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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  November 30, 2017 3:00pm-4:00pm PST

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happening now, breaking news, cabinet shakeup. the white house is pushing back but not ruling out that rex tillerson's days as secretary of state are numbered. we're going to tell you what we're learning tonight about a tentative plan to replace tillerson with another administration insider. taxing problem. there are dramatic new developments on the senate floor tonight as republicans hit a new hurdle for their must-pass tax reform bill. established by. calls to resign, a dramatic shift among democrats tonight as
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nancy pelosi and others try to push congressman john conyers out the door. the sexual harassment outrage on capitol hill growing with conyers and senator al franken under fire and more accusers speaking out. and refusing to answer. attorney general jeff sessions evades questions by congressional investigators about his conversations with the president on russia. new details tonight on what went on behind closed doors. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." breaking tonight, cnn has learned that the white house wanted news reports of the cabinet shakeup to circulate as, quote, a public shaming for secretary of state rex tillerson. multiple government officials now tell cnn that a plan is being considered to replace tillerson with cia director mike
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pompeo and then tap senator tom cotton to lead the spy agency. long-simmering tensions between tillerson and the president may be even higher tonight after the state department warned that mr. trump's retweet of anti-muslim videos could spark violent protests at embassies in the middle east. also, the white house claims that the president was trying to elevate the conversation about islamic television but a crucial u.s. ally may not buy that. the british prime minister publicly scolding the president today, declaring he was wrong to share the videos by a hate group in the uk. also breaking, republican leaders run into unexpected problems as they try to push towards a vote on their controversial tax reform bill. the sticking point tonight, the so-called trigger that would take effect if tax cuts increased the deficit in unexpected ways. stand by for new information on that. and a lawyer for congressman john conyers now says the
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democrat, quote, sure as hell won't be pressured to resign by nancy pelosi. the house minority leader is openly calling for conyers to step down in the face of section i'll harassment allegations. so is the number three house democrat, james clyborne. our correspondents and specialists are standing by. first, let's go to jim acosta. certainly a lot of uncertainty hanging over secretary of state rex tillerson right now and the president's foreign policy. >> reporter: no kidding, wolf. the white house is fighting fires of its own from the anti-muslim videos that the president retweeted this week to the fate of secretary of state rex tillerson who appears to be twisting in the wind. the white house is evading both of those questions tonight. >> do you want rex tillerson on the job, mr. president? >> rex is here. >> reporter: it's a new episode of cabinet apprentice that feels
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like a rerun. rex tillerson appears to be on his way out. sources tell cnn president trump is considering a plan to replace tillerson with cia director mike pompeo but the white house is pushing back. >> look, as we've said many times before, as many of you love to write these type of stories when the president loses confidence in someone, they will no longer serve in the capacity that they are in. >> some days i feel like i need to do that. >> curl up in a ball? >> reporter: it's no secret that tillerson has been on thin ice after calling the president a moron. mr. trump responded by challenging tillerson to an iq test. >> he never implied that the secretary of state was not intelligent. he made a joke. maybe you guys should get a sense of humor and try it sometime. >> reporter: tom cotton is leading contender to replace p
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pompeo at the cia even echoing mr. trump's views on torture. >> we do waterboarding to our own soldiers in the military. >> reporter: this comes as the white house faces a diplomat tech uproar with a key u.s. ally after mr. trump retweeted anti-muslim videos from a far right group in britain. in one video, a boy on crutches was beaten by a migrant but born and raised in the netherlands. the president's retweet caused outrage in britain. >> by sharing it, he's either a racist, incompetent or unthinking or all three. >> reporter: britain's prime minister theresa may says the president was wrong to post the videos, prompting this response from mr. trump. don't focus on me. focus on the radical islamic terrorism that is happening within the united kingdom. we are doing just fine. >> he's elevated the conversation which is extreme
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violence and extreme terrorism that the president feels comfortable talking about and making sure that we're looking at the best ways to protect americans. >> reporter: but may isn't backing down. >> the fact that we work together does not mean that we're afraid to say when we think the united states has got it wrong. and to be very clear with them, and i am very clear, the retweeting from britain first was the wrong thing to do. >> reporter: the state department warning the videos could touch off protests at embassies around the world. even some in washington are raising questions. >> when you embrace religious bigotry and say that all muslims are the same, then you are undercutting our effort to win the war. all of our muslim allies throughout the world have to be troubled that president trump chose to embrace this website. >> reporter: the president has railed against undocumented immigrants and nfl players and called senator elizabeth warren
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pocahontas while honoring navajo war heroes. mr. trump believes he would have done better in the election had he continued to embrace the debunked conspiracy theory. >> president barack obama was born in the united states, period. >> reporter: now, the white house press secretary did answer one question directly today saying that the president apparently did not know the person behind those anti-muslim videos when he retweeted them, which raises the question whether mr. trump is depending on his team for guidance on his social media habits. apparently the president did not consult with the state department when he gave american credibility to a group that peddles hate. >> jim acosta, thank you. there's late-breaking drama unfolding in the senate. happening right now, republicans appear to be facing some
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problems getting their tax bill passed tonight. let's go to sunlen serfaty. she's on capitol hill tonight. what's the latest? what is happening? >> unexpected drama here in the senate, showing how delicate these negotiations over the republican tax plan are happening. i'll show you some pictures. this happened on the senate floor. this should have been a simple procedural vote, a democratic amendment that would have sent the bill back to committee for three days. republicans should have voted that down very easily. rather than being voted down, though, by republicans, the floor was held open for an hour where you saw this remarkable huddle and the senate majority leader, the number two and three in the sfenate huddling around jeff flake and bob corker. they have been raising big issues over the deficit and we're told, according to a source that told my colleague phil mattingly, this centers around the so-called deficit trigger.
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this is what bob corker, senator langford has been fighting for, this idea that a trigger would raise expectations not met later on down the road. but the details of that are still very unclear over the last 24 hours and clearly, wolf, still continue to be a huge stumbling block. now republican leaders say they are still confident and are pushing forward to potentially have a final vote, either very late tonight or early tomorrow. very clear, every step of the way is so delicately balanced. a lot of potential road blocks ahead. wolf. >> sunlen, thank you very, very much. joining us now, the former defense secretary, former cia director leon panetta. he also served in the obama -- he was the white house chief of staff during the clinton administration. also, former member of congress. he served on the budget committee and i think you were the chair of the budget committee. mr. secretary, you are currently the co-chair of the committee for a responsible federal budget
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and recently wrote an op-ed in "usa today" where you express concern about the tax bills that don't get the deficit under control. "the budget office is badly broken and there's no longer any pretense of trying to get deficits and debt under control." so the holdup right now appears to be these triggers that would raise questions, once again, if the deficit balloons. what's your reaction to what is happening on the senate floor right now? >> well, i've been there, wolf, and i've been on the floor at the last minute trying to work out a negotiation in order to get something meeting. it's a lousy way to legislate and this is a difficult issue because it does involve the issue of adding to our debt and it's been confirmed now, even
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with their growth numbers, that we're going to add at least a trillion to the deficit and i suspect with the gimmicks also contained in this bill that we're going to add even more than that. probably 1.5 to $2 trillion. so this is a serious issue and it ought to be dealt with seriously. i mean, i don't know that you can do a good job trying to work this out on the floor at the last minute. there's no shame in taking it back to committee where you at least have a few days to work on this and make sure it meets the objections and the concerns of members. after all, the republicans are in charge of that committee. it only sends it back for three days and just seems to me to make better sense than to try to work it out at the last men and do a lousy job at it. >> the 48 democrats, they want to do that. we'll see if there are 3 republicans willing to do that as well. then it goes back to committee for three days. that would be a dramatic
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involvement indeed. let's talk about some other issues. you served at the white house and were the cia director. what do you make of the proposed shakeup at the state department and cia? in effect, the public shaming of the secretary of state in effect trying to force him out? >> my view, wolf, is that when it comes to personnel issues in the white house and at the highest level, that those matters ought to be dealt with directly and honestly and if a cabinet member is found to be not trustworthy or not loyal to the president, then you ought to deal with it directly. you ought not to let just somebody hang in the wind and that seems to be what they are doing now. because the result is, whether they intended it or not, they are cutting the legs out from the secretary of state.
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they are impacting on this credibility. they're impacting on its ability, frankly, to do its job. so that's a lousy way, frankly, to deal with something that ought to be dealt with very directly. after all, this is a president who had a program in which he said very directly, you're fired. if that's the case and they're displeased with the secretary of state, then they ought to have the courage to say that to the secretary of state. >> multiple news organizations were leaked when you were the cia director or secretary of defense, naming your potential replacements, what would you have done? well, you know, you always deal with rumors. it's very difficult to get away from rumors in that town but at the same time, the better way to deal with it, if you want to do it right, is to sit down with the secretary of state, to ask
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for his resignation and then at the same time have somebody that is prepared to take that individual's place and then formally make an announcement as to what's occurring rather than allowing this set of rumors just to bubble in washington and ultimately what happens is it disrupts the approach to try to support a very important cabinet position, particularly at a time when we have all of these flash points in the world, particularly north korea where the hope is that we can ultimately get into some kind of negotiation. if you're going to change players in the middle of that kind of crisis, then you ought to do it right, not just let it drip, drip, drip and create even more problems for the future. >> mike pompeo recently met with a conspiracy theorist who argued it wasn't russia who was behind
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the 2016 election meddling in the united states. is the shakeup about who is most loyal to the president? >> well, you know, again, i don't want to engage in speculation as to who will or won't take the place of the secretary of state. but, you know, mike pompeo is director of the cia. my view is that he's done a pretty good job with the cia but at the same time, the issue is going to be whether or not, you know, he can suddenly move to the position of secretary of state and do it is seamlessly. the concern you have right now is that we have a secretary of state who has been working hard at the job but, at the same time, the state department has been totally undermined in terms of personnel and support and he's not getting a hell of a lot
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of support from the white house but he's also not getting a lot of support from the state department as well. so he's in a very difficult position. i think it probably is clear that somebody who has the trust of the president has to be put into that position. >> let's discuss president trump's anti-muslim tweets causing quite an up roar. what went through your mind when you saw those videos that he retweeted and learned about the far right extremist group in the uk behind those anti-muslim tweets that the president of the united states was sending out these videos to 44 million people in the u.s. and around the world. >> wolf, i think the president of the united states is playing with fire. he may not know it but he's playing with fire. anytime you have those kinds of anti-muslim videos and now he's part of spreading that video
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around the world, there is a danger that you can create disruptions abroad and demonstrations at u.s. embassies and other embassies and really jeopardize lives. we went through this. there were moments when i was there where we had anti-muslim videos involving the burning of the koran and, as a result of the fact that that was being distributed, we were very concerned about potential demonstrations that would take place at a number of embassies and we had to issue warnings to those embassies to be on alert. this is a dangerous game to play and the president, frankly, ought to know better. >> the white house says the president didn't even know who he was retweeting, the source of those videos. it's pretty alarming when you think about all of the assets the intelligence community, the state department, he could have
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easily checked, are these videos authentic, what's behind the videos? what's your reaction to the fact that the white house itself said they didn't know the source of the videos? >> well, this is just extremely reckless and careless on the part of the president but more importantly, frankly, the white house, chief of staff and the white house and others have to at least have some kind of check on these tweets. i mean, if the president is going to tweet something that i think the president ought to stop doing because it is undermining his credibility and undermining, frankly, his ability to get things done by virtue of what he's saying. but if he's going to do that, there ought to be at least a check system as to what he's going to tweet so the state department can be checked, the defense department can be checked to make sure that he's not doing something that is careless and reckless and could
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jeopardize lives. you do not want the president of the united states as part of some kind of anti-muslim conspiracy to jeopardize american lives. that's crazy. >> do you see those retweets by the president and the personal attack on the british prime minister theresa may doing serious damage to the long-standing u.s. alliance with the uk? she said the president was wrong to retweet those anti-muslim videos. he tweeted this morning, theresa may, don't focus on me. focus on the destructive radical islamism taking place within the united kingdom. we are doing just fine. how much damage is being done to the u.s./uk appliance? >> well, there's tremendous damage being done not only to our relationship with our allies, like great britain, but when he does these things this, it sends a terrible message to
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our other allies around the world, particularly our arab allies that are extremely important to our effort to fight terrorism. i mean, we can't fight terrorism successfully without the help of muslim nations. that's the bottom line. and when he sends these kinds of tweets out there, then he is hurting our credibility with our allies and with those countries that are essential to the fight against terrorism. this is, you know -- look, the purpose of the presidency is to have a foreign policy that is implemented not only by the president but by the secretary of state and that everybody is on the same message and on the same kind of approach when it comes to dealing with the issues that face this country. you cannot have a president
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tweet foreign policy. this is very reckless and very careless on the part of the president of the united states. there are new developments unfolding as we speak. i've got to take a quick break. we'll resume our conversation right after this. if you have medicare parts a and b and want more coverage, guess what? you could apply for a medicare supplement insurance plan whenever you want. no enrollment window. no waiting to apply. that means now may be a great time to shop for an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan,
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we're back with former defense secretary leon panetta. a source telling cnn that the white house wanted reports about a possible replacement for secretary of state rex tillerson to get out, to serve as a public
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shaming of the secretary. we're following that. we want to move on, mr. secretary. there's other important news we're following. we want to get your reaction. the trump administration, the president is now expected to waive the forced move of the u.s. embassy from tel aviv to jerusalem. since 1995, under law, congressional resolution signed by then president bill clinton, the u.s. was supposed to move the embassy from tel aviv to jerusalem but it's been waived every time during the bill clinton administration, the bush administration, the obama administration and now in june president trump did it as well but tomorrow, even though he's potentially going to sign the waiver for another a six-month delay in moving the embassy, we're now hearing he may declare that jerusalem is the eternal capital of israel and that eventually at some point it will
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be moved from tel aviv to jerusalem. your reaction? >> this is a long-standing issue that the united states has been dealing with for a long time. obviously we have talked about jerusalem and the importance of jerusalem and the possibility that we would move our embassy there. but at the same time, we also understand the concerns of the palestinians and the possibility that that could create additional problems there not only in the effort to achieve peace but also in terms of stability within israel itself and for that reason it continues to be waived. i would think that -- again, it would be important to waive that provision until we see an opportunity by israel and the palestinians to seriously engage
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in an effort to achieve a peace agreement there. that hasn't happened yet but until that happens, i think an embassy ought to be part and parcel of that kind of peace deal rather than doing it un latly ourselves. >> we'll see what happens. we expect an announcement from the president in the next few days on all of this. mr. secretary, as usual, thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. can republicans solve 11th hour problems for their tax bill? very dramatic developments. john conyers now hospital hospitalized as members of his own party ask him to step down.
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what if we could keep more amof what we earn?d. trillions of dollars going back to taxpayers. who could possibly be against that? well, the national debt is $20 trillion. as we keep adding to it, guess who pays the bill? him. and her. and her. congress, we should grow the economy. not the debt. ♪
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following breaking news. a new problem for the gop tax bill as republicans were getting their hopes up for a badly needed victory. let's bring in our analysts and specialists. mark preston, this drama unfolding. it looks like there's been a holdup, at least temporarily. >> right. it really comes down to being in a rock and a hard place. they don't want to -- when i say they, the republicans don't want to talk about tax increases in this bill but they're being
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forced to because of three members. bob corker and jeff flake as well as ron johnson. what they're concerned about is what we have been talking about over the past week and it's been really solidified today is that this tax cut bill is really going to add a trillion dollars to the deficit. if you're a conservative and the definition of a conservative is that you are a deficit hawk, you don't want to add to the fact that we have 21, $22 billion that were in the hole. that's what they're dealing with. >> the triggers in two or three or four years, if the deficit continues to grow, much more robustly than anticipated, then they would raise the taxes and trying to cut taxes now, raise taxes. but as mark points out, rebecca, it's poison for so many republicans. >> exactly. republicans wanted to eliminate a scenario where they would have to actually take a vote to raise taxes, to raise revenue.
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that's what the trigger was designed to do and now they are looking at a scenario where they are going to have to put gradual tax increases into this bill to raise that extra revenue to placate jeff flake and bob corker in particular. but the question is going to be -- and this goes back to your rock and a hard place, mark preston, are the more conservative members of the conference going to accept those gradual tax increases. >> it's a big problem for the republicans. we're watching the senate floor very, very closely. what do you make, phil, of this other development, this deliberate decision by the white house, we're now told, to go ahead and like these reports that tillerson may be out, that mike pompeo, the cia director, would replace him, that senator cotton would then replace mike pompeo, all designed to sort of embarrass the secretary of state at a time when there are major national security crises facing the u.s., especially north korea. >> it's not just leaked today.
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look, we've seen this game before. you go back to the spring of this year, you have long-time federal fbi director. he finds out he's fired after decades of service by not even receiving a letter from the president. he sees it on tv. in this case, you have something that i think is a step down from that. we know what's going on here. for those who think is trumpism, this has happened in washington since the beginning of time. what's happening here is the white house doesn't want to fire him. if they embarrass him enough, they are hoping he's out of here and then the president says i didn't fire him. it's shameful but it's the way washington operates, wolf. >> eight way washington operates, it was not just one or two news organizations, it was almost every news organization was being told tillerson will be replaced by pompeo. >> it's ridiculous. we talk about how donald trump is known for saying, "you're
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fired" but he doesn't really like to do it in the real world. it just goes to show you -- and i know i'll get flack for saying this, that he's weak and doesn't have a steel spine, to go to tillerson and say, look, it's not working out right now, we're not getting together and i don't think he can be in this position anymore. that would be easy and clean. but now it just looks like we're in a circus right now and the clown car has pulled up and all of the clowns are spilling out. >> and it makes it so difficult for tillerson to do his job at a time when a number of very challenging foreign policy situations are occurring. how can he go overseas or talk to his partners in foreign countries, our foreign partners with any sort of authority and credibility when they are reading these reports, too, and believe he may be on his way out the door. >> very important points. stand by, everybody. other important developments. are democrats a the a tipping point up on capitol hill as top lawmakers are pushing for congressman john conyers to
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resign. there's new outcry and new allegations in this scandal. yo. we can do this. at fidelity, our online planning tools are clear and straightforward so you can plan for retirement while saving for the things you want to do today. -whoo!
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tonight, nancy pelosi and other top democrats are demanding that john conyers resign over sexual harassment allegations. conyers is defiant even as one of his accusers is speaking out publicly. cnn's sara ganim is joining us. sara? >> facing calls to step down after women publicly accused him of sexual misconduct, the loudest calls we've heard from capitol hill. tonight, a new call to step aside from an ally of michigan congressman john conyers amid accusations from four different women alleging sexual harassment against the 88-year-old democrat. james claiborne is now withdrawing his support because he thinks it's in conyers' best interests after conyers' accuser
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marianne brown spoke out. >> it was sexual harassment violating my body, propositioning me and inviting me to hotels with the guise of discussing business and then propositioning me to, you know, for sex. >> reporter: conyers is being treated in an area hospital for dizziness with media camped outside his detroit home. congressman claiborne joins the call for his resignation. >> no one should have to go through that yet alone here in congress. i think he should resign immediately. >> it's very sad. the brave women who came forward are owed justice. i pray for congressman conyers and his family and wish them well. however, congressman conyers should resign. >> reporter: but conyers remains defiant. >> it's not up to nancy pelosi. nancy pelosi did not elect the
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congressman and she sure as hell won't be the one to tell the congressman to leave. >> reporter: conyers' lawyer implying it's an effort to take over his powerful seat on the judiciary committee. >> there have been people who have wanted john conyers to step down for years. >> reporter: marion brown spoke to nbc despite having signing a nondisclosure agreement that she signed in 2014. >> he violated my body, he has touched me in different ways. >> reporter: on the other side of the capitol, a fifth woman has accused minnesota senator al franken of sexual misconduct. when she was stationed in kuwait in 2003, franken groped her during a photo op while on a uso tour. she told cnn she turned away moments before this photo was snapped saying, "when he put his arm around me, he groped my right breast and i remember thinking, is he going to move his hand?" franken said in part, he has never intentionally engaged in
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this kind of conduct. today, franken refused to address the growing list of accusers. >> i'm looking forward to fighting this terrible tax bill. >> reporter: tonight, franken for the first time faces a call to resign. he tweeted, congress should be a safe place for women to work. meanwhile, the woman who spoke out against conyers this morning could face legal trouble for her interview. her attorney telling me she advised her client she could be sued by conyers and forced to pay back settlement money should he resign. it's a big risk but she says she believes it's worth it. >> sara, stand by. rebecca, a lot of people are wondering if the american people can really trust congress to change its procedures, change its attitude so long as these two democratic members of congress are actually still
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serving. >> absolutely. i think you saw the beginning of a shift here in congress today, wolf. when speaker ryan and nancy pelosi did come out and say that they would like and would urge congressman conyers to resign. there's a lot of about this process that still could be changed but having that stand taken by the two leaders on the house side of both parties suggest that we are at the beginning of potentially a zero tolerance policy for members of congress, perhaps for senators. they're two obviously different chambers and will deal with it in their own ways. >> what else are you hearing, sara? >> the victims do not feel there's been enough consequences. they have noted those who have put forward proposed legislation. yesterday we saw two bipartisan bills, one that would eliminate the ability for this fund that pays for these settlement -- the settlement moneys to come from taxpayer dollars.
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this bill would eliminate it and make people who already paid, pay back going back to 1991 and the others would name tlear accusers, the people they settled with and the amount that they settled. there is some movement but the victims i spoke to, the lawyers i talked to really feel like they are seeing swift action in the private sector and not on capitol hill. >> important development indeed. let's switch gears. senator lindsey graham was on cnn today and very critical of the news media for being so critical of the president of the united states but seemed to accidently echo what he himself had said during the campaign. listen to this. >> you know what concerns me about the american press is this endless, endless attempt to label the guy as some kind of cook not fit to be president. >> i'm not going to try to get into the mind of develop because i don't think there's a lot of space there.
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i think he's crazy. i think he's unfit for office. >> come on, he's not a cook. he's a whack job. let's be clear and take you behind the curtain here at cnn. lindsey graham is a nice guy. but he's a politician. there's two things going on. when he wants to oppose the president because in the past he had a campaign where he was competing against the president, the president is a coock. he says how can the media say he's a kook? that's inappropriate. he's a good guy but what you saw was politics in washington. >> how do you see it? >> the same thing. the video explains it all for us. you say one thing one day, say the next thing the next day. we're not talking about his fitness for office. we're reporting on what other people are saying about his fitness for office and then taking it into account and analyzing what his actions are
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and let's admit it, his actions are questionable on many occasions. >> he seems to have bought into the mainstream news media for the president's problems. i think the white house strategy and i wonder if lindsey graham is buying into that strategy. >> wolf, make no mistake here, lindsey graham knows that the world watches television and he's potentially speaking directly to the and it's ability to strike anywhere in the united states. your insurance company
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about this threat? >> there is a case where there is substance to north korea's bragging here. north korea claiming to have a more advanced missile but that matches with the u.s. military analysis here. they say this is a new icbm, one they have not seen before with a grae greater range and greater threat to the u.s. mainland. >> tonight new images of what north korea claims is a new class of intercontinental ballistic missile. the military is classifying it as a new tich of missile as well, more advanced than icbm's tested earlier this year according to officials. nikki haley warning that time is running short for kim to change course. >> if war comes, make no mistake, the north korean regime will be utterly destroyed. >> reporter: u.s. officials say the missile flew more than 50
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minutes, longer than previous tests. and to an altitude of some 2700 miles. more than ten times the altitude of the international space station and higher than any previous north korean launch. that altitude indicates a range encompassing the u.s. homeland. north korea, however, has not successfully tested a to called re-entry vehicle, capable of reentering the atmosphere and striking a target on earth with a nuclear weapon. one gop senator is warning the trump administration is willing to order military action without a change from pyongyang. >> the new test puts them closer to being able to hit america with a nuclear weapon. we're headed to a preemptive war if things don't change. >> reporter: the pressure remained economic. president trump once again called on china to do for tweeting today the chinese envoy who just returned from north korea seems to have had no impact on little rocket man. secretary of state rex tillerson echoed that warning.
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>> they got me doing a lot. they cannot rule it out completely. >> reporter: they made rapid advanced if nirg this year firing in 16 launches since february. the u.s. responded with shows of force at sea and in the air. placing three carrier groups in the region and flying b 1 b long range bombers over the korean peninsula. president trump himself has repeatedly warned of possible military action. even as his commanders warn that an tack on the north would risk thousands of lives in south korea, even short of military action, some warn that the risk of miscalculation is getting higher. >> he could easily misinterpret some kind of buildup, something innocuous even like flying b-1 bombers over the peninsula. in that case, maybe he cashes in the nuclear insurance policy. >> today defense secretary james
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mattis said that diplomacy remains the focus here. the u.s. has not given up on diplomacy. we know they presented the president with military options and, wolf, based on the public comments this is a president who seems willing, perhaps in the extreme, to use military options. >> the president really is also relying heavily on china to try to get the job done. china sent an envoy to pyongyang, the president tweeted to dashgs he returned from north korea seems to have no impact on little rocket man. >> there is a length to which kline is going to go but not the full length. the fact is kline would prefer a nuclear north korea to a collapsed north korea. dhoenlt want north korea to collapse. that's why china will squeeze to a point. they're not going to squeeze to the point that brings this regime down. from their perspective, they don't want a unified north korea. they don't want a u.s. ally on the border. that is not going to change. >> and china doesn't want millions of north koreans
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streaming into china. they're afraid if they were to collapse that would happen. >> right. and they would lose what is, you know, an ally for china. >> a very dangerous situation indeed. thanks very much for that. that's it for me. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in ""the situation room."" erin burnett out front starts right now. >> breaking news, trouble on the senate floor. the gop tax bill facing last minute unexpected problems. are they enough to derail it completely? plus public shaming. the white house leaks word of rex tillerson's ouster. is the secretary of state on borrowed time. and a border patrol agent that the president is using. he is right or wrong on the facts? we investigate tonight. good evening. out front tonight, the breaking news, 11th hour drama and it is drama. trouble unfolding as we

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