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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  April 13, 2017 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT

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have moved in to assess the impact. we'll know by the morning how -- how it has all gone. >> okay. mr. ambassador, thank you so much for your time. i really appreciate your voice in this breaking news. thank you. thank you all for being with me. i'm brook brooke baldwin he i'm brooke baldwin here in new york. the lead with jake tapper starts now. >> thanks, brooke. it is the biggest bomb the u.s. military has without being, you know, the big one. "the lead" starts right now. breaking news, the u.s. military drops the largest non- nuclear bomb that it possesses. the pentagon nicknamed it the mother of all bombs. whom were they trying to annihilate? primed and ready. reports that north korea is ready for another nuclear test as president trump says the u.s. is ready to step in. we're live inside the most mysterious country in the world. plus, fresh wounds. the attorney for the united
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passenger who was violently dragged off that flight says he broke his nose, lost two teeth and now needs surgery. is united's next destination the courtroom? ♪ good afternoon, everyone. welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. we're going to begin with breaking news in the world lead. for the first time ever, the united states announced it has used the most powerful non- nuclear bomb from its argue nal. deployed to the battlefield in afghanistan targeting, the pentagon says, isis fighters and a network of their tunnels. 21,600 pound monster known as the moab or massive ordnance air blast bomb, or another less technical name that fits the acronym, the mother of all bombs. let's go to barbara starr for more on this. barbara, the president was asked about this today and he said he has given the military total
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authorization. what exactly does that mean? the president has given the pentagon the ability to do whatever it wants? the president doesn't need to sign off on major military actions? >> i don't think the pentagon can do whatever it wants. what it does mean is the president has decided to trust his commanders, in his view, to do the right thing. when major missions like this happen, we are told, indeed, the white house is briefed. for the first time ever, the mother of all bombs was used by the u.s. military in combat. the largest non- nuclear bomb used in combat, targeting isis fighters in eastern afghanistan's row moat nangahar province. a us air force special operations, mc-130 dropped the bomb via parachute. >> we targeted a system of tunnels and caves that isis fighters used to move around freely, making it easier for them to target u.s. military advisers and afghan forces in the area.
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>> reporter: the moab, the massive ordnance air blast bomb, also known as the mother of all bombs, is a 21,600 pound bomb that explodes in the air. it's blast is supposed to destroy a target area that can spread over thousands of feet. on saturday a u.s. army special operations soldier was killed in combat in the same area. >> the united states takes the fight against isis very seriously, and in order to defeat the group we must deny them operational space, which we did. >> reporter: one reason it was used, the area is so remote the u.s. believes there were no nearby civilians. >> probably had a very large concentration, and it made perfect sense based on the time of day that they were going to attack that they could have a massive kill in this area, not putting any special operators or any conventional forces at risk. >> reporter: no the challenge, did the bomb work as planned in its first combat mission? >> it explodes above the ground at a distance, depending upon
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what type of a shape and a blast you want to have, and as described it is a concussive blast. so everybody underneath that thing is either obliterated, ears are bleeding or they're completely destroyed. >> reporter: one of the key questions now, did it -- did it work. the u.s. is going to want to find out, make sure they did not cause civilian casualties in the area. that assessment is ongoing. jake. >> all right, barbara starr for us at the pentagon. thank you so much. let's turn to the politics side of this with the politics lead, for a president who pledged to voters he would disentangle the united states from involvements abroad, president trump has indeed escalated in various way u.s. military actions overseas. he has increased the numbers of boots on the ground in both iraq and syria, launched 60 tomahawk missiles at syria one week ago, he has given u.s. commanders more authority in so malya and yemen, which has increased the u.s. footprint in those countries, and dropped the bomb today on afghanistan.
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athena is live at the white house. to be fair, in addition to pledging to focus the u.s. on the u.s., president trump told voters he would bomb the bleep out isis. today did he say whether or not he specifically ordered this afghan bombing? >> reporter: no, he did not directly answer a question about that, talking instead about having given his commanders authorization. you're right, jake. this is a president who talked often on the campaign trail about bombing isis. so as far as he's concerned, this is another promise kept in a very literal sense. with this latest strike and the strike last week in syria, the president has shown he's willing to take military action when he deems it necessary. this strike coming as the administration is in the midst of a full strategy review of u.s. policy in afghanistan. >> we're very, very proud of our military. >> reporter: the trump administration launching another military attack. this time against isis in afghanistan. one week after striking a syrian
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air base. >> we are so proud of our military, and it was another successful event. >> did you authorize? >> everybody knows exactly what happened. so -- and what i do is i authorize my military. we have the greatest military in the world, and they've done a job, as usual. >> reporter: the move aligns with trump's tough talk from the campaign trail. >> i would bomb the [ bleep ] out of 'em. >> reporter: but the president is also making headlines for a series of reversals from earlier stances. >> number one, nato is obsolete. number two, the countries in nato are not paying their fair share. >> reporter: changing his views on the north atlantic treaty organization, the nearly 70-year-old alliance he wailed against on the campaign trail. >> i said it was obsolete. it is no longer obsolete. >> reporter: it was the latest about face in a growing list of flip-flops on foreign and economic policy. trump bashed china for months, promising to label the country a currency manipulator on day one
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of his presidency. >> we have the cards. our people don't know that. we are going to the label china a currency manipulator, which is what they're doing. >> reporter: but he told the "wall street journal," quote, they're not currency manipulators, explaining that he change willed his mind on a signature campaign promise because china has not been manipulating its currency for months, and for fear of jeopardizing efforts to push north korea to halt its nuclear program. >> president xi wants to do the right thing. >> reporter: the president also suggested he would be open to keeping janet yellen at the head of the federal reserve after her term expires next year, even though he said this last september. >> and we have a fed that's doing political things. this janet yellen of the fed, the fed is doing political -- >> reporter: then there's perhaps the biggest u-turn of all on russia. remember candidate trump's warm talk during the campaign? >> if putin likes donald trump,
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i consider it an asset, not a liability. wouldn't it be nice if we got along with russia? wouldn't that be good? is that aed bad thing. >> reporter: now singing a different tune. >> right now we're not getting along with russia at all. we may be at an all-time low in terms of relationship with russia. this has bit for a long period of time, but we're going to see what happens. >> reporter: so you heard the president sounding pretty pessimistic about russia yesterday. he sounded more positive this morning on twitter, saying things will work out fine between the u.s. and russia at the right time everyone will come to their senses and there will be lasting peace. jake. >> all right. athena jones at the white house for us. thank you. some tough talk from the head of the cia, talking about wikileaks, the same website candidate trump said he loved. stay with us. this bar is made with cranberries and almonds. so, guess what? we call it cranberry almond. give kind a try.
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welcome back to "the lead." we have even more breaking news in our politics lead if you can believe it. a stunning assessment from the cia director mike pompeo. minutes ago he came out and said wikileaks is a non- state hostile intelligence service working with russia. yes, that's right. the same wikileaks that president trump, then candidate trump, repeatedly praised on the campaign trail. so pamela brown is here with more on the story. quite a turnaround for -- if not
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president trump, at least the trump organization. >> that's right. because today you had the cia director, mike pompeo, in his first public remarks, jake, going after wikileaks, taking direct aim at wikileaks and i think founder julian assange, saying that he wanted to call wikileaks what it is, a non-state hostile intelligence service that encourages followers to find jobs at the cia in order to obtain intelligence that will harm the u.s. >> wikileaks walks like a hostile intelligence service and talks like a hostile intelligence service. it has encouraged followers to find jobs at the cia in order to obtain intelligence. it is time to call out wikileaks for what it really is, a non-state hostile intelligence service, often abetted by state actors like russia. >> he went on to say that julian assange is a far cyst that cares more about his own celebrity and making a splash than risking u.s. lives.
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he even cited al qaeda, praising a means to fight the u.s. he said that need to do a better job of protecting cyber infrastructure. he defended the agency and said that its core mission is to steal secrets from foreign add ver takers, not to spi on americans. he went after wikileaks and, as you said, during the campaign wikileaks, of course, was putting out the e-mails about john podesta and about the dnc. you heard donald trump say during the campaign he loves wikileaks. we have the cia director going after it. >> over and over. joining me is democratic congressman who serves on the house intelligence committee. your reaction to cia director c pompeo's comments? is that what they're finding, wikileaks was acting on behalf of russia? >> he's right.
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i appreciate director pompeo saying that. i served with him on the intelligence committee and i'm happy to see him in this role stepping up. right now i would like to hear the president come out and say that, and so far he's been quiet about wikileaks and their connection to russia. >> does it matter if the president says it if the cia director does? >> well, a lot of people are asking with respect to the intelligence non- nucle intelligence community, whether these people had their first and last meeting with president trump. so, you know, what kind of access do they have with the president and are they relevant. it is great nikki haley has tough words at the u.n., but so far we have not heard the president talk tough with russia. >> i want goat your reaction, of course, also to the historic bomb that was dropped in afghanistan, the largest non-nuclear bomb the pentagon possesses. what do you make of the decision to use this weapon for the first time? >> well, i too want to know if the president authorized this because he doesn't have to authorize everything the
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military does, but he certainly should be involved when we escalate to the weapons used. i'm all for going after isis and i want to find out more as to whether any civilians were killed, also whether the afghans were involved. we can't just bomb our way to national security. right now this president wants to dramatically cut foreign aid and we need foreign aid and we need friends in the region if we're going to ever see progress over there. >> there are a lot of hawks out there praising president trump today, talking about how he takes the fight to isis and to other terrorist groups in a stronger way than president obama ever did. take a listen to president trump earlier today talking about that very thing. >> we have given them total authorization, and that's what they're doing. and, frankly, that's why they've been so successful lately. if you look at what's happened over the last eight weeks and compare that to what -- really to what happened over the last eight years, you'll see there's a tremendous difference, tremendous difference. >> what do you think, sir? >> we have more threats right
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now, jake, than ever before. north korea is threatening to launch a nuclear attack against the united states. syria is gassing its own people. isis is spreading its network across the world. so we need a strategy. so we need the president to come to the american people. he needs to go to congress and get authorization as far as the scope, the time and any troops, as to whether they will be committed into battle. right now we don't have that. the american people, i think, deserve to know. >> in syria, syrian president bashar al assad called the claims by the pentagon and the white house that he used deadly sarin gas on his own people a, quote, 100% fabrication and then he accused the united states of working to help terrorists to carry out the attacks. your thoughts? >> well, bashar al assad has to go, and we need to make sure that russia is a part of that, whether it is leaving syria but also we need to call on our nato friends to put pressure in the
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region so that there's a political transformation in syria, and that we all can align and fight the other enemy in the region, which is isis. but he's wrong. the intelligence clearly shows that he used chemical weapons on his own people, and we also need to know whether russia was com police i think. >> congressman from the house intelligence committee and the great state of california. appreciate your time. >> my pleasure. >> new information about how u.s. intel jebs found out about communications between people close to the trump campaign and russians known to u.s. intelligence. that's next. then, is north korea preparing for a major celebration by getting its nuclear sights ready? cnn goes inside the communist nation, and was just taken to a super secretive event with none other than kim jong-un. stay with us. so you're having a party?
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how nice. i'll be right there. and the butchery begins. what am i gonna wear? this party is super fancy. let's go. i'm ready. are you my uber? [ horn honks ] hold on. don't wait for watchathon week to return. [ doorbell rings ] who's that? show me netflix. sign up for netflix on x1 today and keep watching all year long. . welcome back. we're back with breaking news on politics lead now. it turns out it was not just u.s. intelligence. cnn is learning that british and other urn intelligence agencies also picked up communications between associates of then candidate donald trump and russians who were known to u.s.
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intelligence. cnn chief national security correspondence jim sciutto joins me now. jim, what are sources telling me about how it happened and the type of information that these u european intelligence agencies gathered? >> if you remember, u.s. intelligence intercepted repeated conversations. we have now learned british and other european intel swrens agencies also intercepted communications between trump associates and russian officials, other russian nationals, and passed those communications on to their u.s. counterparts. u.s. law enforcement congressional sources as well as u.s. and european intelligence sources tell cnn. these communications were captured, i should note, during routine surveillance of the russians. including gchq were not proactively targeted members of the trump team but picked up the
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communication during what is known as incidental collection, these sources tell us. as with u.s. intelligence, european intelligence detected multiple communications over several months between the trump associates and russian individuals. the u.s. and britain are part of the so-called five eyes agreement along with canada, australia and new zealand, and that calls for open sharing among the member nations of a broad range of intelligence. i should note this because, of course, you have kongs willal and fbi investigations going on in this. a source close to the congressional investigations of russian involvement in u.s. elections -- in the u.s. presidential election tells me foreign intelligence agencies share with u.s. intelligence relevant to the investigation, then of course the intelligence committee will look at it. as you have the house and senate, of course the fbi, this is more information into that pot showing communications. the question is what happened during those communications, specifically was there any collusion. >> one more piece in this very large puzzle. jim sciutto, thank you so much. president trump not typically known for shying away from the camera, but earlier
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if humira may be right for you. with humira, control is possible. closed captioning brought to you by -- gum brand for healthy gums. soft picks, proxabrush cleaners, flossers. gum brand. welcome back to "the lead." helg lead now, president trump signed a law giving states the option to block funding to any organizations that provide abortions, including planned parenthood. it rolls back an obama administration regulation. during the campaign you might remember the republican candidate praised the services that planned parenthood provides except for abortion. >> but millions of women have been helped by planned parenthood, but we're not going to allow and we're not going to fund as long as you have the abortion going on at planned parenthood. >> so let's bring in serfaty.
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sob clear it has been illegal for federal funds to financed abortion. what might the law mean for a woman who uses medicaid, which is a federal program, and wants to go to planned parenthood to get contraception or a pap smear? >> depending the state, she could see changes in what is offered. undoing this gives states basically the freedom to allocate and potentially withhold the money that go to a variety of family planning and preventive services, things like birth control, pregnancy tests, maternity care. undoing this law gives the state to allocate the money now. as you noted because of the amendment that's been on the books for many years, no federal money can be used to i pay for abortion, but many republicans were still opposed for giving money for other services to organizations like planned
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parenthood that also do abortions even though it should be noted that not every planned parenthood offers abortion. >> and the administration more broadly talking about healthcare. they're not letting go of the chance to repeal and replace accenture match-play championship. the president telling the "wall street journal" as way to force negotiations with dems he might consider stopping payments to insurance companies under obamacare to cover low income people. might that gambit work in might it draw in dimarcos and bring them to the bargaining table? >> i don't think it will bring in dimarcos. we are seeing swift reaction from them, dimarcos saying it is exposing a political strategy meant to close them in, pelosi calling it cruel, schumer calling it to hold people hostage to achieve the political goal of repeal. dimarcos a democratic leadership aide
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telling me it is something discussed before but the president threatened to throw more gas on the fire. >> it is too bad. there are faxes that need to happen. sunlen serfaty. thank you so much. i want to bring in our political panel to digest the day's news. mary catherine, you're closest so i'll start with you. the federal government refuses to pay obamacare subsidies that will force democratics to the table. might it work as a gambit? >> it is a gambit. he could plausly make the argument this is the obamacare created by obama and we're letting it take its path. if he takes the extra step of cutting off subsidies, it falls in his lap. that being said, as the -- particularly the individual market continues to be on the rocks, democrats may want to engage with him at some point because i'm not sure exactly what the republican plan looks like. this is not a president who is
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particularly ideological. i think you can get him to do a lot of different things on healthcare, many of which i would disagree with. >> but if this is hostage taking, somebody taking a hostage by holding a gun to his own head, if you understand how the affordable care act works, the people who get these subsidies are by and large middle and lower middle income people, people with jobs who buy their insurance policies on the exchanges. in other words we're talking about the profile of the trump voter. >> is the problem they had going through the plan they had in the house. >> yeah. >> democrats have been clear this is a non- starter for them. the basic position is if you want to fix obamacare we're happy to sit down and talk about it. any time you talk about repeal, it is a non- starter. they have no interest in it. it is just interesting he seems to be reaching out to the democrats and also claiming he is close to a deal with the freedom caucus. those two things cannot both be true, right? >> speaking of contradictions -- i don't know if you noticed but there's a lot of contradiction
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within the president, president trump's work. in today's white house briefinger, for kpal, press secretary sean spicer wouldn't explain the president's stance on the import/export bank, his role in ordering the bombing of afghanistan, chinese currency manipulation, how he was going to say he was going to declare china to be a manipulator and no longer going to do that, and whether or not debate will cause government shut down. why to you think they won't explain the president's position? >> these are complex issues and he wanted to move on as if it was not his job to explain complex issues to people. it is very strange, very strange in particular to be talking about a major strike where we drop a bomb we've never dropped before and he won't even address the fact -- anything, anything really relating to the president and punting to the defense department, and the reporters pointing out we're asking about the president and that's his job. >> yeah, did he actually order it. >> yeah. >> it seems to me the president -- i mean the
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president's response was, you know, i've given the military the authority to do this and we were told by the pentagon, barbara starr reporting, that the pentagon briefed the president? it seems odd. there's a reason this nation has civilian control of the military, not just by the secretary of defense but by the president to have a role in these decisions. >> on spicer's part i think it might be an act of self-preservation, less is more. >> it was a quick briefing today. >> with trump, i think he also said everyone knows exactly what happened. no, that's why we're asking the question. we don't know exactly what happened. i think it is likely he has given more latitude to military leaders, but when something large like this happens they would come to him. that would be my guess, but we were not given that exact answer. >> it is inconceivable the military would have used a weapon never used before without consulting the commander in chief. now, it sounded like what trump was trying to suggest here is that, you know, perhaps was the military's judgment that this was the right set of circumstances for this
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particular weapon and that they made the case to him. what i don't understand is why he didn't just say that. what he said was, well, everyone knows what happened. >> and what about, karen, more broadly the major shifts in position we've seen from this white house in terms of the export/import bank, the use of force abroad and military entanglements. i mean i could go on and on, but you've seen the list. the chinese currency manipulation, he was going to declare on day one china was a currency manipulator, and on and on. what do you make about what the president would call flexibility, some people might call it an evolution, others might call it a flip-flop? >> i think one of the most revealing comments he made was his comment about the affordable care act. it turns out this healthcare stuff is really complicated. as a candidate he suggested that all of these issues were very straightforward, that he alone could do it. as a president, he's finding that things are much more complicated than candidate trump
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seemed to -- if not understand, then imply. >> he said something like that in an interview with the "wall street journal." he was talking about the north korea issue and talking with president xi of china, it turns out it is really complicated. it is like what he said about healthcare, who knew it was so complicated. >> some of this can be attributed to learning in office, and i think that's good. we should encourage him when it happens. some is attributable he is a changeable man. his personality is not going to change but his policies will. what concerns me is that i will say, hey, good job on this particular policy, but then three days from now he might have a change of heart, depending on who he is talking to. >> i want to turn to president trump's opponent in the election, hillary clinton, is not going soft into that good night. she is no longer just seen in the woods on occasion like big foot. she is actually popping up. she did an interview the other day, and there were throughout this interview a whole list of individuals whom she clearly holds responsible for the fact that she is not in the white
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house. take a listen. >> the combination of the comey letter on october 28th, wikileaks which played a much bigger role than i think many people understand yet, had the determinative effect. i think what putin wanted to do is to sow die trutrust and conf well as influence our election. certainly misogyny played a role. that has to be admitted. >> to what extent do you assign blame to bernie sanders, to the media for focusing on e-mails? >> how much time do we have? >> kirsten. >> yes, it is just interesting. never in this equation has hillary clinton to blame for anything, and she was after all the candidate. there were outside forces affecting the campaign, no question, but there were a lot of things i think related to her
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candidacy that were problematic. i don't think it helps democrats to look back at this. people want to move on and not seem like sour grapes. i think it makes the base happy, but i don't think it is helpful overall. i'm getting tweeted right now, why do you hate hillary clinton so much. i don't hate hillary clinton, but i don't think it is helpful. >> i mean, karen, you know, obviously putin, comey, et cetera, there's a whole list of reasons why she didn't win, but she doesn't seem to have done enough intro spacex. i want to point out there's president trump boarding air force one about to go to mar-a-lago. there doesn't seem to be a lot of intro spacspection, putin di say don't go to wisconsin. james comey didn't tell her to call one portion of the country deplorable. >> it was a close election, but it is kind of not in human nature to get over something like this that quickly. in 1984 when walter mondale lost
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in a landslide, he went to george mcgovern who had done the same thing years before and said, how long does it take to get over something like this? mcgovern said, you know, i'll tell you when it happens. >> north korea nuclear site primed and ready. what is kim jong-un planning for one of the nation's biggest celebrations. we will go live inside north korea where few outsiders go. a broken nose, broken teeth, a concussion, new information on how severe the united passenger's injuries are. is there anything united can do to redeem itself and avoid court? stay with us. what makes this simple salad the best simple salad ever? heart healthy california walnuts. the best simple veggie dish ever?
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welcome back to "the lead."
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i'm jake tapper. more on world lead now. some military experts are speculating that the massive bomb the pentagon dropped on afghanistan to destroy isis tunnels was also intended as a message to north korea about president trump's willingness to use force, a suggestion that the president did not deny today. if so, the message comes as satellite imagery suggests kim jong-un's regime may be in final preparations for its sixth nuclear test, another terrifying possibility. japan today claiming north korea may be capable of delivering missiles equipped with sarin nerve gas. cnn's will ripley joins me live from pyongyang. analysts have been warning for months north korea is getting ready for another nuclear test, but it could happen any day now, right? >> reporter: that's according to these analysts at the think tank 38 north talking about the nuclear site. they looked at images from just yesterday and they say personnel, vehicles, equipment at this north korean nuclear
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test site. you have the japanese prime minister warning about the possibility of sarin gas-tipped ballistic missiles fired in event of military. japan has been taking measures in event they need to evacuate from the peninsula. there's a radiation sniffer plane on stand by inby. it is certainly feeling much more real as we approach this major holiday tomorrow here in north korea. >> will, ahead of this day of the sun holiday, kim jong-un made a public appearance. now, you have been to north korea, this is your 11th visit, but this time for the first time you were a few feet away from kim jong-un. tell us what that was like. >> reporter: it is remarkable. we got a phone call around 4:00 in the morning telling us we had 30 minutes to get ready, to get on buses, we had to leave our cellphones behind, wear suits.
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before we know it we were taken through multiple layers of security. it was the north korean equivalent of the secret service. soldiers were, you know, basically combing this area. we were driven through empty streets into the heart of pyongyang. they cleared out an entire central neighborhood, and in a matter of minutes tens of thousands of north koreans appeared, suddenly mobilized, civilians and soldiers. after a total of five hours, multiple security checks, there comes kim jong-un in a black mercedes limousine. it was incredible to see the build up around the kim family here. they stay on brand, jake, from the portraits of two late leaders hanging on every major building to the song that played before kim jong-un arrived. everybody in the crowd were completely sigh lend before he arrived and then after he left they were completely silent as well, almost waiting important the cue it was okay to start talking again. i have never seen that large a a group of people so quietly and attentively wait for someone,
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and it indicates the mindset around here when it comes to their leader. >> sounds terrifying really. will ripley reporting live for us from pyongyang. thank you so much. appreciate it. also an internal memo obtained by cnn shows the department of homeland security is looking to strengthen act to detain undocumented immigrants, part of president trump's crack down on illegal immigration. the measures being explored, detaining all facing deportation proceedings. also a possibility, about 30,000 more beds for detention facilities. the department of homeland security considering ways to hire more border patrols quickly. and they might drove requirements to meet that number. the department said that senior leadership has not yet reviewed the memo and no decisions have been made. the document why was first reported by "the washington post." in other world news, the suspected shooter in the 2010 murder of u.s. border patrol
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agent brian terry has been arrested according to department of homeland security. he was taken into custody in mexico wednesday, it was part of a joint operation between the two countries. the murder of terry along the arizona/mexico border exposed the fail gun tracking operation known as "fast and furious" put in place under the obama administration. the operation allowed known drug traffickers to purchase firearms in hopes of the u.s. government being able to document the illegal transit of weapons, but the atf lost track of most than 1,000 guns, two of which were recovered at the scene of terry's killing. terry's family subsequently sued the obama administration, claiming the government acting irresponsibly. that suit was eventually dismissed. former owe bam awe attorney general eric holder was held in contempt of congress after failing to turn over documents in their investigation into the "fast and furious" operation. cnn learned that the u.s. government is working with mexico to extradite the suspect in terry's death as soon as
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possible. coming up, a concussion, broken nose and broken teeth, those are the injuries a united passenger suffered for refusing to give up his seat. what he wants to he see happen next. you're going to be hanging out in here. so if you need anything, text me. do you play? ♪ ♪ use the chase mobile app to send money in just a tap, to friends at more banks then ever before.
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welcome back. we're back with a buried lead. that's what we call stories we feel are not getting due attention. today we're putting spotlight on what might be happening to gay men in check nia. a russian newspaper says some have been beaten, some electro cuted in the ultra conservative islamic society. when asked about the reports, a government spokesmen said gays don't exist. he said if they did their families would send them to a place of no return. let's bring in matthew chance in moscow. activists in russia say they're taking in gays trying to escape their region. to they have any proof that these detention camps for gays
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actually exist? >> it is a good question. in fact, this story is only developing over the past week or two. we are talking about a reason difficult to get access to, and an issue that's a sensitive one in russia in general, but particularly in this muslim corner of southern russia. we have got is through to aid workers, gay rights came painers in contact with the victims of this apparent crack down on gay men in chechniya. they're helping, as you say, to evacuate them to safety, and they have absolutely appalling accounts of what has happened to them, talking about being crammed in cells with up to 30 other people, denied sufficient food and water and, of course, subjected to brutal violence. svetlana horova is of the russia
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lbgt network, a gay rights campaigning organization in the country. here is what she told me earlier. >> people that conduct, they basically reported they were tortured with electric current, and some people were heavily beaten and some people were beaten to death. >> reporter: beaten to death for being gay, is even by russian standards an appalling development, of course. chechniya is run essentially by a a kremlin-installed strongman figure. he has been accused repeatedly over many years of widespread human rights abuses, using his security forces to carry out abductions and rapes and beatings and even killings. as you mentioned, when his spokesperson was asked about this story, which was broke by a leading independent investigative newspaper here in russia, he said it was an
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absolute lie. he said that even if there were gay men in chechniya which he denied, he said there were none, he said it wouldn't be a problem for security forces, for law enforcement because their own families would send them to a place from which they could not return. so they were suggesting there that there would be honor killings, killings of people who were suspected of being gay by their own families because of the shame in that conservative society. so the dangers here for all of those involved are very real indeed, jake. >> matthew chance. thank you so much. appreciate it. our money lead now. today the attorneys of the passenger who was so violently dragged off that united airline flight over the weekend said their client will be filed a lawsuit. dr. david dao suffered a concussion, broken nose, lost teeth and injuries to his sinuses, his attorney said. three are on leave following the incident. ryan, you were at the press
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conference held today where we heard the point of view of the passenger for the first time. >> reporter: yeah, jake. i can tell you that the doctor will have to have reconstructive surgery. that's something we learned today. his daughter said no human should be treated like her father was. he's a father of five. they could not believe the video, watching their father be dragged down the aisle. so many people feel this way. listen to how the attorney described, how dr. dao himself described being pulled down that aisle. >> here is what he told me. he said that he left vietnam in 1975 when saigon fell, and he was on a boat. and he said he was terrified. he said that being dragged down the aisle was more horrifying and harrowing than what he experienced in leaving vietnam. >> jake, one quick point to make, they said the doctor, who
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never wants to travel on an airplane again. >> ryan, united airlines offered reimbursement to all passengers on the plane, but apparently it comes with a catch. >> reporter: there is a catch. we've learned about this as well. the passengers accept that payment, they cannot sue the airline, and we've already heard from the attorney for dr. dao that several passengers have already reached out to them. so you know this might not be over just yet. >> ryan, is there any indication when they might file suit? when this might go to court? were they specific about whether they were suing united airlines or in addition perhaps the aviation police? >> reporter: well, that's a great question there because they said they might sue the city of chicago as well, which is the aviation police, as well as united but they have two years to do this. they've already made a move in circuit court to preserve some of this evidence, but they believe they will have a strong case. they believe the doctor will be a member of, someone who will stand up and stop some of the things happening to customers
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across the country. >> ryan young, thank you so much. appreciate it. you can follow me on facebook and twitter @jaketapper. that's it for "the lead." i'm turning it over to mr. wolf blitzer right next door in "the situation room." thanks for joining us. happening now. breaking news. massive ordnance. the u.s. drops its bige non-nuclear weapon on an isis tunnel complex in afghanistan, nicknamed the mother of all bombs. the devastating device weighs almost 22,000 pounds and did destroy underground targets. is the trump administration sending a message to north korea? total authorization. the attack on isis follows the u.s. missile strike on syria. president trump calls it, quote, another successful job and says he is giving the military total authorization. what's the next target? london calling. u.s. intelligence agencies weren't the only ones to uncover the contacts