tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN May 11, 2018 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
last month and it is not enough when we are drowning in nuisance calls. be sure to tune in this sunday morning for state of the union. john bolton and senator bernie sanders will join jake tapper at 9:00 a.m. eastern and 12:00 # p.m. eastern here on cnn. that is it for "the lead." i'm jim sciutto in for jake tapper and i turn you over to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." happening now, breaking news, embarrassed and distracted. white house chief of staff john kelly walks back his comment that the president is embarrassed by the russia probe and now saying the president is distracted but he's not walking back his latest comments on immigrants. auditing mueller. critics of the special counsel launch a new attack on the russia investigation. will the threat to audit robert mueller team help a republican congressman get his hands on a secret memo. big mistake. the head of communications giant at&t admits it was a big mistake
to hire president trump's lawyer michael cohen as a political consultant. what other corporate payments reveal about the pay to play culture. and missle protection. has the president gets ready for talks with kim jong-un, cnn gets access to america's first line of defense. we'll take you inside of the underground command center where the u.s. military keeps watch for incoming missiles. i'm wolf blitzer and you're in "the situation room." >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. breaking news, the trump white house is now fumbling with new controversies. it is refusing to apologize for an aide's crude comment about senator john mccain dyeing as chief of staff john kelly grappling with his latest anti-immigrant comments and tries to take back his remark that president trump is embarrassed by the russia probe. i'll speak with congressman john
garamendi and our specialists are standing by with full coverage. first to our white house correspondent jeff zeleny. a new round of controversy for the trump white house. >> reporter: indeed, the comments from john kelly certainly drew attention today when he said in a rare interview with npr, the president was embarrassed by the russia investigation. he said it is something that is always on the topic of conversation when world leaders come to the white house. so i caught up with john kelly in t -- the rose garden and asked him about that. he said, no, i didn't mean embarrassed, i meant distracted. president trump is either embarrassed or distracted by the russia investigation hanging over the white house. tonight that is the sentiment from john kelly, going where few aides to the president have gone before. saying the president is embarrassed by special counsel robert mueller's probe. >> there may not be a cloud but certainly the president is somewhat embarrassed frankly
when world leaders come in, the first couple of minutes of every conversation might resolve around that kind of thing. >> kelly backtracked hours after the interview and telling cnn in the white house rose garden he meant to say the investigation into russia collusion in the 2016 campaign was a distraction for the president. not an embarrassment. well, yeah, it is untrue. it it's a witch hunt and distracted him. not too much but it is unfair. and an unseemingly feud with john mccain escalated a day after a white house aide spoke behind closed doors about john mccain as he battles brain cancer saying he's dying any way. >> mr. president, does the white house owe senator john mccain a apology. >> reporter: sarah sanders said the aide kelly sadler still works for the administration or did say more or why an apology wasn't warranted. >> if you won't comment on the specific comment, what does the white house believe about
senator mccain and is there a tone set from the top here where it is allowed for an aide to say he's dying any way. >> certainly there is not a -- a tone set here. we have a -- a respect for all americans, and that is what we try to put forward in everything we do both in word and in action. >> why not just apologize to senator mccain -- >> again i'm not going to get no a back and forth because people want to create issues of leaked staff meeting. >> reporter: the senator's daughter meghan mccain sounded stunned the staffer is still on the job. >> i don't understand what kind of environment you're working in when that is acceptable and come to work the next day and have a job. and that is all i have to say. >> reporter: the arizona republican senator and decorated war hero is among the president's biggest critics. this controversy story when he opposed the nomination of gina haspel to lead the cia because of her history of interrogation tactics he believes are torture. his daughter addressed sadler
directly. >> kelly, here is a little news flash. we're all dying. i'm dying, you're dying, we're all dying. and i want to say that, since my dad has been diagnosed in the past it is almost a year july 19th, i really feel like i understand the meaning of life and it is not how you die, it is how you live. >> reporter: cindy mccain had to to say, i remind you my husband has a family. seven children and five grandchildren as it raises eyebrows. as john kelly once over saw threats on the border as the head of command. >> the vast majority of people that move into the united states they are not bad people. they are not criminals or ms-13 but also not people that would easily assimilate into the united states. they are overwhelmingly rural people -- >> reporter: it came as the president's frustration with immigration boiled over this week. blasting homeland security kirstjen nielsen for not acting
swiftly enough and the exchange behind closed doors, she thre threatened to resign and she denied it and it is the latest example of another tumultuous week in the trump cabinet. and epa administrator scott pruitt under fire and multiple investigations for excessive government spending and more. in the roosevelt room with pruitt sitting nearby, the president was asked this. >> do you feel confidence in administrator pruitt, mr. president? >> yes, i do. thank you. >> reporter: so the president expressing confidence in his epa administrator who was sitting just a couple of feet away when they were meeting with auto ceo's here at the white house to talk about fuel energy standards but white house officials are waiting for the outcome of 12 or so separate investigations about scott pruitt. his spending, his ethics other habits at the epa. so it is unclear whether he will stay in the position. and this is as we are ending
another week on who the next v.a. secretary will be and that position was opened since the last one was fired. wolf. >> jeff zeleny. conservative critics of the special counsel russia investigation may have found a new avenue of attack. let's go to our correspondent manu raju up on capitol hill. manu, more pressure tonight on robert mueller investigation from some key house republicans. >> reporter: conservatives in the house have been targeting the special counsel investigation for weeks finding new areas to try to get information and undercut some senior justice department officials who were overseeing the probe and get more information about exactly what robert mueller is doing. now i'm told in a closed door meeting last month, mark meadows, the head of the conservative house freedom caucus, with jim jordan demanded to see a document from august that was drafted by rod rosenstein given to bob mueller detailing exactly what bob mueller could investigate. now that documents had been
redacted and turned over in court filings but the congressmen wanted to see the unredacted version. rosenstein said no. they looked into other areas to get more information. the new effort to try to get the government accountability office which is the investigative arm of congress to look -- to look into the scope of the mueller probe and how much money is being spent as part of the investigation. mark meadows said today on c-span that in fact he was going to request a gao investigation to look into the mueller investigation. >> there will be a request for us to audit the financial resources of this investigation. it used to be part of statute. it certainly is within the parameters since it is an appropriated funds from congress that we will be sending a request to the gao, the general accountability office to actually look at an audit and make sure those funds are put forth properly and so that letter will be going out next
week -- >> reporter: now, wolf, this as the house intelligence committee devin nunes has been going after the russia investigation and questions that he has about why the russia investigation began in the first place. he had a private briefing yesterday at the justice department with congressman trey gowdy to learn about information they were seeking about someone describes as an intelligence source providing information over the mueller probe. they got private briefing and they say at the moment that was a productive meeting but they want to have further discussions going forward. it is coming as democrats are concerned it is part of an effort to undercut the probe and give the president ammunition to fire rod rosenstein or jeff sessions. >> and the senate intelligence committee is still investigating possible connections between trump and russian meddling, tell us the latest you are learning. >> reporter: that is right. sam nunberg, a former trump adviser has been asked to come to the senate intelligence committee and provide document
this is month about communications that he had with roger stone, that long-time trump friend. this comes as the committee itself has just interviewed michael caputo, another roger stone friend, a sign that stone himself is still an important part of the investigation but potentially the mueller probe as well, wolf. >> manu, thank you very much. manu raju up on capitol hill. joining us now, john gar a menda -- garamendi. congressman, you just heard the report and congressman meadows saying the audit is basic over sight and well within his jurisdiction. how do you see it? >> well, that is probably true. but what is the purpose of it? we know that every six months the special counsel is required to produce an entire display of all of his expenses and entire accounting of his expenses. did he that and the next one is due in about 30 days. that will be available to certainly the committees in
congress, both senate and house. if they want an audit beyond that, fine. but why is he asking? mark meadows who i consider a friend is really -- i think out of line here. he is trying to shut down this investigation and he's using any method possible to do that. and that is a disservice to this nation because we really need to know-we need to know what russia did so that we can prevent it from ever happening again. >> do you believe the president's allies up on capitol hill, we're talking about the republicans would use that kind of sensitive information that they want to obtain in order to coordinate with the white house? >> absolutely. there is no doubt. it has already been done. nunes did this more than a year ago. he took information that he thought was useful to the white house, ran over to the white house and gave it to the white house, and low and behold, later found out the information came from the white house to begin with. and an effort by the white house to distort and or derail the
investigation. this was a year ago and more. but what i find interesting is that while the house committee is doing best to stop the investigation and the senate is doing the best to find out what happened so our nation could be protected. >> it is a learn the lessons of what happened and make sure it doesn't happen again. >> exactly. >> let's turn to another important issue, sarah sanders refusing to comment on a cruel and crude joke that white house aide kelly sadler allegedly made by senator john mccain. sadler said -- sarah sanders said she didn't want to talk about internal staff meetings and wouldn't say if sadler, the aide, should issue an apology. what do you make of that silence from the white house? >> you're surprised? this is a white house whose boss, the president, started his campaign by bullying peel, by
demeaning people and calling people names and using the crudest of language and it has gone on since the very first day of his campaign. right on through his entire presidency. he spends his time calling out people, demeaning them, using bad -- using language to somehow harm their reputation, and you're surprised that somebody on the staff is doing the same and not willing to fess up and even issue an apology. don't be surprised, wolf. this is standard operating procedure from this president, right on down the line. >> so he a -- she did call john mccain's daughter and issue an apology, but do you believe she should lose her job? >> i think there is a need for discipline from the president right on down the line within this entire white house. when the chief of staff issues -- and i'm sure you'll go there next, when he goes out and says that immigrants can't assimilate, is he talking about his own grandparents? who came from ireland and
probably had no education and did assimilate and their son or grandson became a four-star general. he had a -- he ought to come out and visit my district or visit the real america and get out of the bubble of the white house and see what is really happening out here. the way immigrants legal and illegal are assimilating into this economy and driving this economy. come to california which is now the fifth biggest economy in the world, and see what the immigrants are doing. legal and illegal. they are moving the economy of california. they are moving our society and they are participating and assimilating and they are a large part of the energy that we have, at least in the state of california. >> you did say -- i'll quote it but he said to npr, john kelly said these undocumented immigrants, quote, are not people that would easily assimilate into the united states into our modern society. he said most of them don't have much of an education. can't speak english but you make
a fair point. i think most of our ancestors who came to this country couldn't speak english and didn't have much of an education either. i assume that is in your case and my case and most americans cases and that is why he's getting a lot of heat for those words. >> absolutely. -- >> do you want to make a final point on that. >> he deserves it. he deserves to be called out. he deserved to be called out because it is the most unamerican thing you can possibly imagine. from the second top official within the white house. it is disgusting that he would consider americans that -- consider these people that way. they're finding their way. they are building part of our economy. you take those people out of the economy throughout this nation and you will not have chicken on your plate. because they are the folks working day in and day out in the poultry industry and the agriculture industry and the shops across america. they are cleaning our hotels, they are essential and we need a comprehensive immigration reform so they could become legitimate
and legal in our country so our country could put away this terrible problem of the immigration and stop this out and out what amounts to in my mind racism. >> there is nothing -- nothing bad about people who have a so-called rural background. we need those people as well. we'll see if he elaborates in the hours and days ahead on that. congressman -- >> you should -- >> -- thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you. more breaking news. the chief of staff john kelly trying to retract his remark that president trump is embarrassed by the russia probe. but is it any better to say that the president is distracted by the russia probe. and cnn gets rare access to america's first line of defense. we'll visit the underground command center where the u.s. military is on round the clock watch for incoming missiles. she believes in research. it can take more than 10 years to develop a single medication. and only 1 in 10,000 ever make it to market.
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over at the white house, the press secretary sarah sanders refusing to acknowledge or disown so-called joke by a trump aide who reportedly said senator john mccain's opinion doesn't matter because he's dying. let's bring in our political and legal experts, and gloria borger, what do you make of the so-called joke. >> first of all, it wasn't a joke and it wasn't funny. and secondly, it would have been very simple for sarah sanders to get up there and say, we regret it and it is unacceptable, she's called the family, she's called meghan mccain and apologized and now let's move on. the only assumption i have to make here, wolf, is that sarah sanders was speaking for -- to an audience of one and that is the president of the united states and it would seem if the president wanted an apology to come from the white house, on behalf of the white house, saying it was inappropriate,
that would have been done. instead, sarah sanders said, look, i don't comment on anything that comes from a leak. and where do you think that came from? >> i think that is a key point. look, we know this woman made the comment. we know it is incredibly distasteful and she immediately tried to apologize for it. and then we have nothing but silence from the white house. i think in many ways, right now, if we are to talk about how washington has got a change in our political rhetoric change and then we have to have forgiveness. i would say, for her, let there be forgiveness and for the white house let them be pillared for the fact they reused to acknowledge this. it is simple to do. >> why is it so hard for the white house, sabrina, to admit a mistake and to apologize. >> the tone is set from the top. and the president is someone who himself has mocked senator john mccain most infamously during the campaign when he made that comment that he prefers those who were not captured, of course
invoking the fact that senator mccain was a prisoner of war and we've seen a pattern where the white house refuses to apologize for anything and in doing so they turn what could have been something that we talk about for maybe an hour or two into a multi-day story. and i also just want to point out that there is this faction of people on the right and that includes trump supporters who strongly disapprove of senator john mccain and so there is element of feeding that anti-mccain sentiment that is part of the right flank within the republican party, let me get jeffrey toobin on this. >> reporter: donald trump hate as apologizing, he never apologizes. he didn't apologize for the remark where he said he likes people who weren't captured. the only time he apologized was after the "access hollywood" tape in that hostage video where he looked like -- it was like painful for him. and he just doesn't want anyone in his administration apologizing for anything.
so no one is apologizing except for the -- this flunky who said this horrible thing. >> you think she should lose her job, jeffrey? >> oh, gosh, i'm such a softy. i never want anyone to lose their job. i don't know. ask gloria, she's tougher than i am. >> glory, go ahead. >> i agree with what mark said earlier, there was a terrible thing she did and called the family and apologized and fell on her sword and probably feels awfully about it and i don't know her and i don't say anybody ought to lose their job over this, but what i do think is unforgivable is the way the white house is reacting and i do believe that comes from the president of the united states who, if he wanted -- an apology from the podium, sarah sanders would have given it. and instead, she refused to talk about it. saying that it was a leak. and it makes them look bad. >> it certainly does. >> and by the way, as usual, where were mitch mcconnell and the speaker of the house like
silence from them. they never comment on any -- any bad thing that comes out of the white house. it is appalling as this was. >> to wrap this up in a big bow, at that same time where he criticized john mccain for being caught for been a p.o.w., i was there in iowa with him and he also struggled to say he would ask forgiveness for god. that says it all. >> everybody stick around. there is more to discuss, including really controversial comments from the white house chief of staff john kelly on immigrants who want to come to the united states. we'll be right back. the digital divide is splitting this country. we have parents who are trying to get their kids off of too much social media and computers, and then we have parents who would only hope their children have access. middle school is a really key transition point, right. the stakes start changing. students begin to really start thinking about their futures. what i like about verizon's approach is that
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we're back with our legal specialist and gloria, you've been doing reporting on a new interview request from members of the senate intelligence committee as part of the russia probe. what are you learning? >> they haven't wound down the investigation. and a former trump campaign aide sam nunberg has been asked to appear before the senate intelligence committee. and what they are asking for is a closed interview and also asking for him to produce it would seem some of the same documents that were requested by the special counsel, e-mails et cetera, that he had with roger stone. so it seems they're going over that same territory. i spoke with him today, he denies that -- neither he nor roger stone knew anything about the leaking of the podesta
e-mails and that he had no advanced knowledge and he believes roger stone had no advanced knowledge of the wikileaks release during the 2016 campaign, but assure they're going over that terrain with him again. >> and mueller interest in that, and you remember earlier this year, nunberg said he wouldn't cooperate with interview requests from the special counsel. he eventually did do an interview and came out singing a different tune following that interview. what do you make of that? >> it was 72 hours ever insanity with nunberg between television studios and just going off the rails. i interviewed him for my sirius xm show a couple of weeks after that and his explanation was he got caught up in it and didn't understand what he was doing and when he came to his senses, he realized he had nothing to do but to actually submit to the interview and as gloria said, even though he's had this correspondent back and forth with roger stone and roger stone said that he's going to meet with assange, sam said that he thought that roger stone was
lying and that was just hyping it up. >> he defends roger stone even though roger stone has been critically of him and publicly he condemns him. >> wow, roger stone versus sam nunberg. what a battle of titans. that is fantastic. i'm sorry, wolf. >> i'll get to you in a second. i want to go to sabrina for a second. another trump campaign adviser, michael caputo was also interviewed by robert mueller and he came out saying, and i'm quoting him now, that mueller and his team, quote, know more about the trump campaign than anyone who ever worked there. it underscores the gravity and the extent that the mueller team -- they know so much more than any of us even have a clue about. >> and i thif that is precisely why the president's legal team is reluctant to put him in front of robert mueller to testify because robert mueller knows a lot more about the campaign than the president might believe that he knows. and this is a president of
course who has not always been able to stick to the facts so he certainly threatens himself by exposing himself to a risk of perjury. and that is the strategy to have answers in a written format or something in between a formal interview and written answers. >> to jeffrey now, mark meadows, the conservative congressman of the freedom caucus, wants to audit the mueller investigation right now -- presumably to get access to a key rosenstein memo. is this an example of what they call trump's warriors trying to undermine this entire russia probe? >> oh, it is only just starting. mr. flood from williams and connelly just joined the -- the white house staff to deal with mueller. watch, they're going to be suing robert mueller before too long. asking for audits, asking to limit jurisdiction. it is a classic williams and connelly tactic. not to sit back and wait for
prosecutors to act, but to aggressively go after them even before they have the chance to issue indictments. and i think what mark meadows is doing in the house, what we may see out of the white house, the assault on robert mueller isn't just firing him, which i don't think will happen, but there are a lot of ways the president and his allies can harass mueller that are short of firing and it is just starting. >> and gloria, if you look at the polls, aleast among a big chunk of the president's base and others, it is working. >> it is working. the president for the last, what, three or four months, has been out there discrediting the investigation, saying that it has no credibility, in a mueller hired a bunch of democrats and discredited or tried to discredit the deputy attorney general rod rosenstein, the attorney general jeff sessions and the fbi, you name it.
and i think that does -- that does stick after a while. and if he has his legal team now as they try to get together with the new attorneys from florida, and emmet flood, it is unclear what exactly role emmet flood will have because he may really be there to be the next white house counsel when don mcgahn decides to leave. so it is unclear what he will -- what part of this team he'll be. but it seems they are getting more aggressive and you see that from rudy giuliani obviously when he's out talking about -- about next steps. >> except flood will actually learn the facts of the case before he goes on tv. >> and so will the raskins and so will the raskins. >> and sabrina, the controversial comments from john kelly, the white house chief of staff saying the undocumented gwinnetts w -- immigrants that want to come the united states, they t will be hard to assimilate. >> this is a issue examined by
academics by hard and the research shows that immigrants to integrate well and continue to do so and these academics have looked at language proficiency and parps participation in the force and immigrants are big driver of the u.s. economy and frankly because the government is failed to address the broken immigrant system, undocumented immigrants do have barriers that prevent them from integrating so this illustrates the thinking behind the administration's hardline agenda on immigration. >> i'll answer this personally. i'm the son of immigrants. the youngest of five who came over here with zero skills and $100 and a sick child on a boat, two steamer trunks and they raised five very productive individuals in this country -- >> does that include you. >> four productive individuals in this country. but that state was built by immigrants and including my
parents and i take that personally. >> i suspect his grant parents couldn't speak either when they came to the united states. and there is more to cover. under the mountain, a rare look inside of the defense complex, constantly on the watch for incoming miss -- missiles. is anything changing now that relations with north korea seem to be improving. severe rheumato, month after month, the clock is ticking on irreversible joint damage. ongoing pain and stiffness are signs of joint erosion. humira can help stop the clock. prescribed for 15 years, humira targets and blocks a source of inflammation that contributes to joint pain and irreversible damage. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened; as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure.
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personal lawyer michael cohen to consult on a merger with time warner are proof that mr. trump won't be influenced by special interest because of his justice department trying to block the deal. our justice correspondent jessica schneider has more details. at&t said hiring -- cohen was a big mistake. >> yeah. and at&t and novartis are using that word, mistake. the ceo's of both companies sent out e-mails to employees fessing up about this existence of contracts with michael cohen. but these recently revealed payments for what seems to be primarily access to the president, well it is raising questions both ethically and legally. tonight two companies that paid michael cohen hundreds of thousands of dollars to gain access and insight into the president are saying they made a mistake. at&t ceo randall stevenson sent an e-mail to employees worldwide taking responsibility for hiring cohen, saying, there was no other way to say it, at&t hiring michael cohen as a political consultant was a big mistake.
stevenson also announced that one of the executives involved in the deal would be retiring. novartis ceo who is not at the helm when the company contracted with cohen, acknowledged in a note to employees, we made a mistake in enter into this engagement and as a consequence are being criticized by a world that expected more from us. >> the perception is what they are trying to do is buy access or buy information about the president. and it doesn't look good. >> reporter: a gop strategist tells cnn, cohen cappalized on his decade long relationship with the president, using this as his sales pitch to powerful entities looking for a in to the new administration. i don't know who has been representing you, but you should fire them all. i'm the guy you should hire. i'm the closest to the president, i'm his personal lawyer. at&t said cohen came to them during the transition, offering his services. the company paid cohen $600,000 as part of a $50,000 a month one-year contract that ended in
december 2017. at&t acknowledged it hired cohen to focus partly on its bid to buy cnn parent company time warner. it is a deal donald trump lashes out against on the campaign trail. >> at&t is buying time warner and thus cnn, a deal we will not approve in my administration -- >> reporter: the justice department sued in november to block the deal and the six-week trial wrapped up this month. a judge is expected to issue a ruling in mid-june. >> what america has seen here raises the specter of corruption in the white house. >> reporter: senator wyden is expecting a full scale investigation into the deal with pharmaceutical giant novartis. >> i want to know what novartis thought it was buying from the $1.2 million. this was a pretty crucial time. they were looking at getting a cancer drug approved, they were negotiating with medicare. >> reporter: the white house didn't directly answer whether the president knew cohen was
cashing in on his presidency, but pointed to the tact that government prosecutors sued to black the at&t time warner deal as proof the president was not affected. >> i think it is pretty clear that the department of justice opposed the merger and so certainly the president has not been influenced by any or his administration influenced by any outside special interest. >> reporter: but some lawmakers are skeptical. >> it is hard to believe that he didn't know about michael cohen's arrangements -- >> reporter: and now experts are debating whether cohen's deals were illegal. some say no, since hiring consultants to get access to power is nothing new in washington. >> on its face, that is not yet legally problematic. he can legally provide strategy bases on his own insight. >> reporter: but did the consulting cross the line. >> he was selling access and the president knew about it and the president agreed to it, even then it may not be illegal, but you are getting closer to it. >> reporter: and there are also
questions about cohen's contract with korean aerospace industries. it paid cohen $150,000 and since it is a foreign company he may have needed to register under the foreign agents registration act but, wolf, tonight, no comment from michael cohen himself or the president directly. >> good point. thanks very much. jessica schneider. coming up, a look inside of the u.s. military command center where members of the u.s. military constantly keep watch for incoming missiles and possible attacks. we do whatever it takes to fight cancer.
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a. even though tensions between the united states and north korea appear to be calming perhaps significantly, the u.s. military is not letting down its guard. a cnn crew just got unique access to the facility that keeps a 24 hour a day watch for incoming threats, including kim jong-un's missiles. scott mclean is joining us, tell us what you've seen, scott. >> for the first time in a long time, they are encouraging signs coming from north korea but the political optics mean for little for the people at norad who are tracking the north korean nuclear threat. they say they are just as leery of north korea now as they were one year ago. their work is done in two command center ins colorado springs and one is buried under that mountain. this is america's first line of
defense from an incoming nuclear missile. deep inside cheyenne mountain, south of denver, this sprawling underground bunker is the home of norad, the north american aerospace defense command. the partnership formed to defend against long range soviet bombers during the cold war. today it warns of incoming threats from the sky 24 hours a day, including a north korean missile, something that seemed like a real possibility just months ago. >> translator: they must never forget the nuclear button is placed on my desk at all times. they must realize that this is not a threat but a reality. >> north korea best not make any more threats to the united states. they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. >> >> reporter: since then, tensions with north korea have calmed down.
kim jong-un's missile tests have stopped and threats of fire and fury have been replaced with hand shakes and optimism ahead of a trump/kim meeting. but here inside the norad command center, you would never know. >> it we have a job to do that's measured in minutes and seconds and for us to account for that political rhetoric, it doesn't fit in. we are worried about pieces of metal flying through space coming to north america. >> reporter: cnn was granted rare access to this complex buried under 2400 feet of solid granite at the end of a mile-long tunnel. it's designed to survive a nuclear blast and maintain communications after being hit. it's secured by 23-ton blast doors, five underground lakes store water and fuel and its 15 buildings sit on militia thore giant springs that let the building sway up to a foot without being damaged in an earthquake or missile strike. >> we like to say it's the most secure facility in the world. >> >> reporter: colonel travis
morhen, a canadian, has been standing watch during five north korean missile tests. despite north korea's talk of denuclearization, he says norad still gets intelligence on kim jong-un's nuclear program three or four times a day. what should we read into that? >> you shouldn't read anything into that. it's just that's the scan of the intelligence community looking at north korea. we've been watching the same as we were previously, the same as we watch any other nation that poses a threat to the united states and canada. >> reporter: the persistent focus on north korea comes despite president trump's announcement that the u.s. is pulling out of the iran nuclear deal. iran's president has yet to commit to staying in it, meaning the world could soon have another aspiring nuclear power -- or even two more if saudi arabia makes good on its pledge to follow suit if iran restarts its nuclear program. >> if there is a deal to actually denuclearize the korean peninsula, is your work done here?
>> no. no, it's not. we need to be able to respond to any threat from any nation and in opinion our work will never be done. and norad is marking its 60th anniversary tomorrow. it's the only binational command of its kind in the world, but it's not the only tenet inside cheyenne mountain. there are some 15 other u.s. government agencies inside. but officials won't same which ones. wolf? >> interesting, good report. scott mclean on the scene in colorado. thank you. coming up, there's breaking news. the trump white house is refusing to apologize for an aide's crude comment about senator john mccain dying. chief of staff john kelly makes more anti-immigrant comments and walks back his remark that president trump is embarrassed by the russia investigation.
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happening new, breaking news, cheech of controversy, white house chief of staff john kelly walks back his description of president trump as being embarrassed by the president. the president's allies take a new line of attack as they try to shut down the special counsel's rural probe. corporate may ya cuea culpas, t say hiring the president's personal lawyer was a mistake. the mild manner attorney general at the center of controversy. i'm wolf wolf