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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  July 28, 2017 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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profound, because it'scomedy, i behavior and alcoholism. >> sunday night, 10:00 eastern right here on cnn. it was a pleasure. richard lewis, thank you for coming on and talking to me about this. thank you for being with me on a friday afternoon. don't move a muscle, though. jake tapper and "the lead" starts right now. it looks like maverick turned that republican health care bill into goose. "the lead" starts now. i solemnly swear, and i mean swear, the white house turns into total chaos. how is this making america great again? plus, breaking news. the north korea threat just got even more alarming. another missile landing dangerously close to a u.s. ally. what does this say about kim jong-un's nuclear program and how about president trump respond?
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he casts one of the votes that sinks the gop effort to get obamacare. will anyone step up to try to fix it? good afternoon, everyone. welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. it's unclear if the new communications director anthony scaramucci has ever heard george carlin's seven words you can't say on tv. in just seven days since walking into the white house, he has conquered at least seven to share with you the breaking news from the white house today, but we'll proceed in an interview with the new yorker. he went after several officials with a tapestry of profanity that as far as we know is is still hanging over space in the potomac. he then did an impression of chief of staff reince priebus leaking about a dinner scaramucci was having. quote, let me leak the [ bleep
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]ing thing and see if i can [ bleep ] block these people the way i [ bleep ] blocked scaramucci for six months. it might not be paranoia if they really are out to get you. he then went on to burn steve bannon. i'm not steve bannon, i'm not trying to suck my own bleep, i'm not trying to build my own brand off the bleeping strength of the president. i'm here to serve country. chief of staff for a communications director, great late night comiccomics, but is positive for anyone else? this does not seem to help the president's agenda, quite the contrary. his attacks on his own attorney general seems to say that this insult has hurt, to say nothing about the president's chief of staff to be able to twist arms on capitol hill.
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the spectacular failure of the health care legislation on top of that early this morning. this chaos breaks confidence in the ability of president trump. kim jong-un flexing his muscle with another missile test today. none of all of this madness does anything to make america bleeping great again. as we speak, president trump is returning to washington but he has not said a public word about the drama mounting among his white house staff. cnn jeff zelany filed this report showing how it all works publicly, and more important, behind closed doors. >> reporter: with chaos in the west wing and another defeat on capitol hill, president trump making a quick trip to new york today. >> they should have approved health care last night, but you can't have everything. boy, oh, boy. they've been working on that one for seven years. can you believe that?
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the swamp. >> reporter: speaking of law enforcement officials, the president vowing to crack down on gang violence. but it's the open warfare in the white house that's causing turmoil for his administration and the republican agenda in washington. the new white house communications director, anthony scaramucci, and the chief of staff, reince priebus, embroiled in an extraordinarily public feud. today the two men shared a 45-minute flight aboard air force i as a fight between priebus and bannon appeared. the difference between how to run the white house. after only a week on the job, scaramucci called priebus a paranoid schizophrenic in a rant. he stopped short of apologizing, writing on twitter, i sometimes use colorful language. i will refrain in this arena but not give up the passionate fight for donald trump's agenda.
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cnn has learned there is a growing sense around the president that people are rivaling for priebus to leave his post. they are urging the president to find another chief of staff. but priebus says he plans to stay put until asked to leave. he isn't going anywhere, one ally said. two other advisers believed to be in the running for chief of staff were front and center today. dina powell, deputy national security adviser, riding along. and the security adviser receiving this praise. >> john kelly is one of our great stars. >> reporter: looking like this in the post. obamacare collapsed overnight in the senate. it happened at this moment, around 1:30 in the morning, when senator john mccain walked to the front of the chamber to cast his vote against the bill. his opposition, along with senator susan collins and lisa murkowski extinguished, for now at least, the seven-year quest
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to repeal president obama's affordable care act. >> i said from the beginning, let obamacare implode and then do it. i turned out to be right. >> well, jake, he may have turned out to be right but that does little to jump start the stalled republican agenda. the white house hopes to move on to tax reform after health care, but so many on capitol hill are wondering if there will be leadership from the white house to actually do that. tax reform was once hinging on a health care bill. now that seems like it's unlikely to happen. jake? >> and jeff, as this public feud between aides plays out, they trav -- the president, i believe, traveled to long island. >> reporter: he did. he was giving speeches on long island to talk specifically about the ms-13 gangs. he also had this very interesting message for the police. let's watch. >> when you see these thugs
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being thrown into the back of a p paddy wagon. you just see them thrown in, rough. i said, please don't be too nice. like when you guys put someone in a car and you're protecting their head, the way you put your hand -- like don't hit your head and they've just killed somebody, don't hit your head. i said, you can take the hand away, okay? >> reporter: with that interesting message, jake, wraps an interesting week here at the white house. the president will be back here shortly spending the weekend here. we'll see what infighting and internal disputes play out over the weekend, jake. >> jeff zelany at the white house for us. can president trump succeed with all this infighting in his staff? david axelrod will join me next. stay with me. (cheers) what's it worth to talk to your mom? what's the value of a walk in the woods?
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the value of capital is to create, not just wealth, but things that matter. morgan stanley
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ax, thanks for joining us. i want to listen to president trump about taking on the ms-13 gang. >> they prey on children. they shouldn't be here. they stomp on their victims. they beat them with clubs, they slash them with machetes, and they stab them with knives. they have transformed peaceful parks and beautiful, quiet neighborhoods into blood-stained killing fields. they're animals. >> obviously the ms-13 gang is horrific, they're violent, they do a lot of the things that the president said. but from a political messaging standpoint, what do you make of the language the president is using here to talk about ms-13? >> well, i actually thought, jake, when i first started hearing the tape that he was talking about a white house
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staff meeting. i didn't realize he was talking about this. but, look, he obviously -- he is pandering to bases, and as you point out, this is a horrific issue, but he's pandering to bases. we've seen it. and so this is not unusual. but i think that -- and perhaps by being even more vivid, he hopes to draw attention away from the stories of the day. but this has been an extraordinary week. i mean, on the week that the president's principal legislative initiative is on life support in the senate, you've got the president warring with the attorney general who is very popular with the senate in the republican caucus. you've got his communications director warring with the chief of staff who is one of the best friends of speaker of the house.
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and you've got bedlam. of course, the legislation went down. it may have gone down, anyway, but they basically took the spotlight off what they wanted it to be on and placed it on themselves. this has been the story of the first six months of this administration, which is the reason why this president is the least accomplished president of any president in memory after six months. he has no legislative accomplishments. you cannot run the most complicated office in the world this way. it simply cannot continue without massive results, which we're seeing now. >> he said incredible things about reince priebus, which was astounding.
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you work with your mayor. was it that amazing? put it in some of the rough inkooi inciting that might have taken place at the white house. >> every white house has some degree of this. it's a highly pressured environment. you've got very smart, very energetic people working in close quarters under great pressure. but there's nothing like this that i can recall not just in our white house but in any white house. we had different personalities in our white house, but ultimately we all understood that we had goals that we had to achieve and that we had to work together to achieve those goals. there also was a great deal of personal loyalty to the president himself. this president really doesn't have longstanding relationships with many people outside of his family. and it doesn't appear as if he commands the same level of personal loyalty. in the white house in which i
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worked, people would never have dreamed of leaking these kinds of fights in public and certainly not in the vivid language that we heard. that just didn't happen. and i think, speaking for the bush white how'suses, the clint white house, they had some infighting, mo more coherently than we saw here. the president had goals and everyone ultimately pulled together to achieve them. we haven't seen that here. it's every man and woman for themselves. >> the president tweeted, three republicans and 48 democrats let the american people down. as i said from the beginning, obamacare implode, then deal. watch! >> the president is intent on taking the program down. the congress has not, in its wisdom, decided to make major
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changes. there are changes that need to be made to shore up these exchanges. there are certainly improvements that can be made in the affordable care act, but there are also things that he can do as president, and the administration can do, to really undermine those markets and put additional pressure on them. we've seen this already, the uncertainty they created around a number of different factors has contributed to the withdrawal of insurance companies from these markets. so, you know, what you hope is that he doesn't step up that pressure to make their failure, you know, a self-fulfilling prophecy, because there are millions of lives that are dependent on the administration of this program. so i thought that was an ominous tweet. >> david axelrod, thank you so much. appreciate it, sir. have a great weekend. >> thank you. the dow closing at another record high today, up 34 points to 21,830 in the middle of earnings season. companies like boeing and verizon led the charge today.
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in the world lead the pentagon confirmed that there was a second ballistic missile launched, making it the second time this month. kim jong-un may just be months away from launching a nuclear, reliable, capable icbm. as if two icbms in a month weren't enough, this latest one more advanced than the previous one launched the fourth of july? >> it could be. nothing confirmed by the pentagon yet. governments in the region are
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saying there is more of a chance. why are they saying that? because this missile flew for about 45 minutes. to fly that long, it would have gone a further distance than the one that was launched in earlier july, so it flew longer, it had more air time, it went for further distance. it's suggested it possibly went higher. this one flew into the east sea, the sea of japan, dropping about 600 miles out but only 80 miles off the coast of japan. jake? >> kim jong-un has been in power for six years. he's already conducted two times as many missile tests as his father did. is there any intelligence on how north korea is propelling its nuclear program? >> reporter: there is a lot of international gossip about it, i'll tell you that much. there is concern out there. russia, china, iran, pakistan.
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we're not saying anybody is because there's no proof of it, but these are the countries you hear experts talk about and be concerned about that over the years, over time, some elements inside some of these governments may have helped north korea. >> all right, barbara starr at the pentagon for us. thank you. it's sitting on his desk just waiting for his signature. congress sent president trump the russia sanctions bill to be signed. russia is not waiting for him to sign it. it is already lashing out. stay with us. the united states postal service. priority: you
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the russian government announced this morning that it is seizing world properties there and ordering diplomats out of the country. russia says this is in answer to new sanctions passed in the senate earlier this week. it's unclear if president trump, who has been under the cloud of possible collusion between the russian government and his campaign, whether president trump will exercise his very first veto against these sanctions. but it appears lawmakers have
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enough votes to override the veto either way. let's go to jim sciutto. jim, what did russia tell the american embassy? >> they said this measure is further truth of the united states's extremely hostile policy, hiding behind its sense of superiority. the united states arrogantly ignores the stances and interests of other countries. they're booting a number of u.s. diplomats from russia, bringing the total number down to 455, which is the same number of russian diplomats in the u.s. these things tend to be reciprocal. and they're also blocking access to two diplomatic sites in russia that diplomats use, seizing those two compounds. one of them is a place along the moscow river where diplomats like to barbecue and walk their dogs. but it's important to those folks and the russians have now taken them away. >> how is the trump
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administration responding to what russia announced? >> the fact is they can't do a lot. they've given a strongly worded statement, as you might expect. this from the u.s. ambassador to russia. we have received the russian government notification. ambassador tefft expressed his strong disappointment and protest. that's all they can do. in effect, it's the russian' response to what the united states did in the transition. if russia was looking to be more cooperative in ukraine, less aggressive, that kind of restraint, if you want to call it restraint, less likely now as relations continue to deteriorate. >> jim sciutto, thank you so much. i can't believe it's only been a week in washington. senator santorum, i'm going to start with you even after the interview the one to my left
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just did. if sentiments expressed about reince priebus, steve bannon, his comments about digital fingerprin fingerprints. what did you think of it all? >> unhinged. it's just not exactly what the white house needs right now. it's not what this president needs. he's got some very serious things he's working on. he's trying to revive a health care bill. there's all sorts of things. obviously you have nuclear problems and you have this complete distraction out of left field of someone who does not improve the public perception of what's going on at the white house. >> anne ethics group out of washington has written a letter to the justice department asking him to make appropriate contact between reince priebus and anthony scaramucci. this one, quote, i've got
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digital fingerprints on everything they've done, meaning white house staff, through the fbi and the bleeping -- he didn't say bleeping -- department of justice. when he said this, obviously there is a lot of new york bravado in mr. scaramucci's comments. did you think it was legit when he said it? >> i frankly have my doubts, you know. it was a lot of just sort of blus t bluster, i thought. if you look carefully he already told me he contacted the fbi, but then when he tweeted afterward, he said he was going to contact the fbi. so there is discrepancy there. i wonder if he did contact the fbi. he said that he did. and he repeatedly said he believed that reince priebus conducted felonies that needed to be slefinvestigated by the f. my first thought was, my god,
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i've never heard a white house staffer say he's going to call the fbi over a tweet inside the white house. he was talking about digital fingerprints and the like. he made it sound like he had the place wired or something to root out the leakers. >> very bizarre. anita, you've worked in the white house where rob emanuel was, i believe, so you've heard some tough language, you've heard some salty language. >> i don't think ryan ever heard that. >> what did you make of this? >> i thought there were a couple of things that were just extraordinary about his interview, ryan's interview with mr. scaramucci who, let us remember, has been in office now one week and quite an auspicious start. he actually was calling the fbi about a document that is a
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public document. he likes to cite his harvard law background. perhaps he missed the week on public disclosure. but financial disclosure documents are public documents that senior people in the government have to file. so the second thing that really struck me, though, was he was complaining to ryan about leaks and he was, in essence, leaking that information to ryan if he thinks he was off the record. >> he was definitely not off the record. >> halfway through the interview he said, let's go off the record, so -- >> there is one small part of the interview, yes. >> but everything else was on. >> he was leaking this information about reince priebus to you, ryan, and complaining about leaks in the white house. what does that tell you about the culture of this west wing? >> i don't know, it's bizarre. senator, i also want to ask you, just because you're friends with him, when he was in the senate with you, senate sessions. a lot of republican senators are
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truly emotionally upset about the public humiliation campaign that president trump has been subjecting attorney general sessions to, with some of them saying fire him or don't fire him, but don't keep doing this. what do you think? >> jeff sessions has a lot of support. jeff has been a conservative warrior, someone who has great relationships not just in the senate but in the entire conservative world. i think you've seen that reflected in the push-back to the president. i've talked to several senators who have made personal calls to the president and said that this is just not going to go unnoticed, that this is a good man. you don't treat good people like that. you don't treat the man who came out skpen doand endorsed you fik a great risk to do that. i talked to him during that
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time, skpefand he was stepping . >> all by himself. >> he was all by himself. no other conservative was touching down on trump and jeff sessions gave him loyalty. and this turnaround is not going over well with me or others. >> you have people like lisa murkowski, susan collins, senator mccain thinking, he's never going to do anything nice for me. look how he treats his friends. >> he celebrated after he passed a bill and then went out and announced that it was a mean bill. why would anybody go out on a limb for this president? something happened that i thought with the senate republicans and the congressional republicans. they drew bright lines around bob mueller, around the attorney general, and around the rest of the sanctions bill which passed
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overwhelmingly, beyond veto-proof. it seems they're sending a very strong message about places they don't think this white house should try to go. >> we've seen some people like chuck grassley and dick shelby, conservatives who are basically trump supporters, really getting upset. is it a new day? >> this is just the public reaction of some of the senators, which you really didn't have public senators criticizing trump in the way that they have until the sessions attacks. and i think -- senator santorum, you can correct me if i'm wrong, but the moment that struck me in the last week is when trump had all 52 senators to the white house to have a rah-rah session, let's get this passed, then he left that meeting to go to the "new york times" and just mows down jeff sessions. i would think if i'm a republican senator leaving that white house and looking at my phone thinking, wow, i'm going
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to go to bat for this guy on that piece of legislation? >> they're worried about leaks, but maybe they should be more worried about interviews. they're saying "on the record" to reporters. thanks for being here. congratulations on a great interview. the effort to repeal and replace obamacare is basically in the ditch. will republicans and democrats come together to work together? stay with us. people would stare.
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welcome back. sticking with politics we have a new reality check for republicans after seven years of vowing to repeal obamacare. not even what's called a skinny repeal happened in the white house. lisa murkowski and susan collins have long expressed the concerns about medicaid cuts, concerns for women to go -- losing
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medicaid and planned parenthood benefits. last night senator mccain voted no on the bill saying it would rather be quickly passed and signed into law and not work out the problems. now mitch mcconnell says he's ready to hear from democrats. >> so it's time for our friends on the other side to tell us what they have in mind, and we'll see how the american people feel about their ideas. >> we talked to one of those democrats with us, senator ron widen of georgia. let me ask you what president trump said a few hours ago in new york talking about health care. >> they should have approved health care last night, but you
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can't have everything. boy, oh, boy. i said from the beginning, let obamacare implode and then do it. i turned out to be right. let obamacare implode. >> what does it actually mean to let obamacare implode? >> it means that millions of people could suffer in order to get a political advantage. to me the events of the last couple days have a clear message, and that is there has to be a new accountability from both political parties to produce real results. that means policies that hold down our premiums, it means policies that increase wages for working class americans, it means getting the roads fixed. i think both political parties this evening face a new accountability to get real results on those bread and butter issues. >> so mcconnell called for democrats to reach out and share their ideas. you are somebody who has worked with republicans on health care reform in the past. let me ask you, what are
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democrats willing to compromise on when it comes to health care reform? i know what the sacred cows are are. you don't want medicaid cut, et cetera. what are some things that might be some gives? >> certainly we have supported the idea in the affordable care act that the states have flexibility, flexibility to do better, not to do worse. so certainly we're going to be talking about that issue. but it seems to me the first step that we ought to be taking is working together to stabilize the private insurance market. in effect, the trump administration over the last few months has been pouring gasoline on the fires of uncertainty in that marketplace, and we've got insurers who are about to sign up for 2018 premiums. they're due at the end of august. we have got to find ways for democrats and republicans to move quickly to stabilize the private market. >> i want to turn to the russia investigation because you're obviously on the senate intelligence committee. yesterday committee member mark warner reiterated he has even
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more questions after the staff of the committee spoke to jared kushner this week. without mentioning any specifics, obviously, we don't want to get into anything you can't share with us, is there something striking from the interview, anything that raises more questions? >> senator warner is right to say there are a lot of key questions ahead. for example, in his public statement, mr. kushner said that he didn't rely on the russians to finance his business. now, i'm telling you, jake, that's some awful careful lawyering to put together a phrase like that, because "rely" is subjective. mr. kushner didn't say he has had no business investments with russia. he didn't say he has no dealings with russia. he said he didn't rely on it. so there was a lot of clever lawyering, and it seems to me the combination of jared kushner's public statement and the fact that the president has said several times that mr. mueller has no franchise in order to look at his finances indicates to me today that the trump family is very concerned
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about the follow the money issues. that's what i zeroed in on. >> and one of the things that senator warner, with whom you work on the intelligence committee, said on my show "state of the union" a few weeks ago was that the trumps, whether it's the father, the president or eric or don jr., they're always very careful when they talk about russian investments. they talk about how they don't have any money in russia, but they never talk about how russians might not have money in trump industries, trump properties. >> let me give you another example. this is the first president who hasn't been willing to release his taxes in 40 years. if you released your taxes, you might find out some issues that relate to borrowing money. that's why republicans have a right to this. >> but how would that change anything? >> in 2008, the trump family said much of our portfolio involves russian investment.
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>> don jr. said that. >> that was a tough time to get money, and the president hasn't disclosed his taxes, and we're looking at a tax reform bill that might benefit the trump family. we have got to get at those issues. >> would that have anything necessarily to do with the investigation into possible collusion, or is this just interesting and -- >> i'll just tell you point blank, don jr.'s meeting, the one that took place in the summer of 2016, clearly was an attempt to collude. if you look at those e-mails, if you look at his own admissions, i don't think you can conclude otherwise. >> all right, senator wyden of oregon, thank you very much, sir. u.s. embassy employees being told to leave venezuela as tensions rise out of a controversial vote. stay with us.
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we have some breaking news for you as we watch air force i. it just landed at joint base andrews in maryland. we're waiting for president trump to come out. he has just announced a major staff change in his white house, tweeting just seconds ago, i am pleased to inform you that i have just named general/secretary john f. kelly -- that is the secretary of department of homeland security -- as white house chief of staff. he is a great american, dot, dot, dot. presumably more is coming in this announcement, but three minutes ago that is what he tweeted. we're waiting for more information about what this means. obviously reince priebus was, until three minutes ago as far as we knew, the white house chief of staff. let us go to sara murray at the white house who can tell us more on this breaking story. sara, so much is announced via tweet these days, one wonders
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what kind of preparation anybody inside the white house knew about this. what can you tell us? >> reporter: well, look, we have been hearing from people last night as well as this morning that the president was not happy with his chief of staff, that he is being encouraged by people around him, including members of his family, who are his senior advisers jared kushner and ivanka trump, that it was time to make a change. they didn't feel reince priebus was up to the job of chief of staff. there were people close to the president that felt that priebus wasn't carrying out the president's wishes, that he wasn't calming down the chaos and power strugstruggle, but al that he wasn't pushing the president's plan in the agenda. allies that are close to priebus was insistent today that the chief of staff would be safe. they were insistent that priebus would not be resigning, so it was pretty clear if there was going to be a change, it was something the president was going to have to decide to do. he was going to have to fire his
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chief of staff. so far, at least on twitter, we don't have a good indication of what happens next. we'll obviously look for more details on that, jake. >> thanks, sara. bring us more reporting when you get it. i'm joined now by david. happy american hero week. that was the focus this week, but the focus has been on everything but american heroes. we have the president announcing by tweet that the chief of homeland security, john kelly, is now the white house chief of staff. >> remember, when the president was putting together his team during the transition, you remember his talk of how he appreciated the generals, loved the generals. mcmaster came in afterwards, mattis and kelly. this was sort of the core that was going to calm the waters of washington, the establishment
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types. the question i have, jake, last time i checked, you can change chiefs of staff. the president is still in the oval office. it is his impulses, it is his direction, it is his focus on things or decidedly distracted focus on things setting the tone, his twitter feed. is secretary kelly coming in as chief of staff going to stop tweets that royal the waters here in washington? that's unclear to me. we'll learn how priebus learned about this. did he learn about this from a tweet that he is out of a job? this one move alone does not seem likely to me to all of a sudden calm the waters into a fully functioning white house. >> president trump five minutes after the first tweet says, i'm pleased to inform you i just named general john kelly as chief of staff. he is a great leader. john has also done a spectacular job at homeland security.
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he has been a true star of my administration. general john kelly, we should remind people, is a decorated general. he was on air force i with president trump as he flew to new york today for this speech. these remarks he gave in front of a bunch of law enforcement officers, talking about the threat of the vile gang ms-13. it did not seem unusual for secretary kelly to be on that flight. homeland security obviously is focused on combatting gangs such as ms-13 and stopping undocumented immigrants from coming into this country and joining gangs like ms-13. but it is certainly interesting timing given, as we know, how impulsive president trump can be. >> and what we don't know is how john kelly is going to come in and run this white house differently. will he have the latitude to do so? that remains unknown. do you know who else was on air force i today was reince priebus and the current chief of staff. it's unclear just when he was informed about this, how he
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found out about this. this change is important. donald trump is clearly cleaning house. he understands what he was doing that thus far is not working. john kelly, as you noted, is running a department that is actually enacting some of the more successful areas of the trump agenda. >> the border crossings have lessened, and the wall, the first funding, was approved, i think. >> so john kelly is working at getting things done. >> jeff zelany is with us. people are learning about this, jeff, via tweet, as the rest of us are. >> reporter: exactly. i've been talking to trump officials and other staffers here since this news came out. at least according to them, this is coming as a surprise to them as well. one of the best ways, of course, to keep it secret and to avoid leaks, and this did not leak, is to not tell anyone. it appears that's what the
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president did. at least, not many people as he was flying back to joint base andrews as we see air force i sitting right there. this is coming as a major surprise to people here at the white house, jake. the people, first and foremost, who are close to reince priebus had no idea this was happening. we've been talking to them throughout the day as we've been reporting the president was urged to have a change in the white house office. he insisted reince priebus would stick this out and weather the storm, but this is not how it's worked out, jake. reince priebus had a favorite phrase that's been a little rote over the past few months. he said, look, i have nine lives, when anyone asked him about his role as chief of staff. he used up most of those nine, jake, perhaps more than that. but his loyalists, those who came here to the white house from the republican national committee where he had been the chairman for so many years, are
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finding this very shocking, in fact, in the words of one. so it will be interesting to see, jake, how many more rnc staffers follow him out the door, jake. >> all right, jeff zelany, thank you so much. it's a tumultuous day. president trump has gotten rid of his fbi director and now his chief of staff. wolf blitzer is next. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer in the situation room. we're following breaking news. president trump just announcing a new white house chief of staff, doing so on twitter. the president says, general john kelly will replace reince priebus after days of speculation about his future. our correspondents and specialists, everyone is standing by to follow the breaking news. i quickly want t