tv CNN Newsroom With Ana Cabrera CNN October 22, 2017 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
protect. >> absolutely. >> thanks so much. catch tonight's episode of this is life 10:00 p.m. here on cnn. thanks so much for being with me. so much more straight ahead in the newsroom with pamela brown. >> top of the hour in new york and this week. it is the start of a new week in washington and you would think perhaps the white house would be eager to move on. today president trump is only fuelling his feud with a florida congress woman who accused the president of disrespecting the family and one of the soldiers killed. the president tweet iing this morning whacky congress woman is the gift that keeps giving. the congress woman firing back. >> this is going to be this
administration's benghazi. this is going to be trump's bengha benghazi. >> the back and forth feuding over niger. i want to go to boris sanchez. republicans have more than enough on their plates. what reason does the president have to keep this feud going? >> for the president this is part of his style. we have never known donald trump to back down from a fight whether with democrats, other republicans or another gold star family. you will remember his feud last year with the family following the appearance at the dnc when they went after president trump. after hearing comments from representative wilson comparing the situation in niger to
benghazi it is likely this is not a fight to end anytime soon. the white house has not commented on the latest exchange between the president and the congress woman from south florida but the president did talk earlier today on fox news about his combative style. listen. >> even your supporters say he has fantastic policies. we want to see this through but the bickering and the feuding actually gets in the way. so obviously the feuding with senator corker. i think there is a personal thing going on between you and senator will cain. do you worry that this gets in the way of your agenda? >> no. sometimes it helps, to be honest with you. we'll see what happens in the end. i think sometimes it helps. sometimes it gets people to do what they are supposed to be doing. >> one last note, pamela. congress woman wilson is demanding an apology from chief of staff john kelly who compared her to an empty barrel and
mischaracterized some remarks she gave at a speech before law enforcement a few years ago. just a short while ago the congressional black caucus came out in support of representative wilson saying they were appalled by the chief of staff's comments. you know, he took this controversy very personally being a gold star parent himself, but the chief of staff has yet to comment on that statement. >> i understand that the president had to call members of the house about tax reform. what can you tell us about that phone call? >> this week is a full-court press on tax reform. a congressional source telling cnn that the president will be having a call this afternoon with house republicans to discuss how to move forward on that. the president also had an op-ed in the usa today saying that it was time to reignite the middle class miracle in pushing for tax cuts and tax reform. one last note on tuesday he is
supposed to meet with senate republicans and talk about the combative style of the president, it will be interesting to watch because at the lunch on tuesday there will be some republican senators that he is openly feuding with including bob corker, john mccain as well as others, pamela. so every interaction between them you can expect will be closely analyzed. >> yeah, has the potential to be a little awkward or tense. thanks so much. i want to turn back to the ambush in niger. you heard congress woman wilson say she knows the ambush will be president trump's benghazi. today one of the central figures says there needs to be a probe. jason chaffts wrote congress investigated benghazi and extortion. congress should investigate the deadly attack in niger #truth. joining us now is republican
congressman of florida. thank you for coming on. >> thanks for having me on. >> first off, do you agree with your former colleague? does congress need to launch an investigation into niger? >> perhaps some type of inquiry, not the kind of thing he did in the ogr committee, perhaps in the foreign affairs committee because there are real questions that need to be answered as to what boko haram is doing in niger. we need to know a lot more about what boko haram can do over there. >> what about protecting further service members to prevent future deaths like what we saw in niger with four service members being killed? >> this just shows how brutal and totally asymmetrical this guerilla fighting is. so we are going to have to make sure that we understand the level of the threat that we are confronting and we may have to beef up the kind of controls. this unit had done many controls
without any kind of problem. this was basically an ambush. it's a call to wake up and maybe look at if we have to do things a little differently there to fight boko haram. >> let me ask you about congress woman wilson. she mentored sergeant jaunsb oh as you know the white house attacked her for listening in on the president's condolence call. general john kelly told a story about wilson that video later revealed was untrue and president trump is continuing to attack her on twitter. do you think the white house has been treating your colleague fairly? >> i think that certainly this attack is not president trump's benghazi. this attack has nothing to do with again gauzy which was an overreach outran their security, shouldn't have been there in the first place and put a lot of people in danger. this was a trained elite military unit doing what they
have been doing for months. >> you didn't answer my question about the attacks on congress woman wilson and whether you think that is appropriate for the white house to be doing that. >> president trump has his own unique and sometimes confrontational communication style. it looks like ms. wilson is fully able to speak up, as well. i just worry that it is all disstractive. >> so on that note, it just seems so unimportant when you look at all that is going on, when you look at not just niger and the importance of finding out why the four service members were killed, tax reform, health care, he hasn't tweeted about niger, the four service members, the funeral yesterday. why does he continue to do this? does it bother you? >> i think he is pretty irritated that what he thought was a perfectly innocent call using language general kelly repeated about his own son. i would probably think it is
pretty good verbiage to use. i think the president was probably irritated that it was taken out of context. >> i want to talk to you about tax reform. were you on the call with president trump this afternoon? if so, do you feel like he is fully engaged in the process? >> i was not on the call. i was coming up here to see you. i know he is fully engaged in the process. i talked to him about it. he has very strong belief that we need to lower the rates and simplify the way average every day americans pay their taxes. he has been committed to it since day one. i am pretty excited about the idea of paying taxes on a three by five card. >> we have learned that republicans want to reduce the amount of pretaxable income americans can put into 401 ks. "new york times" reporting that number can be at $2,400. how can that help middle class americans who are struggling to
save? >> a lot of proposals are being bounced around. i don't know where that will reside. no doubt in my mind as a business person if we can lower the rates and simplify the personal taxes there is going to be more investment and more opportunity which should help people's savings, as well. >> so it's proposed that it will add a little over a trillion to the deficit. do you believe there will be enough economic growth to make up for that? >> well, there will definitely be economic growth when you combine the reduction in corporate taxes for those pass throughs and corporations. i hope they will keep state and local tax eliminations which will help pay for that. >> let me just ask you, you heard president trump say in that interview that he believes bickering and feuding helps move things along and keeps people on their toes yet the republicans haven't had a major legislative victory this year since he has
been in office. do you agree with his statement? >> well, i can only speak for the house of representatives. we have passed health care reform in 274 other bills that represent the principles that the republican conference is dedicated to. they are waiting on the senate to do something about it. >> do you agree that feuding and bickering helps the process? >> i think we want to healthy interchange of ideas. you take state and local tax deduction. there are people from new york saying we can't do that. the fact of the matter is if only four percent itemize their taxes then any of these deductions are just for rich people anyway. we feel sorry for the middle class folks. >> thank you for coming on. we do appreciate it. >> thanks for having me on. >> and ahead just this hour looking for answers as some call for an independent investigation on niger. what would that inquiry look like?
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four american soldiers died this month in the west african country of niger ambushed by isis fighters. and beyond that a few other small details the pentagon hasn't released much about what happened that day. now some key figures, senators say they weren't aware that troops were operating in niger and learned about the deadly ambush on the news. the fbi has joined the investigation. i want to bring in jack murphy, an 8-year veteran with the u.s. army. he co-wrote this book, benghazi the definitive report. also with me a former cia officer who ran for president last year as an independent.
thank you both for coming on on this sunday. >> thank you. >> jack, i want to start with you. it surprised a lot of people that we had service members in niger including some of the armed services committee. what is your take on that? are there more places in this world where u.s. service members are deployed and we don't know about? >> my take is i think it is shocking how ignorant the average american are about how many different countries we have soldiers in. on any given year we might have teams in 150 or more countries. are there more countries? sure. did you know we have special forces in belize and philippines and colombia. they are joint combined exercise training done through coordinations with the host country and u.s. state department and they happen every day. >> that's important to know and this has been eye opening to see
what happened. you were an under cover cia operative. tell us what is probably happening in niger. how would pentagon and fbi be working together to get answers? >> i expect them to get pretty good cooperation. we are there under friendly terms as we are in other places. this is something very normal and important that the u.s. military does. our green berets are around the world helping to increase capacity in these places where we face serious challenges that are better solved be locals if we can help them do it. so i think the locals probably are cooperating. i would expect them to. i think that there are a lot of questions about how the decision making worked out in this case and then there will be questions about the resources that our green berets had at their
disposal. i think all of that will be looked at. i want to stress that these operations are normal in general. we have people in these places doing important work and i want to make sure that americans understand that this is more normal than abnormal as tragic as the loss of these soldiers' lives is. >> the pentagon has said this is routine patrol but these service members they were in unarmored vehicles, no rapid response from the u.s. side. does any of that concern you? >> it doesn't necessarily concern me. it's not really unexpected. niger is not a mature battlefield. we sent small special forces teams to conduct unconventional war fare. the infrastructure in africa isn't built up the way we have it built up in the middle east. there aren't enough resources to go around. as tragic as this event is
troops in combat will demand more resources. the distance is a real thing. africa is a huge continent. how we can have air coverage in africa is difficult to imagine. there aren't enough assets to go around. riding around in armored vehicles would raise the profile of the team and make everyone aware that the americans are in town and driving heavy armored vehicles through sandy desert is extremely difficult. i don't think that was really something that could have been done at that environment. >> and i want to go to you on the heels of what senator lindsey graham said this weekend that america's war on terror is moving to africa. why is that area niger and beyond so important to that effort? >> simply because of the expansion of terrorist organizations in that region especially as we defeat them.
they will shift to other places and that's the way these terrorist organizations operate. we need to be prepare today defeat them wherever they are in the world. it is much better to do that when they are small and off balance than to have to deploy thousands and thousands of troops into a country that they have taken over. so that's why we are there as lindsey graham warned this week. there will be more such incidents. there will be more contact with the enemy in africa. i'm sorry that it took an incident like this for americans to be made aware more of what we have going on there. but it is important that we have people there increasing the capacity of local forces so that we don't have to send more of our men and women into these hostile environments. >> i want to ask you, jack, this comparison that some have made to benghazi, that some have said
we heard congress woman wilson on saying this is trump's benghazi. is that a fair comparison or is it way too mature to make that? >> i think that is more of a political aspiration by certain agendas rather than something that is a realistic comparison. it's like apples and oranges. benghazi happened and there was a lot of foreshadowing that should have warned us. the british pulled out. there were other attacks going on. there is just a real break down in what happened in libya that night. in niger it was a different sort of environment. it was a special forces operation. they were conducting foreign internal defense missions. and they got into this ambush. it was unexpected but we sent these guys into harm's way and they are trained to deal with it. i'm sorry that four good men lost their lives but they are very different scenarios. >> you mentioned how important the local forces are to defeat
isis affiliates, boko haram. as you well know chad was added to the travel ban. are you concerned that perhaps they won't be as cooperative in this fight against isis? >> i don't know about that. i think it could be a stumbling block yes and i would hope it is something we can work through and other countries much greater differences. will likely be, but we have to take these things into consideration. we have had issues with iraq when they were going to be on the travel ban, one of the iterations really had an issue with that. it can become a sensitive issue. >> they were taken off. >> but there are just always these issues with pakistan, for example. there were always points of tension, but that's a troubled
relationship. i think we will be able to work through this. it certainly is something we need to be careful about. >> thank you for coming on and sharing your very important perspective from your own personal experience. thanks so much. >> thank you. and still ahead on this sunday you will meet the female fighters who helped drive isis out of raqqa. stay with us. you are live in the cnn newsroom. can't disguise ♪ ♪ i've got hungry eyes ♪ applebee's 2 for $20. now that's eatin' good in the neighborhood. applebee's 2 for $20. as king midas, i eand so should you.uarantee. on struts, brakes, shocks. does he turn everything to gold? not everything. now get $100 back on a 2-axle brake service with your midas credit card. book an appointment online. i've got a nice long life ahead. big plans. so when i found out medicare doesn't pay all my medical expenses,
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out of its stronghold in syria and iraq days after u.s. backed militia say they completely liberated the city of raqqa. tillerson also had this warning. >> certainly iranian militias that are in iraq now that the fight against icesis coming to a close, those militias need to go home. any foreign fighters in iraq need to go home and allow the people to regain control of areas that had been overtaken by isis that have been liberated. allow the people to rebuild their lives with the help of their neighbors. >> cnn's arwa damon takes us to raqqa, seyria and shows us what is left. >> reporter: it is hard to find traces of the life that was or imagine what the streets looked like when they were full of people with children laughing and playing. one of the battle commanders
here. >> it was a 15-day battle just to try to retake this particular square and every roof top was lined with snipers. this was one of the main squares where isis would carry out the public beheadings and executions and they would place the heads of their victims on these spikes as a gruesome reminder to others of what their fate might be should they decide to defy isis rule. it is also where isis sold its captives into sexual slavery. for the female fighting force of the syrian democratic forces the battle for raqqa was deeply personal. they vowed that raqqa would be liberated that the hands of women. as we walked past some of the fighters she says seeing them makes her happy, proud. women established their bravery here, she says. it taught them their value beyond their value within the
household. she tells us that she herself joined the fight against isis around three years ago. the final battles were taking place in this entire area between the stadium that's right there and then the square that is behind us and the hospital. she is saying that isis fighters had actually underground dug tunnel systems between the three locations. now, we can't go and see them because they still might have left explosive devices inside them. against the back drop of the city's ruins the female fighting force celebrated. moments of victory, reunions but rebuilding may be even tougher than the battle itself. commanders tell us there are still small pockets of isis fighters and clearing the city of explosives will take at least three months. and for those who called raqqa home there is not much left to
return to. she held up the flag at this very square the day the sdf took control of it. she says she did it in memory of those who died and the battle whose cost is not yet fully known. arwa damon, cnn, raqqa, syria. >> thanks to arwa damon. the father of a u.s. serviceman killed in iraq weighs in on the white house's treatment of gold star families. he says the president's chief of staff retired four star general mike kelly went too far when he stepped into the controversy. that is ahead in cnn newsroom. n hour is easy with gocentral... ...from godaddy! in fact, 68% of people who have built their... ...website using gocentral, did it in under an hour, and you can too. build a better website - in under an hour. with gocentral from godaddy.
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restraint. first, i offer my deepest condolence to the families of my four son's brave heroes who died protecting us. they were serving this nation. they will also be remembered. their families will always be remembered as best of america. i stand with them. i support them. they deserve utmost dignity and respect and privacy at this moment that should have been when this matter came to public, but that had not been done. it had been made political football again, i request and i ask utmost dignity, respect and privacy. >> republican congressman of michigan joins me now from washington.
congressman, you are a retired united states marine corps three-star general. in the last week you have seen this back and forth between the white house and this congress woman from the president tweeting about her even today the day after one of the four service members killed was laid to rest. what goes through your mind when you see this as someone who served in the military? don't both sides just need to stop? four service members were killed here. >> thanks, pamela. and you know your question is very well thought. as commander in marine corps reserve for four years, my marines and sailors were charged with making those tough calls at the homes of the fallen marines. and we trained them in new orleans and around the country to handle those tough situations. there is no cookie cutter approach here. the dignity, the respect, the empathy and caring that each one
of those calls emits from those receiving the terrible news is different and there is no good news in this. it's just that caring by the individual. there are no right words. anybody who has to make thal call or send that letter they are going to try a little different but make it as good as possible for that family to. >> reporter: their fallen sons or daughters or husbands or wives. >> but let's look at the white house. this has been a test for the white house because more service members were killed in an operation like this than any other under president trump. how do you think the white house has handled this test? >> you know, every president has the opportunity to design how they want to handle that call. i commend president trump for making that effort to find the words to convey to that wife,
that mother, that father, that whom ever it is to try to express his sympathy and if the president chooses not to that's the president's call. someone else is going to make the call anyway, but there is nothing perfect here and we have to remember that families will take the news differently and we have to make sure that we are caring in our message. >> there is no doubt about that. but what about the president incorrectly stating that he had called all the families of service members who had been killed since he took office? you know, the challenge that we have in any type of communication is trying to figure out who said what, who did what. this is one ofrt challenges that any leader has. and when you step into the shoes of leadership whether be at the military or civilian level there is a lot going through your mind
to try to get it right. do we sometimes not say the words perfectly? yes. the intent is there. >> so defense secretary james mattis is reported as being dismayed with the lack of detailed information he has gotten so far. senator john mccain said the white house has not been forth coming. would you support a congressional investigation into what happened in niger? >> i tell you what, i served with general mattis and if general mattis, the secretary of defense says he is going to investigate it i know that he is going to get to the bottom of it and i would not jump the gun with a congressional investigation, let the secretary of defense through the procedures, the normal procedures for debriefing a mission, look at what went right and what went wrong. let that happen before congress jumps in. we have a lot of things going as
congress that i believe when the time is right if secretary mattis says the time is right then we look at it. right now we have a lot of things on our plate in the congress. >> that is true and on that note of course you have tax reform. you were on the budget committee. cnn learned republicans are considering reducing the amount of pretaxable income workers can put into 401 ks. "new york times" reporting that may be as low as $2,400. how would this impact families who are struggling to save as it is? >> you know, in the state of michigan especially in my district in the first district our folks came out very strongly for president trump because they want jobs. they want a better economy and they really don't care how the president and congress creates that better economy as long as hay have jobs and more money in their pocket. right now we this coming week are starting to look at not only can we pass the budget but
looking at putting the meat on the bone in the tax frame but the tax cuts and the tax reform details that i guess will just wait to see as we look at all things here in comparison to all the other elements. >> you don't want to comment directly on 401 k? >> anybody who comments on something they haven't seen the details of i think is probably unwise. so the reality is we need to create an environment where the working americans have more money that they can choose to save. however they save that, we have to provide those opportunities where they feel that they have opportunities to save. >> look forward to hearing your thoughts. i want you to look at the details. thank you very much. >> thanks, pamela. and tonight anthony bordeign takes us to a dining scene at the cross roads in pittsburgh. here is a preview of what's in store.
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movie personality and written about finance for several publications and the author of a new book "the capitalist code." quite the resume there. >> i have been a busy boy. >> you have been a busy boy. i'm sure you are busy now as all of this is happening. now we are learning mitch mcconnell wants to wait for the president to indicate what he wants. is this the right move or adding to inaction in washington? >> i don't think it is right move or wrong move. i'm not that concerned about what the government move is right now. i'm concerned about the move of each individual in terms of his or her movements to stay solvent and gets ready for retirement and ready to send his or her kids to school and ready for medical emergencies. i'm not that worried about something mentioned in the prior segment which is how much you are allowed to contribute to 401
ks. i'm interested in what is the optimal way for each american to invest his or her savings so that he or she will have most money left as life goes on. that is what i am writing about. that is what has >> let's talk about tax cuts because the republicans say this is about making life better for the middle class. president trump today making his case for tax reform in this op-ed piece in "usa today." it's tieltded with tax reform we can make it morning in america again. in it, the president wrote revising our tax code is not just a policy discussion, it is a moral one because we are not talking about the government's money. we are talking about your money, your hard work. so the president says that he wants tax reform achieved by christmas. a new cnn poll shows more than 50% oppose the plan. what do you think? can it get done in two months? >> i wouldn't bet a lot that it can get done in two months or
three months or four months or five months or six months or 12 months. look, we have an awful lot of vested interests here. a lot are at war with each other. there's one crucial thing that can be done and that is to greatly reduce or eliminate the corporate income tax. that money does not belong to the corporation. it belongs to the owners of the corporation. the income of the corporation should be taxed directly. it should not be taxed at some intermediate level. that's a pure waste of time and bureaucratic maneuvering. as to other parts of the plan, whether or not they can reduce taxes substantially, i sincerely doubt, and i hope and pray that mr. trump does not really seriously plan to reduce taxes on the very rich. there is no reason for the very rich to have their taxes reduced. the very rich are called very rich for a reason. it's because they have enough money. if we're going to reduce taxes at all, i think we should reduce taxes on corporations taxed directly to the wealthy
individuals or pension plans or whoever else owns it. if they're going to reduce taxes on the poor, they hardly pay any taxes anyway, let them go ahead and do that. but please let's not have a thought of reducing taxes on the rich. but you're okay with reducing taxes on corporations, right? >> i think they should eliminate that altogether. if a corporation earns $100 billion, i mean just a hypothetical. obviously nobody really earns that much. then the money should be taxed directly to the stockholders, not to the corporations. that just is an additional layer of bureaucracy, makes life more complicated more difficult for the corporate planners. let's tax the people who own it. let's all be owners. that's the main thing i want to say. let's all you and me and everybody watching this, let's be owners of america's corporate system. the corporate system whereby we can all buy stock in companies with very, very little commission, very little ag aggravati
aggravation, and be owners of a part of this enormous wealth creation called capitalism is a brilliant system, and if we don't take advantage of it, we're making a serious mistake. >> obviously you're very passionate about this. i do just want to ask you, obviously you are invested in this. you're passionate. given this is the time you're working with, have you been in touch at all with congress, with the white house trying to kind of get your points across? >> i don't know mr. trump from adam. i wrote a very critical piece about him many, many years ago and he called me up and threatened to sue me. that's the only contact i've had with him. and the only contact with people on his staff with one of his high officials who i keep writing to and say don't bother cutting taxes on the rich. just everybody out there, buy stock in the indexes. don't try to pick stocks. buy the indexes. buy the whole market and keep adding to it whether it goes up or goes down.
>> still racing at 69 doesn't come without its challenges. kitty has had both her hips and knees replaced. she also has severe arthritis in her hands. >> age? age is nothing but a number to me. and as long as i can keep the two wheels where they belong, which is on the ground, i will be riding that bike. >> her next race is the gold cup regional championships in texas. it's her first race back since breaking her ankle in june. >> i'm just excited that i am back on the track. you know, i'm too old to be nervous. >> kitty usually races in the 56
and older division, but since no one in her class is here, she raced against women nearly two decades younger than her. >> am i competitive? you better believe i am. i'm going to give it my all. >> kitty finished the race in third place. still, she won her age group. >> miss kitty weston. >> it's not about coming in first, second, or third. it's always been finishing. every time i get on my bike, i win. top of the hour now on this sunday. i'm pamela brown in new york in this weekend for ana cabrera. washington is embarking on a brand-new week. one might wonder why president trump is adding fuel to his feud with a florida congresswoman who accuse the president of disrespecting one of the families of the soldiers