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tv   Inside Politics  CNN  April 25, 2018 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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i'd of said... i'd of said you're dreaming. dreaming! definitely dreaming. then again, dreaming is how i got this far. now more businesses in more places can afford to dream gig. comcast, building america's largest gig-speed network. welcome to "inside politics." i'm john king. thank you for sharing your day with us. the white house rallying behind the president's pick to lead the v.a. but dr. ronny jackson faces complaints about his personal and professional conduct and republicans are furious the white house did not do a thorough vetting. plus, big trump administration policies face new court challenges, the travel ban before the supreme court today. and a third federal judge is on record against the white house plan to end protections for the dreamers. and in a big speech to congress,
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the president of france says this of his touchy-feely bond with president trump. history does repeat itself. >> in 1778, the french philosopher voltair and benjamin franklin met. they embraced each other and kissed each other's cheek. which can remind you of something. >> a little humor there to the policy of that speech in a few moments. we begin with a critical cabinet nomination in trouble, and mounting republican senate anger at the trump white house. dr. ronny jackson is the president's pick to run the veterans affairs administration. he says he wants a confirmation hearing to answer allegations that range from drinking too
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much on foreign trips with the president to leading a hostile working environment. today, they say jackson deserve a fair hearing after lawmakers finish vetting all these allegations. >> i'm going to make sure we have an open, fair hearing for the nominee, for the president of the united states and the interest of our veterans. we'll get to the bottom of every claim and make a good decision when it's over. >> the republican senate leadership furious at the white house, at the president for not conducting its own vetting. instead, the complaints are flooding into capitol hill and the senators now left to sort a mess of the president's making. we're joined now live. tell us about some of the things the senators are trying to sort out, fact or fiction. >> reporter: the senators have said they've heard from more than 20 members of the military, active duty and retired, who brought these claims forward. our colleague and i digging into one of those last night.
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here's what we were told by four sources. during an overseas trip in 2015, ronny jackson, the white house physician, went to a female employee's door, banging loudly on that door, and it was so loud and that this drunken behaich your got the attention of the secret service. at the time, we were told that was brought up the chain of command to jackson, who was serving as the white house physician under barack obama. i spoke to several people who said that the woman did not view this behavior as appropriate. it's important to note this claim, as a number of the others, that senators and members of that committee are working to corroborate this claim. there is not a lot of documentation to do that, so they're trying to figure out what's true and what's not. but it's clear that the senate has a lot of questions for this nominee. >> many allegations, just that
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one incident quite serious. juana summers, appreciate the reporting. the v.a. serves more than 9 million veterans. already, there are questions whether dr. jackson has the experience to manage an agency with nearly 400,000 employees and just shy of a $2 billion budget. but the white house is for now standing behind dr. jackson. he met with the president yesterday, and told him that these allegations are false. the president says, fight back. >> we'll be making a request to the chairman that he get his hearing. they want to make sure that they look at the latest allegations that came forward. but we think that dr. jackson is a great american patriot. >> he's a highly qualified, highly respected person in the military, and in the medical community. and that's something that we strongly feel that veterans need. >> we're not going to write him off in any way before his
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hearing. quite frankly, neither should members of congress. >> with me to share their reporting and insights, joining me now is my panel. to the white house in a moment. but first, let's start on capitol hill. they're beyond furious. the white house is supposed to vet nominees, even if these allegations are false, to conduct an investigation, have a report and say you're going to hear about this, here's the report. now these senators feel like they have to do all the president's work about an agency they get a lot of questions about when they go home. is dr. ronny jackson going to survive? >> it's unlikely. you have to lay out the issues here. first and foremost, they weren't informed that this nomination was coming. how do you get allies on the hill for a nominee? you involve people in the process. so if they run into problems, if
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there are allegations, you have lawmakers that feel like they can go out and defend. so that was the first problem. obviously the issues related to management experience, everybody knows about. republicans have been concerned about this. now you take the specific allegations from several sources. republican senators were reaching out to the white house multiple times over the course of the last four days, asking for specific responses to these allegations. are these real? do you know about these? should we be concerned about these? they were given little to know information. some felt like they were being brushed off all together. so when this imploded, all of these lawmakers felt hung out to dry, which is problematic. i think you also hit on a key issue that you can't afford. the v.a. is a hyper local issue for all of these senators. this is not a vote that you take and say yes because the president said give me this one. this is what they hear about when they go home and in their town halls. these are the vast majority of their calls into their offices. you win and lose the faith of
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your constitch wents how you treat this agency. that's why republicans are upset and frustrated with the white house and are skeptical that this nomination can go forward. >> remember how much the president talked about this on the campaign trail. you need a businessman to fix washington, especially for the veterans getting screwed by the health care system that is supposed to be there to help them. another of the allegations, juana touched on a serious one, that's a personal misconduct allegation. he's traveling overseas with the president. you know how important the role the doctor is. another allegation is that he was violating prescription protocols, distributing sleeping pills on these trips. this is democrat jon tester using some language about that. >> i understand he had a nickname in the white house. >> he was the candy man, because he handed out prescription drugs like they were candy. >> the white house doctor is
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nicknamed among some people in the white house the candiman? >> that's correct, that's correct. what's what we were told. >> i covered the white house for ten years. this is not defending dr. jackson, but going back to the clinton and bush white house, it was common practice to hand out to the senior staff and to offer to reporters, especially on the long flights, sleeping pills. it was a common practice all the time. if he's doing it in abundance, somebody to be heard. this is where my big question is, and why it was incumbent on the white house to do this work, dr. jackson deserves to be treated fairly and a chance to answer this. now we're going to have a public hearing whether he violated protocols. >> right. i've known dr. jackson in a professional capacity for several years, having uncovered obama's presidency before this one. most reporters that traveled with him know him to be a professional guy.
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but we all have some kind of problem on a trip, and the white house medical office has been available to help reporters, as well as staff. that's common. and as you said, if there are people who have real problems sleeping, whether there are reporters or staff, these are basically a group of professional travelers. by the time you get on that train, you've been vaccinated, poked, prodded to make sure you're fit for travel. so there's nothing extraordinarily inappropriate about that. but if these really are problems, if these are things that have been known issues behind the scenes with white house staff, it was incumbent on the white house to vet these issues. >> the white house doesn't think there is much to this accusation or much to these accusations at all. i don't think us from precipitation -- frustrations are going away. they want to do this in a hearing. they don't want to -- they want
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dr. ronny jackson in a hearing to defend himself. but the point still stands about some of this -- this should have been prepped by some of this. we reported in "the wall street journal" yesterday that dr. jackson and trump just talked about some of these accusations yesterday. jackson assured him that there was nothing to them. he was willing to defend himself. and now we see -- and dr. jackson likes -- trump likes jackson. >> but that's the part of this, the president of the united states just hearing about some of this yesterday from a person he has nominated for one of the most critical agencies in the united states of america. to phil's vote, a vote for secretary of state, you don't hear much when you go home. a vote for the v.a., this is a big deal. th operations, when death is all but assured are called suicide missions. the person responsible for this mess is president trump. he's now left a military veteran who, again, innocent until
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proven guilty, but the white house is supposed to help him prepare for this. >> it's their job to do this right. >> the president yesterday was giving dr. jackson an out, saying if he was dr. jackson, he would just pull hiss na name. but then as the day went on, he seemed to want to double down. one of the key problems they have here is that people came to folks on the hill on their own, 20 or so active and retired military folks. so this idea that this is some conspiracy to bring a good man down -- >> or that it's partisan. >> there is another concern too, and this is coming so soon after the rob porter controversy, and that was so mishandled by the white house on so many levels, that there's a new awareness, a new sensitivity to everyone, not just inside the white house, but
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in congress, terms of people who decide nominations, people who are able to influence this process to say, we're really obligated now. >> it's a key point, because you have republican senators being much more publicly. they call the president impulsive, some of the process mickey mouse, and now it's becoming pub hick. a quick break here. the bromance is up deniable, but will the friendship lead to a new iran deal?
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welcome back. a rare and a big platform for the president of france, emmanuel macron addressing a joint session of the united states congress. continuing to make a case he tried to make in his days of meetings yesterday with president trump. saying that the united states must not withdraw from the iran nuclear deal unless there is an alternative plan in place.
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>> our objective is clear. iran shall never possess any nuclear weapons. [ applause ] not now, not in five years, not in ten years, never! [ applause ] >> macron speaking there before the congress. there was some hint of potential progress with president trump yesterday. both president trump and president macron saying they're trying to work out a new deal, or revisions to the deal. but it depends on who you talk to whether they think this is feasible. other european diplomats, including those traveling with president macron, may 12th is the deadline for the united states. can we negotiate another framework between now and then? is that essentially macron, the
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president tweeted out this morning he would be watching. was that to the president there or to the congress? >> yeah, he's talking to the president. here's what is going on. the e3 partners, the france, uk and germany have been working for months since the president signaled i'm dropping this like a hot potato, working to come up with side agreements. but if you're marketing with president trump, you're not going to call it a side agreement. so take note of the wording. new deal. okay? it makes it sound like it's being scrapped and replaced with something much stronger. but these are the same side agreements they've been working at, with the state department. and even though rex tillerson is gone now, with pompeo's team that incoming team, macron may be crucial to this, but so may
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be pompeo in terms of whether he wants his first act in this new job to blow up the iran deal -- >> right before he goes to north korea to try to say trust us, make a deal. >> or whether he's able to convince president trump to buy a little more time. trump does not want to keep signing these waivers, but the president seemed to be signaling he may be willing to give it a little bit more time. that doesn't solve the broader problem. >> i want to circle back to the iran deal in a moment. but it's interesting to watch a man who made a joke about the touching, the feeling, the hugging, he clearly wants to be trump whisperer, a trump friend, he wants to move the president along. but listen here, a very public disagreement standing in the well of the house of representatives with the president of the united states on the paris climate accords. >> and i'm sure one day the united states will come back and join the paris agreement. and i'm sure -- and i'm sure we
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can work together to fulfill with you the ambitions of the global compact on the environment. >> interesting, because he also has to go home. he's got some political problems back home. that's mostly democrats cheering when he said that to the united states congress. try to be nice here. there are a handful of republicans who might like the paris climateteresting when you trying to present that you're the closest to trump, to stand there and say, you're wrong, mr. president. >> and he's played this really well. there is a bit of one upsmanship in the bromance. macron put his hand on trump's knee yesterday and told him how well the relationship was going. but last night at the state
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dinner, macron said this is a necessary relationship. you talk to french officials, that's kind of how they point to the -- how they see this relationship, is they don't have much of a choice. they also came out of those meetings yesterday saying they thought they made some progress with the president and reached some sort of understanding on the iranian deal. margaret mentioned some of the phrasing, the new deal that macron had mentioned, trump made that same -- used that same language. but he does -- the u.s. president does a very good job of hedging where he's at, saying nobody knows what i'm going to do, except maybe macron. and when he looked at macron, macron gave him a little wink back. >> the president's base is clearly worried about this. this is mark lavigne yesterday. i would hope the president would
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stand his ground and get rid of this crap. the conservative saying hold your ground, rip it up, mr. president. the 12th of may, a long way off. >> >> up next, legal travel ban or unconstitutional muslim ban. today, the supreme court weighs in.
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it's hard to get all the daily that's why i love fiber choice. it has the fiber found in many fruits and vegetables, all in a tasty, chewable tablet. fiber choice... the smart choice. welcome back. a giant test for the trump administration today before the supreme court. the justice department defending version three of the president's controversial travel ban, asserting it's well within the president's powers. critics say no, urging the justices to remember candidate trump's talk of a muslim ban and to rule the reworded administration policy that's unconstitutional. remember, the ban suspended immigration from iran, syria, yemen, somalia, venezuela and
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north korea. take us inside that courtroom. >> reporter: this argument lasted a little more than an hour, and throughout it, the justices did wrestle with that issue of whether this third iteration of the travel ban, whether or not it's legal and constitutional. but of course, these justices did come down along idealogical lines when it came to questioning. that means that justice kennedy will likely be left as the swing vote here as he often is. justice kennedy really asked questions on both sides. first of all, he did allude to the fact of whether or not candidate's comments should be problemat problematic, alluding there to the president's comments on the campaign trail, where he talked about the fact that he wanted a muslim ban. but then justice kennedy also pointed out that this travel ban does allow for the review of it about every 180 days. so he said this isn't a finalized ban that just applies across the lines among an infinite period of time.
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he seemed to line up with the other justices, chief justice roberts, as well as justice briar -- sorry, justice alito, talking about the fact that the president does have broad power to institute this to protect national security. then you have the justices in the liberal wing of things, and very outskoekpoken. soelt mi sotomayor and kagan talked about how president trump's comments on the campaign trail were troubling. and what futtake a listen. >> let's say in some future time a president gets elected who is a vehement antisemite and
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promotes a lot of hatred over the course of a campaign, and in his presidency. and in the course of that, asks his staff or his cabinet members to issue recommendations so that he can issue a proclamation of this kind, and they dot all the is and cross all the ts, and what emerges, and again, in the context of this anti-semitism, what emerges is a proclamation that says no one shall enter from israel. >> right. >> do you say mandell puts an end to judicial review of that set of facts? >> no, your honor. i don't say mandell puts an end to it, but i do say in that context, mandell would be the starting part of the analysis, because it does involve the exclusion of aliens, which is where mandell applies. >> reporter: and justice kagan
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talking about the 1972 case of mandell that did allow the attorney general to refuse someone into this country, and the supreme court couldn't review it beyond that point. justice kagan did express her concerns here about the comments that president trump made on the campaign trail. john, she said two other things after that exchange. she said this really is an out of the box president. she also said who knows where his heart of hearts is? so indicating that the liberal justices are somewhat troubled about president trump's comments on the campaign trail and whether or not this amounts to a muslim ban. the justices will consider this case after these arguments, and we are expecting a ruling in this case, probably by the end of june. john? >> end of june. jessica, appreciate it. a big day, fascinating day. the travel ban hearing comes one day after another administration setback on another white house policy. a judge in washington, d.c. became the third to block the
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president's plan to end the so-called daca program. so the separation is in court, defending a number of its policies. let's come back to the travel ban. part of the challenge for the court, it is well established law that the president has power when it comes to national security. the court seems to be arguing over that broad power for any president, and the application for it during this president's term, because of the things he said during the campaign. >> yeah, this was the -- one of the defining issues of his campaign. it's been a central piece of his presidency. to take a step back, i hope it doesn't have a chilling effect on future politicians who may hesitate to implement their campaign promises. i say that jokingly, but that was the entire campaign of trump. he was running to be a different politician. he was complaining about people who didn't -- who ran for office said one thing, did another. he was going to do the opposite. now that he's in office, his
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attorneys are arguing that what he said on the campaign trail shouldn't be part of what he's -- >> a big part of the campaign too, and one of the things he says is one of his big accomplishments is getting neil gorsuch on the supreme court. so if this happens in june where there's a big victory in this white house, it will revive that talking point about how important the supreme court, the makeup of the supreme court is to republicans going forward. >> and for all the legal arguments about the historical treatment of the president's powers, the justice department's argument, the clock starts running in january of 2017 and does not count any of this. >> donald j. trump and calling for a complete and total shutdown of muslims entering the united states. the protection of the nation from foreign terrorists entering
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into the united states. this is a watered down version of the first one. this is a watered down version. and let me tell you something, i think we ought to go back to the first one and go all the way which is what i wanted to do in the first place. >> the first campaign promise, you know, he said that. he read from a script. it's these other arguments during the challenge, they were trying to say ignore the campaign. critics say then listen to the president. >> as we're finding out in the sort of separate litigation or testing of some of these policies. on the one hand, part of what makes the president popular is that he speaks his mind. the problem is, you have this long record of things that are impossible to undo. you can't unsay it after you've said it. and so i think this is another example, and it's a very interesting, you know, matter how this plays out. it's going to have impacts beyond this presidency, but
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another example of decades from now when all is said and done, how this administration is going to be an incredible test case for broadening or changing or expending the powers. >> also interesting is this third decision about daca, because it's more sweeping than the prior two. the prior two said the administration did not make a case why daca was illegal. this case also says there's a 90-day stay to allow the justice department to come back in and argue again, but essentially says they're reopening the application process. how does that affect things? so now you have another court case, this one perhaps to reach the supreme court as well, in which these federal judges, and this one is a george w. bush appointee, saying the justice department did not make a case that what president obama did was illegal. therefore you can't just throw
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it out without an explanation. >> i think people thought the justice department was on solid ground when they decided to move forward, when jeff sessions decided to move forward. so that's what makes this most interesting. the difficulty right now is the uncertainty that this continues to throw into things. you have individuals who received daca protection, that has since run out. that have been trying to reapply, because they were able to previously. now they're saying they can take new applications. nobody is sure if the application process is moving quickly. and there are open questions right now, short of a ledge legislative solution about what is going to happen with those individuals. the frustration right now, that this is going to end up in the supreme court, nobody on capitol hill is going to do anything until there is a new deadline. right now, there are no new deadlines, a lot more confusion, and people trying to figure out -- lives are sitting in the balance in terms of what are the
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next steps that you can take as the politicians sit around and say we'll just wait. >> or is it dangerous to stake any steps? >> whatever your view is the important part is 700,000 people sitting at home wondering. they would like direction. up next, melania trump is having a very busy big week. ♪ ♪ the powerful backing of american express. don't live life without it.
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♪ i'm just a bill, i'm only a bill, sitting here on capitol hill ♪ ♪ well, it's a long, long journey to the capitol city ♪ ♪ it's a long, long wait while i'm sitting in committee ♪ ♪ but i know i'll be a law some day, at least i hope and pray i
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will ♪ but today i am still just a bill ♪ >> makes you smile, right? who can forget the first civics lesson for us when we were kids. we remember the musician and the man behind this. bob died this week at the age of 94. congressional republicans back on the baseball diamond today. it's been ten months since a gunman ambushed their practice, wounding steve scalise and members of his security detail. just a day before their annual charity day with the democrats last year. this was the first time back on the practice field. >> we never got to finish the practice that we started. and that's why i wore the same uniform i was wearing that day, because it was important to come out here and show the world that we're not going to be deterred. this is victory. >> some encouraging news for the bush family and the country. a source says former president george h.w. bush feeling much
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better after being hospitalized for a serious infection, just a day after his wife's funeral service. we wish you well, sir. first lady melania trump stealing the spotlight again. former white house press secretary sean spicer helped unveil a wax figure of the first lady and xheting praise from the commander in chief saying every detail was done to perfection last night, welcoming emmanuel macron and his wife to the white house. the first lady selecting everytm the flowerses to the china and even the menu. >> we are profoundly honored to
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host you and your entire french delegation for our first official state dinner. to america's absolutely incredible first lady, thank you for make thing an evening we'll all cherish and remember. thank you, melania. >> a lot going on in town, but this has been the week of melania in many ways. she represented the administration at barbara bush's funeral, in a picture that was spread around the world of her standing there with the former presidents and the bush family after the service there. very high profile during all the state visit. the hat got a lot of buzz yesterday. she has slowly, i guess, stepped into a more public role, but this past week has been the most. >> in many ways, it was her coming out, and she very much met the moment. the hat was spectacular, a lot of buzz about that. lots of memes on line about it.
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she's a first lady people don't quite know. she isn't great in terms of wanting to be a public figure or even having a platform. this week was a real get to know you week for her so far. and i think especially that hat really catapulted her into kind of a buzzy place. >> she seems to be enjoying herself. she had a big smile at the -- at the funeral that turned into an internet meme. sitting next to her was president obama and a lot of people had fun with that on twitter. but every event she had a big smile. she was really happy to welcome the french first couple to the white house first thing in the morning. by the end of the night, again, she was radiant and had a huge
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smile as they showed up and could not have been enjoying the moment more, which is a fun thing to watch. >> i would say that her cues so far are mostly visual. that's why there's been so much interpretation of what does it mean if she pushes his hand away, what is she wearing? part of it is she loves fashion, has a career in fashion. so it's hard to believe anything is ever accidental. a lot of questions about what it means when she's wearing white, what a certain hat signals on a certain tv show wearing a hat signals that you're with the forces of good. does she want us to read into all of this? certainly she knows the press will, special hi people who cover pop culture. >> the bush family appreciated her viz it to the funeral. they very thankful she brought to white house staffers with her on an official white house plane. that was very much appreciated.
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when we come back, republicans get a win in the midterm election. but with the win, also comes a message.
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i won! this is awesome. >> yes, a win is a win, but is there a message in the margin? republicans hold on to a red congressional district in arizona. she edged out the democrat by five points in arizona's eighth congressional district. five points is too close for gop comfort. president trump won arizona by 21 points in 2016. and back in 2012, mitt romney carried the district by 25 points. last night's special election, no fluke. in nine special congressional election this cycle, democrats have outperformed the partisan
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baseline based on the past two election cycles. the democrat in arizona among those taking notes. that's the key point here. yes, the republicans held it. they had to spend a couple million dollars. they had a panic at the end. and again, we are seeing democrats are coming out of the woodwork to vote. >> i think one of the most interesting elements about this race, a win is a win, there's now a new member of the republican conference. but the dynamics of this race were different than some of the other specials. you had other specials, whether it was pennsylvania 17, roy moore, any number of things where you can say the candidate was terrible, or there was fund-raising issues or turnout issues on the republican side. none of those dynamics were the case. every republican i talked to said she was a good candidate, they felt like the turnout from the republican side of things is along the side of what they were
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expecting, but still a dramatic shift, and that is a warning sign. if she gets those numbers in that district, it's going to be a major win for her in arizona. >> makes her much tougher statewide. look and the country, democrats are doing much better in republican territory. six months from tuesday, the midterm elections. we have more audio on that supreme court hearing, more of that. we'll take you inside the arguments after the break. alright, i brought in high protein to help get us moving. ...and help you feel more strength and energy in just two weeks! i'll take that. -yeeeeeah! ensure high protein. with 16 grams of protein and 4 grams of sugar. ensure. always be you.
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take you back inside, a rare chance to go back inside the supreme court chamber today, arguments about the president's travel ban, we played you democratic appointed justice kagan voicing skepticism. here's conservative justice alito saying it sounds okay to him. >> any reasonable observer reading this proclamation, without taking into account statements, think that this was a muslim ban? there are -- i think there are 50 predominantly muslim countries in the world. five muslim countries are on this list. the population of the predominantly muslim countries on this list make up about 8% of the world's muslim population. if you looked at the ten
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countries with the most muslims, exactly one, iran, would be on that list of the top ten. so would a reasonable observer think this was a muslim ban? >> interesting to hear. there's the conservative perspective. the key line is at the beginning, would any reasonable observer reading this proclamation, without taking into statements. if you just push the trump campaign aside, would you think it was a muslim ban? >> it sounds like he was taking trump seriously but not literally. this case wraps up so many things into it here. the muslim ban on the campaign was such an emotional moment, and really had the support from a lot of people. trump may not win a new hampshire primary without that muslim ban. but the nuances is not going to be what people read it in.
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they'll read it whether it was a good or bad thing. what the justices are looking at here is a very specific line of whether the president had the power to implement it. >> here's another key question, anthony kennedy saying if i don't like this, isn't it temporary and constantly reviewed? >> it has to be re-examined every 180 days? >> no, that's not what it says. it says there is a report that comes in at 180 days. >> that indicates there will be a reassessment and the president has continuing discretion. >> it's hard to read, but some would take that kennedy is hooking to find a yes. >> i think people probably recognize it, but need to keep in mind, this is the third iteration of this. in terms of substance and the policies, a very long way of what the muslim ban was. the time just changed out what
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we saw initially, which was a disaster, to now. that's what is being looked at now. >> a watered down version. >> fascinating case. that's it for us on "inside politics" today. see you back here this time tomorrow. "wolf" starts right now. hello. i'm wolf blitzer. it's 1:00 p.m. here in washington. 7:00 p.m. in paris. 9:30 p.m. in tehran, where we're watching from around the world. thank you very much for joining us. up first, they called him the candy man. we're learning new details about the allegations against president trump's nominee for veterans affairs secretary, rear admiral ronny jackson is vowing to fight, but his nomination is in limbo, as lawmakers investigate accusations of misconduct. among them, that he handed out prescription sleep medications like candy during overseas flights. decides allegations of mishandling prescription drugs, he's accused of being described as


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