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tv   CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield  CNN  December 2, 2018 11:00am-12:00pm PST

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included with your internet. plus, get $200 back when you when you buy a new smartphone. xfinity mobile. it's simple. easy. awesome. click, call or visit a store today. i'm wolf blitzer in washington. we want to welcome our viewers here and around the world. thanks very much for joining us. we are following breaking news in to cnn. james comey is set to testify in private to house republicans this coming friday about the fbi's actions leading up to the 2016 election despite his legal battle to force a public testimony. we will have details on how comey plans to keep the process as transparent as possible. stand by for that. the news as the nation is preparing for a week of
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celebration and mourning as we remember the life of president george h.w. bush. his body will lie in state at the u.s. capitol and the final goodbye will be thursday in texas. here's what james baker, a close friend of the late president remembers about bush's final days. >> he opened both eyes and said hey, bake, where are we going today? i said well, we are going to heaven. he said good, that's where i want to go. >> much more on the life and the legacy of george h.w. bush in a few moments, but first we begin with a cnn exclusive that sheds new lights that leads up to jamal khashoggi's murder at the saudi consulate in istanbul, turkey. cnn obtained hundreds of text messages showing his blunt criticism of the saudi crown
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prince, mohammad bin salman. this comes as "the washington post" and the "wall street journal" said in the hours leading up to at this time murder, the journalist exchanged messages with the aide who oversaw the assassination. nina desantos is joining us and you are doing excellent reporting on this. tell us more about your exclusive report. >> thanks very much, wolf. in public jamal khashoggi was very critical of mohammad bin salman, the crown prince of saudi arabia, the new direction he was taking the country on, but he never went so far as to have an activist dissident activity to enact regime change for his public persona. these messages that we managed to get ahold of participated a picture of someone not just willing to engage, but also to fund their activities as well. take a look. these are words you won't have read in his columns.
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instead they are messages that are never seen before sent by jamal khashoggi in the year before his death. they lay his disdain for the crown prince, saying he is like a beast, like pacman. the more victims he eats, the more he wants. in another, may god ridpredicam. a fellow critic in exile in canada. >> he believes that mbs is the issue, the problem. someone has to tell him you have to be stopped. >> talk like this is dangerous for a country with the worst record for human rights. it wasn't just political views, but plans to hold the saudi state to account, leveraging jamal khashoggi's name and the 340,000 strong twitter following of his confidant. >> it was a bit difficult for us
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to have this kind of relationship. he was a dissident and someone who worked for the government for almost 35 years. >> jamal khashoggi pledged funds and after he bought the hardware to send back home, enabling dissidents to avoid detection. in one message, he said i sent you a brief idea of the work of the army. brilliant report. i will try to sort out the money. we have to do something. >> how much money did he say he would commit to the project? >> he said 30,000. >> $30,000 u.s.? >> yes. >> how dangerous is a project like that? >> he might be killed or jailed. they might send someone. >> just like jamal khashoggi, he believes he was also targeted after two saudi emissaries were dispatched to canada to coax him into the embassy. he made secret recordings and
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shared them with cnn. >> we have come to you with a message from mohammad bin salman. i want you to be reassured. we don't have to approach someone from an official department or the state security. the saudi arabian embassy awaits you. >> they hacked his phone. according to a source against the israeli firm behind the spy wear. he panicked. god help us, he wrote. >> how much of a target did that make both of you? >>. >> the hacking of my phone played a major role in what happened to jamal. i'm sorry to say that. we were trying to teach people about human rights and freedom of speech. that's it. this is the only crime that we committed. >> you have just seen a snippet
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of the material. 400 messages and 10 hours of audio recordings he made with the two saudis over five days that my producer and myself managed to get our hands on. we are pouring through the material for more clues as to what may have caused jamal khashoggi to be targeted in the fashion he was four months after this particular esq. paid. in a poignant twist, he said it was jamal khashoggi who saved his life because it was the elder man who said only meet in public places and under no circumstances go into a saudi official building. we reached out to the saudi arabian government for comment and they have yet to get back to us and also to the israeli firm at the center of that lawsuit. back to you. >> excellent reporting, nina. thank you so much. nina desantos in london. despite the mounting evidence,
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top trump officials continue to insist there is no direct evidence linking the crown prince to the murder of jamal khashoggi. i sat uh down with mike pompeo for an exclusive interview and asked him for an official position on jamal khashoggi's death. >> do you believe the saudi explanation that the crown prince, mohammad bin salman, did not know about the murder of jamal khashoggi? >> wolf, i have spoken about this a lot and i continue to work on this issue. president trump and this administration sanctioned 17 people that we came to learn were connected to the murder, the heinous murder of jamal khashoggi. all across the united states government we continue to investigate and try to learn to make determinations about what happened. we will continue to hold those responsible accountable. we have been very, very clear about that sentence since the beginning. we also and this is important,
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we are doing everything we can to make sure we get it right for america and keep this relationship with the kingdom of saudi arabia and protect the american people. those two things can both be done and we have done it very effectively. >> you have said that in your former cia directors, you understand how intelligence analysis works and said there is no direct reporting connecting the crown prince to order the murder of jamal khashoggi. can you confidently tell his four children he was not involved in that order? >> obviously sitting in an unclassified setting, here's what i can say. i have read every piece of intelligence in the possession of the united states government. when it is done, when you complete that analysis, there is no direct evidence linking him to the murder of jamal khashoggi. that is an accurate and an important statement and the statement that we are making publicly today. >> bottom line is that the u.s. is going to continue to maintain
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the same relationship and cooperation with saudi arabia right now irrespective of what may have happened? >> today we are working with the saudis in afghanistan and to push back against the ayatollah who killed hundreds of americans, wolf. they are an enormous support and a relationship that mattered for 70 years and we are aiming to keep that relationship with the kingdom of saudi arabia. >> let's discuss. global affairs analyst max boot and samantha is the former skru security adviser under president obama. what's your reaction to this cnn exclusive that we heard from nippa desantos that jamal khashoggi and a fellow saudi critic were discussinged the idea of an electronic army? >> it certainly fits with what
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they pulled together with the fact that they wanted to assassinate and planned an assassination of jamal khashoggi. he was actively working to expose the areas that they are falling down so hard on. freedom of the press and other issues. obviously if they were hacked successfully, the crown prince had access and this added fuel to the fire for why they wanted him assassinated. you ask secretary of state pompeo the right question. whether he believes mohammad bin salman was involved in the murder and he perfected the art of the dodge. he did not answer your question and said there was no direct evidence linking the crown prince to the murder. he did not say whether he thought the crown prince was involved or not. >> max, "the washington post" is reporting that the crown prince sent messages to his adviser who oversaw the team that eventually killed jamal khashoggi in the
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hours before and after his death. is it smart? is it accurate? is it wight for secretary pompeo and secretary matic and the president and other senior officials to say there is no direct evidence linking the crown prince to the murder? >> this is just ridiculous, wolf. pompeo and mattis and trump are turning the united states into a laughingstock by denying what is so obvious. this hit team of saudi operatives, many of them members of the crown prince's own security detail, they could not have walked into a saudi consulate and killed a high profile journalist without a sign off from the crown prince. they are reporting to indicate that is in fact the case. you heard the evasions from secretary pompeo in talking to you yesterday. i was at the reagan defense forum in los angeles and massis reiterated the evasive reply.
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we have people in prison on less evidence than mohammad bin salman. to assert we can't link him to the crime is ridiculous. this is the attitude towards saudi arabia that does not serve american interest well. >> they have been doing strong reporting on the jamal khashoggi murder. he was a contributing columnist for "the washington post." the latest story, they are now saying that the cia's assessment of whether or not the crown prince was involved in orchestrating the murder of jamal khashoggi. they say the killing and their assessment is what they call the cia's assessment is a medium to high confidence even though they were saying the cia's assessment was high confidence. you studied intelligence and analysis for a long time. what's the difference between analysis of high confidence and medium to high confidence?
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>> that's an excellent question. the various confidence levels relates to how strongly various members of the intelligence community believe that the assessment is accurate or not. there are often times including for example the russian election interference document that was declassified. various parts of the intelligence community have different levels of comfort with the assessment put forward. there for dis krcrepanciediscre want to make an important point. that's not the only intelligence assessment that is used for a president to make a policy decision. when president obama made the decision to go after osama bin laden, for example, that was not a high confidence assessment. he read the intelligence and made a decision. president trump made it clear that whatever the intelligence says, jamal khashoggi's death will not be a reason to go after mohammad bin salman. whether high confidence, medium confidence or anything else, mohammad bin salman is not going
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to be held accountable by the president. >> the french president, emmanuel macron at the g-20 in argentina, he said i am worried and he later said you never listen to me. that was described as a tense chat they had. informal chat at the g-20. what do you make of that conversation? >> i'm glad president macron was trying to read him the riot act. that's something president trump did not do. that's a real failure of american leadership. the iconic image that comes out of the g-20 is not that meeting between macron and the mbs. it was the meeting between vladimir putin where they sat down and exchanged high fives and smiles and laughs. they seemed to be gloating over the fact that they have gotten away with their crimes. it's a little more than a week since vladimir putin illegally
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attacked and seized ukrainian ships in the black sea and two months since mbs and the saudis orchestrated the murder of jamal khashoggi and they have gotten away with their crimes and that sends a terrible message that you can break international law and dismember a journalist and attack a neighboring country and get away with it. trump is not doing anything about it. he was completely unwilling to send any message on behalf of the united states and the world community to people like putin and mbs when he had the opportunity in buenos aires. >> we will stay on top of the story clearly. this just coming in to cnn. james comey, the former fbi director tweeting that he will, repeat, will testify before the u.s. congress. comey tweeting this morning, grateful for a fair hearing for a judge. hard to protect my rights without being in contempt, which
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i don't believe in. we will sit in the dark and republicans agree to talk and transcript released in 24 hours. this is the closest i can get to public testimony. end quote. let's go to laura jarrett who is doing reporting on all this and joining us on the phone. comey's testimony will still go public and there will be a tribute although it won't happen in realtime. why was this such a sticking point? >> that's right, wolf. he came out with a really aggressive move saying he didn't want to do it behind closed doors and he wanted to do it in public. his main argument was selective leaking. he looked at the past witnesses that came before the oversight and thought the republicans were playing political games with the russia investigation and the hillary clinton investigation, two subjects they want to question him about. he said i'm happy to do it in public and not behind closed doors. he backed down and really the
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writing was on the wall when the judge appeared skeptical there in court, hearing arguments about this questioning. whether he could order the house to do this given sovereignty and unity. >> the chairman, the congressman offered comey those conditions on wednesday. he wrote i just offered director comey that the committees will publicly release the transcript of his testimony following the interview. this ensures transparency and access to all the american people to all the facts. will we get that transcript within 24 hours after the testimony and will there be any video released? >> that's what the house promised. they said they are willing to do it within 24-hours and comby is banking on that. they said this before in particular with the former official that we heard so much about. peter strzok who house investigators and the president talked about at length given his
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role in the clinton and e-mail investigation and the russia investigation. we have yet to see the transcript from strzok. here if they do not release the transcript, james comey will be back asking for it. >> i take it there won't be any video. will they redact if there is sensitive information? >> they likely will. we do not anticipate any video, but we also have the option as comey floated, we may hear him talk about it and see him come out and say here's my version of events since he is clearly concerned about them casting a different light on his testimony. he said in the past he thinks witnesses have been unable to contextualize what they are saying. he may come out with his own statement and public explanation. if they do redact portions. i can foresee comey saying that's not okay. i'm going back to court. >> laura, thank you very much. we will see what happens this
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coming friday. still ahead, remembering president george h.w. bush. we will talk to a close friend of the bush family who has been their pastor for more than a decade.
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. >> tomorrow air force one will arrive in texas to bring george h. w. bush's remains to the capitol rotunda until wednesday morning. the approximately can pay their respects. there will be a memorial president bush remains are taken back to texas. they want to reflect on president bush's life and the final moments they shared together. >> when i showed up at 7:00 in the morning, one of the aides
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who assisted him physically said mr. president, secretary baker is here. he opened both eyes and looked at me and said hey, bake, where are we going today? i said well, heavy, we are going to heaven. he said good, that's where i want to go. little did i know or he know that by 10:00 that night, he would be in heaven. i'm going to miss everything about him. i do. i had a tough time yesterday. i finally went out and did some fast walking in the park and got myself back together, but he's special. he used to refer to our relationship as one of big brother, little brother. i told people that is a characterization that i take as quite an honor. i consider him to be my best friend.
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he has told people he considered me in the same way. >> russell j. levinson has been the priest for years. he was with the bush family at the end and joining us now. reverend, our deepest condolences. describe what the final days were like with america's 41st president. >> well, thank you and thanks for inviting me to be with you. i appreciate the outstanding coverage you all have given since the president's death. wonderful tributes and coverage. it's been my privilege to be with this family for over a decade as their friend and pastor and i just heard the piece you played with secretary baker and he was at st. martins. it was a blessing to be with the president. we were together and having a
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great conversation at the home the sunday before thanksgiving and after the thanksgiving break as things began to decline, i had an opportunity to be with the president and members of his family and at the end, seak secretary baker described to be with friends and family and the secretary and his wife as we prayed and visited and had those final moments with him. >> what specific memories, if i can ask, will stay with you in those last few days? >> sure. as always, i think he was the same person from beginning to end. as people called or visited, he was so affable. his humor continued. his generosity and gratitude and everyone who called or spoke to him, he would thank them and as we know, he was ready with the words i love you. those were things that flowed very naturally.
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remembering he was a very natural presence that showed us, i think, a dignified gentle, graceful, generous death. also a fateful death. he knew where he was going. he was ready to go to heaven. i think heaven was ready to receive him. he was ready to be reunited with barbara and with robin and those he loves. >> the bush family has been the members of your congregation for decades. how is the congregation reacting? >> they have been members here for over 50 years. today as we worshipped this morning, the people here know them as members of the parish and they all feel as though they lost not just a leader of the free world and an historic figure, but a parishioner and a friend to them. barbara and the president came to church every week. week after week.
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if their health didn't prevent it or if they were not traveling, you saw hem in church, they came and visited with parishioners, they were active in our ministry here. they feel as if the members here lost one of their own, but really celebrate his faith. the services will offer a reminder to us all that we are celebrating his faith. >> he truly was a wonderful, wonderful man and we will all miss him, especially those of us who knew him and you knew him very, very well. thanks so much for your thoughts. >> thank you, golf. god bless you. >> thank you. roger stone says under no circumstance when he testified against the president in the russia investigation, the hard line he is taking. we will have details.
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>> welcome back. there has been a new twist in the legal battle between the former fbi director james comey and house republicans. comey agreed to testify before congress behind closed doors, dropping his legal fight to force the testimony to be in public. the new agreement is to have a private deposition before the committee on friday with a transcript to be released within 24 hours. joining us now to discuss this and more, two guests, a former u.s. attorney and assistant director for the office of congestion ag affairs at the fbi
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and legal analyst and civil rights attorney. greg, to you. what do you make of this agreement? >> i think this is jim comey's way of trying his best to not be completely uncooperative with the house request while at the same time ensuring he is going to be able to make the process as transparent as possible. i will tell you that when i was an assistant director at the fbi last year, i sat through several interviews with the joint committee and in my estimation, this was nothing more than a political exercise that was not aimed at really uncovering the facts. that was done by a very comprehensive inspector of review that found no evidence of any political motivation for the way the clinton investigation was handled. this was just another effort at harassing the fbi and this was working out a reasonable compromise.
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>> comey's tweet, his statement said he didn't want to be in contempt for refusing the subpoena. was that his best option? >> i think so when you look at what happened, there was no legal precedent for asking the court to kwach the subpoena. witnesses don't get to determine whether it's given in public or private. this was a good compromise for him. he wants whatever he said and that private deposition to be made public. he wanted this questioning to happen on national television. i think what's interesting here is the house will be a very different house come january and the democrats will be in charge. the question really looms as to what will happen with respect to testimony he gives in the upcoming week or so. the democrats are not going to pursue this inquiry about how he handled the hillary clinton e-mails. they are much more interested in investigating the russia collusion and the claims of
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obstruction of justice for president trump. i don't expect anything to happen with respect to this testimony even once it is provided by james comey. >> comey's deposition will cover what the republicans want. the fbi's conduct surrounding the entire probe into russian interference in the 2016 presidential election here in the united states as well as the probe of hillary clinton's e-mails. is this fact finding from your perspective or is it simply politics? >> it is political postures at this point. a very thorough and professional investigation and report was done by the doj office of inspector general. that report found with respect to jim comey, certain policies and protocols, doj policies and protocols were not followed if the way the clinton investigation was handled and nothing was of significance that
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suggested that there was any evidence of political motivation for the decisions that comey and the fbi made during that investigation. i think for the most part, most people in washington view that report as the final word on this. at least for more month, house republicans just can't get enough of this. they will try to make it an issue before the democrats take over. >> for comes on a day when roger stone, the long time trump associate denied contact with julian assange, the founder of wikileaks that released hacked democratic e-mails in the 2016 campaign. the intelligence said the russian intelligence agency hacked those e-mails and delivered them to wikileaks and gucifer 2.0. stone refuses to testify. he said against the president. listen to this. >> there is no circumstance under which i would testify
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against the president because i would have to bear false witness against him and make things up. i'm not going to do that. i had no discussion regarding a pardon. the only person i pushed for a pardon for is marcus garvey who i think should be pardoned posthumously. >> not paul manafort? >> i had no such discussions. >> what happens if he ignores the subpoena from robert mueller? >> he can take the fifth if he believes giving testimony may incriminate himself. he has the right to take the fifth. he can be held in contempt of court and be imprisoned for refusing to answer questions. what i find interesting about that statement, we heard other loyalists of donald trump say before they will not testify against donald trump. we heard that from michael cohen. he will take a bullet before testifying. six months after that statement was made with michael cohen.
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participated and cooperating with the special counsel. it remains to be seen whether roger stone will continue to take this adamant stance he has taken with respect to testifying with respect to information he may have about the wikileaks and coordination between the trump campaign and assange. >> i suspect this investigation as thorough as it has been, the information is just beginning. we are beginning to learn the details coming out fairly soon. i'm sure of that. thank you very much for joining us. a truce between the two largest economies. the u.s. has reached a trade agreement with china that calls one of the largest deals ever made. we will see how it works out over the next few months. stay with us. you always pay your insurance on time.
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he goes down certainly if it happens, one of the largest deals ever made and what i would be doing is holding back on tariffs. china will be opening up and getting rid of tariffs. china has major trade barriers. major tariffs and also major non-tariff barriers which are brutal. china will be getting rid of many of them and china will be buying massive amounts of product from us, including agricultural from the farmers. tremendous agricultural and other products. it has been really something. >> our global affairs correspondent is with me. key words from the president, if it happens. it hasn't happened yet. he is making it sound like it's a done deal. >> they agreed to reduce the tariffs. that is something. specifically for china which was facing an upgreat of 25% coming
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up. even if they will lift the tariffs, opening up the markes s china is a close market to theus. they may have a deal right now, but the devil is in the details and it's yet to be seen the way president trump hopes. >> listen to what the president said. >> and north korea which we didn't get into, we will work very strongly on north korea. i have a error good relationship with kim jong un and we will -- don't forget, we have been doing that for not a long time. people have been working on that for 80 years from the beginning. and 20 years with the nuclear. if you just take the nuclear. he is agreeing to work with me
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100%. that's a big thing. i think we will do one fairly -- into january or february, i think. we are getting along very well. we have a good relationship. >> he thinks there is going to be another summit in january or february, which is pretty soon. the question is, what would come out of the summit. i think they want to keep the process going and what he is pointing to is no nuclear testing. that is great. we are a ways away from talking about fire and fury. in all this time, they have not done anything to stop the program. president trump, secretary pompeo working it and unable to secure the steps for denuclearization that the u.s. is looking for. i don't know if you are going have another summit, what the deliverables would be. you expect that kim jong un would have to deliver something
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to sit down with the president and the president said he is in no rush. >> as mike pompeo said to me, at least the north koreans are not engaging in nuclear test for the time being. intercontinental ballistic tests. he is seeing that as significant. >> the program is still developing though. >> we will see where it takes place. they have options that will be interesting. still ahead, a week of ceremonies and services to honor president george w. bush. live to houston for a preview of tributes to come.
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much of this week will be spent honoring george h. w. bush here in washington and in texas. we will head to houston to pick up his remains and bring them to the capitol where he will lie in state in the capitol rotunda. he will stay there before returning to texas where he will be laid to rest. cnn correspondent joins us from houston. it's going to be a week filled with tributes to america's 41st president. what do we know so far? >> of course, wolf. it starts here. it's a beautiful sunny day and day of reflection. the body will be moving tomorrow. we will begin the formal process at 4:45 and the arrival ceremony at the capitol rotunda where the
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president's body will lie in state. the public can pay their respects from 7:30 in the evening monday through 8:45 wednesday morning and it will be 11:00 when they will have a memorial service for family and friends at the national cathedral. as you had mentioned, the president's body to be flown back here to houston where he will lie in repose this wednesday evening into thursday morning. a second memorial service at st. martin's episcopal church where barbara bush was memorialized before going on thursday to be buried at the presidential library in college station, texas where the president will be buried alongside the late barbara bush and their young child, their daughter who died at 3, robin. >> what are tributes are you seeing? >> it's really amazing. it's so consistent because it
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doesn't matter if you talk to democrats or republicans. they both say the same thing. we have not found one person who could speak badly of this family or president. that was someone who brought this community together and shown a spotlight on houston. take a listen. >> they are very well respected. he was a great statesman. i loved his socks and seeing him on the news and seeing the bush family. i think he will be very missed here. >> texas is obviously a red state, but houston is vibrant with progressive ideas. there is that sense of unity and we realize they are part of a larger picture. it's not just about houston, but texas. we rally behind the bushes and what they stood for in terms of civility. >> it is the idea behind that. civility. what they stood for and symbolized and how they carried it out. not only the president, but the whole push family and that's
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something houston is very, very proud of. >> as they should. thanks very much. still ahead, an exclusive look at text messages jamal khashoggi sent in the months leading up to his murder that reveals his fear and could shed light on the mystery surrounding his death. ...i just got my ancestrydna results: 74% italian. ...and i found out that i'm from the big toe of that sexy italian boot! so this holiday season it's ancestrydna per tutti! order your kit now at and i'm still going for my best even though i live with a higher risk of stroke due to afib not caused by a heart valve problem. so if there's a better treatment than warfarin, i'm up for that.
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eliquis. eliquis is proven to reduce stroke risk better than warfarin. plus has significantly less major bleeding than warfarin. eliquis is fda-approved and has both. so what's next? seeing these guys. don't stop taking eliquis unless your doctor tells you to, as stopping increases your risk of having a stroke. eliquis can cause serious and in rare cases fatal bleeding. don't take eliquis if you have an artificial heart valve or abnormal bleeding. while taking eliquis, you may bruise more easily and it may take longer than usual for any bleeding to stop. seek immediate medical care for sudden signs of bleeding, like unusual bruising. eliquis may increase your bleeding risk if you take certain medicines. tell your doctor about all planned medical or dental procedures. eliquis, the number one cardiologist-prescribed blood thinner. ask your doctor if eliquis is what's next for you. janice, mom told me you bought a house. okay. [ buttons clicking ] [ camera shutter clicks ]
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so, now that you have a house, you can use homequote explorer. quiet. i'm blasting my quads. janice, look. i'm in a meeting. -janice, look. -[ chuckles ] -look, look. -i'm looking. it's easy. you just answer some simple questions online, and you get coverage options to choose from. you're ruining my workout. cycling is my passion.
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>> we start with a cnn exclusive. exactly two months after jamal khashoggi was murdered in the saudi consulate in turkey, we are now learning new details about the growing animosity between the journalist and the crown prince in the days and months leading up to his murder. cnn obtained hundreds of text messages he


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