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tv   CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield  CNN  March 4, 2017 11:00am-11:31am PST

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conversation as opposed to interrogating someone. >> are you king of the jews? >> our kingdom is not of this world. everybody who belongs to the truth listens to my voice. >> what is truth? >> when pilate asks jesus, what is truth, we have a great example of dramatic irony. truth should be exactly the thing he understands. >> all right, "finding jesus" airs tomorrow night, 9:00 eastern time right here on cnn. next hour of the "cnn newsroom" starts right now. hello, again. thank you so much for being with me. i'm fred pleitgericka whitfield. senior trump administration officials say they learned of a tweet storm about former president obama after president
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trump sent those tweets. the president launched a series of wild accusations this morning without consulting any of his aides, tweeting this, how low has president obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process? this is nixon watergate and president trump offers zero evidence to substantiate those claims. cnn senior white house correspondent jeff zeleny has spoken to an administration official and joins me now on the phone with more on this. jeff, what are you learning? >> this tweet storm from president trump did take administration officials back in washington by surprise. this has been a tense week in the last, i would say, 3 or 4 days inside the white house ever since these revelations about russia and the meeting with attorney general jeff sessions came to light, but these tweets this morning really surprised senior administration officials
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and the officials believe that the president was not trying to get ahead of any particular story but simply he's furious about how the russia investigation and discussion is playing out and this official said there has been a story from breitbart news circulating throughout the west wing and among the president's advisors talking specifically about this issue, about wiretapping, other things. so as we have seen over the last several weeks and months, mr. trump often tweets when he sees something in the news and frederica, it appears this was an example of that potentially talking about this and tweeting about this after seeing that breitbart news story. >> and so did this official express concern about learning of this tweet rant by the president after the fact? >> this is not new. of course, mr. trump has been tweeting throughout the course of this campaign and his presidency, so this is something
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that officials have just gotten accustomed to. >> but on wiretapping accusations though? that's an extremely curious matter. >> of course, but this is similar to the vaeins of voter fraud, not backed up by fact but talking about this. but the reality is his administration has a lot of actual work on their plate. they're still working on crafting a second travel ban, the executive order in which they expect next week, they're still working on crafting legislation to repeal and replace the affordable care act also known as obamacare, et cetera. this is something they will also have to contend with. i can tell you, frederica, on monday, when there is a press briefing and ask specifically for what evidence that there is to support this. this is something the president appears to be tweeting and the staff will have to respond to after the fact as opposed to
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tweeting actual facts. >> huthank you so much. appreciate that. so now a spokesman for former president barack obama calling those accusations, quote, simply false. live from west palm beach, athena jones, what more is the president saying about these very serious accusations that, again, were made without donald trump revealing evidence? >> reporter: hi, without any proof of any sort. this is a statement from the president, the former president's spokesperson and a cardinal rule of the obama administration was that no one house official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the department of justice. as part of that practice, neither president obama nor any white house official ever ordered surveillance on any u.s. citizen. any suggestion otherwise is
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simpsi simply false. a categorical denial he was in any way involved and other former obama administration officials made this on it that the president himself did not order wiretaps. we are still waiting official comment from the white house. you heard from my colleague, jeff zeleny, who did speak with an administration official was able to shed some light on where the president may have gotten this idea that somehow the former president was involved in wiretapping. he has returned to mar-a-lago and spent several hours at the trump international golf club in west palm beach where he played at least a few holes of golf. upon arriving there, we were told he would have meetings and make phone calls and may hit a few balls. we did get video of him on the golf course and now back to mar-a-lago but still waiting for any sort of proof or evidence to back up these explosive
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allegations. >> athena jones, thank you so much. appreciate that. so we are hearing from other senior former officials under the obama administration who are also denying the phone wiretapping claims. one saying, quote, this did not happen. this is false, wrong, another telling cnn this is, quote, just nonsense. obama's foreign policy advisor ben rode slamming trump on twitter saying no president can order a wiretap. those restrictions were put in place to protect citizens from people like you, end quote and former senior advisor to president obama, david axelrod, tweeting this. this seems nuts. frantic way in which the real donald trump is kicking up dust only adds to suspicions and the need for full public reckoning. a historian and professor at princeton university.
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so this is pretty serious because you're talking about a sitting president making accusations about his predecessor without any kind of evidence. has there been any kind of reference to this kind of history that you can recall? >> no, not recently. it's hard to think of one sitting president making an accusation is either about the former president or someone who was in office many decades earlier without anything to substantiate claims for an allegation of this sort. from what we know, this is based on user reports and breitbart news, some radio show hosts and that's it. this is not something that's norm normal, this is not something we see all the time and this is part of an unprecedented and unusual presidency. >> now that our own jeff zeleny talked to an administration official with the trump campaign
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saying, and back there with the trump camp blindsided not knowing that the president and how messy does it look for the white house? >> ongoing investigation into the connections trump advisors and this comes main that contex and many people wondering just how controlled this president is and now you're hearing divisions within the inner circles and these statements seem to suggest that some national security officials working for the president are not comfortable with the kind of allegations he just made. this is difficult moment for this presidency.
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two >> two instances he may have been inspired by news reports, wiretapping, perhaps inspired by conservative media outlets and then even just a couple of weeks ago with sweden. him possibly being inspired by something he saw on fox news and now not being able to back this material up with evidence. it is a pattern, but is your feeling that this in any way can be stopped or ended before this white house really kind of imemployei implod implodes? >> he's his only firewall. this isn't the apprentice anymore. meaning he's now the president of the united states. so these kind of claims whether you're talking about a story about some terrorist attack that seemed to have happened according to his rhetoric in sweden which didn't happen were the outcome of election or this,
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his words really matter. not only paid attention to but his folders and people who don't support him listen and they believe some of what comes from his mouth. i think there's a danger in a president doing this. ultimately, he has to control himself. all the advisors in the world can't stop a president from doing the wrong thing. that's one thing we learned from history. and actually what president trump tries to do. >> thank you, appreciate it. >> thank you, thank you. still ahead, from new york to washington, dc and south to nashville, tennessee, pro-trump supporters gather around the country today. live report from new york city next.
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what are people saying? >> reporter: you've got a couple hundred people here in front of trump tower. you he thinks you mentioned in nashville, ohio, pennsylvania, and texas. most of them organized on facebo facebook. patriots organize the spirit of america rallies, sort of protesting the protests. the anti-trump protests. and hear why they wanted to come out. take a listen to what they told me. >> feeling like there's been a lot of anti-trump untrue statements made about him and i'm here to show that the silent majority does support trump. >> i voted for him and support
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him. he's doing exactly what he asked him to do and that's exactly why he's a great president. >> are you happy so far? >> after everything he's doing right now is every reason i voted for him. glr a lot >> reporter: a lot of people said they've never come out to a protest before but compelled in the last couple of weeks to show support for the president who they say they voted for. in addition, across the street earlier today, there was an anti-trump protest. it was education themed and it may ramp up but for the time, these two protests facing each other, chants but you could see the duelling protests and may continue into the afternoon here in new york city. >> very windy.
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sara ganim, thank you. fight to strengthen the border. department of homeland security with a proposal that would separate children from adults crossing into the u.s. illegally. that's next. sure! it's free for everyone. oh! well that's nice! and checking your score won't hurt your credit. oh! i'm so proud of you. well thank you. free at at, even if you're not a customer. [he has a new business teaching lessons. rodney wanted to know how his business was doing... he got quickbooks. it organizes all his accounts, so he can see his bottom line. ahhh...that's a profit. know where you stand instantly. visit quickbooks-dot-com.
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didn't of homeland security is considering a proposal that would separate children from adults when they illegally cross over the southern u.s. border. the agency released a statement saying, quote, the journey north is a dangerous one with too many situations where children brought by parents, relatives or smugglers often exploited, abused or may even lose their lives. with safety in mind, the department of homeland security continually explores options that may secure those from even beginning the journeyjourney. good to see you. one part of the plan that remains unclear is how agents will determine these units or groups of people whether they are families or whether they're smugglers, et cetera, is this a
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realistic plan given those uncertainties in your view? >> well, based on what we know about it, so far, it seems like there's so many poetential lega and practical problems. on legal grounds, most of these are applying for asylum and most of these apply for asylum together and witnesses for each other and if they're separating and breaking them up, it's harder for the individual claims to be successful and that could lead to a potential legal challenge based on due process grounds of the 14th amendment and also, looking at it from a legal perspective, this idea of breaking apart women and children, it goes against existing u.s. family law, existing international law, even against the u.n. high commission on ref withdrew gugees which we way, that family unity should be of paramount importance.
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pretty sure, one thing, a myriad of legal challenges. >> considering the same or similar idea but a tomorrower doj official said this, i'm quoting now, it was never implemented because it was too detrimental to the safety of the children to separate them from their parents and the thinking is it was always preferable to detain the family as a unit or release as a unit. what are your thoughts on that? >> that's a good reminder that this is an issue that the obama administration struggled with too and i want to clarify something for the viewers just to be certain about something. these are not the people who we typically think of when we think about undocumented immigrants. these are not from mexico or coming here to work. this group of people that is affected by this proposal, these are people coming from central america, from countries that are among the world's most dangerous nations. they are literally fleeing for their lives. given that, the reason the obama administration struggled with this and now we see that the
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trump administration as well, with that type of reality back home, people will literally risk anything to get back here and this is a harsh reality for whoever is running dhs. so far, no empirical evidence that this strategy works or effective in getting people not to undertake this journey but what we do know is potentially increase the cost for detention, lead to increases in terms of having the number of beds available for detainees leading to different increases or surrounding legal challenges or everyone on the conservative side who may be favoring a small government, this is potentially creating a whole new bureaucracy where now we're having to process women and children at a whole new level and a potentially much longer length of time and aside from that, this is a very difficult situation to deal with because both administrations struggled with it but the idea, i think, you don't have to be a legal analyst. you don't have to be an
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immigration expert just to understand that the idea of separating women and children at a very perilous moment in their lives after they have endured some potentially traumatic experiences, i think that strikes many people as a lack of empathy, symphony, borderline, inhumane. >> thank you. we'll check out your right and for the latest on all that you have to say on this matter. thank you so much. that's going to do it for me. much more of the newsroom at the top of the hour, but right now, "vital signs" begins after a quick break. have a great day.
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