hello, i'm wolf blitzer. it's 1:00 p.m. here in washington, 8:00 p.m. in saudi arabia. 9:309 p.m. in kabul, afghanistan. wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us. on the defense, after the disaster, president trump praises his administration on its response to puerto rico but millions of americans still begging for more help. angry and embarrassed, the president live vid after his chosen senate candidate loses in alabama. why republicans are now facing a civil war. and the u.s. defense secretary james mattis and other dignitaries targeted by the taliban while in kabul. we have new details on that attack. but first, there is breaking news out of the white house. i want to go to senior white
house correspondent jeff zeleny who is joining us right now. the president getting ready to leave for indiana. major speech on tax reform. what are you learning? >>. >> that's right. the president is leaving for indiana just momentarily from andrews air force base. he just did leave the white house. he did talk to reporters before he left about a variety of subjects. he talked about the nfl again. he talked about the alabama senate race of course, which he is stinging over the loss last night of the incumbent senator luther strange. he also talked about health and human services secretary tom price who has been embroiled in a growing series of questions about his use of a private jet. the president said we'll see when asked feld fire his health and human services secretary. >> hold on for a moment. we just got the tape of the president's remarks, q and a with reporters. let's lis hadden in. >> good morning, mr. president.
. president -- >> after luther vang's defeat? >> we have a man who is going to be a great senator. i'm very happy with that. i spoke to him last night. i never met him or spoke to him. i'm very happy with him. i have to say luther came a long way from the time i endorsed him and he ran a good race. roy ran a really great race. and i know what they did -- he, would hard and i'm sure things will work out. i just wanted to say though on health care, we have the votes for health care. we have one senator that's in the hospital. he can't vote because he's in the hospital. >> reporter: are you talking about. >> he can't vote because he's in the hospital. we have two other votes that are coming and we will have them. but the problem is we can't have them by friday because of reconciliation ends on friday. we'll have to do it in january or february. but i feel we have the votes.
i'm almost certain we have the votes. with one man in the hospital, we cannot display that we have them. plus, some people want to go through a process just to make themselves fee better. that's okay. >> reporter: do you have confidence -- >> how your aide spending taxpayer money. >> we're talking about health care. >> reporter: he spent a lot of money on that charter plane. >> i was looking into it and i will look into it. i will tell you personally, i'm not happy about it. i am not happy about it i'm going to look at it. i let him know it. >> reporter: do you have confidence in secretary price. >> is he in trouble? >> you'll have to ask senators about that. you have to ask -- here's what i'm saying. we're going right now to indiana. we're going to introduce a tax plan that's the largest tax cut, essentially in the history of our country. it's going to be something special. you already know some of the numbers. we're going to give you some of the additional numbers.
but on health care, we have the votes. we can't do it now because we have somebody in the hospital. and we have great respect for that gentleman, by the way. he's a fantastic man. we are going to -- yes, that's right. >> sir, who is in the hospital? which senator are you referring to? >> in other words, he can't come here and vote because he's in the hospital. >> who is in the hospital? >> sorry. wait. in the hospital. so we're going to do it in january or february because as you know, we have the votes but we can't go longer than friday. what we're going to do is we will do the block grants and health care. we will get a longer process going through a couple of people that didn't want to see more process even though they're a yes vote. very importantly, i have also during this period of a couple of months, i'm going to meet with democrats and i will see if i can get a health care plan that's even better.
so i will negotiate with democrats. but from the republican standpoint, we have the votes. we'll vote in january, february or march. >> reporter: are you considering an executive order? >> i am considering an executive order on associations and that will take care of a tremendous number of people with regard to health care. i'll probably be signing a very major executive order where people can go out, cross state lines, do lots of things and buy their own health care, and that will be probably signed next week. it's being finished now. it's going to cover a lot of territory and a lot of people. millions of people. >> reporter: one question -- >> john, go ahead. >> reporter: [ inaudible question ]. >> i think we're there now, john. i'll be honest. you look at the statement put out by alaska, by, right? you saw that by lisa. you look at the other couple of statements. we're only one off.
maybe two. but we can't vote now, john. you probably didn't hear me because as you know, one of our yes votes is in the hospital. i can't take -- i can't take hip out of the hospital. >> reporter: [ inaudible question ]. >> i do have confidence in him, yes. i do have confidence but it's really up to me. it's up to the senate. but i do have confidence in him. i will say they used him in the race. and i was very honored by the way i was treated in the race but they used him in the race. john, they used him in the race. and you know up with of those things. >> reporter: does your plan help the wealthy too much? >> my plan is for the working people and my plan is for jobs. >> reporter: you wouldn't benefit out of your tax plan. >> i don't benefit. in fact, very, very strongly as you see, there's no -- i think there's very little benefit for people of wealth.
the state taxes one of the things, if you look at it, for farmers and people with mau businesses. >> reporter: what do you say to the things roy moore has done in the past? a member of congress -- >> i don't see it. we'll talk to you about that at a different time. the point is -- >> he's such a firebrand and controversial? >> the point is this. health care, we have it. we have the votes. because of reconciliation, we have to wait till january, february, or march which we'll do. but in the meantime, i will negotiate with democrats to see if we can make a bipartisan bill. yes, john. >> with democrats. >> reporter: 20% corporate a red line for you? >> very much a red line. in fact, i wanted to start at 15 so that we got 20. it just the numbers were 15 were
so low, we didn't take in the revenue. but i wanted 15 so we got 20. 20 is my number. i'm not negotiating that number. i am not going to negotiate. that's the number i wanted to get to. i wanted to start at 15 to get there. we had to start there because of the complexity of the numbers. but 20 is a perfect number. >>. >> reporter: on puerto rico, why not lift the jones act like did you in texas? >> we're thinking about that. we have a lot of shippers and a lot of people that work in the shipping industry that don't want the jones act lifted. we have a lot of ships out there right now. i will tell you, the governor was very generous yesterday with his statement and so was the mayor of san juan, very generous with their statements. we have a lot of people. i'm going there on tuesday as you probably have heard and puerto rico is a very difficult situation. that place was just destroyed. that's not a question of gee, let's dry up the water, let's do this or that.
that place was flattened. that is a really tough situation. i feel so badly for the people. >> reporter: updated travel ban. first of all, why sudan was remove and how does the travel ban work in north korea? >> the people allowed certain countries, but we can add countries very easily and we can take countries away. as far as the travel ban is concerned, whatever it is, i want the toughest travel ban you can have. so i'll see new indiana. i'm going to go over some more points that have not been talked about. are you all going? is everyone going? >> reporter: is there room? >> nfl story, i know something you've been talking about a lot. you said in charlottesville those folks had the right to protest. why doesn't colin kaepernick have his first amendment rights. >> i think the nfl is in a box, a really bad box. you look what's happening with their ratings. frankly, the only thing doing
well in the nfl is the pregame because everybody wants to see what's going on. the nfl is in a very bad box. you cannot have people disrespecting our national anthem, our flags, our country and that's what they're doing. and in my opinion, the nfl has to change. or you know what's going to happen? their business is going to go to hell. >> the first amendment, do you oppose the first amendment? [ inaudible question ] >> not at all, no. we have to respect our national thaemt and our country. they're not respecting our country. and most importantly, the fans agree with me. largely, the fans agree. but we have to show total respect for our national anthem, four our flag, for our country. we have to do it. there are plenty of places and personally, when they're protesting during a football game, i think they can find better places but they cannot do
it during the national anthem. i am going to see -- i'm looking at that very closely. i'm not happy with it. i am not happy with it. >> reporter: would you fire him, sir? >> we'll see. >> all right. so there's the president just videotape a few minutes ago. he's walking to marine 1. it will be taking him as already taking him to joint base andrews for the flight to indiana where he will deliver a major speech outlining his proposals for tax cuts, tax reform. and he he made some significant news there is saying he's now settled on 20% tax for businesses coming down from 35% originally. he wanted 15%. much more on that coming in. other major news. the president saying next week, he probably will be sign an executive order that will allow americans to purchase health insurance across state lines. that would be a major change in the way health insurance is
purchased in the united states right now. lots more. i want to bring in jeff zeleny, white house correspondent listening very carefully. often we couldn't hear the exact questions. we could hear his answers. let me walk through some of these issues with you. he was among other things strongly defending his rebuke of the nfl. >> reporter: he was indeed, wolf. he again is saying the nfl is in a box over this because of low ratings and again what we have been told by private conversations he's been having, he does not regret talking about the nfl and the anthem at all. we also get the sense his advisers hope he starts talking about something else and boy, did he, wolf. biggest headline out of this perhaps is he talked repeatedly about health care. he did not acknowledge that republicans have suffered a major defeat. once again this week. this was the week that they were going to try once again to revive the efforts to repeal and replace obamacare by the deadline on friday. he kept saying there's a senator in the hospital. the senator we believe he's
referring to is thad cochran of mississippi. his office told us earlier today, wolf, that he is not in the hospital but recovering from some procedures he had. but the reality here is the votes were not there. we did not hear the president address that specifically. but that executive order next week saying he would sign what he called a major executive order allowing people to buy insurance across state lines. he has long talked about this as an idea. he wanted this had to be part of a health care bill but that is something that was not able to be in it because of how they were trying to do it in in the reconciliation process in this year's budget. if he does sign that next week, that would be significant but does not get the republican party to its stated goal of repealing and replacing the affordable care act. >> something rand paul said he couldn't vote for the legislation that didn't even come up for a vote this week. he really was pushing forward pushing for among other republicans, as well with, the ability for americans to
purchase health insurance across state lines presumably the argument goes there would be more competition. it would bring down the price. there's been some discussion, some debate whether the president can make such a significant change through an executive order as opposed po legislation. i um that would be debated once the president signs that is executive order. >> it will be debated. that is exactly what senator rand paul republican of kentucky has been talking about. we know despite the fact that senator rand paul opposed this bill, he does talk to this president quite frequently. he is one of the few republicans who oppose it who the president has not been angry about. we know they've been talking and working toward something and this is indeed that. but wolf, you're exactly right. the idea ta this could be done through executive order is something that a, concerns many people on capitol hill. they believe it's their purview to pass legislation and like most executive orders do it
triggers tro pension lawsuits or challenges here. so the fine print is not done on this executive order at all. the president may have gotten slightly ahead of this again trying to talk about what he is doing on health care, no the addressing the fact that republicans controlling the senate, controlling the house have failed once again this week to do their stated goal of repealing and replacing the affordable care act. >> yeah, he also tried to put a positive light on the election in alabama, the republican primary last night. suggesting that i ever judge roy moore would be an excellent republican candidate even though he strongly supported luther strange. a very quickly on axes, the president said wealthy americans would not benefit from the tax cuts he's going to put forward. but one thing that he is putting forward, correct me if i'm wrong is elimination of the estate tax meaning there would be no tax on the estates of individuals. very wealthy individual like
himself. he says he wouldn't benefit but he would tremendously benefit if the billions of dollars that he had in his estate was given tax free to his children. >> they certainly would. this is one thing that both besides the house and senate negotiators on this group of six that was called would like to see done. the estate tax done away with. but that is going to be controversial in some corners and it is going to be make it more difficult in some instances to get democratic votes on this. but it is also the speech that he's going to be giving this speech in afternoon in indiana will outline principles for tax reform but left to the tax writing committees in the senate and house to hammer out the fine print on this. there is still the door being left open to raising taxes specifically on some of the wealthiest americans. the president is okay with that being discussed we are told because he wants this to be seen as i middle classtach cut. steve bannon when he was here at the white house was urging the
president at the time to the consider increasing taxes on the wealthiest americans here. that is going to be one of the rubs here in this. don't look for a lot of naunz specs on this tax plan this afternoon. this is something that must be hammered out here. we did hear the president saying he would accept a corporate tax of 20%. that is a change. he initially had been pushing for 15%. but still, wolf, a big decrease from what it is right now. >> he says he will not negotiate that 20% he originally wanted 15%. he settled on 20%, down from 35%. that's not negotiable in the coming weeks and months as this tax legislation presumably will go through congress. jeff, thanks very much. the president also said this will be the largest tax cut in the history of our country. we'll do the numbers. we'll see if he's right on that. there's lots more to assess. rene marsh, i want to get your reaction to what the president said on it's a pretty arcane complicated issue, the jones
act. the people in puerto rico, 3.5 million americans right now, are suffering and many of them want the elimination, a waiver of what's called the jones act. the president said that's not happening. > right, exactly. for people who don't nope what it is, it essentially is shipping restrictions at u.s. ports that essentially says that only ships that are owned, operated by americans can essentially go from port to port delivering aid. >> has to have an american flag. >> exactly. but what people in puerto rico, members on capitol hill are calling for is for that to be waived so that even foreign vessels could come in and bring in supplies. they're saying they want it expedited. they believe that they will be able to get access cheaper supplies if this is waived. the jones act is waived. department of homeland security today telling us they are reviewing the request from members in congress. they haven't made a decision yet. they simply say their hands are tied. here's why. the only way they can waive they
say the jones act is if it's a national security issue. they say they can also waive it if there is a fuel shortage. dhs says at this point, there is no fuel shortage in puerto rico. they say the problem is distributing all of the fuel that is there on the island. so as it stands right now, they are not waiving the jones act. but what really stood out to me is when we heard the president speaking there, r, he was asked about the jones act. i want to pull up what he said. he said a lot of shippers, a lot of people in the shipping industry, they don't want to the waive the jones act. that will strike people in let's just say it will rub people the wrong way. here it is he's talking about the stiping industry not wanting the jones acting to waived but then you have these images in puerto rico of people saying we need supplies, we need help anywhere we can get help, we will take it.
il guarantee that comment from the president will not be taken. >> it sounds sort of cruel to hear that from the president. these people are suffering. what's the difference if a british fig flip or french flagship comes in and anprovides badly needed supplies? the shipping industry is in good shape. the problem isn't the shipping industry. the problem are the people of prosecutor. >> exactly. so the tone of that comment is certainly going to strike people the wrong way. but it also seems like it's out of step. he doesn't understand the concept of the jones act. it goes against everything that the department of homeland security told us today which has nothing necessarily to do was whether people want it in the industry or not, it is about the law and the law states that dhs can only waive this if there is a national security issue or fuel short and. >> let's get more analysis. shannon pettypiece white house reporter for bloomberg news. the president suffered a major
humiliation, the loss of his republican candidate in the alabama republican primary. he tried to put his best foot forward on that issue and the collapse of this latest revision of repealing and replacing obamacare. the president is in a tough situation right now. >> clearly trying to show, look, we're trying to do something. this executive order that jeff was talking about to expand health insurance across state lines. i am almost certain that will be challenged legally whether or not he has authority and that's no silver bullet for the issues in the health insurance market. it only addresses the individual market which is not where most people get their health insurance from and it would take a long time for a national insurance market with all the regulations and networks to get set up. that's not going to be any sort of panacea for people in 201, still it's something he can do to try and show he's making progress. they're now getting the focus on this tax reform plan off the nfl that he spent the weekend
talking about that when they could have been talking about tax reform and jobs, trying to get the message back on to tax reform which is one of the things that's been propping up the stock market and propping up employment numbers. >> when david drucker was with us, cnn political analyst, senior congressional correspondent for the washington examiner, when the president says wealthy americans will not benefit from the cuts he's putting forward but the highest level of individual tax cuts will go down from 39.6%tors 35%, that sounds like a benefit. >> they're making the argument that they're going to do with away with some of the deductions that have allowed the so-called wealthy, people who make a lot of people to benefit in ways when you don't make as much money, you don't have as many tax deductions you can't take advantage of all of these. what's really interesting though here is regardless of how this tax reform plan turns out and we don't know if they'll be able to get this done when you look how
health care went, that president obama and the democrats have really won the political argument about what tax reform and health care reform for that matter is supposed to look like because you look at president trump and republicans on the hill talking so much about not allowing the wealthy to benefit. and that is a democratic talking point and a piece of democratic party philosophy, liberal philosophy that usually was up against the republican conservative philosophy of if you make your money legally, you work hard for it, you should get a tax cut. the republicans have moved away from that. one last thing on this. this framework they released today doesn't include one particular thing, that is the income levels that decides which rate bracket you're in. the government has not yet told americans who is going to be considered rich and therefore, who doesn't get a tax cut and that is a very big deal. >> this goes against the grain of so many conservatives, so many republicans who say you know what? you should cut taxes for everyone including the wealthy.
>> that's correct. that has always been a philosophical underpinning of at least the republican party since reagan. even though the tax cut plans have always remained progressive under republican administrations even though they got into the same ball game of bestoeg deferredtach breaks to industries that the government picked, there was always this philosophy that if you earn your money, you deserve a tax cut because it's the government's money, not yours. a lot of them -- that was appealing for a long time to a lot of americans. republicans have now thrown in with the democrats and agree the wealthy should not get a tax break and they're going to decide, they say, who is too wealthy to deserve a tax cut and who is not wealthy enough they're willing to give them a tax cut into mial mcginnis is with us, as well. what's your reaction to what the president just told us? there's a lot of news in there. >> yeah, there's a lot of news in there and clearly, they are going to need tax reform to move forward because the republicans need a political win.
and tax reform is really difficult to do because what it means is it's structured in a way to help grow the economy. it needs to be a priority because growth in this country has a huge headwind right now which is the aging of the population. the economy needs all these policies we can put together to create growth. here's one thing that doesn't grow the economy. borrowing a lot of money and adding to our debt. the plan that came out today we're just getting details and like we said, they're not details where the rates are phased in. the outline is clearly going to be a tax cut of above $5 trillion and a portion is paid for that by broadening the tax base but a big portion isn't. it looks like they'll be borrowing beyond $2 trillion and add agatha to the debt. to the republican narrative that sort of switched one, they're moving away from tax reform into tax cuts. that has always been something a lot of republicans liked but they liked also spending cuts. that's something we don't hear
about anymore at all. we don't hear about spending cuts. we don't hear about entitlement reform. if what this ends up being is just a big tax cut, it is going to add to the debt massively for a party that's been strong on saying we shouldn't do that and they're going to be stuck on how these numbers don't add up. >> entitlements are two-thirds of government spending baked into the biggest driver of the debt. there's a big disagreement what to do about medicare, medicaid and social security. if you don't want to address those issues and want to reduce the amount of money the government takes in, you're banking on economic growth generating extra revenue. a lot of republicans believe it's possible. a lot of people in the business world believe it's possible. they can't bank on it. they have to see if he it works if they can even get this done. there are a lot of tough votes in there removing the deduction for state and local taxes. a lot of republicans in blue states have to explain this to their constituents.
this will be a very tricky thing for them to do. >> if you think repealing and replacing obamacare was hard, wait for tax reform. the president was blunt as far as some members of his cabinet using private planes. renee, you've been looking into this. he said i'm not happy about it. specifically asked about tom price. people not happy about it. he's being sort of critical about this controversy which has come up. not just tom price. but others, as well. >> he said he's not happy about it but he stopped short of saying anything more. what will happen? there has been this question about is tom price safe or not. our reporting here at cnn is it appears for right now, is he safe. >> safe in terms of holding on to his job? >> that's correct. going back to this issue of the private planes, i had been speaking with hhs, health and human services for quite some time. they said that at approval came from the legal counsel within
hhs. you just heard the president saying not happy about it. so clearly they didn't give the an probable. microscope is on tom price as well as other members of his cabinet. steve mnuchin. there's also reporting out there that scott pruitt over at the epa also used a private plane. so you know, with an administration that's talked a lot about the cutting the pork, there are now ig, i don't want to say investigations but inquiries. >> inspector general. >> right, inspector eligible inquiries looking into their use of government resources. >> it's a very sensitive issue. another sensitive issue, the whole nef uproar. you heard the president once again, he's not backing away from this at all. the nfl is in a box, their ratings are down. the only time their ratings are up the pregame shows when you see who is going to be respecting the flag. he says you cannot have people who don't respect the national anthem. he's not backing away from that
at all. i suspect he sees that politically as a winning issue for him. >> i think he does see this as an issue that he's winning and an issue where the american people are on his side with. i think this is one of the these classic examples where he says liberals and media are the only one who have a problem to this. listen to the fans boo and look as jersey sales and look at ratings. even before this -- just as it was starting to catch wind, the white house they weren't necessarily unhappy this story had taken over because they felt liking this wasn't an issue. it was a little bit of red meat to throw to the base. you know, to show to them that he's still the guy they put into office despite nancy and chuck and some of the criticisms about the wall and daca. it was something to show to the base to remind them, this is why i like this guy. >> that story is it certainly not going away, as well. once again, lots of issues coming up during this ten-minute q & a with reporters as president was on the south lawn
of the white house. we're going to continue to follow all breaking newsive including some devastation and a lot of desperate people right now. food, medicine and drinking water in short supply as puerto rico waits for more assistance from the federal government. cnn is live on the ground. also, i'll speak live with a member of the house intelligence committee on news that robert mueller is working with the irs right now in the russia investigation. are the president's tax returns a focus?
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of. 5 million americans in puerto rico right now are desperately waiting for aid nearly a week after hurricane maria struck and some are doing everything they can to get rescuers' attention. take a look at this, the word help is painted across the roof of this home. in another home, s.o.s. we need water and food is
written across the street. a desperate cry for the most bake essentials. puerto rico's governor says more help is needed and warns the island right now is facing a humanitarian crisis. >> we need to prevent a humanitarian crisis occurring in america. puerto rico is part of the united states. and we need to take swift action. >> according to officials nearly 1.5 million americans at least in puerto rico are without drinking water, generators are running out of fuel and supplies at hospitals are quickly quickly dwindling, not to mention around 97 percy should say, 97% of the island still has no power. no power at all. cnn was on ground when the hurricane hit. our teams are still there bringing you every angle of the recovery effort. we'll go 0 boris sanchez in san juan in a moment. but jeremy is joining us, the former head of the u.s. foreign
disaster assistance program, senior fellow over an the center for global development. this is a real crisis and i foe you've been involved in dealing with crises like this. this is extraordinary. >> it is truly extraordinary and begins to parallel some of the challenges you see in developing country environments, the sort of places where you used to lead responses. the degree of development in puerto rico is very different than the manland of the united states. that is complicating the response. >> let's get into the arcane issue of the jones act. you're very familiar with it and just heard the president in that informal q & a with reporters saying we're not going to eliminate, we're not going to give a waiver to the jones act that could hurt the shipping industry and the jones act says only u.s. flagged ships should be able to service puerto rico. >> yeah, it's an archaic law. 100 years old. at this point, you have to wonder why they're not finding a way around it. is it a game changer? no, is it helpful if they can
wave it? yes. articulation that the president made earlier almost sounds like profiteering from u.s. shipping companies. >> i suspect a lot of foreign vessels in the neighborhood in the region if they have some supplies badly needed supplies would like to come into a port in puerto rico and help the people there. >> in a situation like this, you need all hands on deck response. you need to fire on every cylinder. something like this suggests they're not at that level yet. >> to waive the jones act, how difficult bureaucratically is it? >> it's a determination that the secretary of homeland security can make. >> just by signing a document? >> some legal underpinnings to that. that seems to be what the disagreement about right now. dhs is saying legally they can't find the basis for doing that. that sounds a little dubious. you look at this and you wonder how coherent the policy making is on the administration side.
on the ebola response in the early days i helped lead that during the obama administration. we had a lot of players and it was very complex and ultimate will i we brought in what was called the ebola czar ron klain to help cohere all of that. what's happening right now, i wonder if they need something similar. >> right now, the priority is to help 3.5 million americans in puerto rico and other so much about the u.s. shipping industry. >> absolutely. >> what else as an expert in this area needs to be done to help the folks there? >> we're beginning to see the moment if you mean build. it was slow to build. and it's a shame that some of the things ha the actions they started taking yesterday weren't being taken over the weekend. but it's starting. i think over the coming days, we will start to see had response turn the corner. i hope that's the case. you're seeing dod ramp up. they announced new measure yesterday. ports are getting cleared. this is a very difficult
operating environment. anytime you're responding on an island, the logistics are ten times as complicated. >> was there one sfarnd for texas and florida, a different standard for puerto rico? >> you have to look at this and say it's a much more complex and difficult response but at the same time, it doesn't seem to have gotten the level of attacks from the white house those earlier storms did. >> they're doing it now as they should. boris sanchez is in puerto rico and joining us from san juan. give us your assessment, how dire is the situation based on everything you've seen? >> reporter: yeah, wolf. we're here at the airport in san juan. they are barely operable. typically there are 120 commercial flights that come in and out of this airport every day. right now they're down to 1. the ceo of the airport considers that a success considering everything that they've gone through the past several days. after hurricane maria swept puerto rico about a week ago, thousands of people have been
showing up here to the airport. many of them folks that were on vacation and were booted out of their hotels because of a lack of resources. others simply have no home to go back to. so people are turning to the airport as a defacto shelter. we've seen families sleeping on ground, many with young children. some bringing out patio furniture get comfortable any way they can here. it is extremely frustrating not only because the ac is off and simple things like printing a boarding pass are extremely complicated. there's also a lack of information. many feel that the airlines are not doing enough to help them get out of the island. i actually spoke with one family in a special circumstance. they have a child with environmental disabilities. the mother told me she feared for her son's life because he needs special equipment and medication just to stay alive. she says they went to a hospital and were turned away because the hospital didn't have the resources to accommodate him. so they came here to the
airport. listen to more of what they had to say, wolf. >> this is insane. this is completely unacceptable. i mean, we're human beings. we're not animals. we're being treated here as animals. >> my son in this condition he can die any minute in here. we need to go. >> reporter: and from what i understand, would he have, the last i heard from that family they were able to get a plane ticket. it leaves shortly in about a half an hour. it's not confirmed they actually very seats on that plane. they're in a very difficult situation as many others are here at the airport in san juan, wolf. >> i suspect a lot of puerto ricans right now would like to get out of puerto rico and come over to the mainland. boris, we'll check back with you. thank you very much. a very dire situation in puerto rico. there is much more news here on cnn including an excluesive on the russia investigation. the irs, the internal revenue service handing over information
on trump campaign officials to the special counsel robert mueller. could open the door for investigators to go the a copy of president trump's tax returns? and north korea reaching out to republicans here in washington for help trying to figure out the president. and one man they want to speak to, he's my guest. lots of news. we'll be right back. ...has grown into an enterprise. that's why i switched to the spark cash card from capital one. now, i'm earning unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase i make. everything. what's in your wallet?
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a member of the senate judiciary committee says he's 99% sure that the russia investigation will result in criminal charges. democratic senator richard blumenthal tells politico former national security adviser michael flynn and former trump campaign chairman paul manafort are among the most likely to be indicted. eric schwallwell of california serves on both the judiciary and intelligence committees and joins us live from capitol hill. do you agree with senator
blumenthal that indictments are almost certain in this russia probe? >> i'm not going to lay any odds on that. i have a narrow job to do here in the house and make sure that bob mueller has the resources he needs. i'll certainly say it looks more and more like these, this constellation of contacts with russia as russia was interfering in our elections was a convergence rather than the world's greatest coincidence but again that's mueller's job. >> the special and its investigators we're told could start interviewing both current and former white house staffers either later this week or next week as part of the russia probe. that according to two sources familiar with the matter. does that suggest that the investigation now may be entering a new phase? >> it's certainly getting closer and closer to the president. to me as a former prosecutor, it suggests this may not only be looking at con piracy and collusion but also obstruction
of justice. the actions that the president may have taken after the investigation began probably around his firing of then director james comey. >> but you're not ready to conclude now that there was in fact obstruction of justice in the firing of comey? >> it looks like obstruction to me when you fire the guy investigating you and then you tell the world and you tell the russians when they're in the oval office that you did it because of russia and it helps you now make decisions around russia. but again, i'm no longer in the courtroom, wolf. so we'll leave that to bob mueller. >> that's a decision he has to make. the internal revenue service is now sharing information with the special counsel about key trump campaign officials. could that mean that the president's taxes might come under scrutiny, as well? >> they should. i don't think any investigation into the president and russia would be complete whether it's in congress or a criminal probe if it does not include a look at
the president's taxes. and wolf, the president could clear all of this up and just show us his taxes. and the fantastic that he won't show us his taxes means either he is very, very zub born and wants us to wonder and question what's in there or he's afraid of what we'll find. neither of those i think reflect very well on him. >> he says he doesn't want to release his taxes and said it through the campaign because he's under audit. you don't buy that. >> i don't buy it. he's the president of the united states. i'm sure if he was under audit, irs could expedite that for him. >> the leaders of the senate judiciary committee are stepping up hair fight with the fbi and the justice department. they accuse the bureau of accuse trying to obstruct their investigations of james comey, including the former fbi director's actions, his subsequent firing. what's behind the feud, as far as you know? >> you know, i can't figure that out, wolf. we also see on our side, former russia chairman, devin nunes is
still signing subpoenas and sending them over to the fbi, demanding that they come in, because he's got his own questions. i think we should try to work with them, to the get in each other's way. the american people want to see unity right now. and i also, i think you're seeing some effort by the white house and some senate republicans and house republicans to undermine our intelligence agencies, figuring that that would undermine the investigation and save the president. i think, you know, unity is the best thing we could show right now. >> i want to get your quick reaction to another story that's developing. the acting head of the drug enforcement agency is stepping down. rosenberg took issue with remarks by the president back in july, telling police to be more rough with suspects. do you believe this could lead to a larger exodus? >> we're seeing a larger exodus, wolf. and i think he also is concerned about just a lack of respect for
the rule of law. i'm the son of a police officer, the brother of two police officers. when the president said that, i called my brothers immediately and said, that is not an example for law enforcement. they, of course, agreed. but we're seeing whether it's, you know, insulting the courts and their role or firing the guy what was investigating him. he is really reducing, i think -- he is diminishing the role that law enforcement and the rule of law plays in our country. >> congressman eric swalwell, thanks for joining us. >> my pleasure. thanks, wolf. >> other news, including north korea. north korea now wants to apparently understand more about president trump. some government officials from pyongyang are quietly reaching out to republican analysts here in washington. one of those invited pyongyang is my next guest, bruce clingner. here's a former cia analyst. he's now with the heritage foundation. he's a top expert on north korea. bruce, thanks very much for joining us. pretty extraordinary, isn't it, that north korean officials are
asking you and others to give them a better sense of who this president is? >> right. well, of course, there have been a series of conferences over the years, between north korean officials and usually former u.s. officials or academics, where we all exchange views, trying to get a better sense of the other's policy. so when we've engaged in these, they're interesting, they're useful, try to undo misperceptions or to better explain our own government's positions, although, of course, we're speaking on our own behalf. so i think, certainly, given the tensions currently, as well as the misunderstanding or the lack of understanding of what the other government's policies are, it makes it useful. >> have you already had a dialogue with these north korean officials? >> the last time i was engaged in a conference was in june, in europe. i wrote an op-ed about it with the other americans -- >> you met with north korean diplomats or officials? >> right. >> but since then, they've asked you for another round of meetings? they want you to go to pyongyang? is that right? >> that's right. there's a discussion about a number of outreaches to
different us officials or it's just another conference in switzerland, i think, this week, with other former officials. >> have you been to north korea? >> no, with i haven't. >> so are you ready to accept that invitation? >> so, of course, since september 1st, americans aren't allowed to go without a special visa, which is usually reserved for media or government or humanitarian officials. so always eager and willing to exchange views to better understand their view as well as try to better explain what the u.s. policy is. >> do you think they have a pretty good understanding of who this president is, when he uses words like rocket man or little rocket man, talking about kim jong-un. when he talks about, you know, the extent of a possible war between the united states and north korea. do they appreciate who this president is? >> well, i think even within washington, a lot of us are trying to discern the parameters of the policy towards north korea. i feel when i talk to people within the government, i get a better sense of kind of the components of a coherent strategy. i think a lot of the messaging has been contradictory, particularly about whether the
u.s. is considering a preventative attack. so that's certainly an issue that they would be concerned with. >> are you surprised by the rhetoric, the rhetoric from kim jong-un, for example, towards the united states right now and towards, specifically, the president? >> well, we have to keep in mind that north korea has always used very over the top language. they used very racist comments about president obama, very sexist comments about ambassador nikki haley, as well as the previous south korean president, park geun-hye. >> so you're not that surprised? >> it's, i think, in tune with what they've done. the recent statement by kim jong-un, personally, was pretty unprecedented. so whether they are actually going to implement sort of the vowed thermonuclear test over the pacific, i think, is a low probability, but i think it's almost certain that eeventualve they will do a long-range icbm test that will fly over japan. >> you pent a career first at the cia and now at a think tank studying north korea. how worried should we all be? >> north korea -- or the korean peninsula is always on the knife edge o of a crisis.
the tensions are always high. my concern is not that kim jong-un is erratic or irrational and that he'll just launch a war. my concern is that either an escalation from a tactical situation going to a strategic confrontation or miscalculation. >> and that miscalculation is a big, big fear right now. on either side. because the tension level is pretty enormous. >> exactly. and when you have really all three components, south korea, north korea, the u.s. all saying that they're leaning further forward on preemption, then you could have a stumbling across the red line. >> and if you get the waiver from the state department saying you can go to north korea, are you there? >> we also have to be concerned with the treatment of otto warmbier and other americans who are still being held there. >> bruce klinger of the heritage foundation, thank you very much. moments ago with, the president making some major news on a number of fronts, saying he's upset with his own cabinet members who have run up tabs on
private planes, declaring the nfl will go to hell if they don't address national anthem protests, plus, we're standing by for the president. once again, he's getting ready to speak at indianapolis. he's pushing a new tax plan with sweeping cuts. lots of news happening. stay with cnn for all the late-breaking developments.
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