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tv   CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto  CNN  March 1, 2019 6:00am-7:00am PST

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pg&e wants you to plan ahead by mapping out escape routes and preparing a go kit, in case you need to get out quickly. for more information on how to be prepared and keep your family safe, visit pge.com/safety. good morning, everyone. happy friday. i'm poppy harlow. jim is flying back from his special coverage in hanoi. meantime, the president is back home from his no deal summit with kim jong-un only to face disturbing questions about his stewardship of the nation's most sensitive intelligence. this morning "new york times" and "the washington post" are reporting in may of last year the president personally ordered his then chief of staff john
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kelly to give his son-in-law jared kushner a top security clearance. kelly then overruled the persistent and longstanding objections of career white house security screeners and wrote about it in a memo. months later, the president denied any of it ever happened. listen. >> did you tell general kelly or anyone else in the white house to overrule security officials? >> no. i don't think i have the authority to do that. i'm not sure i do. >> you do have the authority to do it. >> but i wouldn't. i wouldn't do it. i was never involved with the security. >> that's maggie haberman's interview with the president. the house oversight committee has been requesting specific documents and interviews relating to white house security clearances. for more than a month and last night threatened to subpoena them if they don't come soon. house democrats aren't done yet with michael cohen. after three straight days after testimony before three separate congressional committees the
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president's former lawyer and confidant is coming back wednesday for more closed door q&a with the house intelligence panel. joe johns is at the white house this morning. two reports, two separate papers, a lot of good reporters on the lines on the white house isn't denying reports about the president mandating kushner get the top secret security clearance. >> nothing so far from the president indicating otherwise. look, there are a couple of questions raised by the "new york times" reporting. first, what is it in jared kushner's background that's raised the issues in the first place? we have never gotten to what specifically that is. even people on capitol hill have been asking. but there are some other questions as well including the memos to the file from john kelly, don mcgahn, the white house counsel. what's that about? contemporaneous recollections of events. still not clear. perhaps the most important thing is the question of candor.
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the president himself has said he was going to leave this up to john kelly, the then chief of staff. of course kelly said it was a president who ordered him to give the security clearance to jared kushner. even jared kushner's wife has said, in fact, it was the president who had nothing to do with this. >> the president had no involvement pertaining to my clearance or my husband's clearance. >> a flat denial there. the lawyer for jared kushner, abby lowell has said there is nothing to see here. he put out a statement through his spokesman. here's what it said. in 2018 white house and security clearance officials affirmed that kushner's security clearance was handled in the regular process with no pressure from anyone. that was conveyed to the media at the time and news stories, if
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accurate, do not change what was affirmed at the time. house democrats have been all over the issue for some time. elijah cummings, the chairman of the reform and oversight committee has said he might issue a subpoena if he doesn't get the information he needs. back to you. >> let's talk about what this could mean going forward. cnn political correspondent sia murray joins us and our director of communications for national communications. sean, happening this morning as every morning there at that time white house, the president is getting intelligence reports. the presidential daily briefing. i'm interested in what you think the intelligence officials that deliver that are thinking now, knowing this. >> you know for a long time there was concern in the intelligence community over how jared kushner got his security clearance. to your point, one of the things that's disturbing is this morning as you said, as individuals are receiving the presidential daily briefing jared kushner has a top secret
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sei clearance that allows him to see secure information including the president's daily briefing. for individuals who are delivering the briefing this is the most sensitive, classified information we have. the idea that jared kushner would be able to see this information considering all the background and concerns over why he could not receive a security clearance is quite disturbing. i have talked to people who said they really are shocked this is the way he received clearance. >> sarah, we heard ivanka trump, an adviser to the president and his daughter, say the president had nothing involved in my security clearance in the abc interview a few weeks ago. it is possible she and perhaps jared kushner didn't know this, right? that the president gave the order to john kelly in a room where they weren't and never told them. possible? >> sure, i guess that's possible. i think that would mean, okay, ivanka trump wasn't lying and maybe jared kushner's attorney wasn't lying but then the
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president was lying. any way you square it, somebody was lying assuming this "new york times" report is accurate. if people were writing contemporaneous memos there is no reason to believe it's not accurate. everything kushner had to go through to get clearance. all the way they mishandled the paperwork. the fact his attorneys were out publicly in may of 2018 saying this is taken care of only to find out in all-that there were still issues and now we are finding the issues were so concerning to other folks in the white house that they wrote memos at the time to document it. it was never getting out there. this was done over the objection of top people working in the administration. >> you know, there is also the risk of other countries, adversaries, you know, taking advantage of this.
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how significant? >> it's extremely significant, poppy. look. a lot of people said to me what's the big deal? the president has the authority to give kushner security clearance. we understand how our adversaries use information against individuals when security clearance when there is information they can leverage. we are looking at kushner who clearly had business dealings in these countries and a number of countries not on the list. what we are doing is asking ourselves what are the risks here. more importantly, what concerns me is a lot of the relationships
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were discovered by investigators. not disclosed by jared kushner or others in his sphere. when the fbi goes back and they sit down with jared kushner and say we see you have entanglements, business dealings and didn't disclose them and the president gives kushner security clearance that raises concerns about what our adversaries may do to leverage those security clearances because jared kushner is so close to the president. >> just thinking back to what we played, maggie haberman's important question to the president in the oval office interview about were you involved at all and his denial, there is an argument over his language with kelly whether or not it was an order. doesn't the fact that there was a conversation about this matter? i mean, on top of no denial from the white house this morning. they're saying we don't talk about security clearances? >> i think it matters.
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we have heard everyone say six different ways there was no political intervention in the process. it's clear from the "new york times" story there was political intervention in the process. president trump is allowed to do that. he's allowed to give jared kushner the ability to look at top securi top secret information. they lacked every kind of transparency about this. they decided to come out publicly and say jared kushner's security clearance was approved in may of 2018. now they say we don't talk about it. we are not going to talk about the potential issues or conflicts that may have arisen during his background check. we won't talk about the process that was gone through in order to get him this clearance. >> right. >> as shawn points out that makes people uncomfortable. we don't know what the issue was that was holding it up for so long. unless elijah cummings gets his way and subpoenas documents we may never get a good indication of what the hang-up was in
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kushner kushner's background. >> thank you. three days on the hill. apparently not enough. we have learned michael cohen will be back testifying again next week on capitol hill after seven hours of closed door testimony yesterday before the house intelligence committee he'll return to the committee on wednesday. with us now is our senior congressional correspondent manu raju. clearly they have questions. >> they want to know specifically about the white house's involvement in editing the statement that michael cohen initially gave back in 2017 to the same congressional committee, the house intelligence committee that he later admitted lying to about the pursuit of the trump tower moscow project at the time he downplayed it saying then candidate trump wasn't really involved. cohen alleged publicly that the white house attorneys or attorneys close to the president edited the statement. something the attorneys have denied. we expect the cohen attorneys
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will provide more documents showing the edits that occurred in the initial statement. the democrats in particular interested in hearing more about conversations that occurred with michael cohen and the president particularly around the time of the raid of michael cohen's properties, what more can he disclose about that. in his public setting he couldn't disclose details because it was under investigation from the southern district of new york. they'll try to get answers behind closed doors, but how much can he reveal? this will be the fourth time he's coming up to capitol hill before he heads to prison in the spring. >> okay. also, a name many people don't know, but a really interesting character, if you will, felix sater intertwined in a lot of deals including the trump tower in moscow proposal. he will be testifying in two weeks. >> march 14 before the house intelligence committee in an open setting which is very rare
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for this committee for witnesses in the russia investigation. he's a russian-born businessman who worked with the president, then businessman trump over different projects. he appeared at events with him. trump himself in 2013 distanced himself from felix sater saying he didn't know him well. that was in a deposition. a major line of questioning will be sater's role in the trump tower moscow project. he had extensive conversations with michael cohen. at one point he offered a penthouse -- suggested offering a penthouse to vladimir putin as part of the project as a way to sweeten the deal. so all of that will be a sign they want to focus -- democrats do -- on the president's finances and any ties he has to russia. business dealings with russia. that's a reason why it will be in a public setting in march. >> really interesting.
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thank you very much. back in the u.s., after walking away from the talks with north korea back to slamming michael cohen, the set backs are mounting. how does it play out politically? and pakistan expected to release an indian pilot shot down over kashmir. the gesture, will it ease growing tensions? india saying pakistan is doing us no favor with this. we are on it. and lucky number 13. relatively unknown on a national stage, democratic governor of washington state jumping in to the 2020 race for the presidency. will his focus on climate change set him apart from the pack? (burke) at farmers, we've seen almost everything, so we know how to cover almost anything. even rooftop parking. strange forces at work?
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president trump might have known he was in for a rocky week with michael cohen scheduled to spend most of it on capitol hill. he had the summit with north korea's leader kim jong-un and a potential breakthrough to divert the world's attention. that fell apart and cohen is
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coming back next week for more testimony. now the president has reportedly been caught in a dangerous lie about his son-in-law and the nation's most sensitive secrets. his answer is to lambaste michael cohen and democrats in tweets this morning. davider vin joins me, former senior adviser to the trump campaign in 2016. good morning to you. david, let me begin with you. what's the high point for the president this week? >> poppy, listen. they continue to have negotiations on the korean peninsula. if we look back to where we started it all there are missiles lobbed across the sea of japan across our allies. it was a frightening place in the south china sea. we haven't had a missile test or a nuclear test for over 400 days. that's a positive thing.
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>> if you look at the independent analysis done in the last year, north korea has amassed even more fissile material to build five to seven more nuclear weapons. to david's point, the president didn't sign or agree to a bad deal. is that a win? >> the clear result that you're supposed to do this at the lower levels and have the summit, not the other way around. okay. he's doing it his way. it is a little bit in reverse. they had a summit that failed. now the teams will have to get together and continue serious talks about what kind of sanctions, dialing back of the nuclear program we'll see. all of that's to the good. there is a difference between having a good week and an acceptable week. he had more of an acceptable week in the sense that he's still making progress.
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it wasn't a complete catastrophe. >> right. >> on capitol hill, his republican allies stuck up for the president. >> yes. >> as ludicrous as it seemed at times they didn't ask a single probing question about what the president's former attorney was saying. instead they attacked him and did the president's bidding. >> i wonder if they did it in the closed door sessions with michael cohen. david, weigh in on that. >> as errol points out, secretary pompeo, steve began, they have been working with the north koreans to get to an agreement before the president went. not like he decided to drop in. the state department put a lot of work into this. >> i get it. >> it didn't bear fruit. they are going to continue to talk. >> pompeo went a number of
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times. i hear you. they all seem appalled the president has taken the word of an autocrat when it comes to the death of otto warmbier. >> listen, that's incredibly regrettable. whether kim jong-un knew about it, the fact remains that a young american student was kidnapped, captured, murdered by a dictatorial regime in north korea. i think the president should have slammed his fist down on the table on that one and said, look, we are going to hold people accountable and push to find an answer here. i do think he should have been stronger on that point. >> okay. on the reporting this morning for the times and the washington post, errol, the president's denial that he got involved in
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the security clearance issue with jared kushner, despite a contemporaneous memo we learned from john kelly, should any president bigfoot security professionals ever when it comes to this? >> there is substantive danger to it. he has all these top aides. people come out of meetings with the president and feel they have to write things down, take notes about it. his white house counsel, chief of staff, former fbi director. people are clear they are getting instructions from him directly or indirectly that really trouble them. we don't know what might be there substantively. why is it that the fbi keep saying this man can't have top security clearance? >> it's a good question. i don't know the answer to it. what i do know is right now jared kushner is at what seems to be a critical point in middle
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east peace negotiations. >> right. >> that makes all of this an even more important question, right? >> right. it's been well reported that the president clearly has the authority to do this. no one is certain of what's in the memos to put it in the file, the personnel file by then chief of staff general kelly or white house counsel don begin. to classify those as alarming memos, they could be simple hr housekeeping. to be clear on clearance here, there are two specific pieces to a security clearance i believe jared was applying for. there is the top secret, ts portion, done by the fbi and handled inside the white house. then the sci portion. the special compartmentalized portion handled by the folks at langley and the cia. we don't know what portion he was declined for. he could have been declined for the sci portion and they could
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have said he needs that to do his work. until everybody knows the facts, i would tell everybody to exhale and just -- i think america is still safe with kushner having clearance. >> thank you both. we'll have you back soon. >> thanks, poppy. >> do you care about the u.s. debt? you should. it is now $22 trillion. in just months, the treasury may not have the cash to pay our bills. up next, the chairman of the council of economic advisers joins me. more than half of employees across the country bring financial stress to work. if you're stressed out financially at home, you're going to be too worried to be able to do a good job. i want to be able to offer all of the benefits that keep them satisfied. it is the people that is really the only asset that you have. put your employees on a path
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medicare patients depend on. stop cuts to part d drug coverage all of you. how you live, what you love. that's what inspired us to create america's most advanced internet. internet that puts you in charge. that protects what's important. it handles everything, and reaches everywhere. this is beyond wifi, this is xfi. simple. easy. awesome. xfinity, the future of awesome. $22 trillion and counting is our national debt, folks. it is a startling and dangerous number. starting tomorrow, the debt ceiling kicks back in. that means the government could run out of cash to pay bills by the fall if that limit isn't
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increased. that would mean a slew of negative repercussions for all of us. joining me now, white house economic adviser, the chairman of economic advisers. not that much snow, kevin. >> cold enough that i had to put a coat on. i feel embarrassed in front of a minnesota person dressing so warm. it's in the 30s. >> exactly. that's darn near tropical. on a more serious note, thank you for being here. on the debt ceiling issue, they have until september 30. are you expecting another protracted fight in congress over raising the debt ceiling, especially because you've got former deficit hawk nick mulvaney in as chief of staff. >> i'm not the strategist, just a lowly economist in the white house. i can tell you if you look back at previous debt limit debates that they have always sort of worked out in the end. sometimes they have dissolved into brinksmanship.
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everybody hopes we can work together and make a positive deal and it won't come to that. the end game, as you mentioned is really far off. it's almost like the whistle blows in march. then the race lasts into the early fall because of all the special measures government can take. >> the issue, if it becomes a protracted fight is the impact on our credit rating. last time because of the political brinksmanship s&p downgraded us and it's still not back. are you worried we could get another downgrade? >> that downgrade is questionable. u.s. debt is about the safest asset on earth if you look at global debt markets. in the end these showdowns have always worked out. we are absolutely hoping to work it out am cicably. if youing loo a prison reform when they are good ideas, washington can work. >> fingers crossed for it
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working. let's talk growth. i know you guys are happy and america is happy about the growth number we saw this week in terms of economic growth. you told the "wall street journal" yesterday you think we'll see 3% or greater growth for the year. my question to you is what could stop that? what could get in the way? namely in a china trade deal doesn't come together would you still foresee 3% growth if the tariffs are ratcheted up? >> well, again, the reason we see 3% growth is the model that 16 months ago said we would have 3% growth in 2018 is actually saying we'll be a little bit better in 2019 than last year. we think maybe 3.2 this year. the model has worked well. it's based on peer reviewed science. last year we got 3.1 though there was a lot of uncertainty about trade. if you think about champiina, ee and the rest this year it's upside that we get great deals and celebration about access to
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new markets. it could look more like last year. one of the reasons why president trump has been aggressive on trade is we have agreed to a lot of bad deals that disadvantage the united states in the past. the thing is then if you look at the tariffs we put on china, they are a bigger consequence for china than our economy. if those were to stay in place, i don't think it would have inasmumuch impact on growth this year. >> some see it differently. we'll see what plays out. i want to ask about a number that doesn't get a lot of attention. credit to my friend heather long at "the washington post" who pointed it out. >> she's great. >> a record 7 million americans are now 90 days or more delinquent on auto loans. these are things people tend to pay first. mortgage, rent, auto loan. a million more than during the financial crisis. the new york fed economists wrote about it and said the number of distressed borrowers
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suggests not all americans benefitted from the strong lab mark labor market. does it concern you? >> we are studying the auto market closely. it's something that's a big part of the economy still. you're right that the loan data are concerning. people are having trouble making loan payments. one thing you have to factor in is that the number of auto loans is at an all time high. therefore the percentage of loans in default could be steady and the number of loans in default could go up a lot. there is the overall number of loans. so loans in default go up with overall numbers of loans. since there are a lot of loans because the economy is doing well default rates go up, too. be careful not to panic. >> what the new york fed is saying, an independent body of economists. >> sure. they're solid people. >> they're saying it is suggested that not all americans have benefitted from the strong labor market. the jobs numbers are great under
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this administration, right? credit where credit is due. they are concerned it's not equally shared. >> right. i think we should always be concerned. whatever we do, however good it is it won't affect everybody we want to help. if you look at wage growth now it's 6.5%. look at blue collar wages, last year weekly earnings for blue collar earnings went up $2500 per worker. if you have two workers in a family, that's $5,000 bucks. there is good news. but it doesn't reach everybody. people out of the labor force aren't necessarily benefitting from the higher wages. even there you can see we are making progress. if you look at the latest jobs numbers over the last few months, 73% of new hires came from out of the labor force. we were worried people were stuck out of the labor force. you have a hard time ever reattaching them to the economy. now we are seeing people coming back in droves. that's one of the best pieces of
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news. >> few more things with you. share buybacks. you have been very vocal on this. senators schumer and sanders, democrats, proposed legislation to limit how much of their shares companies can buy back unless they hit a threshold of investment in workers in the communities. you reacted calling it economically illiterate and said they should be ashamed of themselves. i wonder if you say the same of senator marco rubio's proposal that would also limit share buy backs in terms of the tax advantage on it. it's not just democrats. >> i will call a bad economic argument a bad economic argument regardless of who makes it. the fact is share buybacks are a sign of a healthy economy. what happens is, say apple has all this cash, repurchase shares and the money goes out to new entrepreneurial firms that need equity capital to come up with
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the next great thing. it's a natural way our economy recycles cash from old successful firms to new entrepreneurial firms. if we were to stop share buybacks or slow them down we would be slowing down the cash flow to entrepreneurs. >> they are not saying to stop them. >> they want to slow it down with a tax. >> marco rubio is saying make the tax benefit here equal to dividends and, you know, push investment in work places and employees. sanders and schumer are saying, look, invest x amount in employees and communities before you do this. because, as you know, looking at last year's numbers, u.s. companies announced more than a trillion dollars. their feeling is it dis p disproportionately benefits wealthy investors. >> create new firms with new jobs that have upside potential. the way to do it is funnel money from old firms to new entrepreneurial firms. in fact, there is economic literature about europe where they talk about zombie firms
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where there are big firms with cash that aren't sending cash back out into capital markets leading to things like in italy you see tcito tall factor productivity has declined. you can get long range negative outcomes trapping money in old firms. it is important the firms that make money send it back out so if you and i were to start a company we want to take the equity, employ people, buy new machines and create new ideas. it is harder to do it if we lock in the money at apple. >> one final thing. larry kudlow called the green new deal yesterday something that will literally destroy the economy. i wonder if you believe climate change is a threat to economic growth. you know that national climate assessment that came out. 13 independent agencies on it said if we don't see a change here, it would knock 10% off
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u.s. gdp by 2100. what's your response? >> i haven't modeled the green new deal. you know me. i'm geeky enough -- >> you'll do it. >> you go back to the early 1990s. i was one of the first economists writing theoretical papers about carbon taxes. it's literature i have been involved in for a long time. nordhouse was right to get the nobel prize for his work. it's something everybody should pay attention to as they think about future policy. >> do you think climate change is a threat to economic growth -- yes or no? >> yes. i think nordhouse's work is food for thought about what could happen. it's something people should take seriously and think about. >> kevin hasset, nice to have you here. held back for the most part. thanks, kevin. >> bye. >> take care. a dangerous border crisis escalating between two nuclear powers -- india and pakistan. we are live next. you don't see psoriasis. you see clear skin.
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a major attempt to ease tension between two of the nuclear armed powers. pakistan is expected to hand over an indian fighter pilot whose plane was shot down over a disputed region with kashmir. one government leader in india this morning says pakistan isn't doing the country any favors by releasing the pilot. sam kylie joins me from new delhi. this is bigger than one pilot. it is seven years of history between two nuclear-armed powers. what's the sense on the ground of where this is going? >> reporter: i think things have escalated dramatically. not so much yet on a military level although india is crossing using aircraft into pakistan
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territory where they lost an aircraft and claimed to have shot down a pakistani f-16. the handover is dramatic in its own right. we also heard from prime minister modi in india saying in the future any terrorist attack that's traced back to pakistan would be met with retaliation with interest. this is a short extract of what he said. >> this is a new india. this is an india that will return the damage done by terrorists with interest. >> india and pakistan have fought at least three wars over kashmir and other territorial disputes since partitioned in 1947. there are bitter exchanges of fire across the line of control inside kashmiri territory. this commitment by modi in an election year to retaliate
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against all and any terrorist attacks really ups the ante at a time when the pakistanis at least in public under imran khan, the new prime minister, are calling for talks. the pakistanis appearing to be more conciliatory while the indians are taking a robust attitude at the moment. >> sam kiley, thank you for being in new delhi following it for us. we appreciate it. ahead, to politics in 2020. the first governor jumps in the race for the presidency. he's putting his money on climate change. betting enough people care about it that it could get him to 1600 pennsylvania avenue.
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just this morning, washington state governor jay insly is jumping into the race for the white house. he is the first governor to get into the race and the first who intends to make climate change and fighting it the center of his campaign. he is up against some serious washington heft. a new poll out shows bernie sanders and joe biden leading the field of candidates. joining me now is cnn political commentator, previously press secretary. that yellow looks marvelous on you. let me just say. it does. >> trying to bring a little sunshine. >> i love that on a snowy friday. you know, it's important, climate change is so important. you know where it falls on
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american's lists of priorities, things they care about, things they vote on. i'm interested in what your read is on governor inslee making it his platform. >> i think governor inslee is trying to distinguish himself. the democratic presidential primary is all about your delegate path. because on the democratic side of the aisle we have proportional representation meaning bernie sanders could win iowa and kirsten gillibrand could come in third or fourth and get a substantial number of delegat delegates. in 2016 i think it2,383. he wants to be on the voters' mients. when you think about climate change he wants you to think about him. he will have to have other platforms. while climate change is his stable platform he has to have a
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criminal justice platform. what is his message to black women? i think we'll see that. perhaps he will be able to stand out on the debate stage. we'll find out in june. >> right. you have to make the debate stage. look at this poll out of new hampshire. you have your former candidate in 2016, bernie sanders, topping it out at 26%. joe biden who hasn't announced a run. we checked after that coming in third is senator kamala harris. i feel like from the outside senator sanders benefitted a lot last time around by being the under dog for so long and sort of being underestimated. he didn't have to face as much research. now he is leading the pack. does that bring with it a host of new challenges? >> it does. you have to run differently. if i am advising a 2020 candidate which i am not at this time and my person was polling
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at the bottom of the pack, i would be okay. you open yourself up for criticism and to be a target. lots of people view kamala harris as a front runner. lots of people are digging deep into her record and pulling things out. i think what you see right now in the polling is literally about name recognition. that's why vice president joe biden is polling so high, bernie sanders is polling so high. from what the voters know they seem to like them. those polls could look drastically different come december 2019 and definitely january 2020. >> you can win the presidency if the polls don't look like you can? >> shocker. >> what do you make of this
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brouhaha some are upset about former vice president joe biden calling current vice president mike pence decent? >> those wouldn't be the words i would use to describe current vice president mike pence. what folks need to understand about vice president joe biden is he has built himself as a consensus builder. he has worked across the aisle. he speaks highly of mike pence because he served with him. i don't know if that would play well with this new young crop of potential voters who are looking for a democratic nominee that is not necessarily willing to hug the current folks that occupy the white house. it remains to be seen. >> one thing that really interests me is that senator sanders has not said that he is just running for one term for example and vice president joe biden i don't know if he is going to do that. i wonder if you think that that
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would actually be an advantage. age is a consideration. >> i don't think we will hear vice president joe biden or bernie sanders say that. if joe biden gets into the race he gets in because he wants to be president of the united states. bernie sanders is running because he wants to be president of the united states. they all want to be president. if i was advising somebody, we are not saying we are getting in just to be a one and done. i'm getting in because my candidate can be the best choice out there and we want to be president for as long as legally allowed possible. >> thanks for bringing the sunshine this morning. good to have you. new reports that president trump dismissed the objections of senior intelligence officials, senior staff and ordered jared kushner to be given top secret security
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i'm poppy harlow. jim sciutto is on his way back from the kim jong-un summit. president trump is facing new reports that he directly intervened to get jared kushner top security clearance that he had long been denied. a month ago he said i was never involved in the talks. this morning the times and the post are both reporting that the president ordered his then chief of staff to overrule the objections of career white house security and kelly wrote about all of it in the memo to get his version on

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