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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  November 28, 2017 8:00pm-9:00pm PST

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this is cnn tonight i'm don lemon, it's 11:00 p.m. tonight on the east coast. the breaking news is about president trump and his relationship with reality. we're learning before piz inauguration, he had already begun raising questions about
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whether the access hollywood tape was a fake. trump told a republican senator he wanted an investigation of the recording, even though he publicly admitted it was him on the tape and apologized for it. the times also reports the president is still bushing his false birther conspiracy theory. questioning the authenticity of president barack obama's birth certificate. so much to talk about. jonathan i need to get to you first. president trump continues to talk about former president obama's birth certificate. he asked a senator to investigate the access hollywood tape. what else are you learning? >> well, that he -- that he's
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still talking about this, this conversation with the senator that we report happened in january, but since then, the president has brought up with his advisers in private his doubts about the authenticity of the access hollywood tape. it's important to remind our listeners, our viewers, that in the hours after the washington post broke that story last fall. he confessed it was him and taped a video apology for his language on that tape. this president has a long history throughout his life of basically constructing an alternative reality. and devising facts that are more reassuring, more comforting. and more convenient. that has not stopped just because he darkened the door of the white house. he is conducting himself in the same way, whether it's president obama's birth certificate, the access hollywood tape, the
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nature of his victory last year or a variety of other issues, he likes to create his own version of reality. what's fascinating is, we see some of this on twitter and in his public comments. but senators and members of the house to talk to him in private and certainly his advisers, they get even more of this, because in the private environment, he's even less restrained. he's not very restrained right now in public. but he's even less restrained, and he will go there on this issue of the access hollywood tape, he will go there when it comes to questioning president obama's citizenship. just because he's the president has not changed the fundamental conduct of donald trump. >> he is who was elected. >> it's not just the access
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hollywood tape. talk to me more about the birth certificate. what does he think -- i'm sure in private he says a lot more. >> yeah, i mean, look, as my source told me, he has a hard time getting over this. president trump does. he still harbors questions about the fact that president obama was in deed born in hawaii. he doesn't want to say this publicly. because he knows it sounds a little fringy. he still isn't totally convinced and he's musing before this in private conversations with lawmakers. i was in the capitol today. publicly, most of them are uneasy about offering their full
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candid views of this president. you talk to them one on one, they're pretty up front about the fact that they don't take all the president's words to heart. that they are kind of getting used to how he conducts himself and his disregard for the facts. and that's a remarkable thing for an american president, members of his own party, in the congress to say. it's where we are. and i'm kind of used to it too now, because you talk to members of the congress. and in private, they don't even bother offering a defense of this president. they acknowledge he says things that are not true. look at what bob corker told us a few months ago in that interview, where he really broke with the president. he said the president tweets things that are not true, you know it, i know it, he knows it,
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but he still does it. you talk to members of congress privately, they will say more things to you. >> also, what jeff flake has been saying about the president, and what he will continue to say. >> i talked to flake today, he's been very outspoken about this president. he revealed he's about to start giving a series of speeches on the senate floor about his concern about where american democracy is. his first speech is going to be about, what he views to be the most important issue, and that is the truth and the importance of the truth. he told me tonight. when i talked to him, he said, if we don't have shared facts, it's a threat to democracy. it's not just, this president says things that stretch the truth, there are members of his own matter who are deeply concerned that he is doing
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damage to the fabric of american democracy, and that's an extraordinary thing for them to say. >> yeah. >> but yet they won't say it publicly. >> here's what i have to ask you, and one of the main reasons i'm asking you. in are other reasons i'm asking you about this. i'm not sure if you heard the conversation i had just before you, with the military folks. talking about possibly going to war with north korea. do they question this president's grasp of reality. this is a person who can declare war. who has the military codes, but is lying and admits he does, and doesn't have a grasp on reality opinion do they voice concern about that? >> senator corker mentioned this to me a few months ago, he's uneasy about it i think what these lawmakers comfort
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themselves with is the fact they believe a lot of what the president does is mere bluster, he is blowing off steam, he doesn't follow through with his threats. i think they reassure themselves that he's not going to follow through with the comments he makes, they're merely words. they look at people around the president like john kelly. and they believe there is some restraint around a president if he does act impulsively, for the most point they've gotten to the point where 11 months into this administration, they don't believe he's going to follow through with what he says and does. they do discount his public tweets and threats. >> what was it, the new word of the year was complicit? there's a good reason for that.
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jonathan, i want you to stand by, i want to bring in david now. >> weren't you hear the night that access hollywood tape -- were we on the air that night? >> we kept waiting for the apology to come the president apologized. >> i've said and done things i regret. and the words released today on this more than a decade old video are one of them. i said it, i was wrong and i apologize. i said it, i was wrong and i apologize. now i want to send investigators, it's not me, it doesn't sound like me, it's what? >> yeah, don, so what. >> as you said, that day that that tape came out. my washington post colleague reported this story, we were on the air later that night. waiting for the president to come out and make that statement you just played. now that we're a little more
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than a year later, you probably would expect the president at this point still -- love him or hate him, to not acknowledge the many allegations against him. you wouldn't expect him to acknowledge things that he could be in jeopardy for, you would expect anyone especially the president of the united states to acknowledge a tape we've all heard with our own ears and for which he apologized in a videotaped address you played. that is the lengths president trump will go to rewrite history on these cases, whether it's on that, whether it's on president obama's birth certificate, on a whole host of issues. >> but you just don't expect the president of the united states to lie as my dad would say, flat foot in your face. apparently now we do.
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for everyone who reads that story, what i took away from those quotes, from those members of congress who were speaking on background was this idea that they've already priced in that you can only sort of take everything the president says to them in private with a grain of salt, you talk to the president. i'm going by my take from these quotes. you talk to the president, he says some thenks, some of it is probably not that true. some of it maybe is true. you move on and work with members of the administration. but not not taking the president fully at his word. that is the gift of what some of those folks were telling jonathan in that story. a year into a four-year term, that's where a lot of people are, it's unfortunate. we all expect politicians and political operatives to spin, it's another thing, to just flatly go against what people know very well from their own eyes and ears. >> i want you to. remember this -- i want to play this for you.
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it's a strange press conference the president gave during the campaign. where he walked back from the birtherism. although it was tepid, he was like -- >> barack obama was born in the united states, period now we all want to get back to making america strong and great again. >> i just -- as a black person, seeing those people behind him. really? come on. the former president who he made up those bogus claims about said that all along i can't believe how ridiculous this is. we have better things and much more important things to deal with. it's clear he didn't believe it, he didn't want to say it, and he
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doesn't believe that now. or maybe he does, maybe there's some reason he's saying it, he just doesn't like the president who he inherited a great economy from. a great job market from, who he continues to say, you know, the stock market's doing great, doing great for years under barack obama. i wonder what he would have said if he inherited from barack obama what he inherited from the president before him. >> there's something particularly loathsome about the way president trump glommed on to the birther movement as a way to crawl his way to the top of the heap in presidential politics. leaving that aside for a moment. the president -- part of this is about president obama, and part of it is about president trump
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himself. it's about obama to the degree you feel like he's still in competition about president obama. he brags that the stock market is up 20% since he's been president. it was up 150% over obama's eight years. he knows that, i think his behavior suggests he's in competition with president obama. the part of this that's about president trump. and regardless of president obama. is that our presidents from george washington to president obama, you have to have a healthy ego to run for president, to say, i can be the leader of the free world. most presidents come to the job with an agenda, and trying to accomplish something for their legacy. for history. the ethos of president trump so far, he's daily seeking the affirmation of himself. he's often saying behind the scenes, he can't accept the results of the election.
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or can't accept president obama's birth certificate or can't affirm what he said on the access hollywood tape. those things don't redowned to the image he wants to have. >> so much more to talk about. i only have so many hours in the day, and so many hours in this broadcast. thank you, david. appreciate it. >> wonder what you're going to be reporting tomorrow, or in the next couple hours. i want to bring in now, a new york times columnist who has been standing by patiently here, what do you make of this? >> you know, presidents always exaggerate, they spin, they're always at least tethered to reality. sometimes with a long tether. president trump is the first president i've seen who is untethered, and he's been this way not only for the last year, but for decades, and i think what is also unusual is
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typically, when we elect a flawed person, that person grows into the presidency, president trump has had a remarkable ability to stay the same as he's always been. >> you're being kind saying flawed? >> yes, i am. >> the thing that people don't want to talk about, this is not rational, this is not sane. this is crazy. >> there are two aspects here. one is the degree to which this demeans the u.s., degrades the presidency. >> it's hard to call the president a liar. it's hard to question the president's grasp of reality, as a journalist, i feel i have more respect for the office he holds than he does. >> saz a person who's supposed to call into question, supposed to hold the president's feet to the fire i feel an obligation to say this is nuts, this is
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insane. >> i do think we -- i think you're absolutely right. we respect the office by holding the people who hold that office accountable. i think our job as journalists has to be to try to continue that true squadding, and this raises obvious questions about what this does to american soft power, to the -- to the role of the presidency, also to the degree to which decisions are made based on facts, as opposed to some sort of alternative reality. >> this is what the reporter in the piece, maggie haber man tweeted. it was one of the rare moments he felt public humiliation in his life, people who know him say he's trying to will it away to some extent when he talks about it. what is going on? is he gaslighting himself? what is that. >> i really do think there is a
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continuous pattern here, what he's doing now with that access hollywood tape, is the same thing he was doing in the late 1960s, when he was caught denying blacks access to his apartment buildings in new york city. and he absolutely dede nighed what was crystal clear, what was proven in documents. and this has been a continuous pattern throughout his career, a lot of other countries do this too. i spent five years in china, where political leaders routinely -- if they don't like a reality, they construct an alternative one. and any connection with reality is largely coincidental. i think that's what president trump is doing. if a situation doesn't work, he invents a new one. >> we used to have the luxury of saying it happens over there.
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now those sort of dictatorial behaviors and is being used on american people. >> and it has a real cost. >> speaking of, north korea, i want to turn to north korea now, the president is now reacting, this is the frightening part, north korea's launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile earlier today. >> as you probably have heard, and some of you have reported a missile was launched a little while ago from north korea. i will only tell you we will take care of it, we have general mattis in the room with us. we have had a long discussion on it. it is a situation we will handle. >> that was toned down, and it should be. do you think he realizes the seriousness of the moment? >> i hope so. i think there's a lot of nervousness in congress and in
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the pentagon that there's a growing recognition that our strategy has failed, our strategy had been to get china to apply pressure to north korea through sanctions to get north korea to change its behavior, i don't think anybody thinks that is working, it's also clear that our strategic aim was to get denuclearization of the korean peninsula, was not feasible. we have a strategic aim that is not feasible. we have a tactic and policy that is not working, and so there's a lot of anxiety that what's left that president trump may as he has promised, talk about military options, and presidents have thought about this since president nixon in 1969, they've always pulled back, because those options are so awful. >> i know you know the power of your words, and i can feel you weighing them every time you come here, i always appreciate your candor, i think when you come on this show, you're always
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honest, and i think you're even more honest, i appreciate that. >> good to be with you, don. >> president trump continuing to push false conspiracy theorys from the access hollywood tape, does a president really believe all this? does he expect us to believe it. meals on wheels reaches so many people. it's impactful beyond anything i've ever done in my life. (bruce) the meals and his friendship really mean, means a lot to me. (vo) through the subaru share the love event, we've helped deliver over one-point- seven million meals to those in need. get a new subaru and we'll donate two hundred fifty dollars more. (chris and bruce) ♪ put a little love in your heart. ♪
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♪ so send a smile and show that you care ♪ ♪ i'll give a little bit of my love to you ♪ does the president actually believe the words that come out of his own mouth. you have to wonder that in the face -- the president has made over 1600 false or misleading claims since taking the oath of office. which according to the washington post, works out to be more than five per day. does he believe what he is telling us? is he gaslighting himself? or is he gaslighting us? that provocative question from vanity fair. gaslighting according to psychology today happens when a person causes a victim to question reality. that could certainly apply to
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the president, who regularly denies the things that we all know to be true. things we have seen with our own eyes and heard with our own ears. we remember when he was caught on tape saying this. >> i'm automatically attracted to beautiful -- i start kissing them, it's like a magnet. and when you're a star, they let you do it, anything you want. >> they let you do it? >> you can do anything. >> before his inauguration, trump told a republican senator, he wanted to investigate that recording, even though he himself admitted he said those words and apologized for saying them. >> i said it, i was wrong. and i apologize. >> so which is it, mr. president, should we believe your apology then or your apparent denial now? >> i want to bring in tina nguyen who wrote that article.
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julia yaffe who is a staff writer for the atlantic. when donald trump tells a half truth or all out wli, he does so with assurance that it is often impossible to tell whether the president is deliberately disassembling, creating more comfortable depictions for himself give us examples? >> the one that comes to mind is the feud he had with jeff flake who delivered a blistering indictment of him when he announced his retirement. when asked to respond, he said, i don't know who jeff flake is, he's never met me. they met months before he was even elected.
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i could go on and on and on. >> gop tax cut zm. >> yeah, he claims he's not going to get any sort of benefit from the tax cut, which is pretty incorrect honestly, the entire history of covering donald trump has been what he's saying matching up with the truth. >> what about the fake renoir painting? >> he has a painting in his house that he insists is real. and the real one is hanging up in chicago. that's been debunked for a long time. but he still insists he has the real one. >> president trump continues to insist the voice on the access hollywood tape isn't him. and he's questioning the authenticity of barack obama's birth certificate behind closed doors. he also claims he lost the
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popular vote because of widespread voter fraud. >> does he possibly believe these things? i think it's something that he decides on a moment by moment basis. so his pattern is to establish many different claims about the same thing. so he could at one moment say that president obama was not born in the united states. then he could say i'm sending detectives to honolulu to investigate, and then say oh, they're finding amazing things, and none of those things are true. but it's a great story to tell he can fall back on, and then i think he really does imagine that we're all buying this. that we only are aware of what he's saying in the moment. it's almost as if he's living out he declared would be his life.
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when he was much younger he said his life is a comic book, and he's the star of it. the show is trump and it's sold out every night. he oirk straights his life as if it's a dramatic performance. and we're the audience and the people around him are props. reality just depends on what the show is that moment. and if it needs to change, he changes it. >> i see you're nodding in agreement. you wrote a great piece about the president manipulating the media in a putin-esque way. putin figured out a better way to keep the press in line. >> explain how president trump is doing the same thing? >> we've seen reports. it's weird i'm saying this on cnn.
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we've seen reports that one of the reasons that the time warner/at&t merger was blocked by the trump justice department was cnn's coverage. and cnn has been a constant punching bag for this president. he calls it fake news. he's at times literally like to tweet about punching cnn. this is the tactic the kremlin has figured out. they don't kill journalists any more, they just lean on the big company that owns as one of its many, many assets a cnn or a bloomberg or whatever publication, or an advertiser who among many other things, advertises in some magazine that's critical of avladimir putin, behind the scenes they lean on them. they don't want to risk their big business empire.
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they stop advertising or sell off the media property, they get laid off, they leave journal i678, because they have families to support. the reason independent media died in russia is because all the outlets were shut down for economic reasons. the kremlin has perfect plausible deniability. they can say, we had nothing to do with it. if the advertisers don't want to advertise with you, you don't have an economically feasible model, it has nothing to do with putsen. where it does. >> i appreciate all of you joining me here this evening. when we come back, the president told me he is the least racist person. just because you say it, doesn't make it so. we're going to dive deep into president trump's insensitive statements next.
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the president still questioning the authenticity of the former president's birth certificate, according to a new report from the new york times why would he revive this false conspiracy theory that the first african-american president was not born in the united states. perhaps the same reason he called senator warren pocahontas. more on the president's history of attacking people of color. >> some of his recent statements give ammunition to people who believe he says things to at the very least encourage racist viewpoints. donald trump's digs at elizabeth
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warren were sure applause lines on the campaign trail. >> and pocahontas is not happy. she's the worst. when the insult was repeated in front of navajo code talkers, only silence followed. the democratic senator called it a racial swlur. >> i think that's a ridiculous response. >> it's far from the only time the president has crossed racially sensitive lines. when a white supremacist rally ended in bloodshed. he suggested the counter protesters also bore blame. >> you had some very bad people in that group, you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. >> as the nfl players protest against police treatment of african-americans evolved. he was quick to demand their firing, tweeting about it
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numerous times, including this morning. the american public is fed up with the disrespect the nfl is paying to our country. out of control. >> he is as president who he was as a candidate. >> look at my african over here. look at him. while he bragged about support among minorities, he beat his base by demonizing them. immigrants from mexico. >> they're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. they're bringing rapists and some i assume are good people. >> an american judge trump argued was biassed against him. >> he's of mexican heritage and his very proud of it. >> you have sacrificed nothing. and no one. >> the muslim mother of an american soldier killed in combat after her husband spoke against trump during the democratic convention. >> she was standing there, she had nothing to say, she probably -- maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say, you tell me. >> he relentlessly and falsely
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suggested the nation's first black president barack obama was not a natural born citizen. >> if he wasn't born in this country, he has pulled one of the great cons in the history of politics. >> trump refused to believe five young men were falsely accused of savage rape in central park in the '80s. trump has continually and emphatically defended himself against charges of prejudice. >> i am the least racist person. >> are you bigoted in anyway? >> i don't think so, no. >> islam phobic? >> no, not at all. >> when people say you're racist or homophobic or islam phobic or whatever it is. or compare you to hitler. does that bother you? >> if things are true, it would bother me tremendously. >> the president almost always
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doubles down on his remarks and his defenders deny any racist intent. those denials are less and less convincing as more examples pile up. when we come back, is there a deeper political motive behind the president's statements, or does he actually believe all of this? getting a bad haircut. overcrowded trains. turnstiles that don't turn. and spilling coffee on themselves. but for everyone else, there's directv. for #1 rated customer satisfaction over cable, switch to directv. and for a limited time get a $100 reward card. call 1-800-directv
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president trump has repeatedly made racially insensitive remarks about african-americans, mexicans, muslims. the latest slur against native americans, here's what he said in the middle of an event honoring navajo veterans yesterday. >> you were here long before any
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of us were here. although we have a representative in congress who they say was here a long time ago. they call her pocahontas. >> there was silence after that comment. because everyone in the room knew he was using a racial slur directed at senator elizabeth baron. joining me now, bakari sellers and ed martin. good evening everyone, here we are bakari, i want to read this, this is from maggie haber man. this is from the new york times. it says, in recent months, they say mr. trump has used closed door conversations to question the authenticity of president barack obama's birth certificate, he claims he lost the popular vote last year because of widespread voter fraud. one senator who listened as the president revived his doubts
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chuckled on tuesday as recalled the conversation. the president has had a hard time letting go of his claim that the president was not born in the united states. >> his political career began with birtherism, this was a conspiracy theory he harbored. why can't he let this go? >> maybe because that's who he is. i don't think this is anything new about his character, you can go back to atlantic city, can you go back to the central park five, housing discrimination, his comments about muslim americans, about mexican americans, judge curial, we can talk about the usage of pocahontas under the portrait of andrew jackson. at a memorial where we remembered some world war ii veterans. you can go through this long litany of things.
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the problem we have is two fold, people are becoming desensitized when he makes racially innoce e insensitive comments. two, you have good people who are willing to set aside that and still support him anyway. so those two groups of individuals, the ones who are desensitized to this, and the ones who are putting this aside and supporting him anyway. are a bigger problem than donald trump in my opinion. >> i happen to agree with bakari on that. the excuse of this is just who he is, many of us warned the american people that this is who he is they cast that aside, and didn't care. just because you can explain it, doesn't mean you should excuse it. that's what people who supported donald trump are continuing to do now when he lies and behaves
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in a way that is is existential threat to our republican, our norms and institutions, every single day, something else comes out that demonstrates the threat he poses. >> it's sour grapes. >> because he won. >> no, it's not sour grapes, pointing out what's happening, the reality in front of us is not sour grapes, those of us are concerned with how do we move forward. how do we protect the country from this, you cannot have a functioning government, when the president of the united states behaves this way. >> and i mean, he knows the comments offend people, but he doesn't want -- he says that -- he doesn't want to stop insulting people. why does he keep saying then? >> i mean, two quick comments, guys, i know we're talking about some of these comments and i hear them. donald trump's political career, if you look back over 25, 30 years, he's been talking about immigration and china, and other issues, in addition to some of these comments you brought up. i watched your show, i watch
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your show with some devotion. and i'm on frequently, when i watch the new york times reporter report a series of anonymous sources, the main one is a senator who made comments before the inauguration about the president's state of mind regarding the access hollywood. there's a reason out here >> maggy has been on day after day now about anonymous sources about the state of mind where sarah huckabee-sanders gets out and says he hasn't changed his mind. >> you realize these are the same reporters the president calls frequently whenever he wants to get his message out. >> and she's so discretted why did the president call her? >> the question was why does he continue to do it when he knows it's an insult? >> about pocahontas you mean?
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>> why does he continue to insult even beyond pocahontas? >> i don't think it's a racial slur in anyway. and if you call someone who isn't a native-american pocahontas i think that isn't a slur. i think that's called making fun of someone, not a racial slur. >> we don't know that she is. >> she's already admitted -- >> regardless it's not the forum. it's inappropriate. >> does anybody realize pocahontas was a real person? she's associated with james town in 1613. she was actually kidnapped by white cologniests. >> and died of a horrible disease. >> and died of a horrible disease. there is nothing about that story -- there is nothing about
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that story that you should actually use that. let me help you understand this. this is like you calling me j.j. or even more importantly you calling me leroy. it's the same thing. >> no, it's not. >> listen, i've got to say this because i'm out of time. disney made a movie about pocahontas and the movies with to honor pocahontas not to make fun of her. >> and it's a real story. >> exactly. and i agree it's not a slur. i mean wish i had time to take care of my portfolio, but..
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well, what are you doing tomorrow -10am? staff meeting. noon? eating. 3:45? uh, compliance training. 6:30? sam's baseball practice. 8:30? tai chi. yeah, so sounds relaxing. alright, 9:53? i usually make their lunches then, and i have a little vegan so wow, you are busy. wouldn't it be great if you had investments that worked as hard as you do? yeah. introducing essential portfolios. the automated investing solution that lets you focus on your life.
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why aren't you using this guy? it makes your wifi awesomely fast. no... still nope. now we're talking! it gets you wifi here, here, and here. it even lets you take a time out. no! no! yes! yes, indeed. amazing speed, coverage and control. all with an xfi gateway. find your awesome, and change the way you wifi. it's giving tuesday, and we want to show you how you can help our 2017 top ten cnn heroes continue their important work.
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here's anderson cooper to tell you more. >> i'm anderson cooper. each of this year's top ten cnn heroes proves that one person really can make a difference. and this year we're making it easy for you to support their great work. just go to cnn and click donate to any 2017 top ten cnn hero to make a direct contradiction to that hero's fund-raiser. you'll receive an e-mail confirming your donation tax deductible in the united states. no matter the amount you can make a difference in our heroes continue life life changing work. to celebrate all these every day people changing the world, you can donate from your laptop, tablet yore your phone. just go to your donation in any amount will help them help others. thanks. >> and of course all our top ten cnn heroes will be honored at
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the 11th annual cnn heroes all-star tribute. make sure you tune in to be inspired. that's it for us tonight. i'll see you right back here tomorrow.
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good evening. two huge developments happening late this afternoon. both with potentially significant consequences. first on taxes, a victory for the white house. a sweeping senate bill cleared the first big hurdle thanks in part to deal making from a president who campaigned on his ability to do just that. at the same time, mixed with the thing he's become known for, name calling. we'll have more on that later. and nearly the exact same time that was happening in washington, word came that north korea tested what appears to be an intercontinental ballistic missile which experts say could have the capability of hitting not just hawaii but the u.s.


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