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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  August 11, 2017 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT

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big question for the world tonight. thanks for joining us. you can watch us any time, anywhere on cnn go. have a good weekend. see you monday. "ac 360" begins right now. good evening. we begin with more startling headlines from president trump. in just a last four days, he's threatened north korea with fire and fury, said maybe that wasn't enough of a threat. said american forces are locked and loaded and late today he said even more. appearing this morning outside his new jersey golf club, the president went before reporters. when he was over, he raised the possibility of u.s. military action in venezuela and renews his warnings to north korea. >> nobody loves a peaceful solution better than president trump, that i can tell you. hopefully it will all work out. but this has been going on for many years. it would have been a lot easier to solve this years ago before they were in the position that they're in. but we will see what happens. we think that lots of good things could happen, and we
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could have a bad solution. but we think lots of good thingks happen. >> what would be a bad solution, sir? >> i think you know the answer to that. >> are you talking about war? is the u.s. going to go to war? >> i think you know the answer to that. >> joining us now from the white house where the president said he'll hold a press conference on monday, cnn's jim acosta. a lot of news coming out of the press conference today. >> reporter: that's right, anderson. you heard the president say to reporters when asked whether the u.s. is going to war with north korea, he said i think you know the answer to that. actually we don't know the answer because the president did not answer that question. he said, hopefully it will all work out. obviously, things have to work out, because we can't go to nuclear war with north korea. yes, the president is going to be busy over the coming days. he is going to hold a news conference he said here at the white house on monday that. is certainly interrupting this so-called working vacation for the president. later on this evening, president, maybe happening right now, he's scheduled to have a phone call with chinese
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president xi about north korea. that's a critical part of solving the problem with north korea, because china is seen as having some kind of leverage over pyongyang, although they haven't shown a lot of that lately and the president has shown a lot of disappointment. one call the president has not made, from what we understand, he's not spoken with the governor of guam. that is despite the fact that government there in the u.s. territory has been handing out bulletins to the residents on what to do and what not to do in the event of a nuclear blast. so for all these questions we're seeing the president take over the last couple of days, white house officials are telling us the president wants to have his message carried over, other senior officials like the secretary of state and defense secretary and so on. but tonight this message out of the white house that's coming from the white house is continuing to create a lot of uncertainty around the world. >> and despite comments by tillerson and mattis, which are
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perhaps more measured or preplanned, the president continues to double and triple down on the comments he made yesterday. >> reporter: absolutely. he's making it very clear to kim jong-un that he's going to go tit for tat when it comes to this kind of belligerent rhetoric. the problem is it's rattiling u.s. allice around the world. russia and china are urging the united states to lower the temperature and the question is whether the president is capable of doing that. he is going to hold a news conference on monday. by guess is, from observing what has transpired over the last couple of days, the white house is seeing some kind of political benefit of the president going out and engaging in this kind of tough talk. so my sense is, we're going to see more of that on monday. >> jim acosta, thank you very much. let's go next to barbara starr for more on north korea and perhaps venezuela. the president was asked if he
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ordered change in military readiness. has there been any change that we're aware of? >> reporter: none that we're aware of. in fact, pentagon officials are telling us at this point, no need to send additional forces to the region. that everybody is ready, that they have missile defense on guam that could shoot down the north korean missiles if they come that way. they have ships at sea, troops in south korea always on a high state of alert. so they feel they are ready, that they are ready to defend against a potential missile attack that north korea has laid out, the possibility of, if it were to go beyond that. if the president were to decide to order some type of preemptive attack or something broader, then it would be relooked at, of course. right now, tonight, as we're talking, of course u.s. intelligence keeping a very sharp eye out for any moves by the north koreans towards a missile launch. as of now, they don't see it. >> and there have been no evacuations of military
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personnel from the region -- or civilian personnel i should say. >> right. there's no indication of moving civilians off of guam. the guam government, the governor seemed pretty calm about the whole thing, issuing those bulletins, communicating with his citizens on guam. they have a pretty active program there. >> i want to play what the president had to say about venezuela option. >> we have many options for venezuela. this is our neighbor. we're all over the world, and we have troops all over the world in places that are very, very far away. venezuela is not very far away, and the people are suffering, and they're dying. we have many options for venezuela, including a possible military option, if necessary. >> so what's the pentagon saying about this? is military intervention seriously being considered? >> you know, on a friday night in august in washington, this caught the pentagon by more surprise than almost anything
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else. they did come up with a statement. so let me read part of that to everybody. a pentagon spokesman telling reporters, i refer you to the white house to characterize the president's statement. the pentagon has not received any orders with regards to venezuela. the military conducts contingency planning for a variety of situations. if called upon, we are prepared to support whole of government efforts to protect our national interests and safeguard u.s. citizens. let's unpack that quickly. there are u.s. citizens in venezuela. if it came to a dire situation, the military always is there to protect u.s. citizens abroad. there's no indication it's at that point right now. but the president may have played directly into the hands of the venezuelan president, president meduro, who is facing stiff opposition, violent opposition in his own country, backed by his own military. president meduro, to put it
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politely, has long claimed there will be a u.s. invasion and a u.s.-backed coup attempt against his government. there is a lot of concern tonight that donald trump may have played right into the hands of a very unpopular venezuelan president. >> barbara starr, thank you. i want to bring in our panel. retired general tony tata. peter fever, rick francona, and kimberly dozier. general, what do you make of the fact that despite all the rhetoric coming from the united states, and obviously the very real concern here, that the current u.s. military posturing does not seem to have changed nonessential personnel aren't being recalled from the region. >> right. well, anderson, i think what you're seeing is the very deliberate and synchronized application of the elements of national power against north korea. so you've got military power
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that are doing shows of force. we have carrier strike groups going back and forth, airplanes flying over. you have diplomatic powers to get a unanimous security council vote for sanctions against north korea. and you have information power. and the president making a statement, fire and fury and those kinds of things, is a very deliberate and clear message to kim jong-un and north korea. and then when you have the secretary of state and the secretary of defense both saying something similar, the secretary of state being a little more diplomatic, and the secretary of defense being a little more direct but all buttressing what the president said, that's all power information. and just on cnn an hour ago, you had an analyst laying out all of our offensive capabilities and all of our defensive capabilities. i can promise you that the north koreans that have televisions are watching that. because we get this second order
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benefit of the president saying hey, we are strong as well. and how many missile tests should we allow north korea to take? how many nuclear weapons should we allow north korea to have and how much threats should we allow against the united states from this rogue regime that's expressing intent and now has the ability to harm our nation. i think the president is right to synchronize these elements of power. as you mentioned, there's been no combatant evacuation or deployment of troops. so right now, i think it's in the application of elements of power stage where we are trying to leave the golden bridge for kim jong-un to walk across into the land of diplomacy. >> do you see a strategy behind the president making a particular kind of comments and then the secretary of state and secretary of defense following it up with -- i don't knoweasur
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coming at it from a different angle. >> simplistically you've got a good cop, bad cop scenario going on. but you see the synchronization of the national security team around whatever president trump says. they are learning to use his willingness to use bellicose rhetoric to their advantage, by having tillerson message that there is a way out of this but having mattis back up some of the president's threats, the message is meant to break this log jam in north korea. everything the u.s. has tried to do over the past couple of decades hasn't stopped them from moving forward on nuclear development, nuclear weapons development. the last time we saw some sort of break in this was back in 2003, after george w. bush called them part of the axis of evil, then you saw six-party talks leveraged by china. i think that's what they're
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trying to produce right now is enough pressure on beijing that they'll take this so seriously, they go to pyongyang and say, you're running out of chances here. >> peter, how much of the u.s. language on this is, do you think, directed towards china? >> a lot of it. they clearly have a diplomatic strategy, and that requires that china ratchet up the pressure on north korea. i'm not sure i agree with your other guests that they have a cleanly synchronized messaging strategy. i think this white house is still struggling to get everyone singing on the same sheet of music, even if they're singing different parts. and they don't have a ben rhodes kind of figure who in the obama administration delivered talking poichlt points for everyone to speak, that were tightly coordinated. the evidence of that is things like the venezuela comment, which was distracting and then interrupting whatever was the focus of the message on north
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korea. >> i've got to agree. maybe it's not synchronization, but they're pivoting a little faster than they have in previous weeks. i think they're getting better at reacting to him, and pretending they planned this all along. >> colonel francona, what's interesting is a lot of the threats that the president has been making is talking about threats. in the previous days, it was north korea shouldn't make any more threats against the u.s., and there were questions like, well, did he mean just rhetorical threats or was it actual action? he now has made it clear that it was -- they shouldn't speak any more threats. and then even today he sort of made it, well, kim jong-un himself should not make any direct threat. >> well, we've seen a whole change in the rhetoric coming out of north korea, as well. i think the rhetoric coming out of the white house, this bellicose rhetoric from the president, followed up by what i consider a very strong message from secretary mattis, and even
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the more diplomatic talk from rex tillerson, i think it's had a real impact in pyongyang. we've seen the north koreans react differently to this level of bellicose rhetoric with that -- it wasn't really a threat against guam. it was saying we're developing a plan by which we could strike guam and present that to the commander in chief, if he wants to exercise that. much analogous to the u.s. defense department preparing plans to strike korea, giving the president an option. but we never saw the detail. i think they've been shaken by the rhetoric coming out of washington, and i don't think they know what to make of it. so i think it's had that positive effect. but we have to make sure, and i think not raising the defcon status, not deploying more troops and not evacuating nonessential personnel keeps it a little lower volume. once you see those steps, things
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are probably going to happen. >> we're going to take a quick break. we'll have more on the conversation where the korean crisis goes from here. and later, the president takes another poke at mitch mcconnell. the question, of course, is why? with advil, you'll ask what twisted ankle? what muscle strain? advil makes pain a distant memory nothing works faster stronger or longer what pain? advil.
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each time he's kept the rhetoric at the boiling point, whether it's fire and fury or lock and load. today, the president refined his warning, calling out kim jong-un, to letting others speak for him. >> we heard from north korean state tv saying we consider the u.s. no more than a lump which we can beat to a jelly any time. >> well, let me hear -- let me hear others say it. because when you say it, i don't know what you're referring to and who's making the statement. but let me hear kim jong-un say it, okay? he's not saying it. he hasn't been saying much for the last three days. you let me hear him say it. >> back with the panel now. kim, what do you make of that sort of making it personal with kim jong-un? >> making it personal but also pointing out that he hasn't dared speak up in the past couple of days. you've got to wonder if what the u.s. is trying to do, of what
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president trump is trying to do is not just message him, but message the elite around him, that they're about 4 million people in north korea who can access smartphones, who can hear the message that president trump is sending out, possibly trying to inspire some sort of a coup. so the fact that kim jong-un doesn't seem to be trying to goad him back means maybe some of his top command, some of his top advisers have gotten to him and said we've got to be careful with this guy. >> it's interesting, colonel -- general tatum, excuse me, it's interesting to hearing from an unofficial response from china basically saying that if -- a message to north korea that if they strike first, that china would not support them in any way. but if the u.s. did, that china would come to their aid. >> well, i think that's china's play here. that's a huge concession on china's part, for them to say if
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they strike anywhere in american territory, that china will not stand by their side. and at the same time, a message to us from china, is if we preemptively strike, then they will come to the aid of north korea. i think that's china's perfect place for them, and it's not a bad place for us, because it could keep in check north korea. and i just want to go back to what one of your other panelists said. the last thing this administration needs to do is mirror in any way, shape, or form what the previous administration has done particularly with respect to north korea. this messaging and this synchronization of the elements of national power are what are getting results for the united states right now, and we cannot have the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction as we had in syria with chemical weapons. now we have with nuclear weapons
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in north korea. china is the key here, and that's why the president is talking to them right now, and hopefully that china will help us out and put some more pressure on north korea and defuse this and i how for that golden bridge i mentioned earlier. >> peter, do you see china stepping up on this? >> well, i agree with the general, that if they were to do that, that would be the optimal play from our point of view. the problem is that china has never put enough pressure on north korea to put the regime in jeopardy, to put the regime close to the cracking point, which is where we assess they have to be before they would give up their nuclear weapons. and china is reluctant to do that, because they fear the collapse of the kim regime more than they fear nuclear weapons in kim's hands. here's the problem, the president has declared intolerable something we've tolerated for the last ten
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years. and he's threatened that the kim regime must not do what has been their principal export for 70 years, which is issue threats. i fear the president is in danger of backing himself in a corner. but if escalating the rhetoric and creating the crisis rattles china that they escalate their economic sanctions on north korea, then we'll see a better outcome going forward. no one wants a war here, including north korea. they don't want a war. so there's a potential for a diplomatic out. >> colonel francona, i've talked to a number of former diplomats who were trying to negotiate with korea and worked on it in the past. i talked to general hayden just yesterday who said look, if there is a military confrontation between the u.s. and north korea, obviously in all the war games that they have rolled out, the u.s. wins. but there's not a lot of great military options. do you agree with that, just from a human life standpoint? >> absolutely.
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there are no good military options. you have to have a military option. you have to be prepared to execute it. but that's the last thing you want to do. any military action, no matter what it is, is going to precipitate the destruction of seoul and the ultimate destruction of the north korean government. they know that, everybody knows it, and we all agree no one wants to have a war. but somebody in this equation is going to have to back down or change their position, because if, as peter says, if the president is going to stick to this position that we will not tolerate a nuclear armed north korea with an icbm and the north koreans insist that it's part of their constitution, that they're not going to get rid of their nuclear weapons, all we're doing is kicking the can down the road. i think what's probably going to happen is we're going defuse this diplomatically and be right back where we are and have this same conversation a couple of years from now. coming up, as the rhetoric gets more intense on both sides
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locked and loaded, the rhetoric coming from the american president and the north korean dictator is not exactly the most careful. in "the new york times" today, it was asked have we become so anured to the madness of the trump administration, have we forgotten what it would be like to have a real president handle the crisis. tom, i'm wondering what you thought when you heard the president say if north korea utters one threat, he'll truly regret it. is that a smart line to be drawing? in the days past when the president talked about targeting threati threats, it seemed like mattis and tillerson said it would be attacks against the united states or an ally. the president doubled down saying yes, it's uttering a
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threat. >> anderson, when you're dealing with nuclear weapons and an erratic regime like north korea, it seems to me you want to measure every word, because if you are drawing a red line, a red line not only about action but about rhetoric, you want to be extremely precise. not only for the other side, but to protect yourself so you don't have to climb down. and i just find it unnerving that the formulation changes every day, a threat, you know, a different kind of threat, not action but words. it's just not a clear way to do things. >> it's interesting, though, that despite the president's rhetoric, it seems like from all the reporting the u.s. military posture in the region really has not changed. it's not as if u.s. personnel are being withdrawn, it's not as if marines are being loaded onto vessels. nothing seems -- it doesn't seem
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to be a war footing. >> yeah, you wonder whether all of the wires are connected here, from the president's lips to our diplomats, to our military people on the ground. and i just worry about -- i don't object, let me simply say, to the president raising the profile of this issue. i think the kascharacter of the issue has changed. north korea, a highly erratic, isolated country is building a missile that can, with a warhead that can hit the united states. it's not tomorrow or next week or next month. but in the next year or two. that changes the strategic equation, and the president doing a little madman act, it's not such a bad thing, as long as it's connected to -- as long as that stick is connected to carrots that the north koreans can bite into and possibly stand down on, and that our allies
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would want to get behind. because that's the key thing here. if we're going to keep sanctions on north korea, if we're going to keep the moral high ground here, we need china, south korea, japan at a minimum, but also russia as well. we really want them on our side. that's what i'm a little concerned about here. >> is it possible that the president believes or people around him believe that this sort of madman idea to -- will motivate china to become more involved, will motivate china to use more of its influence? >> you're asking the right question, because i think a lot of this rhetoric is directed more at china than at north korea, or as much at china to act. but i think the chinese have also made their calculation. what the chinese have basically said to themselves is that look, if the north koreans were to launch a missile at the united states or at guam, that would be an act of suicide.
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what do we know about the north korean regime? the kim family has been in power three generations. they are homicidal, but they are not suicidal. they're there to survive. at the same time, if the united states unilaterally attacked north korea, it could unleash weaponry on south korea. i think the chinese don't actually believe that the administration would go that far or the north koreans would go that far. so they're trying to nudge both sides towards the center. what i've been advocating, i don't mind the president's rhetoric, and a little madman here, it can be effective. if it's wedded to -- it seems to me a diplomatic overture. which is to say we're ready, if you'll give up your nuclear program and your missile program, we're ready to make peace with you, open an embassy and end the korean war. i would put a clear offer on the table. they won't accept it early on,
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but it would certainly give us the moral high ground, the ability to hold south korea, china, russia, and all of asia behind us. because ultimately, we may find that the only solution is simply long-term deterrence and squeezing north korea until something happens. >> it does seem like this is such a change from decades of administration policy, which has been to not have one on one direct confrontation or involvement between the u.s. and north korea. the u.s. always wanted other countries sitting at the table, if there were to be discussions or negotiations. the president is going toe to toe, whether for political or strategic reasons or whatever it is with kim jong-un. trading the same kind of rhetoric. >> what wore yries me is that t chinese have made their calculation that trump is bluffing and that the north koreans aren't going to commit suicide. therefore, the chinese don't
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mind seeing america wrapped and the axle of north korea, spending enormous resources to deal with it. that's fine with the chinese. that's why they've kept this alive all these years. putin doesn't mind, either. we have to be very careful. it is -- all the options are bad. but it may be the last bad option is living with a north korea, deterring them and keeping sanctions on until something happens. and just -- maybe it's a coup d'etat, but there can be worse things. as you recall, anderson, we're about the same able. we lived with tens of thousands of russian nukes aimed at us, and thousands of chinese nukes aimed at us under mao. a lot of people thought he was crazy. it's not ideal or preferable,
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it's just that all the other alternatives could be a lot, lot worse. >> tom friedman, thank you. coming up, what the white house is saying about the president thanking vladamir putin for throwing out hundreds of american embassy personnel in moscow. today's explanation from the white house maybe didn't help. your big idea... will people know it means they'll get the lowest price guaranteed on our rooms by booking direct on hey! badda book. badda boom! mr. badda book. badda boom!
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the white house is again
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extolling the virtues of the president's sense of humor. today, press secretary sarah huckabee sanders said the president was being sarcastic in his comments about russia's decision to expel more than 700 american diplomatic staff from moscow. whether the situation calls for sarcasm, you can recall yourself. the expulsions came amid new sanctions for russia that passed the congress by veto proof margins. yesterday, the president was asked about vladamir putin expelling hundreds of u.s. embassy personnel. here's what he said. >> i want to thank him, because we're trying to cut down on payroll. as far as i'm concerned, i'm very thankful that he let go a large number of people, because now we have a smaller payroll. there's no real reason for them to go back. so i greatly appreciate the fact that they've been able to cut the payroll of the united states. we'll save a lot of money. >> before the show, i was joined by former cia intelligence
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officer larson and nicholas burns. ambassador burns, yesterday you tweeted about the president's comment saying a shameful statement by president trump. if he was joking, it shows his true character. i'm wondering what you make of the white house responding that he was joking, saying he was being sarcastic. >> you know, here's the president, anderson, who has not defended our country since the russian cyber attack on our election. he was not in favor of the sanctions at all, republicans and democrats were in favor of. he's never criticized what vladamir putin did. he didn't criticize vladamir putin's expulsion of 700 american diplomats. i can't think of any american president who would not defend our country when it was so treated by the russian government. and he hasn't stood up for our diplomats. if he was joking, it was very poor taste and shows his
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character. i can tell you this, the people in the state department, the men and women of the state department don't feel they have the respect of their president. and he needs them, he needs them in north korea and russia. he ought to show more respect. >> rolf, i know you served in moscow, these 755 people whose positions were cut by putin, how important a role did they serve? the president says it doesn't matter if they come back, there's no reason to go back. is that true? >> no, it's not, anderson. what's shocking about the president's comments is it reflects or betrays a lack of understanding of how valuable our officers and diplomats are in these emba sisssies abroad, just moscow. also all the other members of the country team that are part of this complicated and important post overseas. and by the way, anderson, the men and women who defend america on our front lines, not just the u.s. mill stair personnel, of course, we all respect them
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greatly. but all the other personnel serving in embassies across the world, have to be wondering if the president has their back. >> ambassador, when u.s.-russia relations are at this low, doesn't it just increase the importance of having a large american diplomatic presence in russia? >> well, it does. i think we're at our lowest moment with the russian government since the end of the cold war. you might have to go back to the mid 80s before gorbachev took over the soviet union to find a time when there was so much distrust between moscow and the united states. president trump doesn't talk about diplomacy. he's never honored the foreign service. he was dismissive of them yesterday. so it would really behoove him to plug into the state department. >> rolf, to the ambassador's point, the president seems to put a lot of stock in the military, obviously. and obviously it's incredibly important. but most military personnel will
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say look, we need diplomats or our jobs will become exponentially more difficult. >> that's absolutely right, anderson. i couldn't agree more with nick who had such a distinguished career in the state department. and behalf of all of our men and women serving overseas right now, this is a time when it's important, not just for the president but the american people to understand the roles they're playing. they're serving in many places like moscow and other places that are real hardships and advancing u.s. foreign policy interests. they're our front lines, just like the u.s. military. it's important for the president to recognize that. >> ambassador, i always try to walk in someone else's shoes or look at things from a different angle. any strategic reason why the president of the united states would have avoided directly criticizing vladamir putin to the extent that this president has? i mean, you know, you really can't find examples of him
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criticizing vladamir putin where you can find him criticizing mitch mcconnell, jeff sessions, other world leaders. >> no, i think he the weakest president he eve hwe've had tow moscow in my time. what putin respects is power, he respects toughness, he respects people who speak their mind. and president trump has been nothing like that. i don't think that the president is putting us in a strong position vis-a-vie russia. of course we want to have an open channel to putin. we have to talk to him about north korea, about afghanistan, about iran, about our nuclear weapons standoff with the russians. but you also have to exact a price when putin crosses a line like hacking our election. so i think it's been entirely misguided, and i hope he listened to rex tillerson and jim mattis. i think they have a much more realistic sense of how to work effectively with the russians.
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>> appreciate your time. thank you. >> thank you. the president's not criticized vladamir putin, but he has been going after the top republican in the senate, mitch mcconnell. today was no different. we'll tell you what the president said and has many republican senators rallying around mcconnell. xiidra is the first and only eye drop approved for both the signs and symptoms of dry eye. one drop in each eye, twice a day. common side effects include eye irritation, discomfort or blurred vision when applied to the eye, and unusual taste sensation. don't touch container tip to your eye or any surface. remove contacts before using xiidra and wait at least 15 minutes before reinserting. chat with your eye doctor about xiidra.
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for the third straight day, the president went after senator mitch mcconnell in what's turning into a one-sided spat. no comment from the senator, who isn't taking the bait. still, president trump took another dig at mcconnell with the difficulty of passing health care reform. >> a number of senators have rushed to the defense of senator mitch mcconnell. what do you make of that -- >> i don't make anything of that. we should have had health care approved. he should have known he had a couple of votes that turned on him, and that should have been very easy to handle. whether it's through the fact that you take away a committee chairmanship or do whatever you have to do. but what happened last week is unacceptable. >> to the president's critics, it's not clear what these comments accomplish. joining me now, my panel.
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aman amanda, does it make sense for the president to go after mcconnell? >> yeah, for once i think donald trump has the right target. now, do i agree with a lot of what donald trump is doing stylistically? no. but mitch mcconnell is an obstacle towards >> for a long time, the trumps of the world, demonized paul ryan and put a lot of blame in the long place. now we're seeing paul ryan, pass bills and tried to go to the white house and make these things work, especially when it comes to health care and then it goes to die in the senate. well, that is not really going to work. and for a long time, mitch mcconnell has gotten away with not saying anything, letting other people take the blame and now donald trump sees, yes, is donald trump to blame for not passing obamacare repeal. yes. but can he pit mitch mcconnell against him because he is the
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establishment of everything the trump campaign worked to disrupt in his election. so donald trump has the right target and as long as mcmcconnell powers away. donald trump will win. >> senator sand or u-- santorum agree? >> no. trump is prodding mitch mcconnell and the entire senate. he is committed to getting the health care bill done and he feels let down. not just by mcconnell but also by paul ryan. he trusted both leaders to put together a bill he didn't together and said give me a bill to sign. and this is paul ryan's bill that mcconnell had and he tried to tweak it and he told the president up until the very last day and he thought he a plan b. that he thought could work and the president feels let down and
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he will continue to prod them as he should to get back to the table and get a bill passed. and i could tell you they are working on it at the white house. there is an effort which i'm going on which i'm very ken aau -- very encouraged by because that is the most important thing in the agenda. >> but the president ran on repealing an replacing. he could have come up with a plan. >> you would expect a president to have a plan instead of outsourcing it to somebody else. but i'm going to defend mitch mcconnell here tonight. number one, president trump has one substantial agenda, part of his legacy, only one big thing and that the neal gorsuch, but guess what, mcconnell had more to do with that happening than donald trump did. so let's talk about this health care bill. when mcconnell was having a hard time getting 51 votes to has health care. how was donald trump helping him. let's go back.
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it feels like it was an eternity ago but it wasn't that long ago. here is what donald trump was doing in the run up to the big health care bill, he was attacking jeff sessions, a former u.s. senator and hired anthony scaramucci and threatening the fbi on the chief of staff and delivering a speech to the boy scouts of america they had to apologize for and on top of that donald trump was attacking people like lisa murkowski, a republican senator. so threatening her. this is how donald trump, think i he is the one we to blame. >> and every republican congress has an interest in advancing the legislative goals and even more so donald trump's outrageous comments actually provide cover for them to get this kind of stuff done. listen, there is a lot of people in washington who are all talk and no action. mitch mcconnell for far too long has been no talk and no action
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and at every opportunity he lowers the bar for expectations. if you look into republican who were taking back majority. mcconnell said the bar for victory would be returning to regular order and no government shut down. that is the bear minimum. meanwhile huge opportunities like being able to tie spending reform to the debt ceiling increase. he's failed every single time. so donald trump has all of the reason in the world to expect more from mitch mcconnell and you will notice mcconnell did not return fire and he will not engage because he only cares about staying in power himself and he goes to his other republican senators, respond for me and goes out to paul ryan and he said he will. and will donald trump make mitch mcconnell resign at majority leader. probably not because he has support in the senator. but he need to provide some is explanation as to why something isn't getting done.
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>> and mr. santorum, does it in terms -- i'm not talking about obamacare, but just on other legislative things in the future, resentment, concern about other soirenators that th president didn't have their back. does have any ripple effect. >> i don't think any senator watching donald trump expects him to have their back if they cross him. i think that is pretty evident, that it is an every man for himself when testimonies cou-- o the president. and disagreements with him. look, i think the most important thing the president is doing here is trying to refocus -- and mitch mcconnell said we're moving on to tax reform and i could tell you, the president doesn't want to move on to tax reform. he wants to get a bill done. and i think that is really -- i understand there may be all of the other things going on, but this president understands how important this is. i know members of congress and i'm hearing from them who are back home who are hearing it
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loudly and clearly that they are not happy that they weren't able to get this done. the president i'm sure getting that same feedback and trying to keep everybody focuses and that is a good thing. >> and you have to say, mcconnell has done a job of cultivating this image in washington that he's a legislative genius but he is man behind the curtain not getting anything done and donald trump has every reason to say send me a bill, there is no excuses. >> we have to take a break. when we come back, trump doubling down on his rhetoric and the latest for the nuclear warned country next. where's gar? 'saved money on motorcycle insurance with geico. goin' up the country. later, gary' i have a motorcycle! wonderful. ♪ ♪ i'm goin' up the country, baby don't you wanna go? ♪ ♪ i'm goin' up the country, baby don't you wanna go? ♪ geico motorcycle,
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. he's taken more than 50 questions in four press events over the last 48 hours an the president is talking about north korea and possible military action against kim jong-un but perhaps military operations in venezuela which took the pentagon