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tv   Special Report With Bret Baier  FOX News  March 31, 2017 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT

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>> dana: inside joke. said your dvrs so you never miss an episode "the fe." "special report" is up next. ♪ ♪ >> chris: the white house scolds reporters it says are missing the point and some important evidence in the russia investigation. this is "special report." ♪ ♪ >> chris: good evening. i'm chris wallace in for bret baier. the white house is ramping up its argument reporters are focusing on the wrong issue in the investigation into links between the trump campaign and russia. the administration points to new information it says shows the obama team spread classified intelligence about the trump transition for political purposes. chief white house correspondent john roberts starts us off tonight. good evening, john. >> reporter: chris, good evening to you. this controversy has been dogging the white house for a month now ever since the president tweeted out that
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he was being wirmd by the obama administration. but today the white house began to see a little light at the end of the tunnel. the press secretary today lashed out at questions about white house involvement in providing information to the chairman of the house intelligence committee. >> if everyone was treating the president of the administration fairly, you would ask a series of much different questions about the substance than the material. >> reporter: after weeks of playing defense the white house appeared to find a small hole to run through today, intelligence officials telling fox news the two white house staffs who assisted in devin nunes' search for intelligence were not his original source. and that nunes has been investigating the surveillance and unmasking of trump officials since well before the president sent out those now infamous tweets. >> when he came out initially and talked to the media, he made it very clear that he had been looking into this. he had stated this much earlier than the president had ever raised this issue about surveillance. >> reporter: the white house also pointed to statements made by former obama administration official evelyn farkas who a month ago appeared to indicate
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that the obama white house had been collecting intelligence on trump connections with russia. >> if they found out how we knew what we knew about their -- the trump staff dealing with russians that they would try to comp pro-mize those sources and methods meaning we would no longer have access to that intelligence. >> i think that is interesting how no one seems to cover the fact that a senior obama administration with high level clearances talked about the spreading of classified information for political purposes and no one seems to care. >> reporter: this afternoon the ranking democrat on the house intelligence committee arrived at the white house, adam schiff, taking up the white house counsel's offer to look at the same intelligence that the chairman viewed 11 days ago. before his arrival, schiff argued that all the members of the committee should have the same opportunity. the former trump official at the center of both surveillance and unmasking, general michael flynn may soon appear before the congressional intelligence committees. his attorney made a public offer to testify in exchange for immunity.
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the offer caught the eye of the president who tweeted, quote: mike flynn should ask for immunity and that this is a witch-hunt, excuse for big electio loss of historic proportion. the language witch-hunt drew criticism from the republican house oversight committee who also suggested the president shouldn't be weighing in on this on twitter. >> no, i don't think it's a witch hunt. it's very miss serious to me though why all of a sudden general flynn is out there saying he wants immunity. a, i don't think congress should give him immiewngt. if there is an open investigation by the fbi, that should not happen. >> reporter: republican spokesman for the house intelligence committee says they have had some preliminary discussions with michael flynn's attorney but no condition were discussed there has been no word yet from the senate intelligence committee on whether they might grant immunity. and flynn's attorney robert kelner would not comment to fox news tonight. chris? >> chris: john roberts report from the white house. john, thanks for that let's talk with syndicated
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columnist charles krauthammer with all of this. let's start with mike flynn, his lawyer seeking immunity for any testimony before congress or the fbi and then donald trump's tweet saying that's exactly the right thing to do. seek immunity. where does that take this case? >> well, it's not going to depend on trump tweet. although i think it's not a very good idea for the president to inject himself into this. it's not going to help. i think the fact is very simple. if the fbi or any of the committees think that flynn can deliver trump, they will grant him immunity. there's no reason to think he will. if it's just protecting himself, i think they won't be interested in granting him immunity. in other words, is he only useful to the extent that he gets the big fish. that's how it is in all of these investigations. so, i think it has to do with flynn's own exposure,
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not having agent of the turkish government. perhaps some dealings with the russians that predate his involvement in the trump campaign, that we don't know about. i suspect it's personal stuff. it's not campaign stuff, and it's not going to help the investigation of russian tampering. >> chris: then we've got the white house offering and today devin nunes, the -- i'm sorry, adam schiff, the top democrat on the house intel committee as we saw, taking them up on their offer to go to the white house to the nsc to see the intelligence that devin nunes got to see. that only happened after the "new york times" reported that, in fact, it was nsc that gave devin nunes the information in the first place. >> look, the ticktock on the history of this is disturbing and puzzling. in the end, all that matters is what schiff says that he saw. is he going to come out and i suppose over the weekend
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he'll be on the shows. will he come out and say there is stuff here that's troubling? there appears to have been some improper unmasking and improper spreading of this intelligence. or will he say that there is nothing here? that, to me, is what is important. i find it really childish for the two sides to be arguing your issue is a distraction. only my issue counts. there are two charges here. one that the trump campaign colluded with the russians and the other is that the obama administration misused intelligence information. why is one a distraction from the other? why can't somebody stand up and say they are both legitimate issues. we need to investigate both. there is this implication, particularly in the media, that unless you are talking about the alleged collusion, all you're doing is distracting. is not the unmasking of americans a real issue? of course it is.
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and if this were the only issue, the media would be all over it. >> chris: i want to pick up on exactly that issue because you have been talking about it for a while and i know you are troubled and, look, you should be if it's true. be a crime, be unmasking of american officials swept up in intelligence gathering. the "new york times" reports today and you can take it or leave it, but they report today that most of the unmasking, the great part of it was foreign ambassadors or sphorn officials talking amongst themselves about having contacts, trying to develop relationships with members of the trump transition and that if you read it you can kind of guess which trump official they wanted to develop a relationship with, perfectly innocent. perfectly normal relationship with a new administration. if that's all this is, is the unmasking such a big deal? >> it depends what the content is. if you have one ambassador saying to another that an important person in the
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white house, prefers macaroni and cheese over steak, that's not important. if you have him saying that this person in the white house wants to work out a deal with the russians over syria o whatever, or has been collaborating in some way with the russians or with others, that's real. look, the reason you have been having these argue. s that are circular, we have been chasing our tails on this for three weeks, it let's be honest about this. we don't know damn thing. >> chris: that's exactly right. >> there are stories coming out every day. everybody is giving them out, particularly the ones in the intelligence community are trained to lie so until this is all over, and we hear the testimony, we have no idea. >> chris: the infamous hall of mirrors. charles, thank you. have a good weekend. >> my pleasure.
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>> chris: two senate democrats will support president trump's pick to fill the vacancy on the supreme court. but the path of judge neil gorsuch to the bench is still filled with political potholes. chief congressional correspondent mike emanuel tells us why. >> it's setting up to be quite a showdown in the senate next week with republicans saying judge neech wilneil gorsuch will be confirmed to the supreme court one way or another. mitch mcconnell says much of the opposition is pure politics. >> the democratic leader even joined in, saying he would oppose anyone from the president's list of candidates and would fight it tooth and nail as long as we have to in order to keep justice scalia's seat open. >> reporter: republicans say democratic leader chuck schumer is fearful of the anger on the left after merrick garland president obama's nominee last year was never considered. senator chuck schumer is considering a filibuster instead of allowing a straight up or down vote. >> the republican majority want everyone to believe that by the end of next week one of two things must
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happen. either judge gorsuch will pass with 60 votes or they must exercise the nuclear option and change the rules of the senate so that he can pass on a simple majority. >> reporter: two democrats up for reelections next year by states carried by president trump joe manchin of west virginia and heidi heitkamp of north dakota said they will support gorsuch. institutionalists like senator john mccain are trying to see if a deal can be struck to avoid the so-called nuclear option changing the threshold to 51 votes. missouri democrat senator claire mccaskill is up for election next year. in leaked audio from a fundraiser she questioned the democrat strategy and worried about the next openings of justice ginsburg, breyer or kennedy retire and the filibuster is gone. >> we are not talking about scalia for scalia, which is what gorsuch is, we are talking about scalia for somebody on the court who shares our values. and then all of the sudden the things i fought for, the
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scars on my back to show it in this state, are in jeopardy. >> reporter: today the white house press secretary encouraged democrats to take mccaskill's advice. >> we hope her praise leads to additional support. >> reporter: mccaskill says she will vote know. by our count 10 undecided democrats and ours on both sides say it success unlikely support gorsuch meaning a change in precedent is likely. criminals? >> chris: more on this with the panel. mike, thank you. stocks were down. the dow off 65. the s&p 500 gave back five. nasdaq was off three. for the week, the dow gained a third of a percentage point. the s&p 500 was up. 08. nasdaq rose almost 1.5. a break away faction of the pakistani taliban is claiming responsibility for a car bombing that killed at least 24 people near a shiite house of worship. the blast occurred in a tribal region where dering
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afghanistan. the explosion was so powerful, it damaged cars and nearby shops. secretary of state rex tillerson is telling nato allies it's time to pay up. tillerson has given nato partners a deadline to come up with plans to chip in more for their own defense. correspondent rich edson reports tonight from brussels. >> reporter: secretary of state rex tillerson went to his first nato meeting and gave u.s. allies an assignment. those failing to meet the nato defense spending threshold should offer a plan on how they will eventually honor that commitment. >> ensuring that nato has all of the resources, financial and otherwise that are necessary for nato to fulfill its mission. >> reporter: secretary tillerson gave them two months may 25th. that's the next nato meeting. they agreed to move toward the target of spending 2% of the size of their country's economies on defense. the u.s., united kingdom, poland, greece and astone i can't are the only five nato
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countries reaching that target. there are 28 nations in nato. as forever the u.s. response, if nato countries fail to spend more on defense, state department officials refused to say. the german foreign minister is already pushing back on the u.s. request. reuters reports foreign minister sigmoid gabriel would mean 70 billion euros. i don't know any german politician would claim that is reachable or desirable. before reprimanding nato allies on defense spending secretary tillerson opened his remarks to international counterparts expressing support for nato is strong and bedrock for trans-atlantic security. a message of relief for some. >> remember, at the beginning of the presidency, you know, nato is not so important anymore. it is not the key for security. now we see that the united states said, no it is the corner stone of trans-atlantic alliance. >> reporter: secretary tillerson also warned russia
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that nato is fundamental to countering russian aggression. >> he gave a very strong message stressing that the united states is together with ukraine in fighting the russian aggression. >> reporter: ukraine's foreign minister also said tillerson promised the united states would maintain sanctions against russia until it honors cease-fire agreements in ukraine. nato leaders also discussed counter terrorism and fighting isis. there are still questions over formulating strategy like whether the trump administration will look to work with russia on trying to fight isis and what the future of syria may be and whether syrian president ba shower al assad will be a part of it. chris? >> chris: rich edson reporting live from brussels. rich, thank you. iran is still the top threat to stability in the middle east. that's the word from president trump's defense secretary. pentagon producer lucas tomlinson tells us what else jim mattis is saying. >> despite the ongoing battle against isis and al
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qaeda, defense secretary jim mattis warned not to ignore iran. >> at the time when i spoke about iran, i was the commander of u.s. central command and that was the primary exporter of terrorism, frankly. it was primary state sponsor of terrorism and it continues that kind of behavior today. >> reporter: last week the u.s. says george h.w. bush arrived in the persian gulf to begin air strikes against isis and to keep an eye on iran. on capitol hill the head of u.s. central command said iran represents the greatest threat to the region, operating in a gray zone just short of open conflict. >> i think we need to look at opportunities where we can disrupt through military means or other means their activities. >> general votel says iran's behavior has gotten worse when a nuclear deal was reached during the obama administration. test-fired more ballistic missiles iran and russia continue to work together in syria to keep president bashar al assad in power.
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>> we have seen russian jets operating out of iranian basis and cooperation to prop up the regime and give them new life here. i think we should be concerned about that. >> this week's iran's president visited moscow and a sign of warming ties between nations. >> russia and iran coordinate on every step to stabilize the situation in syria. >> the russians are taking a pledge out of iran's playbook supporting the taliban. trying to undermine the united states and afghanistan. >> i think it's fair to assume they may be providing some kind of support to them in terms of weapons or other things that may be there. again, i think that is the possibility. >> >> we have seen russian activity, vis-a-vis the taliban i'm not willing to say if that has manifested into weapons. certainly what they are up to there in light of their other activity gives us concern. >> iran is accused of killing hundreds of american troops in iraq a decade ago.
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general votel says there are 100,000 iranian backed fighters in iraq raising question what comes next after isis. >> chris: what many people sees a a power grab is prompting violent protests prots in venezuelala. the country's supreme court has stripped the opposition controlled congress of much its power. that has sent critic into the streets. national guardsman and caracas swird buck shot and swung batons at demonstrators. nicholas has seen his approval ratings plunge amid widespread food shortages and triple digit inflation. up next we will tell you who is behind a wave of deadly recreational drugs that may be headed to your town. first, here is what some of our fox affiliates around the country are covering tonight. fox five in atlanta where authorities say repairs to both sides of interstate 85 will take several months. a fire led to a bridge collapse last night. no one was hurt.
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but atlanta's already famously gridlocked traffic will be even more of a problem until repairs can be made. k fox 14 in el paso, texas, where democratic congressman o'rourke announced his candidacy for the senate. o'rourke said incumbent ted cruz is beatable. have to get past castro expected to run in the democratic primary as well. here is a look at san diego fox 5. one of the big stories there tonight, the deployment of two destroyers to the western pacific. the uss staisterate will handle security controls. that's a live look outside the beltway from "special report." we'll be right back. ain i coul't sleep or get up in time. then i found aleve pm. the only one to combine a safe sleep aid plus the 12 hour pain relieving strength of aleve.
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♪ >> chris: deadly new recreational drugs are hitting american streets faster than authorities can stop them. tonight correspondent kristin fisher tells us a lot of the drugs are coming from china. good evening, kristin. >> that's right, chris. the number of overdoses in the u.s. due to sin thelt thick opioids other than methadone used to treat heroin addiction jumped 72% in just one year. not just the addicts in danger. it's law enforcement as well. listen to what happened when two detectives from new jersey tried to steal a small ziploc bag filled with synthetic opiate called fentanyl. >> poof up right in the air in our face and we ended up inhaling it. >> detectives felt like they were dying. >> it was just a little bit. it was just a little bit of powder puffed up in the air it wasn't like the whole bag
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had dumped out or anything like that. very minuscule amount. that's the scary thing about it. >> it can be 50 times stronger than street grade heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. this is what a fatal dose of fentanyl looks like. two milligrams is enough to kill you it doesn't take swallows it or inhaling it just inadvertently come into contact and absorbing in your skin is lethal. prescribed to people in extreme pain. showing up on street corners across the country along with a more deadly version called carfentanil elephant tranquilizer come from the far east. >> china is the primary source of illicit fentanyl and precursor. lawmakers laid out how easy it so buy online. quick google search is necessary for anyone. especially the cartels in mexico and distributors in canada to get their hands on the raw chemicals which are shipped from china and
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trafficked across the u.s. border. now, china is cracking down. this month it banned the manufacture and sale of four fentanyl variations including carfentanil. the problem is as soon as one is banned a new one pops up. impossible to keep up. president trump signed executive order on tuesday creating a commission to combat the growing opioid crisis. but for some in the room it was already too late. >> unfortunately my son odd. after having been clean for 10 and a half months. overdosed on a drug laced with fentanyl. >> reporter: president trump will have a chance to speak with the chinese president about this issue when the two meet face to face at mauller next week. criminals? >> chris: kristin, thank you. we will stay on top of this issue. the head of the vearns affairs department says the v.a. son the path to recovery. secretary david shulkin made the comment to npr but scandals over veterans' healthcare and retaliation
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against whistle blowers show no signs of slowing down. will carr reports from popular bluff, missouri. >> dr. dale quad may be the highest paid government employee who quite lit 2er8ly does nothing every day. >> what is your salary? >> i make approximately $250,000 per year. >> and what are you doing right now presently at the v.a.? >> i sit in a chair and i look at the walls. >> reporter: a double board certified yale fellow he specializes in pain management at the v.a. in southeast missouri. he hasn't seen a patient in more than a year after becoming a whistleblower. klein says he reported alleged secret wait list, alleged time manipulation and he believed veterans might be selling their prescriptions. he said when his superiors did nothing, he went to the inspector general, the missouri v.a. then shut down klein's clinic. we asked for a response on camera, the v.a. declined saying it can't comment on ongoing investigations and offered a statement that
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says the v.a. does not tolerate any sort of retaliation against those who identify problems. but according to court documents filed by the office of special council and independent federal investigative agency in washington, the v.a. went even further when it tried to fire klein. not based on substandard care or lack of clinical competence. instead for consistent acceleration of trivial matters through his chain of command. >> i do not consider secret wait lists and manipulation of wait times to be trivial matters. >> that's when the office of special council made it clear the v.a. could not fire klein for being whistleblower. so klein kept his job but now sits in this office every day with no patients to treat or assign tasks. >> why do you think they stripped you of your duties to begin with? >> to silence me. >> republican senator ron johnson wrote a letter in january to the acting v.a. secretary requesting the v.a. to cease all retaliatory actions. but klein hardly stands alone when it comes to
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alleged retaliation against v.a. whistle blowers. in fact, his story sounds eerily familiar when you meet brian smorts who worked at the denver v.a. last noe when he says things got so bad he had to quit. smors, a veteran himself was working as a pier support specialist when he found 3500 veterans on secret wait lists at v.a. facilities in denver, golden and colorado springs. again the v.a. declined to address the allegations on camera and instead referred us to the office of inspector general who confirmed it identified wait time and other issues in recent public reports and testimony in front of congress regarding colorado v.a. facilities. >> it looked like some kind of game that they were playing with veterans' mental healthcare and i was very upset. >> reporter: after smothers reported to the attorney general they say the v.a. retaliated. >> they gave me no work tasks to perform i was supposed to sit in a room across from the people who
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are done wrong. do nothing keep door open so they could k50e7 an eye on me. >> pervasiveness of retaliation even though we have 100 years of laws against retaliating against whistle blowers in government. >> reporter: jonathan pushing for a protection bill help smothers and dr. klein. >> this is a shocking moment for the v.a. and the transformation can start in missouri. >> reporter: dr. klein said his life has been a living hell but he hopes it helps veterans get better care and whistleblowers better protection. back to you. >> chris: will, thank you. the coast guard is hoping to avoid massive cuts in president trump's budget so the timing could not be better for several high profile antismuggling operations. tonight, correspondent steve harrigan in miami looks at what the coast guard is doing to stay relevant and funded. >> roger, what you are -- going to switch your guard to the bridge.
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>> reporter: at the very moment the budget for the u.s. coast guard is being debated, the service is making a number of historic and public drug busts. including its most recent, 16 tons of cocaine, with a street value of more than $1 billion dropped off earlier this week at florida's port overgrades. >> we're averaging about 12 of these a month. unfortunately business is very good for us. and i wish it wasn't. >> coast guard and a number of lawmakers from both parties argue it is a vital part of any border security plan. >> the coast guard plays a critical role in really pushing our borders as far as offshore as possible. we recognize threats that come in all different forms of illicit trafficking. we want to interdict those threats before they reach our scores. >> they are going to take station and we are going to go ahead and launch the heel low. >> green deck. >> it is high risk work that takes place on the waters in the pitch dark when smugglers normally operate. >> labeling every project that we see. >> james, of the newest
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cutter is armed with the latest night sensors fast boats and squadron. on maiden voyage the 123 person crew captured 17 vessels. most of them bulk carriers of cocaine all in just 26 days at sea. [gunfire] >> warning fire is ignored. next comes disabling fire either with a precision rifle, 50 caliber. initial budget proposals next year threaten sizeable cuts in coast guard funding more than $1 billion worth in a service that some officers say is already stretched thin. >> at any one time there is maybe a handful of ships that are out there in the eastern pacific. that's the equivalent of taking five police cars and trying to maintain law and order throughout the entire united states. >> reporter: several house members are pushing to restore funding for a knew national security coast
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guard cutter at a cost of $500 million. chris? >> chris: steve harrigan reporting from miami. steve, thanks for that. so most affective tools in monitoring illegal immigration are unmanned aircraft. now the military is asking silicon valley for help. correspondent claudia cowan reports from san francisco. >> reporter: the government has been using drones for years. in fact, the air force says there is more demand for drone operators than for pilots of any other single type of plane it flies. now a new initiative hopes to speed up the procurement process for smaller drones, saving time, money, and lives. >> we're looking for the latest and greatest technology that we can give to our operators that have this huge mission of securing the u.s. border so they can do it more effectively and to keep them safe. >> reporter: that means eyes in the skies and u.s. customs and border protection is paying startups to tweak existing technology to fit its purpose. >> imagine border security working alone or in a small
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group. they want to see what's in the over the hill. encounter a group. encounter weapons so they know how to respond when they get there. >> seattle radar manufacturer scored one of the first contracts for its
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