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tv   CNN Newsroom With John Berman and Poppy Harlow  CNN  June 23, 2017 7:00am-8:01am PDT

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vladimir putin's involvement in hacking the election. the struggle not only to punish vladimir putin for launching the attack, but problem wanted to protect the united states from anymore harm. one of the "washington post" reporters on the story described it to me a short time ago. >> obama wanted to avoid the worst case scenario, the russians intervened to try to actually affect the voting itself on election day, on or before election day. that was the priority. he didn't want to retaliate before the election for fear it would provoke putin to make things worse. they decided to go after the election. when they started having the debate over what to do, of course you have different institutions, state department, cia, the treasury department, they all wanted to protect their own equities in this.
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the result was a more watering down approach, which required susan rice in a key meeting to basically say, you know, put, you know, stop, you know, stop bickering among yourselves, let's settle on this package. that said, that package could be called modest in its impact and largely symbolic. in the end, there wasn't much that the obama administration could do in terms of sanctions that wouldn't have blowback effects to affect u.s. businesses or european allies. >> the current president, president trump wonders if, if the russians hacked the elections. this "washington post" story goes into the intelligence that they did, and the fact that vladimir putin, the president of russia, he directed it and directed it to help donald trump and hurt hillary clinton. listen to how president obama learned about this intelligence. >> the cia sent this very
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sensitive document by courier to the white house. it was clearly instructed to be given only to a select group of the president and his top advisers for their eyes only. after they read the document, they were instructed to put it back in the envelope, back via cur yor, as soon as they finished reading it. it was so sensitive, in fact, the initial meetings excluded very senior top officials, including the secretary of state and the secretary of defense. that's how sensitive this was and how restricted this information was held within the obama administration. >> this intelligence, which is stunning from where it came from, the sources from inside russia said, what? vladimir putin puz directing attacks to hurt hillary clinton and help donald trump? >> that's right. specifically, the cia received the instruction from putin.
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>> let's discuss this. andrea, former lieutenant governor of south carolina. abbey phillip and brad woodhouse. abbey, through osmosis, since your paper broke this story, i'm going to give you the first question. this is a dramatic account with several things that jump out, the obama administration response, the information provided from the beginning and the level of involvement of vladimir putin. a memo, described to me by your colleague, which is the order to launch cyber attacks on the united states. dramatic stuff, abbey. >> absolutely. i think it highlights the high wire act that the obama administration felt they were in in the last six months of the election where they were worried anything they could do to retaliate or stop the russians
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from doing this might actually provoke an even more har ch attack at the heart of the election. the other thing that strikes out is the degree to which vladimir putin has publicly in the last couple weeks denied that he and the russians had anything to do with the cyber attack. i think the evidence is clear and definitive, at this point. there is no doubt in the intelligence community. i think our reporting solidifies that. it should be, to some extent, a warning to the folks in the trump administration who are very engaged in a project trying to broker better relationships with vladimir putin. he is not someone who is a trust worthy figure and people have been saying that for quite some time. there's still an effort under way in this administration to get closer to him. i think this report will really highlight the risks of that strategy. >> you know, the current
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president, president trump says if the russians hack the election, yesterday, the white house said the president thinks they probably did. he's not at that definitive point "the washington post" seems to be. brad, one of the remarkable things in this, it charts how the obama team, the white house, responded. there was a face-to-face confrontation between president obama and president putin. listen to how they described it to me. >> what the president said was effectively, knock it off or else. the threat there was that the u.s. would do something very serious to the russian economy. putin responds to the president by saying he weren't doing anything. basically saying there's nothing here. you are accusing the wrong guy. this is at a point in time where, you know, the administration is trying to prevent the russians from
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intervening in the vote. the president's take away from that encounter, when they looked at the intelligence that followed that encounter was that russia did not escalate. of course, at that point, the damage, if you will, had already been done. >> so, brad, that's something the president did. this story is an account, as much as what the white house did not do. the senior administration official saying i feel like we sort of choked. as a democrat sitting here this morning, reading this account, do you feel like the obama white house choked here? >> hindsight is always 20/20, john. i trust that the prioritization of making sure that vote tallies were not changed, that they didn't hack systems in a way that draw people off the election rolls, somehow they didn't affect the outcome of the vote count. that, to me, was the big priority.
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now, i think after the election should sanctions have been stiffer? i think absolutely that is the case. >> do you think, brad, do you think one of the things that happened is the white house was scared off. we heard it from jay johnson in his testimony, they were scared off by the political implications. if they said something, people would say it's politics. trump is saying the election is rigged. >> i think that's right. i think one of the overriding factors they did not want to make the interference by the russians in our election worse by creating the political issue that might advantage one candidate or the other or might suppress american votes. if you believe your vote is being hacked by the russians or the russians are being -- violating the election system, the election is being rigged, then it might have the effect of suppressing the vote, upsetting the counting of the vote, of making a bad situation even
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worse. look, i don't know they made all the right decisions. i do know this, they didn't have a lot of great options. the best they could do is make sure matters didn't get any worse. >> they ended up not taking a lot of action as a result. andrea, to you, you have been a trump supporter. hear kellyanne conway. she won't address it or acknowledge, hey, more evidence the russians hacked into the election. not even the trump administration did not do to address it at the time. do you think it is time for president trump and the administration to take this on much more directly? >> i think there's an opportunity to bring some finality. edgar allan poe said believe half of what you see and part of
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what you hear. the american people need to know we have taken action to make sure, not just russia, but any country that meddles in our election there are consequences. i would like to see the administration say there are going to be implications in the future if you do this. >> one of the things they may be able to do is keep in place something else we learned in the "washington post" story, covert actions. listen as they describe it to me. >> he signed a covert finding that authorized the nra, cia and cyber command to put in place little implants. maybe little is not the right word, to put these implants in place that could be set off in future to basically, again, deter the russians from doing this. keep in mind here, this is a finding that basically stays in effect unless trump basically
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issues a second order to remove it. so, unless trump acts to remove this finding by obama, it stays in effect. >> that's fascinating. do we have evidence trump has countered this? >> as far as we know, the answer is know. >> andre, would you like to see these measures in place? >> i would. one other fact, john, i think it's interesting the former president says he didn't want to meddle in the election because it looks like he is favoring a candidate. we know he was traveling around air force 1. we know he was endorsing hillary and speaking on her behalf. >> doesn't mean he was right about that decision. as we saw in that article, democrats and white house officials are regretting what they did and did not do.
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thank you very, very much. the president threatened james comeny on twitter with possible tapes of a conversation that he said he didn't have the tapes. now, just now, the white house press secretary sean spicer says it wasn't done to intimidate the former fbi director. what does he mean? within a week, republicans, democrats will vote on the new senate health care bill. what is the vote count as we sit here this morning? stay with us.
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p3 it's meat, cheese and nuts. i keep my protein interesting. oh yea, me too. i have cheese and uh these herbs. p3 snacks. the more interesting way to get your protein. democrats say the president was trying to intimidate james comey. was that the intent a month ago? >> quite the opposite. quite the opposite. i think the president made it clear he wanted the truth to
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come out. he wanted everyone to be honest and get to the bottom of it. he succeeded in doing that. the reality is he wanted to make sure the truth came out. talking about the tapes made comey think, i better be honest and tell the truth about the circumstances regarding the situation. >> all right. that's white house press secretary sean spicer moments ago answering a question of whether the president was trying to intimidate james comey when he says their conversation was taped and it's not true. joining us is cnn national analyst and chief of russia. guys, either of you are attorneys prosecuting cases like this. steve hall, to you, a guy like james comey, knowing the type of guy he is, the president floating the notion that maybe there are tapes. do you think that would make
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james comey more or less honest? >> i think james comey is the, you know, ultimate professional in terms of law enforcement, legal issues and certainly briefing high level officials. he's no stranger to this. he understands how the system works and i think he understood the ramifications of the president saying that, regardless of whether or not it existed of having tapes in the oval office or not. he's been careful, comey has, about how he approached this. we have to see at the end of the day as the investigations go on, primarily mueller's investigation how comey ends up in this. >> admiral, to you, you spent a lot of time in the communications business. trump supporters trying to explain the tweet is a grand strategy. you know, it seems more likely to me he was messing with us, messing with the public or making something up. >> yeah. that's where i am, john, to be
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honest with you. i don't think -- i don't know mr. comey at all. he doesn't strike me as the kind of guy that needs to be reminded through a tweet that he should be telling the truth. it doesn't wash. i think he threw it out there. i think it was a chance to intimidate and affect and inject himself in what shouldn't be a public discussion in the first place. i don't see a lot of strategy coming up out of this white house. >> let me ask you about your communications office when you were part of the obama administration. "the washington post" story that came out, absolutely fascinating in the level of detail. a step by step account of how the obama administration did and did not respond to specific intelligence about russian hacking into the election and the fact vladimir putin ordered it. you were there, inside the state department. secretary of state was brought
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in late as this was going on. what can you tell us about what the environment was within the administration at the time? how concerned were you all and did you feel like you were going far enough? >> in a word, very concerned. i can't speak to the discussions as secretary kerry had. even if i was, it wouldn't be appropriate. the secretary made it clear to all of us, this is something we needed to take seriously and send a message not just to the american people but friends and allies we were taking it seriously, russia was at the heart of it and we were going to do everything we could to protect the sanctity of the vote. it's something we took seriously. >> you are a russia guy. you spent a lot of time working on the russia investigation. an envelope arriving at the white house.
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vladimir putin helped donald trump and hurt hillary clinton. does that surprise you? >> not at all. this is absolutely -- this question has come up a couple times. it's a fascinating "washington post" report. it outlines the difficulties that one can encounter when you come by amazingly good intelligence. what can you actually do with it? it's not a surprise putin would have known about this and probably even been tempted to direct it himself as a former intelligence officer. this is not something new. the russians try to get in past u.s. elections and european elections. the article brings a good focus on to what putin's goals are and the difficulties an administration has trying to figure out a response short of conventional warfare. if you go down the path of you cyber attacks us, we are going to cyber attack you.
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it's a slippery slope and difficult to control. it's fascinating to see the political things going on. how do you respond when our basic democracy is threatened and undermined by russia. >> as an official quote, choked. your thoughts on that? >> i think, again, if everything in the article is accurate, they are great reporters, it shows the difficulty trying to work your way through how to respond to a situation like this. in particular, john, in the middle of an election, there's never great options, but when you are in the middle of national elections they become smaller. i think this shows the degree to which the administration struggled with how to do it appropriately, keeping in mind we got the sanctity of that. >> they were afraid of the political implications and perhaps they froze. thank you very, very much.
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the most on demand, your entire dvr, top networks, and live sports on the go. included with xfinity tv. xfinity the future of awesome. what is really going on with the senate health care bill this morning? can they get to 50? how close are they for real? these four senate republicans say they cannot support the bill as it is right now. they are asking for changes. changes are coming. one senior white house official says it will be a game of whack-a-mole with changes to please one group and anger another. anger was visible outside the office of mitch mcconnell. police forcibly removed demonstrators. some of them said the medicaid
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cuts would be catastrophic for them. phil mattingly, no reporter in america better understands what is going on and where this is headed than you, phil, tell us everything. >> reporter: the best way to view yesterday, the release of the discussion draft was that. it was a discussion draft. it is the first step in a complex bill. senators said they cannot support the bill as it stands. you have to pay attention to moderates. dean heller, susan collins have concerns about the direction of the bill. what is happening behind the scenes? senate is out right now. they have gone home for the weekend. how to address the concerns, thread the needle, not lose conservatives but keep moderates on as well. the ability to find that sweet spot defines whether or not this bill can get to 50 votes or whether or not it can move back to the house. the question is where does the white house stand on this,
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particularly in the wake of senators coming out saying they have problems with the initial bill. listen to what president trump said on fox this morning. >> you have the white house, republicans have the house and senate but senators are not on board. >> there are four good guys, friends of mine. i think they will probably get there. we have to wait and see. health care is a very difficult situation. if you look, the clinton's tried to get it. after years and years they couldn't do it. obamacare was murder for them to get. now it's failed. it's virtually out of business. obamacare is a disaster. we are trying to do something in a very short period of time. >> reporter: two things there, not bringing the hammer down on the republicans not on board, yet. a recognition that space is needed. that's space mitch mcconnell asked for. the senate is partaking this process in a compressed time schedule. senate leadership makes it clear, mitch mcconnell wants a
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vote no matter what. i want to underscore one thing. mitch mcconnell is as good as it gets to thread the needle and get things done. he knows his conference well. i'm told there are private meetings and phone calls. he knows what the members need to get their vote to yes. the question is, again, can he get enough? can he get the two ideological sides of the party inside their conference? it's an open question right now. what happens from here on out behind the scenes, we are trying to get there. they have a short period of time. >> interesting none of them didn't say no, not ever, just no, not now and we think it will change. they left the door wide, wide open. phil mattingly, thank you very much. joining me is someone who is kurptly a no vote and likely to stay that way. thank you for being with us.
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you have been in this business a long time. what do you make of the four republican senators who say no right now? i spoke to republican senators this morning who i'm not going to name and they think three of them are going to get to yes easily. >> i'm not confident those four are going to stay no. the focus here is respect to the so-called moderate senators including those who come from states whose governors came out against this terrible senate bill in the house version earlier because the senate bill cuts medicaid more deeply than the house bill. those are republican governors who complained about the house version already being too tough, too mean, as president trump himself said. so, i think in the end, it will primarily be a focus on those senators going forward. >> susan collins from maine is one of them. she said, roughly, i cannot
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support a bill that is going to result in tens of millions of people losing health insurance. well, the house bill, as it was written 23, 24 million people fewer will be on insurance in ten years. we don't have the cbo score, but look, what's your message to her if that number doesn't change? >> well, if it doesn't change substantially, and it won't. in fact, it will get worse over the long run because the medicaid cuts are deeper. you know, the congressional office looks at ten years. if you look farther, it gets out, it gets worse and worse. i think senator collins needs to be talking to her constituents. one thing we would like to see is senators need to go home over the fourth of july break and talk to constituents about it. we have not had a single committee hearing. this has been kept in secret. we don't have the final, final version here. so, it's really important that
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the american people have a chance to take a look at this and talk to their senators about it. it is a huge sort of miscarriage of the democratic process to try to ram this thing through next week. >> can i ask you a broad, philosophical question that is gnawing at a lot of people, including me? obamacare passed without a single republican vote. this is going to pass without a single democratic vote in the senate. doesn't this strike you as a messed up deal that affects one sixth of the economy? >> we much prefer to have a more bipartisan process. as you know, when we were working on the affordable care act in the senate and the house, especially the senate, they spent months trying to bring along republican senators. obamacare, the affordable care act hit the model that republicans proposed. that is the basis of romneycare in massachusetts. that never happened.
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democrats in this round said, look, we are happy to try to fix the exchanges. we know they are not perfect, improvements can be made. what we are seeing is first the trump administration has done everything they can to sabotage the exchanges from day one, driving up the cost in premiums. number two, the deep cuts to medicaid have nothing to do with the so-called problems with the affordable care act. there are no problems in the expanded medicaid, which is why you have republican governors worried about it. >> there are people that think it is too expensive. that can be a problem. it doesn't affect the exchanges in premiums. >> yeah. that's a little hard to hear them talking about the cost when they are providing a $900 billion tax cut in this bill that a majority goes to wealthy people. >> that is a question for the republicans right now. how do the tax cuts lower premiums? i want to ask you one question,
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you are in the senate. you spent most of your career in the house of representatives. a woman born in your state of maryland, raised there, nancy pelosi, the leader in congress for much of time. you are her ally. a lot of people saying she should step aside. i think you would have to be an idiot to think of a house with pelosi at the top. what is your reaction? >> senator pelosi has been an incredibly effective leader in the house of representatives. she's worked hard to bring in a lot of newer members into different forms of the leadership. i was in a meeting this week with many of the newer members where part of that decision making process. look, i think the discussion in the democratic party and the caucuses is healthy. clearly, you know, the democrats need to focus more on a strong economic message, but i don't lay the blame for that at the
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feet of nancy pelosi. that's something we need to work on as a democratic party across the country. >> democratic senator of maryland, thanks for being with us. coming up, we are going to speak to a governor who says he is cutting politics to send a message to washington. he joins us after the break. and when you replace one meal or snack a day with glucerna made with carbsteady to help minimize blood sugar spikes you can really feel it. glucerna. everyday progress. rumor confirmed. they're playing. -what? -we gotta go. -where? -san francisco. -when? -friday. we gotta go. [ tires screech ] any airline. any hotel. any time. go where you want, when you want with no blackout dates. [ muffled music coming from club. "blue monday" by new order. cheers. ] ♪ how does it feel
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senators going home today to weigh the bill to repeal and replace obamacare. this will have a huge impact on everyone all around the country and on states in particular. many governors, right now, saying the gnat is doing us all the wrong way. one of them, governor of colorado, a democrat joining me
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now. governor, thanks for being with us. you wrote an op-ed with a republican, who you said we agree reforms need to be made to the health care system. as governs from opposite sides, true and lasting approaches are by a common ground in a bipartisan fashion. the republicans released their bill yesterday. democrats, what do you do now? >> i think we have to see how the vote comes down. you know, put as much pressure as we can on the more moderate republican senators to say, hey, this doesn't serve your constituents. it's not going to serve your career to support something like this, it's going to be so heated by so many people. i think it's reasonable to expect that if they can't pass this, that you don't just walk away from health care. both sides come back. hopefully the governors about to implement this stuff and you'll find the compromises.
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millions, tens of millions of people off medical coverage. how do we keep people covered and control cost? one thing governor kasich and i agree on 1,000% is we can't continue the have the rate of medical inflation we have had. >> with other governors on this issue, medicaid provisions, you were talking about that, the provisions problematic. the senate version makes what some are calling bigger cuts long term. what do you tell the republican senators, including your own senators about this? >> i think he knows this, we have talked about it. now that the bill has come out and you can see it, clearly, it is very cruel to older, middle class individuals. they can see their, you know, a percentage of their income double. it's a very -- especially for rural colorado, it's going to be a very difficult pill to
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swallow. >> you are much closer to this than most of us dealing with the exchanges and people and premiums and seeing the medicaid spending. when you are talking about the cuts and changes to medicaid, how does that affect the premiums for everyone on the exchanges? everyone else out there, the stuff everyone agrees needs to be fixed? >> well, that's what's so ironic. medicaid, i mean, what we focused on is how do we provide stability to exchanges, control cost to exchanges, get waivers, whatever it takes. medicaid is separate from that. here, you are talking about a cold, hard, i mean the reality is you are given a huge tax cut to the richest, 3/4% of the u.s. citizens and taking health care from tens of millions of people. that's not in the best interest
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of the country. you are going to hear you don't want neighbors to lose their health care. in colorado, there's a higher percentage of individuals on medicaid in the rural parts of the state. this is going to hurt the people that worked hardest to elect trump. i can't believe they are going to take -- they are not dumb. they are not going to be oblivious to this. they are going to be unhappy and say we deserve a share. we didn't want the reform eliminated. >> the tax cuts are separate. there is a philosophical argument of how much to put in and out of it. republicans would argue they are not looking to hurt more people, but we take your side of the argument. one political question to you. there's a "washington post" story about how the obama administration did or did not respond to the intelligence on russian hacking. i'm asking you because you are the governor of the state. one of the things that is dealt with this in this article is how the administration reached out to states before election day
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and said, hey, we are worried about the fact this is going on. they got pushback from some secretary, in particular, who didn't want the government involved. do you feel they did enough leading up to election day? >> we are actually in the process of building a national cyber community center. i was worried about cyber security and issues that face the state. we had conversations with the federal government. again, cyber security demands the state and government work as closely together as possible. we have talked to western governors about how we can integrate our efforts in universities with research and businesses, all the cyber security companies that are springing up. we need everybody. this is not just in the elections. our smaller municipalities are going to become targets for international racketeers to do
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everything we can to hold them safe. governor john hickenlooper thanks for being with us, appreciate your time. >> you bet. >> sean spicer went on a friendly news network, but won't go on camera for today's briefing. more coming up. curity just like the marines did. at one point, i did change to a different company with car insurance, and i was not happy with the customer service. we have switched back over and we feel like we're back home now. the process through usaa is so effortless, that you feel like you're a part of the family. i love that i can pass the membership to my children, and that they can be protected. we're the williams family, and we're usaa members for life. call usaa today to talk about your insurance needs. but when we brought our daughter home, that was it. now i have nicoderm cq. the nicoderm cq patch with unique extended release technology helps prevent your urge to smoke all day. it's the best thing that ever happened to me.
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not happening today, on camera white house briefing or not happening today. the force trending ahead of the white house correspondent association to meet with sean spicer and sara huckabee saying we believe strongly americans should be able to watch and listen to senior officials. gaggles are not a substitute between the back and forth of reporters and officials. sean and sara agree to consider these positions. joining me now, alice stewart. alice, to you, what is the white house doing here? what is the game with some on camera briefings, some taped return briefings? >> they are doing their best to
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control the message. i'm the first to say we don't need the full white house press briefings every day. i think sean and sarah and the rest of the team go out of their way to make themselves available to answering questions. the briefings should be saved when there's big news. yesterday was a big news day. that should have been on camera. there were a lot of questions that need to be answered. the american people aren't as concerned as the journalists. it's something to push back on. the biggest concern and challenge in communications is while they have a good message talking jobs or immigration or health care, they often get off message when president trump tweets something about russia and if they can put that genie in the bottle and stay on message, it would be much better off. >> how do you see it? >> exactly, i agree with alice, the white house is trying different techniques to control the messaging. i agree it's about the press
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corps. they are used to having access. whether it's on television or not, to me, it's important they have the ability to ask those questions. i'm less concerned whether it's televised or not. the other thing is we now live in the age of the internet and social media. president trump has over 30 million followers on twitter that he's sharing information with. again, not the same thing as having reporters ask questions, they should be able to do that. it's not like there's a lot of information coming from this president or the white house. >> let me address a couple things from a slightly different perspective. on one hand, this white house occasionally says things that need to be tested and challenged. the president will say things on twitter, for instance, a one-way conversation. unless you can ask that question, you can't get a response. being able to do that so people can see it, do you think, justin, that's important? >> i do think it's important,
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but i don't think it should be the white house communication, whether it's president obama or president trump, shouldn't be dictated by the press corps. they are going to decide that on their own. subjecting themselves to questions. being subjected to questions is important and this white house is doing that. they are just not doing it on camera or on film like they used to do previously in previous administrations. >> they may be subjected to questions, but they are not always or often delivering answers. we could give you the long list of where sean spicer says i haven't talked to the president about that. i don't know about that. i don't know how he feels about climate change. again, is that actually honest communication with journalists? >> i think they are delivering the message exactly the way president trump wants them to do. one thing i do feel strongly when the president tweets something, that is an official statement from the president. something he said on social
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media. when a reporter asks a question about a specific tweet, i think it is the responsibility for them to be able to elaborate on that, if asked, not say the tweet speaks for itself. i think it's important not to look at these tweets as one off on social media. they are official statements. when reporters need clarification, obviously people want clarification. i think a few more answers should be done with regard to that. >> justin, ten seconds of advice for the white house from you. >> social media effectively. the president to continue to be awe thennic and keep experimenting with ways to get their message through the traditional reporters. >> experimenting even if it means no way on any given day. i appreciate the discussion. thanks so much. >> thanks. remarkable story of survival after a risky operation of conjoined twins.
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tonight, a cnn special report separated, saving the twins. a complicated and risky life saving operation separating twinning conjoined at the head. >> for nearly a year, we have been following the story of the mcdonald family. nicole knowing she was going to have conjoined twins, the decisions they were going to have to make and what life was like before this. >> going home. >> you're going home. >> while every parent has a steep learning curve, the mcdonald's are steeper than most. just to move the boys takes two,
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one adult holding each baby in unison. >> out of control. >> no crib will fit them, so they sleep in a queen-sized bed. instead of a stroller, they use a wagon. >> i got it. i got your belly. >> reporter: as the days, weeks and months pass, they all settle in. life is joyful. >> give them love. >> reporter: in the back of everyone's line is the realization the only chance at a real life is separation. so, they did all their homework, looked for the best hospital and surgeon to give their boys the best chance at life. >> what an amazing story. do not miss this cnn special report, separated saving the twins tonight at 10:00 p.m. here on cnn. thanks so much for joining us, i'm john berman. have a fantastic weekend.
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in the meantime, at this hour with kate bolduan starts right about now. hello, everyone. i'm kate bolduan. thanks, john berman. case closed, right? not so fast. did president trump's admission about not recording james comey open up a new can of legal worms? johnny depp making political statements. the health care bill brings deep cuts to medicaid. the white house putting a new spin on it today. first, this. the revealing details about exactly thousand russian meddling in the 2016 race went down and how the obama administration struggled to respond. "the washington

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