tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN July 19, 2019 12:00am-1:00am PDT
this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. president trump seems to be trying to rewrite history. one big problem, though. this was something we all saw with our own eyes, heard with our own ears. after getting pressure from gop allies, he is now claiming he didn't like it when the crowd at his campaign rally in north carolina broke out in a racist chant of "send her back" after he attacked democratic congresswoman ilhan omar. >> i was not happy with it. i disagree with it. but again, i didn't say -- i didn't say that. they did. >> that's called passing the
buck. president trump claims his racist tweets, telling four congresswomen of color to go back to the countries they came from had no influence on the crowd. that doesn't pass the smell test. nor does his claim that he tried to stop the chanting by quickly continuing his speech. he waited a full 13 seconds. and certainly didn't look upset. let's go to the videotape. >> omar has a history of launching vicious, anti-semitic screeds. >> send her back! send her back! sand her back! send her back! >> he went on to slam the four congresswomen saying, if they don't like america, they should leave. big picture now, michael hithenbotham, douglas brinkley.
good evening. doug, i'm going to start with you. trump is not the first populist american leader with an anti-immigrant attitude. for example, miller filmore campaigned on strong anti-immigrant views. is history repeating itself, and why haven't we learned from this? >> well, you know, filmore with the no nothing party in the 1850s, it was vehemently against catholic immigrants. mainly people from germany and ireland. but where donald trump is getting this, go back to where you come from rhetoric, it out of the nixon era. george wallace and nixon. nixon was more of a covert, you know, racist. he was for affirmative action to a degree, nixon, and he wouldn't have said language like trump is saying, banning muslims and things. too sophisticated for that for nixon to do. but george wallace would go wild
and president trump sees that. old dixiekrat, segregationist crowd. and some people used to call it middle class democrats. but that's who trump is trying to appeal to with this ugly xenophobic anti-immigrant rhetoric, but that kind of rhetoric and policies have been part of american policy from the very beginning. >> michael in the '40s and '50s, joseph mccarthy smeared many innocent people in an anti-communist crusade. just this week we heard this from senator lindsey graham. watch this. >> we all know that aoc and this crowd are a bunch of communists. they hate israel. they hate our country. >> communist. is that a term leaders should throw around especially as an attack on four women of color? >> not at all. trump is in a long line. lindsey graham is in a long line of disgraced politicians, like
joseph mccarthy who basically communists baited. and what these politicians do is they tell lies. they tell falsehoods to try and demonize minorities or demonize others. whether they be dissidents, political dissidents or whether they be catholics or jews or african-americans or asian-americans or italians or irish americans. they try to demonize, make them the other. and that's what trump has done. he did it when he started out with mexican americans. he did it with muslims. and now he's doing it with black americans. it's inaccurate. his tweets. it's hypocritical. but most significantly, it's un-american. it's against our first amendment, which embraces protest. >> peter, tonight ilhan omar was greeted with this when she went
back to her home state of minnesota. watch. >> welcome home, ilhan! welcome home, ilhan! welcome home, ilhan! welcome home, ilhan! >> earlier today she said the president is spewing his -- this is her words, fascist ideology. is this a lose/lose fight for everybody involved? >> i think it's -- democrats would rather be talking about issues like health care. sometimes you can't avoid this because this is a struggle about the identity of the united states. and it's the very, very old struggle. it's basically america was founded on two principles. the 50 was that it was a white man's country and white men should run it. the second was the principle that all people were created equal. those two principles have been battling it out since the very, very beginning, and that's what this fight is about. it's about whether people who look like ilhan omar of her religion, her race and her
gender are equal citizens and have an equal right to participate. that's what this fight is about. >> why deny it? why are people denying it? it's not the color. i disagree with them on their policies, which is fair to disagree with anyone on their policies but anyone can see what this is about. any thinking, rational person. >> here's the crucial context. the polls show that most trump supporters believe there is more racism against white people than there is against people of color, right? i know you're laughing. it is laughable. but that's what most trump supporters believe, right? so -- >> do they believe that or want to believe? there's no way they can actually believe that. >> that's what they say. and look how -- this is what they tell pollsteres. if they see themselves as the victimized aggrieved parties, they are the ones who feel that they are being oppressed. and that's how they justify. and it's an old story, too. the idea that people in power actually tell themselves they're the victims. >> interesting.
earlier today, michael, the house oversight chairman elijah cummings got heated with mcaleenan over the family separation conditions at the border. watch this. >> i guess you feel like you're doing a great job, right? is that what you're saying? >> we're doing our level best in a very challenging -- >> what does that mean? what does that mean when a child is sitting in their own feces, can't take a shower? come on, man. what's that about? none of us would have our children in that position. they are human beings. and i'm trying to figure out -- and i get tired of folks saying, oh, oh, they just beating up on the border patrol. oh, they just beating up on homeland security. what i'm saying is, i want to concentrate on these children. and i want to make sure that
they are okay. >> so the border crisis, michael, the president's racist attacks. are these race issues reaching a boiling point now? >> i think, unfortunately, they are. and, you know, it's time for all americans to stand up, to take a position because we really are at a situation where we need to make sure that we take a stand against racism. this country is a special country. this country is better than what trump is putting forward. and if americans stand tall on this, and i believe trump has made a mistake. i believe you'll see a majority of americans come out and say, look, this racism is wrong. the statements were wrong, and they need to stop. i think you'll see that at the polls, if not at the upcoming election. >> douglas, what do you think? >> well, i think -- you know, donald trump is a product of
right wing radio. he used to listen to these racist, bigoted taunts on bob grant's radio network. things rush limbaugh would say. he's become normal to him. he has no sense of american history, trump, so he -- just does media. so i was stunned in 2016 when you had trump running for office that the lowest mark of fdr, our great president, was the japanese internment camps in world war ii. president trump loves those camps. the lowest moment of eisenhower's was "operation wetback" and trump praised eisenhower for his worst moment. he likes detention camps. he likes arguing about immigration and saying who is the real american and who is not with himself being the judge. the big question is, in 2016, you could have said trump is a one-offer, third party billionaire. he now is a proud overt racist,
and if the american people vote for him, it really does tell us a lot about our country this late in the 21st century. >> peter, you heard lindsey graham say the squad, those women, that they hate israel. the president also said this. watch. >> you look at what they've said. i have clips right here. the most vile, horrible statements about our country. about israel. about others. it's up to them. they can do what they want. they can leave. they can stay. >> so listen, it's true that representatives omar and tlaib have made controversial statements about israel. >> they are american citizens and american members of congress. they have the right to have any opinion they want about america and israel, right? just because they're people of color doesn't mean they have to go on bended knee and basically say whatever trump wants them to see.
rashida tlaib is palestinian. she's seen firsthand the immense suffering of palestinians who live without basic rights in the west bank. why wouldn't she be a critic of israel? and i love the fact on the one hand donald trump says that basically and his supporters say, you can't accuse donald trump of bigotry, right? and yet they call rashida tlaib and ilhan omar anti-semites all the time without citing any evidence. >> i want to know what the evidence is. i did a fact check on what they said about it. what she did say, we talked about it, about the benjamins, hamas and gaza, the conflict there. then she apologized and said she was learning from her comments, which is something the president hasn't done. and by the way, they were elected because of those positions. but go on. in part because of it. >> if ilhan omar is anti-y anti-semitic, then president
trump is because he told them they wouldn't support him because he didn't want their money. donald trump has actually been more blatant about associating jews with money and with dual loyalty than ilhan omar has, right? so there's no good faith in this whatsoever. what it is is an attempt to delegitimize these women because donald trump is threatened by the demographic and cultural changes that they represent. and he doesn't want those people to be able to express themselves politically. >> jonathan greenblatt tweeted this out. donald trump using it. he doesn't speak for any of us. we call on all leaders to condemn the racist, xenophobic tweets and using jews as a shield. i thought that was important to point that out. thank you. i appreciate all of you. are the racist comments coming from the president freeing americans to express hateful attitudes out loud? we'll dig into that, next.
this is a week highlighted by president trump's racist tweets against four congresswomen of color telling them to go back to their countries. even though they are american citizens. and tonight, there's another example that words matter. that words can hurt people. a convenience store cashier in illinois taking it upon himself to question the citizenship of customers and telling them, kwoerk quote, they need to go back to their country. i want to bring in sara sidner. >> for those who have not experienced racist vitriol that you have and i have in person, look no farther than viral videos to remind us that people are xenophobic and racist to other folks' face. that's part of the american
fabric. >> i'm an american. >> a gas station clerk in naperville, illinois, railing on a customer who said she was trying to buy a bag of chips. she said the clerk questioned her legal status and that of her two cousins waiting outside. >> are you a citizen? >> yes. what is your problem? >> don't you know the rules? >> what is your problem? >> they need to go back to their country. >> this incident popping up tuesday. just days after president trump's racist tweets tell iing american congresswomen to go back to their crime-infested countries. there's no way to know whether this incident has any connection to president trump's comments. but experts who track hate in america say statistics reveal during divisive events or political cycles, racists are emboldened. >> after political events, particularly emotionally charged political speeches, around some divisive issue, we've seen hate
crimes spike when leaders talk. and we've also seen hate crimes decline when leaders urge tolerance. >> brian levin is the director for the center of hate and extremism at california state university san bernardino which studies hate crime data. >> there is a printed circuit of stereotypes, and the more these stereotypes are out in the ether, the more these unstable and angry people are likely to act on them. >> case in point in 2018, a los angeles woman gets in a landscaper's face as he worked, invoking president trump's words about mexicans. >> they're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists. >> why do you hate us? >> because we're mexicans? >> yes. >> we're honest people here. rapists? how many people have i raped? how many drugs have i dealt? >> in this 2017 incident -- >> my country is the greatest country in the world!
>> on a beach in texas, a man attacks muslim beachgoers invoking trump's name. and now trump targets american congresswomen of color telling them to go back to crime-infested countries from which they came. >> if they don't like it, they can leave. >> three days later at a campaign rally -- >> send her back! send her back! >> the president's hateful sentiments toward ilhan omar who emigrated from somalia regurgitated by some of his core supporters. >> i felt a little bit badly about it. but i will say this. i did, and i started speaking very quickly. but it started up rather fast. >> and as you have pointed out very specifically and clearly, actually, he let that chant go on for at least 13 seconds and simply picked up his stump
speech without admonishing anyone. clearly some of his supporters are taking the president's sentiments to heart. don? >> and then going back to that, leave it if you don't like it refrain later in the speech a number of times. is there any data to indicate whether or not the hate incidents or crimes have gone up again? >> yes. the center for the study of hate and extremism is about to release a report they gave me. some early information saying that what they have found so far when they look at, as they regularly do, the biggest 30 cities in the country, that in 2018, in those 30 major cities, that hate crimes are having their steepest rise since 2015. those numbers scary for a lot of folks. especially black and brown folks, jewish folks who have taken the brunt of some of these hate crimes. >> oh, boy. sara, thank you. thanks so much. i appreciate it. so she was supposed to be the moderator.
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you heard that expert in sara sidner's report saying that during divisive events or political cycles, hate crimes increase. let's discuss with mia love and max boot as well. the father of "the corrosion of conservatism," why i left the right. mia, hearing that gas station clerk saying they need to go back to your country, to a customer, as sara pointed out, it popped up a few days after the president's racist tweets. we don't know whether the incident has any connection to the president, but it's unsettling. >> well, if you look at what happened with the rally, i think unfortunately, not coming out, not apologizing, not saying that hey, i made these racist comments is giving people permission to actually say all of these things. it is actually inciting the worst kind of divisiveness i
have seen. if you think about what the united states tends to lose, it is us being divisive. that is the thing that threatens the united states more than anything else in the world. it is this divisiveness. the fact that we're tearing each other apart. i have to say that this is something, i've hit a wall. it is really difficult to continue to help out and to protect policy when these things are coming out of the mouth and out of the tweets of the president. >> do you want to hear more of the gop speaking out against what they heard? >> i think they have to. look. we've got two responsibilities. as far as i'm concerned, i put two responsibilities on myself. one is to be very thoughtful about what i say. there are times where you want to speak out and your emotions say to do something and it is not necessarily the right thing to do. so you have to think about it a little bit.
second is when your mind catches up with your heart, you call it out for what it is. to protect the republican party, they have to say, i'm sorry but this is not who we are. we don't want to be part of this. we don't want to be associated with this. and that is what you do. you hold people accountable to the platform and the principles of the party. and i'm telling you the principles of the party is not racist. >> you know, max, people have been saying terrible things long before donald trump took office. are things different now though? >> i think we have seen a change, don, as the congresswoman was saying. i think what has happened is that whoever occupies the oval office has a very powerful bully pulpit, and the kind of message they send really matters. and the message donald trump is sending is one of hatred and racism. he is enabling people who have those sentiments to begin with. in my own personal life, in the
last several years, i've gotten a whole bunch of messages on twitter and email saying go back to where you come from. because i was born in russia. so they're saying go back to russia or go to israel because i'm jewish. just as i've gotten all this anti-semitic filth that i never used to see before donald trump came along. maybe it's a relatively small number of people, but they are definitely being enabled by the kind of hateful rhetoric coming from donald trump, which is not the kind of thing we've heard in american politics since the dark days of george wallace and lester maddox in the 1960s. >> i would say that it has ramped up. i haven't seen comments like that, specially on social media, until 2015 in all of when started. he didn't start it. but he certainly helped legitimize it. >> amplifying it and giving it legitimacy. >> one person we haven't heard from throughout this controversy over the president's racist attack on the squad is ivanka trump. and you cover this in your new
piece, in "the atlantic." let me read from it. you say where is ivanka? when flashy opportunities arise such as a chance to play diplomat with kim jong-un, the edges of her purview which is women's economic empowerment become blurry. when the issue du jour is particularly messy, she is quick to clarify its limits. thus absolving herself of accountability for problems that exist outside of it. that's nothing new. there are other issues where she's done the same thing. you say she's using her narrow portfolio as a shield. >> and i think the reason this feels particularly subversive, sinister is that we just saw her last month, don, come off of this quote/unquote glamorous trip to the demilitarized zone where you had this histor ic meeting between the president and the north korean dictator on the north korean side of the boundary. suddenly there are reports that
it wasn't just trump that had this meeting with kim jong-un. it was also ivanka trump, his daughter, and son-in-law jared kushner, who have used their portfolios in the past quite regularly as a reason to not dive in on the issues of the day or the noise, as she likes to call it. she says my portfolio is about women's economic empowerment. this issue everyone is clamoring about right now is not something in my purview. nuclear weaponry, though, is not under the purview of uplifting women along the ivory coast in africa. so what we see here is this convenient toggling between, well, when i'd like to be part of the historic photo op i'll say that i'm the first daughter and i can do whatever i want. but -- >> it's not that. it's not that. she is in the administration if he doesn't want criticism, if she wanted to use that excuse, then she should not be part of
the administration. you can't say i'm the first daughter but also an adviser. you're an adviser to the president of the united states. you can't do what you want, especially when it comes to the public. you have to be held accountable. i've got to tell you that every time something like this happens, i always notice, oh, wow, this has to be a pr strategy because "the new york times" is reporting that ivanka trump spoke with her father this morning about the chanting. and you detailed in your piece that anonymously sourced reports like this often pop up to try to show that she's one of those moderating voices. that's a pr strategy. somebody is planting that, correct? >> it is absolutely a pr strategy. don, it came conveniently several hours after my piece ran and got a lot of attention. it is not something that has happened that often in the last year in particular. but when it comes to the border, when it comes to these racist attacks, she at least in the past has tried to seem like she's a check on the conscience
of this white house. we haven't seen it at all in the past. and i do think that there is a nervousness mounting in this white house. if she wants to still play that game, the anonymous source has to be doled out every once in a while. >> mia, i want to give you one more question. another an anonymous op-ed. a senior administration official promised that they were part of the resistance inside the administration. where is that person while the president presides over chants of "send her back" at his rallies? >> i have no idea. i have no no idea. again, everybody wants to feel like this president at least has their back. if you're an american citizen, that this president will have your back. i'm really disappointed in what i see. you can be upset with representative omar. you can say, i'll call you out for your comments. and you can say, you can even go
as far as saying, if you don't like it here, this is a free country. you can go where you please. but don't say, go back to the country where you came from. because that encompasses all of us. i don't know if you know this but donald trump's grandfather is from germany. his dad actually hid his history up until 1980. so, you know, he did not grow out of the soil here. his ancestry -- >> most of us are from somewhere else. >> that's who we are. >> unless you're native american. >> exactly. >> thank you all. appreciate it. a federal search warrants released today detail how then-candidate trump scrambled in the final weeks of the 2016 campaign to hide his affair. say hello to your fairy godmother, alice. oh and look they got gain scent beads and dryer sheets too!
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court documents unsealed today reveal the fbi believed then-candidate trump was closely involved in the hush money payments of michael cohen and he and aides covered up the affair with the porn star. joining me to discuss it, the former federal prosecutor and the author of make it rain. documents show calls involving michael cohen, hope hicks and then-candidate donald trump after the access hollywood tape was released as the campaign scrambled to do damage control. what do these filings tell us about trump's role in the hush money payments? >> it sure shows that he knew about the hush money payments while they were happening.
even though he had denied that repeatedly, publicly. there is no question that he was in the thick of it. that's what an fbi agent told the federal judge, that the agent concluded about the calls. and they're right in the middle of all the calls. in other words, cohen is calling trump and hicks and then david pecker at the american media, the company that owned the enquirer, and then going back and forth with the opposing attorney who was representing stormy daniels. so it is very hard to see anything but the president being involved. >> so, areva, remember when the president said this aboard air force one? watch this. >> did you know about the $130,000 payment to stormy daniels? >> no, no. >> why did michael cohen make
this payment? >> you have to ask michael cohen. michael is my attorney and you'll have to ask michael cohen. >> do you know where he got the money? >> i don't know. >> okay. so here's the thing. court filings show that he spoke to donald trump at least twice on the day he transferred the money to pay off stormy daniels. we know within 30 minutes of speaking to trump, cohen opened his bank, opened new account, transferred the $130,000 payment. how damaging is that? >> it just shows that donald trump has zero credibility with respect to that statement that he didn't know what was going on. i think michael cohen made it very clear in his testimony before congress that he was acting at the direction and in coordination with trump and other members of the trump organization. that has been corroborated by executives at ami, and now by the information revealed today with respect to the warrants that the fbi got as they were investigating the whole hush money payment scheme. donald trump is just not credible. let's just call it what it is. he lied.
he absolutely positively knew what michael cohen was doing. he was attempting to hush stormy daniels up. silence her, prevent her from talking about an affair that he had. this was happening right after the access hollywood tapes had come out. so he is already facing this very damaging information with respect to the election about two weeks away. so to have another big story come out about donald trump and an affair with a porn star would have been what i believe we should have all been thinking would have been devastating to his campaign. here we are. the president, michael cohen and other members of his team working very quickly and feverishly to silence stormy daniels, to catch and kill this story so the american people would never find out about it just prior to the election. >> here's what the house intel chairman adam schiff tweeted today. this is a quote. there was ample evidence to charge trump with the same
campaign crimes cohen went to prison for. were trump not the sitting president, he would likely be criminally charged as cohen's co-conspirator. is he right? president trump only avoiding charges because of justice department guidelines? >> well, certainly that's the conclusion that i would draw is that the justice department guidelines prevented him from being charged. i don't think that we can be sure necessarily that trump would have been charged. because cohen has his own set of problems. we don't know -- one thing we don't know from the documents is what michael cohen told prosecutors. we do know the southern district of new york wasn't willing to give him cooperation credit. they thought he was holding something back and we don't know what that was. i will say this. the evidence that was unveiled today that was set out in the search warrant affidavits is strong evidence. and if cohen was able to testify, if prosecutors found him credible on these issues, i
think that certainly there would be enough evidence to charge trump. >> areva, could he face charges, the president, once he leaves office from this? >> absolutely. let's assume that the democrats win. there is a new president in 2020. there is a new attorney general. the new attorney general can direct those prosecutors in new york to convene a grand jury and to indict donald trump. i think it is clear that the reason that we're not looking at an indictment today is because of the regulations, the doj regulations that say you cannot indict a sitting president. but nothing about those regulations say that donald trump cannot be indicted once he is out of the white house. and the evidence suggests that there's ample evidence to support an indictment once he leaves the white house. >> thank you so much. i appreciate it. it has been over five years since more than 200 school girls were kidnapped in nigeria. the story of the missing girls, next.
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book, "beneath the tamarind tree: a story of courage, family and the lost schoolgirls of boko haram." so good to have you on. >> hello, friend. >> thank you. congratulations on the book. hello, friend. i can't wait to talk to you about it. can i just talk to you about, though, the president attacking these four women of color? >> sure. >> what do you think about that? >> you know, i'm not going to pull any punches for someone like myself who moved here 14 years ago. >> became a citizen last year. >> became a citizen just last year because i believe in all that america has, that it's possible for people and their personal journeys to make of themselves what they want to. it's disgusting. it's disheartening. this president has said a lot of things that i found deeply troubling, but this was painful. there is something deeply painful about it. painful about the venom in it. and it has people in my circle, not necessarily me, but people for the first time, people i know who moved here in the same way i have thinking, is it time to leave? because i tell you what, the thing about this, don, that i often think about is there is this notion should this president not be re-elected,
this country will naturally revert back. >> no. this is going to take awhile because he exposed something that was there beneath the surface, and he has elevated and legitimatized hatred in this country. everyone, almost everyone here has ancestors who are from somewhere else. >> yeah. >> he is saying that it's a winning strategy for him, this whole otherizing. how dangerous do you think this is, isha? >> it's deeply dangerous. first of all, again, it seemed to me, you know, for want of a better word, moronic, oxymoronic that you had people chanting "send her back" when this country was built by people from other places and enraged by her speaking out. whether you like it or not, some of the things she said, this country is built on the principle of free speech. so it's almost like they're criticizing her, but they're actually criticizing the essence of america, you know, for all this that she's anti-american.
you're actually criticizing the essence of what makes this country great, our diversity and the fact that you can speak your mind. and it's -- it's so dangerous, this otherizing. you know, you hear of people wearing hijabs now being attacked. can we just say -- can we move it away from, you know, the theory to the fact that these women now could potentially be in danger. and their family -- can we just talk about that reality? >> well, i want to talk about this because this is a very dangerous situation. your book, what your book chronicles. "beneath the tamarind tree," over 200 girls in nigeria kidnapped by boko haram back in 2014. you covered the story here on cnn. i remember you covering it and doing an excellent job. there you are right there on the ground. >> a younger me. >> a younger you. tell us about these -- the -- when you found out these girls were taken and what you learned from that experience and what you've learned now. >> i think what i felt when the girls were taken, first and foremost, was the sense of outrage that they were taken from a school, a place they
should have been safe. that these girls as i got to learn more about their stories were girls who almost to every last one of them comes from an extremely poor family. they come from a part of the world where 50% of girls are married off before they're 16. so the fact that these girls who were 18, 19 on average when they were taken were in school makes them heroic. i was outraged. and i think one of the things that i found out as i researched the book is that it was a crime of opportunity. that when the terrorists arrived, they arrived looking for male students who they had typically attacked in schools in northeastern nigeria, but because there was no security, they debated in front of the girls, should we set them on fire? should we put them in burning rooms as the buildings were on fire or should we take them? >> over 200 girls went missing. 100 are back. >> yeah, 107 are back. and can i just say this is another reason i wanted to write this book.
i wanted people to move beyond the headlines and to get to know some of them. they are in a school, the majority of them, in northeastern nigeria, so they are back in the very place that these men didn't want them to be and they love it. >> come here. so good to see you. >> now i feel very short next to you. >> thank you for coming on. it's so good to see you. isha sesay. her book, "beneath the tamarind tree," available in bookstores and online now. so thank you for watching, everyone. our coverage continues. that's why netflix is on us. and here's another reason to join. bring in your discount, and we'll match it. that's right. t-mobile will match your discount. prestige creams not living up to the hype? olay regenerist shatters the competition. big hype? big price? big deal! olay regenerist hydrates skin better than creams costing over $100, $200, and even $400. for skin that looks younger than it should. fact check this ad in good housekeeping.
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the stages are set. the progressives on night one. the rematch on night two. what to expect at the cnn democratic debates. do not under estimate the heat. 185 million people in more than 30 states at risk. triple digits for most of the east. the drone was immediately destroyed. >> another flare-up with iran as the u.s. downs a drone in a critical waterway. how did the iranians respond? how would you escape a