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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  October 25, 2017 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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troducing xfinity mobile. you only pay for data and can easily switch between pay per gig and unlimited. no one else lets you do that. see how much you can save. choose by the gig or unlimited. xfinity mobile. a new kind of network designed to save you money. call, visit or go to xfinitymobile.com. happening now, breaking news. no responsibility. president trump makes an impromptu and wide-ranging remarks deflecting blistering criticism from two republican senators dodging questions about his own insults and creating great unity inside the gop, and he did not authorize the mission in niger that left four troops dead, and he said he was, quote, very nice to one fallen
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soldier's widow. and fake and made up, helping to pay for research that led to the dossier about the allegations. and now the trump campaign reached out to julian assange asking for hillary clinton's private server e-mails. and then unsacktioned, months after they were passed overwhelmingly by congress. now finger-pointing inside the trump administration as it is asked to explain the delay. is the white house deliberately dragging his heels. and then trump said he has one of the greatest memories of all-time, and he declares himself a nice student and blaming the news media for making him, quote, more uncivil
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than i am. why does the leader of the free world seem to be so insecure? i am wolf blitzer. you are in the "situation room." >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. >> breaking news tonight, donald trump painting a picture of republican party unity amid his open war of words, and he launched new attacks on senators jeff flake and bob corker who both blasted the president's behavior and performance. also sources are telling cnn the head of data analytics campaign contacted julian assange seeking thousands of hillary clinton
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e-mails that she used as secretary of state, and a trump campaign official saying most of the data came from the republican national committee and claims that data from any other source -- denies any other source played a key role saying all the allegations are false. more breaking news. the president is blasting revelations that the infamous dossier of allegations about his campaign and russia was partially paid for by the law firm for hillary clinton's campaign and the democratic party. mr. trump called the dossier fake and made up and a disgrace to the democrats. and the trump administration is now facing serious questions about why sanctions against russia approved months ago overwhelmingly by congress have still not been implemented, and now is blaming the state department for the delay. the administration already missed one deadline to declare which russian citizens and businesses will be sanctioned.
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we are covering all of this with our guests. let's begin with the president's claim of gop unity despite his open war with two republican senators. our senior white house correspondent, jim acosta has the latest. jim, the president insists all is well? >> that's right, president trump is insisting everything is a-okay in the gop in response to the criticism he's receiving this week from the two prominent senators, and for knocks on his behavior as president, no prize, mr. trump blamed the media and not himself. >> we have actually great unity in the republic party. >> jeff flake's speech sounding the alarm on the president's harsh rhetoric. >> such behavior does not show
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strength, it instead projects corruption of the spirit and weakness. >> mr. trump hurled more insults. >> look, he was against me before he knew me and he wrote a book before i ever met him or heard his name, and his poll numbers in arizona are so low he could not win. i remembered the first time i saw him on television, i had not really been -- nobody knew me in terms of politics, but the first time i saw him in television, i said, i assume he's a democrat. is he a democrat? >> the president blamed the media for the mounting criticism that he simply lacks the civility to sit in the white house. >> i think the press makes me more uncivil than i am. people don't understand, i went to an ivy league college, i was a nice student. i did very well.
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i am a very intelligent person. you know, the fact is, i think -- i really believe -- i think the press creates a different image of donald trump than the real person. >> when pressed on why he insists on mocking another senator, bob corker, there was a big dodge. >> i hope bob corker is going to do the right thing also. >> he also said he was polite to the widow of sergeant johnson, insisting he remembered the sergeant's name with a little help from his aides. >> i was really nice to her. i respect her. i respect her family. i certainly respect la david, who, by the way, i called la david right from the beginning, and just so you understand they put a chart in front, it says la david johnson, and i called from the beginning, and there was no
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hesitation. one of the great memories of all-time, and there was no hesitation. >> the president was skwraoub lunt over the allegations. >> i think it's sad what they have done with the fake dossier. i understand they paid a tremendous amount of money, and hillary clinton always denied it, and the democrats always denied it, and only because it's going to come out in a court case, they said, yes, they did it and admitted it and they are embarrassed by it, but i think it's a disgrace. >> the president seemed to concede some of the opposition research was initiated by his republican rivals during last year's primaries. >> it might have started with the republicans early on in the primaries. i think i would know, but let's find out who it is. i am sure that will come out. i think -- if i were to guess, i have one name in mind, who i
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would rather not say but you will be surprised. >> he would not give us that name. as for the president's claim that the dossier is fake, we should point out that portions of opposition research have been corroborated and during his back and forth with the reporters, the president took on policy questions about being open to changes to four o401(k) plans, many gop defections are on the way, and they are not fake and may be very real, wolf. >> thanks very much. also new details of trump campaign efforts to obtain thousands of hillary clinton's e-mails from the controversial private server she used while she was secretary of state. pamela, you are getting new information. >> that's right, wolf. the head of the data firm working for the trump campaign reached out to wikileak's
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founder during the campaign asking about hillary clinton's missing e-mails. now, julian asaupbsange acknowld that did happen and rejected the request, and he sent an e-mail to several people relying that he e-mailed assange, but sources say nobody from the actual campaign was on that e-mail change. for context, wikileaks was responsible for releasing hacked e-mails before the campaign, but not hillary clinton's e-mails, and we don't know if they obtained those e-mails, if those e-mails had been hacked at all. wikileaks has been called out by the nonhostile intelligent service working with the russians, and this establishes a known link between the trump campaign and wikileaks, and it was as on the campaign trail
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trump criticized her for deleting thousands of e-mails on her private server. the campaign responded by distancing itself from the firm, and it said we as a campaign made the choice to rely on the voter data of the republican national committee to help elect president donald j. trump. you can see here in the statement, the campaign avoiding the core issue that a firm it hired reached out to wikileaks during the campaign. wolf? >> pamela, thank you very much. our justice correspondent. let's get more on all of this. a member of the armed services committee, thank you for coming into the "situation room." what conclusions do you draw from this? >> very significant report
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because it shows, again, as part of a pattern that the trump campaign in effect was reaching out for derogatory information on hillary clinton. the pattern includes that june 9th meeting with russian foreign agents, attended by donald trump, jr., and jared kushner and paul manafort, and it's part of a pattern. it may not have been a direct part of the campaign, but it was hired by it, and there were other trump associates reaching out as well. >> this is something your committee is looking into right now? were you aware of this? >> we were -- at least i was unaware of it, but it should be a topic that is of interests, because the russian investigation and obstruction of justice, which is at the core of our investigation should include
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all available relevant information. >> i just want to be precise. julian assange denies russia was the source of the hacked e-mails that wikileaks posted. how is this connection between the trump data analytics firm and julian assange fit into trump meddling and trump collusion. >> where wikileaks got the information that it published, the 33,000 e-mails or umbrellot e-mails, and if that was from the russian government -- >> they deny it was from the russians. >> it should be a topic of investigation. >> you see possible collusion there, is that what you are saying? >> i think it's part of a pattern of the trump campaign seeking derogatory information,
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ineffect, dirt on hillary clinton, and they sought it from wikileaks, apparently, and now that kind of outreach corroborates the other efforts that we know were ongoing at the time, khrincluding that june 9t meeting. >> julian assange just released a statement. i can't confirm it was rejected by wikileaks. why did they reject that request? >> julian assange is the most reliable source about why they rejected that outreach from the trump campaign, but in my view, they were well advised not to embroil themselves in a partisan effort to gain dirt on an opposition leader, and that may have been the reason. >> the president, even today, once again, said this russia probe that you and other
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committees in the senate, robert mueller engaged in, he says that's a hoax. he says the real russia story is what happened back in 2010, the uranium deal approved by the obama administration to sell a huge chunk of u.s. uranium to the russians, and he said it's a huge, huge scandal. what is your response to that? >> the president has done everything he can, calling the investigation a hoax, bringing distracting issues to deflect attention from the potential obstruction of justice by his administration and possibly by himself into the investigation of russian meddling and trump alleged collusion with that meddling. that's the central focus of the judiciary committee and presumably of robert mueller. >> the chairman of the house committee, he says he and his
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colleagues are opening up a full investigation now that uranium deal with the russians. he wants to know, for example, whether or not the fbi or the justice department, if there was an investigation going on back then into possible bribery that allowed this deal to go through. do you think this investigation is worth doing? >> i have no idea what additional facts he may have that justified this investigative effort. i think our focus must be on obstruction of justice, because we have oversight responsibility over the fbi and department of justice and clearly in the june 9th meeting in his firing of james comey and other actions as well as words by him, there's much to investigate in possible obstruction of justice, and we should be proposing reforms and legislation that may prevent this kind of political
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interference in the future. >> senator, there's more we need to discuss, including the trump administration's decision to delay implementing the law calling for new russian sanctions. we have lots to discuss. we'll take a quick break and be right back. know what's difficul? armless bowling. ahhhhhhhh! you know what's easy? building your website with godaddy. get your domain today and get a free trial of gocentral. build a better website in under an hour.
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we're back with the member of the judiciary and armed services committee and we want to talk about him about the
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trump administration's delay in russian sanctions. first let's get the latest from brian todd. brian, there's finger-pointing going on inside the trump administration, right? >> wolf, the white house is blaming the state department for the delay in implementing sanctions, but there are serious questions about whether the trump team is trying to slow walk the new sanctions with because of a meeting next month between donald trump and vladimir putin. >> tonight there are serious concerns among top members of congress that president trump is not willing to punish vladimir putin for meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
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>> they prod the trump white house to move faster to implement sanctions on russia. >> i think it's overdo and i hope they will act according to the law. >> after congress overwhelmingly passed new sanctions, president trump signed them into law on august 2nd. there were no cameras present. the administration has until early february to put the sanctions in place, and the trump administration missed a october 1st deadline. tillerson tried to explain the delay. >> we are being very careful to develop the guidance that companies need, because there are business entities that need guidance. >> but they blame the state department, saying the state department's review of that should be done by now.
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>> does the trump white house have a reason to slow walk the sanctions on russia. a person close to the administration tells cnn trump's aides are working to arrange a meeting between putin and trump next month. >> i would think they would want the strongest hands when he talks and meets with mr. putin. they are engaged in attacking our country and europe and democratic institutions and it's urgent that russia understands we are going to move forward aggressively to protect ourselfed. if we don't do that, it's a green light to russia to do more activities against our interests. >> what can congress do to get the trump administration to move faster on the russian sanctions, they could do things like use leverage over trump's legislative agenda he wants passed or possibly hold up some of his nominations to prod the administration along. wolf? >> yeah, senator coons told me
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they have the power of the purse. do you buy the line from the white house that it's the state department holding it up. it's the end of october now and they have not started implementing the law. >> i agree completely with my colleagues, senator cardin and senator mccain, and many others on both sides ft aisle that this delay is inexcusable. there's no reason, none, that the administration has legitimate, for failing to meet that deadline and that failure sends a message to the russians that is really unconscionable that we will not enforce our own
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laws when their interests are at stake. there's an investigation to be done here and there's also a need for potential measures by congress whether it's holding up nominations or resources. i hesitate to hold up nominations because the state department needs those posts filled but some action needs to be taken. >> you heard brian todd's report that the president will meet presumably with putin at the asia pacific conference coming up next month. he didn't want this legislation to be passed to begin with, and he saw it was a congressional imfringement of his power, and he reluctantly signed it into law. sit your suspicious he is dragging his feet because of the meeting with putin? >> knowing what happened for this legislation to be passed, i know they not only dragged their
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feet but opposed it, but now for him to delay implementation is unconscionable. we will take whatever action we can, hopefully on a bipartisan basis to pressure and put all of the onus on the administration for this failure to enforce it. >> another important issue, niger, what happened, the ambush that killed four u.s. soldiers, you will have a classified briefing, i take it, tomorrow, the senate of the armed services committee. what questions are the most pressing ones you want answered? >> the administration owes a better explanation to the families and loved ones of these brave and able young men that sacrifice their lives. it owes affective action to all of our men and women serving in harm's way in africa. there's about 6,000 of them. very few americans realize the scope and size of the commitment there, and probably 600 in niger, and what i want to know
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is what is being done to provide the support that they need, testimony before our committee armed services, just last march indicated from the head of african, they need only 40% of what they need in intelligence, and that's exactly the kind of support they needed on this mission. i want to know who made these mistakes, because they are clearly mistakes made. when they were and how the mission was changed and whether we should be doing more to provide support, and also we clearly need an authorization for the use of military force updated from 2001, when it was last passed, so the american people can hold accountable these missions. >> i know you and colleagues on this committee are upset about it and want answers and want a full investigation to make sure
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lessons are learned to make sure it doesn't happen again. thank you for coming in. just ahead, caught up in harsh new controversy, president trump says the news media is making him seem, quote, more uncivil than he is. >> people don't understand. i went to an ivy league college. i was a nice student. i did very well. i am a very intelligent person. you know, the fact is, i think, i really believe that the press creates a different image of donald trump than the real person. ished! curse you, he-man, you interfering imbecile! give us one good reason we shouldn't vanquish you to another dimension! ok, guys, hear me out. switching to geico could save you... hundreds on car insurance. huh, he does make a point... i do like to save money... catch you on the flip, suckas!
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the following breaking news, and sources telling cnn the head of data analytics company contacted wikileaks founder asking for the private e-mails. what does it say to you that the data firm used by the trump campaign during the campaign reached out to wikileaks to try and coordinate the release of hillary clinton's e-mails? >> this is red meat for an intelligence guy. this is a spider web that appeared over the past year. this piece of the spider web is critical. there's questions about why it
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takes so long for interviews to happen, and this is a reason why. when i walk in as an investigator and talk to somebody, i want data on what happened with the data analytics company, and i want to see if there's e-mails or phone calls from the trump people, and then later into the investigation, i will talk to the trump people with all the data analyzed and say do you have contact with data analytics and did you know they discussed the hillary clinton e-mails with wikileaks, and i will want to box that interview to insure that whoever i am speaking to is speaking when i already have some of the answers. the answer is somebody spoke to them. >> this happened in the summer of 2016, around the same time there was the meeting at trump tower between trump campaign officials and russian operatives, whatever you want to call them.
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how does this new information we are now learning fit into the big picture? >> that meeting that donald trump jr. took with the imagine that it was to offer dirt on hillary clinton, and -- >> that's what the e-mail said. >> they were clearly in the business of a campaign of doing that, and lots of campaigns are in the business of finding dirt on the opponents, and you are right to note the timing because it's the same time when candidate trump invited russia to hack into hillary clinton's e-mails and start producing them in some way. so these -- this interaction between trump campaign associates and cambridge and wikileaks, as phil said, will be part of a picture. we have to remind people, the 3,000 e-mails, they never materialized as far as we know. on this e-mail produced here, it was not somebody at the trump campaign officially, but it was rebecca mercer, who you know is
quote
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a big donor. >> this is rebecca bird, over here, a different rebecca. i want to read a portion of the trump campaign statement released. we as a campaign chose to rely on the voter data of the republican national committee to help elect president donald j. trump. they made a point of speaking of cambridge analyticala's role, and today no mention of cambridge so why are they now trying to distance themselves what they were earlier bragging about? >> clearly, wolf, because there's a controversy and a link between cambridge and wikileaks. that's as close to collusion you can get if this all turns out to be true. of course the campaign is trying
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now to erase cambridge analytica from their history, and the trump campaign paid them almost $6 million for their work from july of 2016 through the election, and if that's not a major part of this campaign, i don't know what is. after the election, they were indeed bragging about their role in the campaign, the forbes interview with jared kushner, and joshua green embedded with the trump campaign prior to election day, a few weeks before election day, and we are looking at what cambridge was doing for them? >> they make no mention of the statement just released. the president weighed in on the other news, we are now learning the hillary clinton campaign and the democratic national committee helped fund the russia dossier, the research there, and
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the president now says the dossier was made up and it's a sad commentary on politics in this country. he does acknowledge the president, the initial funding for the dossier came from a republican presumably some republican presidential candidate who was challenging him. >> right, neither side is above opposition research in the campaign as most political campaigns aren't. the information in the dossier is whether or not it's true and whether or not the president continues to deny that any of it bears any resemblance. who funded is a matter of opposition research and both sides had a hand in this. >> and not always with intelligence sources or with a foreign government, though. >> with a foreign government that's a little more problematic, and it enters into possible violations of law? >> yeah, foreign entities shaopbtd be influencing with the
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american elections. that's not the norm for opposition research. >> it's something we miss in the corrupt city, the debate among republicans and democrats, from democrats how do i muddy the white house, and republicans many will be defending the white house. there's a simple question. sit appropriate for any candidate to receive information from a foreign player whether they are british or russian with the intent to influence an american election? i think that would be a debate the committees investigating, and there could be a law that says you can't take research from a foreigner, don't care where it comes from. >> does it matter who funded the dossier? >> i think it goes to the question of the relationship with steele, whether that relationship -- >> the former british intelligence agency. >> yeah, i think they will want to understand that relationship and what the intent of the
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relationship was, and the bottom line and the question has been in front of mueller, we have heard. the questions will be about corroboration. where did you get it and how can we validate it? the primary question, as david said, it is true or not? >> is there a difference in working with a british intelligence office, and the british is our allies, as opposed to working with the russians? >> if i am an american voting i want a certification saying i don't care who -- the point is if you are going to a voting poll do you want to be affirmed that nobody overseas tried to influence an election via an american political party, and for me the answer would be yes. >> he was a former british intelligence officer. >> that's right. >> we will resume our coverage right after this.
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president trump is claiming that the republican party is united after blistering reports of two republican senators. why does the presidency, for example, the statement that was made by senator flake yesterday, his decision not to seek
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re-election as a win? >> to the great unity line, wolf, he is sitting at 82% approval in the republican party, so 80/20 is good unity on anybody's scale. it's not unanimous, but you can see where he's coming from. this is why he sees it as a win. by a two to one margin, 69% of republicans said they trust president trump over the senators, and the voters of the republican party are on the president's side in the battles right now. he reshaped the republican party in his image. >> it's interesting, rebecca, the former vice president joe biden in an interview that came out today with "vanity fair" said he's not going to decide not to run. intriguing words of joe biden.
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he said this of hillary clinton. i never got the sense there was any joy in her campaign, and he said barack would rather speak to 1 million people than speak to 30, but i think i can do both. i really, really enjoy what i do. it sounds to me that he is signaling a potential readiness to run. >> by virtue of doing that interview and opening himself up to the questions, wolf, i would say he's open to it. look at joe biden's history, he has run for president before and we know he thought about running in 2016 and due to the tragic circumstances with his son decided it was not the right time. joe biden thinks he is somebody that can and should be president, and that has not changed. the question will be is it the right time this time? he thinks there might be a chance. >> seems like there could be.
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and i guess it was intriguing in reacting to the controversy that erupted over the condolence call with the family of the gold star widow of la david johnson. >> i think there were people who just are looking for something to complain about. i mean, if he had said, you know, i'm sorry, you know, this is sure a dark day for you, and they would have said, he's a racist, he said it's a dark day. >> he was the one that said obamacare was the worst thing since slavery, and last year said obama was a stretch to relate to the black experience because his mother was white. he lacks credibility when he
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makes comments like this. the controversy is over whether or not president trump would extend himself to patch things up with a gold star widow and he did not. >> listen to the president. this is the president today at this little impromptu news conference on the south lawn of the white house defending himself in the midst of a lot of criticism. listen to this. >> well, i think the press makes me more uncivil than i am. people don't understand, i went to an ivy league college, and i was a nice student and i did very well. i'm a very intelligent person. you know, the fact is i think -- i really believe, i think the press creates a different image of donald trump than the real person. >> your reaction? >> does this guy not think we speak english? if you look at the unfiltered language of this man, it's
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attack the fbi to attacking a war widow to attacking women and a hispanic judge to equating people who want black rights to those of neonazis. those are the words of the president of the we got this thing called your personal google machine. google what the guy says. don't have to take what we say literally. he's a bridge troll. we know what he is. >> he's always talking about you know, the ivy league education and how smart he is. >> have you seen someone who likes the tout his credentials as much as he does? the guy is constantly selling himself, his brand, which clearly he feels is maligned but to phil's point, everyone should just read his words. >> i don't see much connection
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between an ivy league school and being civil. i went to a public university and i'm so civil. >> when he was defending the n condolence call, he at one point, said my memory, the impression was he's got a great memory. >> he's made that claim before, yet forgets the fine details of any number of issues, but most importantly, the problem in that case is that sergeant johnson's widow, he's the president of the united states. he's the commander. find a way to patch it up. don't put it on anybody else! stand by. more news coming into the situation room. the united states ambassador to the united nation, nicki haley, forced to leave a ref ju camp amid intense protest. the terror warning that's coming up u next.
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just weeks after a deadly isis ambush on u.s. forces in niger, president trump's united nations ambassador is trying to prevent terror from spreading to other vulnerable african countries. elise is traveling with ambassador ahaley. there was some intense moments during her visit to a refugee camp in south sudasudan. >> se had to cut her visit short
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when hundreds of rowdy protesters were protesting their president. and nicki haley had a similar message for the president that not only is his voi lens against his people creating humanitarian disaster, it also could create a vacuum that extremists could exploit. >> u.s. ambassador to the u.n. getting a firsthand look on the ground in south sudan. trying to prevent africa's next safe haven for terrorists weeks after the isis ambush in niger that killed four americans. >> the government that's ignoring its people leads to conflict and we're seeing ha situation deteriorate. what happens is when that conflict hit, it also becomes a breeding ground for extremist groups. that's what we don't want. >> a sentiment by thomas wells houser who said this week quote, with all the challenges, with the youth bulge, poverty, the
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plaque of governance, the wide open spaces, these are areas where extremists like isis or al-qaeda thrive. haley warned the president his actions in the brutal civil war were seeing his own country descend into chaos. >> the united states has invested a lot into south sudan and him. over $11 billion was invested into a country and this isn't what we asked for in return. we didn't ask for rapes, for people to be fearful of their government, the hunger, all of the violence that's happening. it was a tough message of we need this to be fixed. >> the 4 million displaced, south sudan's crisis is being compared to that of the rwandan genocide. devastation she witnessed at a camp in neighboring ethiopia, where hundreds of thousands have fled the violence. peace keepers guard this protection camp in south sudan's capital.
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where the cries of down with kir and kir is a killer are mixed with welcome donald trump and please for u.s. help. healey w but isis ambush of u.s. forces in niger has put in sharp focus how a region riddled with chaos, violence and famine draws extremists that could threaten the u.s. the threat the u.s. is facing is immense. in small area, the u.s. military is helping local forces defeat al shabaab. general walthouser saying quote, in places like the sahael, small area, is continues to look for places to establish itself. and nicki healey told a few reporters traveling with her that unless something is done soon, the children affeldted by the conflict are going to grow
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into adults with no future and no job and resentful of the u.s. that's the kind of people isis is lookinging to recruit. >> the u.s. has about 6,000 troops in these parts of africa where the situation is very, very dangerous. thanks very much. that's it for me. thanks for watching. erin burnett "outfront" starts now. >> next, a firm working with the trump campaign reached out to wikileaks for hillary clinton's e-mails. the same wikileaks that the cia director calls a hostile service embed ed by russia. plus, the president keeping up his insults on senators flake and corker. but doesn't he need them to pass the tax reform bill? and dr. gupta's special investigation into the open oio crisis. ton, we look at simple herb that could help kick the habi

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