hello. i'm wolf blitzer. it's 10:00 a.m. in phoenix. 1:00 p.m. isn't jerusalem. wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us. right now, president donald trump is wheels up on his way to arizona. the president continues to march to his own drum, following up on last night's nationally televised address on afghanistan with a campaign-style rally in phoenix later today's in his speech last night, the president admitted he has changed course on afghanistan saying he originally wanted to pull all u.s. troops out of afghanistan and the war there for the united states, but now will actually
increase the united states' military footprint in an effort to try to win the now 16-year-old war. the longest war in u.s. history, but the president offered little in way of specifics of his plan choosing to talk about broadly the need for increased efforts in the region and from pakistan and india specifically to try to get the job done. while last night's address was scripted, and the president seemed to largely stick to that script, tonight's rally in arizona could be very different. the president and his affinity for affirmation will be on display in the campaign-style rally. if we've learned anything from past events like this, the president's off the cuff comments will be aimed at revving up his base. our boris sanchez joins us from yuma, arizona, ready for the president's arrival. so, boris what can you tell us about his itinerary, plans for this rally and the guest list?
>> reporter: yeah, wolf. as you said. this is going to be a campaign-style rally here in phoenix. one of several the president has held since the inauguration. it's actually going to be the furthest west that donald trump has gone since becoming president, and we should expect some familiar faces on hand with him. the vice president, mike pence. his chief of staff, john kelly. it's also notable who is going to be absent from this rally. arizona's two republican senators. both john mccain and jeff flake, very critical of the president. both of them had very harsh words for him after his response to the violence in charlottesville at that press conference in trump tower one week ago. and the president didn't hesitates when responding to that criticism, specifically from jeff flake. he took to twitter last week saying that the arizona senator is weak and a non-factor in the senate. and praising his potential gop primary opponent dr. kelly ward. it's unclear whether or not dr.
ward going to be on hand for the rally tonight or if the president will endorse her or even bring her up. another name that was not invited to this rally that pertains specifically to arizona, the man known as america's toughest sheriff. sheriff joe arpaio, you know, wolf, found guilty earlier in the year of continuing a program that a judge declared illegal because it racially profiled hispanics. the president said he is seriously considering pardoning sheriff joe arpaio. the 85-year-old told cnn he has not been invited to the rally but would be more than happy to join in if invited. another uninvited guest you are likely to hear from, wolf. a large group of protestors is expected to be on hand. many of them were mobilized after that off the rails press conference at trump tower last week. you will likely hear from them. we have heard from the mayor of phoenix who asked the president to delay this rally, in light of
the response he's gotten in his remarks on charlottesville and heard from the chief of phoenix police who says her officers are ready for anything, wolf. >> all right, boris. thanks very much. boris sanchez getting ready for the president's first stop in arizona in yuma. bringing in our political panel. chris cillizza, cnn politics reporter, abby phillips, white house reporter for the "washington post" and cnn white house reporter jeremy diamond is with us as well. chris, it looks like that speech last night, very disciplined, very organized. you can criticize it, praise it, but it does seem to have the influence of his new white house chief of staff, general john kelly? >> well, john kelly has been in the job for about three weeks now. we've seen a lot of undisciplined donald trump between then and now. including his comments about charlottesville. >> but the speech was
disciplined? >> it was. he stayed on message, on prompter. odd if he went way off prompter. usually off prompter when interacting with folks as oppose to just giving a speech. what we've seen, though, with donald trump is a series of false starts. a series of theoretical reset buttons pushed only to have a day later, two days later, a week later, either via twitter or a rally, him return back to sort of who we know him to be as a candidate, which is he likes to play with the crowd. he likes to throw red meat to his base. this is an interesting test, given the back-to-back. if he is able to do this in arizona, if he is aible to avoid relitigating charlottesville in some way, shape or form. able to stay away from controversial topics, i would be somewhat impressened and frankly surprised, because we've not seen his capacity to do that in the two-plus years he's been both a candidate and now president.
>> everybody is bracing for a very different donald trump tonight in his rally in phoenix. abbeou abby, opposed to what we saw, read from the two teleprompters on each side of his lector? >> right. one of the reasons he does rallies, his aids know he needs taken out of the box sometimes and taken out of the white house and out in the public and feeds off that. needs it to feel comfortable in this position. the problem is that too much freedom can sometimes be a little bit of a bad thing. it causes him to really react to the crowd. i think the protests outside to the degree that he will know they are there might be another source of problems for him, but just to go back briefly to a point you made, wolf, earlier. one of the interesting things about john kelly and his role in that speech yesterday was maybe less so what was said and just how they got to the point where he was giving a speech about afghanistan. he didn't tweet his decision on
afghanistan. it didn't really leak out of the white house, and that's why you saw people like paul ryan praising the process even more so than the decision that was made. >> the president in his speech, jeremy, last night, did somebody r something rather unusual for him. he add knowledcknowledged he wa against his longtime instincts. listen to this. >> my original instinct was to pull out and historically i like following my instincts. but all of my life i've heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the oval office. >> okay. basically easy to say something when you're a candidate or a private citizen. a lot more difficult to implement that as other presidents have always learned once you're in the oval office. >> yes. it was a rare moment of reflection. albeit a scripted moment of reflection from this president. but i think that this white house is kind of trying to have
it both ways on this. they're trying to say, have the president out there saying, listen, i know that i had said in the past i wanted to withdraw from afghanistan, but now i'm changing my tune and then michael anton, spokesman for the national security council saying on call this morning, actually, no. that's not true at all. the president is sticking with exactly what he talked about during the campaign. he didn't run as a passivist or an isolationist. this white house really is trying to present it both as, this was a thoughtful decision from president donald trump who is different from candidate trump and yet at the same time argue that there is no ideological incoherence here. >> like a lot of folks i went to breitbart to see the reaction there. his former chief strategist now in charge of breitbart, steve bannon in respect was one headline suggesting flip-flop. another suggesting just more of the obama administration policy. you've seen all that. >> look, steve bannon lost this fight. to h.r. mcmaster and others. including john kelly as it
relates to afghanistan. steve bannon is a big believer in a lot of what donald trump said on the campaign trail. which was, why are we spending so much money in blood and treasurerer there? what are we doing there? get out. barack obama doesn't know what he's doing. i don't think we should be surprised at that. i also think that, look, i think steve bannon is, and breitbart, will at times were good for donald trump and at times bad in a way they have something similar in common. unpredictability. not necessarily in steve bannon and breitbart's interests to bash donald trump all the time nor advocate for him all the time. donald trump is deeply unpredictable. he values that. said that that's important to him. he thinks presidents make a mistake being too predictable. so i don't think we should be surprised by that breitbart response. at the same time, if he in arizona tonight gives what we know as a trumpian-style rally, i guarantee you, the breitbart coverage are be positive. >> talking about the wall, immigration, issues like that? >> i think that's right.
one of the reasons he's going to arizona in the first place, symbolism of visiting. at the wall, have an opportunity to talk about it. i do think this issue of afghanistan and how we deal with fortune wars is profound about the trump administration and breitbart is correct that trump sb bought into this war last night. acknowledged it wasn't going to end anytime soon. that isn't going away. underlining who is trump and is america first going to survive now that steve bannon is no longer in the picture. >> another risk this rally has tonight. this is a president who is probably aware of the way that breitbart covered this. probably aware of the fact his former chief strategist, steve bannon, is unhappy with him and ready to go out and knock him on this afghanistan decision and he now needs to go out tonight and reassure his base. he needs to rally his base. and one of the ways he does that often is by making controversial
statements, by going out on a limb. showing them again this off the cuff persona who captivated millions of americans during the campaign. so the risk is that the president in trying so hard to reassure his base goes too far in terms of making controversial statements and getting himself into hot water. >> and important to see how he deals with the sensitive issue of children brought here to the united states, as little kids, by undocumented parents. whether he allows the so-called dreamers to stay in the united states, legally, have some sort of legal status, or if he goes back to some of the comments made during the campaign that anybody who came here illegally has to leave, and come back quickly. >> dreamers, look, donald trump's taken a hard-line on immigration but on dreamers acknowledged, this is a very difficult issue. no easy answers for. by far his most moderate on that piece. >> if that irritates some of the base. >> absolutely.
the back forth and the policy 6 president obama. the dreamers should not worry, they grew up here and should be allowed to stay. stand by. a lot more coming up. tough words from the house speaker paul ryan over president trump's response to charlottesville. we'll tell you what he had to say. the reaction to that. plus, the democrat strategy for 2020. banking that at least one republican will challenge donald trump for the gop nomination. the panel returns, right after a quick break. ♪
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in charlottesville, virginia. bring back our panel to discuss. chris cillizza and jeremy diamond. he acknowledged he messed up. not often you hear the speaker of the house acknowledging that that president "messed up." >> right. the comments speak to the degree to which donald trump messed um to use the speaker's words in this instance. yesterday we heard the president, again, return to his scriptive remarks and make unifying remarks about not directly charlottesville but essentially the state of affairs in the country right now, and -- but the problem is we've already heard from donald trump. heard him speak from his heart, offer prompter, frustrated with the state of affairs in the media at the moment, and i hate too say it. i've seen this movie before and we're looking at it again potentially tonight as the president heads to phoenix to
host a campaign rally. not just a campaign-style rally but actually paid for by his re-election campaign. we risk seeing the president once again dive back into this issue. hope of his aides he won't and let his comments yesterday stand on the final words of last night. >> the problem with the president. you know when he's speaking from the heart, as jeremy said and when he's being scripted. last night struck me as kind of, you know, a little odd. because you know what trump is like, when he really feels something. thinks it's important. he cares about it. he speaks very differently than how he did last night, and i think that's why you can't just put something on a teleprompter and undo the damage of charlottesville and, frankly, paul ryan is putting it out there, "he messed up," but what now? what are the consequences for that? i think there are actually a lot of republicans who want trump to do more than he did last night. who want him to generuinely spe
from the heart. the damage is not undone. this is going to be a problem for some time and even paul ryan's comments are not going to be enough to put the issue to rest. >> he opened remarks last night in front of the military personnel who gathered there at fort myer just outside of washington, d.c. in arlington, virginia, there was crowd of military personnel. whites, blacks, asians. i'm sure you know, catholics, protestants, muslims jews, gay, you know, everybody was in that audience. the military is very well integrated. he looked out at that crowd, and he said, a wound inflicted upon a single member of the community is a wound inflicted upon all of us. strong words. words he should have said earlier, but he used that occasion before he got into the afghanistan policy to speak about healing this nation, which is significant. >> yes. i thought he did it in a deft
way, too. jeremy is right. never came out and said, you know, charlottesville, okay. i screwed up. here's my attempt to make good on that. he talk and the military, makes sense in this audience, you point out, wolf, the subject matter, used the military as indicative of the need for a broader unity. >> very well integrated. >> and going to combat it's not democrats and republicans, not liberals, black and white, it's one unit. nicely delivered by him, i thought. the problem is, or the potential problem is, that donald trump seems to always take one step forward, two steps back. one step forward, two steps back in that, as you heard paul ryan say. i like what he said on monday. didn't like what he said on tuesday. liked what he said an hour ago. see about what he says ten hours from now. that's always the problem. the way you get to the white
house is incredible to message discipline. covering a campaign, all they do, give the same speech over and over and observer agaver ag. donald trump is not that guy in a way made him appealing as candidate but so difficult to project what he'll say tonight or a week from now. abby mentioned, yes, for a day, maybe a week stays off twitter. but always sort of cycles back to who he's been most of his adult life. >> what do you think, jeremy? refer to charlottesville in his speech in arizona tonight? >> it's impossible to predict. one thing i've learned covering donald trump the last two-plus years. you never predict anything anymore. >> and a lot of republicans would love to hear him say, i'm sorry. i apologize. i made a mistake. here is what i feel in my gut about the kkk, about neo-nazis, about white ssupremacists. they are not very fine people. >> i think so, but two important
things to remember. first, we know how the president loves to bash the media at these rallies, and the media has been largely carrying a lot of this coverage of the criticism of the president's remarks and response to charlottesville. there's the mine field number one. the second thing, we know that despite the outrage in washington, we know that a lot of his comments, his initial resposr response to charlottesville resonated with the president's base, or a portion of the base. president doesn't see the need for a knee-jerk reaction against these white supremacists or against anyone who support confederate monuments and actually supports them without supporting white supremacists and neo-nazis. society president, what steve bannon tried to convey to the president in his last week at the white house, is, listen, you can't forget about this base. can't forget about these people. don't listen to jared and ivanka and all of those people urging you to moderate on this issue.
>> nothing wrong with trying to expand the base. nothing wrong from a political -- >> he needs to politically. >> yes, his base still with him, but not currently big enough to get him re-elected. >> quickly. >> he's been pretty happy with the reception of his speech last night that might carry through to today. feeling more positive about the media environment he's in. stick around. chris, abby, jeremy, guys, appreciate it very much, the u.s. war in afghanistan drudged on more than 16 years. president trump says he knows how to win there. we'll assess this with a republican congressman of colorado. standing by live, a key member of the house services committee and marine corps combat veteran. we'll discuss with him, right after this. ry one of them. only proprietary tempur material precisely conforms to your body. you get up to twice as much pressure relieving power, so you won't toss and turn.
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president trump has laid out his long-awaited strategy for afghanistan. last night the president spoke in broad strokes saying he didn't want to give specifics to the enemy. what we heard from defense secretary james mattis in baghdad when asked about the specific numbers of u.s. troops who could be a part of this new commitment. >> i prefer not to go into those numbers rights now. the first thing i have to do, level the bubble and count for everybody on the ground there now. the idea being that we're not going to have different pockets we're accounting for them in. i'll tell you what the total number is, and there is a number that i'm authorized to go up to. i have to look. i've directed the chairman to put the plan together now. obviously we've been discussing this option for some time. when he brings that to me i'll determine how many more we need to send in. >> joining us now from denver, colorado. republican congressman mike
coffman. a member of the house armed services committee and veterans affairs committee. sor and congressman, thank for joining us. look, sounds like nobody is ready to commit formally to the new number they're -- what? about 8,400 u.s. troops. 8,400 u.s. troops in afghanistan right now. there's another almost 25,000 u.s. contractors there in afghanistan. 10,000 of whom are u.s. citizens. how many more troops? have you been briefed? how many more u.s. troops is the president now prepared to deploy. >> i haven't been briefed yet, but certainly a change in the rules of engagement is very important, as well as some increased presence. the point is to put military pressure on the taliban, to get them to come to the negotiating
table. i believe there's a path to a negotiated settlement. if, in fact, they feel that pressure. right now they don't feel the pressure. they feel they're winning, but there is a path for some governance model that involves the taliban. >> because -- the vice president, we were just talking about, mike pence, was on the "today" show this morning saying the generals want another almost 4,000 troops. so if there's 8,400 now. that would bring it up to more than maybe 12,000 or 13,000. is that really enough to get the job done? >> well, i think two things. first of all, i mentioned the change in the rules of engagement. right now the taliban cannot be targeted unless their a direct threat to u.s. forces. however, we're there to support the afghan government and they're an existential threat to the afghan government. so the change in the rules of engagement will allow us to directly target them even in not
a threat to u.s. forces. that's very important, as well as not having a specific timeline and have a conditioning-ba conditioning-baconditionins conditions-based approach. >> and the question i have, somebody covered the war for, what, 16 years, at one point the u.s. had 100,000 troops in afghanistan. couldn't get the job done with 100,000 troops. back to the bush administration. the obama administration. now seems the president is having a bit, a little bit of a surge there going up. what makes you think that 14,000 or 13,000 troops really in the long run is going to make much of a difference, given the history, the geography, the nature of the population? the nature of the terrorists, including the taliban in afghanistan? >> well, don't get me wrong. i think that it was a mistake to be there in the first place, bupt we are there and the question is how do we extricate ourselves from afghanistan?
and i'm glad to hear the president's reiterating his opization of nation building as an iraq war veteran. it's very important. it was a mistake in afghanistan, a mistake in iraq as well. from a u.s. national security perspective. you know, i just think that -- this reminds me of vietnam, where in 1972 president nixon wanted to extricate ourselves from, u.s. forces from vietnam and he had to bring the north vietnamese to the negotiating table who felt they were really winning and had no cause to be there, to negotiate. so he did "operation linebacker" an intensive bombing campaign in north vietnam and they came to the negotiating table and we were able to extricate ourselves from vietnam. we need, what we need is intense military pressure again, for the purpose of bringing them to the negotiating table. he's signaled in a very
important way that that prospect of -- of some type of governance involving the taliban. that was an important signal to send in his statement, in his speech last night, that clearly will be, you know -- that the taliban will be paying attention to. that on one hand, it was the fist of toughness, and on the other hand, it was a statement saying that we want to negotiate with you. that there is a path to a negotiated settlement. >> the president also directly challenged both pakistan and india. neighbors over there. to do more in the region. as you know, pakistan very much, at times, a key ally in regards to afghanistan, but not necessarily all of the time. listen to something the vice president, mike pence, said earlier today, because i think it's significant. listen to this. >> pakistan just simply needs to do more. we all think back of the time
that the -- the mastermind of 9/11, osama bin laden was found, living in a compound in pakistan. literally, within just a few short miles of her mail teilita academy. putting them on notice. they need to step up as a partner and if they want the united states to partner with them with security in the region they need to do more to confront the terrorist organizations using particularly northern pakistan, waziristan area as a safe haven. >> all right. you're on the armed services committee, congressman. did the pakistani military protect osama bin laden? >> i -- there's still a question about that, but what is not in question is they're playing both sides in this war. by allowing the, the afghan taliban to have safe harbor in their country. and -- and folks like the
haqqani network. they've been playing both sides and it's important to bring them onboard. it will be interesting to see the reaction from the pakistani government, particularly vis-a-vis the fact we're asking india to play a larger role in afghanistan, and they see india as a moral throat their country. so b so -- but i think both messages were important and we'll have to see, you know, where the chips fall on this. >> the vice president, he said the u.s. now, the trump administration is putting the pakistani government on notice, and he, on his own, brought up the whole issue of osama bin laden hiding out in pakistan a few miles away from their chief, their main military command headquarters. their training facility over there. i thought that was significant. we're going to follow-up on that, of course, a lot more and
pakistanis are watching all of this closely. congressman of colorado, thanks as usual for joining us. >> thank you. the collision between the "uss john s. mccain" and oil tanker often the coast of singapore. when we come back, a lot more on the sailors thought missing in the tragedy. and plus a look into the investigation of how this accident happened. i switched to t-mobile, kept my phone-everything on it- -oh, they even paid it off! wow! yeah. it's nice that every bad decision doesn't have to be permenant! ditch verizon. keep your phone. we'll even pay it off when you switch to america's best unlimited network.
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matt rivers joining us live from singapore. matt, what else are we learning about the ongoing search? >> reporter: it's still going and unfortunately the news has not been good over the last 24 hours or so. we heard in the last couple of hours from the commander of the u.s. pacific fleet to gave a press conference kwrmi iconfirms turned fatal. the divers sent time at the pier where we are now going through the compartments, the sealed compartments inside the hull of that ship that were damaged as a result of this incident, and as they were able to access those compartmen compartments, is where they found some remains as put by the admiral of those missing u.s. sailors. he wouldn't say how many were recovered inside the hull of the ship. at the same time, wolf, you had the malaysian navy, actually, helping in the search and rescue operation. they found a body in waters near
where this incident happened. that body now in the process of being transferred back to the u.s. navy for identification, and wild they are still calling this a search and rescue operation, recovery, at this point, it does seem to be coming upon us quickly. >> there's also some new information, matt, about the moments leading up to the crash. what have you and our team learned? >> reporter: yeah. we know that a u.s. navy official tells cnn it appears there was a steering failure shortly before this incident happened, and that a backup system either wasn't utilized or available, but also is not clear whether that steering issue was what actually caused this crash. so that's going to be one of the questions that the navy is now asking as part of a broader review. it's now going to undertake throughout the entire u.s. navy. not just what's going on here. wolf, this is the fourth incident of ships deployed to this region, apart of the 7th
fleet of the u.s. navy,s that been involved in incidents in 2017 alone. remember it was in the middle of june that the "uss fitzgerald" crashed into a container ship killing seven u.s. sailors. this is yet another fatality incident with this latest ship being involved in another crash. this time with an oil tanker. the navy rightly asking the question, what's going on here? do we have systemic problems, and if we do, we clearly need to fix that moving forward. >> certainly do. matt rivers in singapore for us. retired rear admiral and cnn military an legitimate john kirby joins now. thanks for joining us. the ship's steering went out supposedly just before the crash. what potentially could cause a problem like that? >> could be anything. maybe maintenance wasn't done. an electronic or electrical failure causing some of the system to go down. they'll figure this out, if, in fact, it's true there was a steering casualty in the moments before the collision. i can't imagine that had
something to do with the collision itself. is it the only factor? maybe not. did the crew have other alternatives to try to get the steering back on? yes. matt said, maybe didn't utilize them or they weren't available. we'll have to let the investigation pan itself out. >> and unusual to have warships involved in these accidents in this year alone in this part of the world. isn't it? >> very unusual. not only four accidents but four ship-handles accidents. three collisions and a grounding. get down to ship handling in the same region of the world. why the admiral called for a comprehensive review of forward deployed naval forces. they need do that soup to nuts and take a lard look at this and why he ordered a one-day pause, at least a one-day pause across the entire navy to make sure we're looking at safety, safe navigation and, again, manning resources and equipping.
>> admiral, chief of the u.s. navy, there have been suggesting fl there are cyber attacked aimed at the warships. the tweet put out in response to those suggestions. from admiral richardson. sow clarify possible cyber intrusion or sabotage, no indications right now but review and consider all possibilities. is it plausible that some enemy of the united states is using a cyber attack to go and deal with the navigation, the steering, of these huge u.s. warships causing these four collisions? >> i think it's why is that the navy is going to consider all factors and take a look at this. they have to. particularly in a networked environment we're in. there are networks on the ship open. they're not open-open. they're secure, but, look, it's highly unlikely. the ship's cyber defenses are significant. not, not saying they shouldn't look at it, but very signific t
significant. putting a fine point on it. talking about the steering system. the steering system on a ship has electronic components, it is not networked off the ship. there's no way into it from off the ship. so i think we can put that safely aside, but it's wise for the navy to be willing to look at all factors here. that said, again, i find it highly unlikely that cyber intrusion wos have anything to do with what happened. >> and he says, no indications now, review, will consider all possibilities if is a cyber attack. that would be a huge, huge problem. >> it would be, wolf, but honestly, really surprised if it had anything to do with this. >> all right. we'll see what the investigation comes up with. thanks very much for that. retired rear admiral john kirby, our military analyst. president trump says his goal in afghanistan is to win. after 16 years of american boots on the ground what does winning look like? we're going to discuss that when we come back.
the president of pakistan is applauding president trump's decision to commit more u.s. troops to the country to fight against the resurgent taliban and other terrorists. in a statement, the afghan president thanked the u.s. for supporting, "the joint struggle against the threat of terrorism." but afghanistan's neighbor, pakistan, was certainly not too happy with the president's statements. let's discuss this and more. joining us, steven warren, a cnn military analyst. steve, thanks very much for joining us. the strategy that he unveiled last night, the president, from your perspective, as someone who spent 28 years in the military
until recently, is it much different than what we've seen over the past 16 years? >> well, the strategy they unveiled is in the significantly different. the key point, and he highlighted this, is he wanted it to be a condition based as opposed to a time-based situation, but other than that, essentially, it's the same strategy, perhaps with some of the rougher edges kind of filed down. there were edges to the obama strategy that the military, the generals particularly, weren't comfortable with. limits to troop numbers, limits to authorities, some other limitations >> listen to what the president said about pakistan, a very sensitive issue. listen to this. >> we have been paying pakistan billions and billions of dollars. at the same time, they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting. but that will have to change. and that will change immediately. no partnership can survive a country's harboring of militants and terrorists who target u.s.
service members and officials. >> that does represent a change, the tough talk on pakistan. we didn't necessarily hear that very often from the obama administration or the bush administration before that. >> well, we didn't hear the tough talk as much, but if you'll recall, you know, under the obama administration, there was a significant escalation of drone strikes against terror targets. >> but the aid continued, the billions of dollars. >> it's certainly been a carrot and stick approach to pakistan for many years, with strikes along the border, with aid coming to help them fortify themselves against these insurgencies so it's a difficult situation. what we need to see, wolf, is whether or not conditions on the ground actually change. will we take a different approach to pakistan or will we continue pace as we've been going for years. >> but the dilemma of that, the president used to feel, because i interviewed him on this many times when he was a candidate or a private citizen going back at least 15, 20 years, this war has
been going on for 16 years, when the u.s. had 100,000 troops in afghanistan, couldn't get the job done, why should anyone believe 10,000 or 15,000 u.s. troops could get the job done. >> it's a legitimate question and frankly, 10,000 or 15,000 troops won't make that much of a difference. keep in mind that when there were 100,000 american troops, the afghan army barely existed. today, the afghan army is over 300,000 strong and it's gaining in capabilities. it's not nearly to the point that it could be and should be but it's much stronger than it was before. >> is it true that the afghan government really only controls the major cities, the capital, kabul, some other areas, but vast chunks of the country are controlled by the taliban, other terrorist groups, and now you can confirm this if you can, iran is developing an isis much greater involvement in afghanistan. >> isis is certainly trying to gain a foothold and interestingly enough, we see the taliban fighting isis in certain parts of afghanistan. we see vast swaths of
afghanistan that are either wholly ungoverned or that are controlled by the taliban or other network personnel. it's across the map. so, what we've seen is the ability of the afghan forces to control anything outside of the cities really hasn't gotten up to par yet. >> so do you think that when the president slightly opened up talks to the taliban, that's going to make a difference. >> it is an important point and if there is an opportunity to talk to the taliban and the president is willing to do that, i think this is worth considering. >> steve warren, our newest military analyst. welcome to cnn. thanks very much. former spokesman over at the pentagon. that's it for me. i'll be back 5:00 p.m. eastern in the situation room. for our international viewers, "amanpour" is coming up next. for our viewers in north america, "newsroom" with pamela
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i'm pamela brown in for brooke baldwin. thanks for being here with us on this tuesday. well, one president, two very different speeches. less than 24 hours after delivering a disciplined, on-script address on afghanistan, president trump is en route to a campaign-style rally in arizona where we typically see the president ad lib and make jokes and provoke chants among his supporters. so why arizona? and why now? the state's two senators, both republicans, have been vocal critics of president trump, especially jeff flake, and the animosity seems to run deep on both sides, as president trump praises flake's primary challenger, calling flake weak on immigration and crime. and on top of all of this, we still don't know if the president plans