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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  December 13, 2017 2:00pm-3:00pm PST

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or twitter @jaketapper or tweet the show @theleadcnn. i turn you over to wolf blitzer. he's in "the situation room." happening now, breaking news. reaching a deal? house and senate republicans say they've reached a ten tifb deal on a compromised tax cut bill. the president says he hopes it will pass within days and that americans will start seeing savings in two months. but tonight, even president trump seems unsure if all republican senators are on board. defending mueller. amid a coordinator attack on the special counsel's russia investigation, the deputy attorney general goes before a congressional panel and defends robert mueller against gop blames of political bias. mueller's boss says he sees no reason to fire him. trump falters. the president is a big loser after banning the wrong candidate in the alabama senate race. republicans will have only a razor-thin edge in the senate after democrat doug jones upset
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scandal-plagued roy moore. so what's the impact on the president's agenda? and north korea confusion. secretary of state rex tillerson says the u.s. is, is willing to talk to north korea without conditions, but the white house offers a different view. so what's the policy toward kim jong-un? i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news. breaking news. after the earth-shaking gop loss in alabama's senate race, president trump badly needs a win. he's closer to one this hour, announcing house and senate republicans have agreed on a compromise tax deal. the president says he hopes congress is just days away from passing what he calls a giant tax cut to begin in february. the shockwaves are still spreading but president trump is downplaying the humiliating republican loss in deep red
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alabama where he twice bet on the wrong horse. first luther strange in the primary and then roy moore in the special senate election. the president says some republicans are happy that the scandal-tainted moore lost to democrat doug johns, but as he would have liked to have had the seat. jones said he got a very gracious call from the president and they talked about finding common ground. as the russia investigation draws closer to the president's inner circle with donald trump jr. questioned today at length by the senate intelligence committee staff, robert mueller's boss is praising the special counsel and defending his investigation. republicans are claiming political bias within mueller's probe after the release of anti-trump messages from an fbi agent who was removed from the investigate, but under drilling by gop lawmakers, deputy attorney general rod rosenstein says he sees no good cause to fire mueller, adding no one has asked him to. i'll speak with democratic senator chris coons of the
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judiciary and foreign relations committees. and our correspondents and specialists and guests, they're all standing by for full coverage. with the shocking loss of a senate seat in alabama last night, republicans are all the more eager to push through a tax bill but no one is more eager than the president himself. let's begin with our senior white house correspondent jim acosta. jim, the president desperately needs a win. >> reporter: he desperately needs a win after last night, wolf. that's right, president trump tried to change the subject back to his tax plan today, but after roy moore's stunning defeat down in alabama, even the president's own allies agree mr. trump is we weakened. one source close to the white house described roy moore's loss as an earthquake devastating for the president. that's hardly the only reality tv drama around these white house in the last 24 hours. trying to steer a wounded republican party back on message, president trump touted the gop's tax plan that appears to be on its way to final passage.
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>> our current tax code is burdensome, complex and profoundly unfair. it has exported our jobs, closed our factories and left millions of parent worried that their children might be the first generation to have less opportunity than the last. >> reporter: the gop plan is expected to lower the corporate tax rate to 21%, trim the top rate for individuals to 37%, reduce the morning deduction for homeowners and repeal the individual mandate in obamacare. a holiday gift, the president claims, for taxpayers. >> we want to give you, the american people, a giant tax cut for christmas. and when i say giant, i mean giant. >> reporter: but the president received an early lump of coal in his stocking in the form of the alabama senate race where democrat doug jones pulled off a major upset of mr. trump's endorsed candidate roy moore. it was a defeat for the president who defied warnings from fellow republicans who rejected moore, instead listening to his former chief
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strategist steve bannon. >> a lot of republicans feel differently. they're very happy with the way it turned out. but i would have, as the leader of the party, i would have liked to have had this seat. >> reporter: the president engaged in some revisionist history, tweeting i said roy moore will not be able to win the general election. i was right. roy worked hard but the deck was stacked against him. that ignores the fact that the president put his full weight behind moore who had been accused of child molestation. >> he says it didn't happen. you have to listen to him also. >> reporter: even touting moore's candidate just just across the alabama border in florida. >> this guy is screaming, we want roy moore. he's right. >> reporter: republicans who have clashed with the president were celebrating moore's defeat. >> i know we're supposed to cheer for our side of the aisle, if you will, but i'm really, really happy with what happened for all of us. >> reporter: argued republicans should wait for jones to be seated before any vote on the tax plan. >> the people of alabama have spoken who they want to be representing them. >> reporter: others notice gop
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pointed fingers at bannon, accusing the conservative fire brand of leading the party into disaster. >> not so much as a political issue, almost as a moral issue. this guy does not belong on the national stage. he look like some disheveled drunk that warned on to the stage. >> reporter: bannon response, no apologies. >> that's because the democrats hustled. people have to understand if you don't turn out, they're going to turn out. hat tip to these guys at the dnc. >> reporter: the election in alabama wasn't the only source of turmoil as top aide omarosa manigault abruptly left her position, arounder of the amount of melodrama that the 379 has brought to the west wing that feels like a flash back. >> you're fired. >> reporter: now the white house confirms president trump did call senator-elect in alabama doug jones, according to jones it was a gracious call. but, wolf, republican sources close to the white house and up on capitol hill, they are worried that the president has
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not learned his lessons from alabama. they are warning the president to stay away from steve bannon heading into the midterms. moving forward, as one source told us, the president has egg on his face because he listened to steve bannon. wolf? >> jim acosta reporting from the white house. tank you. as the russia investigation draws closer to the white house, robert mueller's boss is defending the special counsel as republican lawmakers claim that mueller's probe is stacked against the president. let's bring in our justice correspondent jessica schneider. jessica, the deputy attorney general stood his ground today during extensive questioning up on capitol hill. >> he did, wolf. rod rosenstein, he offered a full throated defense of his pick to leaded the russia probe. it was a contentious hearing at times where rosenstein was unwavering in his support of the special counsel. >> reporter: president trump's deputy attorney general rod rosenstein found himself taking incoming fire from members of the president's party today, defending the russia investigation and special counsel robert mueller, who he
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appointed, from republican charges of bias. >> i think it would be very difficult, congressman, for anybody to find someone better qualified for this job. director mueller has throughout his lifetime been a dedicated and respected and heroic public servant. i believe he was an ideal choice for this task. >> this is unbelievable. and i'm here to tell you, mr. rosenstein, i think the public's trust in this whole thing is gone. >> reporter: under relentless questioning by members of the house judiciary committee, rosenstein repeatedly said he sees no reason to remove mueller. >> have you seen good cause to fire special counsel mueller? >> no. >> reporter: and he suggested to democrats on the committee that the president has not pressured him to do so either. >> i am not going to be discussing my communications with the president, but i can tell you nobody has communicated to me a desire to remove robert mueller. >> are you afraid of president trump firing you? >> no, i'm not, congressman. >> reporter: rosenstein also dismissed any idea president trump asked him to pledge his loyalty, something former fbi
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director james comey suggested trump had wanted from him. >> is it ever appropriate for the president of the united states to demand the department of justice official or fbi director take a loyalty pledge? >> i don't have any opinion about that, congressman. nobody's asked me to take a loyalty pledge other than the oath of of the. >> reporter: rosenstein's staunch defense of the special counsel came as republicans accused mueller's team of being influenced by politics, suggesting the special counsel had hired partisans looking to take down president trump. congressman steve shavt ticked through a list of contributions he said some members of mueller's team have made to democrats over multiple election cycles, declaring it evidence of bias. >> how with a straight face can you say that this group of democrat partisans are unbiased and will give president trump a fair shake? >> reporter: and republican members pointed to newly disclosed anti-trump text messages between two employees at the fbi. agent peter strzok, who helped lead the clinton e-mail server investigation and fbi lawyer
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lisa page. the two exchanged hundreds of texts throughout the presidential campaign in 2016 when they were allegedly having an affair. page texting in march, 2016. god, trump is a loathsome human. strzok responded, yet he may win. another exchange said, oh, my god, he's an idiot. he's awful. strzok had been assigned to mueller's investigation but was removed by mueller this summer when he learned about the text. rosenstein stressed the inspector general is investigating those messages along with the handling of the clinton e-mail server investigation. pushing back on republican calls to immediately appoint a second special counsel. >> if we believe there was a basis for an investigation or a special counsel, i can assure you that we would act. >> reporter: under questioning by democrats, rosenstein pointed out that mueller was appointed fbi director by both republican and democratic presidents and confirmed unanimously by the senate, saying that political affiliations or opinions are different than bias. >> we recognize we have employees with political
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opinions and it's our responsibility to make sure those opinions do not influence their actions. pardon me. so i believe that director mueller understands that and that he is running that office appropriately. recognizing that people have political views, but ensuring that those views are not in any way a factor in how they conduct themselves in office. >> but rosenstein's defense did not placate republicans and now the number two republican in the senate, john cornyn, he is calling for special counsel robert mueller to clean house of people on his team who have been politically active or have made comments critical of the president. wolf? >> jessica schneider reporting. thank you very much. joining us now, democratic senator chris coons of delaware, he's a member of the judiciary and foreign relations committees. senator, thanks for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. >> all right. you're on the judiciary committee. you heard the deputy attorney general rod rosenstein, he was before the house judiciary committee today. faced all these questions about whether a second special counsel is needed to investigate potential conflicts of interest
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in the robert mueller probe. what did you make of his answers? >> well, i agree with deputy attorney general rosenstein, that in robert mueller we have a republican who was nominated by a republican to serve as fbi director and was unanimously confirmed by the senate. he is conducting his investigation to the best of my knowledge, and this is what rosenstein testified to today in an impartial and balanced manner. where there have been allegations brought forward about bias or political views by folks who were involved in any way, he has removed them, reassigned them or demoted them. that's what we would expect would happen and i don't think we should appoint new special counsels simply because there are members of the house would like us to look into. i do believe that the house judiciary committee, the senate judiciary committee and the relevant intelligence committees are fully capable of looking into these concerns and making sure they're aired fully, as they were today in the house. i continue to have real
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confidence in special counsel robert mueller. >> the justice department, as you heard, they handed over these very blunt anti-trump text messages sent by an fbi agent who has since been demoted. do those texts show a bias against the president in the mueller investigation? >> no. but they show that that fbi agent had some strong personal opinions. once that had come to light, he was removed. he was not in a position of leadership of the mueller investigation and i don't think this compromises or even complicates the ongoing mueller investigation. >> do you believe robert mueller is safe in his role as the special counsel? >> i think it's important to make it clear that there are bipartisan efforts to make sure that the independence of the department of justice, respect for rule of law is moving forward. as you know, senator until list alist -- tillis and i introduced a bill a number of months ago. we've had a hearing on the judiciary committee. we are working out the differences in language and i
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hope we will soon be reintroducing a consensus bipartisan bill that would strengthen some of the protections for any special counsel. >> would it -- if it were to pass, and i don't know if it would pass, even though you do have bipartisan support. but let's say it were to pass, would it guarantee that mueller could not be fired? >> no. but it would ensure that a special counsel, robert mueller or another, could only be fired for good cause. in department of justice regulations, it calls out what those are. sort of gross impropriety or a conflict of interest, dereliction of duty. it means the special counsel can't be fired for no reason but it does lay out reasons for which the special counsel could be fired and then puts in place a process by which a three-judge panel could review that firing. i think it is a responsible, balanced step to make sure that going forward special counsels aren't subject to being fired at the whims of the president or of leaders in the department of justice. >> senator, let me switch
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quickly to the alabama senate race. could doug jones' victory put the senate in play for democrats next year? >> well, it certainly shows that the voters of alabama are taking another look at the trump administration and at who is running on the republican ticket. in this particular case, i think it's important for us to look at who the citizens of alabama voted for, a dedicated public servant, an experienced prosecutor, somebody who stood up for civil rights and the fact that doug jones was able to win in a deeply red state that hasn't elected a statewide democrat in 25 years, that there was terrific and strong turnout across t across the board both by the african-american community and by folks who typically vote for republican candidates. that's what put him over the top. i think that should make it clearer that there is a real chance for a democratic sweep in the house and for democrats to hang on to our seats, even to pick up a few seats in the senate. >> all right, senator, i know
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there's breaking news. alabama's new senator-elect doug jones just told reporters he has a very gracious call from president trump today after his shocking win. president trump told reporters today that a lot of republicans are very happy with the way the alabama senate race turned out. democrat doug jones won despite the president's support for republican roy moore. and this morning, president tweeted, quote, i said roy moore
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would not be able to win the general election, i was right. let's get some insight from our political specialists. you know, gloria, the president, he really went all-in in the last few weeks for roy moore. >> he did. >> how much of this was a referendum on the president's approval rating, a national poll, mammoth poll show his approval rating is only 32%. >> his approval in the state of alabama is almost at 50%. i mean, that's low, considering he won the state by two to one, but he has a better approval rating there. look, i think it was a combination of this candidate that people found repulsive and couldn't vote for and the fact that donald trump jumped in at the last minute, you know, may have helped moore almost win, but it wasn't enough. you know, when you break down the numbers, there were -- there were enough people who held
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their nose and voted and voted for a democrat or wrote in a democrat because of -- because of moore. >> the fact that a democrat just won the state of alabama is a referendum on the republican candidate. there is no question about it. but because president trump went all-in and then doubled down for him in a really aggressive way, against the advice of most of the people who were around him talking to him, except for steve bannon, who gave him the opposite advice, of course, means that he kind of went down along with roy moore. and certainly it is an embarrassment and it is a miscalculation and one that will be used against him because of the allegations against roy moore for years and years to come. >> and i think we have to place alabama in the larger context. this isn't the only election we've had in recent months. and you look at virginia, for example, you look at new jersey, you see some of the same trends
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continue that are beyond -- above and beyond moore. suburban turnout that has shifted to democrats. a clear reaction to trump. heightens democratic turnout, particularly in this case among african-americans. i mean, there are a lot of warning signs here for the republican party, but on that poll, wolf, the thing that interests me is that the president tweets all the time about how well the economy is doing, unemployment at a 17-year low, the stock market is up and everything, and the question is, if things are going so well, why is he doing so badly? i think the answer has to do with his own character, his own performance, his own behavior. >> right. things are going well despite his performance and his behavior. >> right. >> well, but there is this disconnect between the good news -- >> yeah. >> and people's attitudes towards him and the republican party itself is going to have a
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hard time if they go into 2018 with a president with a 32% approval rating. >> as their cheerleader. donald trump as a cheerleader is not something a lot of republicans may want. i mean, this is a man that people find personally offensive, and that's what the low approval rating is about. it's not about the economy. he does well when -- that's the one area when people say is he doing well, it's the economy. >> the problem is he's not a cheerleader, he's a jeerleader. that's what he enjoys doing. he likes picking fights. >> did you just come up with that? >> i did as i was sitting here. this is where the magic happens. >> that's why you're david axelrod. >> take us inside a white house after a setback like this. you were in the obama white house. there were many setbacks. >> thanks for pointing that out, wolf. it was interesting, i mentioned last night that when we went through some of she's setbacks and we went through a
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cataclysmic race in massachusetts where we lost ted kennedy's seat to the republicans. unthinkable, really. there was a lot of doom and gloom in this town and the white house. it was the president himself who kind of pulled everybody together and said, hey, you know, we got our butts kicked and now we have to figure out how to move forward. his attitude and his sort of calm and his focus really lifted everybody else up. it may be that that's what's happening in the white house today, but i think highly doubtful. >> can i just add the thing that i'm going to be most interested in in looking at donald trump and his approval ratings and just how it translates in 2018 when he's not on the ballot but other republicans are is whether there is a mirror between what is going to go on here and what went on in the obama years. in that president obama was a unique figure. and that he could win for himself, but when he tried to help other people, it didn't always translate. the question is whether that's going to happen with president
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trump. >> all right. everybody stand by. more we're following now. new information coming into "the situation room." let's take a break. we'll be right back. qunol helps restore this heart-healthy nutrient with 3x better absorption. qunol has the #1 cardiologist recommended form of coq10 qunol, the better coq10.
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relief because they're feeling relieve that a democrat won a seat. but that is the truth. i mean, it really is. because of the fact that they were bracing for a meeting that they were going to have this morning to discuss what the next steps would be if roy moore were elected to the senate. how they're were going to work through the process of doing a different kind of investigation or a more formal investigation that the "washington post" and other news outlets did and put it through the process to potentially expel one of their own for the first time in over 150 years. they don't have to do that. and i think even more importantly, to a person, if you remember, the president went all-in on roy moore, the rnc put money back in after pulling out. not one member of the republican caucus said that they thought -- >> in the senate. >> in the senate said they thought that roy moore should be one of their colleagues. and they think that to a person at the end of the day it's not great to have a one-vote
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majority, but it's good for the republican brand. >> and if you're mitch mcconnell today, obviously you are not happy to have lost a seat, but if you're mitch mcconnell, who had been engaged in this huge battle with steve bannon, and the president -- and steve bannon wants to take him down and take him down and change the senate. and the president sided with steve bannon on this. i'm sure you don't go in and tell the president i told you so, but you're about to deliver him potentially a victory on tax cuts and you may feel emboldened or a little bit more muscular to be able to say to the president, you know, next time listen to me when it comes to picking who the candidates are and who can get elected because this guy could not get elected and a lot of these people that steve bannon wants to run are going to lose, too. so listen to me. >> it was interesting, it took about ten seconds after the race was called for all of the
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anonymous quotes to start emanating. many of them from the white house. all aimed at steve bannon. you know, when you set yourself up as the sort of messianic leader of a historic, revolutionary movement and you fall on your butt, there are a lot of people who have knives out for you and steve bannon is a big target today. >> but he clearly had an impact and an influence on the president's decision to support roy moore. >> i think that's true. and i think the president sort of -- you come into favor and you fall out of favor. i think he was very angry at mcconnell for talking him into being for luther strange against roy moore. now he may be angry with bannon for persuading him. we should say one small thing, i do think the president had some impact on this race in favor of moore, in the sense that you saw the late-breaking vote going for moore. >> right. >> i think in places close to where he campaigned, he probably had some influence.
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it's just that, much as in virginia where there was a heightened turnout in some of these republican areas, it was dwarfed by the turnout in these democratic areas. apropos to our earlier discussion, the question is can the president campaign for candidates and not only galvanize his own constituency but also hypergalvanize the opposition? >> you know, and i don't think bannon is going to back off one bit. i think this is -- he's going to use this to energize his people to go after the establishment each more. so the tensions that existed before are only going to get exacerbated. >> steve bannon's on the record as saying he only wants ted cruz among the incumbent senators up for re-election next year to be re-elected. he's going -- he wants others to replace all of these other incumbent republicans. >> because the goal at the end of the day is very clear and very specific, he wants mitch mcconnell and the current
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republican leadership gone. he wants them ousted. and the only way he believes he can do that is by electing different republicans, new republicans who are giving him a no mitch mcconnell pledge. the problem that he has, that mitch mcconnell is saying i told you so today, is if you pick a republican like that, they're much more likely to be more extreme and unlikely to be able to be elected in the general election in the state. >> good point. all right, everybody stand by. there is more coming into "the situation room." including some more breaking news. the president's son donald trump jr. has been up on capitol hill for hours taking questions from investigators. we're going to give you an update. also breaking, a top u.s. counterterrorism official criticizes president trump's policies and anti-muslim rhetoric. stand by.
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. breaking news now. donald trump jr. has been in a marathon all-day session with senate intelligence committee staffers. let's go live to capitol hill. our senior congressional correspondent manu raju is watching all of this unfold. what are you learning, manu? >> reporter: yeah, i just spoke to senator mark warner, who is the vice chairman of the senate intelligence committee and i asked him about this interview, has donald trump jr. been cooperative so far? he said, look, i want senators themselves to ask questions of donald trump jr. so the top democrat on the committee is telling me he wants donald trump jr. to come back
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for another session to answer questions from the members themselves. remember, wolf, this is just staff members. they typically have steph-level investigations, interviews, they talk to these witnesses for hours. this has been happening since 1:00 a.m. this morning. donald trump jr. has been behind closed doors. this is the third committee he has met with on capitol hill. he did meet with the house intelligence committee members last week. and he also met with the senate judiciary committee staff on -- in september as part of each of those committees' own investigations. clearly, wolf, a lot of questions about donald trump jr.'s own contacts with russians during the campaign, and, of course, that june 2016 meeting in which he was promised dirt on the hillary clinton campaign. met with others, including jared kushner, paul manafort and other russian operatives at that meeting that he later said was an issue about russian adoptions and the questions about how they responded to the news immediate initially when the news first emerged earlier this summer, whether they were truthful to
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the public about exactly what happened there. those questions undoubtedly will have been covered in today's marathon session, but the news just moments ago, mark warner, the top democrat on the committee saying, look, it's great that donald trump is talking to staff but has got to come back and talk to members themselves. >> manu, thanks very much. we have more breaking news. a top counterterrorism official here in washington who is leaving his government post just told cnn that president trump's policies, his anti-muslim rhetoric, are making counterterrorism more difficult. let's bring in our chief national security correspondent jim sciutto. so, jim, what are you learning? >> so keep in mind, this is the head of the national counterterrorism center, which is the intelligence agency charged with protecting the homeland from terror attacks. and to be clear, nick rasmussen who has been there for a number of years is leaving now a year in the trump administration is not referencing a specific tweet or comment from a specific individual, but he's talking about the overall environment. in fact, i pressed him and i said, included in this are the
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president's tweets, anti-muslim tweets at times, policy, the travel ban for instance that offends muslim-majority country. and i said are you saying that that environment is making this job more difficult? and his answer simply was yes. he went on to say, i don't think it's arguable that it's more difficult when the environment is contaminated by mutually suspicion. if you're increasing the amount of suspicion and stress on these communities, it places more challenges in your way. of course he's references there, wolf, muslim communities because you will hear from people like him that, you know, you need those communities and cooperation with muslim communities because they're going to help you identify potential actors, bad actors here. and he's not alone in this assessment. i met with the manhattan d.a. earlier this week. cyrus vance jr., he made a similar point that you need those communities. when you have this kind of rhetoric, some of these policies, some of these comments it makes their job more difficult. >> i've spoken myself to several major u.s. counterterrorism
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officials who all point out the information the u.s. has received from muslims is information that has saved many lives and thwarted several terrorist plots. >> absolutely. >> you don't want to alienate the muslim american community. >> no question. >> all right, jim, thanks very, very much. coming up, the man who appointed the special counsel robert mueller gets an earful from both republicans and democrats up on capitol hill. also coming up, conflicting signals about the possibility of u.s. talks with kim jong-un's north korea. is the u.s. ready to sit down at the negotiating table without any preconditions?
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tonight, there are conflicting signals about whether the united states is willing to negotiate with north korea. secretary of state rex tillerson yesterday appeared open to starting talks with kim jong-un's regime without any preconditions, but now other voices are weighing in. let's bring in brian todd. what are you hearing, brian? >> well wolf, tonight, rex tillerson and the white house and president trump are not on the same page on this and tillerson may not be on the same page with his own spokesperson. it could be causing confusion amongst america's allies and the north koreans. the white house saying now is not the time for any talks
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because north korea's simply been too aggressive. tillerson, though, has gone out on a limb, saying let's just get the north koreans in a room and go from there. >> reporter: tonight, a bold stroke from america's top diplomat leaves an opening for drawing down tensions with kim jong-un. secretary of state rex tillerson says america's ready to sit down and talk with north korea with no preconditions. >> let's just meet, and we can talk about the weather if you want. we can talk about whether it's going to be a square table or round table and that's what you're excited about. but can we at least sit down and see each other face-to-face? >> tillerson's not on the same page with president trump. the white house telling cnn tonight that given north korea's recent missile test clearly right now is not the time for negotiations. president trump tweeted in october that tillerson was quote, wasting his time with trying to negotiate with little rocket man.
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the white house says kim jong-un regime has to show a willingness to end its weapons program and has to stop provoking the u.s. before any talks can even start, something tillerson himself said in april. >> north korea must take concrete steps to reduce the threat its illegal weapons programs pose to the united states and our allies before we can even consider talks. >> reporter: tillerson now says it's not realistic to expect kim to commit to giving up his weapons before talking to the koreans. but he does say kim has to pause his missile test if they talk. and the his spoerks person said as long as they keep launching bombs, they're not showing their seriousness. only to break their promises. and they say kim's negotiators are known to act like mafia
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bosses. >> every time they want to get a new cash payment, they come to the table and they, you know, use the negotiations to play for time and play for advantage. and then what happens is the koreans say if you don't give us "x," we will walk away and conduct a provocation, a nuclear test, a missile test. >> reporter: still some analysts say talking to kim now while tensions are so high can at least bring some danger levels down. >> the talks could stop the missile launches, the nuclear tests and ulttally down the road stop the production of more missile material and start moving it in the other direction. >> reporter: we've gotten no response. opening up talks with pyongyang is not rex tillerson's only surprise tonight. he also said how to ensure north korea's nuclear weapons don't
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fall into the wrong hands if north korea becomes unstable or even falls apart. tillerson says u.s. troops might have to cross into north korea to make sure those weapons are secured, but they assured china americas would retreat. >> amidst all of this an american diplomat has gone to north korea in recent days. >> that's right. jeffly feldman. he did go to pyongyang last week. he pressured the koreans to engage in more diplomacy. he said they were noncommittal, though. even feltman is an american, he went there on behalf of the u.n. >> he's the u.n. secretary of general for political affairs. but i'm sure he went there without any preconditions. thank you very much. coming up, president trump backs the wrong horse to the alabama senate race, so what does roy moore's stunning defeat
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happening now, breaking news. art of the bill. president trump touts a new republican compromise on taxes as bringing him closer to a keeping a campaign promise. tonight unanswered questions about what's in the deal even as mr. trump says it could affect taxpayers in a matter of months. russia probe push back.
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the deputy attorney general defends the special counsel as republican lawmakers accuse robert mueller's team of political bias. anti-trump texts from a former member of mueller's team were revealed. a historic democratic upset in crimson red alabama is sending shock waives through the white house and the republican party. after backing the losing candidate is the president trying to rewrite history tonight? and proxy war. the trump administration is making a new move. connected to a bloody conflict in which a u.s. ally and a dangerous adversary are taking sides. standby for cnn's exclusive reporting on the ground of this long and horrific war. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer and you're in the situation room. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news.

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