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tv   CNN Newsroom With Poppy Harlow and John Berman  CNN  February 22, 2017 6:00am-7:01am PST

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good morning, everyone. top of the hour. i'm poppy harlow. john berman has the week off. we begin with lawmakers back at home greeted with anger, hostility and jeers. those are the town halls across the country erupting in shouting matches as lawmakers field questions from angry constituents and everything from immigration to the travel ban and obamacare. some republicans dismissing those protesters as paid activists and the president piling on tweeting, "the
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so-called angry crowds are planned out by liberal activists. sad." our kyung lah has been going to these town halls for weeks. she's with me in new york, not across the country. so nice to have you. >> thank you. >> look, these didn't just begin but they have been growing and growing and growing in anger. >> some constituents are certainly expressing that they are very unhappy, a number of them, and they are letting congress know it. the congress is in district. they are at home this week. they are supposed to be equity connecting with the voters. but those voters have been hitting them with a protest movement targeting congress. >> reporter: iowa, senator joanie earnst grounded out, following her all of the way out of the town hall. >> shame on you! >> reporter: republicans in congress defending the
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president's policies and packed down halls in their home districts. in california, congressman tom mcclintock -- >> we don't know the financial relationships that trump may have with moscow. >> reporter: in virginia, congressman's town hall talking about immigrants. >> he didn't ban just immigrants. it was states that sponsor terror. >> that's not true, sir. >> reporter: just a snapshot of one day of voter outrage. some republicans, in numerous cases, are planned out by liberal activists, says president obama. sad. organized, yes. but what we've seen at numerous town halls is empowered
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constituents. these virginia beach town hall attendees are so upset that their political operatives, they wore stickers showing their zip code to show that they care about their home districts. they call themselves indivisible. a step-by-step manual to oppose the trump administration. guiding the people here to channel their post election anger aimed squarely at members of congress. >> if you could answer any of that, i'll sit down and shut up like elizabeth warren. >> i hope you feel better now. >> reporter: some have canceled town halls this week citing security concerns to then only see protesters show up outside their district offices. or pose pictures mocking them. a missing poster for congressman darrell issa, congressman paul cook's picture on milk jugs.
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from obamacare to climate change, d.c. came home only to find angry voters pointing right back at the nation's capital. >> kyung lah is with me. certainly vocal. what do you see as the connective tissue between all of these when it comes to the issues? >> each town hall certainly has their local issue that they're bringing forward. we're hearing about jobs in certain parts of the country, obamacare in other parts of the country. they are saying "no" to the trump agenda, flat out, no. that's how they all wrap it up. >> so how do they put these words in a saying and these jeers into action? >> we're hearing right now that they are focusing on just saying "no," that they want to try to stop the agenda. but in doing that, what we're hearing out of the political operatives in d.c. who are not connected, they see them
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flipping with the districts. >> thanks so much, kyung. nice to have you. let's talk with our panel about it. they are trying to capitalize by running twitter ads, blaming republicans for their stance on obamacare and a whole lot more. we're joined by mark preston, david drucker, lynn sweet and cnn political commentator errol lewis. mark, when it comes to the action that can be taken in 2018, i guess the biggest thing they could capitalize on is if republicans don't come forward with a plan to replace obamacare very quickly and they can argue that republicans are flat-footed, how important is it to have answers on obamacare and on a plan for their constituents? >> well, it's important and i'll
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talk about this from the political side of things. it's important for republicans to appear as if they have their act together, that they are tightly tied with the trump white house, that he's not out saying one thing and congressional republicans the next saying we have no idea what he's talking about. sp he have cl specifically, we heard that on obamacare. they need to have a plan to repeal and replace it. it matters for independent voters and those trump voters who weren't necessarily republicans. you're not going to get the democrats. that's clear, poppy. but also what's more important for democrats at this point, can they sustain this energy heading into 2018? and that's not quite clear yet. >> let's pull up what the president tweeted about this again. let's listen to what the white house, sean spicer, said about
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calling the activists paid on fox news earlier this month. >> do you sense that instead of being organic disruption, do you sense that there's an organized pushback and people are being paid to protest? >> absolutely. protesting is becoming a profession now. we need to call it what it is. it's not these organic uprisings that we've seen through the last several decades. the tea party was an organic movement. this is a paid astroturf-type movement. >> david, yesterday the president said, i'm going to unite this country. is that how you accomplish it? >> no. it's clear that the president is going to pursue his agenda and that's secondary. there's not anything wrong with that depending on what his goal is. the question then will be if you work with the republicans in
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congress, republicans control everything in washington and they can get their agenda enacted whether it's tax reform or the replacement of obamacare and so on down the line, then how will people feel about it? i think what the president is banking on is despite his language of unification is i'm going to do what i said i would do and then people will like it. i think that's what republicans in congress are hoping for and i think that's the approach that they are taking. and they don't have an opportunity to unite the country. the country wasn't united under obama either who talked about unifying the country and it never worked. i think for republicans, they are banking on results to get the job done and get the public calmed down and behind them. >> you know, lynn, the hill points out, and they are right on this, that many republicans in their swing districts especially are steering clear of the town halls, opting to become the focal point of a youtube video that could go viral filled with jeers and taunts.
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do you think that's a smart strategy, you know, that sign in kyung's piece as sort of where are you? strategically, is it better to go, like congressman mark sanford who faces the criticism? >> well, there's also a third way. some lawmakers are opting to have a teletown hall where people call in and you avoid the idea of a video spectacle. but the underlining matter is, if there's going to be a protest, people don't need a town hall. they could just go to the office. so i think what we're watching here is a movement to replicate the tea party. whether or not there is an organization driven movement i think it's not the point here as
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much as the result. if people are -- people protesting the town halls gave birth to the tea party movement, it was over obamacare. and what is it an issue so much, you didn't say in your report that people were talking about the impact to russia on the elections or changing the tax rate. it's obamacare again because for people who get it, no matter your race, your politics, gender identity, your medical insurance is very important to you and before you move something, you want to know if you can keep what you -- you want to know what the future is. >> it's how you protect and take care of your family for a lot of these folks out there. seeing their numbers go up in their premiums, if there's a new replacement plan, am i going to be covered? errol lewis to you, tim scott who held a joint town hall with representative sanford had a different take on it. he came out and said it's not the most productive and
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constructive way to engage. if you're going to disagree, maybe we should be able to ask a question, and speak my answer. >> i think they run a greater risk, poppy, if they want to take this delusional attitude that you heard sean spicer voice, which is this notion that, oh, if somebody didn't pay people, 17 million could be at risk of losing their health insurance which would otherwise quietly submit to it. that's a crazy notion. of course people are going to react to this. the question of whether or not they're paid is not all that important. frankly, the question of whether or not they have been organized is not that important. if the local unit of the democratic party, which could be ten people at the county level happens to have pushed a few people to show up at the same time, well, yeah, okay, fine, that's the democratic party
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getting involved. the reality is, there's a hard policy accord to this and i think you put your finger on it, which is obamacare. this affects people, they understand it, they've been down this road before and they saw it sort of curtailed by a lot of angry shouting crowds and people get the message that if you go and make some noise, maybe you can keep it. >> you get on television if you certainly do. hey, guys, i want to address something else. john podesta used to run hillary clinton's campaign and blamed james comey as one of the reasons that she lost. let's listen. >> you have a theory, the case that comey wanted trump to win, that the fbi wanted trump to win? >> i think there's two. i think there's sort of two possibilities. they're at least forces within the fbi that wanted her to lose. i'm not sure that they were prepared to -- they really understood the alternative. but they wanted her to lose.
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i think that's one possibility. i think the other is just a cover your ass organization and there was pressure coming up from underneath him and he su succomed to that pressure. >> does that not perpetuate the wound? >> it's open for most people as campaign staffers. they can't believe they lost in november but they are looking backwards. this is going to be the person who is going to lead the party for the next four years, at least organizationally and i guarantee you, they won't be talking too much about the past because if they are, democrats will remain in the minority for a very long time. >> yeah. to put a button on it, this does not help what is the future of
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the democratic party, which is very much up in air. >> no. you never want to look backwards after a tough loss. democrats got caught up in this after the 2000 election when they felt that the case was handed from al gore to george bush and only helped republicans at the time look like the party that was trying to deal with problems that they had and look towards the future. the best thing for democrats, although this may keep them motivated is remember the lesson, don't nominate somebody under investigation and now figure out what you have to do to regain power under trump and understand what you did wrong over the past eight years that left you with fewer state legislators, fewer governors and any time in the party's history. >> what he said is true, though. what he said is true. >> the the answer did not
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provide the answer and all i know is this, it could have been this, too. >> take your loss, you know, even if you think there's something seriously wrong, even if you think that, based on statements we've heard from rudy giuliani and others, the crazy actions by james comey, the inconsistent actions at a minimum, that's led to calls for an investigation, even if you think there's something seriously wrong, just be quiet because it makes you look like a sore loser, i don't think that's how a political leadership works. >> guys, i've got to get to break. >> just very quickly, he wasn't being constructive, errol. he was acting in a sore-loser way. he wasn't acting in a constructive way to bring reforms to the fbi as needed. >> guys, thank you very much. good thing no one on my panel is quiet. thank you very much, mark, lynn, errol. we have a lot ahead, of course,
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as we just mentioned, who will lead the democratic party? the detect leadership debate is tonight at 7:00 p.m. eastern. chris cuomo is right here. is the stage set for mass deportations? also, let's take this outside. the crowd at congressman mark sanford's town hall was so big he took the rest of the questions outside of the building after it lasted 3 1/2 hours. what he said about tt protests targeting his republican colleagues. and dakota access pipeline protesters mandated to clear out. some will not budge, however. that's straight ahead.
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blunders made in the first rollout. this comes on the hooeels of a w set of presidential orders cracking down on illegal immigration putting millions at risk for deportation. together, these are the most sweeping and controversial reforms in years. let's go straight to joe johns. what's the timing on when we'll expect to get this? >> reporter: that's anybody's guess, quite frankly. what we know from the administration at this stage is still early. they say they are taking the shackles off of immigration officers. and the one message we're getting from the white house more than anything else is that this is just enforcement of existing law. but by any account, this is certainly a robust enforcement, even an acceleration of enforcement of existing law. and the best example of that, perhaps, is the obama administration focused on deporting serious criminals,
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people convicted of crimes. now the standard is going to be about people accused of crimes, people even suspected of crime. >> everybody who is here illegally is subject to removal at any time. that is consistent with every country. but the priority that the president has laid forward and the priority that i.c.e. is putting forward is to make sure the people who have committed a crime or pose a threat to our public safety are the priority of their efforts. >> so your timetable question, poppy, is going to take a long time to do all of this. it's not going to happen overnight and the big question, of course, is where are they going to get the money to pay for it? >> exactly. who's going to pay for it? joe johns, thank you very much. later this morning, donald trump sits down with rex tillerson. they will also meet with the
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members of the mexican government and so let's go straight to santiago with the reaction there. what's expected ahead of this visit? >> reporter: the white house has not released an official itinerary but we know this is secretary tillerson's first bilateral trip to mexico, one that is very important given the relationship between the two countries. the timing of this also could be very interesting. just yesterday, the foreign minister here in mexico and they talked about trade and nafta. the free trade deal that involves canada, mexico and the u.s. and also we saw secretary kelly, rather, from homeland security in guatemala for a repatriation flight there. lots of immigration talk for homeland security not only in central america where they see a lot of the immigration begin and
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go through mexico and also the timing is important given what we just heard joe talk about. giving the dhs memos that talk about immigration and what is really perceived as a crackdown for illegal immigration in the u.s. now, we haven't heard from the mexican government on reaction to that memo but we know that everyone and cabinet members as well as the president, president of mexico. and we are waiting to see what comes out of those meetings and we could see a presidential visit. >> after that twitter back and forth that ended up in the mexican president canceling his visit to the white house, now he will sit down in his country
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with the secretary of state. we'll wait for the headlines. thank you, leyla. they are on a fact-finding mission about security. paulo sandoval is joining us. they have been purposefully trying to keep it on the dl. >> right, poppy. details on that fact-finding mission, as you just mentioned, have been hard to get. not just on the ground but some of the colleagues up in washington. i spoke to the local law enforcement here in texas and they said there were many reasons for that. obviously the security issue will be one since you had the speaker not close to the border but on the border as there is a tour that is expected to take place there this afternoon but there is also that concern about protesters. i should mention that the border part that you see behind me, the water being the actual body of water that divides both countries, that is typically open to the public.
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however, officials are closing that off today which has been requested by capital police. why choose this part of the border region when you have the rest of it? this is, after all, the busiest region since 2013, seeing the largest amount of apprehension. we've been here to report on at least two of the surges as they are steadily flowing north of the border. there is that concern here by local officials and also by some residents. the question is what will speaker ryan actually be able to see what is during a relatively short visit to the u.s./mexico border. poppy? >> paulo sandoval, thank you for that. coming up, i.c.e. is getting ready to handle the president's crackdown on illegal immigration. we're going to talk to the man who used to run the entire agency, the former head of
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good morning, everyone. bottom of the hour. so glad you're with us. this morning, a new reality is facing roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country. the trump administration cracking down on illegal immigration. part of the plan, hiring additional i.c.e. and border agents giving them more power on who will be deported and when. joining us is someone who served under the obama administration. nice to have you here. >> nice to be here. >> you don't love what you see in this order and you say it's designed so you believe the
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administration can say, look how many criminals we've deported. why do you think that's the case? >> it's about how many people we deported. despite all of the rhetoric, it clearly tells the agents population that can be quickly deported and the key or emphasis is not on criminality. as a result, it will suffer. >> they are going mainly after criminals they say. you used to run the agency and i want to get to the implementation in a moment. look at the numbers. this compares how many undocument undocumented immigrants were deported under president obama, about 3 million. and about a million fewer were deported under president bush. laraza, an immigration group,
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called obama the deporter in chief. what does that tell you? >> one, those numbers include people apprehended at the border. border security is critical. when you combine those numbers are not just i.c.e. removing people, people forgot the bush administration did something similar to trump in terms of plussing up the size of i.c.e. when we walk into dhs on day one, you ran this agency. is the wall going to help? >> no. listen, it's not easy to cross the board he and the reality is the number of undocumented immigrants has not grown since 2009. and stopping people from migrating yet some exceptions and the reality is we're not
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growing. the undocumented population is not growing in this country. >> part of the reason you have net fewer people coming in than leaving the united states from mexico is because the economy has gotten better. mexico, they have more opportunity. would you be one in the camp that argues the stronger the mexican economy can get the better chance we're going to have it having fewer undocumented workers in this country? meaning, do you think that's going to be more helpful than a wall? >> absolutely. there's a direct correlation between mexico and the migration of the united states. there's no coincidence that it has dropped like a rock. >> but listen to this. when it comes to just a bigger issue of this travel ban, of the travel ban we're expecting a new one from the administration this week and also this issue of border security and the wall, here's what both fbi director and james comey and the former director of national intelligence said in 2015 about
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their concerns of the overall vetting process, especially when it comes to syrian refugees and people from those seven muslim majority countries. let's listen. >> we don't know about somebody that is not in our data. i can't sit here in absolute assurance that there's no risk associated with this. >> i don't, obviously, put it past the likes of isil to infiltrate operatives among these refugees. so that is a huge concern of ours. >> so as someone who used to run i.c.e., you didn't just deal with immigration over the mexico and u.s. border. you dealt with immigration with regard to what they're talking about. is this a justification for a travel ban that is needed? in other words, is there something that is needed? >> listen, there is always going to be a little bit of risk. there's no more intense vetting than the refugee screening process. this isn't europe.
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we don't have hoards of people getting processed only when they are here. this is a slow process that requires background check after background check, not only buy graphically but bio metrically as well. trying to get a visa if you're from yemen, you have no idea how difficult that is. only in the rarest of cases can anybody from yemen or somalia obtain a visa and that's only after the intensive review. so, look, there has been no threat from individuals of these countries. the biggest threat we face, and director comey would tell you the same thing, people radicalized within the united states. that's where all of the concern has been. the majority of attacks from the boston bombing and san bernardino have come from. that's where the focus should remain and this is a distraction. >> appreciate having you on. thank you. >> thank you. still to come for us, blistering chance and jeers and
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gop lawmakers facing backlash back at home this week while most republicans are defending president trump. a few not afraid to speak their mind. representative mark sanford is one of them. he will join me live after this break. with not food, become food? thankfully at panera, 100% of our food is 100% clean. no artificial preservatives, sweeteners, flavors, or colors. panera. food as it should be.
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same on you! shame on you! shame on you! >> angry chants. this is senator joanie earnst who came face-to-face with angry constituents. they are outraged over the president's first moves in the first month of office. republican lawmakers are defending a president and my
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next guest is not on many issues. so you did this with senator tim scott from your home state and also partnered with the charleston chapter of indivisible. this is a group dedicated to fighting the president's agenda. you seem to welcome the jeers and the outcry of those who don't agree with you and your republican colleagues rather than fight it. why that tactic? >> back when i was governor, i held open door after office hours and anybody from within the state could show up and they got their allotment and i felt i owed that time to them given that it would work for them. i can give you a lot of examples of things we have done over the years but the pot tomorrbottom
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these are folks that are paying your salary and the salaries of everyone in congress. are your fellow republicans wrong, then, who are skipping these town halls, not showing up? >> no, i would never speak for another member of congress. everyone knows the complexion of their own district. but what i would say is, for a long history now, i've had something of an open book. at times it's been good, at times it's been bad. but with regard to me and issues and receptivity to people's other points of view. and i just think that that give and take -- i went to business school at the university of virginia and the case study methodology, the idea of arguing something back and forth to hopefully the truth fell out of the bottom. i think there is a value to the spirit of these viewpoints that, by the end of the 3 1/2 town hall meeting, we were having a
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very meaningful conversation with those who have gathered. >> perhaps one of the loudest cries are becoming of obamacare. you know that the premium for obamacare has come up 29%. you have come out with a plan to replace obamacare with your fellow republican senator rand paul but can you guarantee, congressman, in that plan, if that were instituted and adopted, would every single person, between the 17 and 20 million americans covered right now under obamacare, would every single person be covered and be covered to the extent that they are right now? can you guarantee that? >> again, anybody who make as guarantee along those lines, i don't think they are telling the truth. there are no guarantees in policy. what you can lay out are a general set of ideas and ideals that you believe would make for a better result than what we have right now. as you correctly point out, premiums went up by 29% last year. we're down to just one carrier with regard to the affordable care act and what we're trying
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to do in this plan is to say how do we offer more in the way of choice, how do we offer more in the choice of access and ultimately impact the cost curve. >> i hear you on that. >> the people who guarantee are unrealistic. >> i hear you in that a lot of people simply can't afford health care right now or it is pushing their family to the limit. the other argument could be made that it's more expensive health care better than no health care at all in i know you can't guarantee anything until it's limited. are you doing everything in your power to make sure people don't lose coverage totally? >> absolutely. and our plan would not entail loss of coverage. i've said to the group that was gathered on saturday, i think to a degree you guys have already won. i think baked into the cake of any reform that has come out of the republican side will be, for instance, a young person staying on the parents' plan until the age of 26. baked into it is pre-existing
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conditions were not dealt with prior to the affordable care act. i think what you're ultimately going to see is it makes its way through the legislative process is a melding of what was good about affordable care act and a whole lot of reform to make it sustainable. because in its presence course, it's not sustainable in financial terms. >> congressman, you've been very critical of the president. you say facts don't matter to him. he's the undoing of everything i thought i knew about politics and preparation for life. you haven't held back when it cou comes to criticizing things about the president that you don't agree with. here's what he said about republicans criticizing and investigating other republicans. watch. >> i don't think it's useful to be doing investigation after investigation, particularly of your own party. we'll never even get started doing the things that we need to do, like repealing obamacare if we're spending our whole time investigating republicans. i think it makes no sense. >> do you agree with him on
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that? does that help the american people or is he wrong, republicans should investigate other republicans just as vigorously as they would democrats, if needed? >> i think it ought to be equal opportunity. i think ultimately what's relevant is folks on the senate intel deal with him. that's over on the senate side. senate intel through richard burr is moving forward with the investigation or hypothetical ties with russia and what happened in the campaign. that's going to be more thoroughly vetted and there's bipartisan accord on the senate side to do so. >> final question, got to get you on the record about this. there's been buzz about her running against her good friend senator lindsey graham for that seat in 2020. he's not only a good friend but a godfather of one of your sons. are you considering that run? >> i'm trying to be the best congressman that i can be. i've made that clear for quite some time now. i'm trying to be a good house
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member and ably representing 750,000 people who make up the congressional district of south carolina. >> so that's a no for now. we will watch. representative sanford, nice to have you on. thank you. >> my pleasure. all right. coming up, standing rock protesters standing their ground. pipeline activists who have been camped out at this site for months now face a deadline of just hours to leave. a mandatory evacuation in place for them. many of them say they are not going anywhere. we'll have a live report next. see me. don't stare at me. see me. see me. see me to know that psoriasis is just something that i have. i'm not contagious. see me to know that... ...i won't stop until i find what works. discover cosentyx, a different kind of medicine for moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. proven to help the majority of people find clear or almost clear skin. 8 out of 10 people saw 75% skin clearance at 3 months. while the majority saw 90% clearance. do not use if you are allergic to cosentyx.
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remaining pipeline protesters in north dakota have to evacuate the site so that construction of the pipeline can proceed. north dakota's governor signed the evacuation order and they have to leave by today. protesters have been there for months, they say the pipeline puts their drinking water supply at risk if there's a possible spill. our sara sidner has been following the story from the beginning, you've been there for months on end reporting this out. what happens today at 2:00 if they don't leave? >> reporter: the evacuation order stands. we have noticed a large contingent of law enforcement that is prepared. there are quite a few campers there who have told us just yesterday, before this evacuation, that they planning to stay, but stay prayerfully and peacefully but they were not necessarily just going to the walk out. there is a representative from
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the governor's office here, there is is a representative from the national guard here. there are also representatives from the law enforcement. we've got one of those representatives here, lieu ten and tom iverson from north dakota state patrol is here. one important question all the campers and people here want to know, is that is, is law enforcement prepared to forcibly removed people from this camp today? >> well, first of all, it's unfortunate we have people willing to stay. they're under evacuation order. the deadline is 2:00 p.m. today. so anybody that is remaining after 2:00 p.m. is going to be subject to arrest and fines. >> this will be the first time you all have decided to go in? >> there are some negotiations regarding cleanup crews. and what's going to be offered is an amnesty bus that will come in and allow everybody to freely leave. it would be great if everybody
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would use it, you get a free ride out of here, a bus ticket, a wellness check. we're going above and beyond trying to facilitate people leaving the area so cleanup crews can come in. but as far as law enforcement operations that will be conducted, that has yet to be seen. and that would remain a law enforcement operation. i'm not at liberty to discuss the exact specifics. >> reporter: we did notice there are many more members of the law enforcement who have come from all over the state. >> yes, we do have a large number of law enforcement involved. we need to make sure we have adequate resources to not only keep our officers safe but to keep all the onlookers safe, protesters safe, and everybody involved safe. that's what this is about, public safety. >> reporter: they're not giving us details on what police might do. we certainly know the campers here who people who call themselves water protecters, some of whom are willing to stay
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and see what happens, not that'sly leathat's necessarily leave when the bus shows up.
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good morning, everyone. top of the hour, 10:00 a.m. eastern. i'm poppy harlow. john berman has the week off. so glad you're with us. we begin with angry voters unleashing on lawmakers back home. just watch. [ yelling ] town halls across the country erupting in shouting matches, as you see. lawmakers trying to field questions from angry constituents on everything from immigration to the travel ban to obamacare. some republicans dismissing the protesters as

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