tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN March 17, 2017 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT
mary was alive during much of the period of the early church and would have passed down the memory where these places were to the disciples to venerate and pass down further. >> possible childhood home of jesus on cnn. thanks for watching. time to hand over to don lemon, "cnn tonight" starts right now. have a great weekend. just when you thought it couldn't get worse. president turns his wiretapping allegation into international incident. this is "cnn tonight," i'm don lemon. this is not politics as usual. be clear about that. for the president of the united states to accuse predecessor of spying on him, exactly what president trump has done. not politics as usual for president to double down, joking that him and german chancellor angela merkel have something in common, wiretapping. not usual for white house to
repeat allegations from fox news disavowed today by that very network, that a british intelligence agency spied for president obama. and not policy as usual that denied that the white house apologized to the british government. none is politics as usual. breaking news, classified report from the justice department to house and senate investigators does not confirm president trump's allegations that former president barack obama wiretapped him. let's get right to it. cnn's fareed zakaria is here, host of "gps" on this network. start with angela merkel. two of the most powerful people in the world met at white house to talk about trade and terrorism and europe and international relations but all anyone was talking about was
this. watch this. >> as far as wiretapping, i guess this past administration, at least we have something in common perhaps. >> here's my question. did you see the look an merkel's face when the president made that joke? what is going on here? >> couldn't have two more different people. angela merkel is this east german daughter of minister, physicist, deeply analytic and also somebody deeply committed to the western values of liberty. born in communist dictatorship and while all of that is going on trump doing what he was doing in new york in the 1980s and going on howard stern and boasting about infidelities. two very different people but philosophical difference is she deeply believes in the western project, the idea that the west
has created institutions of liberty and democracy and kind of politically cohesive stand up to dictatorships like russia. with trump you don't get that sense. i think that tension is probably at the heart of it. also doesn't help that donald trump was extraordinarily uncharitable toward angela merkel last year when she took in a million refugees from mostly syria and she was starting to hemorrhage in popularity, trump did something he often does, kicked her when she was down. used to say nice things about her when she was popular. now she's ruining germany, a disaster. lowest moment in tenure as chancellor. she's not going to forget that. >> and think if running for president, if i do make to high office, going to come back to haunt me, apparently didn't
matt matter to him. give us the back story to the joke. >> referring to the fact that one of the leaks from edward snowden is that the nsa, the national security agency, was listening in on phone conversations of world leaders, which by the way something that all spy agencies try to do. u.s. has more capacity. as bernard kushner, former prime minister of france, we all try to do this stuff, just jealous that america does it better than we do. that was the reference. as president of the united states you would not want to make fun of your government's -- your intelligence agencies' normal activities to mon stir phone conversations of important people around the world to figure out information to provide to the president of the united states. it was weird thing to do. merkel clearly didn't think it was funny.
didn't laugh. reporters got it after a few minutes. but whole thing is, it's just baffling that the president of the united states would be in a sense making fun of the united states government that he heads. >> yeah. it's -- it's embarrassing. >> what is much more embarrassing and consequential is the accusations that the british government helped to spy on him. what i've never seen is british government came out and repudiated that report are language i've never seen before. this is ridiculous, people should stop talking like that. referring to ridiculous official statements from the white house. when was the last time the british government has spoken like that? probably 1812. >> referring to general mcmasters having to walk become sean spicer's comments at press briefing yesterday that british
intelligence wiretapped trump tower. also completely unsubstantiated charge. here's the president's response. >> we said nothing, all we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television. i didn't make an opinion on it. that was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on fox. so you shouldn't be talking to me. you should be talking to fox. >> so he's referencing something that happened on fox news when he has the intelligence agencies at his disposal. they work for him. but shepard smith of fox news responds. >> fox news cannot confirm judge napolitano's commentary. fox news knows of new evidence of any kind that he was surveilled in any way, full stop. >> and saying no apology to the
british. how upset are they about this? >> as you can tell from the language. british government doesn't respond to the white house the way that it did, calling claims nonsense and ridiculous and should be ignored. ultimately what this is about is credibility of the united states government and what is sad about this is trump is not just degrading the office of the presidency but degrading all these people around him. sean spicer is having to humiliate himself every day. mcmasters having to talk to his british counterparts. presumably tillerson at some point has a press conference or interview, he'll have to explain what he thinks about the wiretapping claims because the president doesn't relent. conservative columnist and commentator on fox said there is not a person in washington who believes that trump was wiretapped, that obama wiretapped trump. yet this is all we're talking
about. we're all pretending like there's something here when there's nothing, no the a shred of evidence. >> that's why i'm flabbergasted every evening. says breaking news. wanted go duh, there's no evidence. it is so obvious there is no evidence. and when you see folks like manu raju or people in washington, jim sciutto, speaking to people, say did the former president wiretap the current president or trump tower, and then they pause and go -- i have seen no evidence. >> it's like saying did aliens land in washington yesterday and everyone has to pretend like it's a serious question and say well i haven't seen any evidence yet. the whole thing is degrading. i think everyone involved in this is belittled because at some level, the country has serious problems. world is facing important
issues. he and angela merkel should be deal requesting issues about russia, trade, all the big atlantic issues the two countries face. leader of europe, united states is leader of the free world yet we're consumed by this nonsense. >> and they have differences -- fwhot to mention on the issues but do you think the president really believes that he was wiretapped or do you think he -- >> i got into trouble during the campaign saying something about the president which i still think is true. i think the president is somewhat indifferent to things that are true or false. he has spent his whole life bullshitting, succeeded by doing it, gotten the presidency by bullshitting, it's hard to say it doesn't work because look at results. that's what he does. sees something, doesn't care if it's true or not. just puts it out there and puts
something else out. notice again ot press conference, when pushed on it, doesn't take responsibility. i didn't say that just quoting somebody else. when you have the white house press secretary quote somebody to prove a point, you're endorsing that view. >> to prove a point that's actually not -- >> you can't retreat and say wasn't me but the judge. you use your authority, podium and platform, endorsing it. don't weasel out of it. take responsibility. if you think that's true, say it. >> carl bernstein i heard on anderson's program, should be doing stories on the president being a pathological liar. do you think he's pathological? >> i think clearly a pathological element to his behavior meanly strictly can't seem to control himself. people have tried to stop him
and he can't. in that sense he is. not with the second word. >> not a psychologist. >> in terms of the liar i mean. what is clear is -- what strikes me as even surprising for me was the office has not in any way weighed on him. he's saying this stuff as president of the united states. he's saying it about our closest ally britain, the united states's closest ally since 1941. >> is he willing to destroy an ally just to sort of fix a lie? >> if you look at way he's attacked the courts and media, donald trump's mode is to attack anything in his way. if something comes in his way, doesn't worry about the lasting damage that could be done. attack courts without thinking about i'm president, should i really be assaulting independent judiciary? assaulting the media protected by the first amendment? no.
at that moment, let me lash out and make those people feel it. >> one last question. why aren't people more outraged by this? imagine if former president obama had accused someone before him of a criminal act with no evidence. why aren't people more outraged about this? even the people in washington, no one believes it's true and can tell from the responses, being measured in front of the camera. behind the camera, even the surrogates say he shouldn't have said it, it's not true. why not more upset about it? >> i think a lot of the people who work in the white house and administration are hoping -- there's two elements to the administration. trump freak show. we've been discussing but serious people. tillerson, mattis, mcmaster.
heavyweight serious people probab probably feel if we can just do our jobs, don't want do -- can't dis the president but want to move on and get stuff done. how can you do that when guy at top, your boss, is spewing falsehoods every day. >> and someone has to say you're not wearing any clothes. >> demeans the office of the president and degrades american integrity around the world. what happens when he has to go to the world saying north korea has this capacity, will they believe the guy who said these things? >> when we come back, what is it with president trump and hand shakes, failed to shake hands with angela merkel, today looked like didn't want to be in the same room with her.
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breaking news, two government officials telling cnn that the classified justice department report to congress does not confirm president trump's wiretapping allegation. but he's not backing down. bring in kirsten powers, david rohde -- and swerdlick and andre bauer. glad to have you on. not the first time bs has been uttered on this show.
nobody should be shocked. play this moment where president trump repeats his claim that obama wiretapped him. >> from time to time tweets that you regret in -- >> very seldom. >> and so you never would have. >> very seldom. probably wouldn't be here right now. very seldom. we have a tremendous group of people that listen and i can get around the media when the media doesn't tell the truth. so i like that. as far as wiretapping, i guess by this past administration, at least we have something in common perhaps. >> so kirsten, the president is making a joke but still believes he was wiretapped despite top lawmakers confirming otherwise. what gives here? perhaps the answer should be jeff sessions. no? >> there's no evidence for it. we know it. more and more evidence to the contrary keeps piling up.
enough people coming forward at pretty much every level of the government saying this didn't happen and he's just doubling down on it. he, i think is never going to apologize for it, walk it back. i don't think there's anything that could happen to make him say that he was not under surveillance, i just don't think -- >> i don't think he realized this particular series of tweets, what the consequences were. when you accuse a former president of a crime -- because i was discussing this with my producer earlier, it's a story no matter which way it shakes out -- >> may be a story -- >> either former president committed a crime or no proof this current president is lying or did wiretap trump tower and if they do what reason? >> but he seems to believe it no matter what everyone else says. >> i have pictures of crowd size as well. >> that's the point.
he doesn't think it was raining on inauguration day. it's -- nothing will change what he thinks about this. and people who support him seem to be willing to defend this. >> it's coming at a price. unbelievable response from the british government, a key alliance. will come back to haunt him. fareed mentions this. you need credibility. could need go to war to deal with north korea, confrontation with iran. who is going to trust him internationally and see that even partly domestically in the health care debate. unforced errors, statements and insults doesn't help you build a coalition in the united states or around the world. >> welcome jon meacham. what was the name of the book? >> jackson, "american life" if
you're president with a j i write about it. >> since i have you, awkwardness between these two people, two of the most powerful in the world. saw the non hand shake in the oval office and was one later. seen meetings. canadian prime minister. different body language. this moment. what happened? >> he doesn't want to be there with her. obviously. and i think he -- there's no trumpian capacity for shame. we've learned that certainly. but he's spent a great deal of time on the campaign trail attacking her, saying she's ruined germany. one of the reasons we needed our ban on refugees from troubled regions is germany ruined its countries by having refugees.
but all in all what we're facing here, i honestly believe at some level president trump believes that the white house is a reality show and it has not yet occurred to him it's reality itself. he stages these things. hand shake is one. he knew exactly we would be talking about this. he understands the theatrics of this. wiretapping charge, it's just -- perennially creates these dramas in order to perpetuate a narrative with himself at center. what i don't think he understands is it's the country at the center now, not him. >> get a trump supporter in. andre, good evening from charleston. president trump rallied against merkel during the campaign. said she was ruining germany. meacham just mentioned that and didn't like chosen as "time" magazine person of the year in
2015. >> i think it's different approach to politics. vastly different leaders. he actually shook her hand. went and checked watching fareed, shook her hand getting out of the car. wasn't that he didn't at all. i think he just missed it. i don't think it was actually a snub. but they're two different leaders. she's a globalist and he's more concerned about america. he said that when running. i wish would show more love in the press conference. even if you don't love someone you try to show a little bit more love. i think you just see two vastly different folks with different opinions on what their country should do. and i think he sees flaws in what germany did not vetting people and her popularity has gone down because of the problems they've experienced and donald trump feels vastly
different and feels we should pump the brakes and make sure the people who come here want to be here and assimilate. >> i agree he shook her hand before but that moment in the oval office when the cameras were there which wh it's customary to do it, he didn't. >> this is a man who loves to cut ribbons and shake hands. understands photo ops, not foreign policy. >> michelle, covering foreign affairs. wiretap claim. now a diplomatic incident with the u.k. after sean spicer quoted a pundit on fox news who claimed that british agency was involved. here's what the president said. >> we said nothing, all we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television. i didn't make an opinion on it. that was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on fox.
and so you shouldn't be talking to me, you should be talking to fox. okay? >> so the buck stops with fox news and one of their legal analysts who fox news has said tonight, there's no evidence to what he's pointing to. no apologies? what are your sources saying? >> that was one of the most stunning parts of the president conference i think when he said that. almost a silence as people digested what he was just saying in public at press conference standing next to angela merkel. as well as the joke about that makes two of us. but you know, as for whether there was apology, that's really unclear. everybody wants to know what went on in the conversations. there was phone call between the two countries' national security advisers and inplace meeting between sean spicer and ambassador to the u.s. but at st. patrick's day celebration.
seems like impromptu meeting but what transpired between them was very serious. what officials are saying are look at gchq, the british version of the nsa. they never say anything -- the most you usually hear from them is we're not going to confirm or deny whatever is being talked about. in this case they said this is ridiculous and nonsense. and british government officials are saying, draw your conclusions from that, what these conversations were like between u.s. and u.k. officials. these were not pleasant conversations. and it seems clear at the very least the brits got an assurance from these u.s. officials that this claim about britain in particular was not going to be made again. but again at this press conference you don't hear apology from president trump. he seemed to be reinforcing his
belief in the wiretapping although he's not mentioning britain here or europe. >> and also beyond belief, fox news, the organization which he quoted there, david swerdlick, here's how they responded. then we'll talk. >> fox news cannot confirm the judge's commentary. nox news knows of no evidence of any kind that the new president of the united states was surveilled at any time in any way, full stop. >> so david, what happened to the buck stopping at the president? why won't the president take responsibility instead of quoting -- it's like -- anderson had a good analogy, i didn't tweet it, just retweeted it. i didn't say it, just repeated it. >> as of tomorrow morning it's two weeks since that four tweet tweet storm that started this off. this is plan c for the white house. plan b was last week trying to
kick this to congress. plan c is this week, trying to change the definition of quotes, air quotes, walk back the story, now deflect it on to news outlets and the brits. if you go by sean spicer's statement yesterday. this is already falling apart. all of it of a piece with the president not taking responsibility as you say with his actions and what you wind up with is this level of disrespect toward our allies. whether or not an apology happened or back channel cleanup h to reach out to one of our most important allies, u.k., and other thing going within with angela merkel and germany, in both cases the president not showing due respect to allies that fought with us in afghan staun that we rely for for intelligence sharing.
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president trump standing by wiretapping allegation yet offering no proof ahead of monday's hearing with the house intelligence committee. back with my panel. welcome back. >> hi don. >> kirsten the first one so give her the question. acknowledged me at least. administration seems to be in weakest position heading in next week. republicans planning to vote on repeal of obamacare. dealing with budget that no one likes, fbi director likely to testify saying no wiretapping took place. what are they going to do? >> maybe trump come up with another conspiracy theory for us to chase after. >> these are important issues. >> maybe wants us to be talking about things that don't matter in the sense of things that didn't happen like him allegedly
being wiretapped, sent everyone scurrying around throughout the government and media to try to prove a negative. he's convinced that -- >> kirsten, this is not just about the media. it's taken u.s. intelligence. >> no. that's whole government apparatus. >> taxpayer money. >> prove something that's not true. all it takes it phone call. could have said this is what i learned and unclassified the information. >> so makes you ask the question why did he do this. >> but i don't think he realized repercussions. >> but at this point has to have realized them and doubled down again today in the meeting with merkel. didn't have to say what he said, invoke fox news. not trying to step away from it
despite the repercussions despite alienating allies around the world and making the world less say. he doesn't care. >> michelle? >> in these deflections it's tiny glimmer of admission that okay, there was something wrong there. but to your question about the rest of the world watching, yeah, in a word, absolutely. this is really the biggest -- i'm not saying what is going on immediately today is. but the trump presidency, you know how much america is watched around the world. and even if it's not the president but a u.s. official's one word or one sentence can make headlines and change ideas and change actions among other governments. so when you look at headlines around the world. asia is very interested in what trump says, related to their region but also looking at rex tillerson right now in china
this weekend. europe is fascinated by this awkward, awkward press conference today that almost transpired like a low grade argument. i mean there was this very, very, kind of low background back and forth going on. they're interested in that. and in the u.k. they're talking about gchq allegation and now this tension between these two governments and what the british press is reporting as a quote formal apology from the u.s. >> jon, i really get the sense that he did not -- i think this one he didn't anticipate the repercussions of this one and could be international repercussions. i don't think he anticipated that. >> if i could tell you what was going on in his head would be calling derivatives on my own island somewhere.
>> be my broker. >> all be working for me. so who the hell knows. i'm not sure he does honestly. i think -- i keep -- i think historically as you know, and what this is like is if richard nixon, who used to sit, when it was warm outside turn up air conditioner and build a fire in the lincoln sitting room and sit and listen to "victory at sea" and write on legal pads stream of consciousness, about his enemies, what i wanted done. decide bomb the brookings institution because that was a brilliant idea he had one night. and there were people like bob haldeman around and others who by and large managed to keep a lot of that from happening. couldn't keep watergate from happening but a lot more could have happened. imagine if nixon had had a cell phone and instead of writing on his legal pad sitting there,
saying this for the whole world to see. i think that's where we are. >> interesting. >> david ask you quickly. said the big man coming to town. james comey, he's already in washington, just a figure of speech. do you get the sense no matter what he says, if he says no proof of the president's claim he still won't believe it? >> talking to me don? this david? >> yeah. sorry. >> yeah. lot of davids. if we get past monday, director comey doesn't provide any substantially new information, then we're at this point where there are six living presidents, kafrter, clinton, bush, bush, obama, trump. small fraternity, one has accused other of spying on him, ordering spying on him, potentially a felony, and won't
have been cleaned up and president making accusation is in the best position to provide any evidence if there is in fact any evidence of what he is alleging. we'll be past the point where fox news or congress or british intelligence can do anything to clarify this. i think president trump probably would be wise to start thinking about how this will look to history right? ten or 20 years from now, ap high school history question asking which president accused immediate predecessor of spying on him. choice a, millard fillmore, et cetera. it's unusual and disturbing situation. >> question in the cnn quiz show in 20 or 30 years. and mentioned other presidents. if that's why every picture of president obama he looks like that. he's like i'm done.
healthy and tan and lean. whew, that's over. david rohde, what is the point of congressional investigation if you're not going to listen to it, not going to matter? why put the american people through this? >> i don't know. he has a pattern of making self-destructive statements. quick story today, president said no business ties with russia. looked at investments in florida, 53 members of the russian elite for more than $100 million, and tried to find out how much made from that, wouldn't tell us number. could be innocent but money from people in russia. no proof of wrongdoing, just disclose what happened and your taxes. why say you have no business with russia? setting yourself up for being accused of a false accusation. >> silencing you andre because
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the trump administration doesn't have many allies on capitol hill when it comes to the wiretap allegations but what do the american people think? bill press, and john fredericks. my favorite part of the broadcast. i'm so glad you guys are here. you come back every time. gluttons for punishment. welcome. hi john. doing okay? >> doing fine. happy st. patrick's day, don, bill. >> i'm wearing green. don't see bill press. >> i forgot. >> are you wearing clean john? >> green tie on. >> unlike donald trump i don't fake it. >> okay john this is for you. president trump hasn't had a great week.
health care plan, budget proposal under fire. press secretary looked like going to implode trying to defend false claims about wiretapping that party won't defend. help this white house get back on track. >> first thing they have to do is focus on the big issues that got them there, trade, jobs, infrastructure getting out of these wars, all the things that matter. spending a lot of time on a lot of nonsense right now, both sides of the aisle. big agenda, big week for trump coming up and one of the main things he has to do with the repeal bill for obamacare is republicans get this right. right now the bill as it stands is dead on arrival. not going to be able to pass it as it is right now. doesn't make sense. too many people not covered, costs not going down -- >> bill mark your calendar and time. he broke with the president.
john fredericks did. i mean, perfect segue to you. today the president said he is flipping republican no votes. look at this. >> met with 12 pretty much nos in congress. went from all nos to all yeses, lot of yeses coming in. all coming together. going to have great health care. >> but that's not his harshest critics. 14 republicans are nos, 11 leaning no. 25. and can only lose 21. overconfident or know something we don't know? >> first of all, i think overconfident. don't believe what he says about the 11 votes but as you point out and john just admitted, don't have the votes in the house. i think paul ryan has sold donald trump a bill of goods that contra dicts everything
donald trump promised about health care in the campaign. may twist enough arms to get a piece of crap out of the house but it's dead on arrival in the senate. i think president obama -- sorry, president trump, would be smart to walk away from them and forth together a bill like john pointed out that covers americans and does what donald trump -- doesn't gut medicaid and gives better plans at lower cost. this bill doesn't do it. i think in real trouble with this bill. >> and moment he admitted his own bill would hurt his own voters. discuss after the break. don't go anywhere. ♪ ♪ everyone deserves attention, whether you've saved a lot or just a little. at pnc investments, we believe you're more than just a number.
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back now with radio guys. mr. fredericks listen to what president told tucker carlson in response to another issue about the republican plan. could hurt the very people that made up trump's base. >> bloomberg analysis showed that counties that voted for you, middle and working-class counties would do far less well under this bill. >> i know. >> seems like maybes this inconsistent with the message of the last election. >> lot of things aren't consistent but these are going
to be negotiated. >> john sounds like you realize he has to deal with this. knows the bill has problems. why twisting arms to get people to support it some. >> president trump is going to have to negotiate this to the top. art of the deal on steroids. right now it's bill that's not obamacare light, it's 50%. cutting out 50% of the people covered now that need the coverage. doesn't make sense. not bringing down costs, makes no sense. bailing out insurance companies and wall street, how does that make sense? people at top end of the income spectrum get a break and seniors are hammered. complete disaster that needs to get renegotiated. has the potential to sink the trump presidency and moment if they can't negotiate it right. >> had to look at monitor to make sure it wasn't bill press
talking. >> i think john is listening to my show. quoted me exactly. for donald trump, not just for american people, this is a bad piece of legislation. i know he watches your show don, just say mr. president, take an exit ramp, get the hell away from this piece of legislation and design a bill that does what you promised to do in the campaign and you'll get some democratic support for it. >> go back to president saying he has support, twisting some arms and got nos turning to yeses. neither of you think this is going to pass in its current form. so what happens on thursday then? >> i think on thursday -- they're either going to barely get it through or bill will lose in the house and be monumental embarrassment for paul ryan and wake-up call for the white house that put all their faith in
ryan's ability to deliver. i don't think he can deliver. >> john? bill. you nailed it there. bill press nailed it. donald trump who has a revolutionary movement in america, putting his faith in paul ryan and the very republican leadership and their ineffectiveness which is the reason that he became the nominee to upset the entire system because they couldn't get anything done. >> let me ask you -- >> one of the most mind boggling things. >> what are your listeners telling you when they call? >> phone is blowing up, can't take. i'm on four hours a day. 95% -- >> they don't lying it. >> and i do morning drive. blue-collar workers going to the ship yard, defense base, coal mines. punch a clock. 95% out of 100 i've had incensed
over this. outraged. want it to be defeated and donald trump to go back to the table and get something that makes sense. >> i have to go bill, ten seconds. maybe democrats are saying let it pass and see how terrible it is and trump voters won't support him. >> i would say let's get it right. >> wow. fascinating. can't believe you guys agreed on almost everything. >> i have faith again in people's ability to grow. >> interesting. >> last time you see these guys on the show. kidding. happy st. patrick's day. we'll be right back. ♪ ♪ everyone deserves attention, whether you've saved a lot or just a little.
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