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tv   Smerconish  CNN  February 11, 2017 3:00pm-4:01pm PST

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i'm michael smerconish coming to you from new york city. we welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. it's only day 21 of the trump presidency but there's enough news to fill three months. the war over the travel ban continues. the white house is said to be rewriting the executive order.
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so much for "see you in court." and instead of abating, the partis partisan issues are ramping up. what account democrats do? they're debating whether their path should be more progressive or centrist. and tonight's snl, we'll have some advice for the unhappy viewer in mar-a-lago. the trump administration has just concluded its third full week. a lot of happening and patterns are emerging.
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one, his day often begins with him tweeting. eye looked at every one of his tweets during his first three weeks in office. here's what i've noticed. almost every day knowing there will be political battles fought, he launches an early morning preemptive strikes. they come in the form of missiles that land on anyone and anything that stand in the way of his objectives. they stoke his base and serve as divisionary fodder. the day after the women marched in opposition to his president circumstance add 7:47 a.m., all times are eastern, quote, we just had an election. why didn't these people vote? presumably they had voted and that's why he lost the popular vote. three days later he kicked off the day at 7:10 a.m., "i will be asking for a major investigation into voter fraud." on the day he was scheduled to meet with the mexican president came this misdirection
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bombshell, 6:04 a.m. "ungrateful traitor chelsea manning." after the new york city said he considered cancelling the meeting, our president said it was his idea. and speaking of the times, on the saturday that he was going to have phone calls with five world leaders, he made the newspaper his morning focus. the "new york times" had published an editorial labelling his muslim band ban "cowardly and dangerous," 8:04 a.m. tweeted "wrong about me from the beginning, fake "and then "christian in middle east have been killed in large numbers, we cannot allow this to
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continue." and 7:20 a.m. he mocked the tears of senator schumer. remember the berkeley protesters, he warned them at 6:40 a.m. "no federal funds." and at 6:40 a.m., yes, arnold schwarzenegger did a really bad job as governor of california and worse on "the apprentice," but at least he tried hard. that night homeland security halted implementation of the ban. a couple of days later he was going after nordstrom's. and then to deflect being criticized by his own supreme court nominee, he tried to discredit the messenger at 6:57 a.m., "senator richard blumenthal, who never fought in vietnam when he said for years
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he had (major lie). and thenso what drives this? is it a presidential form of a.d.d.? or is he crazy like a fox? i'm not sure. but i do know after reading "art of the deal," that everything at least in his mind, is tstrategi. therefore we have to look behind what often appears to be irrationality, what is he trying to do? and again at the end of the day we need to assess the tweeting in the context of what followed. these tweets are a unique, unvarnished window in a president's thinking just so long as we don't allow them to
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become a shell game, a distraction from more consequential matters that warrant our attention, as these three weeks have proven he's going to still have to endure scrutiny on his actual policies. >> and what what do you i tweet me@smerconish, and includes you, mr. president. now, despite claims that he's not backing down, there have been reports this weekend that the administration is trying to rewrite the executive order. is there any way the president can achieve his objectives in a way that passes constitutional muster? joining me now, named attorney and professor emeritus at harvard law school, alan dershowitz. professor, he's taking your advice. for the last several days on cnn you have been saying rewrite it explain. >> well, he says there's an
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imminent threat and we know he'll lose the stay application and it will take months to get to the supreme court for a partial victory. i think it's only logical to rescind the order and moot the ninth circuit opinion or simply revise the order and institute a new one while taking a slow track up to the supreme court. the last thing he wants is a 4-4 affirmance. he's smart to scrap the order now, apply it only to people who have never been in the united states, have no contact with the united states, have no standing to raise this issue and in that way he can accomplish both goals, protect the security of the country and not have a constitutional crisis on his hands. >> do you think that he expands or limits that list of seven nations? does he put in a christian nation so as to avoid an
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argument over the establishment clause? >> that would be foolish. there is no christian nation today that fits in that category? what would he do, throw in armenia or israel as a jewish notion? it wouldn't work. he campaigned on the issue of combatting islamic terrorism, something the obama administration refused to mention. and he has a right to say we're going to focus on those nations and we're going to give special consideration to the victims of those. it's okay to mention religious groups if there's a secular purpose and the sectionular pur is to rescue them from prosecution. i think he gets the better of the argument if he can narrow
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the executive order and distinguish between people who are american persons, green card holders, others, and those who are really stranger to the country or right to come into the country. >> am i right in saying he kind of backed himself into a corner? because insofar as the order is predicated on an imminent threat, he can't then sit back and allow the litigation for a time period that would be longer than the ban he sought to impose? >> that was my point. i said he had a conundrum. he backed himself into the corner by saying this was eminent but, look, he's listening and understanding for the first time we do operate within a system of checks and balances. not only do the courts check but now the states have the ability to bring lawsuits and check the naugs in the future. because we have figured out a way of making sure that the
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president can't just operate without our system of checks and balances. so he's going to have to get used to living within our system of separation of powers where the judiciary is as important in our system of governance is as the presidency is. >> he's listening to harvard law professor alan dershowitz and he could do a hell of a lot less. thank you for being here. >> thank you. >> vivid displays in the hostility level in america's angry divides. on friday newly confirmed secretary of education betsy devos tried to advice eight washington, d.c. public school and found her path blocked by more unhappy citizens. with this kind of hype are partisanship and cloblockading,n
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anything get accomplished on either side of the aisle? charlie, do you see parallels between the democratic opposition to president trump and the tea party movement? 2010 against president obama? >> yes, we do. it's the party that's out of power that where you have the anger, the antagonism, where you have the feeling of alienation. that's where you get the passion in american politics. one of the dangers for republicans is exactly what happened with president obama. in 2008 you had all these people that were really enthusiastic for president obama. two years later they don't show up for joe or jane general eric democrat. 2012 they show up, reelect obama, 2014 they don't show up for joe and jane generic democrat. what republicans have to fear is that these people that came in and turbo charged donald trump in 2016, will they show up for
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another republican in the mid-term election who doesn't look, sound or act like donald trump? >> i was surprised. in fact, i want to roll footage of what transpired in utah. this is jason chaffetz at a town hall. play it. [ crowd chanting "do your job!" ] >> not what you'd expect from one of the reddest states in the country for a conservative member of congress to be greeted like that at the town hall. >> since the election you have some people that have completely withdrawn and won't watch news anymore. then you have "new york times" subscription sky rocketing. and it's built this intensity among some people while other people are just sort of withdrawing from the process. but, you know, i've had family members that have never been particularly interested in
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politics that are just, you know, on the edge of their chairs. it's unique but it does remind me of when president obama came in and the backlash against him. >> i have been arguing to my sirius xm radio audience that they are more divided than we are. and then along comes a tweet from you this week of a graph. i'm going to put it up on the screen. it has to do with ticket splitting and it depresses me. what's going on, charlie? >> we are becoming more of a parliamentary government, politics. people are either voting blue or red. every single united states senate race in 2016 went to the same side that that state voted for for president. no ticket splitting at all. so that people are voting -- you know, it used to be people proudly say, well, i vote the person, not the party. well, not anymore. that's just not where we are.
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they either vote or they don't vote and it's that energy level of who is turning out and who doesn't and that's where, for example, hillary clinton just couldn't bring out the energy that president obama did and but now, you know, i'm sure hillary clinton is saying where the heck were all these people last year? but it's the way politics works. >> it bums me out to think that so many are going in and throwing a big lever without making the time to make individual decisions down ballot. charlie cook, thank you so much for your expertise. >> thank you, michael. >> tweet me @smerconish. "president trump has to tweet because cable and alpha debt news networks distort the renews so he circumvents all you other
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people. really? you go check out all the news i presented and you tell me it's fake news. >> coming up, they will soon elect a new chair. i'm go to speak to one candidate, former labor secretary thomas perez is here. and since snl aired four decades ago, it has lampooned every president. but donald trump is the first one to so publicly express his displeasure. and tonight is alec baldwin hosting tonight. and how should the president react? i'll talk to another snl legend to played ronald reagan for years, joe piscopo. >> you crossed the line. i killed people for less. >> looks like you killed a squirrel for me and put it right on top of your head. >> your hair looks exactly like
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democratic party is really in some tough shape. maybe the worst since
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reconstruction. consider the following. of course the gop just won the white house. that's a map of the country election day 2016. but republicans also control both the senate and the house. take a look at that margin. 52-48, 241-194. things don't look much better nationwide for the democrats. republicans control governors offices in those red 3 3 states democrats just 16. and the balance of power in the state legislatures has the republicans controlling 30 states. there they are in red. democrats merely 12. so what is the future of the democratic party in the trump era? its leaders are wrestling with that very question. this week they've been on annual retreat in baltimore. in the coming weeks, they will have to pick who takes over as interim chair donna brazile.
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my next guess undersecretary for president obama dana perez. i think it's more important to focus on are we lifting people up or bringing them down? the democratic part has been the party that lifts people up. the economic issues have been about making sure people have good jobs that bring them a middle class ways and the principle that out of many, one matters in this country. i've been around the country in my travels as the dnc chair and what i've heard from people is let's make sure we get back to basics, let's folks on making sure we are building that pathway for the middle class for folks, lifting their wages and
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making sure everybody has a seat at the table in the united states of america, regardless of where you were born, regardless of who you worship and who you love and what your first language is. >> i get all that and i understand you might not want to play the label game, but from a distance here's what i see looking into your party. you have attracted endorsements in your pursuit of the dnc chair from among others, the former vice president of the united states, joe biden. put it up on the screen, joe biden, terry mcauliffe, john hick hickenlooper. it sure looks like it is a battle between centrism and progressivism within the dnc. >> i wouldn't agree with that. i mean, we have supporters from the united food and commercial workers, we have support from the farm workworkers, we have
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support from progressives, the congress, state government. i think this is about the future of the party. this is about making sure we get back to basics, michael. what we have to do as a democratic party is change the culture of the dnc. and what do i mean by that? number one, we can no longer define our mission as simply to elect a president. we must be defining our mission to ensure that we are working with all the states to make sure that we're building strong parties so that we can elect candidates from the school board to the senate. number two, we have to change our culture so that we're working better with our partners in the progressive movement because labor unions are taking it on the chin from government and hostile courts. planned parenthood is taking it on the chin from congress and we have to be there with our partners in the progressive movement and we have to make sure we engage dnc members and
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the public at large. january 20th was important but frankly january 21st was even more important when we saw millions of people around this country followed by so many people at airports who are out there saying donald trump, you don't stand for us. and we have to take this moment and turn it into a movement. we may not have the congress and we may not have the senate and we may not have the presidency but we have the people and we've got to turn that power into results. >> what do you say, i'm characterizing the election just run as a rural rebellion. put that image back on the screen that shows the red and blue on election day in the presidential race because here's my question for the secretary. what do you say to that middle american, blue collar white guy whose education probably ended somewhere in high school. he's been a reliable vote for the democratic party but this time he went for donald trump. your message to him is what?
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>> the democratic party has always been the party of economic securities, always making sure we're looking out for those kitchen table issues of your security, security for you and your family and we do so by protecting social security, by protecting medicare, by making sure that you have a good job that pays a middle class wage. if you want to grow this economy, put a democrat in the white house. that's what the facts have shown. and what we have to do, michael, is a better job messaging those kmk issues. pause we didn't do a good enough job in this past election. our message got muddled. we have been the party of economic security and we are still that party and we have to make sure we are relentless in rural, urban and suburban america about this message. >> on the subject of wages, andrew puzder has been put forth by trump to fill your shoes as
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the labor secretary. he has opposed increases in the minimum wage. should that be a deal breaker for someone who wants to be the secretary of labor? >> i think he's unfit for the office and here's why. the labor department is about protecting workers, it's about lifting their wages. he's a plaintiff in the lawsuit that is seeking to strike down a very important rule we did that's helping millions of americans get access to overtime. when you work overtime, you should be paid overtime. he knows a lot about the department of labor, but he knows a lot about it because the companies have been the subject of a lot of wage and hour enforcement action. that's not how you ought to be the labor secretary. this is the person that we're going to put in charge of protecting workers. protecting low-wage workers, people that he called in his own company, you know, the worst of the worst. so we need a labor secretary who is setting an example for workers, that i'm going to help you, i'm going to protect you.
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i'm going to lift your wages. and everything he has done has been exactly the opposite of that. we need someone with moral authority as well. and when you see the normalization of ethics lapses with his own employment actions in his house, you know, that was disqualifying and it should still be disqualifying. we can't normalize the ethical breaches that have characterized so many of these nominees and i hope the senate votes him down, plainly and simply. i know a little bit about that department of labor as you know. we're supposed to be protecting people. this nominee does not have that track record. that's why i think he's unfit for service. >> mr. secretary, thank you for coming back to the program. >> so your tweets will be coming in fast and furious at smerconish. what else? put it up there. my new go-to line inspired
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by @smerconish, go #factcheck yourself." i can say that without being beeped. >> and we dems need a chair who supported senator sands are dnc cheated because they were afraid of the powerful clinton machine." >> tonight alec baldwin hosting "saturday night live." i can think of one viewer at mar-a-lago who will be tuning in and perhaps be angry at what he sees. does he need to learn how to take a joke? the guy who played ronald reagan, joe piscopo, up next.
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>> i'm going to do what i promised my whole campaign and i'm going to build that swamp. listen, sweetheart, i'm about to be president, we're all going to die. next question. abdominal pain? bloating?
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. bill clinton had sox, barack obama had bo and the next thing i knew i was kissing sean hannity. >> tell me about your bio. >> it says liberalism is a mental illness. >> whoa, i just got retweeted. >> by who? >> you know i love my daughter ivanka and her husband jared. they keep me calm and make sure i don't do anything too crazy.
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>> they don't work on shabbat. >> perfect, when the jews are away, the guys will play. steve in steph bannon. >> ever since that portrayal of president trump last fall, the real donald trump twitter page has been a tore nt rent of crit of the show, which means clearly the president is still watching. snl has been lampooning the occupants of pennsylvania avenue since gerald ford when it debuted in 1975, but it's never gotten such immediate feedback on how its satire is viewed by its target. joining me now, one of snl's impersonators, he played ronald reagan, among others, joe
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piscopo, host of a.m. radio here in new york city. how is alec baldwin doing? >> spectacular. can you never criticize him for being funny and talented. top of his game and i think it's hysterical. >> has he crossed a line? >> no. i don't think so. you don't cut funny. you don't cut funny. and i'm a trump guy. i like the president. i think he's doing great. but when you go on and you write it, listen, i'll just say this, i parodied ronald reagan, i satirized one of our great presidents in the gipper, man. you know what the reagans did? invited me to the white house. >> and? how was he and how was she? >> great question, mr. smerconish. changed my life, man. he was so warm. when i went up to ronald reagan and i shook ronald reagana, wha
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do you say to the president? there was a fire behind him in one of those warm rooms of the white house, i said, hey, nice fire, mr. president. and he said, "well, we've got people to do that for us." i turn face to face with nancy and she looks at me steely-eyed and goes "hello, joe." i knew why i was there, man. >> the spouse is always the tell. let's watch your work. this is joe piscopo as ronald reagan. >> yes, you'll receive all this, the economic recovery, the ginzu knives and land based missile system,thousands sold in europe already, the amazing tv president from ronco. >> you were ahead of your times. how far away are we from that with this guy?
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>> it may have came from mr. sinatra or maybe mr. sinatra talked to nancy and nancy made the call for me to get down to the white house after and we were not easy on president reagan. then i started to study him and i got so inspired, now i'm like a conservative now. look at how smart they were. >> joe, to your point that the reagans invited you to the white house, isn't the smart political response from the president to go be on that show again? >> i think and with the greatest respect to the president of the united states he should show up at studio 8h, and just appear there and cross alex baldwin. it would be hysterical. >> why do you think baldwin's portrayal gets under his skin so deeply? my theory is he really craves the legitimacy that comes from snl,cnn and the "new york times" and it pains him when he's
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lampooned by any of the above. >> i don't know. i don't know if it gets under his skin. i think it's a natural reaction. alec is busting his chops in a nice way and i think donald trump is busting alex right back. >> but in the way that sarah palin actually went and appeared alongside tina fey, that's what needs to happen here. >> and melissa mccarthy, how brilliant is that. >> let's show it. roll it. >> i would like to begin today by apologizing on behalf of you to me, for how you have treated me these last two weeks. and that apology is not accepted! >> it's a classic already, right? it's like you doing sinatra. >> and i like sean spicer, man. he's been on my radio show, president trump's been on my radio show. immense respect, you got to laugh, man. you got to have a sense of humor. everybody's just got to calm
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down, michael. we've been friends for such a long time. you understand both sides. don't get crazy. everybody just calm down. if it's funny, you can laugh. if president reagan could do it, anybody could do it. >> final question for you. so soon to be governor piscopo? if so under what label? >> i'm an independent now. i was a democrat, remember those blue dogs? >> might you run? make some news here. are you in or out? >> i can't. i made promises. put your seatbelt on but i'm doing my due diligence because people in my state of new jersey are ticked off. >> as an r, a d or an i? >> not as a democrat. >> we're down to two. >> we'll see. >> some of my best friends are
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republicans. >> that's all you're giving me. >> we're looking at everything. we're very, very serious and i'm a political junkie. i love this whole world of politics. you can get in the game but you can help people. >> all right, leave the bridge open. >> well, well, thank you. >> what do you think? tweet me @smerconish. remember, i don't see them in advance. smerconish snl has light-heartedly impersonated presidents over the years. the trumps skits are vindictive nd ignorant, it's not funny. >> he should embrace it. up think that sarah palin liked it when tina fey did that impersonati impersonation? she embraced it and then she was in on the joke and was laughing along with everyone else. up next, why did a student essay
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contest for high schooler in a small new england town make national news? when the topic is white privilege. team westport in the predominantly white upper class connecticut town sponsors and an newly contest open to local students grade 9 through 12, they get thousand dollars, $750 and $500 prizes, which is a lot even in a town where the median income is $150. they were asked "in a thousand words or less describe how you understand the term "white privilege," to what extent do you think the privilege exists?
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what impact do you think it has had in your life, whatever your racial or ethnic identity and in our society more broadly"? some adults in westport bristled at the implication that race was a factor in their success. the organizers didn't back down. they explained it should only be what students think, not what older people think, people outside of westport thinks what, the press thinks or people about diversity think. this essay was designed to get people thinking. well, it got me thinking about white privilege. it's not something i thought about growing up in the suburbs of philadelphia. in my elementary school class there was only one african-american student. darrell chapman, and we were close friends, there we are. i'm in the striped shirt with hair in mrs. shannon's class. but we've drifted apart. and i wondered what he would say
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about white privilege. so i called him. many decades later. and i asked him. here's what he told me. "would say there was a white privilege and, yes, i was aware. everything that happened in the lives of everyone else was because of opportunities being more available because it didn't bother me or stop me from what i wanted to do. it was part of something i had to live through. and then he added my parents taught me well. they did indeed. if we had this essay contest when i was young, darrell probably would have won. and so this is international news. what's the biggest misperception? >> well, i think one of the biggest misperceptions to start with is that i'm the author of the prompt or the challenge. this is a contest we've run for
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the last four years and we've got a pretty rigorous process for coming up with what the prompt or the challenge is going to be each within of those years. we've got a committee of about five people that get together and they start in september and they reach out to educators, to the clergy, to business people to get input on what we should talk about in a given year. >> it was the election cycle, right, that caused this year to be this question. how come? >> it did to some extent. i think because the questions have implicit bias that were out there but also because we've had conversations for the last two years on race. what do we tell our children about race. what's it like to be black, for instance, in our area? discusses about what happened after the election was on. and this is kind of a natural as the next thing that was going to be discussed. and every one of our conversations the issue of white privilege has been front and
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center as one of the major issues. >> here's what i most want to ask you. could a well-written essay that argues against the existence of white privilege nevertheless win the essay contest? >> absolutely. i would love to get some contrairian views. we're all looking for those. we're looking for essays period, for, against, in the middle, whatever way. >> you achieved your purpose with me and i don't live in there we are. i graduated with a class. we didn't think about it then. by the way, he told me, he didn't think about it then. but as he got older, he thought a lot about it and pointed out to me the impediments it presented. i guess that was your purpose, right? >> absolutely. absolutely. it was on the for us to get --
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and we want to get kids to think about what's going on now, in the town, and to think about this kind of an issue, while they're young and they're forming their opinions about the world. so, part of it is to get them to research. part of them is to get them to think and put their ideas down. >> i'm eager to read the winner. so does it get made public? >> it will be made public. we're going to do that around april 3rd. >> all right. >> can i just say one more thing michael? >> do it! >> another misperception is this idea that there was outrage in the town. we've got tremendous support that's come back from the town. we've got the clergy association, educators in town, the head of the english department, the high school. we've got social studies people, the superintendent of schools. and we've gotten a lot of support. >> i'm interested in meeting the winner and maybe he or she will come on the program, or on my sirius xm radio program to talk about their essay. thanks for being here. >> thank you. >> let's check out a tweet that came in, it may or may not apply
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to what we just discussed. i better not get you into this. this is a trump debate. "trump is a breath of fresh air. he speaks off the cuff. nothing hidden. so what if he doesn't get it 100%." hey, patriot, i'm trying to point out that we're spending a lot of time on the shell game of those morning tweets and i wonder what's going on when we're all focused on the three-card monty. back in a sec. (vo) this is not a video game. this is not a screensaver. this is the destruction of a cancer cell by the body's own immune system, thanks to medicine that didn't exist until now.
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hey, did you miss anything from the program? because you can watch us on demand or go to our show website at hit me with another tweet that came in. smerconish, it is so very critical that we have dialogue about white privilege. it is a step toward moving forward. yeah, paula, it made me think, this essay, for all the criticism, it made me think about issues that frankly i hadn't thought about when i was at that age. hit me with another one. "smerconish, why do you hate trump using twitter? isn't more transparency good." no, abc, i don't hate him using twitter, i like that he uses twitter. i'm just trying to understand his motivation with those early morning tweets. and i think it's to set the news cycle. one more, quickly! hurry up! smerconish, donald trump's use
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you're live in the "cnn newsroom." i'm ana cabrera in new york. great to have you with me. business as usual for the start of the immigration crackdown promised by president trump. we are watching raids sweeping across the country, as federal agents go after undocumented immigrants in at least six states. these raids have, so far, netted at least 360 people, arrested at their homes and places of work. some who have criminal convictions and some who don't. and the deportations have been swift. we can tell you, at least three dozen of those arrested in california alone have already