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tv   Inside Politics  CNN  September 28, 2017 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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a crisis of confidence in the gop. president trump criticizing a cabinet member for his pricey private flights and weighing in
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on his relationship with mitch mcconnell after another obamacare repeal set back. >> i'm not happy about it. i'm going to look at it. i'm not happy about it and i let him know it. >> do you have confidence? >> i do. >> an emotional return for steve scalise to the house floor. >> you have no idea how great this feels to be back here at work in the people's house. >> we will go right to the white house and hear from the homeland security adviser in the white house and the acting secretary of homeland security. let's listen. >> it's starting to clear so we get the continual amount of supplies into puerto rico. we have supplies on around island and have the necessary food and water and we are bringing in additional for replenishment in addition heavy
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equipment and other things needed for the island's recovery. we have been working on yesterday principally getting distribution that last mile. to do that we had to remove debris and restore roles and had to clear landslides across the island and have done air drops in the meantime. our focus was on the immediate relief and try to gain access to the parts of the island. currently we are looking towards continued replenishment. i did sign a jones act waiver this morning that came in yesterday afternoon from the governor of puerto rico. it is based on national security needs from the secretary mattis and the president encouraged us as he has done throughout this hurricane response and the other two to lean forward. on day one of the first
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hurricane, he told us people first. that has been our response. we want to get the word out to you. we want to make sure the american people know what's going on with their friends and family and fellow citizens. we appreciate yourpatien you are seeing devastation and that is the fault of the hurricane. the relief effort is under control and proceeding very well considering the devastation that took place. with that, i will turn it over to tom boss effort. >> i would like to amplify what the secretary said and remind the people that president trump stands with puerto rico and the puerto rican people who are working hard to get through this devastating recovery and relief effort. i would like to remind you procedurally how we do it and my job here on behalf of helping the president and behalf of his team is to help elaine duke and
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the people and men and women of fema stand with the governor and the mayors of municipal governors and leaders in puerto rico. elaine duke, you are doing a wonderful job. we are working tirelessly to make sure the entire u.s. government is bringing its firepower into puerto rico. i understand the coverage in some cases is giving the appearance we are not moving fast enough. i think there is two responses i have to that. first, there is an understandable degree of devastation on the island and for anyone who needs food and water and power and life saving needs and health care, nothing can happen fast enough. what i will tell you is we are mobilizing and marshalling the resources in a way that is absolutely professional and fas and adequate to meet the needs. now what we have to do is marshall them through the
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island. this is an island territory that is some distance from the united states. the constraints and limitations are different from a contiguous state here in the united states. we can position hundreds of trucks in florida or texas for line services. we can't do that in puerto rico. we have to bring them in the moment the storm subsides. that's what we are doing. a lot of the reporting is not wrong, but dated. for instance i saw that only 11 hospitals were assessed and opened. that was probably accurate, but wrong at the time it was reported. we assessed most of the hospitals at this point on the territory on the island. there are 69 hospitals total. 47 have been assessed by the department of defense and health and human services. 44 of the hospitals are operational. this is important for a number of reasons. we were concerned with patients needing dialysis and 6500 or so. those are life-threatening conditions if they don't get the
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treatment. it is not a matter of too fast or too slow. people are fixating on that, but two business models under way. they decentralized one and centralized one. i will get into that briefly and take your questions. first, we send -- the request was for me to talk louder. two things. we need to centralize certain plans and the restoration of power on the island is a centralized effort. we call a direct mission has been eaged and now the united states army corps of engineers is in charge of restoring power on the island of puerto rico. he has been in charge of that mission since early yesterday morning and has a prioritized and centralized plan for accomplishing that end. the plan starts with providing the diesel fuel necessary for emergency power generation and it proceeds in a second priority matter to the sustaining emergency power missions so that
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fuel gets to those generators and supports the hospitals and critical needs and moves into power generation restoration and power transmission and power distribution. that's how the system works and the plan has been laid out across the island and the resources necessary are there. we have 7,000 and i will make sure i read the numbers. over 10,000 federal forces on the island and let's see. 7,200 troops are there and 10,000 federal employees total. that's a combined ground force helping us distribute commodities. secondly an augmentation business plan that is dfere and more proactive than what fema normally engages in. instead of providing assistance to the governor, but not only the governor who is not only doing a wonderful job, but i talked to the mayor and made sure i understood her concerns.
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she is hanging in there and doing a wonderful job. she understands that the business model we are employing, we can augment her staff shortfalls as she had many victims on her staff as well and we are augmenting the state. the federal government is there at every level providing assistance and identifying needs and establishing requirements and helping to validate the requirement meeting them from the federal perspective. that is a new business model and we put it in place on saturday. on sunday we began and saturday morning we upped the planning assumptions by over 50% and we changed the business model on monday. the distribution system became a question of security and forced presence. we put a presence model in place to provide security for the truck drivers to provide water and diesel fuel without feeling unsafe. that constituted a great deal of success for us and keep the model in place.
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lastly the hospitals. the plan that was put in place over the weekend was to take all the hospitals that were down and start moving critical patients to the hospitals that were up. that required a lot of airlift pport and that was in place with the department of defense partners there. they were supportive on that mission. the coast guard and navy in particular. the patients were identify and moved to the open hospitals in northeast. now as i report said, the hospitals that were opening and reopening are ready to take back patients. those requiring additional critical care being airlifted off the island. the care is being provided at this point and the remaining hospitals are being assessed right now. some of them are dated and as you see data, it's not wrong or right, but the frustrations of people are being amplified. make sure you check the currency of the data you report so you don't provide information that would defeat the morale of the people in puerto rico. this is a mission about saving the people and relieving their
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pain and sustaining their lives. they are absolutely showing every degree of compassion and composure and leadership that we saw from the leaders of texas and florida and they have every bit of is the from trump that he gave from every other state. you will see that continue in a positive way. i spoke to the mayor as well. made sure he understood and he was appreciative. >> you have been listening to the homeland security adviser giving a briefing and we will jump out of that for a good reason. joining us is a senator from florida. senator rubio who has been to puerto rico. thank you for joining us and thank you for your respect on irma and here and in puerto rico. i want to ask you, you wrote this morning, conditions in puerto rico are getting worse. you said that. the president said the federal response to maria has been great and amazing. which is it? what's the reality on the
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ground? >> in some ways they are both true. the federal government respond and done so with a level of aid and support that would be sufficient for virtually any storm in any part of the united states. in puerto rico, the storm is so unusual that covers the entire territory after another storm passed through and the fiscal constraints are operating under, these create new challenges. i was listening to the press conference about the change in the business model and this has been happening for a number of days. at the core, the short-term challenge is a logistical one. it is broken and not working because of the storm and other challenges. it needs to be restore and in my view, the only people who can restore the capacity to do so in the short-term and turn it over to the authorities is the department of defense. they are logistical experts. it's good news that they will begin the process of restoring the power lines, but also the
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safety and security of the roads and the bridges and standing up in communications. the sorts of things that the department of defense does better. that's what i'm saying. the business model they are talkin about is the traditional model responding to the storm. the federal government come in to help and i argue when it comes to logistics they will have to lead and put someone there with the authority to make the decisions and execute on them fairly quickly. >> we are hearing that 9,000 containers are sitting at the port right now not being able to be delivered. what you are saying is that the federal government and the military needs to do more right now getting the supplies from those containers out, correct? >> yeah and it's not because they don't want to do more and the white house doesn't want to do more. under the model they are following, they don't have the authority. who is in charge? just as an example. to get aid in, it requires the sign off of fema, the faa and
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local authorities. that can take time and in the process is creating issues. a lot of aid is coming in. they will need more and need to replenish it. you touched on the aid that is already there. there is reasons why they can't transport it. they don't have fuel and drivers for the trucks. if it's insulin, it has to be refrigerated. do they have the temporary power to refrigerate that? these are real challenges that the government on its own will not be able to confront. we have the know how of logistics with the capability to restore them and with the authority to make decisions quickly without having to check with 18 agencies and get the sign offs that can add days to the process. >> the business model that needs to change. >> i think they need to continue on the trend line they are following. to be frank, i think at least they need to restore logistics
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and the federal government will have to be in charge of that through the department of defense with the authority to make disions quicklyut what comes in and how it will get there and if there is not a capacity to distribute it, bring in what the capabilities they need to distribute it and get it to the right places. the restoration of communication and power as part of that. >> you are right in the middle of the aftermath of hurricane irma and in puerto rico and the aftermath of hurricane maria. do you see differences in the type of sponsor the urge urgency in the response to irma and harvey even than what you see with maria. that's what critics are saying. >> i can't say that's true. i don't see it. the challenges are less. florida even though it impacted the entire state, it pushed us to the brink for a couple of days, we brought in power crews. we had this historic number of trucks restoring power. that was not possible in puerto
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rico. it takes five days from miami and seven days from jacksonville to barge that stuff in. they had been strain and just restored power. whatever supplies they had were not in place. the other is we had functional local governments that could communicate with fire and police and the outside world. many of the municipalities and many of the government officials. they were different and the response is pretty much the same, but the need is greater and the type of need is different. it's much more logistical at this point and only the dod in my view has the capacity to take charge of that and restore it in the short-term. the authorities can resume and take over from there. >> senator marco rubio, thank you for being with us and your efforts in the aftermath of hurricane irma. you have been working hard. we are covering the devastation in puerto rico with the team of
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reporters spread out across the island. i want to bring in cnn's ivan watson nea a concrete bridge that was washed away. ivan, we have been looking at remarkable pictures behind you. >> this is the business model of relief and recovery in the municipality. the bridge was washed out after the storm. the community here, no government, no kind of emergency worker, this is people and residents have set up a metal wire, a cable across where the bridge used to be. and locals are being forced to forward the river in knee high water to try to reach the outside world. that is the business model of recovery and relief for this
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community of san lorenzo that has no electricity, no running water, and no fuel for the vehicles. there is an alternate road that takes about three hours over the mountains to reach the outside world. we have been watching for the past couple of hours. residents, women, children, and the elderly have to cross this on foot to try to reach the outside world. if somebody needs insulin if they are diabetic and there are no refrigerators working, they have to tak this way out. it was described how a patient on dialysis had to be brought out on a makeshift raft and dragged across this thing. the hero of this moment is this man over here in the blue shirt who helped string up this metal cable across the river to help people maintain their footing
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and not get swept away by the water when they try to get to the outside world. we have seen people carrying jerry cans who will have to walk an hour on foot to reach a gas station where the fuel is rationed. to get a better idea, we are going to see -- >> can we get ivan back up? >> after hurricane maria, this is a man who is going to be forting this river with his horse. this is the business model of relief and recovery for san lorenzo. 1,000 residents live here and we are going to watch somebody try to lead his horse across. the residents told me several days after the storm some people did conduct an assessment and said they haven't seen anybody
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from that agency since and several days ago the mayor of the municipality did visit. they are distributing food for free to the residents here. one man said for the elderly, they need adult diapers to help with people who are in this village that is cutoff from the outside world. as people talk about the aid and assistance and distribution problems, these locals are doing entirely themselves. that's the business model. on horseback. john? >> ivan watson watching people after putting up a metal cable to get across making the point whatever business model the federal and local government is using, not reaching those folks. they had to do it all themselves. we have been looking at remarkable pictures as well.
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steve scalise back on capitol hill for the first time since he was shot in june. the emotional return and much more. we'll be right back. i'm ryan and i quit smoking with chantix. i tried to quit cold turkey. i tried to quit with the patch; that didn't work. along with support, chantix (varenicline) is proven to help people quit smoking. for me, chantix worked. it reduced my urge to smoke. compared to the nicotine patch, chantix helped significantly more people quit smoking.
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this is the behavior that will not land you on the front page of the "new york times." tom price's picture is splashed across the paper. travel expenses get the boss's attention. >> i was looking into it and i will look into it. i will tell you i'm not happy about it.
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i'm not happy about it. i'm going to look at it. i am not happy about it and i let him know. >> at least $400,000 worth of funds including having lunch with his son. price is not the only one who uses your money. secretary steve mnuchin and scott pruitt spent public monoprivate jets. it is your money and you can think of better things to spend it on and they promised this kind of thing would happen under his watch. >> when it comes to washington, d.c., it is time to drain the damn swamp. drain the swamp. we are going to drain the swamp of washington. we are going to have fun doing it. >> when we win on november 8th, we are going to drain the swamp.
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>> we are going to drain the swamp of government corruption in washington, d.c. >> it is time to drain the swamp. >> a drained swamp makes for a good airstrip. megan murphy of cnn business week. maggie, it's interesting, tom price getting the we'll see treatment from president trump right now. we'll see if he keeps his job. that's something he said for jeff sessions and what he will do with robert mueller. >> he is really unhappy, the president. this began with the initial instinct with this president in particular, there is a negative story regardless of what the substance is. this is not true. they are out to get us. there is days and days of these stories. the one in particular about his lunch with his son. they irked him enormously. we don't know. people in other administrations have been let go for less.
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whether he gets the full jeff sessions treatment, that's not the same thing about railing about him. i'm not sure tom price would stay, but this is exactly what the president promised his administration would not be about and would not do. it's hard to describe it as anything other than egregious. >> he said we still have the confidence of the president. tom price feels safe this be flying commercial for ill sometime >> we have seen that people feel safe until suddenly they don't. it am cans with no warning and the president can say one day that you have his confidence and the next day paul manafort gets fired. this is a pattern. i will say talking to political
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strategists in d.c. about this, there is a concern among republicans and an opportunity with democrats, this is a scandal that tends to be sticky. it's easy for people to understand. private jet travel is something that people see the kardashians doing. it's not something elaborate like russian interference. it's not the mueller investigation. it's not a partisan kind of issue. this is the behavior that typically offends conservatives as much as liberals. >> if it's a flight or a dinner we haven't heard about, it confounds the problem. they are looking at what past secretaries have done. >> we reached the former secretary and both of them basically told us they either only flew commercial and coach and leavitt said he mostly flew commercial and only in emergency situations did he have to fly in
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a different way. this was important because what is normal and what is sort of acceptable behavior for cabinet secretaries gives important context for how tom price has been traveling since he became hhs secretary. this is not normal for the folks in these positions to fly private just because it's more convenient. particularly if you look at the details and there was travel going from philadelphia back to d.c., we have done this before and we know this is a very, very close distance and the trade is readily available. there are shuttles back and forth and not require private travel. >> this is talking about the quiet car. the train exists. let me read you the epa report. pruitt used a private plan and military jet to travel for private trips. flew from jfk airport on june 7
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and continueed from italy. that's what he told cnn. the question is, if it's not just tom price and also scott pruitt and steve mnuchin and was not allowed to take other flights, is there a systemic problem here? is there a message from the top that is not being sent? >> drain the swamp one fresh s cesspool at a time. this is readily understandable by the american people. when you put it into the context of the message that the president wants to deliver right now and the party wants to deliver amid what is going to the attacks about whether this new plan will cut tax breaks for the wealthy even more. these incidents, people are flying around on very easy routes. that doesn't jive with the message of we are increasing opportunity for the middle class and doing what's best for people working hard in america to make
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your life better. this looks like them skimming off the top. steve mnuchin and former bankers. they will have to fired for less in prior administrations. >> let's look at those and if you want to see what the price difference is. a car from philadelphia to washington talks about $46 for the 125 mile right. the train is $123. a united airlines flight costs between 447 and $725. the charter jet? why that costs $25,000. maggie, look. the president we are told doesn't like waste. he would get mad. >> she an interesting definition. certain things benefitted his business that other people consider wasteful that he doesn't. this kind of thing that is objectively wasteful he doesn't
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like. it irritates him and it goes counter to this message whether it's real or not. counter to the portrait that he developed as a businessman and someone who is efficient. a lot of this is about the picture he paints to people as opposed to what is beneath the surface. the bigger point has been made here, but it bears saying that the fact that people can understand this and the fact that you look at the chart that you put up with the numbers, this is not complicated for people to get. that is a risk to the president and he is seeing that more and more. >> you wanted to jump in here. >> this is at odds with the political selling points. this image that the president made such a show. giving away his salary. you bring wealthy people in and they are just doing it because they are public minded and they want to help. that's not what this looks like. >> we will come back in a moment, but i want to go to the
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pentagon and barbara starr. we talked about how the military needed to shoulder the burden. there is word just in that seems to be happening. >> indeed. we are now learning that a three-star army general whose name is lieutenant general jeffrey buchanan has been appointed to lead the military relief efforts for the hurricane in puerto rico. he is expected to land in puerto rico in the coming hours. he already has a one-star deputy on the ground. both of these generals are veterans of multiple combat deploy ams and wde ploymen deployments. they know how to get supplies and get material from point a to point b quickly. the focus for much of the effort is on getting that network much improve and up and running and getting it functioning across
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puerto rico. trucks and drivers and getting the airports open. getting communications networks up. so more airplanes and helicopters and trucks and more distribution of aid more rapidly. why hasn't this happened before, a lot of people are asking. there are laws here. the military comes in only at the request of the state and fema in these types of emergencies. they don't just show up completely on their own. they have the capability to do that, but they go with the agreement of civilian authorities. that's what you are seeing take shape now. what we are hearing from the military is the devastation as everybody has been reporting. beginning to be realized in the last several days. that is why you are seeing this military command structure rapidly now beginning to take shape. is it fast enough? is it enough?
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certainly not. people out there are suffering very greatly and those flies stuck on loading docks. >> we got an update from the port of san juan. we are told that 10,000 containers are sitting at that port waiting to be delivered. getting that last mile. something now that the military will be much more involved in. thanks to barbara for that. republican leaders mulling over what went wrong in alabama, but is steve bannon one step ahead? o the doctor's office, just for a shot. but why go back there, when you can stay home... ...with neulasta onpro? strong chemo can put you at risk of serious infection. neulasta helps reduce infection risk by boosting your white blood cell count, whicstrengthens your immune system. in a k study, neulasta reduc the risk of infection from 17to 1%... ...a 94% decrease. applied the day of chemo, neulasta onpro is designed to deliver neulasta the next day. neulasta is for certain cancer patients
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>> getting to people on the island and waiting to be
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delivered. acutely aware of getting beyond them to get the supplies out. we have heard from the fema director talking about how they are focused on that last mile. getting the supplies off the port. some 10,000 containers. it is a huge problem. in the meantime, fresh waves of fear and anxiety ripping through the republican party. acutely aware of voter anger after a bruising primary loss in alabama. in a memo with a senate adership fund with m mcconnell reflects what went wrong. the republican congress replaced president obama as the boogie man for conservative primary voters. opposition used to be a main stay. now what's wrong in washington
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is the republican congress. it reassonates to believe they e not doing enough to advance the president's agenda. a new poll shows 15% of voters approve of how republicans are doing. they plummeted 10 points showing voters are increasingly unhappy. what's the take from the white house? the president played nice on fox this morning. >> do you still have confidence in mitch mcconnell? >> i do. i dealt with mitch for a long time. i have confidence. i really like all of these people. i think they are terrific people. >> do we believe that? back now with the panel. first to you. right now we heard from the president he likes mitch mcconnell and all the reporting was he was telling people he was weak and mocking him. that's not what you say about someone you like. >> he views mitch mcconnell as
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weak in the way he handled the health care situation. the health care situation being the one thing that president tr president. we are now nin or ten months into his presidency and that failed in spectacular fashion more than one time. when president trump was weighs the decision of choosing to endorse luther strange or roy moore, the better pairing would have been moore because he supports people who are more insurgent and less about the establishment. he very much understood without someone who is a supporter of mcconnell and his agenda, it will be even more difficult for him to get anything done as president. he needs those senate republicans to get in line in that margin of error that is so, so narrow. that's why health care failed multiple times. >> one of the people driving the message in the memo is steve
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bannon who used to be the chief strategist. now he is spending a lot of time trying to knock off republican members of the senate. steve bannon is on the cover of the magazine this week. what's his plan? what's he going to do and who is he going to target? >> i think there were always questions after he left the white house about how much power he would hold and political force would remain and how much he could galvanize the movement. what we saw in alabama is fun tow talk about and how quickly things have rned. the problem in alabama with the leadership pack was mitch mcconnell. it was an anti-establishment vote. roy moore is not anti-establishment. that's to the vast majority of americans. this was much more based on his record and unique circumstances in that state. when we talk about steve bannon, he is going to try to take out
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senators that he feels do not go with his agenda. his agenda is not so much driven by a pop lift socialism agenda. he talks about economic crimes against working americans and how the establishment is preventing growth and the economy from going further. in particular we will focus on the magazine. his war with china and how he views china as the biggest threat to american workers and our future. why that is so potentially dangerous and china holds the key to the negotiators with north korea and nuclear advancement. if the influence over donald trump in terms of relationships with china can be a deterioration there, this could be in terms of the entire region given what's going on. other people that are being
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talked about are in wyoming nebraska. you have been writing about what went on in alabama. which should be most nervous? >> jeff flake is the first on the list. >> bannon has been suggesting that flake could dropout? >> steve bannon is taunting jeff blake. he shouldn't run for reelection and to be clear, there are plenty of republicans at this point in washington. they are not sure they see a road back. that doesn't mean tha not running for reelection is in the cards for him. bannon put roger wicker on that list. the nevada senator and a bunch of open seat races were held by democrats where the establishment settled on the favorite candidate. the one to watch is the republican party that rallied behind the state's attorney general. bannon was there a few days ago speaking to activists and he was
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asking what's the deal with hall. what opening have we got here? all of this doesn't add up to really impairerling. the margin of control is so small that to the extent that roy moore like figures start e merging, even if republicans kept nominal control, it could be a body. >> how much does steve bannon talk to the president? >> no. two sides say very different things. the president insists that he barely talked to him and bannon said he has spoken for him for an hour the night before his speech. i think the truth is somewhere in between. i think steve bannon doesn't have a huge exercise over the president, but he has chosen his moments well. >> humanity on the house floor.
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the chamber of the dear threatening colleague from louisiana, mr. steve scalise. >> a wonderful moment on capitol
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hill. a rare moment here today. the majority came back to the house floor since he was wounded so badly at a baseball practice in june. >> you have no idea how great this feels to be back here at work in the people's house. when i was laying out on that ball field, the first thing i did once i was down and i wouldn't move anymore, i started to pray. i will tell you, it gave me an unbelievable sense of calm knowing tapped it was in god's hands. i prayed for very specific things. i will tell you, every one of the prayers was answered. i'm a living example that miracles do happen. >> the republican lawmaker tweeted out this photo with a caption, i'm back. pure joy in the chamber and in steve scalise. wonrf moment, megan.
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it's nice to see people in the house chamber clappin like that. and sharing a moment like that. >> it's nice to see any example of bipartisanship. i don't think anybody will be o politicizing that and asking if it's going to last. particularly to walk in. we have seen it before with senator mccain. it's a great moment for the body and it's an unbelievable story of recovery going forward. >> it's so difficult. he didn't realize how messed up he was. to see him and normally how hard he has to work to walk here. >> for so long we didn't have a lot of information initially after the incident of what kind of health or status he was in.
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this is a problem and health issues you will have to deal with for many, many more years to come. this is when mccain came back and it was note worth we these moments of the two parties coming together. it happened twice this year surrounding two members that had health issues. >> and expand on that for a moment. with moments like this, they say this is a chance for democrats and republicans to work together. i don't think we should hold out much hope. >> we didn't see it after the shooting in june. we didn't see it when john mccain came back and we have not really seen anything else this week. one other way in which the shooting and representative scalise's return cast a shadow over the environment in
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washington, i have spoken to multiple members and talked about how the families are still rattled by what happened and concerned about the security. folks who are deciding whether or not to run for reelection figure out what it means to be where this violence happens. >> how can they not be? we have about 30 seconds left. tax reform is something we are focused on. leadership? how do you think they will focus this >> it's hard to stay in the context of what will happen with steve scalise. he has a long road ahead. i think in terms of tax reform, the president has been showing signs in his own personal conversations of breaking with aspects of the plan that is being moved on right now. let's wait and see what happens. i don't want to get too far ahead. >> i am hearing more than anything, will the president tow
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the line on tax reform. they don't feel he did on health care. i appreciate it. thank you all for joining us. john king is back here tomorrow. wolf blitzer here after a quick break.
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hello, i'm wolf blitzer in washington and whereve you are watching from around theworld. thanks for joining us. we are following breaking news. major breaking news. a humanitarian catastrophe. nearly half of puerto rico without drinking water. hospitals in desperate need of medicine and power. also right now at least 10,000 shipping containers are stranded at the port of san juan. inside of them, so many of them vital supplies including medicine. none of it is moving,

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