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tv   CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin  CNN  May 18, 2017 11:00am-12:01pm PDT

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hi there. you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. we have this breaking news here out of syria. air strikes from a u.s.-led coalition has just hit pro-assad regime forces. it's happened in an area that is labeled quote/unquote a deconfliction zone. we have barbara starr and rick francona in syria. barbara, first to you, just on the facts, this area was
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breached by, i understand, five syrian regime vehicles. what happened? >> hi, brooke. let me walk you through it. you know, a very rare air strike in this area. why is it so important? because these malicious groups were pro-regime but shia militias backed by iran. they were moving in on an area in southeastern syria where the u.s. special forces have operated very frequently trying to train syrian opposition. so you have these iranian-backed militias coming down the road, tanks, bulldozers, front-end loader vehicles and they don't get the hint that they are not supposed to be moving against this base where there's opposition and very likely u.s. and other coalition special forces. there was sort of a show of force. aircraft fly over, trying to push them back, they don't get the message, they keep coming. so u.s. aircraft then rolled in and dropped a couple of bombs,
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destroying a tank, destroying a couple of the vehicles. a message back to these shia militias definitely to back off and stay away from where u.s. forces are operating. there's a very clear understanding of these so-called deconfliction zones. the regime knows about them. the russians know about them. when the show of force came in the air, the militias should have gotten a clue. brooke? >> so colonel, barbara say this is extra ordinary narrowly rare. do you even know how many times they have hit pro-assad forces? >> yeah. yeah. this is the second time we've done it intentionally. there was a mistaken attack on forces early on but this is the second time we've struck them b intentionally. we're not there really to engage the syrians. we're there to engage isis. but we have to protect our own forces, plus the forces that we are training in that area.
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this is a very crucial area of syria. this is where the borders of jordan, iraq and syria meet. it's a crossroads. and prior to a few months ago it was the main way that the iraqi shia militias were moving back and forth between the two countries. the free syrian army has blocked that off. we're seeing a challenge and we're seeing the u.s. rise to that challenge. brooke, i hate to say it, but we're getting more and more involved in the fighting in syria, not against isis but the civil war. >> carl francona, barbara starr, thank you. more breaking news on capitol hill where right now deputy attorney general rod rosenstein is about to face all 100 members of the senate to reveal what exactly he knows about the decision that led to the firing of fbi director james comey. it's not enough for someone who's been on the job for just 23 days. he will also have to explain why he just hired a special counsel
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to lead an independent investigation into russia's interference in the election and possible collusion by the trump campaign. that special counsel is none other than robert mueller, fbi director, and his appointment spearheads the investigation, spearheading the investigation is getting much bipartisan support. but if you check the president's twitter page today, he apparently doesn't have the support of the president. the white house first put out a statement seemingly urging a quote/unquote thorough investigation. but this morning the president lashed out on twitter. let me read it for you. "this is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in american history." let's start on capitol hill with phil mattingly who is hearing from both republicans and democrats. you know, many of them criticized rosenstein for writing that letter initially, apparently at the request of the president, to fire jim comey. how confident are they that behind closed doors they will
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start to get some answers? >> i think there's some sense of confidence because it's not a show for cameras or they don't believe he won't be able to say he can't talk about specific things because he's in an open setting. senators believe they will get a candid assessment of things. if they don't, they will deem that severely problematic. so will the pressure that was heading into this meeting was taken off by deputy attorney rosenstein's decision to appoint that special counsel last night. i'm told by democratic aides that democratic senators had been meeting, talking, scheming in a way to use their questions in a unified manner to really press him on this each specifically. obviously he took the wind out of those sails last night and we've heard bipartisan support for the decision for what they did in that appointment. that doesn't mean the questions have gone away, as you noted. the three-page memo he wrote was given by many trump officials as the rationale for jim comey.
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the president came out and undercut that as the reason for doing so but there are a lot of questions about that memo. nancy pelosi, the house democratic leader, called that memo bizarre. they have been more scathing in how they feel about that memo. there's still a lot of questions, not just about the investigation but about the specifics of how jim comey was fired, what the white house involvement was throughout this entire process. it's worth noting, this isn't just democrats that have these questions. republicans are very concerned about it as well. i will note one other thing. obviously deputy attorney general rosenstein will be briefing in a classified setting. now, anybody who has worked with robert mueller in the past says he wouldn't take any interference from any white house or trump administration if it was brought his way. the fact that it would be under
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the auspice of the justice department, i've heard some democrats raise those concerns as well. i'm told they will be seeking commitments that that autonomy will be important and that from our perspective is what will senators be allowed to say in this setting? democrats want to talk about what they hear, how much they will be able to say, we'll have to wait and see on that one, brooke. >> we will see if they make any news coming out. phil mattingly, thank you. so far, rosenstein's decision to appoint robert mueller as a special prosecutor has been widely praised from both sides of the aisle. so again, calling this a single greatest witch hunt in american history. dana bash, cnn's chief correspondent. we were talking about the
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crickets from the white house that senior staff was probably happy to see. perhaps he's lawyered up and then, boom, these two tweets. >> whether or not he complies will be dictated by the process and by the law. i mean, frankly, he's going to get to a point, if it gets to that point where he is needed for documents for testimony, for anything, he's not going to have a choice. >> he's not happy about it, though. >> exactly. but doing what he did this morning, sending that tweet, calling it a witch hunt, i mean, if there is a playbook not just for politics but basic -- the basic way you respond and you react when you are part of a legal investigation, that would be like in flashing neon lights the number one thing in the do not do list. >> right. right. >> and he did it. to antagonize the special prosecutor, to suggest that it's
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not legitimate. didn't say that, but that's basically what a witch hunt means. that's the definition of the term. so, look, i think it's very clear that this is a president who does not -- and we've seen this time and time again and this is in many ways how he's gotten into some of these messes, he doesn't like to be challenged. he doesn't like to be questioned and the fact that this is kind of the ultimate when it comes to a presidency in being questioned and challenged and investigated in as much as there's a special prosecutor, even he couldn't, i would say, hold his tongue or hold his thumbs. >> clearly he couldn't this morning. what about the vice president? we know that news came out today that in fact the trump transition team knew that flynn was under federal investigation for making money as a lobbyist working for turkey and we know that the vice president was the head of the trump transition
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team and he said in march and he's saying now that he's still standing by his statement that he had no idea that he was under investigation. where -- >> right. >> where is he on this? >> i believe we have the sound bite from what he said in march. correct me if i'm wrong. >> yes, we do. >> okay. let's play it. >> former national security adviser michael flynn has filed with the department of justice as a foreign agent for making more than $500,000 as a lobbyist, essentially, for turkey. your reaction to that? >> let me say, hearing that story today was the first i've heard of it. and i fully support the decision that president trump made asking for general flynn's resignation. >> you were disappointed by the story? >> the first i heard of it and i think it is an affirmation of the president's decision to ask general flynn to resign. >> he says he had no idea.
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>> right. an aide to vice president pence told me today that he stands by those comments that you just heard, that he first heard the news in that interview about general flynn and his ties to turkey. so that begs the question -- so he's basically claiming ignorance. >> right. >> if he were a normal vice president, okay, he didn't know about it. but he was head of the transition. and the report by "the new york times" is that general flynn -- >> they knew. >> -- informed the transition. now, the report says that he informed the counsel who is now the white house counsel but the counsel to the transition, don mcgahn. so the open question now is, if that happened, did don mcgahn just sit on it? and, if so, why? why would he do that? because the whole idea, the whole reason why these kinds of ties are inappropriate and are
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foreboden, because any decision that the president makes, in this case it's turkey, is viewed rightly or wrongly, fair or unfair, through the prism of the fact that the national security adviser was getting $500,000 -- >> file that under the bright lights not to do as well. >> -- from this country. also, if you take a step back and look more broadly at it, so the vice president has now gotten caught in so many different webs of donald trump and they have been the white house making it unfortunate and uncomfortable. it doesn't seem as though in this particular case, if we take them at his word that he really did not know, that he was at fault. if he were running the transition, maybe he should have known. we don't know who is to blame for that. this comes on the hooems eels o week when the vice president
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took it upon himself to do something he rarely does, which is speak to cameras on capitol hill in order to help defend the president and say that the reason that comey was fired is because rod rosenstein recommended it and then he was -- and others, were undercut by the president himself. >> that's not what happened. it was my decision. so this is now a pattern of putting the vice president in a very uncomfortable position. >> is your head spinning? >> it hasn't stopped. has yours? >> no. thank you, dana bash. coming up on the other side of the break, we're watching and waiting there on capitol hill for the deputy attorney general rod rosenstein to testify in front of the entire senate. stand by for that. we'll walk you through everything you need to know on this very busy thursday after this break. all finished.
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so we sent that sample i doff to ancestry. i was from ethnically. my ancestry dna results are that i am 26% nigerian. i am just trying to learn as much as i can about my culture. i put the gele on my head and i looked into the mirror and i was trying not to cry. because it's a hat, but it's like the most important hat i've ever owned. discover the story only your dna can tell. order your kit now at ancestrydna.com. rod rosenstein is there in the building in the capitol
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building. keep in mind, this is the man who ultimately wrote the letter last week, despite what the president later said as far as suggesting the firing of james comey and is nhas now appointed robert mueller to be the independent special counsel. keep in mind, that's happening in a couple of minutes. these questions coming from members of the senate. let me bring informer u.s. attorney michael moore and peter, former special prosecutor who has worked for a previous special counsel. gentlemen, great timing to have both of you with me. if i may, peter, do you think he will cooperate with mr. mueller? >> well, not happily. you know, i have my doubts about that, actually. i know dana was saying earlier that he has no choice.
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but this isn't someone who operates the way most people do. so testimony, i don't know, that's far down the road anyway. so who could predict? i certainly wouldn't. >> michael, same question to you. >> bob mueller is fiercely independent. he was director of the fbi when i was the u.s. attorney and he's known for protecting that independence and that's the beauty of having a trained prosecutor who knows how to look at the investigation and see the thing as a whole as opposed to separate pieces and i think he'll figure out a way to get the information that he needs whether through other sources such as maintained e-mails. they may try to claim privilege but bob knows how to get the job
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done. >> you know, michael, we were talking -- i was working the morning show. a lot of people are bringing up whitewater, how it started as an investigation into an arkansas land purchase and evolved into the monica lewinsky scandal, how it sort of mushroomed. might that be one of the reasons that the president is tweeting the way he is? >> absolutely. i think at this point bob could ask for tax returns, e-mails, business information, different financials. but the investigation has a chance to go another way and that is this whole thing with mike pence claiming he didn't know anything about mike flynn and clearly today we've got a story out saying that the transition was told about mike flynn's investigation. we have the vice president, soon to be vice president at the time who was in charge of the transition and either we got to believe that mike pence was just totally in the dark or we're left to believe that he will now say anything to support this
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administration's position. you may see the investigation starting to move over there. mike flynn can appeal for some help and now he's got a nonpolitical appointee and process to go through. so all of this could mushroom. just explain what the experience was like and why you call bob mueller annen spired choice. >> because he's a political and
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his reaction has shown he's got bipartisan support. so i think he's an ideal choice. as far as the experience itself, you know, i was a prosecutor at the time working in the public integrity section of the department of justice. my life didn't change. i was a prosecutor and i was still a prosecutor. the only thing that changed for me is i had one case and i worked on that exclusively. so for the people working on the team, i don't think it's much different than as a typical prosecutor. bob mueller is protected and insulated and there won't be any pressure on him that he'll feel to come out one way or the other in the investigation. >> let me ask you, because we're staring at live pictures of capitol hill, people are aware there are multiple
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investigations and now you have this special counsel. why do you need all of them. what's the difference? >> are you talking about why you need a special counsel? >> addition to senate intel, house intel, oversight. >> right. right. so it's very important and i'm glad you asked that question, the special counsel is, in my view, a necessary but not sufficient way to go. special counsel has got one mission and that's to investigate criminal conduct and if they find sufficient evidence that they think could persuade a jury beyond a reasonable doubt, then they bring a case. if not, they pack their bags and go home. they are not going to be making a public announcement. they are not going to be making a public report so we have to have a congressional investigation so the public can be informed as to what is going on. >> thank you so much for answering that. just have to think a lot of people at home are wondering why
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we have these different threads and probes. that's the perfect explanation. peter, michael, thank you so much. let's move on. we have more news involving now fired national security adviser michael flynn. we'll discuss that. also, a tragic accident this afternoon in the heart of times square here in manhattan. at least one person has died. a dozen more injured after a car just plowed into a crowd of people. we'll take you to times square, live. ♪ ♪
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breaking news today from the heart of new york city's times square. we have video just coming in to the newsroom. you can see this major crash. the car was speeding right before it plowed into a street corner packed with people. at least one person has been killed. 22 others injured. let's go to brinn gingras there in times square. how did this happen? >> reporter: brooke, it's unclear what happened before this car jumped the sidewalk but i want to make it clear to your viewers that this isn't any new york city sidewalk. a few years ago, a section of the avenue that goes through times square is a walkway. it was packed in times square. this car drove the opposite way up that pedestrian walkway, we know, hitting 22 people.
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four people were critically injured and her sister was injured. as for the driver of the car, the person is 26 years old from the bronx here in new york and has a history of dwi and is in the custody of police after witnesses say he tried to run away. he's in police custody and he's not only being questioned but being tested to see if he was under the influence when all of this happened. certainly scary events happening here in the heart of new york city. police confirm, though, this was not any kind of act of terrorism. they are taking special precaution just as an act of caution. >> an 18-year-old out for a walk in times square. awful. brynn gingras, thank you.
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a red flag coming from flynn himself. the knew yor"the new york times telling the trump transition team that the fbi was investigating him for his work as a paid lobbyist as turkey and it's the third time the president or his white house counsel was warned about general flynn before he was forced to resign on february 13th. back in november, president obama personally talked to trump about the retired general, advising him against it, in late january. then acting attorney general sally yates informed the white house counsel that flynn was vulnerable to blackmail by the russians. so all of these warnings. as you know, it was flynn's misleading the president about his conversation with a russian ambassador that led to his exit, according to the white house. back with me is barbara starr and bob baer, a former cia
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operative. barbara, you bring up a great point. i saw a note from you, you've been talking to a senior defense official who is saying that essentially this decision regarding the syrian kurds may have been in the works for a while. >> well, i think it goes to the point that there's a lot of nuance here, a lot of complicated events but with the bottom line that investigators may be looking at was michael flynn's motivation for whatever he might have done. let's start at the beginning. michael flynn was getting money from sources, elements, companies, officials, whatever in turkey. turkey was objecting to how the obama administration at the time was carrying out the campaign against isis just over the border in syria and iraq. turkey, which it hired michael flynn, was objecting to two things specifically. arming the kurds that the u.s. backed in the fight against isis and the obama administration plan to retake the syrian city
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plan of raqqa. he comes into office as national security adviser. during this transition time, apparently, according to the published reports, he had put a block on two things. on the administration's plan, the obama administration's plan to move forward under raqqa and arming the kurds. but what actually wound up happening, the plan to retake raqqa was never really stopped in its tracks. the u.s. military goes ahead, does what it does, conduct their strikes and operations. so the raqqa plan is never really stopped in its tracks and the obama administration left that decision of arming the kurds to the trump
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administration, let them make that decision. there may not have been a lot of practical effect about all of this but the question for investigators may well be, was the money that michael flynn was paid from turkish elements part of his decision-making process. did it influence him on what he was advising the president to do? brooke? >> so, bob, barbara brings up all of the right nuances of this story regarding turkey and the white house and syrian raqqa. is it also a definition of a conflict of interest which is why you cannot have senior military officials getting paid by foreign governments? >> oh, absolutely. this is a complicated issue to the kurds and turkey and this cleric in pennsylvania and the real point is he shouldn't have had a security clearance being in the pay of turkey.
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and the obama administration did its duty by going to the white house and saying, watch out for this guy, you've got to clear some stuff up, he probably shouldn't have a security clearance. but recklessly, the trump administration said we know what we're doing, we trust him, he's an honorable man and forget the money, which you can't do in washington. when you have a top secret security clearance, you cannot be in the pay of a foreign government, ends of story. >> you remember we talked about -- it's all blurring together but during a white house press briefing and sean spicer was throwing shade on the obama administration and their vetting process to allow flynn through. my question to you is if the transition team knew, as per the report that the fbi was investigating flynn, what does that then do to the white house blaming the obama administration for giving flynn the security clearance in the first place? >> well, i mean, you know, look, this information developed because flynn was working for
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turkish companies. it was a process of slow accrual. they figured out what flynn was about, working for the russian media. going back to the sneech moscow t. dawned on the obama administration very late that he shouldn't have a security clearance. you can park a security clearance but when you become national security adviser, you're raised to a new level. you see intelligence that most people don't see. in fact, you see it all. you're right next to the president. and i think sally yates at justice department said this guy should not be in the white house, should not be in the oval office and the fbi, i'm sure, said the same thing. and at this point, the trump administration simply ignored it and took the risk that it could get away with this and i think it's simply because inexperience that donald trump doesn't understand national security nor does sean spicer and right now they are learning the hard way. >> barbara starr, final thought from you. >> well, let's remember, you
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know, the buck really does stop with a president of the united states. if mr. trump had some understanding of a problem, if he was warned several times, he made his decision and now we'll see how it all sorts out. >> okay. barbara starr, thank you. bob baer, thank you. let's get to some more breaking news. okay. we have just found out here at cnn that this is according to sources, a senior administration official and two other sources telling cnn that the former senator and vice presidential candidate joe lieberman is now leading the candidates to become the next fbi director. we know the president has met with him and we're told it's close. this is the source has the impression it's highly likely this is close to being a done deal. abby phillip is with me, cnn political analyst. abby phillip there at "the
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washington post," are you surprised? >> well, not entirely. i think for a president looking for someone who might be agreeable to both sides and who might allow them to escape some of these questions about whether the person that they put at the head of the fbi is going to be independent enough, joe lieberman is a decent choice. i say that because the thing about joe lieberman is that while he's a democrat, he's been sort of separated from the democratic party for quite some time. and doesn't have much connection to the current democratic party as it stands. it's a little unclear how democrats are going to respond to this. i think republicans might find him to be a perfectly acceptable choice for that position. it doesn't open up any problems with seats in the house or in the senate and they will be breathing some sighs of relief. but i can see why they are going down this road because lieberman is someone that they can present as a potential bipartisan
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choice. >> stay with me, abby. david chalian is joining me, political director. when you think through the other names that have been floating, folks who have been named in law enforcement, whether it's ray kelly or mike rogers, your reaction to lieberman being it because he has a huge resume but that's not a piece of it. >> right. he did, i believe, chair or ranking member co-chair the homeland security committee. so he's been exposed, obviously, to some law enforcement matters in his tenure in the senate, no doubt. and obviously i could have looked at his full bio but if my memory is correct, i believe he has prosecutorial experience or attorney general experience back in his connecticut days. >> yes. >> so i do think politically, as abby was just saying, yes, this
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is somebody who has had relationships on both sides of the aisle but it's probably his republican relationships with john mccain and lindsey graham that carry a lot of weight here. since they have been two of the people from the president's own party asking for a special select committee or really looking to have some independence of the russia investigation, they've gotten what they are looking for, to some extent, with the special counsel. and if they're advocating for their dear friend joe lieberman to be the fbi director, i imagine that would have some sway in president trump's mind as well. >> let me put this both to you, david and abby, the timing of this, here we are, the longest week ever in washington. this is the day after we know rod rosenstein has appointed bob mueller to lead this special investigation. and this is the day before the president leaves on his first
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major trip. what do you think of the timing of this near announcement? >> well, i do think that they understand the stakes of this first foreign trip are high and they understand that they are about to board the plane and go overseas under what has been a really damaging week. if they can get their ducks in a row and feel good it's sort of putting a period at the end of the sentence and they're able to turn their attention fully to that foreign trip. i think that's also somewhat wishful thinking because the thing about the new fbi director or the special counsel, brooke, this is the trump presidency now. it is the presidency that is fully defined at the moment by the russia investigation, by his relationship with doj and fbi
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and creeps back into the headline and i think they are trying to, if they can -- and if they can feel competent that they have the clean rollout. if you botch this, that creates more problem. but if they can get a clean rollout, they can get on air force one with a little more of a clean slate as they head overseas. >> abby, david mentioned that nar lieberman is close with both the likes of mccain and graham. do you find that interesting, coincidental as this could be the white house's selection? >> i don't think it's coincidental at all. in addition to those relationships i think mccain and graham are among the staunch critic and the most likely voices to be a thorn in his side when it comes to all things russia and law enforcement related when it comes to the fbi
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but also this person has to get confirmed in the senate and president trump wants to move quickly. it's hard to move quickly to vet an fbi director candidate in seven days. it's very, very difficult. one of the ways to maybe get around some of that difficulty is to pick someone who has a known track record, a former lawmaker who has been vetted by the political system. so it's a little for them a short cut to getting a name out there for a president who is eager to move on, to turn this page, to get on the road and talk about something else and it's hard to do that unless you have someone that's been out there and maybe joe lieberman is that person. >> gloria borger is joining us
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now. apparently our reporter spoke to mr. lieberman on the flight and he said that the appointment was not sought after or expected and he's been enjoying private life and this notion of meeting with the president to be head of the fbi totally unexpected. gloria, your reaction? >> i think it was. i was speaking with a source familiar with the process who says when he met with the president, the president found him, quote, agreeable, end quote, and liked him and i was also told that lieberman, unlike some of the other candidates, did not go through the department of justice interviews that the other candidates went through and that he's been an attorney general of the state, i'm not sure of that experience in terms of law enforcement.
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but, again, with every appointment -- and i don't know if you folks have been talking about it, so my apologies if you have -- it all goes to the president and the president makes these decisions because of his chemistry with people. and so when the source said to me that the president found him agreeable and then it became highly likely, as the source put it, that lieberman would get the nod. >> agreeable. david challenian, what do you m of that word "agreeable"? >> we know that donald trump likes members of the crowd, whether it's generals on tv, somebody he's been familiar with in the public eye. i would imagine that has some sway, too. i want to underscore how important this is. there's been a lot of talk with joe lieberman as a democrat and whether this is a play for bipartisan support across the aisle. at this moment in the trump
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presidency, because of the politically perilous position that the president is in at the moment, shoring up his own party is really important here. so if the likes of lindsey graham and john mccain make his case, that is really important for donald trump to be able to shore up his own forces. never mind that he may get bonus democratic support because it's know lieberman. it's about keeping the critics in his own party among them. >> it's a good choice, from the president's point of view, precisely because of david's point and while liberal democrats don't love him much, i think there's a great deal of respect as somebody who will do the right thing and, you know, we'll have to see how this relationship progresses. >> okay. let me put aside the conversation on joe lieberman because abby, i haven't heard from you as far as your reaction
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to the big news that bob mueller, the former fbi chief, you know, has been named as this special counsel and then the trump twitter aftermath. >> yeah. i mean, the special counsel news is pretty much something that, for republicans, it's the best thing that's happened to them this week. it gives them a golden opportunity to put this behind them. but the problem, as always, is that the president is not thrilled about it and he's letting the whole world now. it's an interesting situation he's finding himself in where he's constantly weighing in on ongoing investigations that have some involvement with him. so i think that has got to be giving some lawyers in the white house and elsewhere a little bit of a headache right now because the one thing that i think they would like the president to do is to just leave this thing alone, let a special investigator take it over on the
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side and not continue the conversation. the investigation is going to go on. robert mueller is known for not necessari necessarily bowing to political pressure. he's known to stand up to presidents in the past. that's something that has really heartened democrats but also something that should give the white house a little bit of pause. they have got to step out of the fray here and allow this to move forward and not make problems worse than they already are. >> you know, i keep going back to a really simple point which is, you know, if you have nothing to hide, why fight bringing on any sort of special counsel? in one of the trump tweets, he called this a witch hunt. do you know what i'm saying? why not be transparent? if you have nothing to hide, why push back? >> well, because donald trump can't resist being a combatant. that's the reality. he sees life as winning and
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losing. we've seen him talk about that time and time again. while clearly the white house got out their preferred statement, that's a measured response to the naming of mueller as special counsel and it's clear this morning he's ready to do battle over this. that he sees himself the victim. the problem here for him is that that really isolated him because, as abby was saying, the special counsel really is a sigh of relief for many republicans on capitol hill. donald trump, instead of pledging full cooperation and believing in his case, as he says, there will be nothing here at the end and letting the cards fall where they may, instead, he enters a battle that is not necessarily that every republican on the hill is going to want to join him in. he isolates himself and raises question about how cooperative he's willing to be in this investigation. >> as we've been talking, we have new numbers. let me share with everything
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watching, we have this new poll showing 60% of americans think that the president fired james comey over the investigation if you add it all together, 60% say this is why he did it. gloria, what do you think of that? >> it's not great news for the white house although the president himself may have contributed to that. gee, thinking about russia in the same breath that he talked about comey. why wouldn't people think that? the president didn't say that. i think getting back to the general, you know, question about the president's petulant tweets about this is that i think he understands that a special counsel can go anywhere a special counsel wants. and, of course, you know, you look at monica lewinsky, which
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started with a whitewater investigation. >> right. right. >> and i think that the president clearly understands that. the special counsel might ask for his tax returns, for example. so i think he understands the gravity of it and the importance of what happened. he was not informed until a little bit beforehand so he probably felt blind dsided becae mueller is independent and i think it was probably just sinking in and he was feeling very victimized by this when, in fact, we've all spoken on the air quite frequently the president has self-sabotaged over and over again. perhaps if he hadn't fired comey, this might not have happened. >> on the self-inflicted wounds
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from the president, i understand we have more numbers from this poll as far as his approval rating. where is it snow. >> the monmouth university poll has him at 39%. and so this is a little bit down from where they had him a couple of months ago. a couple points. but this is in concert with what we've seen with other polls. around the 36 to 39, 37 to 40% range, which, again, as i would say sort of about a month ago he was in a slightly stronger position, more low 40s. so perhaps there's been the slightest bit of a downtick and this shows that despite the last week -- and we'll wait for more polling to come out because there were developments late into this week. but thus far, we have not seen these news stories, a constant drumbeat from the white house. we have not seen the bottom
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fall out. i'm not saying that they are good numbers but he's still -- his base of support is hanging on, for the most part. >> and keeping in mind, tomorrow he leaves on a mega overseas trip and this russia cloud, whatever you want to describe it, hanging over the white house will carry with him. maybe it will be a goose this trip for him and maybe it won't. thank you all. i appreciate you. moments from now, president trump will be holding a news conference with the president of colombia. this is, he says, i'm very close to choosing an fbi director. we'll bring that to you live from the white house. we're back in a moment. he's a nascar champion who's she's a world-class swimmer who's stared down the best in her sport. but for both of them, the most challenging opponent was... pe blood clots in my lung. it was really scary. a dvt in my leg. i had to learn all i could to help protect myself.
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one of donald trump's most controversial defenders david clark says he's going to work for the president in the homeland security but dhs won't confirm if that's true. sheriff clark became an enemy of the black lives matter movement calling them, quote, purveyors of hate and sparked outcry when he moved closer to conducting immigration raids in his jails but he was most controversial for his outlandish statements made right here on cnn. >> i call it anarchy. the social order in milwaukee
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totally collapsed on saturday night when the social order collapsed, tribal behavior takes over. when tribal behavior takes over, the law of the jungle replaces the rule of law. >> i wish you had that message of civility towards this hateful ideology, these purveyors of hate. >> will you let me get a word in? >> pride and virtue in the name of hate. >> i'm going to break. >> i'm tired of these crocodile tears about the poor kids coming. we're not talking about that. we're talking about able-bodied grown men who should be back in syria and the middle east fighting for their country coming over to the united states to spread jihads. >> here is how dhs is responding to the news for this. senior positions are announced and made official by the secretary. no such announcement has been made.
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with me now, phillip mcnamara. he had that very job under the obama administration. >> hi, brooke, good to be here. >> he says he's humbled yet dhs isn't confirming him. how bizarre is this? >> well, it's totally bizarre and i'm actually hopeful that perhaps this is just all a trial balloon and he doesn't get to take the job that up until january i had. it's important role or one that requires building well territorial governments with governors and mayors and county legislators and sheriff clark is
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combative. he does have an unapologetic or brass personality and how you feel and hope he doesn't get the job, can you just explain to me, phil, give me a real-life scenario, something that you having had the job or him potentially having it would be involved with. >> sure. absolutely. again, so the office is the sort of outward facing role working with state and local partners and governors to keep their community safe. in the event of an incident, no one ever picks up the phone and calls dhs. instead, they pick up a phone and call 911. that phone is answered by a state or local government. dhs is there in support. i was there with a whole host of
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incidents, everything from hurricane sandy and matthew to the boston marathon bombing to the ebola and long lines at tsa checkpoints at the airport. and what i really had to do, though, throughout my job was build relationships with elected officials, with policy makers on both sides of the aisle. and that meant that, you know, we had to work as well with texas governor abbott as we did with new york governor cuomo. they were equally important to us. >> sure. i've got you. forgive me, we need to start the next hour. >> sure. yeah. >> i hear you and understand exactly the scope of your job, how you feel, how you hope he doesn't get your job. we'll all wait and see what the secretary of homeland security said. phil mcnamara, thank you. >> thank you so much, brooke.