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tv   CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield  CNN  March 19, 2017 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT

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trump's claims that he was wiretapped by president obama. republicans are distancing themselves from the president saying there's no evidence. >> was there a physical wiretapping of trump tower? there never was. >> there's no evidence of anything that you just described. >> do you know of any evidence to support that allegation? >> jake, not that i have seen and not that i'm aware of. >> also happening this week, the preside president's pick for supreme court has his hearings. and the question remains, can trump court reluctant members of his own party? just yesterday, three of those holdouts met with white house senior staff at mara la go. house speaker paul ryan insisted he's not worried about the bill passing.
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>> i'm very impressed with how the president's helping us close this bill, making the improvements we have been making and getting the votes, so we feel very good where we are. >> let's begin with cnn correspondent ryan nobles, where are we with a trump campaign and russia ahead of tomorrow's hearings with comey. >> reporter: there really are no -- will reveal all that much about what they know about the attempted russian hack. keep in mind, this is still an ongoing investigation. but there's still some hope that they'll at least provide clarity over the accusation that the trump campaign was working with russia to help influence the election. this is something the trump administration has forcefully denied. the head -- his democratic counterpart, adam schiff is not so sure. listen to them both.
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>> have you seen any evidence of any collusion between what i'll call trump world, associates of campaign officials, trump world and the russians to swing the 2016 presidential election? >> i'll give you a very simple answer, no. >> there was circumstantial evidence of collusion, there was direct evidence of i think deception. that's where we begin the investigation. i don't want to prejudge where we ultimately end up, and there's one thing to say there's evidence, and it's another thing to say we can prove this beyond all reasonable doubt or we have enough to bring charges for criminal indictment. but certainly there's enough for us to conduct an investigation. >> and this divide could be where the congressional investigations break down, if the divide breaks down over party lines, it could be written off by critics as too political. what republicans and democrats don't seem to be on the same
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page about russia's influence on the election, everybody's been clear about one thing, nobody's been able to provide any evidence of president trump's claim that president obama wiretapped trump tower and that fact could be emphasized during tomorrow's hearing. >> what about the status of the investigation on the senate side? >> it's important to note that there's a companion investigation on the senate side. they're going to hold a hearing of their own on march 30th. what's interesting about the senate intelligence committee is that you do have some prominent republicans on that panel who are not afraid to be skeptical of donald trump including marco rubio who has said many times he will not put his name on any investigation that he feels is not true and is just rammed through for political reasons. meanwhile, major questions on president trump's credibility after his unfounded wiretapping
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claims. now it's been two weeks, multiple lawmakers speaking out today saying there's simply no evidence to back up the accusations. >> a president doesn't go and physically wiretap something. so if you take the president literally, it didn't happen. >> no evidence of any wiretapping of trump tower. >> there's no fisa warrant to wiretap trump tower. >> i hope we can put an end to this wild goose chase because what president trump said is patently false and now it's banged into our british allies and our german allyings and it's continuing to grow. we need to put an end to this. >> brian, you first, what do you want to hear from james comey tomorrow? >> it would be nice if we could separate fact from fiction and figure out where things actually
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stand here and if he says, like, i think some people expect him to say, that there is no evidence of any collusion with russia, that russia maybe had some sort of this pr war, i guess, against the democrats in some way, but it didn't have anything to do with the trump campaign and we don't think there's any reason to believe that it had any influence on the outcome of the election. that would be nice to be able to put that to bed. in terms of any wiretapping or anything else, there are reports of the servers interacting with a russian bank, maybe some clarity on that, i just think people have been speculating an awful lot and so i think just getting some clarity would be great. >> yeah, there's a lot, very pivotal week ahead, we're talking about hearing about russia, wiretapping, the gop health care plan to vote on thursday, what do you want to hear this week? and among all of those things,
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which is, i guess potentially the most consequential issue for the president? >> well, you're right, it's a little bit of an embarrassment of riches here as we gaze into the following week. you always have to go to the confirmation of the supreme court nominee. i want to watch what the dems are going to do. how stringently they're going to oppose this. this was a nomination that belonged to the democrats and president obama and marick garland. and the dems say why should we help the thief drive over to the pawnshop to sell this thing, we ought to fight it. let's see whether that happens. >> at the same time, you know, brian, does it appear to be an uphill battle for the dems to feel like they could block that confirmation? >> yeah, they are not in an
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enviable position here, because gorsuch is a well qualified candidate, according to the bar association, and other outside groups that sort of vet candidates and give them ratings. he has sterling credentials, he's an uneventful person that everyone seems to get along with well. so they don't have pressure points in terms of torpedoing his nomination, and the republicans could change the rule and do the nuclear oms which is if a little bit ral justice retires, the liberals get gorsuch and whoever else they want so the democrats don't have a chance here. >> marick garland never got a chance, he never got a vote. i see a lot of dems, just go drag your feet for a while, maybe we should wait until the midterm elections, and let's see what the people think wasn't that the argument last time?
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>> that hearing and testimony from james comey tomorrow, the fbi director, if he says definitively that there's no connections to the wiretapping was largely responsible by president obama, if he says that's it, done, brian, do you see the president using this moment in which to apologize or to say, okay, it's time to move on, i was wrong? >> those are not very trumpian terms, i wouldn't think. i don't know, you know, part of the beauty of donald trump is not being able to predict what's going to happen next. so, there are a number of avenues you can take here, including, as he has, pointed out in the "new york times" report from january 20th, from the heat state investigating that there was something, some type of surveillance going on, and he's said those things, so i wouldn't expect a full scale
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backtracking, even if comey says there's no wiretaps, he's going to say, look, i have these reasons to have this belief and he'll stick to his guns. >> this is different because this president said he wanted congress to get involved, congress has gotten involved, bringing the fbi director, the director's word has to matter, if indeed he is able to reiterate what we have heard from a lot of the lawmaker leadership that there's nothing there. >> of course, fred, you're right, he's probably not going to do it. but the evidence is pretty strong here. and whenever they come up with another explanation, oh, my goodness, maybe it was british intelligence that did it. i wish he would stop. >> using the president's words, what did he have to lose, brian, if he doesn't acquiesce if indeed there's no evidence from comey and the investigation shows that there was nothing to these accusations?
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what does he have to lose? >> like i said, i these he'll stick to his guns in terms of, you know, the reason why he believed that. i don't think there is all that much to lose, because this issue, he's just so masterful at stealing the press cycle back when something adverse is going on in terms of his agenda, this accomplished that goal no matter what, and he's got some talking points down that he has some ground to stand on that there was some sort of surveillance going on. turning tail and running away, i just don't think that happens at all. >> credibility? >> credibility, that's the word i was thinking of. it's dripping away by the day, and it's going to keep dripping until he says, listen, i was wrong about this thing, but i'm not holding my breath. >> brian, ellis, thank you so much, stay with us. straight ahead, this
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evening, ahead of tomorrow's all important hearing on capitol hill, cnn brings you a special newsroom hosted by john berman, and tomorrow president trump's pick for supreme court neil gorsuch will be on capitol hill for his confirmation hearing, president trump tapped the colorado appellate judge to replace antonin scalia. it would be a problem for trump's presidency if there was a delay in conformation, so democrats are skeptical of gorsuch and they may try to block him with a filibuster. republicans are confident gorsuch will eventually be confirmed. >> i think it's 50/50 whether
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the democrats will filibuster. but i tell you, judge gorsuch will be confirmed, i believe within a month or two, neil gorsuch will be an associate justice of the supreme court. >> right now to discuss this is our supreme court reporter. arianne, will this be a cake walk? >> it's won't be a cake walk, republicans are going to take the opportunity to talk in general about the court, and then they'll look at his opinions, they really like, for instance, his opinions on religious liberty, but the democrats are in a tough spot, they're still furious about the fact that the obama nominee, marick garland never got a hearing, but they also recognize that gorsuch is well qualified
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and they know that trump is replacing a conservative with a conservative. they may choose at the end of the day to save some firepower, particularly if they think trump down the road might be able to get another retirement, say for a justice that's more liberal, that will be the real fight. >> this judge neil gorsuch that will place antonin scalia, how -- >> he hasn't -- but they're taking a lot of comfort in the fact that he shares the same conservative judicial philosophy as justice scalia. so they think that even though he may not have ruled on these tough questions like roe v. wade, they take comfort that at the end of the day, most of what he believes they like.
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they believe with gorsuch's general overall philosophy. >> thanks so much. this week the fate of the gop's health care plan is also on the line. the republicans' bill heads to the house on thursday, will the holdouts come around and vote yes? that's next.
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president trump and house gop lawmakers are making a hard push for the health care bill. some critics say the proposal gives states little flexibility when it comes to medicaid. vice president mike pence detailed some of the medicaid changes to conservative critics. >> we have actually added another of great amendments just in the last 24 hours. beginning with, we're going to stop more states from expanding medicaid by ceasing the expansion for states that did
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not expand medicaid under obama care immediately. because of the voices of conservatives in congress, we're going to be amending the house bill to give states the option for a medicaid block grant in its entirety, so states can reform medicaid in the way they see fit. and thanks to the leadership and the collaboration of many of the great conservatives in this room, we're going to have an amendment to allow states to require a work requirement for able-bodied adults on medicaid so we can ensure the program is there for people who actually need it. >> defenders of the plan say there is flexibility to help older americans afford coverage on the individual market but others are not so convinced. athena jones is in west palm beach where the president soon departs to return back to washington. so medicaid is the a major
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obstacle threatening this bill's pa passage, so ask the white house optimistic? >> reporter: you remember a couple of days ago, the president said he was 100% behind this bill. that was before these proposed amendment that the vice president was talking about having been discussed and settled on just in the last couple of days, he said 24 hours, but it was yesterday, so in the last couple of days. it's also notable that the president said in his press conference with chancellor angela merkel, he was asked is there anything not on the table with regard to the health care bill. what-the issue with making changes that will please conservatives is that you could
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then alienate moderates, certainly in the house and also in the senate where amount of republicans have warned that the bill in its current form is dead on arrival, but a bill in a more conservative form would face an even bigger uphill climb. so that is a challenge that is facing the white house right now as a leadup to thursday. >> and we also know that there were three top republicans who have been critical in the past of the president's health care plan. they met at mar-a-lago, with some of the staff members, what can you tell us about what happened? >> that's right, we're talking about senators ted cruz and mike lee and congressman mark meadows, these are three that have been pretty vocal about their opposition. they say it doesn't go far enough to undo obamacare, which is of course what republicans have been running on for years, and a big campaign promise of the president's. they met at mar-a-lago, with
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steve bannon and chief of staff reince priebus for three hours to discuss their concerns, and we're told it was an intense and productive meeting and that the white house was open to changes that conservatives were pushing for. meanwhile reince priebus was pushing for the plan that speaker ryan is advocating, so it's pretty sure there's more work to be done to gaining support for this bill. >> in west palm beach, we're looking at pictures right now of the departing air force one, the president returning back to washington for a very pivotal week for him. you've got the confirmation hearings for his supreme court pick, and he'll have the hearings on the hill about the allegations of obama wiretapping
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all right, the secret service investigated another security scare at the white house. a man drove up to the white house and claimed he had a bomb in his car. this is the latest in a string of recent white house intrusions and attempted security breaches.
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earlier yesterday another person was arrested after jumping over a barrier right outside of the white house fence. the man said he had a document that he wanted to deliver. and last week, one week ago, a man was on the white house grounds for 16 minutes before being apprehended. he was found just steps away from the main door to the mansion on the south lawn carrying mace. joining me to discuss it is anthony chappa, he is a former assistant secret services director. how concerned are you that we are talking about three white house intrusions in a week's time. >> the mitigation, is something the secret service is working every day, a review of policies and procedures and actions and reactions, that's happening every day. with the incidents that took place, as you mentioned, the
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bicycle racks out front, that was an enhancement and that worked, because that rack was there, and the response from the men and women in uniform there stopped that individual. that was some of the measures that stopped one person. but you did mention there were several. and all of that is going to be reviewed, from my time in the secret service, and i remind viewers that i'm retired, so i speak only for myself. everything is going to get a formal review, the risk mitigation, the vehicle that showed up, the work that was done by the metropolitan police, and the secret service was phenomenal. that was what we prepared for. >> do you think the secret service should be particularly heightened because you're talking about three incidents in just a week's time. >> the secret service is always at a heightened sense of preparedness. this is what they're prepared for. these incidents happened and
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they're prepared for it. >> but the incident last week, that a person could be on the grounds for 16 minutes before bumping into a secret service agent, was the reporting, bumped into that suspect. so there's always going to be assessment, as you said, after something happens, but will they be looking at this as something particularly unusual that you would have three incidents, all of them very different, but all around the same vicinity, the white house? >> one thing that is not shared a lot is that there are individuals who show up almost on a daily basis who believe they have a document or a need to speak with the president. and to them, it doesn't matter whether the president is a democrat or republican, male or female, they have to bee have t. and there are a whole no, sir--
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that breach security have mental issues, they believe that the president has called them. kudos to the agents and security officers who confront them every day. that doesn't make the news, that information isn't shared with the public, on the great work that these guys are doing to help people with mental health issues. they're the ones that are jumping the fence or trying to. >> what do you think in terms of u.s. secret service, and law enforcement as a whole, charged with protecting the president, this day forward? >> i'm glad you brought that up. the secret service is very involved in what are called national secret service events, the work that the secret service did for the democratic ele convention, the republican convention and the pope's visit. but the secret service is not only working with the uniformed
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division, and the outer perimeters are all local law enforcement. so there has to be a great team there. just like we're watching the president arrive now, the agents are working, the uniformed guys were there as part of the advanced team, and the local law enforcement, and the military police are one of the many rings of security that provide and mitigate the risk to the president. >> it's a real coalition, we're bringing together so many levels of law enforcement. anthony chappa, thanks for giving us your time. it's not just the white house that requires protection, trump tower and mar-a-lago also require protection as well. we want to introduce you to the very first c nrks nrcnn her,
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. moments ago, president trump left palm beach, headed back to
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washington after spending the weekend at mar-a-lago, his florida resort. it's the fifth time he's been there since becoming president. and the president was briefly seen driving a golf cart yesterday in palm beach. rise departments there are raising concerns about paying their share of security costs while at the resort. and with the first lady and his youngest son living in new york, the cost to protect the first family is adding up. here's cnn's sarah gannon. >> reporter: we want our money back, that's what new york city is saying, asking for millions of dollars, the cost of protecting the president, his family and their homes, in a letter to congressional members last month. commissioner james o'neill wrote, funding will be critical to ensure new york city can allocate the personnel and resources that are necessary to keep the city and all its
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residents safe. >> we have never had a situation where a president of the united states would be here on such a regular basis. >> reporter: during the transition period from election day to inauguration day, o'neil says the cost of securing trump tower and the area around it, added up to $24 million. palm beach county officials say they pay an estimated $60,000 in overtime every day he's in florida, protecting trump while he's at mar-a-lago, what the taxpayers will have to pay, if the government or the president himself doesn't reimburse. the president himself had harsh words for his predecessor's trips. back in 2011 tweeting, this, the habitual vacationer barack obama is now in hawaii, this vacation is costing taxpayers $4 million. during the election, trump also
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told the publication "the hill" quote, i would rarely leave the white house because there is so much to be done. so far trump has spent a fourth of his time in mar-a-lago. trump has multiple homes and his adult children frequently travel and his wife melania and their son barron live in new york city, which reportedly costs $256 thour $256,000 a day. >> so cnn's estimate is that this weekend alone is costing palm beach more than $1 million, this is money being spent by local taxpayers and resources being used for national security, and as you saw in sarah's piece, there are a lot of people in new york city who
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are not happy with it. the president just called for a massive cut. so is there an optics problem now? >> it's the same optics problem every president has in varying degrees. this is a fun little football to throw around, that the president costs a lot to protect. but that's maybe the most essential function of the federal government, protecting of people and protecting our president. every time a president takes vacation, the opposition party goes bananas. so i don't think this is really anything unique to trump. i think it's something every president goes through. >> is that it? it does cost money to protect the president and it's the opposition party that doesn't like how much it costs, is that the issue? or is it the issue of what's, you know, excessive spending versus what's normal spending for a president's protection? >> well, i have been trying to get a lot of sympathy up for the poor suffering folks in palm beach.
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it's a little tough in that specific case. listen, let me see if i can put it to rest. yes, it's the federal government's responsibility to protect the president. i guess you're right, the folks on fifth avenue they don't really suffer most of the time. yes, we need to protect the president of whatever matter, the feds probably ought to pay for it, not the locals. but the trump family could pitch in a little bit, and not be so darn difficult to protect. >> have there been first families asked to pay for their own protection? >> i'm not sure they should necessarily pay for it. but essentially be aware that we're paying for it. melania living a different place from her husband, it is pretty expensive. >> and there's secret service for eric and donald when they go
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abroad, even though they're not part of the administration, but trump incorporated, and there's also that detail of ivanka and her husband too. ellis, is -- i'm sorry, brian, is ellis making too much of it? >> look, it's probably the first time that i can think of where we have had a president whose family was running a closely held international real estate conglomerate, so i think these circumstances are somewhat unique. and with -- you know, just because their father was elected president, doesn't mean that the trump kids have to forego their livelihood and stop traveling the trump properties and all those things and carrying out their normal functions. you know, i guess there are some things around the edges where maybe he stays home one weekend a month or something, instead of going to mar-a-lago, i guess there are some ways they could alleviate it.
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but i think securing the president is an essential function and every president gets criticized for traveling and running up the bill a little bit. it's a political hit that they always take and i don't think it's really unique to trump. >> is it really about the travel or is it that sometimes the american people want to see the first family on the property of the white house, claiming it home, showing that it is the people's place, no matter what administration? >> i guess. it's a pretty nice public housing, isn't it? i would just say, show us a little mercy, trumps? we want to protect you, we don't want anything bad to happen, but try not to rub our noses in it too much. >> brian, ellis, so good to see you, it will be a busy week, we will all be engaged. meantime it has been two weeks since president trump tweeted that president obama was behind the wiretapping of trump towers, which is being called an
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international incident. on wednesday, sean spicer cited false claims that a british spying agency, through the orders of president obama was behind those wiretaps. fox news spoke to judge andrew napolitano. >> on fox news, judge andrew napolitano said that three fox sources have informed us that he didn't use the cia, he didn't use the fbi, he didn't use the department of juice. he used gchq, what is that? it's the initials for the british spying agency. >> and german chancellor angela merkel said this. >> we said nothing, all we did was yet 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
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you shouldn't be talking to me, you should be talking to fox. >> we have learned today former cia officer and former counter terrorism official larry johnson had a hand in the british intelligence agency rumor. brian stelter talked to him. >> let me ask you about this thing. >> sure. >> so my sense is that on monday, napolitano says this on tv, he says he has intel sources who believe this is true. you're saying you were one of those sources, but you didn't know napolitano was going to use you like that? >> what happened was i communicated, when donald trump tweeted what he did saturday two weeks ago, the next day i was interviewed on russia today. i had known about the fact that the british, through ghcq were information back channel, this was not at the behest of barack obama, let's be clear about that. but it was done with the full knowledge of people like john brennan and jake clapper.
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two people i flow within the intelligence community in january, they were very concerned about this because they saw it as an unfair meddling in the politics, but it was a way to get around the issue of american intelligence agencies not collecting. >> to be clear, you have this secondhand? so you didn't get this information directly, you're hearing from orethers. >> i'm hearing it from people who are in a position to know, that's correct. >> catch "reliable sources" every morning at 1:00 a.m. that's what's central on capitol hill this week. we'll be right back. every step of the way. with an estate plan including wills or a living trust that grows along with you and your family. legalzoom. legal help is here. modern life deserves a moderit's sold out. don't fret, my friend. i masterpassed it! you can use it online and on your phone i masterpassed it. playing the hero: priceless
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but they didn't know they were all tobacco products.e... ooh, this is cool. it smells like gum. yummy! this smells like strawberry. are these mints? given that 80% of kids who ever used tobacco started with a flavored product, who do you think tobacco companies are targeting? do we get to keep any?
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♪ ♪ >> that was roll over betovan. this morning, former president barack obama tweeted this. chuck berry rolled over everybody who came before him and turned up everyone who came after. we'll miss you, chuck. and mick jagger said i'm so sad to hear of chuck berry's passing, i want to thank him for all the inspirational music he gave us. >> i want to take a look back at the inspirational life of chuck berry. >> reporter: chuck berry was one of the pioneers of rock 'n roll.
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his powerful guitar licks fueled hit songs such as "johnny b. good." during the '50s and '60s, berry's music signaled a new era in rock 'n roll, the singer's blending r&b and rock music inspired groupings like the beetles. berry experienced a career resurgence in the mid '80s and '90s. his music re-entered pop culture in "back to the future" and "pulp fiction." in 1994, berry received a lifetime achievement award sand a year later, he became the rock 'n roll hall of fame's first
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induct inductee. >> the stones keith richards invited a roster of great musicians to celebrate the rock icon's 60th birthday. then in 1987, berry was humbled to receive a star on the hollywood walk of fame. >> i cannot describe, i don't have the voice, i don't have the wind, i don't have the spirit, but believe me, i'll remember it the rest of my life. >> reporter: the married father of three reportedly had trouble with the law, he was behind bars three times. however berry's career was not derailed. >> that margin of glory is not too high, the margin of defeat then is not too low, so i lived right through it without any pain. >> reporter: berry received the music honor award, his remarkable contributation to
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music will forever remain a part of rock 'n roll history. uh! hooooly mackerel. wow. nice. strength and style. it's truck month. get 0% financing for 60 months plus find your tag and get $5500 on select chevy silverado pick-ups when you finance with gm financial. find new roads at your local chevy dealer. glad forceflex.
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. catch a preview of what you should expect tonight on newsroom with john ber marine. thanks so much for being with me today. there's much more of the newsroom straight ahead with anna cabrera.
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5:00 eastern, 2:00 in the afternoon out west. i'm mana cabrera in new york. in less than 20 hours, we'll finally hear from the director of the fbi on russia's election meddling, president trump's wiretapping claim and any significant conversations between moscow and then candidate trump's associates. is fbi director james comey investigating the white house or not? is there any evidence to back up president trump's allegations that president obama tapped his phone during the campaign? the republican lawmaker leading tomorrow's hearing says no, watch. >> was there a physical wiretap of trump tower? well, no, but there never was. and the evidence continues to lead us in that direction.


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