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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  May 31, 2017 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT

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angeles home and by the time he arrived the slur had already been painted over. james wasn't home at the time. police are looking through any security footage for any clues to find out who could have possibly done that. i'm brooke bald inn. thanks for being with me. "the lead" with jake tapper starts now. thank, brooke. on climate change is president trump about to give the world the cold shoulder? "the lead" starts right now. president trump expected to pull out of an international pact that nearly every country on earth has signed on to. the paris climate agreement. how is this possible snub being seen around the world, and what will this mean? breaking news. he is going to talk. james comey, the man president trump fired as fbi director and the man who apparently took notes on their personal conversations now says he'll testify before congress and before us all. plus, carnage in america's longest war. a truck bomb in afghanistan killing at least 90 people and wounding hundreds of others as
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the trump administration considers what to do next in that country. good afternoon, everyone. welcome to "the lead." ike jake tapper. we'll begin with the politics lead. he's the president who once called climate change a hoax perpetrated by the chinese which, of course, it is not, but today we are awaiting a major decision by the white house. two senior u.s. officials telling us that president trump is expected to announce that. united states will withdraw from the paris climate agreement. it is a major campaign promise and a major power washing of the obama legacy, something trump loyalists and many of his supporters will loudly cheer, but something that the national security experts and the u.s.' most trusted allies around the world will inevitably see as a monumental mistake. cnn's jim acosta is live for us at the white house. jim, where is president trump right now on this decision? >> reporter: jake, the president just told reporters he will make a decision on the paris deal, quote, very soon. it appears there was something of a tug-of-war over this
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climate agreement. top adviser and daughter ivanka trump was making moves inside the white house, in fact, to make sure the president was hearing from all sides of the issue, but in had the end administration officials tell cnn the president is poised to pull the u.s. out of the historic climate accord. >> thank you. yeah. >> are you going to pull out of the climate accord? >> reporter: secretary of state rex tillerson wouldn't answer the question. >> very soon. >> reporter: and the president tweeted he'll be making his decision on the paris climate agreement over the next few days, but administration officials say the president is expected to end u.s. participation, a decision that flies in the face of last-minute appeals from u.s. allies and scientists from around the world. >> i think the president's comments on this, that he'll be making a decision in the next few days stand. >> reporter: the president's move to pull out of the climate deal would fulfill a campaign promise. >> we will cancel this deal so that our companies can compete. >> reporter: but the decision also runs counter to advice
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coming from his own daughter ivanka who supported staying in the agreement, and an administration official said ivanka created a process to make sure that the president heard from people on all sides of the issue, both inside and outside government. white house press secretary sean spicer could not say whether the president believed human activity contributed to climate change. the president has repeatedly called climate change a hoax. >> can you say whether or not the president believes that human activity is contributing to the warming of the climate? >> i haven't asked him. >> reporter: cancelling the paris agreement is sure to encite conservatives dealing a blow to the legacy of barack obama. >> today's an historic day in the fight to protect our planet for future generations. >> reporter: democrats are furious. how minority leader nancy pelosi said in a statement in walking away in from this agreement the president is denying scientific truths. even some republicans have their doubts. >> if he does withdraw, that would be a definitive statement by the president that he believes climate change is a hoax. stay in the deal, make it a
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better deal would be my advice. >> reporter: still, the president was signaling for some time he was pulling out of the paris deal, telling french president emmanuel macron over the weekend a lot of people in my country are against this agreement. >> chancellor merkel, thank you very much. >> reporter: move to scrap the paris agreement will further isolate the president from some of the same allies that he irritated at times during his foreign trip as the president is said to be feeling increasingly withdrawn at home, and he's been seeking closer ties to other foreign leaders, asking macron of france to exchange phone numbers. you want my cell phone so we can speak directly to each other and offered a swapped digits once again raising questions about the security of the president owes phone habits. white house sean spicers didn't explain what the president met when he said the negative press covfefe. spicer said a small group of people know what he meant. as for pulling out of the climate deal, a source says it
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gives the promise a chance to say he's keeping his promise, something he's not been able to say on everything, on china, on trade, on his decision to hold off for now moving the u.s. embassy from jerusalem, something he's vowed to do. >> thanks so much. let's turn to the every expanding russia probe. sources telling cnn fired fbi director james comey will testify about his allegation that president trump ask him he end the investigation into russian officials and trump associates. how soon could we see comey testify. >> reporter: it could come as soon as next week, according to sources. the details still being determined but sources say fired fbi director james comey will once again sit in front of the senate intelligence committee and publicly recount his run-ins with the president. james comb is expecteded to testify before the senate intelligence committee about any possible pressure he felt from
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president trump to drop the investigation into former national security adviser michael flynn and flynn's ties to russia. sources tell cnn comey documented his february 14th meeting with president trump detailing the president's plea this way. i hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting flynn go. he is a good guy. i hope can you let this go. the president was on the attack once morning, referring to the false or misleading testimony by james comey, john brennan, witch-hunt. comey has spoken with special counsel robert mueller to work out the parameters of his testimony, and comey will likely sit down with mueller afterwards. this all comes as congressional investigators are widening the scope of people they have reached out to. at least nine trump associates so far. president trump's personal attorney michael cohen after resisting requests from house and senate intelligence says he will cooperate if congress issues him a subpoena saying he has nothing to hide. the house intelligence committee has asked for documents from former white house communications official boris
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pep stein who is working with his attorney to cooperate and michael flynn will and over documents with the first batch of business and personal records expected by june 6th. >> his testimony postponed indefinitely at the ask of democrats. >> reporter: and this snippet on fox news about former trump campaign adviser carter page seemingly grabbed the president's attention. he tweeted 30 minutes after it aired, so now it is reported that the democrats, who have excoriated carter page about russia, don't want him to testify. carter page tells cnn his testimony before the house intelligence committee was tentatively scheduled for next week but has been pushed back a week. >> a quick question, what do you really speak to jared kushner about in new york when you met him in december? >> reporter: and the russian bank chairman with close ties to president vladimir putin not answering questions about his december meeting with jared kushner. kushner's push to create secret communication with russia also drawing scrutiny from investigators. >> we're trying to figure out
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exactly why for him in particular was the reason to have back channels. one thing to have national security back channels and another thing for other individuals in the white house. that's a reasonable question and we'll look to get clear answer. >> reporter: the white house is now refusing to answer any questions about the white house probe. press secretary sean spicer said all future questions need to be referred directly to recently retained outside counsel marc kasowitz. jake? >> thanks so much. much more on that russian banker ahead in the program. but coming up next, if the president does withdraw from the paris climate agreement the united states would be one of only three countries including syria, not included in that pact. what the would that mean for america's standing around the world, if anything? we'll talk to a member of the senate foreign relations committee next. stay with us. bp engineered a fleet of 32 brand new ships with advanced technology, so we can make sure
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welcome back to "the lead." our world lead. the u.s. allies are reacting to what we're told is president trump's pending decision to pull out of the paris climate accord. the united nations tweeted a quote from its secretary-general quote, climate change is undeniable. climate change is unstoppable. climate solutions provide opportunities that are unmatchable, unquote. the white house has not officially announced anything, and this afternoon the president said he'll make his decision very soon. for more let's talk with senator ed markey, democrat of massachusetts. senator, thanks so much for joining us. the president tweeted he has not made his final decision. what would you tell him if he consulted you and asked you why should we stay in this accord? >> well, mr. president, i would say to him if you pull out, it will be an economic and environmental and national security and a moral disaster for the united states. you have a chance by staying in this agreement to back out
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imported oil from the middle east. we right now send young men and women over to the middle east to protect the oil which comes in from saudi arabia. if we increase our efficiency, our renewables, our all-electric vehicles, we back that oil out. it's a national security imperative. the pope told you, mr. president, that it's a moral imperative, but the pope was also a high school chemistry teacher, and he said the science is clear that the planet is warming, the science is clear that human beings are the principal cause and that there is a moral responsibility for the principal polluter over the last 150 years to be the lagard, to be the leader and not the lagard, so, mr. president, please, listen to the pope. listen to the scientists. listen to your national security adviser. please stay in the agreement. >> let me have you address some of the criticisms that your republican colleagues who are opponents of the climate accord
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argue. some say that staying in the pact will make it easier for environmental groups to sue u.s. energy companies. that will hurt american companies and hurt jobs right here in the u.s. how would you respond to that? >> well, i would say that right now there are 70,000 coal miners left in the united states of america. in massachusetts, we now have 100,000 people working in the clean energy sector. we're 2% of america's population. massachusetts has 100,000 clean energy workers. there are only 70,000 coal miners left. the president made a pledge that he cannot keep to coal miners. the consequence could be that he pulls us out of an international agreement that would ruin the credibility of our country while handcuffing us, not just in massachusetts, but across the whole country in creating hundreds of thousands, millions of new jobs in an economic
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sector that otherwise we would be ceding to the chinese, to the germans, to the indians and others. the threat to our country are the windmills pointed at us, coming from china. like the missiles, like the missiles in cuba in 1962. the threat to us today are that these -- that these renewable energy technologies are pointed at our economy and will be importing rather than exporting these technologies for a generation if he pulls out of this accord. >> let me just quickly ask you about china. another argument is that the agreement set tough standards for the u.s., but china gets off easy. >> well, china has already said that their goal is going to be produce as much renewable electricity in 2030 as all electricity which is generated in the united states today. that's a big change which is taking place. they are doing it not only for their own economic benefit, but they are doing it because they
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have to respond to the pollution in their cities. there's no question that china would love it if we pulled out so that they could capture the electric vehicle market. they could capture the wind and solar market. they could capture all of these new technologies and wind up with made in china on all of this equipment that we sold around the world for the entirety of the 21st century. >> senator markey, stay right there. a question that seemed to stump a u.s. state department official. stick around. we'll be right back. ugh, no bars. oh no, looks like somebody needs a new network. when i got this unlimited plan they told me they were all the same. they're not. verizon has the largest, most-reliable 4g lte network in america. it's basically made for places like this. honey, what if it was just us out here? right.
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we're back. sticking with our world lead. a u.s. state department spokesman was asked about saudi arabia's commitment to democracy this week, and his answer, well, he had to think about it. take a look. >> well, you were over there. the secretary criticized the conduct of the iranian elections
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and iran's record on democracy and did so standing next to saudi officials. how do you characterize saudi's commitment to democracy, and does the administration believe that democracy is a buffer or a barrier against extremism? >> i think what we would say is that at this meeting we were able to make significant progress with saudi and gcc partners in both making a strong statement against extremism and also -- and also putting -- putting in place certain measures through this gcc mechanism where we can combat
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extremism. clearly one source of extremism, one terrorism threat is coming from iran, and that's coming from a part of the iranian apparatus that is not at all responsive to its electorate. okay. >> thank you. >> wow, that was painful. acting assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs trying to explain the decades long hypocrisy that the united states government has when it comes to saudi arabia. senator ed markey, you're still with me. what do you think was going on during that pause, and why don't you give us your take about saudi arabia's commitment to democracy. >> well, the trump administration has clearly doubled down on the sunni arabs, and that's what that first part of his trip was all about, but
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friends tell friends the truth, so when he was in saudi arabia, he should have talked about the need to advance democratic principles inside of saudi arabia. he should have talked to them about advancing human rights prin principles inside of saudi arabia, and instead he took it as an opportunity to attack the shy are a iranian government rather than using it as an opportunity to talk to that entire region about the need to embrace democratic values, human rights values, so this administration is tongue-tied when it comes to human rights. when the president talks about president duterte in the philippines who is engaged in extra judicial killings he's saying to duterte you're doing a great job there. when he's talking about putin, when he's talking about saudi arabia, whenever it comes to his ability just to lecture them
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about the principles that past presidents have done so, he never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity to ensure that our values are heard by the principals when the president is meeting with them in person. >> thank you so much, senator markey. appreciate your time. a massive bomb blast in afghanistan has killed at least 90 people and injuring hundreds more, including some americans. we'll go live to kabul where the attack is raising questions about u.s. troop levels and what trump should do next in that country. stay with us. gy, i need someone that understands my unique needs. my dell small business advisor has gotten to know our business so well that is feels like he's a part of our team. with one phone call, he sets me up with tailored products and services. and when my advisor is focused on my tech, i can focus on my small business. ♪ ♪
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weapons. >> reporter: well, jake, the man at the center of this bizarre ordeal today is bryan moles who came from pennsylvania to d.c. to the nation's capital, and authorities found out about it because moles allegedly told somebody about his plans to travel here with weapons, and that person tipped off the pennsylvania state police who subsequently told secret service and the d.c. police. now, the police say that this all ended peacefully and quickly, and we're learning from law enforcement sources tonight, jake, that moles apparently told police that he suffers from pts, post-traumatic stress. >> what did police know about his intentions? >> reporter: well, they cautioned that they were in had the very beginning stages of this investigation, but according to a law enforcement source, moles told the tipster that he, quote, wanted to get close to trump and wanted to be like timothy mcveigh.
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obviously a chilling reminder of the oklahoma city bombing back in 1995, but i should mention that secret service says that he posed no immediate threat, but the investigation is still ongoing, and we expect to see him in court later this week. jake? >> all right. laura, thank you so much. new reports that president trump has given his personal cell phone numbers to world leaders. is the this a secure way to conduct international diplomacy and he's the russian banker that met with the president's son-in-law. who is sergey gorkov and how close is he to vladimir putin? stay with us. it's not where we start,
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we're back with our politics lead. let's dive right in with my panel. margaret, let me start with you. cnn has learned that president trump is leaning towards pulling out of the paris climate agreement. i want you to take a listen to republican senator lindsey graham talking to my colleague
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dana bash on "state of the union" on sunday. >> if he days withdraw, it's confirmation that the president thinks climate change is a hoax. if he does stay in, make it better. that's my advice. >> doesn't seem like he'll take the advice. >> and the question shouted a question today by reporters during his other events saying we'll have a decision very soon but i'm still listening to all sides and getting a lot of advice so we know this. as a matter of course across all the different columns of input from the white house, apparently there's unanimity on the notion that the u.s. committed too much to the climate deal and wants the ability to dial back its commitments. the question is do they have to completely get out of the deal to do that, or is there enough interest from the rest of the world that's party to this deal to allow some sort of circumstance where the u.s. can dial back its commitments under the u.s. commitment? elon musk, if trump pulls out, he'll have to drop off of
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various jobs councils and stuff so this -- sort of what's happened is the rumors that a decision was made and the subsequent follow-up saying, well, not quite, but this is how we're leaning is creating a real opportunity now for everyone who thinks it's important, whether it's for geopolitical reasons, business reasons, environmental reasons, to jump in and say, hey, not so fast. think about it before you do this. >> mary katherine, you're a skeptic of this deal. why should the u.s. pull out? >> i'm as unalarmist pulling out as climate activists are about it. i'm highly skeptical of the u.n. and the international community to actually make these things work. this is a non-binding agreement. there are not enforcement mechanisms in it, you know, and then there's the other part where it's politically binding but the problem is president obama did this via executive agreement, not through a treaty process. the reason he didn't do that it wouldn't have gotten through the senate and part of the reason is not just gop senators, but democratic senators from these trump-won states who are up in
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2018 if who if they had it before it today would be begging trump not to take a vote on such a treatmenty. this is something you didn't build political consensus for. many of the american people not as alarmist as climate activists do about this, so i think they are on fair ground after having made this promise, to say, no. i think it can be incredibly litigious to be involved and lose some of our sovereignty and be in a bad position when it comes to our actual economy and job creation? >> the issue with trump is you've got a place where the senators, 22 senators say they want to pull out of this deal and have you a lot of corporate ceos, people trump listens to who say we should stay in it. he divided between the advisers and the people he trusts are divided. the corporate america feels one way and the republican party another way. >> why do many members of corporate america support it? >> they feel like climate change is happening and they want to be
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in front of something good for their bottom line and the growth of natural gas has changed the issue as well, but you can see even ahead of it. exxon, when tillerson was there was supportive of climate change, efforts to fight climate change, for example. >> and a lot of people in the national security apparatus, a lot of generals are in favor of staying in the agreement because they see climate change as an issue of national security, not only using less oil that comes from the middle east, thus necessitating as senator markey was describing sending troops there to supply -- to uphold and protect the u.s. energy supply and also the idea that climate change causes disasters in places like africa and asia where all of a sudden there become swarm tsz of reges of re. >> they are concerned about it, not in a way that would affect president trump's term in office or terms in office but in the long term this is sort of the
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continuity of government conversation. there's the political national security conversation which is if the u.s. is a leader and withdraws from this, does it create a vacuum where other people, other nations, now that this pact is reality, whether or not it was advisable at the time, does it create a space for china to move forward as the leader? does it create a space for the eu to kind of gang up and build more force up against the united states, so there's sort of strategic considerations that were not necessarily in play. >> even if you're non-alarmist, what about the strategic and national security questions. >> some of that is at play but often these agreements with built up to be some sort of panacea or something they are not. as for the kyoto protocol, they sort of kind of met their thing and traded a lot of credits and not really shower but the most important thing is that it led to the paris agreement, so if each agreement just leads to another agreement that is also non-enforcible. look, these nations are looking out for their economies.
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canada dropped out of the kyoto protocol because they didn't want to pay the penalties. >> i want to play some sound from hillary clinton who spoke about her election loss. >> he dumps that on me on october 28th, and i immediately start falling, but what was really interesting, sings the mainstream media covered, that as i say like pearl harbor, front pages, everywhere, huge type, i inherited nothing from the democratic party, it was on the brink of insolvency, its data was mediocre to poor, nonexistent, wrong. i had to inject money into it. >> so she's talking obviously about some of the fallout from the controversy about her private e-mail server, but also saying something that a lot of actually democrats had criticized president obama for which was not doing enough to
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build up the data and the technology in the dnc and faulting debbie wasserman schultz as well. she said something interesting at this conference, paris. she says she takes responsibility for all the decisions made during the campaign, but i'm paraphrasing her, but that's not why she lost. in other words, she didn't lose because of any of the decisions she made. she lost because of comey and putin and more. >> you know, we want her to be candid and authentic and times and talk about that, but her views are candid and authentic is that she did not lose because of her actions. she said today she made some mistakes but is very focused on comey and russia. she's been fairly consistent about that. the new thing i heard was the dnc part which is true. the dnc was viewed as pretty weak and they basically said they had no data, had to build it up from scratch. you'll hear democrats in the next couple of days saying it would be nice if she takes more of the blame for the loss because she clearly lost to a candidate who was probably weak who had terrible approval ratings so she needs to think
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about where does the blame lie and she's often talking about people outside of herself. >> i want to play one more clip from her. she's talking about in this clip the question of could the disinformation and the leaking e-mails, et cetera, if that campaign, allegedly by the russians, could that have been done without guidance from somebody in this country? take a listen. >> the russians in my opinion, and based on the intel and counterintel people i've talked to, could not have known how best to weaponize that information unless they had been guided. >> guided by americans. >> guided by americans. >> whoa. that's a fairly strong charge, and she didn't say she had any evidence. she said this is her urnsing. >> and she does have experience during her time as secretary of state, and she does stay in touch with a lot of advisers who advised her about russia and other matters, but i think what you're seeing here, whether it's
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her talking about jim comey or talking about the democratic party, is hillary clinton thinking about hillary clinton's legacy and not necessarily anything else, and you've got this discussion coming, you know, days before jim comey is supposed to testify on capitol hill which will be highly watched and his credibility is obviously important and at a time when the democratic party is trying to reconstitute itself so it's in good shape for the mid terms and to have a fighting changes in the next presidential election. hillary clinton not really working on laying the groundwork for either of those two right now. >> my only question is when she runs again and comby is not operative, would she runt exact same campaign? does she think that would win? because i don't think that would win. >> you don't think -- >> but you do think she's running again? >> i'm just trolling. >> but would she run that campaign again? >> you would visit the midwest and wisconsin. things she's at fault for and reflecting that would help the party and help her. >> one other thing before we go. president trump last night, i
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don't know if he fell asleep mid-tweet or what happened. we all mike typos on twitter. usually we correct them, but this one sat up for a little while. despite the constant negative press covfefe. i'm not -- >> it's pronounced covfefe. >> sean spicer was asked about this tweet today, and -- and here's his response. >> a small group of people know exactly what he meant. >> the president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant. >> this is worrisome. >> he's just messing with us, right. >> i would say it's worrisome that sean spicer could have just said the president made a typo. my sense is the president doesn't want to say that and if he can't add mitt that the president made a typo, if he can't say basic information like that, it suggests that his -- the president's confidence in him is very low. don't want to be on stage saying anything bad about the president and this is where we are, it's a
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little worrisome. >> i think he probably was just trying to make a joke, and this was made very clear during this nine-day foreign trip, they are very sensitive to the idea that the president gets tired, that he's exhausted, this he's tired and tirable. the idea that in a completely natural way someone could have fallen asleep at midnight after being on this, you know, nine days abroad mid-tweet is so anathema to the idea that that they wouldn't to pore try that he can get by on three or four hours of sleep. >> i think they are actually messing around. the second tweet, like everyone enjoy, figure out what it means. spicer backing him up. i think it's partially a response to the fact that it became such a huge story overnight. people obsessing over covfefe, and they are like enjoy. >> well, i wish you all a good covfefe. to all three of you, thank you so much. >> to all of you and you out there. he hwas hand picked by
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vladimir putin and now it's found out that this is not sergey gorkov's only link to the trump name. stay with us.
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welcome back to the world lead now where the death toll is now up to 90 in this morning's massive suicide bombing in afghanistan's capital city. at least 11 american contractors are among the 400 seriously injured. the blast happened in one of the most heavily guarded areas of the city of kabul surrounded by embassies, including the u.s. embassy just a few blocks away from the bombing site. new video shows the moment of the explosion. a suicide bomber detonating explosives hidden in a water delivery truck, detonated during the busy morning rush hour. the attack comes during the holy month of ramadan. this attack comes at a critical time. president trump is contemplating a decision about whether to remove troops or all the way to send more troops to afghanistan.
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>> there is a strategy review going on inside the pentagon and at the white house about what the next steps are. this attack not making it any easier to make that decision in addition to the 11 u.s. contractors working for the state department, 9 afghan security personnel, also working for the united states were killed in this attack so this is quite a significant impact. some 20 people affiliated with the u.s. embassy hurt or killed and the afghan people and what to do now is the big question. they are looking at everything, as you say, from perhaps doing nothing to increasing the number of troops. adding another 5,000 or so to the 8,400 u.s. troops already there. the idea would be that they could help the afghan forces with more training, with more advisory work, work with them out in the field. this has been a very long haul
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to say the least. more than $600 billion spent on the campaign in afghanistan, and still the security forces, they are very fragile in some places. this morning's attack showing that some of these terror groups still have the ability to hit without warning. jake? >> barbara, the taliban is denying responsibility. do we have any idea who is behind this? >> well, afghan officials, and u.s. officials are not disagreeing with them at this point, a group known as the hakani network is most likely responsible. these are long-standing terrorist clans in afghanistan. they do work with the taliban occasionally, but this is a hallmark signature of their violent, vicious attacks, the large-scale suicide attacks in a place like kabul where they can strike at the heart of the government and make people very nervous there about the stability of their country. jake? >> barbara starr, thank you. we should note that some of our colleagues at the bbc were injured and one was killed during that attack, and our
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thoughts and prayers are with you today. sticking with our world lead and revisiting the ongoing russian investigation, one of the mysteries of the russia probe is why jared kushner met with this man, sergey gorkov, hand picked by putin to run russia's state bank. the two met during december in the trump transition, around the time that the president's son-in-law and senior adviser was trying to set up a secret back channel to communicate with the kremlin, though it's unclear if the meeting with gorkov is in any way related to that goal. a source telling cnn that kushner will describe his interaction with russian officials as looking for the right person to interact with. cnn caught up with gorkov and we asked what he and kushner discussed. gorkov, is not just an ordinary banker. >> reporter: jake, you might as well call him putin's banker, well-connected to putin and the
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oligarchs and at times to jared kushner and donald trump. he is sergey gorkov, hand picked by russian president vladimir putin to run russia's state bank nicknamed the veb this. russian banker was trained by russia's spy agency, the fsb. the bank, veb, was embroiled in a spying organization, once accused of illegally gathering intelligence for the russian government and the bank papered for that person's defense. it's the same bank that has bailed out russian oligarchs and has been under u.s. sanctions for nearly three years, punishment for russia's invasion of ukraine. this is the bank and the banker jar kushner met with in december and errantly forgot to mention when discussing his personal contacts with foreign officials. kushner's secret russia meeting may be more fuel for the
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russia-trump conspiracy theorists or just a mistake of a person with little diplomatic experience. >> he's been given assignments and a position, and he's required to be absolutely forthcoming about this. this opens up another whole set of problems and vulnerabilities for -- for the president. >> jared kushner has, according to his attorney, agreed to answer any and all questions any federal investigators may have about his ties to russia, russian banks and back channel communications, but he's not answering to anyone else right now, and neither is the white house. just what kushner and gorkov discussed when they met soon after the election isn't clear. the russian bank says it was real estate business with kushner representing his private real estate company. the white house said no. it was actually government
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business with kushner representing the new american administration and gorkoff representing russia's said bank. questioned by matthew chance, gorkov would say nothing. >> reporter: what did you really say to jared kushner when you met with him in deeks. >> reporter: and there's another connection to gorkov, another russian-sponsored bank and another actor in this ever increasingly complicated play. in 2013 donald trump co-hosted the miss universe pageant in moscow. it was a huge success, partly due to the pageant's biggest sponsors, one of which was the russian-controlled bank sper bank and guess who was the deputy chairman of sperbank, sergey gorkov, the very russian banker meeting with jared kushner three years later in a meeting with conflicting stories about what the meeting was all
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about, and in the midst of a russia-trump u.s. story that may not have any there there yet but is becoming increasingly harder to ignore. of course, jake, we also know that during the same time jared kushner was meeting with banker sergey gorkov, kushner was meeting with the russian ambassador to the u.s. a source familiar with what took place in both of those meetings says those sanctions the russian bank is trying to get rid of was not discussed and instead focused on kushner establishing this back channel communication to russian president vladimir putin. jake? >> drew griffin, thank you so much. in our out-of-this world lead, pack your spf1 trillion. nasa announced its first mission to fly directly into the atmosphere of the sun. launching next year the space agency will set a probe enencased in composite solar shields and it will face heat about 2,500 did i grease
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fahrenheit, radiation no spacecraft has been able to withstand before, and it will get ten times closer to the sun than planet mercury. in our pop culture lead, cnn has terminated comedian kathy grich as co-host of its annual new year's eve prom following the emergence of a photo shoot and video described as offensive in which griffin is hold the facsimile of a bloody donald trump head. it was roundly condemned, including on this show. cnn has decided to no longer show the gruesome images. griffin initially defended the stunt in a since deleted tweet saying she was merely mocking the mocker in chief and backtrokd and issued an apology video message last night. president trump says the disturbing imagery was affecting his youngest son, my children, including my 11-year-old son barron are having a hard time with this, sick. that's a sentiment with which is difficult to argue. be sure to follow me on facebook or twitter.
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that is it for "the lead" today. i'm jake tapper. i now turn you over to wolf blitzer who is right next door in "the situation room." thanks for watching. happening now, breaking news. comey to testify. fired fbi director james combingy is ready to testify publicly to a senate commit de, and sources say that testimony could come next week. will comey confirm the reports that president trump asked him to end his probe into michael flynn's investigation? outside ties, the white house is now referring all questions to the probe to his lawyer. climate changed. his white house and cabinet are divided on the issue, but senior officials say president trump is expected to withdraw from the nearly 200-nation paris climate agreement. the president says he'll make a decision very soon. and all