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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  March 17, 2017 8:00pm-9:01pm PDT

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ou call 811, i come out to your house and i mark out our gas lines and our electric lines to make sure that you don't hit them when you're digging. 811 is a free service. i'm passionate about it because every time i go on the street i think about my own kids. they're the reason that i want to protect our community and our environment, and if me driving a that truck means that somebody gets to go home safer, then i'll drive it every day of the week. together, we're building a better california. words matter. especially for the president. this is "cnn tonight," i'm don lemon. president trump doubling down today on his ludicrous claim that his predecessor spied on him. joking to german chnsler angela merkel they have something in common, wiretapping. and refusing to shoot down the claims from fox news that
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briti british intelligence did the spying for president obama. fox news repudiating that today. who can take the president at his word? our allies? leaders? american people? get to alice stewart, symone sanders, andre bauer, timothy naftali. long week. good evening. happy friday and st. patrick's day. start with you. alice, president versus everyone else. doesn't matter, republicans and ar democrats, intelligence committees, all saying wasn't wapd. what is going to convince this president to believe otherwise? >> i will not acknowledge he maybe stepped out of bounds on this one. all have said there's no there there. have report come out monday, comey probably confirming this.
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donald trump truly believes this happened. will continue to stand behind what they see as news reports that say this happened, whether or not it's the case. he's not one of those people going back. like the old john wayne movie, don't apologize, shows sign of weakness. not going to apologize or back track, dead set on following throu through. >> believe it happened or saving face? >> did it happen? it didn't. >> does he truly believe it or saving face? >> i'm not sure what donald trump believes but fact he's willing to make not only himself but entire administration and spokes people look ridiculous over what looks increasingly like false claims is baffling to me. so many more pressing things that donald trump can go to the mat for. but he's going to go out on a limb and die on the branch of
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wiretapping? i don't know why? >> today standing next to key ally in the white house, one of the most powerful women in the world. plenty of issues that need attention and having to field questions on controversy of his own making that he created. is this because he prefers battle mode to governing mode? >> could be. i'm always trying to -- you know, always wrestling with is donald trump making colossal mistakes all the time or playing some three dimensional chess, distracting us from the obamacare replacement bill that looks to be a disaster with this? so it's really not clear. i would say, i think in general he does have a philosophy that says attack, counterattack, never apologize. and if you sort of buy into the argument that that is his lodestar, his guiding principles, he's being true to
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them. >> timothy. >> i want to say that donald trump continues to act as if he were an outsider and yet he's at the center of it all. he could ask right now for a list of all fisa warrants, all the wiretaps and find out the answer. find out and declassify it, go in front of the american people and say the obama justice department overreached and i have evidence. >> why prove himself wrong. >> that's the point. point is didn't matter to him. i think he got mad. woke up, heard something, decided to tweet about it. made sense to him. now it doesn't matter to him whether he's right or not. today he was willing to continue a myth that affects our closest intelligence ally, british government, so much happened today, easy i to miss. british government came out and said don't take what the white house has said seriously.
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never happened before. anglo american relations, particularly intelligence, really tight but this administration cares so little for those traditional relationships this happened. >> so andre, you and many other people defend the president. if comey comes out on monday and says -- we gleaned from that there is absolutely nothing, what do you do? what does the president do? >> first off we elected commander in chief, not apologyist in chief. only person in my lifetime as president i can remember apologizing was richard nixon. obama didn't apologize about the benghazi attack on the embassy, didn't apologize even though knew it was correct. donald trump is missing opportunity to talk about things that got him elected. i hope change the narrative, talk about the outof control narrative. >> that's a great pivot but
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didn't answer my question. >> i did. number one. i think he has something there. we know the "new york times" on january 20th said wiretapping data -- >> that's not what it said. read the story. i have it here. >> "new york times" on january 20th, wiretap data used in inquiry. >> intercepted russian communications. never said anything about trump tower, donald trump himself, nothing about that. not what it says. i've read this before. only two times it mentioned wiretapping was in conjunction with sergey kislyak which is how flynn got caught up, monitoring russian ambassador which is normal intelligence. said nothing about monitoring american citizen. second time, only mentioned wiretap twice, second time with jeff sessions said that jeff
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sessions, at that time a nominee would be the only person in the government authorized to seek foreign intelligence wiretaps on american soil. mentioned twice. one talking about kislyak and other time saying only person who could authorize those would be jeff sessions. does not say what you and other trump surrogates are saying it says. it doesn't say that. >> and we know there was fisa requests as well. >> we don't know that. >> not going to get into that debate with you -- >> that's not true andre. saying something else we don't know to be true as well. >> still don't know how russia got involved in the elections or if they did. >> no we don't know. that's true. what everyone has been reporting. >> but again -- except the intelligence agencies do believe. that russia influenced our election but still didn't answer the question. been defending the president,
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you and others. and the president has been saying that they believe there's wiretapping. sean spicer doing his dance on the podium in the white house press briefing room. on monday what do you say if and when comey comes out as believed to say there's nothing there. what do you say? >> well maybe he's got another shoe to drop? maybe he has information. if he didn't, he needs to focus back on what the american people sent him there. if i were him wouldn't keep pushing this narrative but talk about the budget, focus on issues where the average person watching this isn't fixated on wiretapping, but fixated on whether income is going up, kids get a better education. >> exactly. >> everybody agrees with you on that. >> exactly. >> charles? >> first, can i just say i find
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it absolutely delicious that these very same people who called the "new york times" the failing "new york times" and fake news were bending over backwards to try to use the "new york times" to deflect against this man's lies and deceptions. it's -- i've been chuckling for a week as they have tried to use the "new york times" as a defense. listen, what i find most troubling about this person, this president, who i genuinely feel is abomination as a person. flawed in character ways. but that not only is his lying pathological but it's unrepentant. that he is incapable of accepting truth when it is presented to him, that he will defend a lie with a bigger lie, and what does that say on all
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levels of our society and our standing in the world? what does that say to our children being taught not to be bullies or tell lies? what does that say to the senior class president at whatever high school or person studying political science in college about how you conduct business as politician and american, president and leader? what does that say to our people in the field around the world who are soldiers who are confronting other populations of people and looking at them saying what is happening at your home country? this is incredibly dangerous. it would please me -- nothing would please me more than to have this man no longer be president. but as long as he is, what is the damage he's doing and is it reversible? >> and coming back talk about the credibility in the white house and one of the panelists
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says it's not just spinning, which is why i questioned andre so hard on this but poison. we'll discuss. spoison. we'll discuss. poison. we'll discuss. rpoison. we'll discuss. eapoison. we'll discuss. spreadpoison. we'll discuss. ipoison. we'll discuss. ngpoison. we'll discuss. spreading poison. we'll discuss. hey, ready foyeah. big meeting? >>uh, hello!? a meeting? it's a big one. too bad. we are double booked: diarrhea and abdominal pain. why don't you start without me? oh. yeah. if you're living with frequent, unpredictable diarrhea and abdominal pain, you may have irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea, or ibs-d. a condition that can be really frustrating. talk to your doctor about viberzi,
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♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪ back now with my panel. before i said one person on this panel said this was spreading poison. any idea who it might be? timothy naftali. write in new op-ed on cnn.com. you said there is spin and spreading poison.
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spicer's encouragement of public delusions of the existence of supersecret unelected deep state supposedly intent on sabotaging the new president is poisonous. why say that? >> because he's standing in the white house, behind a podium, speaking for the head of state of the united states, and he's saying to people -- >> head of the world. >> the world didn't elect him. but saying to americans, you know what, we don't really control what our government does. if you're fearful of black helicopters and uncontrolled, unelected, super secret state, we're afraid too. that's about as reckless and irresponsible statement as one has ever heard in the white house. the one thing you want americans to understand is we have a constitutional system. when we elect a president, whether you like him or not, he's in control of the executive
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part of this system. this administration keeps acting as if their outsiders looking in. they control it. control the intelligence community. should and can know if there are wiretapping. sean spicer is perpet waiting a myth about existence of a deep state that conspiracy theorists talk about and never prove it because doesn't exist. >> part of your job is defending the person you work for. what do you think? >> sean is doing his job. it's difficult job. he's face and voice for the president and doing and saying exactly what the president wants him to do and say. can't forget trump been like that from the day came down the escalator. said things factually challenged
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and disparaging, and -- but republican base, people he's appealing to stand by him throughout this. but biggest take-away from today was the look on angela merkel's face when he tried to compare two of them having phones tapped. look on her face without a word said spoke volumes. another world leader looking at president of the united states knowing what he is saying doesn't hold water. that's a big concern. >> i have to ask at what point does someone like you, as richt, at what point do you go i can't do this anymore. >> i did it one time yeah. i say as spokesperson your credibility is extremely important. i know sean, he's great guy but what he's done, every day stands
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up there desecrates the podium with i don't know, maybe, and lies. it's sad. as spokesperson you have to have a line. we all know the line for your personal selves. some things we aren't going to do and say. i wouldn't sign up to be spokesperson for anybody like donald trump. for those that do, you have to know your line, get the principal's point across without crossing your credibility. when asking if something is true and comparing to president's tweets and you at podium no longer credibility source we're in trouble. >> matt, remember the republican convention, sean at cnn grill joking. he was my sparkle pony guy remember? regarding melania trump and
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plagiarism. would think that would be the thing, i can't do that anymore. but at what point do you say i can't continue to spin something the intelligence community says is not there. do you get there or continue fighting for your guy? >> it's really tough. i keep trying to get out, keep pulling me back in. once you make the deal with the devil that says okay we can control this guy, we can -- you know, he's eccentric but we can reign him in. it will be okay. i'll get to be press secretary, that's great -- that's awesome job. what you dream of if you're at rnc doing press, dream job is white house press secretary. you have golden opportunity but every day you have to go out and basically -- it's one humiliation after the other. i don't know, i think at this
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point it's self-caused. he's already done this to himself. >> in the bunker now. >> for a year probably. i would put something on my calendar and tell my family you know -- because you do have to think about your family. do you want to be remembered, your family and kids, is this what you want to be remembered for? on this date a year from now i would say i will step down and we'll go to hawaii or wherever and never do this again. >> i can't wait for the book though, that's probably where the family will have easy nights with the proceeds i'm sure. got to ask you andre, not just democrats looking for apology from the president. growing chorus from your own party. tom cole. >> i see no indication that that's true. it's not a charge i would have ever made. frankly unless you can produce
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some pretty compelling proof then i think the president, you know, president obama is owed an apology in that regard. >> so andre, i think you can safely assume that the president will not apologize, but do you think it's going to strain his relationship or ability to get things done with the folks on capitol hill? >> i don't believe so. i think he has a clear message. people are still behind him that wanted substantial change in washington. and i think the folks in washington are a little concerned about donald trump's popularity and him going into her district and uniting folks to say we want something done in washington. end of the day be more concerned about that than anything else. >> charles he's expended a lot of political capital on this. do you think it matters so much when you have republican house and senate and you're in the white house, do you think it matters that much?
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you and others are wondering when as you say responsible republicans will step forward to not allow this anymore. >> number one rule in politics is self-preservation, love it or not, that's the rule. moment that donald trump's behavior, words, actions, start to endanger other republicans or they start to believe their own survival is in danger by his behavior, actions and words, at that moment they will turn on him like a pack of wolves. that's the way politics works. not a pretty game, not always a principled game. they now believe they can get something out of him. if they put something on his desk, he will sign it. they believe if there's supreme court justice opening in attention to the one that's already open, will appoint someone they will approve of. that's what they're banking on. moment they feel their majorities in the senate or
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house are in danger, closer to the midterms, if people keep showing up at town halls and start to get nervous, see them turn on him. that's the way politics work. >> i have to go. up next, president trump's words, what he says and what he really means. ♪ energy is amazing. how we use it is only limited by our imagination. and at southern company we're building the future of energy, for you.
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president trump standing by his wiretapping accusation, still without offering any proof. during his meeting with german chancellor angela merkel saying they have something in common, referring to allegation that u.s. allegation tapped her phone. joining me john mcwhorter. host of the slate podcast lexicon valley. i'll have to listen. president trump tweeted four tweets speaking specifically about wiretapping. sometimes in quotes john, sometimes not in quotes. what is going on?
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>> you know, this is a man who is isn't in on the contract that we assume that a president would be. we all are in on a contract that small pieces of decorated paper constitute money. we also assume that somebody who is president of the united states is going to understand that his communications are going to be very carefully examined and that he should communicate very precisely. he should know what he means and be precise about it. that's not what he thinks about it. what you see with trump's way of speaking is not mania as the public thought is, he's not precise. human beings are hard wired to process one, two or three things. beyond three, not processing six and 42 easily. all of that is artifice. math is an artifice.
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and trump demonstrates somebody who isn't president of the united states rather than someone who is unevolved. not going to say that. when he says wiretapping, what he meant was somebody was listening in on him in some capacity and he has vague reason to supposeto so, never mind any of the sources he's using. that's another aspect of unevolved. he does have some sense he might need to qualify the things he might realize are a little outrageo outrageous after he sends the tweet. a little. i don't know if he realizes how outrageous. so put in quotation marks. irony is way to indicate you don't mean what you say. his is more -- allows him to get away. >> you don't think it's
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something he went back, i meant wiretapping in quotes. and specifically wiretap my phones at trump tower. said twice. and 11 days later offered this defense. watch this. >> i've been reading about things. i think january 20th a "new york times" article talking about wiretapping. there's an article, i think used exact term. i read other things. i watched your friend bret baier the day previous where he was talking about certain very complex sets of things happening. and wiretapping. i said, wait a minute there's a lot of wiretapping being talked about. when i say wiretap, those words were in quotes. really covers -- wiretapping is old-fashioned stuff. really covers surveillance and many other things. nobody talks about it was in quotes but very important. wiretap covers a lot of different things. i think you'll find interesting
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items coming to the forefront in next two weeks. >> is he trying to change the meaning -- examine the language. doesn't mean he's telling the truth or trying to change what he said. is he trying to change it or not telling the truth? >> what he's trying to say is what your guar olous uncle would say, i was just talking. doesn't mean no content. means not being precise. not something he does. he felt he was overheard and surveilled and people ask exactly what do you mean, do you mean president obama ordered et cetera. then he has to say it's in quotation marks. means not precise but speaking in general way. >> but what is extraordinary, as president of the united states his words mean a lot and has to have people come up behind him
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to cover it up or explain what they think he meant or what he said he meant or fix what he said. case in point sean spicer at press briefing this week. >> 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 says they see no indication that it happened? >> no -- >> does the president stand by -- >> he stands by it. you're misinterpreting what happened today. >> you're misquoting sean hannity. >> i get you're going to cherry pick. >> you're citing sean hannity. >> you also overlook the other sources because you want to cherry pick it. where was the concern about the "new york times" reporting. >> we've done plenty of reporting on all of this. >> you want to cherry pick.
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mischaracterizing what chairman nunez said, i think it's possible he's following up on this. to suggest this -- you're stating unequivocally. >> said if you take the president literally, he's wrong. >> but already said referring to wiretapping, referring to surveillance. >> been trying to make sense of that. not making fun of sean spicer but trying to make sense of that for 24 hours. have you heard of word salad. is that appropriate? >> that poor, poor man is trying to translate what our 12-year-old president has spewed into something that resembles responsibility political discourse and it's impossible. what we see is this, extends somewhat to spicer probably. part of the contract that we assume is that the president of the united states understands that some sources are more reliable than others, there's
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bias on both sides. but let's face it, with he all learn that starting in late elementary school, that takes a certain concentration, the president doesn't have much concentration, not great with that. but to the extent he can't be completely unaware but once he's caught in it, let's face it, testosterone kicks in, doesn't want to look bad. end up playing verbal games or idea is to have the last word. and tragic thing is that is the nature of political discourse fwr this white house, a linguistic sand box. sadly, it's not more than that. >> does it say anything about intelligence? the way he uses language or anyone? >> wow, it's funny don. because we're reluctant. we as linguists or academics to draw a link between
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articulateness and intelligence. i'm going to say this. donald trump is not particularly articulate in a sophisticated way but on the other hand he's very articulate in terms of communicating with a crowd, vernacular charisma, a certain native intelligence there. in terms of his sense of how to handle information, lack of concern with precision, you can be vernacular and very precise, just listen to monologue by chris rock to see that. in terms of his primitiveness in basically just indulging in a pissing contest once he's been shown wrong, in that, one seems to see lesser reasoning power. i don't think that it occurs to him that he might want to step up his game in that. when it comes to using language and dealing with what we might call truth conditions. >> talk about how it affects possible legislation. saw with the new travel ban,
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president's words have consequences. federal judge that issued restraining order against parts of the ban quoted liberally from president trump and his supporters in the ruling. president trump when he was candidate. i think islam hates us. and july of 2016 as candidate. people were so upset when i used the word muslim. i'm okay with that, talking territory instead of muslim. seems like strongest arguments from blocking the ban come directly from the president's mouth and people in his administration. what do you make of that? power of language? >> i don't think he's going to change but be sunnier in this. might be as time passes, year, 1 1/2, as he realized that things he says are segmented and have effects on other people, sometimes grisly effects. just maybe best case scenario,
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realize he has to be more careful how he speaks in public and hone articulate vernacular style. would be interesting if he got a speech writer, something i segt suggest to the administration. good at honing articulate vernacular style to read from the teleprompter so he can understand you can't just run your mouth as president of the united states as opposed to being on a tv show. >> would it help if he had cards when he wanted to get specific things across? actually said that -- >> he must never be allowed, whenever anything is serious, never be allowed to take his eyes away from prevetted, printed words. i would think that would be a very good idea. and maybe he would understand that. >> here's an example. look at this. >> these kinds of options can be a positive alternative to a four year degree.
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so many people go to college four years, don't like it, not necessarily good at it but good at other things like fixing engines and building things. i see it all the time and i've seen it. when i went to school i saw it. sat next to people that weren't necessarily good students but could take an engine apart blindfolded. companies across the country have a chance to develop vocational training programs to meet their growing needs and help us achieve greater prosperity. >> that's example of on script and off. what do you make of the two? >> would be a little bit more comfortable to have less of the offscript. he really should have it all prepared beforehand. doesn't have to not sound like him but shouldn't improvise. just now thinking -- i hadn't seen that clip, what in the world is he about to insult or
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get wrong, please look back down. many public speakers never dreamed of speaking off the cuff like that. he needs to not take a cue from modern informality and perhaps have occasional moment of a certain kind of eloquence. >> playing from strong side. you said -- >> vernacular charisma. >> now needs to build up weaker side with more -- >> truth conditions would work. >> more scripted. >> in the vernacular, be himself yet stop screwing up the country and world. >> be more effective communicator and president. i wonder how much of people's language comes from how they relate to books? ask you because take look at this comparison. president barack obama and president trump both talking about books. first barack obama, says gives me a sechbs perspective, i think toni morrison's writings,
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particularly "song of solomon" people going through hardship, it's not just pain but joy and glory and mystery. and president trump asked about books. well you know, i love to read, actually i'm looking at a book. i'm reading a book. i'm trying to get started. every time i do about half a page i get a phone call that there's some emergency. this or that the. what is the difference between the two presidents? >> he doesn't read. shouldn't pretend he does. most human beings don't read. however the printed word gives you certain things. extended argument, which is difficult just talking. allows you to look at it again. printed word makes you think more about precision than speech. printed word is a very important human invention. now barack obama had the advantage of being a print person. donald trump doesn't. but he needs to understand that the virtus that you get from print, that reflectiveness and
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precision is something he needs to cultivate in a different way. >> thank you john mcwhorter. always a pleasure. appreciate it. >> thank you. >> we'll be right back. you could spend days weeding through financial documents to refinance your home. or, you could push that button. [rocket launching] skip the paperwork and get a mortgage solution in minutes. lift the burden of getting a home loan with rocket mortgage by quicken loans. [whisper: rocket] (flourish spray noise) (flourish spray noise) (flourish spray noise) (flourish spray noise) the joy of real cream in 15 calories per serving. enough said. reddi-wip. (flourish spray noise) share the joy. setting hearts a blaze...ways... doing next to nothing for days weekenders.
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not quite two months into the trump administration and already seen more crisis than just about anyone could have predicted. here to discuss now is david gregory, author of "how's your faith"? mine is doing okay. thanks for asking. talking about words but let's talk about actions. how much damage do you think has been done to the president's agenda with all that happened. >> i start with worrying about the president's credibility or the credibility of the presidency and america's credibility. we have to think about what the needs are of america as with he move forward. secretary of state been in the south talking about north korea and impending crisis there between united states and that regime, so when you're sitting
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upon the world stage the way america does and you have a president who has tweeted claims that are utterly false and been rebuked for them but stands behind them, credibility suffers, his the presidency's america's. and when you have to engage support around the world, word of the united states matters. if it's been undercut you have to worry about the damage. in terms of agenda, how much political capital is spent on issue like false claims of wiretapping that could be spent on advancing his own agenda from health care to tax reform and other things. >> very well said. talk about "finding jesus" now, as part of the coverage you went to nazareth to see this for yourself. tell me about it. >> you know, it it's so interesting to go to holy land, israel and the holy sites.
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i'm a jew but for christians as well to engage in the pilgrimage and for me to go on a pilgrimage which i did in support for this terrific series, in search of the historical jesus, jesus of nazareth, you have to go to the home, place steeped in history and faith, where the bible tell us the anunciation happened. it's teeming city now, doesn't evoke a lot of what the biblical era was like unless you know where to look. >> the city of nazareth, nestled in the galileien hills, home to almost -- people. hard to imagine the small first century town where jesus grew up. now largely an arab city, then mostly uninhabited jewish
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settlement. today's market harkens back to the town's agricultural roots. >> i grew up here, go through the alleyways and feel connected to this place. history of the holy family. >> a tour guide with a background in archeology shows us how to find layers of history stretching back more than 2,000 years beneath this modern city. at sisters of nazareth convent, underground discovery provides tantalizing clues to the childhood of jesus. was this where he spent his early years? >> one of the gardeners cleaning a cistern and discovered under the convent a unique place with significant findings from the time of jesus. >> writings from a seventh century bishop refer to church built on the spot where jesus is
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said to have grown up. >> says there's a church where our lord was nourished, grew up, next to water spring where people moved water by means of wheels. could see signs or tracks in the marble above the spring. business teen stones. >> along with the underground arches discovery of ancient church built at this spot but last ten years further investigations revealed sietz of a home here. >> this is a home. dating to first century. inside of the house and that's the door. >> and discovery of a tomb covered with rolling stone specific to the time of jesus. >> found the stone. >> raised spobthe possibility t
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could be where jesus spent his younger years. christian pilgrims come to nazareth to reflect on jesus and his times here and read the gospels which speak powerfully of divine presence, in the ancient city of nazareth where we come upon one of the most important moments, according to gospel of luke, angel gabriel comes to speak to mary, tells her he will have a son and his name will be jesus. >> church of the anunciation marks where the faithful believe this took place. visited by pilgrims from all over the world. catholics believe the tomb inside the church was mary's home. >> when you read the encounter that took place there between mary and the angel, sense heart
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the series there is a distinct sense of place that does do a lot. a lot of questions and mystery, but an emphasis on understanding jesus the man. jesus of nazareth. it's not necessarily jesus the christ. as what christians believe is god. that part i think is so interesting. it begins to unravel and lay out for people what the beginning of his ministry was like and challenges he faced and the examples he would be. >> that's what is powerful. that brings people closer to the faith. >> i enjoy having you on.
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appreciate that. finding jesus. 9:00 eastern and pacific. we'll be right back. hey, ready foyeah. big meeting? >>uh, hello!? a meeting? it's a big one. too bad. we are double booked: diarrhea and abdominal pain. why don't you start without me? oh. yeah. if you're living with frequent, unpredictable diarrhea and abdominal pain, you may have irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea, or ibs-d. a condition that can be really frustrating. talk to your doctor about viberzi, a different way to treat ibs-d. viberzi is a prescription medication you take every day that helps proactively manage both diarrhea and abdominal pain at the same time. so you stay ahead of your symptoms. viberzi can cause new or worsening abdominal pain.
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