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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  December 6, 2017 1:00pm-2:00pm PST

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that's fully protected. so they're battling this on many fronts. >> all right. paul vercammen, kyung lah, thank you so much to both of you as you continue to report out this story. "the lead" with jake tapper starts right now. thanks, brianna. al franken, a career that started with comedies and might be ending with tragedies. "the lead" starts right now. can the democratic party become the zero tolerance party when it comes to the mistreatment of women? an avalanche of calls today for senator al franken to resign. he's got a big announcement tomorrow. the majority of his democratic peers coming forward and telling him it's time to go. president trump checking off one of his campaign promises, planning to move the u.s. embassy to jerusalem to recognize it as the israeli capital. will this derail, however, chances for a middle east peace plan?
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plus, we know that fired national security adviser michael flynn lied to the fbi about his relationship with russia, but now a whistle-blower is coming forward to claim flynn told a business partner that he would rip up sanctions against russia thus making a lot of people very wealthy. good afternoon, everyone. welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. we begin today with our politics lead. and an attempt by the democratic party to clean house and senate. ridding the party of those accused by multiple women of inappropriate if not illegal behavior. clearly a move to try to seize back the high ground so as to more credibly criticize roy moore, the alabama senate candidate who has been accused of molesting a 14-year-old girl and sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl. not to mention criticizing president trump, who has at least a dozen accusers who have publicly said he touched them inappropriately or harassed them. one of them suing the president for defamation of character
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after he called all of his accusers liars. that context is key to understanding why at this hour at least 30 members of the democratic senate caucus, including 13 women senators, have called for democratic senator al franken of minnesota to step down following seven women in the last three weeks allege that franken touched them or tried to kiss them inappropriately. all of these 30 calls coming today, and this move by democrats comes one day after democratic congressman john conyers, the oldest serving member of the house, announced his retirement following allegations that he sexually harassed several staffers, his office paying settlements to some of them. the billing question here, can the democratic party, the party of bill clinton and ted kennedy, turn the page in 2017 and declare itself zero tolerance when it comes to officials from the party mistreating women? and will this contrast between a party that ousts its harassers versus one running to embrace a man credibly accused of molesting young teenage girls,
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will that make any difference to voter? my panel is hear to discuss it, but i want to start with mj lee who has been leading the reporting on this. what do we know about franken's announcement tomorrow? >> we actually don't know much. jake, i'm coming from the hill and very haven't really seen the senator all day. he did not vote today. he was not at the various hearings he was supposed to be at, but it is very, very hard to imagine he is not going to make the announcement to resign when we're seeing this flood of colleagues calling on him to resign. at that point i think you really become a distraction if you stay. and i think two things i would point out that is notable, why it is so difficult for him not to resign. first of all, there is no guarantee there aren't going to be more stories. one thing i asked him at the one press conference that senator franken had the other week was, why can't you say there won't be more stories? he didn't really have an answer which suggests he might know there are other stories that are coming. the second point is it has
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become very difficult for senator franken to continue recycling the response he has been giving every time these stories have come up. one is that, you know, any inappropriate conduct was unintentional. that becomes harder to believe when more of these stories pile up. and the second is he says he is cooperating with the senate ethics committee, while a lot of his colleagues and i probably think senator franken himself would agree under different circumstances that that process is not actually a good wasn't one. >> and at least 30 senators who caucus with the democrats. now calling for his resignation. franken's first accuser, that was almost three weeks ago. all of these calls for the resignation today. this had to have been coordinated. what's behind this avalanche? >> right, i think the simplest is that this was one allegations too many. one or two allegations is one thing, but i think when you reach a point of half a dozen plus quickly growing number of women who say they experienced this from the senator, that became too much. and i think the question of why three weeks, one simple answer
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is that a lot of his colleagues like him. he is widely popular. you know, you talk to his aides, you talk to his colleagues privately and say he is just a liked person. i think when these stories first started coming out, there were some members and aides who genuinely hoped maybe this is a one off, maybe this is something he can survive, as the stories began piling up, that became increasingly difficult. talking to franken's colleagues today, it was clear this was a very, very difficult moment for some of his colleagues. take a listen to what two of his female colleagues said today. >> i do not feel that he should continue to serve. i think it would be better for the country for him to offer that clear message that he values women, that we value women and that this kind of behavior is not acceptable. >> the complaints and allegations against him i found to have weight. >> i will say senator amy klobuchar is one senator who has not said whether he should resign. obviously a fellow democrat from
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minnesota. >> they're both minnesota democrats. mj, stay with us. i want to talk about this with the panel. but first, i want to bring in one of the women senators who led the charge this morning. democratic senator mazie their ono of ahead. thank you so much for joining us. really appreciate it. so why are you calling for senator franken to resign? >> it's been a really difficult decision for each of us. i know for myself, i really thought about it, thought about it, and you get to a point where there is a tipping point. i've called for a cultural change and i think that we're at a point where we can have a cultural change where we stop looking at women as objects and toys and begin to be valued as individuals and human beings. and i think that we're at that point, but in order for that cultural change to occur, we all need to be part of that change. we are the change. and today "time" magazine named all of these women who have come forward as the persons of the year, and i think that we are at a point where no longer is it going to be tolerated or
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ignored, all of these kinds of actions from men that are totally unacceptable then but definitely not now. >> senator -- >> we are the change. that's why i'm stepping forward. >> okay. but all of these calls for him to resign starting on twitter one after the other after the other. the first seven were women senators, democratic women senators, and then other senators. now 30. it obviously seemed very coordinated. can you give us any backstory on how this all came together and what prompted it today specifically? was it the story of the seventh woman in politico this morning or was it any of the previous people and you just decided if there is one more, we're all going to do this? how did it all happen like this? >> we've all been talking with each other and sharing our concerns and i think for a lot of us we got to a point, especially with today's revelation and there may be another person coming forward that we have reach that point where we needed to step forward and be part of the change and to
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hold all of us accountable, and especially people in positions of power. i think we do need to set an example. when you have two, three, four, five, six people, seven people potentially coming forward, that is seven people too many. you get to a point where we need to stand up. we are the change, as i say. >> was it planned, though, or did it happen organically? how exactly did it happen? >> we each came to this really difficult decision i know on our own. it was really hard because al is a friend and he's a good legislator. i sit on two committees with him. he's a good senator. that's why it's doubly hard when it is a friend, but you get to the point where one after the other, we've been talking with each other. it was not coordinated in that way, but we've talked to each other and we all tock a position we've taken today, many of us. >> so franken defenders are out there saying today, hey, that's great that the democrats are doing this, but the republican party is out there with a serial
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sexual harasser and assaulter as president and the republicans are pushing to elect to the senate a man from alabama credibly accused of sexually abusing young teenage girls and they say what al franken did was wrong but not even in the same ballpark. why take this step and why not also be calling for president trump and roy moore to step aside? >> well, i would love it if both of them stepped aside because i have said publicly that president trump has admitted to being a sexual predator, and as for roy moore, the credible allegations of him being a child molester basically should cause both of them to look at themselves and step down. i would love it. but at the same time, you know, and looking forward, where are the republican voices? where is their outrage? in fact, on the opposite end they're coming forward to support roy moore. how is that for totally inappropriate positions? >> and that's my last question for you, senator. i know you have to go vote. that's my last question. is this all part of a strategy
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by the democratic party to say that you are the party of zero tolerance with this sort of thing and that's why the conyers resignation yesterday, the call for franken to resign today, whereas, and then you can contrast yourselves with the republicans when it comes to roy moore. is that the point of all of this? >> the point of all of this is the time we can make a culture change. for myself it was a very difficult decision because al franken is a friend, and, you know, i want to be part of the change. and i really support all of the women who are coming forward who are having the courage and we need to create an environment where that is okay and their stories are taken to heart and that we show them compassion. we need more of it because it's enough. it's enough. >> democratic senator mazie hirono of hawaii, always good to see you. let's talk about this with my panel. jen psaki, what's the old bill clinton expression, if you see a turtle on a pence post, you know it didn't get there on its own.
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there obviously is some coordination going on here. i don't know if it's chuck schumer or nancy pelosi or both, but this didn't just happen. is this, in your view, an attempt by the democratic party to say we are zero tolerance and they are the party of sexual harassers. >> of course there is and of course it is. it is a little late. i don't think any of these women, i admire them for being bold leaders. however, they have come to the right place and now they're positioning themselves to contrast with all of these women in the democratic party which contrasts with not many women in the republican party of the party that has zero tolerance. whereas the rnc this week just said they were going to fund roy moore, a pedophile, to be the next member of the senate. so that's white a contrast. of course it's planned. of course it's strategic. and it's well-done on their part. >> what do you think, mary katherine? can people buy it? can the people of ted kennedy and bill clinton become the party of zero tolerance? >> i think seven tolerance on the franken would be the term.
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your point is well-taken, it's the right thing to do. it's also at the time when it's politically least hurtful. do i think things might be slightly different if the governor were not a democrat? possibly. the idea would eventually be to get both parties to do the right thing when it is politically hurtful. that's a perfect world in which i don't think we're going to exist. i do think this is strategic and also the right thing to do. it's going to work for them because i think on the other side holding on to power is what the republicans are trying to do and it would hurt them politically to back off. other than a few who have spoken out and said roy moore is a bad idea, that's not going to happen. it's interesting because this is a bargain, as you say with bill clinton and ted kennedy, sometimes very ex-police the italy said these are bad guy who's do bad things but they vote for the right things. interestingly you're seeing the republican party grossly make the exact same argument. this is a bad man who is accused of bad things and probably did so the ba
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the bad things. >> while we're talking about the cynical analysis about how the governor of minnesota is a democrat so they won't lose the seat. we should note the cynical decision to, if one thinks it's cynical, to endorse roy moore came after republicans only won that tax vote by one vote. and it might have, like, struck somebody in the white house, like, oh, every vote matters. we can't afford to lose the alabama senate seat to a democrat. that's the argument that president trump and kellyanne conway have been making. >> that's right. although i would say that argument might be a little overstated. senate republicans might find in a couple of months that, yes, roy moore is now our colleague, but it's not a guarantee he's going to vote with the party on every issue. he has made it clear he is not a fan of the establishment, that he doesn't intend to coming to d.c. and voting with all of his republican colleagues. he's going to be a headache for so many reasons and i think one of them is he is not necessarily going to be in lockstep with every other republican senator. >> senator loose cannon of alabama. >> yes, of course, his presence
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is going to be interesting. everyone stick around. we have a lot more to talk about, including the "time" magazine person of the year. you heard senator hirono talk about that. that story's next. anda, what ar? that's a real silverback gorilla. i'm freaking out! 3x points on travel and restaurants. sapphire reserve, from chase. make more of what's yours. (avo) but you also have a higher risk of heart attack or stroke. non-insulin victoza® lowers a1c, and now reduces cardiovascular risk. victoza® lowers my a1c and blood sugar better than the leading branded pill. (avo) and for people with type 2 diabetes treating cardiovascular disease, victoza® is now approved to lower the risk of major cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stroke, or death. and while it isn't for weight loss, victoza® may help you lose some weight. (avo) victoza® is not for people with type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis. do not take victoza® if you have a personal or family history
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don't start humira if you have an infection. want more proof? ask your rheumatologist about humira. what's your body of proof? welcome back. "time" magazine is out with its annual person of the year. gracings 2017's cover, the silence breakers. representing the people, mostly women, who have come forward to report sexual misconduct. fueling the discussion about sexual harassment and assault. the runner-up for person of the year, president trump. he is mentioned eight times in the cover story but open as someone accused of committing acts of sexual harassment or for serving as a motivator for the silence breakers, not as a hero. back with my panel. nancy pelosi, the minority leader, her response to the cover of "time" magazine. she wrote on twitter, i couldn't agree more with this decision. believe women. and yet, of course, as we all remember a few weeks ago when she was asked about john conyers and the allegations against him, she said the following --
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>> i don't know who they are. do you? they have not really come forward. >> how do you square that? is that a quick evolution? is it a quick political turn? what do you think? >> i mean, part of what is so difficult right now on capitol hill, there legitimately has not been a point prior to now where members really had to grapple with so many questions about potential resignations at what point do you cross a line? you know, the questions that have come up over the last couple of weeks is two women too many? is there a threshold a number count where you say this lawmaker has done too much wrong? what kind of allegations are serious enough. is it a kind of roping? range, everything that comes in between those two things. where do you place that? i think these are questions that members have not had to seriously grapple with before and clearly you see that in the way that nancy pelosi answered that question. i think she had not made up her point at that point in time whether she was willing to say
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the behavior being described that congressman conyers as having done to these women, she didn't know at that point if she could go there. >> and she said he was iconic and that offended a lot of people because actually if you look at all of these other people, weinstein and cosby and clinton -- >> many of them icons. >> they are icons. that's the whole point. that's how they get away with it. >> there was an old world and i think there was a sea change. she was announcing that the sea change had been postponed. i do think another important thing that we've learned specifically with congress is the taxpayers were on the hook for these things without their knowledge. so hopefully we can put an end to that. there are several women in congress pushing to do just that. that would be the very least they can do. >> another interesting thing about this is this hashtag believe women. you might remember just a few
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weeks ago project everywhere toeverywhere - everywhere-veritas to try to get the "washington post" to believe it. the truth of the matter is you can't believe 100% of the the women who make allegations. a progressive group points to three studies when it comes to how often allegations of sexual assault prove to be false. and the percentages of false range from 2% to 7.1%. now that's a minority, but it's not nothing. so when somebody says believe women, are we always supposed to just believe if somebody makes an accusation then it's true? >> look, think this is a difficult question we're being confronted with now and in a lot of different industries. obviously a lot of these women who have come forward, most of them, had very specific allegations, they had proof in yearbooks and photos and other bakup that reporters like yourself looked at. the case of the "washington post," they were looking to verify it, they couldn't and good on them for saying this is
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not the case. that is a horrible trick that was played there because it really makes it challenging and makes it prevent -- may prevent women from coming forward and worrying about being questioned. the vast, vast majority of women and sexual abuse survivors are not coming forward with false stories, they're coming forward with true stories. >> mj, as someone who breaks some of these stories, you broke the story about the other woman on the uso tour that franken alleged allegedly groped. also another women at the minnesota state fair. there is a lot of vetting that goes into this. you don't just take somebody's word for it. >> right. i think i want to be emphatic about that. i don't just get a call from a woman who says, hey, senator franken did x to me and then i write that up and go on the air. we vet these people very, very seriously. we try to talk to people who may have been there at the time, people around them who the person might have told about at the time. there have been photographers around these events surrounding senator franken.
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that has been proof at least these people were together, that senator franken spent time with these people. i think it's really important to your point about how reporters do their jobs of vetting these people. some of the people i have spoken to, i could basically steal their identities i vetted shem so thoroughly. i know so much about their lives and the information that they're describing and ha r. have talked to so many friends and family members close to them who also will talk about their characters and what kind of people they are. all of that goes into our reporting and we really don't take it lightly. >> on the subject, i want to talk a little bit about roy moore. steve bannon went to alabama last night and held a rally. now mitt romney had tweeted that moore would be a stain on the republican party. there have been a lot of republicans saying how awful this is for the republican party. steve bannon attacked mitt romney and basically focussing on the fact that mitt romney avoided service in vietnam because he went on a mormon mission. take a listen. >> you hid behind your religion.
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you went to france to be a missionary while guys were dying in rice patties in vietnam. do not talk to me about honor and integrity. [ cheers and applause ] you ran for commander in chief. you had five sons. not one day of service in afghanistan and iraq. >> you hid behind your religion, he says, and then also attacked him because he had five sons that didn't serve in afghanistan or iraq. the obvious point, of course, president trump avoided service also. he had medical reasons, his bone spurs and neither of his sons who are of age, eric or don jr., have served. and yet that audience didn't seem to see the obvious hypocrisy. >> look, i think this is you believe what you hear and steve bannon is the master of that. i'm going to share with you the
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things you should know and believe and i'm not going to share with you the full story. he knows his audience there. there is a quote that stuck out to me in a story this morning, it had a guy who owned a convenience store in alabama who said, yeah, the accusations against roy moore concern me but be if elect doug jones, it's going to be a real live democrat representing us. sfwan sfw steve bannon knows. >> what about the slur on mormons? >> i mean, one wonders what he thinks about the freedom of religion case going to the supreme court. look, it's gross. mitt romney is a fundamentally decent human being. something that i welcome the democrats and the left in this country to the party on. all of a sudden now that bannon is attacking him. but, look, bannon and moore served, trump obviously did not. this kind of tribal attack and just cheap act is tired to me, is gross to me. unfortunately it's not always
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we have breaking news in our politics lead and two breaking stories on the russia investigation. we will get to the new information donald trump revealed in his house intelligence committee hearing. but first, firefighter national security adviser michael flynn allegedly told his former business partner that ripping up u.s. sanctions against russia was a priority for the trump white house. this all coming from a whistle-blower close to the situation. to get more on both of these latest developments, let's bring
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in cnn's manu raju on capitol hill. manu, tell us about this exchange that had to do with flynn. >> reporter: yeah, this whistle-blower is coming forward according to elijah cummings, this whistle-blower alleging that michael flynn in the day of president trump's inauguration texted his own business partner and suggested they should move forward with a nuclear energy project in the middle east working with russia. he said that he told this business partner according to the whistle-blower that the trump administration was prepared to rip up sanctions on russia right away as part of this project. now what was significant is the first time we know that the administration seeming to be interested in rolling back sanctions on russia according to this whistle-blower and shows that perhaps flynn was looking to enrich himself on this matter as well. part of a business project he was involved with. we just got a response from an attorney from that business partner. they are firmly denying the
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account of the whistle-blower who we have not yet heard from the republican chairman of the republican committee, trey gowdy, who elijah cummings wants to issue subpoenas. >> that's right, flynn was working with a businessman for a project to bring nuclear energy throughout the middle east, including with some russian business partners. another development, donald trump jr. testified before the house intelligence committee behind closed doors and he told them some news about that whole explanation and everything having to do with that meeting that he had with russian officials in trump tower in the summer of 2016. >> reporter: yeah, that's right. he said that he actually communicated initially with hope hicks, who is now the white house communications director, about how to respond to the -- to those initial reports. he said he did not communicate directly with his father, though his father was aware about this because he was communicating separately with hope hicks, deciding whether or not to put out a longer or shorter statement initially. we know separately that
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president trump was involved in some of those discussions about that initial response on air force one, jake, but this is another reason why investigators do want to speak with hope hicks about what we shows about how the -- how this trump tower meeting and the initial response, yak. >> manu raju on capitol hill. let's bring back my kpanl right now. the initial statement that came from donald trump jr. that was written apparently with the help of hope hicks and the president was not true. it was deceptive. it talked about how the meeting was about russian adoptions and that sort of thing. but that's actually not a crime to lie to the public or to lie to the press. how significant do you think this is? >> well, i mean, i think at the very least shows that there were some, you know, back curtain deliberations that took place once this meeting was known about obviously there was some scrambling behind the scenes. on manu's note on the flynn reporting, all of this sort of gets to motivation, right?
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i think as those stories have come out and, you know, as our reporters have been doing more reporting on what is the status of the investigation, the question has been are some of these mistakes, were they rookie mistakes or was there actual motivation? with flynn what is really significant is that there was potential for personal gain as manu was getting at that, you know, when there is a motivation there for you to personally enrich yourself, that is very different than someone acting on behalf of a candidate or on behalf of someone just because they felt like that was the right thing to do politically. >> interesting. all right everyone stick around. we're going to talk to a member of the senate judiciary committee who is eager to also talk to donald trump jr., senator chris coons. stay with us. lower premiums? extra benefits? it's open enrollment. time to open the laptop... ...and compare medicare health plans. why? because plans change, so can your health needs. so, be open-minded. look at everything-like prescription drug plans... and medicare advantage plans from private insurers. use the tools at or call 1-800-medicare.
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michael flynn pledged to rip up the russian sanctions. he said this on inauguration day and a lot of people would get wealthy, the businessman says. the attorney for michael flynn says this is not true. i want to bring in democratic chris coons of delaware who sits on the judiciary committee. you're on the senate ethics committee so you're not going to answer questions about al franken so i'm not going to waste anybody's time. what is your reaction to the news that flynn supposedly on inauguration day texted a former colleague saying ending russian sanctions was a priority and this businessman allegedly said that a lot of people were going to get very wealthy? >> well, jake, this is just another example of a whole series of inappropriate conversations and actions by former national security adviser michael flynn and helps explain why he might be cooperating with mueller's investigation. i assume that mueller was able to reveal a whole series of inappropriate actions and statements by general flynn and that would have put him in significant legal risk and as a result he's cooperating.
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but it's a reminder that other individuals with whom flynn was communicating in the transition team on inauguration day in the new trump administration were already taking really striking steps, given that the reason for the sanctions against russia were because of russia's illegal annexation of crimea and in part russia's interference in our elections in 2016. >> it does seem to be kind of contradictory, though, in a way because if the theory that democrats are operating with is that somehow ripping up these sanctions was somehow a reward for the russians helping the trump campaign during the election and, again, there is no evidence of any quid pro quo, but that would be different from the theory of trying to rip up these sanctions so people could make a lot of money, you know? >> well, i mean, the two aren't mutually exclusively. sadly what seemed to be a pattern with general flynn was that he was both advancing a partisan political interest in his role in the trump campaign and continuing to advance his
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own personal enrichment as someone who was representing turkey or representing groups from ukraine, groups allied with russia's interests. so the idea that he could have been advanced both, an enrichment goal and a narrow or partisan goal, it seems to me they're not in conflict. >> i know you're on the senate judiciary committee, not on the house intelligence committee. donald trump jr. testified before the latter today. what do you think the key question from that committee should have been for donald trump jr.? >> well, donald trump jour. was participant at a very important meeting at trump tower. it's important to get the clarity for that meeting, what were the questions asked and what information was reported back up to president trump, if any? so those are just a few of the questions i would expect might have been asked today. >> as a member of the senate judiciary committee, the ranking democrat dianne feinstein talked about there now being a case for obstruction of justice based on
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some of the tweets and statements we've heard from president trump, not to mention, of course, his firing of james comey. do you think president trump obstructed justice? >> well that's a legal conclusion i don't think we have yet fully reached, but the evidence supporting an obstruction of justice claim just keeps building pup. i'll remind you, jake, it was recently that there was public reporting that in the past couple of months president trump personally reached out to senator mcconnell to senator muir to senator blunt, urging them to wrap up the russia investigation early. this just follows a pattern that goes back to his early days of meeting with fbi director jim comey, seeking some commitment of personal loyalty and asking him to go easy on mike flynn, former national security adviser flynn. so i do think we are seeing more and more evidence that would lead to an obstruction charge. i also think there was a striking development this week, jake, in that president trump's own lawyers are now making the argument that the president
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can't commit obstruction of justice because he's in charge of all law enforcement. that is not a tenable argument. we would no longer have rule of law in this country if the president were utterly unrestrained to interfere in any way he chose in an investigation. >> all right, democratic senator chris coons of delaware. thank you so much. happy delaware day. i appreciate your being here. >> thank you, jane. president trump declaring jerusalem the capital of israel but will the announcement hurt the chances for peace? dan shapiro served as u.s. ambassador to israel under president obama. stay with us. hello, i'm an idaho potato farmer. you've probably seen me running all over the country in search of our big idaho potato truck. but not any more. i am done with that. ooh, ooh hot - just gonna stay home on the farm, eat a beautiful idaho potato, and watch tv with my dog...
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earlier today from the diplomatic reception room at white house, president trump
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fulfilled a major campaign promise, though it was one that top national security and diplomatic officials in his administration add voiced him not to keep. he formally recognized jerusalem as the capital of israel and vowed to move the u.s. embassy there. >> i've judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the united states of america and the pursuit of peace between israel and the palestinians. >> many world leaders warned against today's announcement. some fear it would ignite a tinderbox of conflict in the region. in 1967, israel seized east jerusalem from jordan during the war, leaving the status of jerusalem and any potential peace deal as a major point of contention. now the u.s. consulate in jerusalem is prohibiting u.s. government and employeeing traveling to the old city or west bank i until further notice. israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu today issued a video thank you for president trump to making a, quote, courageous and just decision, adding that jerusalem has been the focus of the hopes, prayers and dreams of
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people for three millennia. dan shapiro joins us now. he served as u.s. ambassador to israel under president obama. dan, i assume you don't think this was a smart move. why not? this is a promise that every presidential candidate makes. we're going to recognize israel -- jerusalem as the capital of israel. jerusalem is the capital of israel. what's the big deal? >> in fact, i don't think it's that big of a deal. there say lot of heavy breathing about it but it's not the end of all efforts to achieve middle east peace. essentially the president did recognize a reality. jerusalem is the capital of israel, as the ambassador based in tel aviv i got in my car every day and drove to to jerusalem so i could do business with the israeli officials in their offices in jerusalem. it's appropriate to have our embassy there. but what there was was a missed opportunity here. number one, he made the announcement that is to recognize jerusalem as israel's capital but did sign t-- to fras decision in the context of our
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broader efforts to advance our strategic objective and that's a two-state solution. that's an end to this conflict. and in that palestinians have claims on jerusalem. there will be a need to negotiate for palestinians in east jerusalem as well. he should have been clear and timed this to coincide with the peace plan that jared kushner and jason greenblatt are putting together and engaged in better consultation with arab states who could have absorbed it more easily had he done so. >> jen, you worked to obama in the white house and at state department. >> with ambassador sharp row. >> this is a move a lot of democrats have been heavy breathing today to use your term about how big a deal it is. a lot of people worried about violence. talking about arab leaders, king abdullah, sisi, others talking about this is going to be really bad for peace in the region. what do you think? >> well, here's why this, the israelis consider jerusalem their capital but so do the palestinians. it's not just about what people in israel think.
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of course as dan referenced, it's much broader than that. 7% of the population in jordan is palestinian. in saudi arabia, donald trump is putting his new best friends in a difficult position. this has a much larger implication or potential impact in all of the middle east. we don't know what that looks like but i think concerns among democrats are violence, targeting u.s. citizens, targeting u.s. embassies and we've seen under arrest already. that's what people are looking at. >> palestinians are saying this is all very unfair and reveals the united states is not an honest broker. take a listen to a senior palestinian official earlier today. >> i think tonight he is strengthening the forces of extremists in this region has no one has done before. this is an act, a statement that is totally uncalled for, totally unacceptable, is in total violation of international law, human rights and he's stirring the conflict between israelis and palestinians.
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that's a very dangerous situation. >> seems worried, mary katherine, this is going to embolden the hamas wing and others who are going to be able to foment even more discord among the palestinians. >> i understand that concern, but also it is not an extreme move to acknowledge that the capital of israel is the capital of israel. we get into a lot of diplomatic double speak is in sort of maintaining the peace process above all else, but i think there is merit in calling an apple an apple. it is the capital. there is no dispute that west jerusalem and those facilities would remain the capital in a two-state solution. think the president did point out this would be part of the final status discussion and then despite concerns about security, which i think we all share, we should not let the sort of rioters veto or violence veto govern our foreign policy. we've been doing this for many, many decades. without a ton of success. so much like with north korea, where there are risks involved in a different way of doing things, it's hard to make the
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argument that this has been working perfectly thus far. this really could change some dynamics. >> let me take an argument on the side of the palestinians. this is a move that israel wanted and the palestinians didn't. and the united states is making it devoid of any sort of peace deal. why give up this chip? why not use it to try to encourage the israelis to withdraw from some of the illegal settlements they've built in the west bank? why just do this without seeing the larger picture? >> well, again, there is a reality that is worth recognizing, jerusalem has always been israel's capital. there are thousands of year old historic ties between the jewish impeachment and israel. >> east and -- >> one myth, which is two frequently trafficked by palestinians and we see it in resolutions is that there are no historic and legitimate jewish and israeli ties to israel. that they deny there was ever a jewish temple in jerusalem, for example. he busted that myth very effectively today, but the other
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myth that sometimes israelis deceive themselves with. there is such a thing as the two-state solution that ends this conflict without the palestinians having a capital of their state in at least some portion of east jerusalem. it would have been better to frame it in the context to advance the goal of two states and what both sides can see in that outcome. moving our embassy to west jerusalem, again, i would have gone and done that instead of sign the waiver to this, but framed it so palestinians have some understand wolf what they're going to get for a negotiation proceeds. >> you would have said we're moving the embassy but hope that east jerusalem will some day be the capital of the palestinian state. >> the precise dimensions would have to be negotiated. we don't need that much detail, the blue palestinians are either going to have a palestinian state and the capital of their state will be in east jerusalem or there won't be a two-state solution and this conflict will fester in a binational state
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which doesn't serve anybody's interests. >> all right. everyone stay right there. coming up, why the pilot program will cost american airlines more than potential passengers. stay with pups hallenges us. to find smarter solutions. to offer more precise and less invasive treatment options than before. like advanced genomic testing and immunotherapy. see how we're fighting to outsmart cancer at are sure you're wrapping that correctly? oh, well, it doesn't matter how you wrap it. your gift is already wrapped in america's most awarded network. uh, blanche, it happened again. (announcer) a gift is only as good as the network it's on.
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beer we're back with our money lead. $10 million. that's how much a scheduling glitch could cost american airlines. it gave too many employees time off during the holidays, leaving thousand office flights without pilots the airlines and the
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pilot union negotiated a deal, doubling pay for those who fly the unassigned flights. the end result, no cancellations and pilots making 200% their normal rates. follow me on facebook or twitter @jaketapper. that's it for "the lead" today. i turn you over to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." thanks for watching. happening now. breaking news. los angeles burning. california's fire emergency spreads right to the heart of l.a. with a fourth major wildfire now threatening hillside homes. will powerful winds return tonight to fan flames? controversial move. president trump recognizes jerusalem as israel's capital and announces plans to move the u.s. embassy there. will his decision inflame tension and fuel unrest in the region? >> caller: ripped up for russia. a whistle-blower claims that former national security adviser michael flynn boasted to a business partner that one of president trump's first acts would be to rip