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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  March 17, 2017 11:00pm-12:01am PDT

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then have venerated them and passed them down further. >> possible childhood home of jesus this sunday 9:00 p.m. eastern and pacific on "finding jesus" right here on cnn. thanks for watching. time to hand things over to don lemon. "cnn tonight" starts right now. have a great weekend. just when you thought it couldn't get worse. the president turns his wiretapping accusations into an international incident. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. thank you for joining us. this is not politics as usual. let's be clear about that. it is not politics as usual for the president of the united states to accuse his predecessor of spying on him, which is exactly what president trump has done. it is not politics as usual for the president to double down, joking that he and german chancellor angela merkel have something in common, wiretapping. it is not politics as usual for the white house, the press secretary, to repeat allegations from fox news disavowed today by the very network, that very network, that a british
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intelligence agency spied for president obama. and it is not politics as usual for spicer to deny that the white house apologized to the british government. none of it is politics as usual. and we'll talk about all of it in the coming hours here on cnn. breaking news, though, two government officials tell cnn that classified report delivered from the justice department to house and senate investigators does not confirm president trump's allegations that former president barack obama wiretapped him. so let's get right to it. cnn's fareed zakaria is here, host of "fareed zakaria gps" right here on this very network. fareed, let's talk about all of this. let's start with angela merkel. because two of the most powerful people in the world met today at the white house. they met to talk about trade and terrorism and europe and international relations. but all everyone was talking about was this. watch this. >> as far as wiretapping, i guess by you know, this past
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administration, at least we have something in common perhaps. >> here's my question. did you see the look on angela merkel's face when the president made that joke? what's going on here? >> you couldn't have two more different people. angela merkel is this east german daughter of a minister, physicist, deeply analytic and also somebody who is deeply committed to the western values of liberty. she was born in a communist dictatorship. and while all of that is going on trump was doing what he was doing in new york in the 1980s and going on the howard stern show and boasting about his infidelities. this is two very, very different people. but i think the philosophical difference really is that she deeply believes in the western project. you know, the idea that the west has created these institutions of liberty and democracy and
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kind of politically cohesive to stand up to dictatorships like russia. with trump you don't get that sense. and i think that that tension is probably at the heart of it. 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. he used to say very nice things about merkel when she was popular, and then he said she's ruining germany, she's a disaster. i mean, this is her lowest moment in her tenure as chancellor. she's not going to forget that. >> and you would think that if you're running for president you would realize it. well, some of theses things, if i actually do make it to that high esteemed office this is going to come back to haunt me. but apparently it didn't matter to him. give us the back story to the reference, the joke he made.
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>> he was referring to the fact that the nsa, one of the leaks we have from edward snowed zen 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. the u.s. has more capacity. as bernard kushner, the former foreign minister of france, said, look, we all try to do this stuff, we're all a little jealous that america does it better than we do. that was the reference. now, again, as president of the united states, you would not want to make fun of your government's -- your intelligence agency's normal activities, which is to monitor phone conversations of important people around the world to figure out what information you can provide to the president of the united states. and so it was a weird thing to do. merkel clearly didn't think it was funny. she didn't laugh. the reporters got it after a few minutes. but the whole thing is -- it's
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just baffling that the president of the united states would be in a sense making fun of the united states government that he heads. >> it's embarrassing? >> well, what's much more embarrassing, you know, and i think consequential is the accusations that the british government helped to spy on him. what i've never seen, don, is the british government came out and repudiated that report with language i've never seen before. they said something like this is ridiculous, people should stop talking like this. what they're referring to as ridiculous is official statements from the white house. when was the last time the british government has spoken like that? probably 1812. >> let's talk about it because what you're referring to is the national security adviser general mcmaster has had to walk back sean spicer's comments at the press briefing yesterday that british intelligence wiretapped trump tower. also completely unsubstantiated charge. here's the president's response.
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>> 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 he's referencing something that happened on fox news when he has the intelligence agencies at his disposal. they work for him. but here's how fox news -- this is shepard smith of fox news. here's the response. >> fox news cannot confirm judge napolitano's commentary. fox news knows of no evidence of any kind that the now president of the united states was surveilled at any time in any way. full stop. >> okay. sean spicer saying there was never an apology to the british. how upset are the british about this? >> as you can tell from that language, the british government does not respond to the white house in the way that it did,
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calling its claims nonsense, ridiculous -- >> should be ignored. >> it should be ignored. look, i think ultimately what this is all about is the credibility of the united states, the united states government. and what is sad about this is trump is not just degrading the office of the presidency, he's degrading all these people around him. sean spicer is having to humiliate himself every day. you know, mcmaster is having to talk to the -- his british counterparts presumably when tillerson at some point has a press conference or an interview he'll have to explain what he thinks about these wiretapping claims because the president doesn't relent. charles krauthammer, conservative columnist and commentator on fox, he said there is not a person in washington who believes that trump was wiretapped, that obama wiretapped trump, and yet this is all we're talking about. we're all pretending like there's something here when there's nothing. there's not a shred of
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evidence -- >> i'm flabbergasted every single evening. when i came on it says breaking news. i wanted to go duh, that there's no evidence. there's no evidence. it's so obvious that there is no evidence. and when you see folks like our manu raju or people in washington, jim sciutto, when they speak to people and they say have you -- you know, did the former president wiretap the current president or trump tower and then they pause and they go, "i've seen no evidence." >> it's like saying did aliens land in washington yesterday? and everyone has to pretend like this is a serious question and say, well, i haven't seen any evidence yet. you know, the whole thing is degrading. i think everyone involved in this is belittled because at some level the country has serious problems. the world is facing important issues. he and angela merkel should be dealing with issues about russia, issues about trade,
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issues about, you know, all the big atlantic issues that these two countries face. as you said, this is the leader of europe. the united states is the leader of the free world. and yet we are consumed by this nonsense. >> and they have -- not to mention that they have differences on those issues. but before we get to that, do you think the president really believes that? really believes that he was wiretapped? or do you -- >> 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. he has succeeded by bullshitting. he goz gotten to the president to the presidency by bullshitting. it's hard to tell someone bullshit doesn't work because he get results. he puts it out there. then he puts something else out. notice again what he did at this press conference. when pushed on it, he doesn't
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take responsibility. i wasn't saying that. i was just quoting somebody else. when you have the white house press secretary quote somebody to prove a point, you are endorsing that view. >> to prove a point, to quote something that's actually not -- >> right. you can't suddenly retreat and say hey, if wasn't me, it was judge napolitano. no. when you use your authority, your podium, your platform, you are endorsing it. and don't weasel out of it. don't -- take responsibility. if you think that that's true, say it. >> carl bernstein, i heard him say on anderson's program that we should be doing stories on the president being a pathological liar. those are carl bernstein's words. do you think the president's pathological? >> i think there's clearly a pathological element to his behavior by which i mean quite strictly that he almost can't control himself. i happen to know from having talked to some of the people around him people have tried to stop him and he can't. so in that sense i think -- i'm not going to go with the second word because as i said i think there is an easier explanation -- >> i'm not a psychologist but --
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>> in terms of the liar i mean. but what is clear is that he's pretty -- what strikes me as even surprising for me was the office has not in any way weighed on him. he's saying the 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 the way he has attacked the courts, the media, i think donald trump's mode is to attack anything in his way. if there's something that comes in his way, he doesn't worry about the lasting damage that could be done. so he will attack courts without thinking about, well, i'm president, should i really be assaulting an independent judiciary? i'm president, should i be assaulting the media that is protected by the first amendment? no. at that moment let me lash out and let me make those people feel -- >> one more question before i
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let you go. we've spent a lot of time. but why aren't people more outraged by this? imagine if former president obama had accused the president before him or someone before him of a criminal act with no evidence. why aren't people more outraged about this? even the people in washington who know -- as you said, no one in washington believes this is true. and you can tell from their responses. they're being very measured when they get in front of the cameras. behind the scenes they'll tell you this is not true. even his surrogates will tell you he should not have said that, it's not true. why aren't people more upset about this? >> i think that a lot of the people who work in the white house, for the administration, they're hoping that there are sort of -- there are two elements to this administration. there's the trump freak show, which is what we've been discussing. but then there are very serious people in government. tillerson, mattis, mcmaster, gary cone. these are heavyweight, serious people. and i think they probably feel if we could just do our jobs, we
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don't want to get distracted, we don't want to -- we can't diss the president but we want to just move on and actually get stuff done. but how can you do that when the guy at the top, your boss, is spewing falsehoods every day? >> it's dangerous. and someone has to say you're not wearing any clothes. >> and it demeans the office of the presidency and it demeans american -- it degrades american credibility around the world. what happens when he has to go to the world and say north korea has this x capacity? are people going to believe the guy who said obama was spying on him? >> or that the crowds were bigger and on and on and on. thank you. always a pleasure. when we come back, what is it about president trump and handshakes? not only did he fail to shake hands with angela merkel, today he didn't even look like he wanted to be in the same room with her.
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department report to congress does not confirm president trump's wiretapping allegation but he's not backing down. i want to bring in now cnn political analyst kirsten powers, global affairs anld david rhode. senior political commentator michelle kosinski. answered lik and andre bauer. good evening to you. so glad to have you on. that's not the first time b.s. was uttered on this show, so no one should be shocked. kirsten, i want to play this moment again today when president trump repeats his claim that obama wiretapped him. listen. >> from time to time tweets that you regret -- >> very seldom. >> very seldom. so you would -- >> probably wouldn't be here right now. but 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, you know, this past
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administration, at least we have something in common perhaps. >> so kirsten, the president is making a joke that still he believes he was wiretapped despite top lawmakers confirming otherwise. what gives here? and maybe the answer should be jeff sessions. no? >> you know, there's no evidence for it. we know there's no evidence for it. it just keeps piling up. more and more evidence to the contrary, frankly, if you have enough people coming forward at pretty much every, you know, level of the government saying this didn't happen. and he is just doubling down on it. and he is never going to apologize for it. i don't think he's ever going to walk it back. i don't think there's anything that actually could happen that would 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
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it shakes out. right? either the former president committed a crime or he has no proof that this current president is lying or that they did wiretap trump tower and if they did what was the legitimate reason for them doing it? >> but he seems to really believe that this happened despite the fact that everyone is saying that it didn't happen. >> i have some pictures of crowd sizes to show you as well. >> but that's the point. you can show him the crowd sizes and it doesn't change his opinion. he doesn't think it was raining on inauguration day. i mean, nothing will change what he thinks about this. and the people who support him seem to be willing to defend this. >> david? >> it's just -- it's coming at a price. this unbelievable response from the british government. this is a key alliance. it will come back to haunt him. fareed mentions this. we need to have credibility. we could go to war somewhere. north korea. there could be a confrontation with iran. who is going to trust him internationally? and i think you see that partly even domestically in the health
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care debate. these unforced errors, these misstatements, insults. it doesn't help you build a coalition in the united states or around the world. >> i want to welcome john meacham to the panel, historian. what's the name of the book again you wrote about jefferson? >> jefferson i wrote "the art of power." jackson, "american lion." >> there it is right there. >> as long as you're a president with a j i write about it. >> let's get back to what's happening now. you guys saw angela merkel today, the two meeting today. the awkwardness between these two people, two of the most powerful people in the world. we saw the non-handshake in the oval office. they later shook hands at the press conference. we've seen this meeting with male leaders happen before and there were handshakes, right? and there's the prime minister -- >> sure. >> the canadian prime minister there. >> there's been very different body language. what about this particular moment with merkel? what happened? >> well, he doesn't want to be there with her, obviously.
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and i think he -- there's no trumpian capacity for shame. i think we've learned that certainly. but he spent a great deal of time on the campaign trail attack her, saying she'd ruin germany, saying one of the reasons we needed our ban on refugees from troubled region was because germany had ruined its country by having refugees. but i think all in all what we're facing here is 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 that it's reality itself. he stages these things. the handshake is one. he knew exactly that we would be talking about this. you know, he understands the theatrics of this. the wiretapping charge is just -- he perennially creates these dramas in order to perpetuate a narrative with himself at the center. and what i don't think he understands is it's the country
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that's at the center now, not him. >> let's get a trump supporter in. andre, good evening to you, from charleston. president trump -- >> hello, don. >> -- rallied against merkel's policies during the campaign, said she was ruining germany. jon meacham just mentioned that. he also didn't like that she was chosen as "time" magazine's person of the year in 2015. is there something more personal here? is this just about differing world views? >> i think it's totally a different approach to politics. they're two vastly different leaders. i will say this. he actually shook her hand. i went and checked when i was watching fareed. when she got out of the car at the white house he actually shook her hand as she was getting out of the car. so it wasn't that he didn't shake her hand at all. and then he shook her hand later on as well. i think he just missed. i don't think that was actually a snub. but they are two different leaders. she's a globalist and he's more concerned about america. and he said that when he was running. i wish he'd show a little more love in the press conference. sometimes, you know, even if you
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don't love somebody you try to show a little bit more love. and i think you just see two vastly different folks that have different opinions on what their country should do. and i think he sees a lot of flaws that germany made in not vetting people more thoroughly. and her popularity, my understanding, has gone down because of some of the problems they've experienced and i think donald trump feels vastly different, that we've got to pump the brakes and make sure the people that are coming to this country actually should be here and care about this country and want to assimilate. >> yeah. well, i think it's interesting. jon, i tend to agree with you. he may have shook her hand before but that moment in the oval office when all the cameras are in there when it is customary to do it, he didn't do it. and so we need to make a point of that. >> this is a man who loves to cut ribbons and shake hands. he understands photo ops. he doesn't understand foreign policy. >> michelle, you cover foreign affairs, and you've been doing it for a while. the president's wiretap claim, now a diplomatic incident with the uk after sean spicer quoted
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a pundit on fox news who claimed that the british surveillance agency was involved in the president's wiretapping claims. here's what the president said on that. listen. >> 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? >> okay. sought the buck stops with fox news and one of their legal analysts who at 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 press conference, i think. when he said that. there was almost a silence as people digested what he was just saying in public at a press conference, standing next to angela merkel. as well as the joke about, you
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know, that makes two of us. but you know, as for whether there was an apology, i think that's really unclear. everybody wants to know what went on in these conversations. there was a phone call between the two countries' national security advisers, and it was an in-face meeting between sean spicer and the uk ambassador to the u.s. but it was at the white house's st. patrick's day celebration. it seems like that might have been an impromptu meeting. but what transpired between them was very serious. what officials are saying is look at the gchq, the british version of the nsa. they never say anything. i mean, the most you usually hear from them is we're not going to kochl confirm or deny whatever is being talked about. and in this case they said this is ridiculous and nonsense. and british government officials are saying, you know, draw your conclusions from that, what these conversations were like
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between u.s. and uk officials. these were not pleasant conversations. and it seems clear that 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 an apology. you don't -- 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 as to fox news, the organization which he quoted there, david answered lik. here's how fox news responded. and then we'll talk. >> fox news cannot confirm judge napolitano's commentary. fox news knows of no evidence of any kind that the now president of the united states was surveiled at any time in any way. full stop. >> so david, what happened to
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the buck stopping with the president? why won't the president take responsibility instead of quoting -- it's like saying anderson had a really good analogy earlier, well, i didn't tweet it, i just retweeted it. well, i didn't say it. i just repeated it. >> yeah, don, look, as of tomorrow morning it's two weeks since that four-tweet tweetstorm that started this all off. this is already plan c for the white house. plan b was last week when they were trying to kick this to congress. plan c was this week when they were trying to change the definition of quotes, change the definition of air quotes, walk back the story, now deflect it onto news outlets, deflect it onto the brits. if you go by sean spicer's statement yesterday. and this is already falling apart. and all of this is of a piece with the president not taking responsibility, as you say, with his actions. and what you wind up with, as we've been talking about, is this level of disrespect toward our allies. whether or not an apology, you know, happened or whether it was just a back channel cleanup, you
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have a situation where we've had to reach out to one of our most important allies, the uk, and then there's this other thing going on today with angela merkel and germany, and in both cases the president is not showing due respect to allies that have fought with us in afghanistan, that we rely on for intelligence sharing, that we work with on a whole host of issued, economic, military, et cetera. it's just a bad setup in his first 100 days for whatever is to come. >> i wonder how much sleep the president and his administration will get this weekend because monday the big man comes to town. comey. we'll discuss that next. hey, ready foyeah. big meeting? >>uh, hello!? a meeting? it's a big one. too bad. we are double booked: diarrhea and abdominal pain.
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president trump standing by his wiretapping allegation yet offering no proof ahead of monday's public hearing by the house intelligence committee. i'm back now with my panel. panel, welcome back. okay. >> hi, don. >> kirsten was the first one. so i'm going to give her the first question. she acknowledged me at least. the administration seems to be at its weakest position heading into next week. republicans are planning to vote on thursday on the repeal of obamacare. unclear if they have the votes at this point. they're dealing with a budget that no one likes.
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an fbi director who is going to testify and likely say no wiretapping took place. how are they going to deal with all of this? what are they going to do? walk and chew gum at the same time -- >> i don't know. maybe trump's going to come up with another conspiracy theory we can all chase after, right? maybe he wants us to -- >> these are all important issues. >> maybe he wants us to be talking about things that don't matter in the sense of things that didn't happen such as him allegedly being wiretapped so he has sent everybody scurrying around all throughout the government, all throughout the media to try to cover something, to basically prove a negative, right? how do we ever -- he's convinced, you know, that -- >> kirsten, this is not just about the media because he's actually taken u.s. intelligence -- >> no, that's what i mean. he's -- >> taxpayer money. congress. people who could be working on other things. >> exactly. >> trying to prove something that's not true when all it could have take zen a phone call. he could have said this is what i learned from the phone call and then unclassify the information -- >> so it makes you ask the
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question of why did he do this, right? >> i don't think he realized the repercussions -- >> at this point he has to -- the only place i would disagree with that is at this point he has to have realized them and yet he doubled down on it again today in the meeting with angela merkel. he didn't have to say what he said. he didn't have to reiterate the fact that he believes that this happened and then invoke this fox news report. i mean, he's not trying to step away from it, right? despite all the repercussions that it has. despite the fact that it's alienating our partners around the world and making americans less safe. he doesn't care. >> and speaking of which, michelle, how's the world reacting? are they paying attention? >> i think in these deflections that is kind of like a tiny glimmer of admission that okay, there was something wrong there. but to your question about the rest of the world watching, i think in a word, absolutely. this is really the biggest -- i'm not saying that what's going on immediately today is but the trump presidency, you know how
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much america is watched around the world. even if it's not even 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 the headlines around the world, asia's very interested. in what trump says related to their region. but also they're 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. so they're interested in that. and then of course in the uk they're talking about the gchq allegation and now this tension between these two governments. and what the british press is reporting as a, quote, formal
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apology from the u.s. >> jon, i really get the sense, though, that he did not -- i just think that this one he didn't anticipate the repercussions of this one, that there could be international repercussions. i don't think he anticipated that. >> well, if i could tell you what was going on in his head, i would be calling derivatives and i'd be on my own island somewhere. >> and you would be my broker. but go ahead. >> no, no, yeah. you all would be working for me. so who the hell knows? i'm not sure he does, honestly. i think historically, as you know. and what this is like is if richard nixon, who used to sit -- even when it was warm outside, he would turn up the air-conditioner and build a fire in the lincoln sitting room and he would sit and listen to "victory at sea" and he would write on legal pads, stream of consciousness. he'd write about his enemies. he'd write about what he wanted
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done. he would decide bomb the brookings institution, and he would decide 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. they couldn't keep watergate from happening but there was a lot more that could have happened. imagine if nixon had had a cell phone and instead of writing on his legal pad sitting there listening to "victory at sea" he'd been saying this for the whole world to see. and i think that's where we are. >> hmm. interesting. david, i've got to ask you quickly because i said the big man was coming to town meaning james comey. i know he's already in washington. it was just a figure of speech. do you get the sense that no matter what the fbi director says on monday when he says there is no proof and if he says there is no proof of the president's claim that he still won't believe it? >> are you talking to me, don? >> that david, yes. sorry. >> got a lot of davids. if we get past monday, if
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director comey doesn't provide any substantially new information, then we are at this point where look, there are six living presidents. carter, clinton, bush, bush, obama, trump. one has accused -- that's a very small fraternity. one has accused the other of spying on him, ordering spying on him, something that potentially is a felony. and it won't have been cleaned up. and the president, the one making the accusation, is in the best position to provide any evidence if there is in fact any evidence of what he is alleging and we'll be past the point where congress or fox news or british intelligence can really do anything to clarify this. i think president trump probably would be wise to start thinking about how this will look in history, don. 10 or 20 years from now there's going to be an a.p. high school history question where they're going to ask something like which president accused his
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immediate predecessor of spying on him? choice a, millard fillmore. chase b, harry truman. choice c, donald trump. it's a very unusual and very disturbing situation. >> that will be a question on the cnn quiz show i'm sure in 20 or 30 years. and i wonder, when you mention the other presidents, if that's why every picture of president obama he looks like this. he's like -- he's all healthy and tan and lean. he's like whoo, that's over. look, david rohde, what is the point of a congressional investigation if it's not -- if you're not going to listen to it it's not going to matter much. why put the american people through this? >> i don't know. he has a pattern of making these self-destructive statements. a quick story we had today. the president said he didn't have any business ties in russia. we looked at investments in his buildings in florida. we found investments by 63 members of the russian elite for nearly $100 million. and we tried to find out how much money the trump organization made from that, and they wouldn't tell us that
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number. this could be innocent, but it's $100 million of investment from some of the richest people in russia, some with ties to the government. we did not -- we don't have any proof of wrongdoing but simply disclose what happened with these deals. disclose your taxes. and why say you have no business with russia? you're setting yourself up for being accused of making a false statement. >> andre, we're silencing you in this block only because you get to come back and everybody else gets to leave. so thank you all. andre, i'll see you -- >> thank goodness. >> -- a little later in the show. when we come back, two men who know what americans really think about president trump. they hear from them every day on talk radio. [bullfighting music]
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the trump administration doesn't have many allies on capitol hill when it comes to the president's wiretap allegations, but what do the american people think? my radio guys are here to tell me. bill press the host of the bill press show and syndicated talk radio host john fredericks. my favorite part of the broadcast. i'm so glad you guys are here. and you come back every time. again, as i say, glutons for
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punishment. welcome, gentlemen. hi, john. are you doing okay? >> doing fine. happy st. patrick's day, don. bill. great day. >> i'm wearing green. i don't see bill press wearing green. >> i'm sorry. i forgot. >> where's your green, man? >> are you wearing green, john? >> yes. i've got a green tie on. >> okay. i'll just say unlike donald trump i don't fake, it don. that's all. >> president trump hasn't had a great week. health care plan, budget proposal under fire. press secretary really looked like he was going to implode trying to defend the president's baseless claims about wiretapping that his own party won't defend. do you think this -- help this white house get back on track. >> well, the first thing they've got 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. we're spending a lot of time on a lot of nonsense right now. both sides of the aisle.
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we've got a big agenda coming up for trump. this is a big week coming up. and one of the main things he's got to do with this repeal bill for obamacare is the republicans have got to get this right. right now the bill as it stands, this thing is dead on arrival. they're not going to be able to pass it as it is right now. it doesn't make any sense. too many people are not covered. costs are not going down -- >> bill. mark your calendar and time. he broke with the president. john fredericks did. perfect segue to you. so today the president, bill, said that he is flipping republican no votes. i want you to take a listen to this. >> we met with 12 pretty much nos in congress. they went from all nos to all yeses. and we have a lot of yeses coming in. it's all coming together. we're going to have great health care. >> but that wasn't his harshest critic. cnn is keeping track of the votes. as of now, 14 republicans are nos.
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11 are leaning no. that's 25 republicans. and he can only afford to lose 21. is he a little overconfident or does he know something we don't know? >> first of all, i think he's overconfident. i don't believe what he says about all those 11 votes. but as you point out, he does -- and john just admitted, he does -- they do not have the votes in the house. i think paul ryan has sold donald trump a bill of goods which couldn't rah dictates everything that donald trump promised about health care during the campaign. they may be able to twist enough arms and break enough arms to get some piece of crap out of the house but let me tell you, it's dead on arrival in the senate. i think president obama -- whoa. i'm sorry. president trump would be very, very smart to walk away from this and then forge together a bill like john pointed out that covers americans, that does what donald trump -- and doesn't gut medicaid and gives people better plans at lower cost. this bill doesn't do it. i think he's in real trouble on this bill. >> also there's a moment where he admitted that his own bill
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response to another issue about the republican plan. it could hurt the very people that's 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. >> it seems like maybe this isn't consistent 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, then? >> president trump is going to have to negotiate this to the top. it's bot to be "the art of the deal" on steroids. right now it's bill that's not obamacare light, it's 50%. you're cutting out 50% of the people that are covered now that need the coverage. that doesn't make any sense. you're not bringing down the cost. that makes no sense.
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you're bailing out the insurance companies. you're bailing out wall street. how does that make any sense? people at top end of the income spectrum get a break and seniors get hammered. this thing is a complete disaster that needs to get renegotiated. it has the potential to sink the trump presidency and that movement if they can't negotiate this thing right. >> had to look at monitor to make sure it wasn't bill press talking. >> i think john is listening to my show. because he 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. >> let's go back then to the
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president said he's got support, you know, he's twisting some arms and nos that are 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 a wakeup call for the white house that put all their faith in paul ryan's ability to deliver and i don't think he can deliver. >> john? >> bill, there you go. 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. >> john, let he ask you --
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>> this is one of the most mind-boggling things -- >> what are your listeners telling you when they call? john? >> our phone is blowing up, don. we can't take -- i'm on four hours a day. 95% -- >> that you don't like it. >> i do morning drive. blue-collar workers going to the ship yard, defense base, coal mines. they got to punch a clock. 95 out of 100 i've had this week are incensed over this thing. they're 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 go, let it pass and they'll see how terrible it is and trump voters won't spo voters won't support him next time. >> 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
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-- captions by vitac -- 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 chancellor angela merkel they have something in common, and that's wiretapping. the president also refusing to shoot down unproven claims first from fox news that british intelligence did the alleged spying for president obama. fox news repudiating that today. in all the wake of this, who can take the president at his word? our allies? leaders? american people? let's get to


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