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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  February 22, 2017 1:00pm-2:01pm PST

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happens in a democracy. and some of the people are showing up because they have real questions to ask and other people are showing up because they want to voice their disagreement with the congressman. >> fascinating talking to these people and will to these members of congress. gloria, always a pleasure, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> thank you for being with me. i'm brooke baldwin. "the lead" starts now. >> thanks, brooke. remember the good old days when presidents got criticized for not doing what they promised during the campaign? "the lead" starts right now. mission to mexico, donald trump's top cabinet secretaries head south of the border as mexico says president trump's new plan to crack down on illegal immigration is not acceptable. in their faces, angry voters getting louder at republican town halls across the country. as president trump writes them off as democratic plants. plus, new details in the
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investigation into the murder of kim jong-un's half brother. does a new suspect connect to the killing to dear leader himself? good afternoon, everyone. welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. we're going to begin with the politics lead today. today one month into the trump administration, we are seeing there may not be actually much daylight at all between what candidate trump promised and what president trump is trying to do, especially when it comes to his tough talk on illegal immigration. today as a couple of president trump's cabinet secretaries head over the border and gop leadership heads to the border to scope out the site and possible price tag of the wall, mexico is challenging the president's plans for a crack down on those in the u.s. illegally. this comes after the administration laid out its plans for aggressive enforcement of the laws on the books claiming democrat and advocates say will result in round ups and mass deportations.
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cnn's senior diplomatic correspondent michelle kosinski joins us now. the relationship with mexico is in his word phenomenal. does mexico see it that way? >> reporter: in a word, jake, no. you have the secretary of state and the homeland security secretaries on their way to mexico trying to smooth over this relationship that's usually so benign you don't hear much about it. and even before they land, we're hearing a pretty hard line from mexico. insisting again to cnn that they're not going to pay for any wall, that they're not going to accept deportees that are not mexican nationals. it is difficult what is going to make this trip bears an element of damage control. mexico city, thousands of people have taken to the streets over the last month protesting trump white house policies. secretary of state rex tillerson and homeland security secretary john kelly arrive today with a
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tall order for their first neighborly visit. get the u.s./mexico relationship back on track. mexico has threatened boycotts. the president canceled his trip to the white house last month with the tensions and trump tweets. today from the white house. >> we have a very healthy and robust relationship with the mexican government and mexican officials and i think they would echo that same sentiment. >> reporter: a mexican official, though, involved in the bilateral relationship tells cnn their side goes into these talks with president trump's promises. >> we will build a wall. mexico is going to pay for the wall. >> reporter: a no go. the official stating clearly, mexico will not pay for a wall. also with the new immigration order that could be hundreds of thousands or even millions of people deported, mexico says it does have an obligation to accept its own nationals, but not all the immigrants from central america. the government official adding, mexico needs to see the
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following in these meetings today. respect for the relationship that has been built over decades. acknowledgment that mexico is an enormously important trading partner. $1.5 billion a day in trade crosses the border, and acknowledgment that the u.s. is lucky to have such a good neighbor in mexico. such is the price now of moving forward after all the words from president trump going back to the campaign trail. >> they're bringing drugs. they're bringing crime. they're rainists. we have some bad hombres here and we678 to g have to get them. >> reporter: former obama deputy secretary of state says the strain between these neighbors across borders or fences could take far more than this visit to heal. >> it helps, but it's not enough. it's turbulent because of all this talk of a wall and it's especially turbulent because of the various immigration executive orders.
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that's a conversation mexico needs to be in on on the take off, not on the landing. >> reporter: the white house has floated out potential ways for getting mexico to pay for the wall, looking at the amount of aim u.s. sends to mexico, or slapping a huge tariff on goods coming as cross the bortder from mexico. mexico seems pretty willing to react, jake. >> michelle kosinski at the state department for us. thanks so much. house speaker paul ryan is leading a fact finding mission with a group of fellow republican lawmakers. they are on the u.s. mexico border. cnn's paolo sandoval joins us. what is on the agenda for this congressional delegation? >> reporter: and, jake, that is the question of the day. and finding an answer isn't very easy for us here on the ground or for our colleagues here at washington in touch with the speaker's office that's because they have released very little, if any, details regarding what is the first trip for paul ryan to the border as speaker of the house. but here's what we could observe from a distance here.
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we watched as speaker ryan arrived at a border park in mission, texas which is a very common stop for visiting officials here and what is one of the busiest border crossings also for undocumented people as well. this is where the so-called fact finding mission began where he was able to get an up-close look at some of the terrain here, the geography that would potentially have to be the site of this proposed border wall for donald trump. shortly after his visit at this park, he then hopped aboard a boat for a boat tour. and then is now, according to several officials, visiting with local elected official as well as a immigrant processing center we expect he will before the end of the day before heading to washington. there was even time for a a little horseplay. from our vantage point we could see the speaker saddle up and ride where the horse he were part of the brder patrol mounted unit. again, this was during a very short meeting with some local
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official, now people here in this border committees hope he's able to take all of this back to washington. jake? >> paolo sandoval on the mexico-u.s. border. let's go live to pictures, vice-president mike pence and the governor of missouri, at the jewish cemetery at st. louis that was vandalized over the weekend. governor eric grade ens, who is jewish, as it would happen, is speaking right now. let's take a listen. >> we're going to come together in shared service. now, you might notice i'm here with one of my friends, vice-president pence. [ applause ] and earlier today you should know the president of the united states called me, and he asked me on his behalf to personally thank all of you. thank you for standing up in the fight against anti-semitism. [ applause ]
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and he said thank you for showing the people of the world that what happened here the other night is not who america is. it's not who missouri is. this is who missouri is. this is who america is. [ applause ] we are honored to be here to support you. >> i just want to thank each and every one of you for coming. i want to thank the organizations that have reached out to us. can you hear me now? hello? >> i'll hold this for you. >> hello? i just want to thank each and every one of you for coming out to volunteer and to help us
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today. in the jewish tradition, we take utmost care to give respect to our deceased. and by you coming out here today, you are helping to, once again, give respect to all of the deceased here. [ applause ] thank you to all of the organizations that have reached out to us, to the governor, to the vice-president, to the federation, to the adl, to the entire community. thank you. [ applause ] >> i'm mike pence, i'm the vice-president of the united states of america. [ applause ] i spoke words earlier today in
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st. louis that were from the heart. there is no place in america for hatred or acts of prejudice or violence or anti-semitism. i must tell you, the people of missouri are inspiring the nation by your love and care for this place, for the jewish community in missouri, and i want to thank you for that inspiration, for showing the world what america is really all about. [ applause ] i also want to thank anita for her great leadership, to walk in to see that the head stones that were vandalized are repaired as evidence of your love and care for the heritage and the history and those that are cherished here. to the federation and to all of you. but let me also say i just want
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to thank your new governor, your new governor -- [ applause ] thank you, governor. and on behalf of the president of the united states, let me just say thank you to all of you for coming out and showing the heart of this state and the heart of this nation in this place. you make us all proud. god bless you all. [ applause ] >> that's vice-president mike pence along with the governor of missouri, grade ens, who you may not know is a former navy seal. he won a bronze star and is also the first jewish governor of missouri. president trump spoke today about some major campaign promise and continued to press the notion that he inherited not only obamacare from president obama, but also a financial mess. cnn's senior white house
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correspondent jeff zeleny joins me now. jeff, you just heard that president trump called the governor of missouri to offer an affirming statement against anti-semitism, what happened. but before the cameras earlier, he was talking much more about the budget and saying that the government will have to do much more with less. >> reporter: he said exactly that, jake. that's a standard refrain from all presidents and most politicians saying they'll have to do more with less. but that becomes much more difficult when you factor in all the presidential wish lists that includes that $15 billion border wall in mexico. >> finances of our country are a mess, but we're going to clean them up. >> reporter: president trump meeting today with his new budget director as he prepares to submit his first spending plan to congress on march 13th. the president and his team still grappling with how to make good on campaign pledges like tax reform and overhauling the affordable care act. >> health care is moving along nicely. it's being put into final forms.
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>> reporter: republicans on capitol hill still not clear whether they or the white house will take the lead crafting the legislation. and across the country, members of congress are getting an earful this week in boisterous town hall meeting. tell white house today, press secretary sean spicer down playing the outbursts saying some of the protesters are simply seeking media attention. >> i think some people are clearly upset, but there is a bit of professional protester manufactured base in there. but obviously there are people that are upset. just because they're loud doesn't necessarily mean that there are many. >> reporter: the administration is also trying to weed out dissent within its ranks. several agencies and cabinet secretaries have expressed concern for not being able to make their own hiring choice s, particularly those that have spoken out against president trump. >> it would almost be malpractice ton do that, to allow people to fill a job, a political appointee job who
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don't share the vision and agenda of the president of the united states. >> reporter: the administration is putting the finishing touches on its travel ban, still expected this week. after a federal court blocked the president's initial order affecting visitors from seven majority muslim countries, the white house also defending the president's harder line on illegal immigration by enforcing existing laws. >> we have to look at it from a priority level. right now there's millions of peach until this country that are in the country illegally. >> reporter: the white house is also set to weigh in on protections for transgender students in public schools. reversing directives put in place last year by president obama, allowing students to use the bathrooms of their choice. >> the president made it clear throughout the campaign that he is a firm believer in state's rights. certain issues like this are best not dealt with at the federal level. >> reporter: first daughter ivanka trump attending the supreme court of justice anthony kennedy with her daughter saying
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she was teaching her about the judicial system in our country. now, jake, we are still expecting that executive order on the travel ban, perhaps tomorrow definitely by friday we're told, and the white house is saying that they are fine tuning that. they hope this time it passes legal challenges here. one of the many things going on, but, jake, all this will be wrapped up by next tuesday when the president gives hiss first primetime address to a joint session of congress in the house chambers. jake? >> all right, jeff zeleny, thank you so much. an entire continent left shrugging its shoulders after the vice-president says one thing, but president trump's chief advisor says something quite different. where does the boss stand? that's next. [vo] quickbooks introduces jeanette. and her new business: i do, to go. jeanette was excellent at marrying people.
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welcome back to lead. sticking with the politics lead now, and another possible disconnect at the highest levels of the administration, sources now telling us before vice-president pence pledged a steadfast commitment to the european union, white house chief strategist steve bannon said something to a key european ambassador that seemed to be quite the opposite of a steadfast commitment about how the u.s. will be dealing with european nations. cnn global affairs correspondent elise joins me now. elise, vice-president pence delivered the message did he about the importance of the e.u., but in an interview just a few weeks ago, president trump
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gave a quote in which he told the times of london, look, the e.u. was formed partially to beat the united states on trade, okay, so, i don't really care whether it's separate or together. to me it doesn't matter. i mean, talk about mixed messages. >> well, it's definitely a mixed message, jake. diplomats tell me days before mike pence was in brussels telling the e.u. that he and president trump both want to deepen the u.s. political and economic partnership, steve bannon met with peter widig, the german ambassador to the united states and described the e.u. in this meeting as a flawed institution, said the u.s. favored strengthening ties with individual countries on a bilateral basis, described as a combative conversation, bannon spelled out a nationalist world view citing e.u. populist movements similar to the refrain he previously articulated as the chief of the right wing website breitbart news. now, both widig and the german
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government declined to comment, citing the private nature of the talks. the white house down playing the account of the meeting as inaccurate. they're just calling it a quick hello. but the conversation reflected general concern about the trump administration's policy towards the e.u. and diplomats say that pence's message of reassurance fell flat on the diplomats who were hearing a mixed mess alan from the white house about the future relationship, jake. they believe that nobody in this administration really understands what the e.u. does and they were hoping that defense secretary mattis and secretary of state rex tillerson were going to provide more of a moderating influence, but one of the problems is that secretary tillerson doesn't have anybody on his staff right now. so, they're only really able to talk to the white house about this message and it's very concerning. >> how do the europeans plan to respond, if at all? >> well, i'm told they're kind of planning for the worst case scenario, but hoping for the best. i mean, in the best case
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scenario the u.s. essentially deals with president trump on a more pragmatic basis. he wants to deal with countries bilaterally, but the worst case scenario is a more idea logically driven policy on russia and the e.u. that source said germany doesn't need trump to understand or even appreciate the e.u., but they need to understand how important it is, jake, to germany and one diplomat telling me, listen, the u.s. is now treading on its front lawn. you have elections in europe this year, in the netherlands and france and in germany, and after president trump's comments, you know, supporting brexit and maybe support for some of these other movements, there is a lot of concern right now. >> there is nothing that vladimir putin wants more than for the e.u. and nato to dissolve. thank you so much. joining me is democratic senator ed marky of massachusetts. he serve on the senate foreign relations committee. senator marky, thanks for joining us. prib it. >> thanks for having me on.
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>> are you concerned at all that the nations, european allies seem to be hearing two distinct and contradictory mess alans from the trump administration when it comes to the e.u. and when it comes to nato? >> these distinct and different messages are very dangerous. right now the russians are in violation of the intermediate nuclear force treaty. that threatens europe. right now the russians are have an incursion into the ukraine. that threatens europe. right now we know that russians are trying to compromise the elections in france, in germany, in the netherlands. that is dangerous to europe. and, so, really since the end of world war ii, the foundational protection of the planet has been this alliance between the european nations and the us. we have created a global economy. we have provided the policing for the planet as well.
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and the one ambition that vladimir putin would have is to break this relationship apart. that would be key to him, once again from his perspective, being able to reassert a russian role that is significant on our planet and the only way to counter it is to keep the e.u. and the united states together on the same page and these messages from bannon as opposed to other people in the trump administration just aim towards the undermining of that partnership. >> let's talk about mexico, if we can. as you know, secretary of state rex tillerson and homeland security secretary john kelly will be arriving in mexico later today. you recently returned from mexico. what are the biggest concerns that the mexican leaders have right now when it comes to their relationship with the united states? anything in this relationship has been damaged in the long term? >> without question. the mexican leadership really
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does believe that the villification of their country, of their police, of their army, of their negotiators is something that has undermined the relationship between our two countries. and the mexicans say quite clearly that we need them in order to provide security for the border. we need them in order to keep fentanyl and hearn outs of our country. we need them if we're going to have a full and fair trade relationship with the mexicans. and everything that they're doing, that is the trump administration so far, has undermined the relationship which we need, not making us more safe, but less safe, not pointing towards a direction of partnership, but towards one which is adversarial. and that ultimately is not good for the united states. >> senator, we're hearing a lot of talk from democrats about the united states no longer being a country of inspiration, instead it's turning into a country of deportation. as you know, the obama
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administration deported more than 3 million undocumented immigrants. that compares to slightly more than 2 million under president bush and fewer than a million under president clinton. many immigrant rights groups refer to him as deporter in chief. what is president trump doing that is not an extension of the obama agency? >> president trump saying he is going to hire an army of 10,000 agents inside of the united states. that is fundamentally different than barack obama. and what he's done is he's saying to families all across america, children and families who have parents who have committed no crimes, that they should start to worry about whether or not their mother or father should be concerned that they could be deported and have to take the children with them. and all i can say to president trump is, for god's sake, just say to those families they don't have to worry.
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if no serious crime has been committed by any member of the family, that they don't have to worry. he's putting a cloud over every single family who is an immigrant in our country and it's wrong and this announcement of a 10,000-person deportation army is just something that just hearkens back to an era in our country's history that we really should not be revisiting. and only the president can now give comfort to these families. from his heart, please, mr. president, tell them they don't have to worry. >> snord enator ed marky, appre your time. town hall participants yelling at republican members of congress, demanding answers. but today, the white house said these protesters, they are professionals. stay with us. supercomputers r? that means you can take a universe of data - in your case literally - and turn it into medical discoveries,
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welcome back to "the lead." let's stick with politics and talk about the anger we see boiling over at town halls across the country. today more lawmakers are taking on the crowds and their questions as they face post election frustration back home. some of the turnout seems to be driven by grassroots groups offering step-by-step instructions on how to oppose the trump administration and its policies. so-called resistance. it's also democrats hoping to flip some red congressional districts blue in 2018 which might be the case in new jersey where congressman leonard lance could get a feisty crowd this evening. cnn's ken law is there ahead of this town hall. this is so reminiscent to me of the tea party protests in 2009 and 2010. and just like then today the
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white house questioned whether the anger of these town halls is being manufactured. i remember robert gibbs saying the same thing to me about the tea party protests way back when. >> reporter: yeah, and the shoe is on the other foot now, different political party. as you point out it certainly has very strong parallels. we're hearing it today from white house press secretary sean spicer who called them, yes, angry, but he believes that there are professionals in there. and as far as whether or not they represent the district, he said not necessarily. here's what he said. >> i think some people are clearly upset. but there is a bit of professional protester manufactured base in there. but obviously there are people that are upset, but i also think that when you look at some of these districts and some of these things, it is not a representation of a member's district or it is a loud group, small group of people disrupting something in many cases for media attention.
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>> reporter: do they want media attention? they say, oh, yeah, they do. but are these groups local? that's what we're seeing. we've been to places from california to utah to virginia. they certainly appear to be local. and they are also passionate. i want to you take a look at senator joni ernst's town hall. you can see the moment she walked out, that crowd let her have it. it was an uphill climb for her. she did manage to have a back and forth. there were some questions that she managed to answer, but when she ended it after 45 minutes, there were some extremely loud boos. her office says that 45-minute end, that was always the plan, jake. certainly how this is all happening, what we've seen at least appears to be organic. jake? >> all right, thank you so much. the battle over who will lead the democratic party in the era of trump and president trump is giving a shout out to one of the contenders for dnc chair. the guy who picked him to win.
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welcome back to "the lead." continuing on with politics now, it's not really a good time to be a democrat. republicans control the white house, the house, the senate, 33 governorships and the vast majority of state legislatures. according to one analysis, the democratic party is at its weakest point at the state level since 1920. so, who might lead the democratic party out of this wilderness? well, saturday the democratic national committee will hold elections and eight candidates are vying to be the party's chair. tonight cnn will give each one of them a platform. they'll debate why they should be the next leader and the direction they want to take this
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party. let's bring in cnn's sunlen sur fad i. president trump gave something of a shout out to one of the candidates today, noting that congressman keith ellison of minnesota long ago predicted that there might be a trump white house. >> he did. keith ellison said early on in the primary that democrats should be taking trump much more seriously. and now ellison is one of the front runners of this race could have to follow his own advice if he does go on to take the hill many at the dnc, going into saturday's votes, there are huge implications for the democrats. this is the party badly in need of a reboot and the big question this race will answer, who will hit the reset button. >> we've got to organize, organize, organize. >> reporter: democrats are a party in search of direction and a new leader to help guide them. >> we've got a fight ahead of us. we've got to come dogt and we will. >> reporter: enter these eight candidates battling it out to be the next chair of the democratic national committee. >> we need a dnc chairman who can inspire, who can make sure we talk to the entire big tent
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of our party, who can bring us together, who can invest in all of you. >> reporter: the out come could offer a huge signal on where the democratic party goes from here. >> we win elections and that is how we get the majority back. >> reporter: just look at the two front runners, becoming something of a proxy war between the sanders and clinton factions of the party. in one corner tom perez who served both the clinton and obama administrations with the backing of the establishment of democrats like joe biden. and just today perez roll out the endorsement of heads of four dnc caucuses. in the other corner, keith ellison, representing the more progressive wipg of the party backed by senator bernie sanders. >> i think it's going to take a reassessment of the purpose of where the democratic party is and where it wants to go. and i think essentially what we need to do right now is to become a grassroots party, which is what keith ellison believes. >> reporter: ellison's past ties
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to the nation of islam and leader louis fair i con are resurfacing he as he campaigns, though he publicly renounced them in 2006. neekter candidate has the race locked up. presenting an opportunity for other candidates like south carolina democratic chairman jayme harrison. in sougd bend, indiana mayor, to tout their outsider status and potentially alter the race. >> i believe the dnc needs a fresh start, too, and i believe that i can deliver that fresh start. >> reporter: picking up the endorsement of former dnc chair howard dean today. >> he's the outside the beltway candidate. this party is in trouble. >> reporter: the democratic party is in trouble. they have been relegated to minority status in the trump era, still reeling after suffering a big loss in november and their majorities in the house and senate before that. >> it's a contest of ideas as to which direction to take the party. after every single loss, the political party that loses, they
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go and do a retrospective what happened, where did we make a mistake. what did we do wrong. >> reporter: the new leader of the dnc will be in charge of helping define the course correction. >> our party has some issues, and let us not for one moment shrink from the knowledge that there is no majority for trumpism in america. >> reporter: and the party looks to make things in 2018 -- >> you need a turn around artist. >> reporter: to retake the white house in 2020. and going into saturday's vote, a candidate will need a majority of the 447 committee members to win, but none of the candidates have secured enough votes yet. aides say candidate tell us tom perez has a very narrow lead over keith ellison so what will very likely happen, jake, is they'll go into several rounds of voting saturday before they settle on a winner. >> thank you so much. a reminder, don miss it this evening, the battle over who will lead the democratic party in the era of trump. the candidates to lead the dnc debate tonight live on cnn at 10
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eastern, our own chris cuomo and dana bash will moderate. time is up for the building of the controversial pipeline, but many are still refusing to leave. what happens now? we will go there live next. plus a break-in at the morgue. security now increased around the body of kim jong-un's dead half brother. was someone trying to get his corpse?
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we're back with our national lead. just moments ago, the deadline passed for dakota access oil pipeline protesters to leave their encampments on federal land. now anyone on the pipeline project site could be subject to arrest. while some of the remaining protesters may be getting ready to dig in their heels even deeper, others are leaving the site. some protesters have been setting fires to their own camps either because they did not have enough time to break them down or because the tents are quite frankly frozen to the ground. let's bring in cnn correspondent sara sidner. she joins us from cannonball, north dakota. sara, how is the evacuation going so far? >> reporter: so far we've seen 75 to 100 people who have walked
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out peacefully. they were chanting, they were singing, they were beating drums, and they were crying. there were several people who had tears in their eyes as they left the camp. many of them have called this home for many, many months. some of them since august and september, they have weathered a lot of storms here. and they were very, very sad to leave, but they did leave peacefully. now i want to give you a look at the camp. we are very farah way from the camp. we're normally right in front of it. law enforcement pushed us back saying they needed space for their cars. there is a huge contingent of law enforcement bigger than we have ever seen since this encampment began being populated. there were upwards of 10,000 people here. if you take a look out there now, a very different scene. first, the snow is gone. it is a muddy wet mess which is why the authorities and tribal council wanted people to leave because it is a flood plane. there are far fewer people there. there is an estimate, there may
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be 50 people left inside this camp and they have been told, we are now more than an hour past when people were supposed to evacuate. they have been told, you are now subject to arrest and fines, but law enforcement has also been negotiating with the group of people who said that they want to be arrested and they will come out and there is a specific area they are still negotiating that was supposed to happen at 2:00. law enforcement said we'll give you till 4:00. here is what one of the people evacuated from the camp said about those left behind. >> i fear for the safety of the people. we have a lot of elders who are going to stay, women are going to stay, too. and i fear for them. >> reporter: now, i do want to mention the fires because there were a couple of other reasons why people were setting fires to, for example, a teepee, to some of the structures that have been here, semi permanent structures. they said that some of the tribes do this for traditional reasons. it's basically burning thing to
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the ground and letting things go back to the earth. but we did see them burn a guard shaq that they had built right up at the entrance and a little interesting tidbit here. they had a television set up there, not plugged in, of course, there is no electricity. it said the revolution will not be televised. i beg to differ. jake? >> and, sara sidner, i want to ask you the months long protest, they have not only been emotionally charged but quite financially costly. >> reporter: very financially costly. if you listen to what law enforcement has said, they have spent in north dakota the sheriff's department has estimated $22 million of taxpayer money has been spent with the number of law enforcement that has been here 24 hours a day since around august as well as many other agencies surrounding that, including the national guard who have also had troops that are just behind me there, kind of waiting to see what happened and being available to law enforcement here. jake? >> all right, sara sidner, thank
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you so much as always. a new twist into the mysterious murder of kim jong-un's brother. now they are searching for a north korean embassy official. that's next. hello, i'm an idaho potato farmer
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and i finally found our big idaho potato truck. it's been touring the country telling folks about our heart healthy idaho potatoes, america's favorite potatoes, and donating to local charities along the way. but now it's finally back home where it belongs. aw man. hey, wait up. where you goin'? here we go again.
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in our world lead, a man isis claims carried out a suicide attack near mosul has been identified as a former guantanamo bay detain eep. british officials confirm this, they believe the suicide bomber was indeed british born ronald fiddler. he later changed his name when he converted to islam. he was in guantanamo for two years, torture and systematic abuse got him released back to the u.k. under president bush in 2004. former british prime minister tony blair confirmed his administration did workout a deal to free him and the succeeding david cameron administration even financially compensated him.
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isis said in his statement on monday the suicide bomber had blown up his car at an army base near mosul. also in world news today, a toxic substance was indeed the murder weapon used to kill kim jong nam, the estranged half brother of kim jong-un. malaysian authorities confirmed this today. they believe half a dozen operatives including two women who were trained to use the lethal substance carried out the milgs. another clue the north korean leader may have ordered the killing of his brother. they wanted for questioning among malaysian authorities. lets a.m. bring in senior correspondent from kuala lumpur. thanks for joining us. how was kim jong nam killed according to authorities? how did this toxin get into his system? >> reporter: jake, this is the first time we've heard from malaysia's top police chief in the extraordinary details that he's sharing about this attack at kuala lumpur international
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airport in full public view. he says that four north korean men poured a liquid into the hands of the two women now in custody. they then took turns to approach kim jong nam and this is how he showed us, wiped his face with the toxic substance. he says they knew it was a toxic substance. they knew what they were doing. they ran away with their hands in the air to wash them, and this was no prank tv show that is suggested by indonesian police. this was a carefully planned attack with several test runs at various malls here in kwuala lumpur. jake? >> as if this story could not become any more bizarre, is it true that someone tried to break into the morgue where his body is being held? >> reporter: yeah, jake, more fantastical information in an incredulous story as you say, straight out of a spy novel. yes. the other night several s.w.a.t. teams turned up at the mortuary.
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the press outside that have been staking it out thought that perhaps a member of kim jong nam's family had come forward to formally identify him. but apparently, no, the inspector general of the police said somebody had tried to break in. he wouldn't tell us who, but he said they are prepared to protect the morgue so that nobody gets in to tamper with the evidence. jake? >> and, of course, there is so much speculation that kim jong-un, the dictator of north korea would have been the one who ordered the murder of his half brother. why would he want his half brother dead? >> reporter: well, you know, this was the one time would-be heir of north korea. he is the first-born son to his favorite mistress and he was taught to be the new leader of north korea or tipped, rather. then he fell out of favor because he was using a forged passport to try to get to tokyo disney land in 2001.
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he was seen as too progressive for the regime. he wanted reform for north korea. and then when kim jong-un stepped in, as we all know, he has not favored any kind of rivals to his leadership, and there have been apparently several assassination attempts before according to south korean intelligence. jake? >> thank you so much. that's it for "the lead." i'm jake tapper turn it over now to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." thanks for watching. >> happening now, borderline u.s. lawmakers inspect the area where the president wants to build a wall as the secretary of state and the homeland security chief go to mexico to try to build a new relationship. and mexico warns they won't take orders from the new administration. confronting congress, voters vent at republican lawmakers during town halls. the white house suggests the confrontations are partly staged, but there is real anger out there. where will it lead? white house reset, psi