense of that same
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intelligence committee and members when they said there was no connection to russia. you din seem to report it then. so you want to come men and perpetrator as false narrative when those individuals have gone out time and time again. when chairman nunez said there was no information that he's aware of that that existed. that got zero reporting. when he when out yesterday and said i think that's impossible. the bottom line is that the president said there's information coming forward and going on during the 2016 elections. where does the question? >> i believe he will. >> jim. >> you were just quoting sean hannity there. the house and senate intelligence committee. >> i get you're going to cherry pick. >> you're citing sean hannity. >> you also tend to overlook all the other sources there because i know you juan to cherry pick
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it. you do but where was your concern about the new york times report something you didn't seem to have a concern about that. >> we have done plenty of reporting on all of it. >> no you juan to cherry pick one piece of commentary. >> that's all been looked at. >> how do you know all of this? how are you such an expert in this. >> this has been looked at. >> how do you know it's been looked at? i'm sorry. can you tell me how you know that all of this has, quote, been looked at. >> you're asking me -- >> you made a statement, you said, quote, all of this has been looked at. so when your outlets said it's all been looked at. >> the presidents and the russians during the 2016 campaign it sounds like there might have been intercepted communications. the house intelligence committee chairman did mention that and we have reported that. others have reported that on our air and various publications but
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sean you are refusing to answer, the question you're refusing to answer is whether or not -- >> no, i just said jonathan. >> you have a senate house intelligence committee, both leaders from both parties on both of the panels saying they don't see any evidence of wiretapping. how can the president go on. >> your mischaracterizing what chairman nunez said. he said i think it's possible he's following up on this. you're stating that you somehow -- >> right. we have already cleared that up and he said exactly that but the president already said clearly when he referred to wiretapping he was referring to surveying. >> but it sounds like that you and the president were saying now we don't need wiretapping anymore. that's not true anymore. >> no, no. >> so now we need other forms or surveillance. >> that's cute but at the end of the day we talked about this for three or four days. he is referring to board
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surveillance. and when it does but where was the -- >> no, i think the president addressed that last night and said there's more to come. >> a tour de force of the concept of strong and wrong. that's what you just saw on display right there. let's bring in our panel. politics editor for the root and professor of politics and journalism. jason johnson, cnn political analyst david gregory and abby phillip. she was at yesterday's white house briefing. let's go with that impression. abby phillip, you're sitting in there and this is, i get it. they're upset. they don't like it. spicer doesn't like being chased. he feels that they're being chased more on this than on the
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russian contacts i get it all but he did not introduce a single piece of information. a single fact to back up anything he was upset about in substance about this claim by the president which was proven time and again to be baseless. what was it like. >> we had all been sitting there for about an hour before sean spicer came in. partly because he was probably trying to figure out how to deal with the issue. the statement had just come out not that long before that and what happened when he finally did start answering those questions was really an attempt to distract at the main issue at hand and there is no proof what the president is saying and he confirmed that there's never going to be a time it seems that the white house will be willing to acknowledge that the president may have been wrong or that he misspoke or that he
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maybe spoke without knowing all of the facts. and sean spicer made that very, very clear. every time he was pressed on the substance of what the president said, the subject was changed to something else about why we should have been outraged about some other unrelated issue and that went on for, there was a ten minute reading of news clips none of which bolsted the president's claims. it went on for quite sometime. >> that's right. he's fighting his own party on this. these are the republicans and democrats that have said unequivocally no evidence of wiretapping and paul ryan rep, evan nunez and attorney general sessions said no and representative adam schiff and mark warner. you have been in plenty of these press briefings. have you ever been in the middle
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of this one. >> yeah. i have been in worse than this is. this is a press corps at work and white house with a credibility problem on the defense. i thought this was respectful. all things considered. it got heated but only got heated because sean spicer is both in and has put himself in a very difficult position. to be the spokesman for a president that entered something completely unsubstantiated for which there is no evidence and for a president that is not willing to be accountable when he says something that is dem demonstrably untrue. presumably they'll pick up and continue to investigate whether there was incidental surveillance or information that was picked up as a result of any sort of surveillance, that was jermaine to an investigation into whether the trump campaign had contacts that were
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inappropriate for the russian government in a time when the russian government was trying to manipulate the election. everything else is a waste of time. sean spicer is trying to defend something for which there is no defense. he is trying to cherry pick other aspects of coverage that this white house pays such close attention to. any scrap to suggest there was something nefarious going on by the government. no indication that the obama administration ordered surveillance of trump tower. that was the claim, it's garbage. move on to the rest of the investigation. >> but as you know david i see these tuns as a gift because when the white house wants to make it about let's talk about what is fact and what is being spun or what is fake, it's an opportunity for journalism. spicer provided a lot of them yesterday. he said, hey, you guys didn't cover. when they said there's no connection to russia, nobody has
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said there's no connection to russia. nobody in the know. they said proof of collusion words matter. collusion means you are working with the russians. we see no proof of that. they're continuing to look there early in that process but no connection, we see nothing but connection. >> i mean, when clapper, when he said no evidence of collusion that was covered all over the place. >> sure, no question. you didn't go after the new york times is wrong. that piece of the new york times didn't mention anything like what the president is talking about. that's why i said strong and wrong. the problem they're going to have here though, if they stick to this, what happens? >> i see a man going through a break down. i wonder, i'm all serious about this. sean spicer has been a communications guy. i wonder if he goes home and flaunts himself every day after these meetings. his anger and frustration i don't think is entirely with the press. it's with the realization that he has to put his reputation out
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there to defend dishonest things his boss is saying. usually a press secretary is only two or three years in the job anyway but there's some sort of work. every morning he gets thrown into the deep end of the pool to explain behavior that is untrue and as a fundamentally honest man and i do believe he is an honest man he is frustrated he has to continue to defend dishonesty. >> do you agree? >> i think sean is in a tough spot. he is always out there as the spokesman for the white house for tuchlt s. government, for the president. needing to defend what his boss wants him to defend and he is out there doing this performance every day with his boss watching very very closely and making sure that he is doing the right thing so yeah this is an audience of one a lot of times for sean and virtually everybody else that goes out there on behalf of this white house.
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this president is very uncompromising about this idea of loyalty. are you going to go out there and defend me at all costs? and the president himself has talked about the question of will he ever acknowledge when maybe something is wrong. maybe he has something wrong and he said when you do that you give your enemies ammunition so i think it will be hard for someone like sean spicer to go against this sort of motivating force of his own boss that says, you know what, if we let them have this inch they will take a mile. we can't afford to have that. >> i think what's important here is in the media we don't have to make such ironclad judgments about all of this. this is good journalism at work. pounding away. asking questions, asking follow up. you say you vefd of surveillance, where is it? where is it day in and day out? we have all the major chiefs of
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the intelligence committee saying there is no substantiation of this. we keep investigating. as journalists we keep working. we don't have to go toe to toe with them on these issues. we can keep doing the job that reveals itself. >> remember the person that can get these answers the fastest is the president. he has chosen not to do so. thanks to you all. appreciate it. the president's budget proposal is also a big deal. once again triggering bipartisan out rage over deep cuts to social programs that impact a lot of low income people who are trump voters. why? is this just a starting point or are we going to look at another war? next.
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just barely a reflection within the gop about whether or not this is the right way to move forward. it's at 21 as of 11:00 p.m.
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eastern time last night. that is relevant because it mean ifs that many republicans don't vote for it they would not have enough vote to pass this bill. what does the white house do now? david gregory, we're going to have it on later today. he's going to be talking on the show about how he feels about his own count and this is unusual to be fighting with your own and something fundamental. but assuming they're anywhere near 21, what does that mean about what needs to get done. >> they have to negotiate over this bill and the speaker has to exercise his leadership. i keep thinking about what john boehner said, why there would never be a replacement on obamacare and he said because republicans never agreed on the way forward for health care. the only problem to me is that
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it's capturing a moment in time that would move. ultimately the white house would drive some of that. i do think this would ultimately test and it keeps moving through committee despite disagreement the more he's going to get members to get on board. if they want to see anything like tax reform or some of that promise will be look some of these things will be dealt with once they get to a conference committee. >> professor it's a very porn point. it made it through these three committees so far and what law makers on the house side right now that want to be the lawmakers that break this. you saw lisa running away because she did not want to answer the simple question of how this is going -- how she was going to vote, right? i mean they may not love this
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bill or even like it but they also don't want to be the one to break it. >> they don't want to be the one to break it but they're also the ones that will suffer the consequences at the voting booth. that's why they're concerned but john boehner said they're not going to be able to figure this out. that's why i said before the replacement bill will come out on wednesday after the midterm. i don't think anybody right now wants to push this bill through as much as the republicans want to do tax reform and you have to get rid of it before you can do tax reform. they see these town halls and they don't want to face the consequences for it and unless donald trump can convince them i'll visit every single district and make sure that you get elected they're not going to do it. >> this is the first time they have been in the cross hairs of getting it done. this is the same problem that they're dealing with on the budget side to the professor's
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point sounds good until you have to pay for those cuts at the polls in your own district. this got sumd up really well in an interview with pete alexander and the budget man. listen to this. >> we can't spend money on programs because they sound good. a program called the shine, rural counsel of pennsylvania that provides after school educational programs for individuals in those areas which just so happens to be the state that helped propel president trump to the white house. they tell me today that 800 individuals, no longer, children that need it most will no longer be provided the educational care they need. >> let's talk about after school programs generally. there's supposed to be educational programs and they're supposed to help kids that don't get fed at home get fed so they do better in school. there's no demon strabl evidence they're doing that.
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actually helping results. >> we'll start with you. that was a very controversial thing. we all have the same experience. i have tons of information all night. the harvard study clearly says it helps with attendance and lower drop out rates. you have a study next year that says every dollar spent on the after school programs, $2.50 saves in crime related costs. is this about having a number cruncher out there arguing policy or how do you explain that disconnect? >> well, trying to make a blanket statement that covers a wide range of cuts and that's part of the problem that the administration is trying to make up funds in order to raise
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defense spending so they have to make really deep domestic cuts and the only way to do that is to do it in that way and there is no explanation for programs. it is intended to be the blanket statement. and blocked grants he made a blanket statement and there's evidence there that the money that comes from the federal government that goes to states from the block grants do fund programs that are effective and you have republicans saying these cuts are arbitrary and we can't move forward with arbitrary cuts like this because frankly starting with meals on wheels the program that feeds seniors these are the people that go to the ballot box at the midterm in the general election. >> chris collins is a
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congressman on the show a lot and has shown an amazing ability to look the other way on things trump has said. he saidly not vote to reduce a single dollar of meals on wheels. he knows his hard hit people up in buffalo need this and that's something you'll see reflected in a lateral of places, true or false. >> sure you are. that's a fictional character, okay? but this is grandma and grandpa. these are the people who are community activists and you can't justify starving seniors and that's literally how this is going to come across and a lot of these programs that the trump administration say they're going to get rid of its a crazy christmas list. >> they chose to leave entitlements alone except what they're going to deal with medicaid. >> not going to touch entitlements at all. >> no, you cannot.
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>> i'll get you back somewhere else. >> secretary of state rex tillerson delivering an unusually strong warning to north korea. what is that warning? how real is the idea of military action? we have a live report from seoul next. your path to retirement may not always be clear. but at t. rowe price, we can help guide your retirement savings. so wherever your retirement journey takes you, we can help you reach your goals. call us or your advisor t. rowe price. invest with confidence. i just had to push one button wto join.s thing is crazy. it's like i'm in the office with you, even though i'm here. it's almost like the virtual reality of business communications.
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just saying that during this visit to the region he is live in seoul with the breaking details very clear in his word choice there. this came just as rex tillerson returned from the heavily fortified border between south korea and north korea where he said the policy of strategic patience had come to an end. 20 years of diplomacy failed when it comes to dealing with north korea. he said it is time for a new approach. i had the opportunity to ask what a different approach could
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really entail because they know that it appears that so many of the u.s. allies tried it all when it comes to north korea. that's when he said a military option would be on the table and would remain on the table. he made it clear that nobody wants to see any kind of conflict for north korea but that if north korea threatened south korea forces or u.s. forces stationed on the peninsula that it would be on the table. also made it clear the military options would remain on the table if they escalated their nuclear program to a point where the u.s. felt it was time and necessary to act, chris. >> all right. this has been a point that the u.s. has been slow to go. what will be the implications. appreciate the report. another firey white house briefing. sean spicer against everyone. press secretary, angry, defiant, defending the president's wiretap claims still. the question is does he have any proof to back up his passion. z
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just watch this. >> your mischaracterizing what happened today. where was your passion and where was your concern when they all said there was no connection to russia. where was it then? hold on. hold on. let me -- i am trying to answer your question jonathan if you can calm down. you can ask, you can follow up because i know you want to cherry pick it. but you do but where was your concern about the new york times reporter? you didn't seem to have a concern about that. how do you know it's looked at? that's cute but at the end of the day we talked about this for three or four days. >> let's discuss with cnn analyst and author of the war for late night. nice to have you both here and let's begin with that extraordinary press briefing and the questions the president will
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take today along with german chancellor angela merkel. to you bill first it's just extraordinary how sean spicer is using media reports including the new york times to make his case none of which corroborate in anyway the president's claim that he was wiretapped. >> he's throwing things up to cover the tracks. he doesn't have any real answer so i think he came here prepared for battle. hi tells people to calm down. they're calm. he has exercised. >> he came prepared to battle or he came to battle. he didn't seem like he had a lot of ammo. >> he doesn't have any. there's not a lot of ammo to have. citing reports by sean hannity -- >> i'm fine with using hannity as a source but you have to have something behind it. >> what's also extraordinary is there are unnamed sources
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throughout all the reports and now they're using that. he won't back off of it and it would be relatively easy for him to say i've been misinformed. he puts his people in position that they still won't back off and at some point i think the public looks at it and says this is ludicrous. he obviously should say i was wrong. he never says that. >> there is still a broad margin of forgiveness for sean spicer among them all the time. you took this job, you're doing public service you represent the president. this is on you.
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sean has been if this business a long time. he knows the way you spin is going to be tracked overtime. he is making these decisions about fighting back on a week basis. nobody can force him to do that. >> he clearly had the memo yesterday to go out there and fight and hold your ground. in the end sean spicer like every press secretary before him will be judged on his performance which is his credibility. this is very important for people to understand. it's fine to cite reports. congressional hearings are done around reports. there's a difference between a report by a columnist or commentator and carefully reported piece of journalism by a news organization where there are quotes and statistics and documents cited that provide the evidence for the report to be cite bakd to the public or to the congressional members so right now the white house is paddling upstream very hard against a current that's pushing it farther downstream by the
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day. >> i got a gift for sean spicer too. he had a case to make that i don't know what got in the way of it but he blew it. this is all sean spicer had to say. here's what's going on right now. yes i heard all of these people say there hasn't been any proof yet but they're still looking. why is that unacceptable for you media on this about whether or not there was wiretapping but not on the russian questions. time and again people said there's been no solution proof. he said connection. that was a mistake. but on that one there's no proof. you're letting them look. you're giving them time. everybody comes out and says what you're hearing about people from the wiretapping. you know right now, if he had done that, he tried to. he kept brings that up. >> he was doing that and making it equally false. at least we have proof of
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connections on the russian questions. we have proof of absolutely nothing. >> i don't think sean is gifted at this. i don't think he's done this anymore. he's not a journalist for example. i don't think he understands the ins and outs of that but if he was prepared he could make that argument but he doesn't have evidence. at some point it's just more smoke. it doesn't look good for him. he still looks like the puppet for the president and he refuses to ever cut the strings. >> thank you very much. we owe you more time next time. >> okay. we'll talk to them about their brackets. that's the big news right now. that's the real battle. the one on the hardwood. the ncaa college basketball tournament in full swing. it's always about the upsets and the cinderellas. who emerged, who went home? bleacher report next. it is a big decision for us...
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please go ahead. you'll certainly do a better job if you live in the southern u.s. break out the sweaters. there's a late season cold snap going on and it's going to bring more record lows. not just unseasonably cold. all the way down to florida. cnn meteorologist has it all. >> it is. it's the same cold air that ran through the northeast and made the snowstorm all the way to canada and we would expect that but the wind chills are near zero in some spots. that's a warm front coming so it does get to the northeast for the end of next week. we will warm back up but there's a snow, small snow event coming in for saturday and sunday for new york, connecticut, rhode island, all the way up to boston. there it is. this is not a nor'easter. it moves offshore quick enough but still a couple of inches up 4 to 5.
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and even into down east maine could see snow as well. that's it. no way big weather stories today just filling you in on the cold. >> i was named after dr. joe gannon because i was supposed to be kimberly ann but that didn't workout. >> you don't look like a kimberly ann. >> it's not over yet. be who you want to be. >> see how they run the graphic. >> yeah. all right. march madness is in the books and if you didn't pick your upsets -- you know i had them going all the way. clearly i'm horrible at this. and more on this morning's bleacher report. 16 games yesterday. it went according to plan. only two lower seeds pulled off upsets. one of them was minnesota but northwestern they waited 78 years to be in the big dance. wild cats fans make a trip for
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the game. now for vanderbilt, they gave this away. but this lay aup with 17 seconds left. they thought they were still losing so he fouled and look at him when he realized what he had just did. northwestern would make both free throws and win the game 58-66. doug collins fighting back tears as he watched his son coach northwestern to their first ever tournament win. 16 more games on the schedule today. early action starts at 12:15 eastern. you can watch it on our sister network. i'm going to go out on a limb and say we'll see more upsets than just two today as opposed to yesterday. >> appreciate. former national security adviser mike flynn late to russia including one company with ties to the kremlin intelligence services. it's about whether or not it was reported. what are the facts.
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firms to former national security adviser michael flynn. let's bring back our panel. jason johnson, abby phillip, david gregory. abby from a reporting perspective what is the issue with flynn. it's not so much where he was and what he was doing. it's about disclosure right? >> yeah and it's about a pattern of not entirely being forth coming about his activities both during the campaign and the transition. there's a lot of questions about whether he communicated about these things to the campaign. we learned a couple of days agatha he did tell the campaign that he was lobbying for example on behalf of the turkish government during the campaign and despite the sort of plausible deniability from the white house on this michael flynn has been one of the few trump aids to have the most unexplained connections to either russian officials, russian companies and so on and so forth and the white house is
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having a little bit of a hard time explaining why that didn't become more of a part of a vetting process and the more senior national security positions in our government. he had access to a lot of classified information throughout that process. it's so unclear why they didn't take more of that information into consideration throughout this entire campaign and transition process. >> all right. so moving that forward a little bit david gregory a top house democrat on the oversite committee said this was the amount. paid over $33,000 by a propaganda tool for the kremlin to do this speech. he went there and gave this speech and sat next to vladimir putin because there's the picture and now the guy doesn't work for the administration. could it have been better? yes. the question is what does this mean for the administration now? does this matter in the final analysis of the breerd russia
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cloud hanging over this administration? >> well, i think the questions that investigators will delve into when you talk about surveillance clearly his contact with the russian ambassador were wiretapped. there was a transcript provided and that's how his falsehoods within unearthed to the vice president. but these ties, flynn that was a very reputable person in the defense department in the area and intelligence was being relied upon by the trump team as a campaign by trump himself so he wasn't just a surrogate. he was an adviser and he became a very important foreign policy adviser and national security adviser. what are those connections about and to what extent did his contacts with russia cloud president trump's thinking or how were they indicative to the approach to russia? if and maybe there's something worse in terms of context. he's a little bit of the tip of the iceberg that investigators
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are looking for and understanding that relationship between trump world and russia. there's not evidence that they colluded in anyway and i think flynn becomes an interesting piece in that puzzle. >> david gregory staying with you set the table quickly for us on how important these appeals on the executive order, the travel ban are in terms of getting a win. >> i think the supreme court is going to have to decide it. the law is according to experts really on the president's side on this. ultimately the supreme court will have to get involved. despite attacks of the judiciary, they're undercutting their own legal document by saying this is a watered down version of the original. they say on the law the president should prevail so we'll have to wait for that. >> jason johnson, to you, if you just look at the week in summation and the full week, 2.0, travel ban 2.0 not in
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effect because of the courts now. by our count, 21 house republicans don't like this bill and very well may not vote for it on health care. this has been quite the week for the administration. >> it's a typical week. you could say wow this has been a bad week but think about it donald trump gets caught lying. republicans aren't happy with something he did and the policy is dead on arrival. we have been seeing that since he got into office. it would be a surprising week if something he proposed did go through as an executive order. i think the change is going to be 6 to 8 to 10 months from now when he can get through a week and these sorts of problems don't happen. >> from the guy that said he would get more done than anyone. >> this guy got elected to bring back jobs. i don't see jobs popping up this week. >> good jobs number in february. >> good jobs number in february but are people going to feel that after this budget goes through. he's not doing what he got
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elected to do. >> thank you. have a good weekend. >> thanks to you our international viewers for watching. for you cnn newsroom is next. for our u.s. viewers it's friday. new day continues. let's get after it. >> this is cnn break news. >> good morning, welcome to your new day. allison is off. poppy harlow is with me. we do have breaking news. secretary of state rex tillerson delivering a strong warning in asia. america's top diplomat says the u.s. is prepared to take military action against north korea if they continue to escalate their nuclear program. >> and this is all coming as the trump white house is distracted by the president's unproven wiretapping claims and battling resistance to his budget plan and to the republican health care plan which now may not have enough republican votes to make it through the house. a lot going on on this day 57 of


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