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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  February 10, 2017 3:00pm-4:01pm PST

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no immediate reveal. the trump administration won't take its appeal about the travel ban to the u.s. supreme court at least not right now. some changes to the president's executive order may be in the works. flynn under fire, the president's national security adviser faces serious questions about his talks with russia before inauguration day. was this denial that he discusses sanctions a lie. the vice-president is trying to get an answer with his own credibility now on the line. major reversal, the president vows to honor the commitment to a one-china policy after threatening to change course. did he get anything in return after the big program to china's president. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. and you're in the "the situation room." >> announcer: this is cnn
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breaking news. breaking news tonight. president trump confirms that a new executive order on his travel ban is possible. cnn has learned that the trump administration won't immediately appeal to the u.s. supreme court after the defeat of the 9th circuit ut yesterday. sources considering tweaking the original version. tonight insiders have growing concern about michael flynn's contact with russia before mr. trump became president. flynn appears to be walking back that sanctions were not discussed after a "washington post" report contradicted his denial. we're told vice-president pence is scrambling to get to the bottom of all of this after he vouched for flynn on national television. we're also following a reversal by president trump. he's now promising to uphold the longstanding policy of recognizing taiwan as part of one china. the president making that commitment in a phone call with
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china's president, backing away from his threat to review the one-china policy which could have triggered a serious clash with beijing. i'll talk about that and more and with congressman jim hooins is standing by along with analysts as we bring you full coverage of the day's full stories. first, cnn has learned new information about the ongoing investigation into allegations raised in a collection of memos created by a former british spe intelligence for -- evan perez and jim sciutto have been working the story. >> wolf, for the first time u.s. investigators say they have corroborated some of the new investigation compiled a former
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british. president obama and president trump were briefed prior to the inauguration. until now u.s. officials have said none of the content or allegations had been verified but now multiple current and former u.s. law enforcement and intelligence officials tell cnn that intelligence intercepts of foreign nationals confirmed that some of the conversations described in the dossier took place between the same individuals on the same days and from the same locations as detailed in the dossier. we should be clear that cnn has not confirmed the content of the calls or whether any of the content relates to then-candidate trump. and none of the null learned information relates to the salacious allegations in the dossier. the corroboration based on interpreted communications has given u.s. intelligence and law enforcement, quote, greater confidence and credibility in some aspects of the dossier as they continue to actively investigate its contents, these
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sources say. white house spokesperson sean spicer said, quote, we continue to be disgusted by cnn's fake news reporting. spokesman for the fbi, department of justice and the cia and the office of the director of national intelligence all had no comment. >> what is it that u.s. investigators have actually corroborated. >> wolf, when investigators first started to look into the dossier they were trying to see if there was any truth to the allegation that russians were seeking to commice president trump to start investigators looked for information they could verify easily to give a sense of the credibility of the author as smrn they were familiar with as having crediblible sources. conversations between senior russian officials and other individuals. that was one starting point. one thing the u.s. already has is a collection of foreign call intercepts so they used that information to seek to verify some of the alleged conversations described in the
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dossier. u.s. intelligence officials emphasized that the conversations they've now verified were solely between foreign nationals including those in or tied to the russian government intercemented dunk routine government. they were already known to the u.s. intelligence committee as quote, heavily involved in collecting information damaging to hillary clinton and helpful to donald trump. the sources would not confirm which specific conversations were intercepted or the content of the conversations due to the classified nature. >> jim, while the sources say there is confirmation of some of the conversations that were happening, there are still a lot that investigators can't verify at least at this time. >> that's exactly right, wolf. we want to be clear here. to begin, one of the officials stressed to cnn they have not corroborated, quote, the more
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salacious allegations. when we first reported the story, u.s. intelligence and law enforcement officials said they could not verify any parts of the memos, they are now saying they have corroborated some of the communication. none of the officials we spoke to for this story would comment or confirm that they have proof of any alleged conversations or meetings between russian officials and u.s. citizens, including associates of then-candidate trump. officials who spoke to cnn for this story cautioned they have everyone reached any final judgment on whether the russian government has any compromising information about the president. president trump and his staff have repeatedly dismissed the entire dossier as in their words phony. >> evan, i understand the white house has just reached out to you once again. >> sean spicer did call us back to emphasize his displeasure with this story. he said, quote, it is time cnn focused on the success the president has had with bringing back jobs, protecting the nation
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and strengthening relations with japan. the president won the election because of his vision and message for the nation. >> that's what he said to you in the latest statement. thank you, guys, very, very much. on the president's travel ban right now with possible changes to the executive order instead of appealing right now to the u.s. supreme court. let's bring in justice correspondent pamela brown. >> nothing has been ruled out. we've learned the white house does not want to immediately appeal the ninth circuit court of appeals decision for fear of losing in a 4-4 split. president trump saying aboard air force one he may want to issue a new executive order with new security measures. >> i welcome you to the very famous white house. >> reporter: tonight as the white house tweaks the halted controversial order president trump speaking at a joint press
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conference at the white house is vowing to not give up the fight. >> we'll be doing something very rapidly having to do with additional security for our i c. you'll be seeing that sometime next week. we'll continue to go through the court process and ultimately i have no doubt we'll win that particular case. >> reporter: his comment comes from a strong rebuke from the ninth circuit court of appeals travel bran. he tweeted it was, quote, disgraceful, and sound the alarm that there is an urgent need to keep the travel ban to keep the country safe. >> i've learned tremendous things that you could only learn frankly if you were in a certain position, namely, president. and there are tremendous threats to our country, we will not allow that to happen. >> reporter: but the court said the administration failed to present evidence to back up the national security claims. the government has pointed to no alien from any country named in
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the order has perpendicular rated terror in the united states. sudan, iran, iraq, somalia, yemen and syria. matters of national security should only be left up to the president, saying, quote, rather than present evidence to explain the need for the executive order the government has taken the position that we must not review its decision at all. we disagree. now the trump administration has to figure out what's next. >> there does seem to be some chaos in the trump administration over the way that this order was written and how to go forward here. >> reporter: and the president said tonight in honor of the ninth circuit court of appeals decision he will likely wait until next week to respond with any action. >> pamela brown, thanks very much. the president and the first lady, they walked in palm beach and spoke to reporters. watch this. >> are you comfortable?
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somewhat. >> what you said about the press conference. >> sure. >> you said you want to win this battle against -- >> we'll win that battle. the unfortunate part is it takes time. we'll win that battle. we also have a lot of other options including filing a brand-new order. we may very well be, and i like to -- i like to surprise you. we need this for reasons of security. so it could very well be. >> what about the changes that you're looking for? >> just in honor of the decision, we will perhaps do that. we'll see. monday or tuesday. >> you talked about new security measures, is that separate or potentially -- >> we're going to have very, very strong vetting. i called it extreme vetting, and we're going to have very strong security in our country. we're going to have people come into our country that want to be
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here for good reasons. >> there are reports about general flynn and conversations with russians. >> i don't know. i haven't seen it. what report is that. >> "the washington post" is reporting that he talked to the ambassador of russia before you were inaugurated -- >> i haven't seen it. i'll look at it. >> is the response to the iran president and world people that any -- any nation -- the nation of iran is going to -- >> you'd better be careful. thank you. thank you very much. >> that was the tape that a little q. and a. with the reporters aboard air force one from washington to west palm beach. the president spending the weekend in palm beach, mar-a-lago. jeff, it was hard to understand, hear all the words that the president was saying in responding to the press
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questions, but you got a verbatim of some of the quotes. >> that's right. just to set the scene. that is on the back of the airplane as you know from covering the white house past. he was showing his wife, melania, her first time on the plane. he went from the front to the back. he was answering questions about that executive order. he said he is planning indeed on potentially doing a new executive order next week on extreme vetting. he said we will win that battle but the problem is statutorily it takes time. we will win that battle. but he said, it very well might be a need to do a new executive order here because simply challenging the existing one could take time. so again, not spelling out any specifics of what he might be doing, but wolf, that is what lawyers here at the white house and at the justice department are working on throughout the weekend to try to turn his
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campaign pledge and believe to something that can stand legal challenge and that is difficult to pull off than just speaking about it. he was talking about this is his wirk. in terms of filing with the supreme court, they are leaving the door open to the possibility of challenging this. but he does want to do something sooner on extreme vetting. what that is we will found out next week. at the end of the comment he said he simply did not know these are reports about the national security adviser michael flynn having conversations with the russian ambassador about sanctions before they took office. and wolf, that is simply a little bit difficult to belief, quite frankly, because he is a consumer of news, he reads the president. the white house confirmed it, the white house is concerned about it. but he said he's not familiar with those reports. he would not be the first president or politician to say oh, i haven't seen that. but that is something, wolf, the
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white house is quite concerned about with michael flynn. >> they certainly are. jeff zeleny reporting. let's take a closer look at the national security adviser. brian todd has been looking into all of this. what are you learning? >> as jeff just mentioned and as you saw on air force one president trump saying he was not aware of the comments about michael flynn. michael flynn is used to being under pressure but there is intrigue around him. and some veterans are telling us, given his litany of indiscretions he could be in some real trouble. >> general mike flynn. >> reporter: he's entrusted with advising president trump on the nation's most dangerous security threats, but tonight internal threats are growing in the white house surrounding retired lieutenant general flynn. cnn is told tonight mike pence
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is trying to get to the bottom of whether flynn lied to him. pence is troubled that flynn may have talked about sanctions with the russian ambassador to the before inauguration. he denied doing that, according to pence who repeated the denials based on his conversations with flynn. >> what i can confirm, having spoken with him that those conversations had nothing to do with the sanctions. >> reporter: the russians are denying sanctions were discussed. flynn is hedging, he cannot rule out he spoke to the ambassador about sanctions. if he did he may have broken the law, negotiating with other governments. >> the pence people will debate and know what really happened. i can tell you this creates real tension inside the white house. >> reporter: a climb that flynns familiar with. u.s. officials said it was because of his contentious
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management style. he has to work closely with the cia. >> general flynn looks at the cia because it's a civilian agency. he looks at it with a great definitely suspicion. >> reporter: while serving as head of u.s. intelligence, flynn shared information with another agency without permission. he shared secrets with pakistan, flynn said he had permission to share the information. no misconduct was found. he was informally reprimanded but not charged. senior officers who worked with flynn described him to cnn as bitter. he's certainly been less fill erred about his beliefs aboutis ram. >> this is islam and it is a vicious cancer inside the body of 1.7 billion people on this planet and it has to be excised. >> this tweet a year ago, saying quote, fear of islam is
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rational, another tweet from him with a link to a completely fabricated story of hillary clinton involvement with sex with minors. >> if it he blatantly lied to the vice-president, i think he could be in trouble and his tenure could be short. >> reporter: tonight two -- adam schiff says if flynn secretly discusses sanctions with the russian ambassador he should no longer serve. elliott engel, the top democratic on the house floor committee is calling for flynn to be fired regardless. >> brian, thank you. the president's travel ban and other issues, democratic congressman, jim hines is joining us. >> good to be here. >> let me get your comment on the uproar regarding michael
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flynn. i don't know if you've been briefed on it, but what's your reaction? >> well, it's obviously very troubling, the possibility and more and more evidence is piling up, including flynn backing off the assertion that he did not discuss sanctions. but if the president obama put sanctions on russia because they hack our election and literally that day the next president's national security official is on the phone saying, just kidding, don't worry about it, it's probably a violation of the law. but talk about making us look weak. this is an administration. the president, kellyanne conway, sean spicer are very comfortable going on national television and telling untruths. that happens every day from this white house. i'm not sure that flynn having a little problem with the truth is going to necessarily disqualify him in the white house, but if this becomes anon going issue and people like me, adam schiff, if we begin to lose faith in the
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white house ability to process intelligence and to think smart about national intelligence, the president has a problem. >> do you think michael flynn has to step down? >> i think if it turns out that he did what he is alleged to do, that, i agree with adam schiff, that could be grounds. if lying to cbs, and putting the president in this position, that's yonld the pail. this is not your sunday night call to grandma. this is a call from the next national security adviser to the russian ambassador. this isn't a case of oh, gosh, i forgot what came up. the evidence is not all in. if he had that conversation and then lied about it, of course, he needs to go. >> let's talk about the president's proposed travel ban. he just told reporters aboard air force one, we will win the battle, talking about his
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executive order. then said, they were looking at options, including, what he called a brand-new order. will you support what's being described as a narrowly tailored executive order. >> if you've read the original executive order own as a nonlawyer you know that was a slapdash effort, it wasn't reviewed by the department of national security, it got soundly defeated first by a federal judge and then the package of the ninth circuit. this is what happens when you don't do your homework. what i hope happens -- look, i hope -- i see the threats in a classified room that are of concern here. and it's not like there are thousands of people who are just waiting as refugees to get into this country, as refugees. it's not like every person coming in from somalia or iraq is a threat. of course, we can do a better
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job vetting people. no process is perfect. the attacks that happened in europe those are european nationals. how do we feel about that, how good is that s-- system? i hope the president will stop manufacturing that the threat is people coming into the country and focus on what the threats really are. >> he cited, the president what he called tremendous threats right now, that's why he needed the travel ban. he added, quote, we need speed for reasons of security. you're on the intelligence committee, you see the intelligence, is he citing new specific threats? >> wolf, he is not being accurate in the nature of threats that are facing this country. he's giving the impression it's just random visitors and refugees. remember, we have not been attacked by refugees, they're
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just waiting to get in. here is where you get to a classified realm, but the real threats look like the kind that we saw on 9/11, a couple of dozen of people working for many, many months. the shoe bomber, thank god, didn't work. these get done by terrorist cells in yemen, and elsewhere and takes planning. doctors and students and people coming into this country for business and to go to college, that's not where the predominant threat to this country lie. >> congressman, i want you to stay with us. there are more details we need to discuss. we're getting more information. we'll take a quick break. uh-- wha-- woof! eeh-- woof! wuh-- [silence]
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. we're back with breaking news. president trump confirming that a new executive order is possible to preserve his immigration crackdown after an appeals court refused to reinstate his current proposed travel ban. sources tell cnn the trump administration won't immediately file an appeal with the u.s. supreme court but is leaving the door open to a high court challenge later. we're back with congressman jim himes. i want to turn to critically important policies and challenges for the president. the iranian president said that any nation that threatens iran will regret it. to that president trump responded, quote, he'd better be careful. there are signals from the trump administration to the european allies that the trump administration will honor the
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iranian nuclear deal which the president opposed during the campaign. i want you to respond to that. >> i wish hope beyond hope that maybe the president would not necessarily need to respond, tweet to every perceived slight, every act of aggression. dictators and leaders of iran will rattle their sabres. the president need not respond. i wish he wouldn't rice to the bait. the iranian initiate like so many things like i'm going to move the u.s. embassy from tel aviv to jerusalem, i'm going to repeal the affordable care act, muslim ban, et cetera, et cetera, all of the things that the president promised are not happening. to someone like me, that's very good. whatever you think of the iran deal, it was controversial when it passed, iran is not working
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for nuclear weapons for the first time in many, many years. that doesn't mean we don't like what they do or their politics or testing missiles in violation of u.n. resolution, but they are not building the single most fearsome weapon. the white house that doesn't care about facts or truth or facts at all, they're saying if we tore this up and two weeks later the iranians were spinning century fusions we would look bad. >> the president, president trump, he met with sheldon adelson, a billionaire from las vegas who is a very strong supporter of israel, and the president granted an interview to a reporter for adelson's newspaper, called israel hayom. the president took a hard stance
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when it comes to israeli settlements. they -- quote. >> they don't help the process, i'm not someone who believes the settlements are helpful for peace. you mentioned he's not moving quickly with moving the embassy from tel aviv to jerusalem. and now he's got a tough time with benjamin netanyahu. >> it's been a long time policy that those settlements are not helpful. i'm old enough to remember a couple of weeks ago when president obama asked that his ambassador to tu.n. abstain fro condemning the settlements. trump's head exploded. there is a huge difference between campaigning and governing and i think that now that the president is in the oval office he's realizing that, in fact, as a lot of people
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believe, those of us who still hope for a two-state solution that really building a lot of more settlement exactly as he said, not particularly helpful to finding an agreement. >> he sounds different on those sensitive issues than he did weeks ago. congressman himes. thanks for joining us. more news. he talked about his proposed travel ban. plus the questions swirling around the security adviser, michael flynn, did he illegally discuss sanctions with russia before mr. trump took office?
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the breaking news tonight. president trump telling reporters aboard air force one just a little while ago he may issue a new executive order on travel, the stay on his previous order was upheld by the nine igt circuit court of appeals. sources tell cnn the administration isn't planning an immediate appeal to the supreme court but isn't ruling it out. also ruling, the possibility a larger panel of the supreme court might consider the case. what is the latest,arian. >> it's another unusual turn on the legal battle. one judge on the ninth circuit court of appeals wants to see if his other colleagues on the bench are interested in
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rehearing the case concerning the executive order. when this happens in court, boat sides are asked to file briefs on it and then a larger panel of judges votes. keep in mind this is a very liberal court so they may not vote to take it up. but it does put the administration in kind of an unusual position, right? at the same time they're trying to decide what the next steps are with the executive orders, they have to take this next step up and file briefs. it's really just an unusual turn in this legal drama. >> i suspect there will be more of them. gloria, from the political perspective, what would be more advantageous right now, for the president to continue to fight in court? i says, i'll see you in court. or forget about that, throw way the original order and rewrite a new one. >> can i just say, i almost feel sorry for the lawyers here
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because there is going to be double and triple work. look, i think from a political point of view, if you're donald trump and you want wins and you want victories, you don't want to risk going to the supreme court, getting a 4-4 decision, which effectively -- advisers at the the white house are trying to convince him and may have succeeded in writing a executive order, writing it in a way that they now now will be likely to be approved by the courts and forgetting the rest of it. so try a second time, blame the judges if you want. say it was political, but then go for another win. >> it was washington state will go back to the judge and argue this is not different enough. and what was striking about what the appellate court they said they did not have any information to rule on the
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constitutional issue but did not rule out this was a constitutional violence which would come out immediate with any kind of revived order. >> look, what i think is going to happen is donald trump and we saw this happen today, he's going to continue to fighting this and we'll see you in court he may back off that. we'll never see that happening and see a new order. >> he did in his brief remarks on air force one when he went back to talk to reporters, did suggest they were in the process of at least or were about to try to rewrite or rework it. >> both things could be true, he will rewrite and still see you in court. >> there is a little confusion from white house officials because within less than a half an hour, the white house puts out one statement that they're not going to the u.s. supreme court, and a few minutes later they put out a second statement saying they're not ruling out going before the u.s. supreme court. >> and, you know, again, both things could be true at the same
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time depending on who you're talking to at the white house. i think you said something that really gets to the heart of this, winning. remember, we're going to have so much winning we're going to get sick of winning. remember hearing that over and over at the campaign trail. that is what it is for donald trump. it is about keeping campaign promises and at least it was a slimmed down version of his original muslim ban, i mean, it is. the question is whether or not winning for him means moving it aside and doing other things that are more palatable to republicans in congress, doing things that affect people's lives more in terms of their pocket book, which is that's why a lot of these voters said they wanted to take a chance on him. or whether or not winning is to continue to fight, fight, fight. and get it through. >> in donald trump's history and we know he's very will he tijus.
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>> he was a winning -- he settled the trump university. >> it's a way of settling where he can claim victory and settle. >> whatever they do, if they try to go forward in any way, they will be back in front of the same judge in washington. it's inconceivable that they will revise this enough that the state of washington and minnesota and the other states that sued and companies will say this is good. they'll be back in court. and back in the process. even if they rewrite it, they will be back in court litigate it go again. >> mark, remember, he said we've got to move quickly because all of these, quote, bad dudes are slipping into the united states right now and americans' security is at stake. >> he said that today. that may be how he can walk out the back door and hold his head
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high, so to speak, and he said this is the most pragmatic thing to do. >> and, you know, in doing that what he's doing is he's keeping his base stir up in support of the executive order. because by saying there is a lot to be afraid of and this is why we have to do it, that's what he did during the campaign, it worked and it could work now. >> don't rule out the possibility of deeper into the quagmire. >> the president keeps saying he is the president, in charge of the national security, he can determine who is allowed in or not allowed in. here is one line from the ninth circuit court of appeals decision. there is no precedent to support this claim unreview built which runs contrary to the constitutional democracy. those are blunt words.
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>> they are blunt words. and he has the ceo president has run head first into the fact that the founding fathers were very careful about developing this government. it's not a monarchy, it's not how a ceo runs, it's checks and balances and focused on the constitution. >> everybody stand by. there is more breaking news on the president's travel ban and discussions right now on rewriting his executive order in hopes of making a new one stick. also town hall members shouted by constituents as anger boils over. what makes this simple salad the best simple salad ever? heart healthy california walnuts. the best simple veggie dish ever? heart healthy california walnuts. the best simple dinner ever? heart healthy california walnuts. great tasting, heart healthy california walnuts. so simple.
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. we're following the breaking news. president trump acknowledging that he may sign a new executive order to revive his travel ban after an appeals court refused to reinstate it. the president is juggling multiple hot button foreign policy issues right now and his change of heart on one of those issues is raising a lot of questions tonight. our senior diplomatic correspondent michelle koz ins ski. he spoke to the chinese president and reversed course. >> sometimes one sentence can say so much. to see the read out of the phone call from the president and the president of china. apparently president trump does support the one-china policy and
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we hear from europe that he fully plans to stick with the iran nuclear deal. another week of surprises in trumpian policy. >> reporter: president trump with the chinese president today facing questions about china, seeming to offer a warning over currency manipulation. >> we will be at a level playing field because that's the only way it's fair. that's the only way that you can fairly compete. >> reporter: yet it comes one day after the stunning statement from the white house, summarizing last night's phone call between president trump and the chinese president. president trump agreed at the request of the chinese president to honor one-china policy, a striking about face who has said plenty about that. >> i don't know why we have tosh bound by one china policy unless we have to do with china like trade. >> they break the rules in every
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way imaginable. china which has been ripping us off, the greatest abuser in the history of the country. >> reporter: the chinese president has not spoken. an important relationship the one china policy in china's view is the bedrock on which cooperation rests ensuring that the u.s. views
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this was a deals like that horrible iran deal. >> we're going to rip up the iran deal translate into good
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ss. a show of anti-trump resentimeresen resentime resentiment. phil, we're seeing this backlash, even in some very conservative part of the country. >> that's been one of the most jarring aspects of this. republicans are very aware, their swing state members were going to face some backlash. but we're trying to answer the
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question of is this just a visceral reaction of the trump administration, or something bigger. outrage erupting, town halls across the nation, some of the reddest corners of the country, suddenly a hot bed in large part of blue backlash. thursday night it was utah where congressman jason chaffets could barely get a word out. from his oversight of president trump to his health care positions. >> if you want me to answer your yes questions, give me five seconds to do it. >> reporter: requests to save the affordable care act were impassioned. >> i can't put my trust into someone who says we're going to make a plan, but we have had six years to make a plan. >> reporter: for democrats the initial town halls returns are a jolt of energy, for a party still reeling from its november
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defeats. >> so whatever twhatever the failings of our institution may be, we have more challenges to the conscience of our country than just the democratic party. >> reporter: even as the democratic party struggles to find a leader or message, several top democratic officials say they see the seeds of something big. it's groups on the ground, officials tell cnn, who up to this point have been leading the way. if this looks familiar, it is. those top gop officials aren't certain yet just how big its gotten. >> the tea party movement was a true grass roots movement. this will look like a grass roots movement when it's happening all across the country. >> reporter: tea party tornadoes swept the country, at democrat after democrat in 2009 and 2010, eventually leading to the wave
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that thrust republicans back into power, it's something that already had gop lawmakers on edge, how to protect themselves from the raucous events, included in the presentation, this video of congressman tom mcclintock, being escorted out of a town hall by police. the message sources say, the backlash is real. whatever you do, don't do this. >> and, wolf, the reason for that is it just didn't look good, politically or kind of personally going forward, but there's still an internal debate inside the party, how do you deal with this kind of backlash if it's real. i have talked to some member who is say they're going to meet behind closed doors with some of these protesters before hand, trying to sus things out a little bit. a clear recognition, this is something they expect to continue in the months ahead, wolf. >> the president still talking
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about massive voter fraud? >> reporter: that's exactly right, he had that meeting with congress m officials, a bipartisan group, he brought up for a second time in a sitdown with u.s. lawmakers, allegations of voter fraud. donald trump brought it up, the only reason he lost new hampshire was because thousands were bussed in from massachusetts to give hillary clinton the win in that state. >> erin burnett "out front" starts right now. out front next, breaking news, cnn has exclusive new information tonight about an investigation into russia and the u.s. presidential election, new breaking details, moments away, and more breaking news this hour, we're learning that the president may sign a new executive order on that travel ban. senator bernie sanders is my guest tonight


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