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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  August 23, 2017 12:00am-1:00am PDT

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i hit him with neo-nazi. i hit him with everything. i got the white supremacist, the neo-nazi, all of them. we have kkk. i got them all. >> president trump goes off prompter and off script, off course playing directly to his shrinking base. the president defending his charlottesville response but apparently forgot what angered critics in the first place.
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it was classic trump airing of the grievances. and he's up tweeting an hour ago. welcome to "early start." >> it is 3:00 a.m. in the east and mid night in phoenix. trump does a 180 in his speech defending his response to the violence in charlottesville. he spent 15 minutes recounting his words with a glaring omission. >> he initially blamed the clashes on many sides and no mention of the fine people who marched with torches on friday night in charlottesville. >> here's what i said on saturday. we're closely following the terrible events unfolding in charlottesville, virginia. this is me speaking. we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious
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display of hatred bigotry and violence. >> we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. on many sides. it's been going on for a long time in our country. >> that is just one moment in a speech that has some including the former director of national intelligence, a man who spent his entire career in military, james clapper questioning his fitness to hold the office. >> the protest turning ugly after president trump's speech. three people were arrested. police using tear gas and pepper spray to break up the crowd of protesters. people through rocks and bottles at police officers and disbursed gas in the area.
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>> they kept trump supporters and protesters behind barricades and on separate sides of the street. a job well done by the phoenix police. let's bring in ron brownstein, 12:00 pacific time. good to see you. thanks for joining us. >> good morning, good evening, something. >> whatever it is. it is an extraordinary day in our nation's politics once again, ron. what's your reaction to classic teleprompter trump is gone, airing of the grievances is back. what's your headline? >> where to start? i agree with you. i think this is a speech unlike we have heard from any other american president in office. but it was quite like what we heard on the campaign trail from president trump. it was this unique combination of a bottomless well of grievance. unending grievance at anyone he
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believes has crossed him or wronged him combined with half truths and misleading statements but also tied in with a very targeted set of populous us against them messages aimed entirely at his base. one thing that is above all about this president is he is somehowing a lack of interest in speaking or acting in any way that reaches out beyond those who have supported him to begin with and shrinking in polls. and one last thing lost in our reviews of how this was. he made a lot of news tonight. he said he would withdraw from nafta and shut down the government if they don't fund the border wall and pardon sheriff arpaio. it was an extraordinary experience. >> and he spent half of the time, i would say. >> 30-plus media. >> bashing the media.
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>> not saying the media are unfair to him but they are just bad people. >> un-american. >> and there's one sound bite i want to play where he then goes so far to say it is the media taking away america's culture. listen to this. >> it's time to expose the crooked media deceptions and to challenge the media for their role in fomenting divisions and, yes, by the way -- and yes, by the way they are trying to take away our history and our heritage. you see that. >> that is red meat for his base. i think he meant fomenting division. but correcting trump's grammar does not make the media any more
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popular. >> an exercise in futility. what do you make of the attack on the media? >> that broader point from before which is, you know, he is very determined and has been effectively from the beginning to identify the media as part of a series of forces that he says are holding down his voters and denying them the prosperity and security that they deserve. and i thought tonight, one thing that was really striking again was how he conflated attacks on him or criticism of him with attacks on his supporters. he said anybody who is raising questions about me are really trying to suppress you and you have stood up and taken power back from the elites and he said i went to the best schools and all that. and now they are trying to put me back in your place but going after me. and that is effective to a point. but you know, i just go back to this, you go back to election day, 20 to 25% of the people who
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voted for president trump in various ways did it with reservations. they sid said aid they were unf about him personally. there was nothing again tonight that would reassure the conflicted voters. everything you saw would deepen the unease of people who are conflicted about him and that is why he is in the mid-30s in the polling after winning 46% of the vote. the idea his base has not eroded is not true. the polling that came out in michigan, wisconsin, and pennsylvania, the three states that decided this election, 20%, 20% of the people who voted for him said they are embarrassed by his conduct in office. i don't think he assuaged anybody in that camp tonight. >> make no mistake. his supporters loved this speech. those who showed up for a wwe match got exactly what they
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showed up to you see. they got the applause lines. but they also don't believe the polls. you talk about the people -- the voters who need convincing. what about the republican senators? what about the bob corkers of the world? the measured, sensible republican senators who questioned his stability? and then there is jeff flake and john mccain who everyone expected the president to attack by name. he didn't name them but he went out of his way to mention them. >> we were just one vote away from victory after seven years of everybody proclaiming repeal and replace. one vote away. but you know, they all said, mr. president, your speech was so good last night, please, please, mr. president, don't mention any names. so i won't.
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i won't. no. one vote i waaway, i won't ment any names. very presidential. and nobody wants me to talk about your other senator who is weak on borders and weak on crime. so i won't talk about him. >> he also suggested mitch, his buddy mitch who is the senate majority leader he throw away the filibuster. 60 votes doesn't matter. how does the president legislate moving forward with these type of verbal attacks? >> i think for republicans in congress i couldn't keep them straight in my head. there were four lines of concern in what he said tonight. the first is the one you eluded
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to which is the overall stability, careening around this dwelling on grievance and just seeming very angry and volatile. second, attacking individual members, you know, not by name but in all but name and particularly jeff flake who he has suggested already should be removed in the republican primary. as lindsey graham said there is an article five of nato in the senate. you attack one and you attack all. third, he continued to set unrealistic legislative goals not only ending the filibuster but they would shut down the government if he doesn't get his wall funded. and fourth he once again demonstrated he is not capable of driving a message on anything beyond his own personal attacks back and forth. was there an effective message for tax reform in that speech or an effective message on his
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proposes on reducing illegal immigration tonight? one of the things in the health care battle is that the president could not provide any air coverage to republicans in congress. it had 26% support by the time it came to the senate floor. they are a reason to worry whether he will be an asset in moving their agenda forward and looks like he is more of a head wind and i think it also reinforced their conclusion which is spreading in the republican caucus that he will try triangulate and turn on them. >> was there an advancement of the legislative agenda? it might be the opposite.
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ron brownstein, thank you. the president not optimistic about renegotiating nafta with canada and next co. >> because we have been so badly taken advantage of. they have made such great deals, both of the countries but in particular mexico. i don't think we can make a deal. i think we will end up terminating nafta at some point. >> the first round just wrapped up. negotiations got off to a tense start with the u.s. blasting nafta as a job killing, factory closing deal that benefits our neighbors and not us. requiring a substantial portion of auto parts be made in the u.s. millions of jobs and thousands of company rely on nafta but renegotiating was a core campaign promise for the president. as talks resume next week, negotiators expect a great deal of effort will be required since
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they will attempt to rewrite nafta by the end of the year. one thing this president believes. he looks at the trade deficit with mexico and sees winners and losers. he sees it only that america is losing. what trade economists say is that deficit is so big because you have such big exports and imports it shows the dynamism of the relationship and the way the president thinks about it just too cut and dried, black and white. >> and those people that voted for him. this is the message they want to hear. >> that's right. now to the former director of national intelligence. says he is concerned about the president having access to our nuclear codes. >> i really question his ability to -- his fitness to be in this office. >> more of what james clapper
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welcome back to an early "early start" a blunt sobering assessment of the president from former director of national intelligence, james clapper calling the speech in phoenix scary and downright disturbing.
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question building the president is fit to stay in office. here's what clapper told cnn overnight. >> what did you think of tonight's performance by president trump? >> well, don, it's hard to know where to start. it is joust so objectionable on so many levels. i toiled in one capacity for every president from john f. kennedy through president obama and i don't when i listened and watched something like this from a president that i found more disturbing. having some understanding of the levers of power that are available to a president, if he chooses to exercise them, i found this downright scary and disturbing. i think bakari is right on the money, though, that this is not a surprise.
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interesting to contrast last night's teleprompter trump performance versus tonight, which is of course the real trump. just as it was in the unglued impromptu press conference from trump tower. >> are you questioning his fitness? >> yes, i do. i really question his ability to -- his fitness to be in this office and i also am beginning to wonder about his motivation for maybe -- maybe he is looking for a way out. i do wonder as well about the people that attracted to this rally as others. you know, what are they thinking or why am i so far out -- off
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base? because i don't understand the adulation and of course that's why i think he aggressive stagr having this rally as ill timed it is, he should have quit while he was ahead last night. but again, i think the real trump came through and as bakari said shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. >> what should we do? what should washington do at this point. you said you are questioning his fitness. there are many people who won't say it publicly. maybe after this speech they will now. it will become painfully obvious as it is to most americans, what should we do? >> well, i think -- you know, the key thing here is where is he with republicans? and i was quite struck by senator corker's remarks, very thoughtful and very, very measured.
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and i've -- i know senator corker. i've dealt with him. and he is very thoughtful senator. and he wouldn't say that lightly. and without forethought. and i'm hopeful that other similarly thoughtful republicans will reach the point where enough is enough. >> enough is enough. what do you mean? be plain for us. >> well -- that this behavior and this divisiveness and the complete intellectual, moral, and ethical void that the president of the united states exhibits. and how much longer does the country have -- to borrow a phrase -- endure this nightmare?
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>> "the new york times" is reporting tonight about the falling out between the president and mitch mcconnell over the investigations of russia's interference with the 2016 election. the president was furious that mcconnell failed to protect him. you called the accusations of collusion between the trump c e campaign and russia worse than watergate. why is this such a hot button for him? >> first, to be clear, don, when i left on the 20th of january, i had not seen any evidence of direct collusion between the trump campaign, the trump camp, and the russians. there may have been collusion, but i didn't have any evidence of it. so i don't understand, frankly, the president's fascination and
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solicitation of solicitousness of putin and russia unless he is a kindred soul, perhaps. it is very strange to me. i don't have an explanation for it, if it's collusion or something else. >> you said you questioned his fitness is he a threat to national security, the president? >> he certainly could be. again, having some understanding of the levers that a president can exercise, i worry about, frankly, you know, the access to the nuclear codes. in a fit of peek he decides to do something about kim jong-un there is actually very little to stop him. the whole system's built to ensure a rapid response if
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necessary. so there's very little in the way of controls over, you know, exercising a nuclear option which is pretty damned scary. >> do you see this as a crisis, mr. clapper? >> i i'm not sure what the definition of a crisis is, if it is, we've been in it quite a while, since the election. i couldn't help but think in the course of the charlottesville -- his statements about charlottesville when he was so quick to characterize the intelligence community as nazis, liken us to nazis on the 10th of january but seemed reluctant to call out the wannabe nazis in this case. maybe i am being broparochial a
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defensive but that's how i see it. >> what are the conversations they are having tonight and what will they be having tomorrow, do you think, after this speech? >> i think many people in the intelligence community certainly rank and file are worried, are concerned about this. they, in their -- and it's the tradition in the intelligence community to carry on with the mission and provide the intelligence that our decision-makers so desperately need and they will continue to do that. but i think in moments of personal reflection, i suspect they are greatly concerned about the divisiveness that is taking hold of this country. >> james clapper there. a military man who spent a very long time --
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>> a career servant to the government. not a career politician, someone who spent his life committed to the government intelligence and the military. >> the navy set to make change after an incident in asian waters. it's cost a top commander his job. we're live in singapore. they have passions to pursue how do they avoid trips to the post office? mail letters ship packages all the services of the post office right on your computer get a 4 week trial plus $100 in extras including postage and a digital scale go to and never go to the post office again
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sailors from the "mccain "have be been recovered. we are live in singapore with the latest. >> reporter: well, this is really quite interesting that we have seen now the removal of joe aucoin. he is a highly decorated naval officer but it illustrates a disturbing point, three of the incidents you have described have been in the pacific seventh fleet and many questions are being asked about training in relation to the "uss fitzgerald" if which it was clear that poor seamanship was blamed. now we have ten sailors missing. and we have remains being found.
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admiral scott swift is meeting families and also meeting the commanders of the seventh fleet and having difficult and testing discussions. what went wrong here? we don't know at this stage and the investigation is going on. but we do know there was a steering malfunction happening around the time of the collision and people are asking why didn't the backup systems kick in? so many questions. with that in mind there needs to be a reset of systems for the investigation to continue. there will be a rolling operational blackout happening that will cease in the coming week. but as that goes on it will be much clearer how to these problems are occurring. three of the four in one single fleet. >> it definitely is. thank you so much for that. live from singapore. "early start" continues with more reaction from the president's speech in phoenix, arizona.
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i hit him with neo-nazi. i hit him with everything. i got the white supremacist, the neo-nazi, i got them all in there. let's see. kkk. we have kkk. i got them all. >> the president did not hit them all. going wildly off prompter the president defends his charlottesville response and a glaring lie by omission. welcome back to "early start." and he made some news in there. there is a lot of news made in there but the oxygen in the room is what energized and recharged the battery of the president. >> he threatened a government shutdown over the wall funding and hinted at pardoning joe arpaio. >> killing nafta. >> and 30 minutes blaming the
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media. >> and a night after preaching about healing president trump does a 180 at a campaign rally in phoenix. defending his response to violence in charlottesville. he spent 15 minutes recounting his words but with a glaring omission. he neglected to mention he blamed it on many sides and no mention of the fine people that marched with torches on friday night. this is what he said last night and what he said ten days earlier. >> here's what i said on saturday. we're closely following the terrible events unfolding in charlottesville, virginia. this is me speaking. we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence. that's me speaking on saturday. >> we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides. on many sides.
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it's been going on for a long time in our country. >> and that was just one moment in a speech that has some including the former director of national intelligence, james clapper, questioning the president's fitness to hold the office. the protest turning ugly after president trump's speech. three people were arrested. police forced to use tear gas and pepper spray to break up the protesters in triple digit heat. people throw rocks and bottles at police officers and dispersed gas in the area. >> police kept protesters and supporters behind barricades on separate sides of the street. let's bring in are on broron br. good to see you again, sir. this speech like all of them,
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campaign rallies ended with you can't always get what you want despite the rolling stones protesting. that's a message the president can't seem to get through. because he, again, played the victim and blamed his own party for the things he can't get. what's your reaction? >> yeah, i think, that's right. you had this from the beginning, as a candidates the president has had a bottomless well of grievance. and so much of these rallies are focused almost entirely on lashing back at anyone who he believes has crossed him or wronged him. and what gets lost in that and that is the drama, the reality show drama that donald trump has brought to politics. an endless rotating series of feuds with other figures in american life. what gets lost in that is the ability to drive any kind of positive message on anything
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they are trying to do. i mean, when you go back to the end of the health care fight. fewer than 20% of the country supported the republicans were voting on. did he deliver any effective message on tax reform which is going to be tough. it was all about him. and often it included attacks on his own party which are going to make republicans on the hill even more leery about climbing on to any limbs for the president. >> there was a lot of news in the 77 minutes. half of it was attacking the media. really attacking the media, going further than saying unfair but saying not good people, bad people. he threatened to shut down the government to get a wall built between the united states and mexico. listen to this moment. >> the obstructionist democrats would like us not to do it but
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believe me if we have to close down our government we're building that wall. let me be very clear to democrats in congress who oppose a border wall and stand in the way of border security, you are putting all of america's safety at risk. you're doing that. you're doing that. >> he attacked not by name but clearly attacked the two republican senators from arizona. he attacked the democrats there. it's almost as if he is against all of congress here. >> he's heading in that direction. under bill clinton the phrase became famous, triangulation. in his case, to try to reach agreements which they did on welfare reform and a balanced budget and other issues in '96, '97. president trump is not trying to bring the sides together but he is attacking each of them
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equally as standing in his way. look, if he -- i'm sure if you had chuck schumer sitting here and said the president wants to shut down the government, close the national parks, in order to demand funding for a border wall that 60% of the american public opposes he would say where do you sign me up? that's not a fight that mitch mcconnell is looking forward to or even paul ryan who has been ambivalent from the beginning. that is a place where the president -- by the way, the promises tonight, steve bannon is gone but these were all populist nationalist promises. he said it's more likely he pulls out of nafta. that is the base he is returning to as some of his broader support has eroded. >> that crowd, his supporters whether they are 33, 35, 37% of the country, loved it. but what is the net impact of a
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speech like this 24 hours after showing some leadership, sticking to the script and telling america why we need to send more troops to afghanistan? >> look, one speech is not the point. but it fits into the broader narrative. if you go back to election day and you look at the exit poll. one-third to one fifth of those who voted for trump doubted if he had the temperament or qualifications to succeed. how he has gone from 46% of the vote to an approval rating around 36% is those doubts have been deepened and hardened among that share of the electorate. and everything he is doing has been around speaking to that shrinking base, mobilizing, reenforcing that base but at the price of adding more concern. in the polling in michigan,
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wisconsin, and pennsylvania, the states that gave him the white house, 20% of the people who voted for him said they were embarrassed by his conduct as president and the overall numbers were higher than that. only 60% of the people who voted for him said they were crowd of him the and approved of the job he is doing. he is systematically speaking to -- showing himself incapable of speaking to a broader universe. so much of the presidency is mobilizing this narrowing base and i believe it's too thin a sliver on which to governor. >> there are two deliverables, one is growing that base, that sliver. and the other is advancing the legislative agenda. this is every speech, every meeting from president trump. did he do either of those things last night? >> no. as i said, i think he is showing
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himself incapable of driving a message that is beyond whatever personal feud he is engaged in on that given day. it's an endless perception. he did not drive any message on health care or no effective argument for tax cuts but there is a third arena in which they have more more successful and that is through executive action where at the environmental protection agency and other regulatory agencies they are executing a change in direction while in many ways, all of this other fireworks are obscuring what is happening. but republicans have come to conclude he is unlikely to be an asset on the inside game of on the outside game of selling to public opinion. >> one of the other pieces of news is that the president is hinting he might pardon a very controversial sheriff. listen to what the president
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said about joe arpaio. >> was sheriff joe convicted for doing his job? that's what -- he should have had a jury. but you know what? i'll make a prediction, i think he's going to be just fine, okay? but i won't do it tonight because i don't want to cause any controversy. >> he never wants to cause controversy, this president. >> i think he is trolling his own chief of staff there, general kelly just like with the republican senators by not naming them. joe arpaio refused a judge's order to stop racially profiling. that's what he is being punished for. >> and not only that, he lost, you know, he lost his election before that happened. and again it goes to the
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point -- two points, one this is a president focused on a narrow base and secondly that kind of returning to those divisive themes, you know, pardoning sheriff arpaio would send a clear signal to the most restrictionist forces in the republican party he is standing with them. but many other americans who started off ambivalent about president trump would look at this again as someone who is focusing more on dividing. this is inherently a fragile move in the history of the company. a majority of our under ten population is nonwhite. there are forces at work. what is unusual is that we have a president who is systematically jumping up and down on every one of the fault lines and i think a pardon of sheriff joe would be another example of him speaking to that
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smaller universe at the price of widening the division in side. >> the headline on drudge says power house trump battles in arizona. we sure once again have been reminded of the fighter that president trump is. >> ron brownstein, nice to see you. the trump administration rejecting a request to issue an order that would protect coal-fired power plants from closing. the rule allows the government to shut down the electric grid during a natural disaster. but the threaten to coal plants is environmental regulations. coal exec says this contradicts what trump promised him according to letters he sent to the white house. he warned it would bankrupt his
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company and risking the nation's electric power fly. but no closure has threatened the u.s. power supply and the white house degrees. so the first line between coal executives who were supportive of the president and the administration. >> huge donations in particular to his inauguration fund. the rift is widening between the president and his own senate majority leader. the pair have not spoken in weeks. mcconnell doubts the white house can get on track.
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megan's smile is getting a lot of attention because she uses act® mouthwash. act® strengthens enamel, protects teeth from harmful acids, and helps prevent cavities. go beyond brushing with act®. president trump and senate majority leader mitch mcconnell not talking. it has been two weeks since a profanity laced shouting match. the august 9th conversation unravelled when the president fan to express frustration with the russia investigation and sanctions. >> since then the president and mechanic mcconnell have been publicly questioning each other. and mcconnell is questioning
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whether trump can salvage his presidency. >> the president and mcconnell will have to work together if republicans want to tackle tax reform, a spending pack age and raising the debt ceiling. here's what the president said about working with mcconnell on legislation in the future. >> the senate, we have to get rid of what's called the filibuster rule. we have to. and if we don't, the republicans will never get anything passed. you're wasting your time. we have to get rid of the filibuster rule right now. we need 60 votes and we have 52 republicans. that means that 8 democrats are controlling all of this legislation. we have over 200 bills.
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and we have to speak to mitch. >> two things. they need all 52 republicans to line up on something before that becomes an issue. and mitch mcconnell has reiterated time and again there is no appetite whatsoever for doing away with that threshold. they want to keep the senate rules. a missouri death row inmate gets a reprieve from the governor hours from his scheduled execution. attorneys say new dna evidence unavailable during his trial in 2001 proves his innocence. he was set to be put to death on tuesday night. >> a board will review the case. the st. louis county prosecutor says he is confident the board and the governor will confirm william's convection after a full review. earlier evidence included some of the victim's items found in
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his car. a block buster, shocking trade in the nba as the cavaliers send kyrie irving to the celtics for isaiah thomas, two other players and a draft pick. lebron james wishing irving well on twitter. and that could be an insurance policy in case james decides to part cleveland. the next story getting a lot of attention overnight. espn deciding to pull announcer robert lee from the university of virginia's season opener because of his name. espn confirming the decision was made as the events in charlottesville were unfolding. part of the statement, they say they made the decision to switch
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games for him as it was happening because of the coincidence of his name. in that moment it felt right to all parties. it's a shame it is a stoppic of conversation and we regret it has become an issue. >> they made it an issue. >> the reaction online. the second highest trending thing on twitter right now. >> behind phoenix rally, i assume. >> this was a complete overreaction by espn. but they are standing by their decision. >> they are getting hammered on social media. google and walmart teaming up to beat amazon. cnn money stream, next. biggest e year with the new sleep number 360 smart bed. it senses and automatically adjusts on both sides. the new 360 smart bed is part of our biggest sale of the year where all beds are on sale. and right now save 50% on the labor day limited edition bed, plus free home delivery. ends saturday! after a hall of fame career, it's no wonder why i use blue-emu arthritis cream. blue-emu's non-greasy, deep-penetrating formula
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u.s. navy planning to remove the commander of the u.s. seventh fleet after the "uss john s. mccain" collided with a commercial tanker on monday. some remains of the ten missing sailors have been recovered. we are live in singapore with the latest details. good morning. >> reporter: it isn't exactly clear why vice admiral joe aucoin is being removed. but i can tell of the four incidents of the collisions since the beginning of 2017, three have involved vessels from the seventh flooe fleeet over w has a command. some questions about operations there. in the case of the latest collision on monday it became
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clear there was some kind of steering malfunction and the question had to be asked what happened to the backup systems. we know there is an operational shutdown happening of the various commands out here as the navy looks at what has really gone on. they need to understand if there is a systemic problem here that needs to be addressed quickly. admiral scott swift is in japan today meeting the families of the ten missing sailors. and i can tell you sombering news that remains have been found after divers inspected the hull of the ship and knowing what they might be looking for in sealed compartments of the ship. but that search and rescue does continue in the waters off singapore for any possible survivors out of the ten that are missing. >> thank you. let's get a check on cnn
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money stream this morning. global stocks mixed after a great day on wall street. renewed hope for u.s. tax reform. u.s. stocks rallied after whit pers, just market whispers and the white house and lawmakers may be moving ahead with reform. the dow surging 200 points. the s&p and nasdaq gained 1%. many credit it for the post election rally. the dow is up 20% since the election. but many are wondering if it is going to be cuts, not a reform given the president's fractured relationship with google and walmart teaming up to take on amazon. hundreds of thousands of products through google platform including voice ordering through google assistant m.
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a test mts to the mutual threat they face from amazon, but a team up doesn't ensure they'll be successful. for most customers amazon is the primary stop. the way amazon has really changed the retail landscape. that will be one of those big business stories of our generation. >> it's changed buyer behavior. you check amazon to vouch for the price. "early start" continues with the latest from the phoenix rally. >> i hit him with neo nazi. i hit them with everything. i got the white supremacist and the neo nazi, we have kkk, i got them all. >> president trump ticking off all the groups he has condemned or says he has condemned. president trump goes off prompter and


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