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tv   New Day  CNN  April 11, 2017 4:00am-5:01am PDT

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him. >> this is new day with chris cuomo and alisyn camerota. >> why did they have to man handle him and drag him off the plane, though he did refuse to get off. we have two witnesses coming on to tell when they say. >> what are your rights as a passengers. what is the airline allowed to do and what should they have done. >> welcome to new day. secretary of state rex tillerson on his way to russia but he had a clear message for them before leaving for the g7 summit. tillerson calling on the kremlin to drop support of syria's brutal dictator. >> the kremlin says relations with the u.s. are the most difficult since the end of the cold war. what will they say about what they did or did not know about that chemical attack in syria when the russian and united states heads of state meet? it is a critical day of
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diplomacy on this day. 82 of the trump presidency. cnn has correspondence across the globe. let's begin with nic robertson live from the g7 in italy. that got real important real fast. >> yeah, it really did, chris. what secretary tillerson learned from his allies here is support for the united states strike on syria, support for existing sanctions on russia. that isn't support, however, for more sanctions to be put on russia. the italian foreign minister here explaining it's better to be negotiateing with russia rather than pushing russia in a corner. secretary tillerson saying clearly russia has to make a choice. its current position means it is supporting iran, assad, hezbollah, and it needs to come across the table, if you will, and support the international community in getting a cease-fire and bringing a political transition in syria. tillerson saying that you
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believe now, russia has been falling short on its obligations. >> it is also clear russia has failed to uphold the agreements that have been entered into under multiple u.n. security council resolutions. it is unclear whether russia failed to take this obligation seriously or russia has been incompetent but this distinction doesn't much matter to the dead. >> the bigger picture right now if you look at this collectively is that the trump administration is caught up with the obama position on assad, transition to get him out of power. they have now the added heft they are willing to use military strikes and it's all in tillerson's hands as he heads to moscow. alisyn. >> thank you very much for that. secretary of state tillerson is on his way to moscow as we speak for that high-stakes meeting with russian's foreign minister. relations between the two countries, as you heard from
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nic, are more tense. michelle kosinski is live with more. michelle, tell us the latest from there. has there been a reaction to what secretary tillerson has already said? >> not in direct response to his comments which just happened. but any minute now we're expecting to hear from vladimir putin. he's going to be -- he's getting out of a meeting with his italian counterpart. it's really about their meeting but he's bound to take questions or make some comment on the state of this relationship. in fact, he may not even meet with secretary of state tillerson when tillerson arrives here. if he doesn't, that in itself speaks volumes about how things are right now. we've been hearing extremely strong statements from russia over the last few days. calling the u.s. strikes in syria an act of aggression. they are inadmissible, violate national law and the u.s. is getting closer, they said, to clashes with russia.
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so there's been this reporting that the meeting between secretary tillerson and russia, whether it's just the foreign minister or vladimir putin is going to be tough. it's something like an ultimatum that he's going to tell russia that it needs to back away from assad and accuse russia in complicit in that chemical attack in syria. but when tillerson was asked exactly those questions, what are you going to say? is it going to be an ultimatum, was russia complicit, he's been less kmilgts. he said there's no hard evidence of russian complicit. he's going to call on russia to change course in syria. chris. >> michelle kosinski, thank you very much for reporting in moscow. so we know where the allies stand on what's going on in syria, even where russia seems to stand, but what is america's position on syria? the white house seems to keep
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vacillating between motivating assad's exit, motivating the people, them it's changing. we have trump's stay out more. all this theoretical discussion comes around factual disputes about what russia may have known about the attack in syria. >> that's certainly right. the big question is what did russia know. when he know united states alerted russia to the facts of the strikes. no the a whole lot more than that quite frankly. the other big question i think this morning is about syria and essentially where the united states government is headed on policy towards syria. on the one hand, the president may have demonstrated, if you will, some resolve to act in the interest of the united states when he believes the united states interest is threatened. on the other hand this administration is still struggling to come up with what could be called a come hesht
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policy towards some of the current foreign hot spots. >> if you gas a baby, if you put a barrel bomb into innocent people, i think you can -- you will see a response from this president. >> white house secretary sean spicer telling reporters that another chemical attack or use of barrel bombs could result in more missile strikes. >> when you watch babies and children being gassed and suffer under barrel bombs, you are instantaneously moved to action. >> this would mark dramatic escalation of u.s. action considering assad's regime dropped 495 barrel bombs last month alone according to the syrian network for human rights. hours later the white house walking back this apparent red line saying spicer meant to signal the president is never going to rule anything out. further muddying the waters, this interventionist comment
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from secretary of state rex tillerson at the g7 summit in italy. >> we rededicate ourselves to holding to account any and all who commit crimes against the innocents anywhere in the world. >> very different from trump's america first vision. >> not just police running around the world. >> reporter: the trump administration stands toward odds also unclear. >> i can't imagine a stable and peaceful syria where bashar al assad is in power. >> reporter: spicer seemingly taking the position stated by nikki haley on sunday. >> regime change is something we think is going to happen. it's going to be hard to see a government peaceful and stable with assad. >> which was the opposite of statements from secretary tillerson. >> once we can eliminate the battle against isis, conclude that, and it is going quite well, then we hope to turn our attention to achieving cease-fire agreements between the regime and opposition
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forces. >> i think they are still searching, frankly, for a policy, for strategy. >> reporter: meantime syrian warplanes are back in the sky, taking off from the air base hit by the u.s. with dozens of cruise missiles. the pentagon claims the strikes caused 20% of syria's operational aircraft to be destroyed. but two senior military officials tell cnn it was 20 planes, not 20%. >> the president did ask for a complete damage assessment on the bombing run last week. the pentagon has not held a briefing since friday. military and security matters will be on the president's mind today. he's meeting with his national security adviser h.r. mcmaster. as well he's expected to have din we are top military leaders tonight. chris and alisyn. >> thanks so much, joe. we have a lot to discuss. ron brownstein senior editor of the atlantic. tony blanking senior affairs
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analyst and former deputy secretary of state and former deputy national security adviser and military analyst cedric. tony, i want to start with you. how is this conversation between secretary tillerson and sergey lavrov in russia going to go since before he got on the plane to russia, he's currently in the air, he said russia failed to uphold their agreements to secure the chemical weapons in syria and for that they have to be held accountable? >> i think secretary tillerson is exactly right. he said the right thing heading to russia. the fact is there was an agreement brokered by russia in 2013 to get all the chemical weapons out. we succeeded in getting a lot of them out but obviously didn't get everything. russia agreed to uphold the deal it brokered. secretary tillerson is right to say russia failing to do what they said they would do were
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complicit, bears responsibility in the attacks. going forward he will continue to hold russia accountable if assad continues to use chemical and biological weapons. we hear conflicting voices over exactly what the policy is. i'm reminded of a hit song "until i hear from you." we need to hear from the president. we need the president to tell us what the policy is and what we're trying to do in syria. greater precision, the more comfort people will have. as it stands now we're hearing too many different voices saying too many different things. >> ron brownstein, what's your take on that. president putin came out and addressed people, did not mention united states or attacks in syria, taking a page out of the trump book there. what do you make of the president's reluctant in the united states to address this mixed message? is it because so demon straebl opposite america first and stay
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out. >> i think what happened in syria is a direct challenge not only to his remarks during the campaign in syria but broader relations to russia. go back to the campaign, if you remember the jewel in the crown that was supposed to come from a better relationship with russia was cooperation against isis, particularly in syria. look at the language in the very first presidential debate where he said, wouldn't it be great if we were working with russia against isis. i think what that always kind of miss calculated was that while russia did have an interest in dislodging isis, it had a greater interest in reinforcing assad. now that we are understandably drawing a civilizational red line against the use of chemical weapons, the divergence between our interest and their interest in syria is apparent and makes it more unlikely we will get that kind of cooperation he talked about during the campaign. having said all that, it is not clear that putin wants to go all the way down the road defending
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everything assad has done or might do. there might be some opportunities there. but again, the kind of broad cooperation he talked about in the campaign, i think, is one of the things that has been exploded by the events of last week. >> cedric, another thing confusing, they are trying to justify what the motivation was for the missile strike from the u.s. to the air base in syria last week. it was popular according to polls with voters but today you hear them using lots of different justifications for it. was it national security? was it because they broke their chemical weapons agreement? what do you think it was about? >> i think alisyn it was a combination of several factors, among them national security interest, nonproliferation of chemical weapons for starters. number two, always way in which to convey a message, a way in which to say, there is a red line here.
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they aren't using that term. they are basically saying we have a red line and we're not going to let you cross it. some of the mixed messaging could be used to the administration's advantage if they choose to do that. >> keep them, yes. >> exactly. that goes in line with what president trump said during the campaign. i don't want to reveal exactly what i'm going to be doing here. i want to keep the adversary guessing. what i see happening here is first they want to do -- take care of isis first. i think that's pretty clear from what secretary tillerson said and what some other things that happened. but the other part of it is they also want to make sure that they can pivot -- once they take care of isis they want to pivot and take care of assad. how they do that, that becomes a huge issue then. that is, i think they are trying to figure out how to do that. they are trying to get russia on board. that becomes the really hard part. how do you convince somebody that you're putting into a corner, how do you get them to
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be on your side. >> it may have been a message, cedric, you spend $100 million worth of munitions, you want to get something done. the results we're hearing 20% of the syrian air force, 20 percent of the seventh wing division. >> or 20 planes. >> or 20 planes. what seems more likely? from your time in the military, that doesn't sound right. somebody has it wrong with the numbers. >> sure. what's probably right is this, 20% of syrian air force is wrong. that's not going to happen in a strike of this type and of this magnitude and with that weapons system. what is possible is 20% of the seventh wing or 20% of what was on that air base because those two things mean the same thing basically. so if you cut out 20% of the operational aircraft on a base, that is a significant factor from an operational standpoint but it doesn't kill the base, and it doesn't kill their ability to fly from that base. so they are sending a message.
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syrians sending a message to us saying we can still fly from here so your strike wasn't effective as you like to tell people it is. the fact was it did do damage, did allow for there to be a pause in the use of chemical weapons but it also was one of the key things that really brought about a change in the dynamics. so i think what the administration was trying to do was change the dynamic. in that sense they have a possible opening to make that happen. >> so tony, no pentagon briefing since this happened on thursday night. you know, as cedric has been saying they don't telegraph to the enemy what they are doing, talk about their plans. >> they told russia they were going to launch the the missiles. >> that's true. they did give that international courtesy or call it whatever you want. they are also keeping americans in the dark here about these questions that we're all wrestling with this morning. >> again, alisyn, i think it comes back to the president. it would be good if he spoke to the american people about this. they want to know, we want to
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know how he sees this. what he's thinking, what the goals are going forward, both with syria specifically and more broadly with russia. we're seeing russia make a lot of mischief in very different parts of the world right now. whether it's in syria and complicit with assad, whether in ukraine, belarus nowhere its own borders, libya, to other places around the world. a lot of this is to challenge us. i think mr. pupt tin is trying take people's attention back home, you saw the protest a little over a week ago, making trouble somewhere else is a good way of distracting people's attention. we need to be clear we're going to stand against that when we have to, even look to find ways to cooperate where we can. but again, this all comes down to the president giving clarity about what his approach to russia as well as syria. >> ron, let's go back to the role of president again.
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it seems to be looming large. silence seems to be deafening. put out a tweet of why you don't bomb runways, no evidence they were trying to take out the runway, just didn't happen. on the messaging here, how important is it for the president to be out front and what is the likely of where he'll come down on this? >> i agree with tony that it's extremely important. i don't think it is 100% clear where he'll come down on it, given both the dissidence within the administration, we heard from different voices, but also the distance that all of this conversation has traveled from where he was during the campaign. remember at points during the campaign he even suggested we could work with assad against russia. going back to alisyn's point, it's true there is majority public support for this action, but it is at the lowest end. we have seen gallup reported of any military action it has seib. essentially only half the country saying it supports this and dividing along familiar lines with the groups that are
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skeptical of president trump, expressing scepticism of this, gallup polling. approval rating 40% after the attack, three days before. that's unusual and a constraint on his ability to act and mobilize public opinion. the doubts about him are still there among people skeptical. >> that's good context, ron. thank you for that. thank you, panel, for all of your expertise. >> saying during the campaign it was different. last week it was different. the white house position on assad than it is now. how should trump administration deal with adversaries like russia, syria, north korea? we're going to ask a republican congressman about what he wants to see happen next. >> plus two passengers who witnessed this on a united flight. okay. that was a fellow passenger being dragged off the plane. why did this have to happen? what did they say? they are going to give us more context ahead. a heart attack doesn't care what you eat
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it is also clear russia has failed to uphole the agreements that have been entered into under multiple u.n. security council resolutions. it is unclear whether russia failed to take this obligation seriously or russia has been incompetent, but this distinction doesn't much matter to the dead. >> that was secretary of state rex tillerson taking a hard line on syria ahead of his meeting today in moscow. this and more with republican congressman from florida. good morning, congressman. >> good morning, alisyn, how are you? >> i'm doing well. before we get to what's going to happen today, let me ask you about what happened with the u.s. missile strike on syria. what does the u.s. accomplish with that strike? >> i think the best thing they did is they sent a strong signal that enough is enough. there's been 480,000 syrians killed whether at the hands of assad or whether it was the rebels or isis or coalition forces. this has been going on for six years. the world sat by idly.
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you saw a lot of rhetoric but no action. i think this is a very decisive action. along the lines of rex tillerson, when we had the agreement that syria would give up these weapons of mass destruction and they didn't do it and russia was supposed to and john kerry signed off, americans paid for this. that means assad was reproducing them or they didn't turn them all over. so it's something that they broke the accord that we had. and we have to stand up and do something about this. >> so this was just a signal. we didn't go after any of the stockpiles with chemical weapons, didn't disable the airport? >> right. i think that's a very strong signal that, you know, we've got pibb point targeting. we could do more damage if needed. hopefully we don't have to and assad got the message. let's bring the civil war to an end. it's displaced as many people as
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before world war ii with refugees around the world. it hasn't just destabilized syria, it's destabilized the whole world with refugees going everywhere. >> congressman, help me understand why do you feel so strongly about taking decisive action now and helping to bring the syrian civil war to an end now. when president obama was in office you felt completely differently. let me read a statement you gave in 2013 you gave about this. >> i did. >> while president obama aims to intervene in syria's internal conflict i maintain it is neither the role of the united states federal government to do so nor the responsibility of american taxpayer to fund such an unconstitutional act. the founding fathers never intended an act of war to be done without the consent of congress. if we were to engage in military aid in syria, we're engaging in an act of war against a sovereign nation. what's changed? >> i feel the same. the things that have changed ar
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couple of things. one, this is six years later. you've got 480,000 people that have been killed. when we sat down with denis mcdonough, chief of staff with president obama, they had an open end policy. they wanted to do no-fly zones like we did in libya that led to failed state where isis is recruiting and training in libya, one of the worst areas on the planet for isis recruitment. president obama wanted to have an open end. i asked denis mcdonough, how long walk operation going to last? he said, not sure, maybe ten years. i asked how much it was going to cost. over a billion dollars a month. >> congressman, do you know what the trump policy would be in syria? when you're saying it's time for this brutal civil war to end, how long would you be in? how much would you spend? >> again, this is six years later. >> four years.
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this is 2013 when you said it. four years. go on. >> four years later, 480,000 people have been slaughtered over there. what president trump did was an immediate attack. he said enough is enough. i am still of the mind-set that we are not going to commit. what we did was i feel right at the verge of an act of war. we attacked a sovereign nation. so for him to go any further, he's got to come to congress. we have to talk about this. i'm not willing to commit american taxpayers money anymore or american troops on the ground in another middle eastern country. all we have to do is look at afghanistan and iraq. i don't want to go down that path. >> how are you going to stop the brutal civil war you're talking about? >> let's hope as a world community that this brings that to an end where they pivot and make changes in syria. something had to be done. are we going to sit here and watch another auschwitz where millions got killed as the world stood by?
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this is something we have to bring to an end. >> are you saying one airstrike on an air base that damaged 20 airplanes is going to bring the civil war that assad has been waging to an end? >> nobody knows that. let's hope that happens. >> do you think that's possible? >> yeah, i think it's possible for sure. >> you think that president bashar al assad was so struck by what happened on thursday with the missile strike, the next day virtually on saturday, those planes were back in the air again bombing innocent civilians in his country. it doesn't seem -- if that's what you think the message was, it doesn't seem he received that message. >> let's see if there's chemical weapons used. this is, again, something the world community said chemical weapons are off the table. we've had legislation to stop the barrel bombs he's used on his own people with chlorine gas and we've sent this message through the committees of foreign affairs. it's gone through congress. >> so the barrel bomb is used again. if he uses a barrel bomb, do you
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support president trump again striking syria? >> i support president trump coming to congress to ask for approval and then the congress talks about this, we debate it. >> you would give that approval? >> again, i have to look at the facts. you're looking at a hypothetical in the future. i have to see what the conditions are. >> i'm looking at the past. he has used barrel bombs. there's no promise he won't again. you're saying you are now ready. you feel differently than you did in 2013. you now ready to grant some permission for further military action against syria? >> no, ma'am. that's not what i'm saying. i said i'm willing to debate it and look at the cause, how long is this going to last. what kind of commitment are you looking from the united states. where is the rest of the world community. doesn't everybody around the world that has been affected by the influx of refugees, don't they have something to bring to the table on this?
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where is europe? where is eu? where is germany? i think we need to have that discussion before we go further and commit america anymore. i think it was a strong signal, decisive signal sent by our president that says this has to be brought to an end. this conflict has destabilized the whole world. and we've got north korea to think about, too. >> indeed we do. you have ten seconds. very quickly, what's the answer in north korea? >> north korea again we have a fleet out there to show the strength of the united states this. is a new president. this is a new narrative coming out of america that, you know, you can't go around flaunting nuclear power that you're going to destroy america, you're going to destroy south korea, you're going to put japan at risk. these are regiomes that have to fall into line of the world community of being good actors. if you're working to destabilize the world like that, something has to be done. when they are direct threats at us, 23 million people 30 miles
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south of dmz and south korea, 20,000 troops in south korea, i think we should show we have force and we're serious about what we do. >> congressman yoho, thank you for being on new day. >> thanks, alisyn. >> this political intrigue in washington, will he stay or will he go, not talking about the song from clash, steve bannon, can he exist with the other man you see on your screen, jared kushner, one of trump's in-laws, children. what's going to happen, family or bannon? next. experience a shift in the natural order. experience amazing.
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he understands that we have some pretty smart, talented individuals who are opinionated on a lot of subjects but that our battles an policy differences need to be behind closed doors. >> the president cannot be happy about all this leaking. white house press secretary sean spicer trying to downplay reports of infighting between top trump officials.
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jared kushner, steve bannon, spicer attacked by their own. this follows a report the president purportedly told kushner and bannon to bury the hatchet. cnn commentator ana navarro, kaley, let's start off as we learn in law school to argue the premise. let's attack it. do you believe any of this? do you believe there is legitimate hostility going on between kushner and bannon? >> look, i believe there's a grain of truth to it absolutely. they are definitely idealogically at odds, what kushner stands for and what bannon stands for. logic would tell, you yes, probably disagreements. they have been overblown because there's so much palace intrigue but disagreements. look at the syria strikes. we know bannon wasn't on board idealogically, not an
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interventionist whereas kushner and ivanka would encourage, to success. there are disagreements. >> let's put up graphics. it does shape up like an episode of "the apprentice." team trump with trump, ivanka, cohn, powell, bannon, a couple haven't made the cut, team priebus, kayte walsh leaving for her own reasons. what do you make of this palace intrigue? >> a little bit of palace in trying in every palace, including the white house. this has been a lot and a lot very early. i'm not sure if we should have instead of saying "the apprentice" looks like house of cards and keystone cops and
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three stooges. sometimes they are running into each other. first rule of politics, don't air your dirty laundry in public. these folks have been hanging it o out. it's a lot of leaking, intrigue. we're not at 100 days we hear about blood letting and argument going on. it's not good. i frankly think steve bannon should be treading very carefully because blood is thicker than water. even though kushner is not blood technically, he's as close to blood -- he's married to blood. that counts, too, in team trump. i think that for a lot of us, who may have issues with jared kushner, who was inexperienced, being now the secretary of everything. i think we'll start complaining the secretary of everything jared kushner can somehow get rid of steve bannon who for such a big part of the country is a problematic person in the white house. >> kayleigh, you're shaking your head. i want to hear why. also, let me give you a little
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context of what i want to you address with it. the president is in a box. sure, blood is thicker than water, but you don't usually have family surrounding you in the white house, especially when that family has never done anything like this before at any level, let alone a high level. somewhat of a box. that said, bannon does seem to be a perceived bad boy. how do you see it? >> look, you cannot lose steve bannon, you just can't. to my knowledge, when i look around the white house, the ensemble person grounding president trump to keep his promises to the base is steve bannon. perhaps kellyanne conway. you mentioned which box does she fit in? she might be in that base box. he needs someone there to say you cannot renege on these promises. before steve bannon was on the scene laying ideological foundation that won over swing state voters and won trump the presidency. you cannot lose steve bannon,
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he's indispensable. i would be worried if steve bannon was gone. >> what's interesting, let's assume you're right. one of the initiatives when they first got on was something about djt 100, this dream. you've got to aspire in politics to get to 100% popularity. to grow way beyond the base. look at where they are now, ana, he's so entrenched with the core group, has not grown popularity by any measurable estimate at all, can he afford to lose bannon which is his umbilical connection to the group that got him there? >> i think we need to watch what the backlash is of the syria action. for a lot if the base, a lot in that steve bannon faction of the republican party, going into syria, having activity in syria, was a big no-no. we saw that president trump saw backlash from right wing radio this weekend. the question will be, will they give him wiggle room, allow it,
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get over it. >> right. >> if they do, i think that sends a message he has established his own relationship. i think he's got a very strong relationship with that base that surpasses any given adviser. he's quite good at reaching his audience one-on-one. >> ana, kayleigh, appreciate the different perspectives on this as always. alisyn. >> imagine this on your next flight. a passenger dragged from his seat by airlines officials just because the flight was oversold. two eyewitnesses join us next. t, fresh and nutritious. so there are no artificial colors, no artificial flavors, no artificial preservatives in any of the food we sell. we believe in real food. whole foods market.
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in syria, the u.s. war against isis is ongoing. cnn given exclusive access to a plane as it refueled striker jets, coming days after russia suspended communications with the u.s. in protest of the missile strikes and threatened that a confrontation was imminent. cnn reporter on board joins us live. good to see you safer and sound and on the ground. what do you know? >> hi, chris. yeah, there is a lot of tension right now with the u.s. air force flying over iraq and syria and a lot of uncertainty as well. there was a system in place called deconflicting between the russians and americans, and now it seems that system is no longer in place what they are doing is when they are going in syria they fly very, very carefully. they look around a lot.
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they also say the fight against isis has to continue. here is what happened to us on our mission. faced with new russian threats, the u.s. military not backing down in the skies over iraq and syria. we're on a kc 10 tanker plane refueling the fighters pounding isis. >> russians announced they don't want to communicate with u.s. anymore in the skies over syria. that's why planes like this one take great care when they fly into syrian airspace. >> stopping communications significantly increases midair collisions over this crowded airspace where u.s. coalition and russian airplanes are close to one another. russia made the move after u.s. hit syrian airfield with cruise missiles last week, a response to a chemical attack on a village killing around 90 people. washington blamed assad regime, russia's main ally in the civil
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war as syria debs being behind the attack. america doesn't want the turmoil to affect the ongoing effort to destroy isis. despite current tensions with russia, u.s. says the fight against isis has to continue full speed, especially american and allied forces order ground and in harm's way. a sentiment echoed by commanders leading air war against isis. >> we can't take our eye off the ball that is isis. that's why we're here. our national leadership decided to do something about a problem they solved. if we're asked to help out with something like that, we're obviously ready to do it. right now isis is the game over there. >> reporter: so far the u.s. says there have been no incidents involving russian airplanes over offense iraq and syria. they hope despite russia's rhetoric that it stays that way. >> our thanks to fred on that plane fueling the jets there
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showing how fragile that situation is. >> that was great reporting. meanwhile we have to tell you about the story getting so much attention. here is a passenger dragged off an airline because it was overbooked. what was it like to be another passenger on board? we'll speak to two eyewitnesses who watched it unfold next. man: chevy is the most awarded car company, three years in a row. really! let's see how quickly you can read through all their awards. (bell ringing) man 2: 2017 motor trend car of the year. kelly blue book 2016 best resale value. 2016 j.d. power highest quality breaking... agh! 10 best... blah blah blah. 2015... only about 90 more to go! that's a lot of awards! chevrolet. the most awarded and fastest growing retail brand in 2016. celebrate with us and get 16% below msrp on select chevy vehicles in stock. find new roads at your local chevy dealer.
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so united airlines is in damage control this morning after cell phone video of a passenger being dragged from his seat on an overbooked flight. this you have to see to believe. >> reporter: a disturbing scene unfolding front of horrified passengers as this man is wrestled from his seat. and dragged off the plane. >> no, this is wrong! oh, my god! look at what you did to him! >> reporter: three chicago airport security officers seen forcibly removing this passenger to make room for crew members on the overbooked flight. the man hitting his mouth on the arm west across the aisle. >> this is wrong! >> reporter: moments later, the distraught passenger runs back on to the plane. >> i have to go home. i have to go home. >> reporter: witnesses say the man told the crew he was a
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doctor and was yelling that he was being profiled because he was chinese. >> reporter: the incident prompted outrage onboard. >> the united employees come on the plane, the other passengers were just berating the employees, saying things like, you should be ashamed of yourself, you should be embarrassed to work for this company. >> reporter: and sparking a major backlash against the airline on social media. united airlines first explaining in a statement, normally, when this ocurs, passengers are asked to voluntarily give up their seats for compensation and the situation was resolved. however, this was not the case on sunday night's flight and united was forced into an involuntary deboarding situation. united ceo, oscar munoz, later addressing the situation on social media saying, quote, i apologize for having to reaccommodate these customers. our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened. munoz later calling the passenger, quote, disruptive and
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belligerent in an e-mail to employees. >> well, i've never seen this happen before. i've never, ever seen a passenger roughed up and dragged off a plane to put a flight attendant on. that's just idiocy. >> reporter: the officer involved in pulling this passenger from the flight is on paid leave while officials investigate what happened. >> all right, joining us now, two passengers from that flight. john clausen and jace onspot. did i come close to getting your names right? >> pretty close. >> you did fine. >> i'll take it. as witnesses in there, we'll start with you, john, how did this start? and what were your impressions as it evolved into this ugly situation? >> well, we were boarded on the airplane and then a united representative came on the plane and told all of us that we would not leave chicago until they had four volunteers to leave the plane so that they could load
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their personnel. not people who were overbooked, just their personnel. and this didn't set well with the passengers, obviously. they were offering $800 in united airline dollars, which isn't a whole lot, because it's only for united, it's only for air travel. and they were unwilling to negotiate that. >> so how did they zero in on this man, as the one who wanted to go? >> that is the question. we don't really know. they left the plane after telling us, well, we're going to choose for you, because there's no volunteers, and they came back with four tickets with the plane number -- or the seat number and the name, and they just came up to those individuals -- >> was the doctor the first one they came to or did anybody exit before the doctor? jace? >> nobody exited before the doctor, but there was a couple of people that were asked first, and it appeared that they denied and they also refused at that
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moment, so they went straight to the doctor. >> so he did nothing different, the doctor, in his refusal, as far as you can tell, than the people before him who said, no, i'm not leaving? >> yeah. he did nothing different. but it escalated, you know. >> right, let's talk about that. when it starts escalating and these airport officials get on the airplane, then what happens? do you see this passenger, what leads up to him being dragged out and then that scene, john? >> are you asking me or john? >> john? >> well, what do we see, two airport officials came on the airplane, tried to talk him out of his seat. at that point, it's escalated pretty far, right? there's a lot of fear now on the plane. remember, there are women and children and students on the plane. and it's just getting more and more tense. than the third officer comes on, he's plainclothesed, we don't
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know a lot about him, there's not real identification taking place and it just explodes as they yank him off of and out of his seat. >> john, is that you in the orange seat sitting in front of hum? >> it is, yes. >> when this was going on, and you're hearing that screaming behind you, what were you thinking was going on? and did you have any thoughts about doing something about it? >> well, we were returning from athens. i had taken a group, we had been working with refugees, iranian and afghan refugees in athens. we had been flying a long time, we were ready to go home. all of a sudden this explodes, you're asking yourself the question, what can i do, do i get up, do i say something, but these are police officers, they're federal police officers, you know that you're on federal property, what do you do in a situation like that? >> i don't know. i mean, watching this, it's just, it's so unthinkable that all of this is unfolding in front of passengers, just because the flight was overbooked, which was united's responsibility to begin with.
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but jace, chthen the passenger o was forcibly removed, who was screaming, he runs back on the plane and at that point there's video of his -- blood coming from his mouth. what was your impression of this passenger? was he traumatized from this experience or was there something else going on with him? >> you know, it's hard to tell. as he runs back on that plane and he's saying over and over again, i need to go home, i need to go home, he could have been dazed from hitting his face on the armrest. he was acting a little bit differently since he came back on the plane. i don't even know how he got back on the plane, what was happening in the jetway, because it wasn't until seven to ten minutes later that he ran back on the plane. >> oh, my gosh. but where we see this blood dripping from his mouth, that's because he -- when they were forcibly removing him, his head
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hit the armrest. >> that's correct. he hit his face on the armrest across the aisle. >> but you don't know what happened after he got the plane? because when's getting dragged off, he's not bleeding like that. he didn't say anything about it, did he? >> he wasn't making -- >> he wasn't making much sense when he came back. so this happens, then what? what happens when the pilot, when the doctor makes that appeal at the end, where he's holding on to the side, how did he wind up ultimately leaving the plane and what happened to his wife? >> the speculation was that -- because they surrounded him. they had the people on the back of the plane leave, so they had some room, and they brought on medics and some other police officers. they surrounded the doctor in the back. things kind of got quiet. and after about seven minutes or so, he -- they make room and he starts making his way on his own up to the front of the plane.
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he's holding some tissue in his mouth to stop the bleeding. and he started -- you know, he's walking now a little bit more -- he looks almost like intoxicated. and then at the front of the plane, he ends up collapsing. so we were suspecting that maybe they sedated him in the back to kind of calm him down and get him to go forward. because other than that, there's no reason for him to collapse. >> oh, my gosh. so, john, i mean, having lived through all of this, who do you blame here for this ugly scene? >> well, blame -- blame is hard, but all united had to do was try to convince some passengers, and it wouldn't have taken much more convincing to get some folks to leave that plane. but after the first offer was made, the united employee left and it escalated. she chose people who were going to be taken off the ple.


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