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tv   Wolf  CNN  January 25, 2018 10:00am-11:00am PST

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you know why? because trump wants to keep talking about the fbi and his allies do on the hill, too. the folks who are running the campaign this year, the republicans thought about taxes, it's disappeared. that's bad news for them. >> bad news for them. thanks for joining us on "inside politics." a little breaking news is always good. hope you like the new set. "wolf" starts right now. hello, i'm wolf blitzer, 1:00 p.m. in washington, 7:00 p.m. in davos, switzerland, 9:00 p.m. in moscow. wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us. negotiations under way. the president's legal team trying to clean up his vow to testify under oath with robert mueller as the president comes up with a new definition for obstruction of justice. plus, the secret society theory falling apart quickly. why the republican efforts to undermine the robert mueller investigation may in part be based on a text message that was made in jest. and the u.s. says the palestinian leadership has
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insulted president trump and the united states, and now the president is issuing a new threat -- come to the table, negotiate peace with israel, or else. but let's start with the president apparently jumping the gun a bit with his offer to testify under oath in the russia investigation. here's what the president said to reporters. >> are you going to talk to mueller? >> i'm looking forward to it, actually. >> you want to? >> here's the story -- >> do you have a date set? >> there's been no collusion whatsoever. there's no obstruction whatsoever, and i'm looking forward to it. >> you would do it under oath? >> oh, i would do it under oath, absolutely. >> pretty clear the president offering to testify under oath to special prosecutor robert mueller, but the white house quickly came out, ty cobb, saying that isn't necessarily the case and that the president was merely speaking hurriedly before leaving washington for davos. meanwhile, the president's lawyers have been given a range of topics from the special
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prosecutor's office. we have learned the first is the allegation that the president asked then fbi director james comey to lay off michael flynn, his national security adviser, who since has pled guilty to perjury charges. they also want to know the president's reaction to congressional testimony given by comey in may of last year. comey was fired days after the hearing. they also expect -- they are also expected to ask about the president's reaching out to intelligence leaders here in washington about the russia investigation itself. joining us now, peter residenberg, a former federal prosecutor, was a member of the special prosecutor's team in the scooter libby case. thank you for joining us. >> happy to. >> so, let's talk about the ground rules. what are the key questions that need to be negotiated when the president sits down with robert mueller and his team? >> they're probably just talking about logistical issues, you know, where the interview's going to take place, how long it's going to be, who will be present during the interview,
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what the ground rules are during the interview. that's what eewd expect they're discussing right now. >> the president says, you know, he's going to listen to his lawyers, but he says he's more than happy to go ahead and testify under oath. would it be probably at the white house? it wouldn't be written form, would it? >> no. i imagine it would be done at the white house as a courtesy and as a convenience, rather than making him travel to the prosecutor's office. this idea about it being under oath is a little bit, i think, off base. interviews with the fbi are not done under oath. nevertheless, they have to be truthful, because if you make a false statement to the fbi over the course of an investigation, that's a violation, that's a false statement, violation of the u.s. code, and in the course of an investigation, if you do it, it's also possibly obstruction of justice. but the fbi agents are not going to be, i would imagine, swearing him in under oath.
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>> similarly, when hillary clinton answered questions in her investigation, she was not sworn in, she was not "under oath," but if you lie to federal investigators, federal prosecutors, the fbi, that's a violation, that's a criminal act. >> exactly. there is no formal oath. there's not going to be, i wouldn't imagine, a court reporter present. >> the president in his comments with reporters seemed to have a bit of a new definition when it comes to obstruction of justice. listen on this. >> do you think robert mueller will be fair to you in this larger investigation? >> we're going to find out. we're going to find out. >> are you concerned about it? >> because here's what we'll say, and everybody says, no collusion. there's no collusion. now they're saying, oh, well, did he fight back? if you fight back, you say -- >> sir -- >> john, you fight back, whoa, it's obstruction! so, here's the thing, i hope so. >> so, he says he was simply fighting back and this would not be obstruction of justice. you've got a little smile on your face. >> well, i mean, i guess it
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depends what you mean by fighting back. if fighting back is going and giving a statement to the press and explaining your conduct, that's fighting back. if it's issuing statements through your press secretary, that's fighting back. if it's telling the fbi director to lay off a prosecution, or then if he doesn't agree to that, firing him, that may be fighting back, but it may be also crossing a line. >> those are important words, indeed. next two or three weeks the president speculated this all could happen. we'll be watching it very closely, a critical moment indeed. peter zeidenberg, thank you very much for coming in. breaking news. the department of justice says it's recovered those missing text messages sent by two fbi officials under scrutiny for comments about the president and a so-called secret society at the fbi. i want to bring in cnn's jessica schneider. she's joining us now. what can you tell us? >> reporter: wolf, after days of speculation and some intrigue
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here, we have learned from the department of justice inspector general, via a letter that they sent to congress, that, yes, in fact, this big gap of text messages have in some part been located. so, we know that those texts, there was that gap between december 2016 to may 17th, 2017. and of course, republicans have seized on this, called this into question, but we know in the meantime here, the inspector general, they've been investigating this for several months now. of course, it's the inspector general who actually even discovered that these texts existed in the first place. so, what they've just alerted congressional committees to is that they have been able to through the devices themselves, as opposed to the storage system that the fbi had, through the devices, they have been able to locate some of these text messages. in particular, i'll read for you the portion of the letter where they addressed this. it says that the oig has been investigating this matter and this week succeeded in using forensic tools to recover text
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messages from fbi devices, including text messages between mr. struck, the fbi agent, and ms. paige, the fbi attorney, that were sent or received between december 14th, 2016, and may 17th, 2017. but what they go on to say in this letter is that while they have recovered some of these text messages, they have not recovered all of them. that's something that the inspector general's office continues to do, and they say at this point these text messages won't go directly into the hands of members of congress. instead, the inspector general will hand over these text messages that they've so far retrieved from the devices themselves, they will go to the department of jurisdiction and then the department of justice will determine what to do. of course, we've seen the department of justice hand over two batches already of these text messages. first they handed it over to congress, as well as gave reporters a look. and then this most recent batch, they came out in the past few days, about a week ago, they gave directly to members of
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congress. and we've seen that slow drip, drip, drip, bit by bit release of some of these text messages, including that secret society text message that has drummed up a lot of controversy, a lot of speculation over the past few days. wolf? >> it certainly has. jessica schneider, stand by. manu raju is also following these late-breaking developments for us. manu, as you know, republicans have been expressing outrage about that reference in one exchange, two of those fbi officials had involving a so-called secret but now one important u.s. senator is admitting it may have all been a joke among those two fbi officers, two fbi agents. tell us about that? >> reporter: that's right, senator ron johnson, chairman of the homeland security and government affairs committee, he had been raising concerns about the secret society text, went on fox news earlier this week, suggested that's something he wanted to dig further into. yesterday when i talked to him,
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he talked about how he learned from a separate informant that there were meetings occurring offsite, perhaps something tied to this secret society. he said he didn't know what those meetings offsite were about. and after it was revealed publicly about what these exchanges were, he sort of changed his tune. well, i can read to you exactly what this text exchange said, according to what we have obtained. are you even going to be giving out your calendars? seems kind of depressing. maybe it should just be the first meet of the secret society. this happened after the elections. now, when i went up to ron johnson moments ago and asked him if this text message was a joke, he seemed to suggest it could have been a joke. here's what he said. senator, this text message seems to be a comment about secret society was in jest. do you agree that it appears to be in jest? >> it's a real possibility. >> thank you all. >> reporter: so, we're trying to learn a little bit more about exactly his thinking now after
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he raised some very significant concerns earlier this week and whether he still shares those same concerns, given that republicans seized on this text message as an effort to go after this investigation, suggesting these agents were biased, suggesting there was a larger plot within the fbi perhaps to try to discredit the trump presidency and discredit the campaign. we'll learn a little bit more about this thinking here, but perhaps based on the context of these messages, these agents were just joking about a secret society and it seems the senator may think that's at least a possibility that they were joking. and we'll see what he says when these new messages, too, are released to congress. his committee will have a chance to review them. there have not been any other references to a secret society that we know of. we'll see if any references were made in this new batch of documents. >> it seems like that whole secret society thing was made in jest by these two individuals working at the fbi. i want to get quickly back to what jessica schneider's reporting, that all of a sudden they have found those missing
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text messages between those two fbi agents, manu. it wasn't just them. there was a smartphone provided by samsung to a whole bunch of fbi personnel and those text messages were missing not just for those two individuals, right? manu, did you get the question? >> reporter: sorry, wolf, we lost you for a second there. what was the question? >> we're talking about what jessica schneider was reporting about the missing text messages between those two individuals, those two fbi officials that caused this uproar, that the president was complaining about it, but all of a sudden, it's become clear they have found a lot of those e-mails, and it wasn't just the two of them. there was apparently a new samsung smartphone that was distributed, thousands of them, to fbi personnel, and the same glitch was occurring all over the place, right? >> reporter: yeah, that's right.
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that's what we were told initially, too, that this glitch was occurring to roughly 10% of these phones within the fbi, and so, these two agents weren't the only ones who lost these text messages, but now that the inspector general has recovered this through its own investigation, this could seem to perhaps quiet some of the concerns on capitol hill from some of these members, suspicious that these have gone missing, asking for information about exactly why those five months of text messages have gone missing. the president himself saying that as well. we'll see if that alleviates the concerns on the hill or what these two agents were talking about and whether they were criticizing the president and also hillary clinton as they have done in previous text messages. but clearly, wolf, the inspector general releasing these messages maybe will soften some of the rhetoric here on the hill that this is maybe an effort to conceal some more damaging messages, damaging, at least, could optically to the fbi. we'll see what they have to say when they actually review these messages. >> yeah, we'll see if there are
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some public apologies coming forward as well from various news organizations and republican politicians who were making outrageous claims about the fbi, and now they're going to have to back down, away from that. let's see what happens. manu, thank you very much. i want to bring in dana bash and gloria borger right now. gloria, both of those elements had caused enormous, enormous coverage, enormous angst among conservatives, but now they're going to have to back down. >> never mind. as roseanne, roseanna deanna used to say. i think it just shows you that there are lots of people out there who want to discredit the fbi and discredit the investigation into donald trump and discredit the mueller team. and i think that there are lots of ways of going at it. and this is just part of an effort to kind of muddy the waters, and i think that is exactly what's being done every single day. and bob mueller for his part, as dana and i know, they don't
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comment on any of this stuff. they just keep on doing their work. >> and the president was outraged by both of these developments, and he's going to have to back down now as well in light of what the justice department has just released, his justice department, led by the attorney general, a former republican senator jeff sessions. it's a significant development as well as the text messages that had gone missing, not just from these two fbi officials but from a whole bunch of them. >> wolf, in a normal world, in the world of sort of real politics in washington that we have all known for decades, that would happen, likely. i'm not so sure that those other news organizations that you're referring to or these republican politicians who were muddying the waters with this are going to do anything, anything, if they're going to back down at all. if what we now think is the truth is the truth, then they should. i don't have a lot of faith in
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the fact that that's going to happen. >> because when news organizations make a mistake, good ones, they correct those mistakes and report that. and clearly, if the justice department is saying, you know what, there really wasn't a serious, a deliberate effort to delete those e-mails between these two individuals, there was a glitch, we figured it out, we've recovered the e-mails now, and it wasn't just their two smartphones, it was a whole bunch of smartphones. >> right, and then there is this question about whether you trust the justice department. and you know, this is a president who has talked about his own fbi using derogatory terms, making the case that, i'm really talking about the fbi before i put my people in there. but you know, who knows whether this president and his team would actually listen to anything the justice department -- >> that's a really good point. >> -- the justice department said. >> or care to. >> right. >> or care to. i mean, they've got it in their -- >> it looks like senator ron johnson -- >> yes. >> -- republican of wisconsin,
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who's a serious guy, and he's the chairman of the senate homeland security committee, he has now accepted this explanation that it was made in jest about the secret society -- >> right. >> -- over at the fbi. >> he said to manu, it's very possible. >> right. >> i mean, it was pretty clear in that amazing, classic manu chase down the hallway that he ran into that office, the senator, and they're trying to figure out exactly how to deal with this in the future. senator johnson is somebody who, at least in my experience, if it turns out that he was wrong, he would say. others maybe not so much, particularly the outlets that we were talking about that feed on kind of churning this kind of stuff in order to muddy the waters. >> the whole purpose of this churning is to sort of undermine the whole robert mueller -- >> right, exactly. >> -- investigation, in case he does come out with charges, let's say, or some sort of negative report about the president, at least the base of the republican party who supports the president will say,
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well, it was all just -- >> well, that's part of it. that's obviously what underlies all of this. and of course, these two agents were removed immediately as a result of their text messages without a lot of fanfare before we even knew about it they were removed by mueller. >> mueller removed them. >> a long time before we found out. so i think that mueller continues to do his job the way he should do his job, and all of this, all of this tumult is sort of around him, but he's just plowing right ahead, wolf. >> i want you guys to stand by because there is more breaking news we're following. the president opens the door to citizenship for the estimated 800,000 or so d.r.e.a.m.ers here in the united states. this as the white house is set to unveil a new legislative framework for immigration in the coming days. plus, president trump's deal-making skills on full display in davos as he threatens to cut off aid to palestinians if they don't come to the negotiating table with israel.
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a white house spokesman standing by live will discuss that and a whole lot more right after this.
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president trump is high in the swiss alps right now, he's in davos for the world economic forum. he arrived there earlier in the day, and he's already making headlines by criticizing palestinian leaders and threatening to cut off critical aid for palestinian civilians while sitting next to the prime minister of israel. listen to this. >> when they disrespected us a week ago by not allowing our great vice president to see them, and we give them hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and support -- tremendous numbers, numbers that nobody understands -- that money is on the table and that money's not going to them unless they sit down and negotiate peace, because i can tell you that israel does want to make peace, and they're going to have to
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want to make peace, too, or we're going to have nothing to do with it any longer. >> the president's remarks come a little more than a week after the state department here in washington announced that it would be withholding some $65 million to a u.n. relief group that helps palestinians. at the same time, the state department denied it was withholing the aid as punishment. i'm joined now by the white house principal deputy press secretary raj shah from davos, switzerland. raj, thanks so much for joining us. >> wolf, thanks a lot for having me on. >> so, is the president threatening not only to cut off funding for this u.n. relief agency, unra, as it's called, but also threatening to cut direct u.s. economic assistance to the palestinian authority in the west bank? >> the president's message was pretty clear in that all options are sort of on the table when it comes to u.s. aid to the palestinians and to unra, to the
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u.n. agency. and his overall message is obviously very clear as well. we're not going to be subsidizing voices that attack the united states and promote anti-american resolutions and insult the vice president. it's pretty much that simple. you know, we're working with the israelis. we want to continue working with the palestinians moving forward on a prospect for a peaceful settlement to their issues, and you know, you really can't do that if you're not talking and if you're throwing insults. negotiating and disagreeing over issues in a respectful way is one thing, but trying to embarrass the united states on the world stage is something else, and you know, the preside president's not going to put up with it and the white house's not going to put up with it. >> if the palestinian leadership, mahmoud abbas, the president of the palestinian authority, if they don't come to the negotiating table and sit down, negotiate peace with the united states and with the israelis, others who may be involved as well, the u.s. is going to completely cut off
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economic aid to the palestinians? is that what i'm hearing? >> i'm saying that restrictions in all forms to aid are on the table. >> just be precise, because this is causing headlines, as you know. you're there in davos right now. around the world, the u.s. provides the palestinians with several hundred million dollars a year in various forms of humanitarian and economic assistance. all of that will be gone if they don't change their minds and start the negotiating process once again? >> i'm not drawing a hard line right here. what i'm saying is that the many forms of aid that the united states gives to the palestinians, directly and indirectly through unra and other agencies, you know, the levels of aid and the amount of aid would be all up to subject to changes if they don't come to the table or change, at least calm down some of the anti-american and anti-white house rhetoric. >> all right, let's move on to another headline that has just emerged here in washington.
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the president's been talking about it, as you know. now republican senator ron johnson of wisconsin, he's the chairman of the senate homeland security committee, he had earlier claimed that there was a secret society that he had heard about inside the fbi that was anti-president trump, working to overthrow president trump. here's what he told cnn earlier. >> reporter: do you really believe that there's a secret society within the fbi plotting to take down the president? >> listen, all i said is when i read those texts, struck and paige's, again, we're a committee that protects whistleblowers. we have whistleblowers coming to from us across agencies. that didn't surprise me because i've heard from an individual that there were fbi agents, or you know, management at the fbi holding meetings offsite. >> reporter: offsite to do what exactly? >> i don't know. >> in contrast, senator johnson just a little while ago here in
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washington, raj, he admitted that the whole idea of a secret society in that text that was discovered between these two fbi officials may simply have been a joke. listen to this. >> reporter: senator, the text message seems to be a comment about secret society was in jest. do you agree that it appears to be it was in jest? >> it's a real possibility. >> thank you all. >> it's a real possibility, he says. what's your reaction? >> mm-hmm. well, i haven't seen anything that senator johnson has access to, but we would say that there are serious questions about political bias at high levels at the fbi. they've existed for some time under the leadership of the previous director, james comey. this is why the president nominated chris rwray to be the new director to clean house. you saw the political manipulation of hillary clinton's e-mail investigation,
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and the agent that mr. johnson referenced has been removed from the investigation related to the president because of his own political bias and some of the text messages that he had sent to another doj personnel. so you know, a lot of questions have been swirling around. we need to get to the bottom of this. we know the department of justice's inspector general has opened an investigation into this matter. we shouldn't jump to conclusions, but we should figure out everything that's going on and let the public be made aware of it, because the fbi and all of its many brave men and women, their agents are the top law enforcement agency this world has ever seen, and we want any questions about impropriety to be resolved. >> as you know, raj, last night, before you guys left the white house, the president met informally with a gaggle of white house correspondents, and he was irate, very angry that a whole bunch of text messages between these two fbi officials had gone missing from december 2016 until may of 2017. he compared it to, you know, to
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watergate, with them missing 18 minutes, as you know, on that tape. but now -- and you're in davos, so you may not have seen this, but the department of justice, your department of justice, the inspector general, michael horowitz, has just released a letter saying they found a lot of these text messages, and there was a glitch, apparently, not just on the samsung smartphones for these two individuals, but thousands of smartphones provided by samsung. they seem to have discovered how that glitch occurred. they've retrieved a lot of those messages. the president was angry about it, wanted to know where those messages were, and now they've discovered, at least so far, a lot of those messages and more are on their way. what's your reaction to this late-breaking development? >> well, i am not familiar with all the facts, but it's good that they have recovered some of those messages. what's important is what is in those messages and do they reveal political bias? this agent, peter struck, was already removed from the case
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over the summer because of political bias he had shown months ago. now there are months of text messages that had gone missing and now seem to have been recovered. we'd like to see what's in them and understand what level of political bias may have influenced this investigation. >> but it's clear now that those text messages were not deleted by these two fbi officials because there were a lot of other cell phones that didn't have a similar amount of text messages during that same period. there was some sort of technical glitch that they've worked to repair. they've got it. so, it's not as if there was a deliberate conspiracy to hide those text messages, which was the upshot of what the president seemed to be suggesting over the past few days, not only publicly but in some of these tweets. >> yeah, and the president talked about a lot of issues at the fbi and he has been. he's talked about how the deputy director may have shown political bias. he's talked about how other agents involved in various matters may have shown political bias. the handling of the hillary
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clinton e-mail probe we think may have shown some political bias, the way and the manner which she was treated and how her situation was handled. so, there are a lot of questions that have been raised, some by members of congress, some by the president and by others, about the fbi, how they handled some of these matters, and about the senior leadership that the previous fbi director, james comey, had brought under his wing. >> does the president trust the fbi? >> he has tremendous confidence in chris wray, who is a man of tremendous integrity who we believe can clean up the fbi. they have tens of thousands of agencies who make the best law enforcement agency in the world, and we want to see it restore its reputation beyond any questions of impropriety. >> all right, raj, the principal defense secretary traveling with the president in davos, switzerland.
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raj, thanks so much for the time. >> thanks for having me on. up next, a pathway to citizenship. the president seems to pivot on immigration, sparringing out s outcry from conservatives in washington. your insurance company won't replace the full value of your totaled new car. the guy says you picked the wrong insurance plan. no, i picked the wrong insurance company. with liberty mutual new car replacement™, you won't have to worry about replacing your car because you'll get the full value back including depreciation. switch and you could save $782 on home and auto insurance. call for a free quote today. liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance.
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the president at a kinndinnn davos, let's listen in. >> thank you very much. thank you very much. >> well, he didn't say anything except thank you very much. he's heading to a dinner with business leaders in davos. he's at the economic forum there, but it's a significant forum indeed.
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we're going to get back and cue up that tape, see if we missed something earlier. but that's the president in davos at the world economic forum. in other news, a potential breakthrough in immigration talks that shut the federal government here in washington down last weekend. for the first time, president trump says he's now open, very open, to giving young, undocumented immigrants known as d.r.e.a.m.ers a pathway to eventual citizenship here in the united states, just as long as he still gets the money for his border wall with mexico. listen to this. >> do you want citizenship for d.r.e.a.m.ers? >> we're going to morph into it. it's going to happen. >> what does that mean? >> morph into it, what's that mean? >> over a period of 10 to 12 years, somebody does a great job, they've worked hard. gives incentive to do a great job. but they've worked hard, they've done terrifically, whether they have a little company or whether they work or whatever they're doing, if they do a great job, i think it's a nice thing to have the incentive of after a period
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of years being able to become a citizen. >> by march 5th, are you going to protect them, extend the deadline? >> yeah, i might do that. i'm not guaranteeing it because i want to put a little bit of a -- but i certainly have the right to do that if i want. >> i want to bring in our panel to assess, cnn politics repor r er tal copen, associate editor for real clear politics, a.b. stoddard, and our political correspondent dana bash is still with us as well. dana, the president's comments about a pathway to citizenship, he said maybe over the next 10 to 12 years, assuming they're honest and they're doing the right thing, paying taxes, have a good job, they could get a pathway to citizenship. it's caused a lot of heartburn among some of his fellow republicans in the senate and house. >> yeah. and let's just be clear, this is exactly what was on the table before the shutdown, before it blew up. so it is not a surprise that if the president is re-engaging, which he clearly is, on the idea
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of some sort of border security for some sort of legislative fix to the issue of the d.r.e.a.m.ers being here and keeping them here legally that a pathway to citizenship is possible. hearing him say that, hearing it out of his own mouth is new and is a whole different ball game, and that is why he's getting the title amnesty don from the -- >> from breitbart. >> from the breitbart publication that in whose eyes he could generally do no wrong. it's a shot across the bow. we have seen kind of the toing and froing, where he says something, conservatives go after him and then he backs down. so let's see if he backs down on this, because every time he takes a baby step towards compromise, he pulls himself back or he gets pulled back by his base, who goes crazy about this, because they do consider that amnesty. >> and amnesty is a poisonous word as far as they're concerned. these people came here, even though they were little kids,
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illegally, brought by their parents. they've grown up here, but even they see this as amnesty. the president's views on this sensitive issue, they've gone through various forms since he was a candidate. we've put together some clips. watch this. >> i will immediately terminate president obama's illegal executive order on immigration. immediately. what about our children? why can't our children that are in the country, why can't they be the dreamer? nobody ever talks about that. we're always talking about d.r.e.a.m.ers for other people. i want the children that are growing up in the united states to be dreamers also. >> should d.r.e.a.m.ers be worried? >> we love the d.r.e.a.m.ers. we love everybody. well, i have a great heart for the folks we're talking about, a great love for them. it should be a bipartisan bill. this should be a bill of love, truly, it should be a bill of love, and we can do that. >> so, this most recent
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statement in this gaggle with reporters last night at the white house, a.b., a lot of democrats now are sort of skeptical. >> right. the problem is the president has taken every position on immigration more than once. so every time something like this happens, it just affirms the description that senate democratic leader chuck schumer gave last week, which is that this is negotiating with jell-o. his own conservative republican allies know this. so, you have a camp of more than 20 bipartisan senators working very hard. they came up with a plan. they succeeded in closing down the shutdown, reopening the government. they're working hard on some kind of immigration solution. and you see members of that common sense caucus, coalition, senator lamar alexander, senator lindsey graham, jumping up at this news of his comments, saying this is presidential leadership, trying to lock him into that position. meanwhile, senator cotton, the news everyone's concerned about in that bipartisan caucus is that they've gotten senator marco rubio to join forces with them. senator cotton and senator
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perdue and others see any legalization of the d.r.e.a.m.ers as a promotion of amnesty for future d.r.e.a.m.ers, and that's why they're going to work very hard to bring the president right back. >> even if it just leads to let's say legal status as opposed to full citizenship? >> they think it's a forgiveness of amnesty and it will lead to the same problem again. >> tal-of-been doing a lot of excellent reporting on this for cnn. the president's going to apparently be -- he said, at least the white house said on monday they were going to be releasing a whole new policy on immigration, he's going to spell out precisely where he stands. do we know precisely where he stands? [ laughter ] >> yes, he -- >> hold on, the president's speaking. let's listen in. >> there's been a lot of warmth, a lot of respect for our country, and a lot of my billions and billions of dollars is coming into the u.s., and people are very happy with what we've done, not only on the tax bill, but also cutting of regulations, and i think also being a cheerleader for our country. if you're not a cheerleader for your company or for your country, no matter what happens,
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it's not going to work. and that's what i've been and that's what my whole group has been. so, perhaps i'll start on my left and you can go around and here's one of the very big, powerful businesspeople of the world, and just say a few words about your company and whatever you'd like to do. go ahead. thank you very much. >> yeah, thank you, mr. president. thank you for inviting me today. >> thank you. >> obviously, i work for siemens. we've got 56,000 people working in the united states, $34 billion in revenues. so, congratulations on your tax reform. you said this is what you were going to do. you build it and we will come. >> we said it. by the way, when he says he works for siemens, he's the president of siemens, but that's okay. that's a good way of seeing it, but go ahead. >> but don't you work for your company? >> we work for our country, same thing. and siemens is doing good? >> doing really well, excellent, as a matter of fact. we've been investing quite a lot into the country, and since the
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tax reform, we have decide aid to develop the next generation of gas turbines in the united states. >> oh, that's a big thing. that's very big. >> it is. >> where will that be developed? >> charlotte. >> in charlotte, great. that's fantastic. well, thank you, on behalf of charlotte. thank you very much. and our country. >> my pleasure. thank you. >> thank you. yes. >> we're going to continue to monitor this dinner that the president's having with major business leaders in davos, switzerland. we'll, of course, monitor it for any major news, but tal, just wrap up. what are you hearing about this immigration proposal the president's going to put forward on monday when he gets back to washington? >> well, i think to the point that we've been making here and to a.b.'s point, i just came from the hill where heidi heitkamp was saying she was encouraged by the president's words, but we will see what happens today, which is to say this framework they put out monday will be a strong indicator of who is actually running the show. if it looks like what the president was describing in the conversation with reporters, it
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may be something manageable, but if we see things in there that expand on the notion of border security from a wall to aggressive interior enforcement to cracking down on sanctuary cities to a number of issues that are going to be poison pills to democrats that are going to be necessary to pass a bill in the senate, it's going to look like his staff got involved again, and it's going to continue to erode trust that lawmakers already have doubts, again, negotiating with jell-o. so, really this framework they put out on monday and the level of specifics and the number of poison pills you see in it are going to be strongly indicative of where this negotiation is going to go next. >> can i add one thing to that? when the president said last night to reporters that he was open to maybe extending it on his own, even people who are in that room working on this in a bipartisan way on the republican side say that that would be horrendous, because the line even from very pro immigration reform republicans has been what president obama did with daca was illegal and that even president trump doesn't have the
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legal justification to do that on his own. it has to be done legislatively. >> and the deadline is so important to the sense of urgency among lawmakers as well. that comment, that equivocation is exactly the unhelpful type of stuff we've been hearing. >> we're getting more confirmation on this other major development. i want all of you to weigh in on this as well, this notion of a secret society within the fbi that ron johnson, the senator from wisconsin, and other republicans seem to be taking very, very seriously. now it's coming out in pretty specific form that it was a gag, they were just joking, these two fbi officials, amongst themselves. they were also joking about these putin-themed calendars that they had ready to go, early stage of the russia investigation. one source is telling our folks that the calendar joke seemed less funny to them the day after trump won. but the sources are saying the message was simply an attempt at humor when they were feeling down, these two individuals, after the election with one source calling it a tongue in
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cheek reference. so, the secret society within the fbi apparently a joke. >> right, a joke. look, but you were talking earlier about the fact that you expect and hope that those who came out and said that this is real will recant. the fact that along with that reporting by jeremy herb and laura jarrett, they say the reason they were making the joke is because they were upset about trump winning still feeds the republican idea that the fbi is anti-trump and pro hillary clinton and that there is some kind of conspiracy against donald trump there. >> yeah, and the fbi official who was involved, once they discovered his anti-trump feelings, he was let go. >> precisely. important point. >> he was removed from the entire investigation. stand by. there is more news we're following. look at the live pictures from west palm beach, first lady m melania trump has made an unannounced trip there. we have some new details. we'll be right back.
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the trump administration publicly criticizing the palestinian leadership on the world stage today. earlier in davos, switzerland, president trump threatened to cut off aid to the palestinian people unless their leaders sit down for peace talks with israel. the president made the comments while seated next to the israeli prime minister, benjamin netanyahu. then just a little while later, the u.s. ambassador to the united nations, nikki haley, said this. watch. >> the united states remains deeply committed to helping the israelis and the palestinians reach a historic peace agreement that brings a better future to both peoples, just as we did successfully with the egyptians
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and the jordanians. but we will not chase after a palestinian leadership that lacks what is needed to achieve peace. >> all right, let's bring in cnn global affairs analyst tony blinken, here with us right now. tony blinken's a kate bennett is with us as well, our white house reporter. kate, we'll get to you in a minute. tony, what do you think of this new tough stance that nikki haley, president trump are dealing to the palestinians? you snub the president, won't sit down with him when he was in jerusalem, would have gone to bethlehem to meet with mahmoud abbas but you refuse to meet with him or other u.s. officials. the president is now threatening to suspend aid to the palestinians. >> it makes the already bleak prospects for peace that much bleaker. the president unilaterally
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decided jerusalem's future against the interests of the palestinians and then he expects them to say, thank you, sir, please, can we have some more? so this is a little bit kicking them when they're down, threatening to cut off aid after he has unilaterally decided jerusalem. because it makes the prospect for peace even dimmer, what that raen really means is never mind whether you talk about a one-state solution or two-state solution, the idea of a jewish democratic israel is on the table and now may be off the table because absent a two-state solution, israel can't be both jewish and democratic. either it has to keep the palestinians down or it respects their rights. so, president trump is presiding over the demise of the dream of a jewish democratic capital. >> those are strong words from tony blinken coming n so, what does president trump need to do right now? because mike pence, the vice president, he was there.
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he did go to egypt. the leader of egypt didn't like the decision, met with him. king abdullah didn't like the decision either but showed respect, met with the president of the united states. mahmoud mahmoud abbas decided he wasn't even going to meet with the president. >> this will require some cooling off. give them more confidence that they can engage in a process and maybe get somewhere. but, you know, having given the israelis what they want in jerusalem and getting nothing in return for the palestinians, at least not embedding in some kind of larger strategy, it's awful hard to be that one sided. look, jerusalem is israel's capital. it's been israel's capital. it's going to remain israel's capital. the palestinians also have a claim. >> do you think the president, the trump administration has -- they're going to move the u.s. embassy from tel aviv to jerusalem next year? the president said there will be a short, small u.s. embassy.
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i think the current consulate building will be turned into the u.s. embassy. they're not necessarily ruling out the possibility that a future palestinian state, if it were to emerge, this two-state solution, which everyone seems to support, except for some hardliners. >> right. >> that there could be palestinian capital in east jerusalem. has the trump administration, from your perspective, eliminated that possibility? >> look, it's been very ambiguous on the point. when the president first announced the jerusalem decision, he did leave open that prospect if you leave open the lines of what he said. >> not determining the final status. >> that's right. >> he seemed to be leaving open that possibility. is he still leaving open that possibility for a palestinian capital in east jerusalem? >> today it sounded like he was shutting the door on that, taking jerusalem off the table. it sounds like he considers the matter resolved. that's not the recipe for getting back to peace talks. >> let's see what happens on
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that front. these are sensitive times in that part of the world. kate is with us as well. news on the first lady of the united states, very different subject we're talking about. she went earlier in the day to the u.s. holocaust memorial museum and all of a sudden we see her plane landing in west palm beach getting ready to go to mar-a-lago. >> that's right. she continues her mysterious first lady waves, showed up at holocaust moususeum unannouncedd did a tour, celebrating who will c -- holocaust remembrance day is this saturday. a plane in mar-a-lago. we have confirmed it is, indeed, the first lady's plane, an unannounced trip that we didn't know about, that a lot of people didn't know about. she is now in florida. we see her plane here. we had pictures of her motorcade and law enforcement forces saying she did, indeed, get off the plane. >> she was originally, correct me if i'm wrong, supposed to be
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in davos with her husband. >> originally she was supposed to go to davos. monday night we got word that she canceled her trip due to schedule and logistical issues and no longer was headed to switzerland. her week plans have change d ona dime a couple of times this week. >> all of a sudden she's there. what else did you want to report? >> i think this is a difficult time for the first lady. her husband has been in the headlines lately with the stormy daniels news. she has not commented. we saw her tweet last saturday, inauguration tweet, anniversary, with no picture of the president in it. monday they celebrated their 13th wedding anniversary. no acknowledgement from the white house of an anniversary. there's no comment coming from the white house this vacuum sort of leaves a place where people are filling in the blanks in the story and now she's off to mar-a-lago. >> at least for the weekend. another important story we're
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following right now, a dispute over what was said in phone conversations, adding tension between two nato allies. white house says president trump told turkey to deescalate its military operations in syria. but saying the president didn't express that concern at all. the u.s. backs the kurdish fighters, regarding them as key fighters in the fight against isis. turkey considers that same group to be considered terrorists and trying to drive them out of the town of afrin. damon arwa is joining us now. she's back in turkey. you were there in that flashpoint city in syria. tell our viewers around the world what you saw. >> reporter: we did manage to get up to what is considered to be the outer perimeter of the territory that is controlled by
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the rebel free syrian army unit that turkey backs. from there you can see a hilltop where we were told are some key wpg positions, sniper positions. they do have an advantage in this particular area, given that they do hold this higher ground. when you drive through this terrain, you get an idea of just how potentially challenging this is. it's very rural. the communities there are quite widespread. there are also a number of makeshift refugee encampments that do exist as well. a lot of the civilians we were talking to in the area, children have grown so acustomed to sounds of artillery, they don't even flinch. there are also growing concerns. these are people that have been displaced time and time and time again, that they could potentially fall victim to perhaps a stray mortar round and, of course, the turs say they're very aware of the need to lower civilian casualties. president trump not only asked
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turk toy deescalate but limit its military actions and try to avoid civilian casualties. as you were mentioning earlier, wolf, the reaction to the white house readout has been saying that's not exactly how the conversation between both leaders unfolded. they're saying they did broadly talk about this. we actually heard from turkey's foreign minister, who said that erdogan told president trump that he should withdraw the small u.s. military force and the ypg fighters that exist. >> arwa damon reporting for us, as she always does. thank you so much for that report. department of justice in washington says it has recovered missing text messages sent by two fbi agents under scrutiny for comments about president trump. we have details.
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new information right after this.
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we start with breaking nes s on your thursday afternoon. in just 24 hours, a republican-led conspiracy theory of secret society within the fbi has fizzled to a simple joke between friends. thisec