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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  June 29, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT

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pretty honest, people knew what they were electing when they were electing president trump. >> that same specific criticism was made of ronald reagan, by the way, throughout his eight years. >> he had been a governor and had done -- >> right. but he was always accused of not knowing the details. one other thing. everything we're talking about tonight as in a sense been litigated already. we had the election. this may be the latest episode, but these episodes have been had many times during the campaign. this discussion was had and he won the election. >> but that doesn't make it right. >> i'm not saying it's right. >> somebody says something disgusting, i think it is incumbent on decent people to point it out and say, you know what, this is not normal. yes, people know this guy does this. they voted for him anyway. that's what is great about our country. but people can also stand up and point out routinely this is not
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normally. >> the group thinking. that's one of the problems. >> that's the same thing as saying i have a billion dollars so everything i do is right. you know, it's -- if you won the election, yes, you won the election in november. the challenge is now to be the president. >> jeffrey, every president has bad characteristics. i don't think anyone anticipated, even his strongest supporters, that when he became president he would sort of lean into the worst parts of his personality. in fact, i think he actually promised in a famous quote that he could be so presidential, you will be so bored of him. and so far, he has not lived up to the boring version he promised. >> in case you're just joining us, quickly, i want to bring everyone up to speed on the story we and everyone else has been talking about, the today hit-and-run twitter attack. details now from our jim acosta. >> reporter: just as president trump is touting his administration's energy policy,
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he's mounting bipartisan criticism that he lacks the temperament for the oval office. tweets aimed at mika brzezinski. i heard poorly rated morning joe speaks badly of me. then how come low i.q. crazy mika came to mar-a-lag go three nights in a row around new year's eve and insisted on jo g joining me. i said no. >> i don't think it's a surprise to anybody that he fights fire with fire. >> reporter: sarah huckabee sanders defended the tweets. >> it's kind of like we're living in the daylight zone. they do this day after day after day and then the president responds and defends himself and everybody is appalled and blown away and i think that the president has been attacked
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mercilessly on personal accounts by members on that program and i think he's been very clear that when he gets attacked, he's going to hit back. >> reporter: the president's behavior, sanders argued, is not beneath the dignity of his office. >> i think that he shows that every day in the decisions that he's making, the focus and the priorities. the only person that i see on is this president and everybody that works for him. >> reporter: top republicans quickly criticized the president's tweets. senator lindsey graham, "mr. president, your tweet is beneath the office and represents what is wrong with american politics and not the greatness of america." and paul ryan. a poll found 21% of americans found the president's twitter use effective and informative while 69% said it's reckless and distracting. but to his questionable treatment of a female reporter in ireland in the oval office just this week. >> where are you from?
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come here. we have all of this beautiful language. where are you from? >> [ inaudible ]. >> katrina perry. she has a nice smile on her face. so i bet she treats you well. >> reporter: the president was again his own worst enemy stepping all over his administration's announcements of new sanctions against a bank in china, aimed at pressuring north korea as well as his upcoming meeting with vladimir putin next week. the president, it seems, there are rarely ever any apologies. jim acosta, cnn, the white house. >> a lot of the conversation today resolved around the sexist nature of the attack. joining us is amanda carpenter, alice stewart, ana navaro. is any of this defensible? >> of course it's not. i'm sitting here as an american, a woman and a republican. i'm mad as hell on all three
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counts. as a woman, i can tell you i'm fed up with this guy's attacks on women's looks and objectifying women and his weird fixation with women and blood. whether it's rosie o'donnell or megyn kelly or alicia machado or heidi cruz. as an american, i am very mad at the way that he is diminishing the office of the president of the united states. i'm mad at what he's teaching our children. i'm very mad that there are children learning to bully because of what the president says and does and as a republican, i am livid that more republicans are not standing up and that those people in the white house surrounding him are enabling this. they are going to spend the next four years having to react to the crazy, horrible, vial, vicious attacks that he says if they don't put a stop to this right now. >> alice, you know sarah huckabee sanders.
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what went through your mind when you saw her defending the president today? >> well, first of all, looking at the statement, i think unpresidential and it's not defensible at all. she's doing her job. she's got a difficult job. but for the white house to come out and say that he was punching back when he's attacked, that's absurd. when you're an elected official of any sort, you suit yourself up, put your man pants on and brace for incoming fire whether it's from the opposition or media or from your constituents and you expect that. that's part of the job and you pick your battles. this certainly wasn't one of them. and furthermore, to say that the american people elected him because they say he will stand up and he will -- if attacked, he will punch back two times harder, i think that's laughable in this case because this isn't a situation that warranted this kind of disgusting comment. and i think that american people do want him to punch back when he's attacked and i wish he would flex those muscles when it
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comes to north korea and with regard to vladimir putin. unfortunately, he's using his time and his tweets in order to attack females across the spectrum. >> amanda, it's interesting. i think back of congress members who have town halls and people are screaming at their face, you know, saying things, yelling at them not just on policy but on any issue. if those senators or congress people, you know, responded by attacking the physical appearance of the person talking to them, nobody would put up with them. people would just be shocked. but somehow the president seems to get a pass on doing this time and time again. >> well, i mean, like al has pointed out, people give him a pass. i'm much more concerned about the defense coming from trump defenders than the actual tweet. listen to what he's saying. it's essentially, mika deserved it. mika had it coming. this is language that abusers use. it's used to describe abusive relationships.
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melania trump issued a statement today essentially saying this, that she deserved it. all kinds of people excuse donald trump's behavior again and again. he has an abusive relationship with the press. let's just put it that way. he is obsessed over his image. and i do not want to hear this white house come out and say that donald trump respects women because i don't think he respects the women who are closest to him. namely, his wife and daughter. he cut the legs out from underneath them. melania supposedly has a cyberbullying initiative, ivanka supposedly wants tomorrow power women in the workplace. donald trump went after a high-profile media figure, mika brzezinski, and he bullied her online. i don't want to see them trot it out because the man in the oval office is doing more to tear down powerful women in the media than anyone we have ever seen before. >> maria, do you have any reason
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to believe that criticism from some republicans on the hill is going to influence the president at all? >> no. and i don't know that there is anybody that could really influence the president, anderson. and i think that's what we need to figure out moving forward. look, i can't really say anything that hasn't been said today already. i agree with every single thing that has been said on this panel by these three women of completely different political spectrums, including myself. we are all in agreement that today, the president proved beyond a shadow of a doubt if there is one, that he's a bona fide, indecent, narcissistic jerk and, guess what, anderson, talked about this as well or your panels today have talked about this as well. this is not something that is new. we knew this walking into it. he was like this during the campaign. he has been like this throughout his life. remember when he went on the
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"howard stern show" demeaning and degrading and objectifying women and laughing about it. >> there was the hope that -- and he talked about this. i did interviews with him where he talked about the tone was shifted, he would have a presidential tone and that he would, you know -- i think brian references that he would be, you know, so presidential that it would bore everybody. >> but here's where i was going. nobody -- well, some people were hoping that that was the case. but everybody who looked at him throughout his life and who looked at how he behaved on the campaign knew that that was never going to happen. knew that the famous pivot was never going to happen. knew that the, oh, i can act presidential if i want to, was never going to happen. what do we do now? it's up to two groups of people, i believe, anderson, moving forward. republicans on the hill and i am glad that a lot of them are coming out and not defending this but i don't think it's enough. and his supporters. and he is, interestingly enough,
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slowly but surely losing support even from his base. but until he really feels that and until he really sees the numbers, even though he doesn't believe in these polls, he's not going to change. >> alice, do you agree with them? >> yes. there's a poll that came out this afternoon that 71% of those polled say that the tweets take away from his agenda. and the unfortunate thing is that here we are on the 11th hour of trying to repeal and replace obamacare and republicans on the hill today were spending their time responding to this tweet. we have the travel ban that's going into place right now. that is, for all intents and purposes, a success for this president. he should be bragging about that. we have energy week and a big rollout on energy today and, unfortunately, that got overshadowed. so for the white house in a week that there's plenty of substantive issues for them to talk about and, quite frankly, hang their hat on, we're being
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sidetracked yet again by these tweets. >> anderson, look, republicans are spent the last six months, republican leadership and elected officials say, please don't tweet. i wish he wouldn't be doing that. i'm disturbed by what he said. i'm so disappointed in the president's words. it's so nonpresidential. okay. it's enough with the criticism. they've got to take more action because if not they are going to be saddled with this for the rest of this term. and there's going to be no legislative action. they've got to tell the guy, when you invite me to dinner, i'm not going because you embarrass me. you know what, when you want an appointee voted on, i'm not going to vote because you embarrass me. they have got to start playing hardball. they are not the donald trump constituents. they are an independent branch and they have got a duty to defend the integrity and reputation of this country. >> amanda, final thought? >> i would just disagree a little bit.
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here's the challenge. we all have to live with donald trump and his twitter account through the next election. we have to -- republicans included -- yes, republicans when asked should condemn these attacks but they can't go around hanging themselves out over at the expense of our legislative agenda. keep your head down, keep working. because donald trump wants nothing more than to force people into these silly psychological games and make us play it. we can't get swept into it. poor mika is going to have to endure it. she can't get out of this because these methods work for a short amount of time. i went through it. don't get sucked into it. >> but we have to call it out, amanda. that is absolutely something that we all -- >> it can't consume the entire political atmosphere, is what i'm saying. >> the problem is, this has become such a huge and constant distraction. this is not an isolated occurrence. >> right.
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>> and be able to focus on the agenda and policy items have to find themselves constantly responding and reacting and justifying this. and so -- let me tell you, i used to be able to say good things about paul ryan and people would give him a pass. today you say anything good about paul ryan and you might as well have complimented satan. he's not only ruining donald trump's brand -- >> i think paul ryan did the right thing today. he said he did not agree with that. >> weyou cannot control donald trump. we have to live with this. point it out. call it out. but don't let it take over your complete self. please. >> it already has. a closer look at the presidential spokesperson who has emerged as the president's defender in chief on this and later, hacked e-mails and national security adviser michael flynn. we'll speak with "the wall street journal" correspondent who got the story.
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my doctor recommended i switch laxatives. stimulant laxatives make your body go by forcefully stimulating the nerves in your colon. miralax is different. it works with the water in your body to hydrate and soften. unblocking your system naturally. miralax. some of the repercussions of the attack on mika brzezinski continue. sarah huckabee sanders painted the president, the white house and herself as victims instead of the woman the president today attacked. >> look, everybody wants to make this an attack on a woman.
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what about the constant attacks that he receives or the rest of us? i'm a woman and i've been attacked multiple times but i don't cry foul because of it. >> whatever you might think of that answer, this is far from the first time she's been put on the spot by something that the boss has tweeted or said. randi kaye has more. >> reporter: she's the white house principle deputy press secretary. >> accordingly, the president accepted the recommendation of his deputy attorney general to remove james comey from his position. >> isn't it true that the president had already decided to fire james comey and he asked the justice department to put together the rationale for that firing? >> no. >> reporter: but that wasn't true. >> i was going to fire regardless of -- he made a recommendation. but regardless of recommendation, i was going to fire comey. >> reporter: the inconsistencies causing some major clean-up for
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sanders. >> i went off of the information that i had when i answered your question. >> reporter: sanders said she hadn't had a chance to ask the president directly, despite having numerous conversations with him. sanders also claimed the white house story had been consistent despite the clear incon sti inconsistencies. the president tweeting, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at the podium with perfect ache kra s perfect accuracy. >> i'm curious why it took so long, 41 days, for this to be laid to rest and whether the president is recording any oval office. >> you guys asked for an answer. >> reporter: the 34-year-old sanders is the daughter of former arkansas governor and presidential candidate mike huckabee. she went to the christian college and married in 2010 and is mother of three children. most recently, she worked on her father's failed 2016 presidential bid.
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so she has seen and lived the give and take of politics, which shows at the podium where she's versed in the art of the redirect or saying she's not aware or promises so circle back. >> if anything changes, i'll let you know. >> i haven't had a chance to dig into that but we'll circle back with you on it. >> reporter: and sometimes she sounds a lot like the president himself. >> i think it's the constant barrage of fake news directed at this president probably that has garnered a lot of his frustration. >> reporter: despite a few missteps, the president is apparently happy with sanders' performance, calling her in one interview, a lovely young woman. randi kaye, cnn, new york. >> david gergen is a former white house communications director and so is jen psaki and also jeffrey lord. david gergen, what should a spokesperson do if they disagree
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with what the boss has done, do they just suck it up and go out there and defend their boss? >> well, if your colleague, chief of staff is not giving you a straight line, you're left out there in a battlefield unprotected and i have some sim pat three for her, actually. you talk to people who know her and have known her in the past, i do not, but they say she's lovely young woman and they feel sorry for her because she's an evangelical christian and here is a president doing things like weird, crazy, sexist, whatever you want to call that, and yet she has to defend it and i thought "saturday night live" actually got sympathetic with sean spicer. they felt badly for him. i think she's going through the humiliation. it's not fair to her.
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>> nobody is forced to do this job, though. she clearly wants to do this job. there are options. >> there are. look, i do think that sarah and sean spicer are in very difficult positions. it's not couple poll sorry work but if you're looking at it strictly from a clinical aspect of your job, this is the height of your career if you're in politics and if you're somebody who cares about your country, then working in the white house has a lot of appeal. >> sure. >> and somebody who believes in donald trump and i think sarah sanders has a relationship with him and i think sean spicer has developed one. whether the president is always happy with his podium appearance, i don't know. but they are all in very tough positions and when you talk to them, david is absolutely right, all they can do is project what is coming from above most times and i think sarah takes the temperature of the room down perhaps more than others but i also think at the end of the day there's no great answers to
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these questions, why is the president tweeting this? i mean, what is the good answer? so, sure, they could quit. but when i speak to advisers for trump and this has been the case since before he won the presidential race and during the transition and certainly since his inauguration, on the one hand, privately lament the frustration of these things but they will join his sense of grievance, that we are just under constant attack and everything we do is terrible. they feel that way whether you can but they sar that with the press and it's up and down. >> did you feel that the white house was under attack? >> it was all sunshine and roses all the time. no. yes. absolutely. i think every white house is under attack. i was there during the financial crisis. i was there when we lost the house and lost the senate.
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there are certainly moments where you feel under attack but that doesn't mean that you launch them a misogynist attack. there's a difference between that and going out and stating it publicly. so, yes, i would say that the white house is a tough place because the spotlight is on you. you're speaking on behalf of the president. the american people are watching the president. you have to be tough. you have to be working together as a team. and this kind of response, there's really no place for it. >> one of the things, jeff, i talked to mayor michael bloomberg about, the organization that he had as mayor and that he set up in business and this white house's organization, though he was very careful not to criticize the president because he feels like he's under enough pressure as it is. he talked about the importance as a leader in supporting the people who are under you and you're putting a great team together and supporting those
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people. and the intimation is that president tweets something that he said. >> i'm not there every day or any day but it certainly seems to me that donald trump the businessman has this whole raft of people who have been around him for a very long time who feel that he's a very loyal boss, that he's very good to them and he backs them up and i assume that while this white house is taking a little time to get adjusted, as they all do, that that will out in the end. and one other thing, anderson, i mean, this has me going here. i think of sarah palin and all of the misogynistic treatment for her, her clothes were mocked, physical appearance was mocked by liberals and nobody
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said boo on the other side. that's the kind of thing. >> unfair different standard constantly. just like in television you don't have the president tweeting about the facial appearance of male anchors. it's about women an kors. >> conservative women. not only conservative women but conservative blacks and et cetera. if you're a conservative and you're a woman, they'll come after you and nobody on the liberal side is going to stand up and say, hey -- >> you can make the same argument about liberal women being attacked by conservatives and men and women are treated differently and it's unfair. >> there is this feeling in spades that there is a double standard. >> david? >> there has been a double standard but one of your proudest moments came from working for ronald reagan and you know what, because he was transparent and respected the press because he treated people
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civilly, he got very fair coverage. it was not as biased as anything like this, it was not a slugfest that you're seeing today. reagan set a standard of civility in the white house and you believed in that. >> yes. >> that really worked for him and really changed -- this is not just a product, oh, the terrible liberal press. there is something more going on here that has a lot to do with a man who is working the operation. the signals come down from the top. >> i do think that there was enormous resistance. the phrase applied to this one group of people that i think can be used in a lot of ways, never trump. i really do think that donald trump, for one reason or another, has stirred such wrath with elites in washington in both parties, in both parties. >> if you start out hating people, they will hate you back. and he started hating people right from the get-go. >> but we have elections for this purpose. the decision is made and to keep this kind of thing going, i think, is a mistake. >> they didn't send out tweets. he sent out the tweets today.
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>> this is one of the peck k peculiarities. it's not that we're covering a white house that has different rules but a president that tends to play by no rules and some days they work in his favor and other time in other people's favor. >> which is why he was effective in business and real estate for a long time. that's absolutely true. he's a guy who makes deals and treats everything as if it's a big deal. it's different here. but the other thing is, there is this quality that david is really speaking to which is he did this. i mean, yes, it's true, mika brzezinski criticized him. that's definitely true. but mika brzezinski is not the president and these remarks don't have equal weight when they're delivered from each of them because one is the president and one isn't. it will always come down to, well, he felt attacked. or they attacked him or he
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didn't do this. you're getting sort of half of the page as opposed to the whole page. >> i wonder how much of this is, as a civilian, as a businessman in new york, donald trump was used to, you know, positive tabloid coverage because he was calling up reporters pretending to be a spokesperson and, you know, selling his own stories and planting stories and stuff and leaking stuff. but the idea of, you know, a critical press, that every white house feels the press is critical of them and they should be. that is the role of the press to be critical. sure, there are some networks that would want to be an organ of the white house, it seems or a devout enemy of the white house but most reporters want to be fair and accurate and try very hard just to be that. >> that's exactly right, anderson. if you're talking about the press briefing or the back and forth with donald trump's own relationship with the press, there is a healthy giving back -- give back and forth with the press. they always want more access,
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say, when you're in the white house, you're never going to give them as many press conferences but the reality here is that if he was at 55% approval rating and had just passed a tax reform package and a health care bill and was traveling around the country raising money for republican candidates, there would probably be good press coverage. there's a reason why there's not good press coverage. it's because there isn't good news to cover and that's how the media works and that's pretty simple. >> there's also fbi investigations and special counsel and numerous congressional as well. this is not made up by the press. it's actually happening. >> and deserve to be covered and the american people want to know about them and know the ups and downs and the details. >> yeah. i think we're done. everyone, thanks very much. up next, a right-wing ambush propaganda targeted cnn political commentator van jones in an undercover video.
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we'll talk to van here and what he said in the tape encounter when we return. ♪
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look at that fluffy unicorn! he's so fluffy i'm gonna die! your voice is awesome. the x1 voice remote. xfinity. the future of awesome. a conservative activist james o'keefe has released another selectively edited tape targeting van jones. first, here's what o'keefe chose to public from the secretly recorded conversation. >> hey, man. we met in palm springs a few years back. >> you good? >> yeah. what are you doing? what do you think is going to happen this week with the whole russia thing? >> [ inaudible ]. >> really? you don't think that --
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>> and van jones joins us now. explain what happened here. who were you talking to? where were you? what was the context? >> i was standing outside the bureau. i'll talk to anyone. i don't care. a guy comes up and i'll talk to anybody and he starts asking these questions around what's going on in american politics. as you know, i have been beating the drum about progressives going so far over board on russia. the news agency should be going in on russia. any time you have the president of the united states under investigation by the fbi, that is a news story. but progressives have to be very careful that we don't put all of our eggs in that basket because the chances of this cowardly republican party actually impeaching and then removing a president, something that has never happened, i think it's very, very slight. i was about to go into that,
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there's nothing you can do and then a bunch of guys came out and we started talking. so he took that little thing and made it seem like i was out here saying that there's nothing wrong with what donald trump has been doing. this guy is a hoaxster, a fraudster, he's a scumbag and he does this stuff all the time. >> so when on the tape you say that the russia investigation was a big nothing burger what did you mean? >> i meant for progressives to keep jumping up and down about this doesn't make a lot of sense because you have a bunch of us acting as if this guy is going to be impeached tomorrow. that trump is going to be impeached and he's going to be gone. listen, from a political point of view, if you're looking honestly, you do not have the ability to impeach and remove this guy. it's a nothing burger. you've got to be focused on real stuff, like jobs, health care, addiction, based on the substantive issues -- >> which you say we're not talking enough about.
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>> you're talking about stuff that is not going to register with ordinary people. real people are going to be worried about jobs, health care, addiction, that kind of stuff. we've got to stay focused on that. i don't know this guy and then my guys come up from cnn whom i love at the bureau and we start talking. so he took that little clip and puts it out there. but here's the reality. the worst thing isn't that the guy did this hoaxster thing. the worst thing is that the trump white house elevated it. you have the trump white house elevating a guy who is a known fraudster. >> sarah huckabee sanders said she didn't know if it was true or not but urged everyone to look at it. >> that's not good. if you're just falling for selectively editing videotape in 2017, you haven't been paying attention. but for the white house to fall for it and promote it, that's what really is terrible. >> you say too many democrats see it as a magical get out of
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free card, meaning that the president is somehow going to be impeached. >> listen, we have a bunch of problems in our party. rather than dealing with those problems in a serious way, whether getting back to talking about jobs and real pain at the bottom here in our country, you have a lot of people just going in loops and cycles. i'm not talking about news people. i'm talking about progressive activists who talk about russia all day. that has got to stop. if you think that just talking about russia, russia, russiais going to be a way to get this guy impeached or remove or win an election, i think you're wrong and we need to get back to substantive stuff for ordinary people, not only the stuff that the news media are excited about. >> van, thank you very much. the nothing burger comment can be read more at >> much to do about nothing burger. just ahead, a story breaking tonight in "the wall street journal" of hacked clinton e-mails. t the correspondent who got the
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some late reporting on the russia hacking story comes from "the wall street journal." "the gop operative and implied connection to flynn," flynn being the former campaign manager michael flynn. shane is with us. the story talks about a guy named peter smith who believed
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that hillary clinton's missing e-mails have been stolen by someone and someone who he believed was a russian hacker. who is this guy? >> well, peter smith is a chicago businessman who has a long history in gop politics and particularly in opposition research. he's most well known as the guy who brought the troopergate to light in the 1990s. so he did harbor a lot of political grievances against hillary clinton and when he set out on this quest to try and find these e-mails that he believed had been hacked, probably by russians from her private server, it was his intention, if he could verify their authenticity, acquire them because he believes they would show corruption by hillary clinton. >> how did he go about finding the e-mails? >> he assembled a team of technologists and lawyers and one private investigator in europe who spoke russian, he told me, who went out and looked essentially in the dark web, if you will, places where you're
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likely to find hacker who is try to traffic this information and he believed he assembled enough of a network that they might be able to find a claim of this information and ultimately they settled on five groups of hackers, two of whom were russian, and attempted to vet that information. they affirmatively went out looking for it in trying to acquire it. >> this man in conversation with friends implied he was working with michael flynn? is that right? >> that's right. in conversations that he had about this work, he said that he was talking to michael flynn about it. he, in e-mails, portrayed his company as a small number of people who were involved in the effort. so -- and in talking about this people who were involved and try to elicit other people involved and portrayed flynn as an ally, is probably a good way to say it. >> and you actually interviewed
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him, right? you interviewed smith? >> that's right. smith actually contacted me. he apparently became aware that i had been looking into this, i received information about it and contacted me and told me his full story and what was unfortunateliu unfortunately was to be our last interview. he wasn't ashamed of it. he was actually quite proud of the work that he was doing and believed that they were very close to finding what he thought were secretary clinton's incriminating e-mails. >> importantly, though, smith said he knew flynn in an interview with you but never stated that flynn was involved in the pursuit. >> he never said that to me, that's right. in other conversations that he had with people who i interviewed and in e-mails that i reviewed, he does portray flynn as somebody that is he talking to about this work. >> and peter smith, you said it was the last interview. he passed away last month? >> that's right. he died about ten days after we spoke. so in the course of my reporting
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and in preparing to go back to him with more questions, of course, i learned that he had pass aid way. he was 81 years old. >> are any of the investigations going on now? are they looking into this, do you know? >> the best that we understand right now is that we may be looking at one end of what u.s. investigators are looking at. our reporting shows that there are intelligence reports from around this time period that peter smith was active, way was in the post labor day stretch into the campaign, that actually show russian hackers talking about ways to potentially find secretary clinton's e-mails and to get them via an intermediary to general flynn, which is very consistent with the work that peter smith said he was doing. it's not clear, our understanding from those reports, that peter smith was the intended intermediary but it feels like it, at least it's plausible that these might be two ends of the same operation here. >> it's really interesting. shane harris, thanks for being with us. appreciate it. >> thanks, anderson. coming up next, health care,
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tonight. attempts to finish a new draft of the senate gop health care bill fizzled as the republican leadership is unable to make a deal with enough support. yesterday president trump was optimistic about the process. >> health care is working along very well. we could have a big surprise with a great health care package. so now they're happy. >> what do ewe mean by a big surprise? >> it's going to be great. >> the efforts to fulfill one of the president's biggest campaign promises is fizzling out again. what is the latest, ryan? >> the republican conference not giving up on health care yet but gop leaders have told us not to expect a grand bargain by tomorrow and mitch mcconnell never set that deadline. still senators continue to talk with hopes of coming to some sort of a break through through. all day long, republican members ducking in and out of private
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meetings, hammering out changes to the stalled health care reform bill. >> i just saw a genuine determination on people center right and center left to get to yes. >> but what those changes are and which members are moving closer to a yes is still unclear. and the senators at the center of the debate are reluctant to say which way they are leaning. >> i'm not going to negotiate with the press here on what it's going to take to get to something favorable for the state of nevada. >> dean heller who has been a vocal opponent to the new bill has been part of the negotiations but was unwilling to get into the details of the bill's progress. >> the bottom line is is this bill is not good for the state of nevada. >> reporter: heller's resistance is an example of the divide between the moderate and conservative wings of the party.
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nevada is a state that expanded their medicaid rolls and stands to lose billions in federal funding. >> changing the growth rates of medicaid to make it more generous might help some but you might lose other people. >> reporter: mitch mcconnell is warning if democrats join the negotiations the less conservative the bill will be. and there are plenty of moderate democrats like joe mansion who are ready to deal. >> have any republicans approached you? has anyone talked to you about it? >> we'll be talk. it a happen, hopefully. >> reporter: meanwhile the white house is taking a more active role in the negotiations with both vice president mike pence and kellyanne conway making trips to the hill all with the hopes that the framework of the deal can be struck before the
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congress leaves town. >> what is the time line for getting a bill to the floor? >> there are no votes scheduled here tomorrow. that means most senators have left town for the fourth of july recess to be back in their home states. there's a good chance their staffs will continue to talk you will the fourth of july holiday. but we're looking at least ten days before the senators will be able to meet face-to-face and that's where the real negotiation takes place. that won't begin for quite some time and it's impossible to forecast when they'll have enough votes to pass this bill. >> secretary of state rex tillerson is frustrated with the white house, to stay the least. he may or may not want to make peace with the white house after a tense meeting. >> reporter: secretary of state rex tillerson had this to say about the process of filling dozens of key vacancies at the state department. >> i'd like to go faster. >> reporter: we're hearing that tillerson went head to head with
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the president's aides in a meeting, tillerson made clear to pro priebus he wants to pick his own staff. the secretary is working on a process of evaluating people on merit and wants to put forward the best candidate for the job. the desire for political patronage does not overcome a lack of competence. >> we have this tradition in washington of let's bring in our tribe and our tribe will run things. almost none of these guys have a tribe. tillerson doesn't have a state department tribe. so he in a sense is building his tribe. >> reporter: the president hired him for his global deal making skills. >> you have had a tremendous life heading up one of the great companies in the world and doing
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it magnificently. >> reporter: but so far he is not giving his top diplomat free rein on foreign policy. while tillerson tries to mediate a bill, president trump has sided with saudi arabia. >> the nation of qatar, unfortunately has been a funder of terrorism at a very high level. >> reporter: trump has taken much of mideast policy off tillerson's plate, giving it to kushner instead and as tillerson seeks to reorganize his state department, the white house has pushed him to make major cuts, slashing a whopping 30% to his budget, shocking lawmakers who called the proposal a waste of time. >> my reaction is it's probably dead on arrival. >> reporter: tony blinken now cnn global affairs analyst says the end result is a weakened state department unable to shape
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and execute foreign policy. >> if you look at the budget and show me the money and i'll tell you what your privates are, the state department is not their priority. in the absence of both the state department plays a diminished role. >> reporter: president trump's loyalty test is slowing down the nominations process across the government. the president is ruling out candidates who have criticized him during the campaign. a confirmation of deputy john sullivan has sped up nominations at the state department and as a result of that white house meeting, everyone's concerns are out in the open and they expect the process to run much smoother now. >> elise labt, thank you. >> how big a problem is this for the state department with positions unfilled in terms of executing u.s. foreign policy. >> six months in it's becoming
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an increasingly big problem. there will always be time when you trying to fill jobs but it will affect foreign policy. while we have great foreign service officers out there in the field. where there would be a politically appointed ambassador, that is not sustainable. it's from them you get the policy kbiens that the foreign governments reline on. this could become a much bigger problem. >> but admiral, getting ambassadors, is that something that rex tillerson would normally do? a lot of them are political patronage. >> you're right. but the secretary of state does have a role to play but there are political appointees a it the state department that are key to leadership and management of the department and to developing the kind of policy guidance that foreign governments and frankly our career foreign diplomats out in the field need. that suspect happening right now. and that is a concern. >> just in terms of staffing choices shouldn't the secretary
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of state be able to pick who he wants to fill these positions? >> he certainly wanted to do that and that is true for any secretary of state. but, clearly, we don't know, yet, from the reporting whether he has put forward positions, whether trump is block the positions or a combination of the two. it certainly may be. one area where the roles have been filled by high level foreign service officers are the assistant secretaries that are leading the regional bureaus and those are the people who are the points of contact for embassies around the world for foreign governments. they really do the day-to-day work of the state department. so that is not about political patronage. that's not about campaign donors. that's about either not selecting people, not nominating them, not moving the process forward and that is paralyzing the state department even just those positions. >> in fairness to the white house it's not urn heard of for the white house to block some
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picks. the obama white house told secretary clinton they didn't want sydney blumenthal to join her. >> that is true. in my position, the personnel office is drunk with power too. that may be happening here as well, i don't know. but there are a number of people who are not controversial who could be elevated to positions, who have been in government, been in foreign service and been publicen servants for 15, 20, 25, 30 years and be leading these regional bureaus and be our points of contact internationally. that's not happening. i don't know why. >> does it seem to you that secretary of state tillerson himself doesn't have the power or the ear of the be it that past secretaries of state have had. you have jared kushner allegedly in charge of any mideast peace efforts. >> i don't know that's the case. he does meet with the president regularly one-on-one. he does have access to the
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president. now to what degree is the president listening to his advice and counsel i don't know. he has been given the where with all to run the state department. i think there is fault on both sides. the white house has legitimate concerns about the speed that secretary tillerson is moving. on the other hand the secretary has len legitimate concerns about wanting to move forward and not being able to. the folks i talked to said having a deputy secretary of state now in place is expected to free this up a little bit. this has been one of the things he has been told to do, one of his organizational jobs is working on staffing and he is diving right in. >> a lot of people wonder how well secretary tillerson would fit in as secretary of state. he rose through the ranks to be the coo of one of the world's biggest companies and now he is taking instruction from aides a
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it the white house. >> that's an adjustment. he spoke about this in an interview about how he wasn't certain about taking the job or serving in the government and being a cabinet member you are out there as a high-level ambassador for the president of the united states's policies. so you should agree with them and want to agree with them. and we've seen a number of conflicts even on the policy level in you look at qatar and saudi arabia. and that makes it very difficult, i think, for secretary tillerson to implement if he is disagreeing in a public way with the president of the united states. >> the president's tweets today. susan collins thinks they hurt the country's standing in the world. i wonder what your thoughts are? >> i think it's deplorable. it's under the commander in
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chief to engage in talk like this. these are presidential statements and well beneath the office and it makes us look smaller in the eyes of the world. >> thanks so being with us. time to hand it over to don lemon and "cnn tonight." see you tomorrow night. i have to say something before we start. can we kill the music please? i have heard and said the phrase this is not normal so many times that i'm sick of hearing it and sick of saying it. what the president did today was flat out gross and disgusting. saying it was juvenile would be an insult to children. any employee would face serious consequences. for anyone out there, any of you attempting to defend what he did you are an enabler.