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tv   Inside Politics  CNN  October 20, 2017 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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welcome to "inside politics," i'm john king. thank you for sharing your day with us. a big presidential promise has momentum today. senate passes a budget blueprint that allows a giant tax cut, democrats say it helps the rich and explodes the deficits. republicans say it will create jobs and is long overdue. >> so the first action in 31 years since president reagan's reforms in 1986 that begins very quickly. >> plus, the fbi now helping investigate that isis ambush that left four u.s. servicemen dead. the president's chief of staff, a retired general whose son died
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in afghanistan, offers a stinging review to anyone who suggests the president lacks compassion for the fallen. >> if you've never been in combat, you can't even imagine how to make that call. i think he very bravely does make those calls. >> and the ex-presidents club is exclusive and almost always above the fray. not today. >> if you have to win a campaign by dividing people, you're not going to be able to govern them. you won't be able to unite them later if that's how you start. >> we begin the hour with a major development today in the investigation of the deadly ambush in nigh jeer in which a of isis terrorists killed four american service members. fbi is now on the ground to find out what happened and assess. this as lawmakers on capitol hill say the white house is not being forthcoming at least as quickly as they want with information. right now what we don't know
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outweighs what we do. and as the president's chief of staff, a four-star marine general and a gold star parent steps forward again to serve as character witness for a president whose character and compassion is being questioned. >> i just thought the selfless devotion that brings a man or woman to die on the battlefield, i just thought that that might be sacred. >> that was general john kelly in the white house briefing room defending the commander in chief defending his call to a widow of one of the niger fallen. democratic congresswoman who listened to the fall close to the president say, army sergeant, quote, knew what he signed up for but it still hurts. the congresswoman says it was cold and callous. and general kelly cede it made him furious and walked around the national cemetery to calm down. and then general kelly recalled the message delivered to him by marine commandant just days after kelly's son was killed in
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afghanistan. >> he said, kel, he was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed. he knew what he was getting into by joining that 1%. he knew what the possibilities were because we're at war. and when he died in the four cases we're talking about in niger, in my son's case in afghanistan, when he died he was surrounded by the best men on this earth, his friends. that's what the president tried to say to four families the other day. >> with us to share the reporting and their insights, karmen from "the washington post," "new york times" michael sheer and mary kathrine ham from the federalist. sadly we're talking about this at all. saying all week this should be sacred, this should be a
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conversation between the commander in chief, the widow and family members, the president himself started this in the rose garden. so as the white house gets mad at these discussions, the president starts this. there's a lot of he said/she said between now from the president and the congresswoman from florida. we'll get into that as new tapes come out and the likes of that. but just the fact general kelly normally a private man who does not like to talk about his own military experience let alone the loss of his son would come to the briefing room and defend the president, the president's character, the president's conduct on the calls. twice he's come in to brief the press. >> i was there and we were all very surprised and it really sort of had, i think it was 18 minutes long, but it has two distinct phases, right? there was a very emotional, very personal sort of searingly excruciating part in which he talked about his own son and talked about the way remains come back from battlefield packed in ice. and then there was the political
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part of it in which he really was clearly incredibly angry at the congresswoman, congresswoman wilson. and so those two pieces sort of melded together in this one kind of defense of his boss. and, you know, it reminds you that how many norms have been shattered in the nine months of this presidency, right? like there are lines that normally we don't remember as white house reporters covering the presidency, we don't remember those lines being crossed. and in this story this week they keep being crossed. the congresswoman, you know, relates a conversation that normally would be private, you know, kelly comes out in a way that chiefs of staff don't normally do, now there's a continuing kind of political backlash and back and forth in a way that on a subject you wouldn't normally have that kind of political discussion. and we're sitting around the table talking about something normally would be regul normally would be relegated to a
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private moment. >> and the president tweeted her account was fabricated. from listening to general kelly seemed what he was saying maybe the president didn't say this exactly as he wished, but a, how dare you for listening, and b, how dare you for trying to interpret the president's tone. maybe it wasn't scripted. maybe he tripped over his tongue a little bit, but how dare you. and essentially general kelly was saying damn you for questioning the president's tone here. >> well, this is unfortunate because i don't think a highly politicized he said/she said is going to be resolved at this point. i think when the president said what he said about obama's record on this without knowing the facts he was taking it out of this very sacred and solemn realm it's usually in. when the congresswoman then came forward with this conversation, she was also taking it out of that realm. and now we're here and i actually spent last night with gold star families who i spend a lot of time with and what i don't want is for that very tight knit community that transcends all of this and experience this loss on behalf of all of us to start fighting each other. like it is tragic to watch lines
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be drawn there if that happens. and i think some of the best of what america has to offer in this fight is actually could be detrimental to that. and i also think that all presidents deserve the credit of, look, we elected you and you care deeply about what these soldiers sacrifice on the battlefield. and i do think, look, if it was reported that this is what he said, it was clumsy, this is a very, very hard call to make. i think he wanted to make the hard call probably because he wants people to know at the highest levels that this matters. and there's a way to say it is remarkable that this country produces men and women who know the cost of going into battle and who do it anyway and we thank you. but that is not how it seems to have come out of his mouth. >> also, it's not like that was the only element at play here, right? so we're dealing with a situation where it was a very long time before the president said something publicly about this and defends himself by pointing a finger at the last president where you have congress up in arms because they had no details about what was going on in niger in the first place and furious the trump
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administration generally and this episode is really what lit that powder keg basically because now they're saying we want a new policy, this is not okay, we might threaten a subpoena. you're right, this is something that was sacred before that was -- nothing is sacred i guess in this administration anymore, but this is also a multifront now over this one tragedy that happened. >> so that point secretary mattis -- sorry to interrupt, secreta secretary mattis, member of the senate armed services committee, you need to even if this is classified we need to keep secrets you need to tell us what happened here. why does -- i guess is this a reflection of how the president handled this in the begin sng is this just a reflection for how the president has been for nine months, nine months ago today he took the oath of office? what is it he needs general kelly or general kelly the tone is so different. peggy writes this the great power is you knew he was telling the truth and in all specifics kelly comes to the podium and it
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was credible and you felt a relief and gratitude. why is the president of the united states needs a character witness in his own white house? >> general kelly has established himself as sort of the moral voice of this administration. it comes at a time when the president has struggled to establish that voice as the moral voice of the nation, you know, with everything that general kelly said was sacred yesterday, women, religion, gold star families, the president has attacked those things in the past. the "access hollywood" tape, the convention last year, the muslim ban he supported on the campaign trail. the president himself does not necessarily have that moral authority, but general kelly has it in the spades given his family sacrifice and his ability to talk about how his son and other gold star families noted members of the military have sacrificed. >> it's a great point. listen to that one more segment because there's so much power in what general kelly said. there's power in his personal
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story, tragedy, you could see the emotion he had there. nobody can doubt that whatever your political views. nobody can doubt that and nobody dare question it because of his service and his family's experience. but listen to the part he was just talking about. >> you know, when i was a kid growing up a lot of things were sacred in our country. women were sacred. looked upon with great honor. that's obviously not the case anymore as we see from recent cases. life, the dignity of life is sacred. that's gone. religion, that seems to be gone as well. gold star families, i think that left in the convention over the summer. but just start the selfless devotion that brings a man or woman to die on the battlefield, i just thought that that might be sacred. >> so there's great power in that message and a great reminder to all of us to maybe sometimes turn the volume down, take a breath, think before you speak. but there's also a problem in the message to the point that
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his own boss, the guy whose office a few steps away from the briefing room, has stepped over all those lines general kelly himself was saying we used to have in society and they've been blurred. was he denying those? or was he also sending a message to the boss? >> well, it's two parts, right? because one sense he's sending a message to the boss. but the other -- i don't know how you all heard it but this is like the make america great again idealism, yes, women are sacred but women didn't have it that great in the '50s. there are other sides of that, religion, sure, not all religions. there's two sides of every coin. this is like the gilded side he's putting out there and that's the way trump has presented too. so it could be sending a message to the boss or could be echoing this general presentation of the way things were and don't pay attention to the way things are what we're seeing now. >> i also think that this is a perfect example of how america
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and divided america sees things through completely different lenses. this is supposition, but i think his view is the khan family crossed that line when mr. khan decided to step up on the -- step up on the stage and become a kind of political animal -- you know, political person testifying on behalf of hillary clinton. but there's a whole other part of america that looks at it and says, no, the khan episode the line was crossed when president trump then, then-candidate trump, attacked the khans. so you have the same incident, the same moment in time and yet it's being looked at in different ways. >> i think we're assuming quite a bit about how kelly feels about that particular incident. i mean, there were plenty of people right of center who know many gold star families who say, look, they've earned the right to speak out. so i don't want to assume that's what kelly thinks and he's on that side of things. i think he's being fairly vague
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in this section of the speech and perhaps with reason, to say to lay down a marker that says, i actually am on this side of things. >> but without -- again, the question is who gets to find what the sacred is, the thing that's supposed to be sacred in those cases or the person standing at the white house trying to be protectionist and trying to define it. >> that's the tough part of the week. we have politics and partisans and loyal people and deputies and people who believe they're absolutely right speaking about something that 365 days a year should be off to the end and to that end the friends and family of sergeant la david johnson will be gathering tonight. we should be paying tribute. what's most important is the country honor the services of that fine young man and the three comrades who died with him in africa. we'll be right back. hey, it's me, your dry skin. i'm craving something we're missing. the ceramides in cerave.
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welcome back. republicans including republican president hungry for legislative win they cleared a big hurdle last night. senate passed a budget late last night, that's a big deal because it includes language that allows republicans to add a tax bill and pass with bare majority, meaning without support of democrats. if last night is any indication though, still a steep hill ahead. every democrat and independent voted no. only republican no-vote senator rand paul of kentucky. that's because he says the gop tax plan would increase the deficit by more than $1 trillion. president trump applauded the vote tweeting the budget passed late last night 51-49. this now allows for passage of large scale tax cuts and reform which will be the biggest in the history of our country. that's how the president puts it. house speaker paul ryan also weighing in this morning. >> we're really, really pleased the senate did their heavy lifting on the first stage of this. >> doesn't sound like the speaker's saying much there, but
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he has been harping against the senate for a long time we keep passing bills in the house only to watch them go to the abyss of the senate. it is a big deal. this is a key republican priority. again, the president was inaugurated nine months ago today. obamacare's still the law of the land, infrastructure will not happen this year, there's still a question, mary kathrine, they've got the budget framework, the house will adopt it, we expect in a few days, now they have to get to the details of tax reform though which you have the same ideological geographic philosophical internal republican debates as you had in obamacare. will it happen this year? >> that's always the rub. you know, you've already got rand paul saying no to something. in the end i would imagine you might have rand paul saying no it's not conservative nuf or mike lee saying no it's not conservative enough and, i don't know, collins saying no it's not liberal enough. they will face the same problems. i would also caution it is important that it's moving forward and they're making steps particularly in the senate where it's harder to do that, but all of this policy if it is like grand sweeping policy, if it is
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enacted with 51 votes just as obamacare was, it will be easier to get rid of it eventually should they lose. and it just like that kind of policy doesn't win a lot of support and doesn't stick, which is actually what you want a tax reform to do. you want it to be something that ends up being popular, people go, oh, i like this is more simple and making my life easier. and it's just tougher to make that sell when you're doing the 51-vote game. one of the reasons obamacare has not been popular. >> and another way to make something stick is sell it around the country. you have people rallying around it. they haven't put out an actual bill yet and it could be weeks before we see actual legislation. and they want to pass this before the end of the year. so there's not much time to get the country rallying around -- >> engage the american people in a debate that effects every single one of them? what a novel thought. what a novel thought. and to that point you mentioned the obamacare which has been turmoil since the day it was passed and even when it was being considered. in the middle of this republicans are trying to pass tax reform this year, even
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members of the president's cabinet saying it might slip into 201, but imagine that republican president, all republican washington, obamacare still the law of the land, this is it, if you're going to get something big in 2017, this is tax reform. but the white house says it's open to also revisiting health care, won't take the bipartisan plan as is that was announced the other day which is essentially restoring subsidies to the insurance companies. but listen to the president's point legislative director saying we'll take that if you add this. >> the gist is we believe the individual mandate -- allow americans to contribute to health savings accounted, that is important, provides freedom and provides you to do with your taxpayer dollars -- >> so you want to go back to repeal and replace, is that what you're saying? >> we're saying we want to reduce costs and right now the plan as constructed does not do that. >> so the president was for alexander mari, then against, now sort of ambivalent, but now the white house says he's against it again. we assume he's going to stay
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there unless they add more conservative proposals to it because conservatives had revolted saying sir do not push us to vote to fix to obamacare, we're not going to after seven years of repeal and replace. can they thread this needle to get a couple more conservative pieces in there or lose to democrats and whole thing blows up and maybe take tax reform with it because they open the poison well again. >> the problem is not only individually on that piece do they have that needle to thread, but we're barrelling towards a december where they've got the tax reform fight if they try to push forward with it. they've got this health care question and what do they do about that. we have the daca thing that the president having to do with the dreamers and whether or not to deal with dreamers, do you make it more conservative, less conservative and how do you build that coalition. and all of that they expect to be sort of happening in one kind of big mishmash of legislation that there's going to be people bolting and coming back constantly. i mean, it's really going to be
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a challenge. >> there are fewer people, fewer members of congress at this point than there were at the point starting the health care debate that feel a particular affinity to the president and tax reform is bigger and more complicated issue, there are other things shifting around, there are people speaking openly about how this is going to be a mess already. and so to actually build cohesion -- you've got the cohesion around the vote last night because everybody wants to start the process. but to assume that this is going to be -- you know, everything will get better now when it's been progressively -- there's more in the situation as we've been moving along. >> you're suggesting the sheep have been herded but perhaps temporarily. >> no, i'm saying the sheep used to be herded and if trump is the good shepherd, he's having to chase five more sheeps than he had to five more months ago. >> congress likes to start things. >> start the project. take a quick break. when we come back, the ex-presidents club is exclusive and has a pretty long standing rule, stay out of the current president's business. yesterday a bipartisan
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nchtsz tomorrow a rare meeting of an almost exclusive club. all five former presidents teaming up to headline a hurricane benefit in texas. not partisan, not at all controversial. that's normally the prime directive of the ex-presidents club. but these are not normal times and the president who won the white house by bending and breaking the normal rules of politics in civil discourse was on the receiving end of the new normal yesterday. both presidents george w. bush and barack obama delivering public rebukes of president trump though they never mentioned him by name. >> if you have to win a campaign by dividing people, you're not going to be able to govern them. you won't be able to unite them later if that's how you start. >> bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national
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tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry and compromises the moral education of children. the only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them. >> what to make of this? coincidence? both men on the same day, president bush at a bush institute event releasing a report, his aides would say everything he said in that speech are his long held views, that's true, but he said it publicly in the middle of the past nine months and we know he disagrees with this president, this republican president, the republican president after him, and obama back on the campaign trail in new jersey. big deal? >> i'm not surprised. as we talked about earlier everything that is sacred is no longer sacred. president bush felt strongly about some of the things president trump has been saying. and you have to remember
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president trump has broken a lot of norms. recently he's attacked john mccain, a p.o.w. fighting brain cancer. so those types of things compel former presidents to speak out. and president obama we know he has been wanting to get back on the campaign trail and try to right some of the wrongs that were done, some of the losses that were given up during his presidency. and we're not necessarily so surprised that they're speaking out against president trump. >> i'll start with president bush in the sense he went through the tone, the substance, immigration, diversity, nativism, free trade, he went through everything. in tone and substance just sort of point by point attack. he never mentioned trump. it was crystal clear what he was doing. this is the tug of war in the republican party, people who are in the more establishment, more bush camp. and a lot have bitten their tongues because they think trump will pass, let's ride this tide until it goes away. how significant is it he speaks out? >> well, i think that he is an
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avatar of this sort of old republican guard. he's also well liked even by people -- >> old republican guard past? but as in mad because their day is gone? >> no, i don't think he's mad. i think he's genuinely concerned about the direction of the country. i don't think he's looking to be the head of the party again or anything. but i do think he wants to lay down a marker. and i think during the campaign there was some question as to whether people like mitt romney in speaking out against trump would help or hurt that cause. now he's president he wants to lay down this marker. there is though i think a risk of a bunch of people who voted for trump who are part of this party who he's trying to speak to are going to look at that and go, well, for eight years under obama you kept your mouth shut and there were many customs broken then and there was loose talk about for instance many on the president's staff calling republicans hostage takers and terrorists at times, and he didn't say anything. now, obama made that -- those
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breaking precedents better than trump does, but i think many who voted for trump will look at bush's criticism with a jaundiced eye for that reason because they'll say why weren't you talking about it. >> also say you had eight years and obama had eight years, that's the reason donald trump is president because we're mad at both parties and both establishments. >> and look both obama and bush are in somewhat of the same dilemma, which is that they're constrained to come out too strongly against president trump because in fact it could backlash against exactly what they're trying to do. in other words, you know, i know talking to the obama people that part of the reason he hasn't been more of a forceful presence as his legacy's being chipped away at piece by piece, because they worry that, you know, if he's front and center it unifies the trump coalition against -- because then there's something for them to, you know, barack obama is back and they can unify around their hatred of barack
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obama. and so, you know, to some extent both of these guys have to be careful that, you know, too directive an attack against president trump doesn't suit their interest. >> works against them. >> we don't hear from either one of them that often and that's by design. again, part of the rule of the ex-presidents club and also they were president for eight years and want a break from all of this. but listen to president obama yesterday making case against president trump. if you listen to him during the campaign it's not brand new, but he has gone silent during the presidency. at one point campaigning yesterday is kind of a reference to the calendar, what century am i living in? >> some of the politics we see, we thought we put that to bed. i mean, that's folks looking 50 years back. that's the 21st century, not the 19th century. >> speaking there in new jersey for the governor's race. he was in virginia for the
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governor's race as well. whatever your political views, smart politics if you're a democratic president or a president speaking to a democratic group trying to turnout democratic voters to go after president trump. that's politics 101 there. but just the rare he is president obama doing that he's been quiet for so long is this just because we're in campaign season for him? or will it continue, i guess, is my question? >> ipg it will continue. i think we will continue to hear from former president obama in part because he feels based on what he said this is a crisis moment. that our democracy is at stake as he said yesterday. some of what you've seen from president trump has caused democrats to worry about where the country is going and whether or not they have enough fire power to push back. and a lot of democrats want president obama to be more outspoken. and i think that's what we've seen and we'll probably continue to see that as michael said with president trump chipping away at president obama's legacy. >> i would be surprised though if he takes the gloves off any further than they are off right
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now. i think he's maybe just going to bare the knuckles or something. it's not because of what michael was saying before which is that you can't go too hard after trump because so much of what is rallying republicans around trump at all is the fact he's not obama. >> i would also suggest that obama out on the trail and a sort of broader message that maybe half the country harkens from the 19th century is not the most effective way to bring the country together. is not perhaps the opposite of the divisiveness that he is speaking about. and is what unites exactly those folks and by the way didn't work on the trail in the past eight years when they lost 1,000 seats. >> but this is obama's fundamental challenge, right? he's somebody that can whip up cohesion and support, cohesion in the opposite support in people that really don't like him and also probably the only figure in the democratic party right now that can actually motivate people that would vote democrat to actually, you know, get off their couches. >> that worked only with him though. it didn't work with any other candidate. >> right. so what's the sweet spot? can they use him in a way that
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doesn't actually -- because it's going to flip over that line. and there -- >> quickly shift gears. this video in president trump meeting with the united nations secretary general in the oval office. let's listen. >> we are friends, you have done a very, very spectacular job at the united nations. and i can tell you speaking for the united states we appreciate it. and i know you're working with our ambassador, nikki is a very, very unique class. but it's an honor to have you. and thank you very much for being here. >> thank you very much, mr. president. i must say that extremely grateful first of all for your support you have given us in the reform process in the general assembly. we live in a messy world, but we need strong reforms and organized u.n., we need a strong united states engaged based on
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its traditional goals, freedom, democracy, human rights, and very solid cooperation between the u.s. and u.n. >> thank you very much. i have to say the united nations has tremendous potential. it hasn't been used over the years nearly as it should be, but the united nations perhaps almost more than any other thing i can think of, and i will tell you i also happen to think that the united states even as well as we're doing right now has additionally tremendous potential. we have just started. but the united nations has this great, great -- it's almost a power to bring people together like nothing else. it hasn't been used. you are starting to really get your arms around it. and i have a feeling that things are going to happen with the united nations like you haven't seen before. to have this group of nations in
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one location with one person, which is you, leading it strongly, i think is in terms of world peace and other things, and many other things we'll be working on, i just wish you luck because the potential that you have is really unlimited. >> thank you very much. >> you need luck and you need talent. you need talent. and he's got the talent. we'll see what happens. i'll report back to you in about seven years. okay. thank you all very much. >> mr. president, did you authorize -- >> the president of the united states in the oval office with antonio gutierrez, the secretary general of the united nations. we were talking earlier on another subject about all the norms being broken in the trump presidency and lines we never thought would be crossed. it is remarkable to see a republican president and a man who was a candidate and many republicans run against the united nations, they call it a big bloated bureaucracy of its ant anti-israel and now he said it
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was dependent on the reforms when he was talking about the great potential of the united nations there. trump voters might be surprised to hear that from their president. to the point the president believed this secretary general is beginning to do things at the united nations that some of his predecessors refused to do. >> it was a little bit of tough love. you're a great guy, your organization's just a mess. also, trump's not wrong. the united nations has never done what it had the potential to do. it was set up after world war ii, they were supposed to work together, cold war took that over. it's never been functional as it could be. so maybe it's heartening for the world to hear president trump who everybody thought might continue criticizing, criticizing recoiling to say, sure, i think you guys have great potential. whether that means the united states will continue to put enough skin in the game in terms of diplomatic support, dollars, what we're doing with the left hand does not necessarily match exactly what he's saying in the oval office right no. >> the reason we take these
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moments it's always interesting to hear the president of the united states to talk to whoever's visiting with him perspective, but as media pool is being escorted out the president was asked did you authorize that mission in niger and the president did not answer that question. he let it go. which doesn't mean -- doesn't necessarily mean he did or he didn't just decided in the current environment of all these questions to stay silent. >> there are going to be more questions about this ambush in niger because people want to know exactly what happened, why four american soldiers died and why one of them was left for two days. and now there's word that there was a private contractor that was being used to rescue some of the people who were involved. so there are a number of different questions not only from congress but from the american people. and he can continue to expect those questions. >> legitimate questions and i have respect for secretary mattis who says we need time to get all of this, we don't want to give a bad account, that's a perfectly acceptable answer as
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turn back to the story we began the hour with because new video just in to cnn. remember, this is about the president's condolence call to the family of sergeant la david johnson and the drama inside the white house briefing room yesterday. in the briefing room the white
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house chief of staff john kelly dismissed the congresswoman who surfaced the story about the president's condolences, he called her an empty barrel. part of his evidence, general kelly says he relies on his recollection of a 2015 event he attended in miami to dedicate a new fbi building in honor of two slain agents. now, kelly says the congresswoman, frederica wilson stepped up and did what members of congress often do, praise theirself. >> and the congresswoman stood up and in long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise stood up there in all of that and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building and how she took care of her constituents because she took care of the money. and she just called out president obama and on that phone call he gave the money, the $20 million, to build the building. and she sat down. and we were stunned. stunned that she'd done it.
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even for someone that is that empty a barrel we were stunned. >> now, this morning on cnn the congresswoman said the white house chief of staff isn't telling the truth. she said she wasn't even in congress when the money for that building was secured. that part's true. and in the video of the event recorded by the florida sun sentinel, the congresswoman doesn't mention money. but let's listen to her. this is april 10, 2015. >> consider this scenario, the brand new federal building that will house the fbi has been built. and the fbi approaches my office, congresswoman wilson, the ribbon cutting has been scheduled in four short weeks. the dedication is on the government's calendar and cannot be changed. one problem, the fbi wants to
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name this gorgeous at the same time in four weeks. everyone says that's impossible. it takes at least eight months to a year to complete the process to house the senate and the president's office. i said i'm a school principal. and i said, excuse my french, oh, hell no. we're going to get this done. immediately i went to attack mode. i went to the speaker, speaker boehner. and i said, mr. speaker, i need your help. the fbi needs your help. and our country needs your help. and we have no time to waste. he went into attack mode and in two days pulled it out of committee, brought it to the
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floor for a vote. representative bennett and i presented it, we all voted and i dashed it over to the senate and put our senators on notice, put it on your radar, senator nelson and senator rubio, who i believe have representatives here today, they hotlined it to the senate floor in just two days. and guess what, the president signed the bill into law this past tuesday april 7th, 2015 w a bang, bang, bang! >> so now that this video's out, the white house is still defending the chief of staff this statement from the press secretary minutes ago general kelly he was stunned wilson would about her own actions in congress including lobbying former president obama on legislation. if you're able to make a sacred act like honoring americans heroes about yourself, you're an
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empty barrel. the fight continues, the fight many of us wish would go away this is not about the fallen in niger, but so let's come at this. general kelly did say in the briefing room she talked about getting the funding. he's wrong about that. he's wrong about that. that was a factual misat the same time by the chief of staff. however, from his prism his point is i'm a member of the military, i've been in arlington, i've buried my own son, i go to these services, this was about fbi agents, this should be about them, we should be naming the building, this should be solemn and you have a house member gets up and showboats a little bit bragging about her ability to get stuff done. now, from the congresswoman's perspective that happens at ribbon cuttings all over america all the time. in this one you can decide at home should it be done when you're naming a building in honor of two slain fbi agents? but this is the parallel universe we're living in here. >> the whole thread through this story from beginning to end is how things are received by
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people. the way the president talked to the family of the slain soldier was as much about how they received what he said as what he said. in this case, you know, you can see both sides. you can see, you know, there were people laughing and applauding and clapping. so there were clearly people at that event that weren't or at least didn't seem offended at the moment that she was, you know, giving that kind of speech. and yet you can also see depending on who you are maybe you're general kelly, maybe you do receive it in a different way. and i think this whole story is just rife with that kind of division between what people meant and how other people took it. >> and everybody is seeing it from just pretty much their own perspective and not really trying very hard to see -- >> right. in going to their thoughts. >> i did not see the full speech of congresswoman wilson's speech, i guess it was a 20-minute speech where she spent another 18 minutes talking about the actual service of those people the building was being
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named after. it makes sense. otherwise, i'm sorry, naming things after fallen troops is not a real hard lift in congress. it's not like she got health care bills hot lined in two days. but, yeah, this is basically coming back to the point where everybody is diplomatic speech as they possibly can muster thinking of themselves in their own experience of this and i think that is from the president through the congresswoman and like you said before, the actual service of these dead troops is getting lost. >> we also have ruled by fairly self-absorbed people including the president and now many in congress. and when they fight each other often trump's tactics the other side will use because they have some of the same issues as he has. >> and part of this is the different perspective of general kelly who's not a politician. i think i'm fair in saying he would have had no offense if she in a speech saying welcome all here today what a proud moment, i'm proud of my role in fast tracking this and getting this through in record time to name
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this building, boom, done. she goes on and on about her role. she did the right thing. here's my question. why you touched on this, why will nobody end this fight? the white house comes back out and defends the chief of staff instead of saying we're done let's move on. the congresswoman who last night at one point said i will have nothing more to say about this, then a couple hours later was tweeting and was on cnn this morning. who will be the grown-up to say now it's a bit on the edge and the fringe of this but a young american hero was ambushed and killed in niger along with three of his service members. in the case of la david johnson his body was not found for two days. his viewing is tonight back home for his friends and family. this is about, you know, between congresswoman and white house chief of staff who will be the adult saying who will have a private phone call, let's make this go away, let's make this stop. >> i don't see that happening. the congresswoman in that clip
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sounded very trumpian how she accomplished so much in telling the story about how she got the money. you could see president trump doing the same thing even earlier this year when he was in front of the stars at the cia building commemorating the cia members who had fallen he had talked about the fake news and how he was being persecuted by reporters. so if you take those things into context, it's unlikely the president's going to step up and apologize, it's unlikely that the congresswoman is going to try to find some kind of settlement in this. now general kelly has been somewhat sullied with his statement which is being fact checked and we're losing sight of the actual issue and the people who are hurting, the gold star families. and it just seems like it's going to continue to bear on and bear on and bear on with no end in sight. >> what will likely happen is that this episode of the controversy will get overrun by the next episode of the controversy that is coming as capitol hill either starts demanding their briefings or getting briefings about exactly what happened. remember, again, yes, honoring
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the service of the fallen soldiers is important but also the idea nobody knew what was going on is vitally important to this. you also have coincidentally, you also have authorization -- we have been fighting isis off the authorizations we had in 2001 for afghanistan which is more about al qaeda and taliban, but there's a legal basis for counting isis as an offshoot is murky and shaky and 2002 for iraq. there's a debate promised for months and months and months just so happen it's been scheduled for a week from monday. tillerson and mattis will have to face questions on this. you're already seeing members of congress saying niger is why we have to do this. that could be a real galvanizing moment at which point you're talking about the episode and how does the trump administration deal with the military at all. >> that is a debate worth having and a debate overdue.
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the administration should state who is where and why. trying to get some preliminary answers, that's a conversation we could have for days and days and days because it's a good conversation. not what we just went through. we had to go through it, but i wish it had to stop. we'll see you back here 8:00 a.m. wolf blitzer up after a break. have a great weekend. g. factories are thinking. even your toaster is thinking. honey, clive owen's in our kitchen. i'm leaving. oh nevermind, he's leaving. but what if a business could turn all that thinking... thinking... endless thinking into doing. to make better decisions. make a difference. make the future. not next week while you think about it a little more. but right now. is there a company that can help you do all that? ( ♪ ) i can think of one. you wof your daily routine, so why treat your mouth any differently? complete the job with listerine® help prevent plaque, early gum disease, bad breath and kill up to 99.9% of germs.
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and when youod sugar is a replace one meal... choices. ...or snack a day with glucerna... ...made with carbsteady... help minimize blood sugar spikes... can really feel it. now with 30% less carbs and sugars. glucerna. hello. i'm wolf blitzer. it's 1:00 p.m. here in washington. 8:00 p.m. in raqqah, syria. 1:30 a.m. saturday morning in pyongyang, north korea. wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us. no soldier was left behind, that's the emphasis from the defense secretary james mattis talking about sergeant la david johnson, he's one of four u.s. troops killed in the ambush in niger more than two weeks ago. his body wasn't recovered until 48 hours after the ambush. there's been a question dogging the


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