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

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this statement: it was a few months ago when trump asked bhabha bharara to stay on the job. >> we want to turn to the intruder who jumped the fence of the white house. what more are you learning? >> reporter: i want to mention the suspect, jonathan tran, is being charged with unlawful
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entry and we're told he'll be arraigned in federal court. he's being held because the judge said he pose as flight risk and is a danger to the community. according to the sworn statement by the arresting officer, we're learning more details about what went down last night at 11:38 p.m. when the secret service officer confronted the suspect. he said that tran was walking from the east side of the south grounds of the white house complex, he was walking close to an exterior wall of the mansion and was approaching the south portico. that is the door from the opposite side of the white house, the one that faces the washington monument. he was wearing a hooded jacket or sweater and was carrying a backpack. when he saw the secret service officer, he altered his course and began heading toward the south lawn of the white house. it appeared he scaled at least
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two barricades, one near the treasury department right behind me and then a road. as we've been reporting, tran told the arresting officer that he was a friend of the president and that he had an appointment. he admitted, he said, "i jumped the fence." the officers found two cans of mace. he was also carrying a united states passport, an apple laptop computer, a book written by president trump and a letter he had written to trump and this is interesting. in the letter tram mentioned russian hackers. he said he had information of relevance and also laalleged he had been followed and his phone and e-mail communications had been read by third parties. he told the officers he had been called schizophrenic. at one point the video
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surveillance shows him jumping the fence near the treasury building and at one point hid behind a pillar. a lot of new details coming out in this sworn statement. >> interesting he had a letter for the president. >> what are we learning about him from what the family is saying? >> we were told the backpack had no hazardous materials. it sounds like mace perhaps doesn't count as a hazardous material. but producer lori yuri spoke with tran's younger brother in california today. brian tran said that his older brother was troubled after being laid off from his job at an electrical engineering company. tran was living in his car and eating junk food according to his brother. and also jonathan tran graduated from san jose state university with an electrical engineering
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degree and he had been stressed out from the job, that job he had been laid off from. this brother said that the secret service agent called the family's home last night to let them know about the fence jumping incident and that his mother was very troubled about the matter. some interesting details being revealed. not only by the family but from president trump, who said he had been informed that the suspect was troubled. >> thanks for staying on top of it. the secret service is now doing an internal investigation into how the security breach happened and several pieces of that, the fact that two fences were jumped and then it was only that -- a security officer happened upon this suspect, calling into question where the failures happened in terms of the security systems. athena jones, thank you for that. the other big story is the
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firing of this u.s. attorney preet bharara. trump we know didn't actually call bharara directly. >> no, he did not. he had the justice department do it, dana boente, a u.s. attorney in new york who took over for sally yates a couple months ago, he called bharara who called him and asked him is it true you're not going to resign? and he said yes. and he said in that case, the president said you're fired. the attorney general of new york came out with a strong statement this afternoon saying president trump's abrupt and unexplained decision to summarily remove over 40 u.s. attorneys has once again caused chaos in the federal government and led to
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questions about whether the justice department's vital and nonpartisan work will continue under attorney general sessions as it must, anna. now, bharara explained that while he is leaving, somebody is taking his place, there are career prosecutors there and his current deputy, june kim, will now serve in his place, anna. >> a lot of reaction rippling through the world of the law enforcement community and the justice community. bharara does have a reputation of being a heavy hitting u.s. attorney. tell us more. >> a very well respected and probably one of the most powerful u.s. attorney's in the country. he was appointed almost eight years ago by president barack obama, he had been chief counsel to chuck schumer. schumer has now emerged as one
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of the chief adversaries of donald trump. schum schumer -- now bharara's office was prosecuting everything from terrorists, like the attempted time square bomber to international russian crime bosses to the hacking group anonymous but he is perhaps most well known for going after corruption cases, most notably the wall street corruption cases. a "time" magazine cover says it all, it says "this man is busting wall street." people called him the enforcer and he was greatly feared on wall street. he prosecuted dozens of inside are trading and securities fraud cases, including bernie madoff's brother. his corruption cases went beyond wall street. he was appointed by a democratic president but he was known for his nonpartisan investigations,
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going after both democrats and republicans. until today's firing, he was in the middle of investigations involving the offices of the two most powerful democrats in the state of new york. he was set to try former aides to governor andrew cuomo, who are accused of bribery and bid rigging and in the final of investigations of new york city mayor bill de blasio looking at allegations of pay to play. he headed the southern new york district where trump tower is. so any federal investigation that may involve wiretapping or anything else would likely include his office. remember, anna, this is not unexpected. u.s. attorneys do serve at the pleasure of the president, but in speaking to people today, i have learned that this really did come as a shock because he was asked back in november by
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president trump to stay in office and then this sudden firing really did surprise a lot of people. >> as you mentioned, the presidents can appoint who they want. however, as he points out in his statement, he says one hallmark of justice is absolute independence, that was my touch stone every day that i served. >> and he was known for that, known for being nonpartisan, a prosecutor's prosecutor, someone who followed the facts in his cases and didn't, you know, solely make -- didn't make it a political job, did not solely go after people of an opposite party to the one that the president who appointed him was a part of. >> sure. sara ganim, thank you so much. i want to bring in prove sr dfe dershowitz, we've seen this before. why is this one so surprising?
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>> what's surprising is that the president went out of his way to meet with bharara and say to him, you i want to stay on and everyone applauded him because it would show the bipartisan nature of the u.s. attorney's, the continuity and then suddenly he gets if not a tweet basically a message that he has to submit his resignation and that he doesn't do it and he's fired. so it the turn around that calls out for an explanation. why did the president change his mind so precipitously? is it because schumer, who was basically the man who nominated him to the job has kind of become one of the leading causes calling for investigations, are there other reasons? we don't know. if he just gave his resignation like anybody else, it would not be a story. but because he sought him out
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and then basically said i need your resignation and then fired him. a successor is going to have to be confirmed by the justice department and questions will be asked of justice department why was preet bharara so quickly fired after he was retained. fortunately there are a lot of good people out there to replace him and it will be a good replacement, i'm sure. >> on the flip side, professor de dershowitz, if he were the only one of these 46 who were allowed to stay, that would also be singling him out in a different way, right? >> no. a couple of others have already been asked to stay. the u.s. attorney in maryland is now going to become the deputy. apparently he was asked to stay and one other at the very least was asked to stay.
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if he were the one who was asked to stay because he has important -- remember, he has durch ki different kind of cases that other u.s. attorneys have. they're very difficult, complex, take years to develop. other u.s. attorneys have cases that are relatively simple. never simple but much simpler than in the southern district. a similar problem occurred when richard nixon got lelected and the legendary u.s. attorney bob morganthau left the office offer the objection of many of the most distinguished lawyers. i think we're going to see pushback from democratic and republican lawyers because the one thing known about this man is he was a man of integrity, he
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was not partisan at all and he was completely independent. so there's going to be pushback from the legal profession. >> professor alan dershowitz, thanks you very much. >> up next, we'll hear from the democratic governor of connecticut about what, if anything, lawmakers can do to win his support. you're life in the cnn newsroom. we danced in a german dance group. i wore when i first got on ancestry i was really surprised that i wasn't finding all of these germans in my tree. i decided to have my dna tested through ancestry dna. the big surprise was we're not german at all. 52% of my dna comes from scotland and ireland.
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opposition from both sides of the political aisle facing vice president mike pence who is on the road trying to sell the president's health care plan. paul of course has been a vocal critic of the plan, calling it, quote, dead on arrival. here's what he said earlier this week. >> in is obamacare-lite, it will not pass, conservatives aren't going to take it. >> today the vice president had a subtle message for the libertarian senator. >> folks, let me be clear. this is going to be a battle in washington, d.c., and for us to seize this opportunity to repall and replace obamacare once and
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for all, we need every rab in congress and we're counting on kentucky. president trump and i know at the end of the day after a good and vigorous debate, we know kentucky will be there and we will repeal and replace obamacare once and for all. >> bring in democratic governor dan malloy, nanother critic of the republican plan. thank you for being with us. the vice president is taking this health care fight to individual states. in your mind what does he need to say to gain support in connecticut? >> well, he won't gain support in connecticut because we know what the document says that he's promoting. it will take insurance away from millions of people. it will gut medicaid. it will cause people to lose their lives, it will cause hospitals to close. it will cause other clinics to close. the reality is in the long run over the next few years, it will cost connecticut over a billion dollars if we were to maintain
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medicaid to the as youeudience people that we currently serve with that life changing coverage. i'm in my 60s, if i was to go to the marketplace in this plan, i would probably have to pay $8,000 more for my coverage. that's what they're doing, folks. everyone wake up and understand this is repeal and replace with the emphasis on repeal and not replace. this will make you sicker. >> i hear you're not happy. i want to play something that house majority leader kevin mccarthy said. >> we brought to the governors, we brought governors who have expanded and who did not expand and worked together to find common ground. yes, there's going to be questions on both sides of the aisle. sometimes when you have pushback from one side and the other side
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on the political spectrum being you might have found the sweet spot. >> governor, does he have a point of neither side gets everything at once? >> no, ohio is disagreeing, asa hutchins is disagreeing. governor after governor who has expanded medicaid thinks this is the craziest plan anyone has ever come up with. the difference is the gentleman is not listening. and that's a kind of a mallady that -- governors on both sides really want to gut that program. eye been listening and watching the show today. the idea that they're going to block grand, that block grant the way they're structuring would cause us to take 35,000
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people in our little state out of the medicaid program. that means hospitals would not be reimbursed for the emergencies have it's, which we have weaned down emergency room visits because of it. i will say this, if you don't understand what they're proposing, well, and all you want is repeal, i suppose that makes sense. but the details here are so bad that they are desperate to rush this through before anybody reads this document. >> let's talk one of those details because as you put it, it's a complicated lie, health care itself is complicated the way it works here in america. one of the proposals within this new republican plan is to give tax credits that are age based. you talked about the expensiveness of people who are
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older. older people under the republican plan would get more money in a tax credit than a younger person. why can't that work? >> because health care is more expensive the older you get. because, quite frankly, you get sick more often or you have to have a knee replaced or hip replaced or more dental surgery. the difference is minuscule compared to the difference in pricing. they want to price these by age and give seniors a lot less money. in 2021 for a person my age, the additional cost would be $8,000 a year after you get your check. >> the tax credits are proposed to be between $ 2,000 and 4,000 that would be going back to folks. depending on age, talked about that $8,000 cost. it may not cover everything but let's say this plan is implemented. how would you handle it if the
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medicaid money goes away? >> well, it shouldn't go away. that's the whole point. and this is -- this is the game that's being played by republicans in washington. >> what if you were -- >> so this is what would happen. you would have to cut a billion dollars are other services, you would have to raise taxes a billion dollars or you would have to take insurance away from 35,000 people. that's what you would have to do. but those 35,000 people are living in poverty. where are they going to get the coverage? when they don't get the coverage, they get sicker. when they get sicker, they show up in the emergency room at the hospital. they don't get the preventive care they should be getting. this is a disaster waiting to happen. trumpcare is a disaster. what the republicans in the house are trying to do won't even get through the senate. >> dan malloy, our thanks for being with us here on a saturday. >> thank you.
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when it comes to health care, there is of course the human side to this political story and tonight we hear from a trump supporter who once hated obamacare but now needs it to survive. miguel marquez reports. >> if is the largest welfare program ever proposed by republicans. >> some republicans outright rejecting the plan to replace obamacare. democrats, too. >> this is what you've come up with? this is a bad joke. >> the bill under fire from both sid sides, americans like tiff tif kaler. >> could you have aforforded th chemo without being on that
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program? >> no. >> she doesn't like obama's individual mandate. >> when we all wanted to strive to make america great again, he would say. we can't do that if we're struggling to pay bills. >> reporter: three years ago she had insuranemployer-based insurd then lost her job. she ran for office and then really bad news. cancer, stage four, hodgkins lymphoma. >> was it difficult to rely on the government for health care? >> well, not necessarily. i -- it was life or death for
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me. >> reporter: the american cancer society estimates today there are some 1.5 million americans with cancer on medicaid. >> anyone who is in the medicaid expansion, who are really the lowest income americans and many of them are cancer patients as well, including childhood cancer patients, are going to be losers. >> reporter: the center on budget and policy priorities estimates the gop plan will gut more than a half trillion in federal medicaid spending over a decade. for people like tiffany taylor with a preexisting condition, her health care costs already over a million dollars -- >> people have to be able to get to their doctors, people have to be able to get their medicine. and out of any country in the world, we should be doing it. weep should be doing it right. >> reporter: miguel marquez, cnn, milwaukee, wisconsin. >> coming up, joy turns into shock as a family gets too different decisions from an immigration agent.
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>> i couldn't breathe. i was choked up. i couldn't talk at all. >> a family's reaction as their mother is told she must leave the country. various: (shouting) heigh! ho! ( ♪ ) it's off to work we go!
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♪ proud to be from the virgin islands. ♪ ♪ and the whole place nice. to experience your virgin islands nice, go to one of 46 federal attorneys who refused to step down at the request of president trump has been fired. up until today preet bharara was one of the most high-profile federal prosecutors in the country and had originally been told by the president he would be able to keep his job. preet bharara said earlier "today i was fired from my position as u.s. everyone to for the southern district of new york. serving my country as u.s. attorney here for the past seven years will forever be the greatest honor of my professional life, no matter what else i do or how long i live." joining me to discuss, republican strategies alice stewart. i want to read part of the state
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from senator patrick leahy, a democrat from vermont, as we're getting reaction to this latest development. "the abrupt friday night fire are of aucll remaining u.s. attorneys is another reminder that the independence of the justice department is at risk under this administration. alice, what's rereaction to that? >> there's no disputing preet bharara's credentials in taking and wall street and fighting description, but the fact remains that president trump was completely within his authority to let all the u.s. attorneys go. bill clinton did the same thing, firing more than 90 u.s. attorneys at the drop of a hat. that's not uncommon to do so.
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this was an important step, the president wants his own team. the fact remains he's completely in his authority to do so and this will be a good step to getting jeff sessions a loyal, committed team of u.s. attorneys standing behind him. >> when you say a loyal, committed team, these people are public servants who are nonpartisan in how they are approaching investigations. isn't that the case with these positions? >> absolutely. and they also at the same time are appointed by the president and serve at the will of the president. this is not anything unusual for him to bring in his own team of u.s. attorneys and for u.s. attorney jeff sessions to have his own team. so there should be no disputing the fact this is certainly within the president's authority. >> when you hear somebody like a democrat patrick leahy questioning the integrity essentially of this justice department, is that fair?
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>> i think it's totally fair because you have to question the timing and nature of this. it seems that president trump takes his cues from sean hannity and fox news who asked for a personali turji purging of the attorneys because president trump and jeff sessions validated preet bharara and asked him to stay on. the whole question of royalty resembles that of russia. so the timing of this is very suspect and especially the fact that, look, jeff sessions has recused himself from any investigation into russia, it it's -- he lied twice about meeting russian investigators, you have the michael flynn scandal, you have donald trump who talked about this wiretap, where he has no evidence and you
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have the leakiest administration in modern history. one would assume donald trump would stick to his own guns and be consistent but in the past week he is again showing himself to be very inconsistent, very thin skinned and very fickle in taking his crews from sean hannity instead of common sense and precedence. i think all people, republicans, democrats should be very wary if you have yes men and yes women and loyalists in positions that should be independent. >> i don't know where your reference to sean hannity comes in and how it has anything to do with this. the president is executing the power of the president -- >> well, the timing is kind of interesting, alice, when sean hannity says something about cleaning house in these attorney positions the day before this actually happens. >> that's irrelevant. the fact remains there are 93 u.s. attorneys, the president has the authority to fire them at any time he wants to and bring in a u.s. torn that he wants to have in his
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administration. and jeff sessions will do a great job now with the people that are appointed by this president and that will ensure that justice will be executed under the trump administration in a way that he sees fit. and the timing of this is absolutely irrelevant. the fact that he has the authority to do so is the main point. >> the timing is so suspect, alice. the timing is so suspect because why did donald trump validate preet bharara, ask him to stay on? there were press conferences, jeff sessions asked him to stay on and after sean hannity asks for a quote unquote purging, preet bharara is fired. >> they have come in before and replaced u.s. attorneys. so that's not uncommon. the fact that preet bharara is coming out and making kind of a stink about it, why not just
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resign like the other 45 attorneys appear to be doing in this case? >> look, i'm a recovering attorney and good for preet for standing up for himself, for standing up for what i think is a very shady and very i think just slimy move by jeff sessions and donald trump. it an act of resistance. he said you asked me to stay on, i've done a great job, i have validation by republicans and democrats and i'm not going to resign, you fire me. now donald trump all of a sudden is back pedaling for no reason whatsoever and the timing is suspect because he does it right after sean hannity asks for a purging. this should make people be very suspect and concerned what we don't have the right people doing the job, we have loyalists who might be too biased in favor of party and politics offer security of country. >> let's talk about timing because we do know president trump had asked preet bharara to stay on his position back in november so why this about face?
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>> that's the $64,000 question and i agree with raj in that there were concerns about the timing of it but the fact that the president assured bharara back in november that he would stay on and now there's a change of face, that's a concern, i understand that. and i understand when jeff sessions originally told the 45 u.s. attorney, please tender your resignation as per the president, i can see where he was first hesitant because he was first assured by the president he could stay on. but once the word came down from the president that he was fired, he should take that for what it's worth. he got a tremendous career and won't have a problem with his next move but once the president says you're fired, that it, he should move on. >> what are people to believe if the president says i want you to stay on in one hand and then
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turns around and does what happened like we saw today, is that concerning about what the president's word means. >> yes, it very concerning. because there's no consistency and there's no justification, no reasoning here whatsoever given for this. it's abrupt. especially for a president accused of being reckless and thin skinned, especially with his tweets two months in to do this, on top of an interesting claim that obama wiretapped him. i don't think that's good for the presidency or for the administration. >> alice, i'll let you have the last word here. >> i think to question the president's mental state is little ridiculous here. one person support preet bharara's initial decision to
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stay on but once he got the official word his services are no longer needed, that's the time where you pack up your bags and look for the next opportunity. >> thank you very much for offering your thoughts on this. >> still to come, syrian president sending a message to u.s. troops arriving in syria saying you are not welcome here. why he doubts the u.s. can beat isis next. you're live in the cnn newsroom. . right now, get 2 lines of unlimited data for $100 bucks taxes and fees included. 2 lines, $100 dollars. all in, all unlimited. switch today.
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we're following disturbing news out of syria tonight. the already war-torn country now suffering from twin bombings rocking the capital city of
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damascus. at least 40 people are dead, more than 100 others injured, most of them iraqi civilians, this as iraqi's president slams u.s. troops in syria. >> any foreign troops coming to syria without our consultation or permission, they are invaders. and we don't think this is going to help. >> so he called u.s. troops invaders. cnn's correspondent ben wedeman is following developments in the east. he joins us from iraq. >> the twin suicide bombers left more than 40 people dead, around 120 wounded. it turns out most of the victims were iraqi pilgrims going to shi'a shrines and a cemetery in the old city of damascus. now, it's not clear at this point who was behind these
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bombings, but given the identity, the nationality of the victims and also the location of the attack, it's more than likely that the attackers were indeed meanwhile, syrian president bashar al assad gave an interview to chinese journalists in which he said he and president donald trump share a common view when it comes to fighting terrorism. and fake news. he also went on to say that american troops in syria, there without the permission of the government in damascus, are considered to be invaders. that doesn't necessarily mean that the syrian government is going to do anything about it. syria, backed by russia, hezbollah and iran, as well as the united states, which is backing arab and kurdish fighters, as well as turkey, which is backing factions of the free syrian army, all say they
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want to take part in the liberation of the de facto capital of isis in syria, raqqa. how that's going to work out is anybody's guess. anna? >> ben wedeman, thank you very much. up next, a family facing an unknown future as they meet with an immigration agent. cnn's rosa flores tells us what happened in that meeting.
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in chicago, a mother of four facing possible deportation after nearly two decades here in the u.s. her children grapple with confusion and fear as they prepare to go to their mother's crucial meeting with an immigration agent. >> reporter: this woman is physically ill before she checks in with her immigration officer, fighting back tears at breakfast. >> she says that her biggest fear is that her daughter is going to get sick if she gets deported. >> reporter: the mother of four u.s.-born children has been showing up with regular check-ins with i.c.e. for 12 years. but this is the first since donald trump has been in office. >> i'm feeling a little anxious, but a little confident. >> she says she has faith.
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>> reporter: while her entire family is in the u.s. legally. francis ka tried to use a fake visa nearly 20 years ago to enter the united states when she later applied for a green card and her previous use of a phony document was discovered, she was detained. memories of the moment cripple her mother-in-law. francisca was released after 28 days on the condition that she check in with i.c.e. regularly, a requirement for low-risk immigrants. as she and her family make the 90-minute drive to downtown chicago, the tension is rising. her pastor waiting with a warning. >> they're acting very aggressive. and out of character. >> reporter: security guards ask us to turn off our cameras as she walks inside with her attorney. about an hour later, she emerges with a glowing smile after being told she can stay one more year.
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but moments later -- >> they're calling her back in. why? >> reporter: confusion. then fear, as i.c.e. calls her back inside. >> has this ever happened before? >> no, never. but we'll see. i think it will be fine. >> reporter: fighting back tears, she walks into the federal building again. >> i couldn't breathe. i was choked up. i couldn't talk at all. >> reporter: in a stunning turn, i.c.e. tells her she is in fact being deported in july. and must return to the i.c.e. office with a ticket back to mexico. >> they call us back up and say -- it's not fair. >> reporter: her attorney said this is why undocumented immigrants are living in fear of president trump's policy. >> under obama, this wouldn't have happened, yeah, we would have -- because this was the whole point of obama's policy was discretion. she's clearly not a danger to the community.
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you're in the "cnn newsroom." great to have you with us on this saturday. we have eyes on two major and moving news stories this evening. both involving the trump white house. first, brand-new details about this man, jonathan tran, depicted here, arraigned today in federal court for jumping the white house fence, and almost making it to an entrance where the president was inside. how he did it. the charges against him. and the dangerous stuff in his backpack. we'll go live to the white house. also, this man, the u.s. attorney representing manhattan, the white house told him to resign. he told them fire me. that standoff is now over. this afternoon, now former u.s. attorney ferrara released a statement saying in part, today i was fired from my position as u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york. serving my country as u.s. attorney here for the past seven years will forever be the greatest honor of my professional life, no matter what else i do or how long i
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live. sources say ferrara was particularly blindsided by this announcement by the justice department. the order that the 45 other u.s. attorneys resign, and him, not just because it came with such little warning, but because he was included at all. you see, bharara met with president trump just months ago at trump tower. a source familiar with this meeting said not only did the president ask him to stay on the job, he then told him to go out and tell the cameras about their conversation. here's bharara just minutes after that meeting. >> the president-elect asked presumably because he's a new yorker -- [ inaudible ] -- to discuss whether or not i would be prepared to stay on as united states attorney, to do the work as we've done it, independently, without fear of favor for the last seven years. we had a good meeting.