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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  April 18, 2017 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT

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nuclear capable warplanes dangerously close to the united states. was it a test of president trump? as relations between the kremlin and the white house nose dive. and praising a power grab. new questions tonight about president trump's call to congratulate the turkish president on a controversial election win. other western leaders are keeping their distance fearing a key u.s. ally may be heading toward dictatorship. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." >> tonight, the u.s. military is on the brink of testing its ability to shoot down north korea's missiles, a move that could help deter kim jong-un's nuclear threats or possibly provoke him even more. the two tests set for next month come as a north korean official as warning that the regime plans to launch missiles every week,
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defying warnings by the trump administration that its nuclear weapons program won't be tolerated. the pentagon also is responding to a new taunt by russia. that a time of rising tensions. u.s. fighter jets intercepting two of moscow's nuclear capable bombers off the coast of alaska. it's the first time that the kremlin sent warplanes so close to the united states since president trump took office. also tonight, a stark new warning by the head of homeland security. that the risk after terror attack on american soil is worse today than it was on 9/11. secretary john kelly citing 37 isis linked plots to attack the united states sips 2013. this hour, i'll talk with democratic congressman, a member of the armed services committee. and our correspondents and analyst are also standing by. but first we have breaking news on the fbi investigation of russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible connections to trump
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associates. our justice correspondent evan perez broke the story along with man mamu raju. >> last year part of the justification to get approval trump with carter page. comey cited the dossier in some briefings to members of congress in recent weeks. along as sources of the information that is used to bolster its investigation. this includes approval from the secret court that overseas the foreign intelligence surveye /* surveyens act. the fbi and justice department would have to show probable cause that he was acting of an agent of a foreign power including clandestine intelligence dwajerring for a foreign government.
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other top justice department officials would have had to sign off on that request. last year page was identified by the trump campaign as an adviser on national security matters. though it has since said he had limited interaction with the campaign as a volunteer. >> evan, how surprising is it that this was even done? >> it is surprising. because comey's briefings to lawmakers stands in contrast to the efforts in recent months by the bureau and u.s. intelligence agencies to try to distance themselves from that dossier. u.s. law enforcement and intelligence officials have said that u.s. investigators did their own work, separate from the dossier, to support the findings that russia tried to meddle in the 2016 presidential election in favor of donald trump. now our sources say that comey hasn't mentioned the dossier in all of these law-maker briefings. >> carter page himself would not beware that this is going on, right? >> that's right. page has been scrutinize bred in a 2013 investigation of a
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russian spy ring including descriptions of interactions that he had with one of the alleged spies. now page denies he knew they were russian agents. he gave a speech highly critical of u.s. policy on russia. that speech draw the attention of the fbi according to u.s. officials we've been talking to. raising concerns that page perhaps was having contact with suspected russian operatives. page said he took the trip independently and compressed his own views and overall disputed anything was illegal in his interactions with russians. he did send a statement and in that statement page says quote, i look forward to the privacy act of 1974 lawsuit that i plan to file in response to the civil rights violations by obama administration appointees last year. the discovery process will of great value to the united states as our nation hears testimony from them under oath that and we receive disclosure of the documents which show what exactly was done in 2016, wolf.
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he is pointing to obama administration officials that he says are pushing these russian allegations. >> you know, i'm sure you will appreciate this because if this was going on, evan, during the election, democrats will almost certainly complain that comey, james comey, fbi director, spoke about the fbi's investigation of hillary clinton during the election campaign. but never spoke about this. >> right, exactly. that's a criticism we've heard repeatedly from democrats, wolf. the explanation that comey has given both to lawmakers and people he has talked to about this is that in contrast to the clinton investigation which was in his view and fbi's view a done investigation wrapped up, finished. the trump investigation was just getting started last july and certainly was not done by the time the election came around. >> interesting stuff. good reporting. thanks very much, evan perez and your entire team for that report. now threats coming from north korea and u.s. military's
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response. let's go to the pentagon correspondent barbara starr. what are you learning? >> reporter: kb evening, wolf. the u.s. military add long-standing program for missile defense for countries like north korea and iran but two key upcoming tests next month are get something renewed attention. there will be two tests over the pacific. clearly aimed at both iran and north korea but very much looking very newsy for the north koreian threat at this point. one is a missile on board ship, improved missile, a better warhead and bigger booster and if it all works it will allow the navy to target north korea from further distances away. the second test will be one for homeland defense. ground based interceptor launching out of vanderburg air force base in california trying to hit a target high over the pacific ocean. this will be very directly aimed at whether the u.s. can defend against an incoming
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intercontinental ballistic missile something that fears north korea is working on. that program right now has about a 50% success rate. so they have a real urgent desire, let's say, to get that program very much improved. get them really able to defend the homeland against incoming threats. wolf? >> there is also confusion. syria's confusion, barbara, about deployment of u.s. warships, strike force, we were told they were heading toward the korean peninsula but they weren't. what else can you tell us? >> by all accounts, miscommunication between the white house and the pentagon. let's put it this way, u.s. navy always knew where its aircraft carrier was, right? this aircraft carrier group stopped off australia to do a number of naval exercises. but that was even as the pentagon was announcing it was headed towards the western pacific and the white house and pentagon pretty much let stand
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the impression, if you will, that it would be somewhere off the korean peninsula. this aircraft carrier group at the best of times, a show of force against north korea. the carrier has no offensive realistic capability against a north korean threat. it was part of the messaging of the military to send it up that way. but still it stopped off australia. surprising a lot of people that it would make a stop along wait. cnn having reported that several days ago, wolf. >> good point. pentagon meanwhile also responding to a new military encounter with russia. tell us about that. >> that was yesterday. russians for the first time in a couple of years sending their bombers off the coast of alaska. about a hundred miles off of alaska. u.s. maintains air patrols up there all the time. they saw them coming. two u.s. air force f 22 aircraft went out. met the russian planes. some other u.s. planes showed up. and they basically escorted the
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russians who turned around and escorted them out of the area. the russians definitely pinging, if you will, at a u.s. response. not clear yet. it was a full-on provocation but they had not done it up in that region for some time. wolf? >> reminiscent of the battle days of the cold war. thank you very much for that. vice president pence meanwhile says north korea is getting the message that united states won't stand for its reckless nuclear activity. it is a message pence personally delivered during his visit to north korea's heavily armed border with south korea. cnn's chief political correspondent dana bash is the only network television reporter traveling with the vice president on his asian tour. she is reporting for us tonight from tokyo. dana? >> reporter: wolf, the vice president initially planned this ten-day asia trip to focus on economic discussions. but that was been overshadowed
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with back and forth about and now with north korea. mike pence is now in japan. but warnings for north korea while at the militarized zone sending poyongyang scrambling t respond. >> the north koreans have noticed what you've been saying while here in asia. in fact deputy ambassador to the u.n. from north korea said that you and the administration, but clearly responding to your words. >> it has been created a dangerous situation in which the nuclear war may break out at any moment on the peninsula. and stretch the war, peace and security. >> would you like to respond to that? >> my hope is that the wider world and that leadership in north korea is listening to what president trump and the world community is saying. >> north korea's deputy u.n. ambassador also made this accusation. >> the united states is disturbing global peace and stability and insisting on the
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gangster like logic. >> reporter: are you concerned that what you are saying is being taken in north korea as saber rattling despite the fact you are also talking about diplomacy? >> i think what president is concerned about, what countries that we've visited are concerned about, are the reckless and irresponsible actions of the regime in pyongyang. the time has really come pour north korea to get the message as the president says, it is time for them to behave. to listen to the world communities and to set aside their nuclear ambitions, ballistic missile ambitions. and be willing to join the family of nations. and for my part, in some odd way, it is encouraging that they are getting the message. >> north korea definitely heard, though it's unclear whether they got the message. or how this new trump administration rhetoric translates into practical
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policy. japanese prime minister shinzo abe urged caution. >> translator: it goes without saying that it is a matter of paramount importance for us to seek diplomatic efforts as well as peaceful settlement of the issue. at the same time, dialogue for the sake of dialogue is valueless. >> with north korea only 650 miles across the sea of japan, where pyongyang often tests missiles, the japanese have perpetual jitters. pence promising solidarity. . >> president trump is determined to work closely with japan, south korea, with all our ally nets region and with china. which a peaceful resolution and denuclearization of the korean peninsula. >> that sounds a lot like the so-called six-party talks more than a decade ago during the bush administration that failed to stop north korea's nuclear program. the question now for the trump administration is how this
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approach will be any different. wolf? >> dana bash reporting for us from tokyo. thank you. joining us, congressman, democrat of the house armed services committee. congressman, thank you for joining us. >> good to be with you. >> first let's discuss the story cnn broke right at the top of the hour and fbi using that trump dossier to get a fisa warrant for carter page. what is your reaction to that? does it suggest that at least some of the context of that dossier were verified by the fbi? >> i think, yes. the answer would be yes. it would not be able to go to the fisa court with only that. they today back it up with additional information. and apparently succeeded in getting additional information. and getting the warrant. and whatever additional information they gathered as a result of that we'll find. one thing, it's absolutely apparent to me and should be to all-americans is that this cannot be handled by congress.
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there has to be an independent committee set-up outside of all of the politics of congress so we can get to the bottom of an exceptionally important part of the american democracy. >> senate intelligence committee is investigating house intelligence committee is investigating. fbi is also investigating. you heard james comey say there is a criminal investigation under way. isn't that enough? >> no. it's not. the two congressional investigations are tainted with politics. it eat nature of us. nature of those people that are in congress and senate. rarely are we able to push aside the politics and get down to what is really going on. the american people have to have trust in the investigation. the house investigation is purely tainted. the senate is some what better off. but let's get an independent organization in place. >> i want to move on. do you have confidence in your fbi investigation, congressman? >> let's just say i'm hopeful. >> what does that mean?
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doesn't sound like you have a lot of confidence in the fbi director, james comey. >> i want comey to prove us to that he will carry this out. he appeared in a classified session with us and frankly most democrats were very, very disappointed with what he had to say. so this is his opportunity to prove himself, to prove that the fbi is capable, is not going to be partisan one way or the other. but will get to the facts. however, given the fbi is not necessary those facts will ever be made public and that's why an independent investigation, making all of the facts, investigation, whether it is or is an problem, we fwheed to know, the fbi may never be able to or may not want to reveal that, more do they have to. >> let's shift to north korea. trump administration saying miscommunication is to blame for the uss carl vinson, aircraft carrier and entire battle group. not necessarily sent to korean peninsula. even the defense secretary
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claiming it was moving toward the korean peninsula. can the united states afford a miscommunication like that when dealing with a threat from north korea? >> no. cannot. this is one of the fundamental problems of this administration. this last five days, we have seen the administration shift positions on fundamental issues at least five major fundamental issues they have shifted positions on. so the world doesn't really know what they mean. this is one for example, call it miscommunications, which i suppose it is, but the rest of the world says what is going on over there. do they have any idea what they are doing? one day it is yes, next day is no. people in between are wondering. with regard it korea, it is a very, very dangerous situation. you talk about a hair trigger, that's what exists on the korean peninsula. >> dmz, maybe the most dangerous spot on earth right now. you're on the armed services committee. as you know, pentagon describes
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missile defense system tested in may as having what they call limited capability to defend the u.s. homeland from north korean intercontinental ballistic missiles and says only about half of the test so far of this system have been successful. are american defenses keeping up with what is seen as growing threat from kim jong-un? >> well, at the present time, the answer is yes. and insofar as intercontinental ballistic missiles are concerned. we have a sufficient number of missiles while one or another might miss. we can fire off significant and we can deterror take down a limited, limited number of missiles and for some time north korea will not have either intercontinental ballistic missile or nuclear warhead that can be placed on that missile. so we're talking about some time in the future where this will be a real situation at the moment
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the loest mikely way of delivering a nuclear weapon to the united states is on the fishing boat into one of our ports. not on intercontinental ballistic missile at least in the near term. >> question is, definition of near term. congressman, stand by. we have a lot more to discuss. there are new developments coming into "the situation room." we'll be right back. why pause a spontaneous moment? cialis for daily use treats ed and the urinary symptoms of bph. tell your doctor about your medicines, and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sex. do not take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, or adempas® for pulmonary hypertension, as this may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. do not drink alcohol in excess. to avoid long-term injury, get medical help right away for an erection lasting more than four hours. if you have a sudden decrease or loss of hearing or vision, or an allergic reaction, stop taking cialis
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correspondent. michelle, president trump says he has no regrets to his congratulations call to president ergowan. >> what we are seeing is this odd almost good cop bad cop dynamic with president trump being the only western leader to call turkish president erd want and congratulate him. but the state department saying there are problems here. >> turkish president saying his divisive razor thin national referendum when now means he has sweeping powers but tells cnn in an exclusive interview he is not a dictator. >> were dictatorship to exist you don't have to have a presidential system. >> outside observers suspect a rigged election and that this is more about ergowan gaining
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power. only western leader to call erdogan and congratulate him. it happened in the state of emergency after last year's coup attempt after erdogan suspended or fired a hundred thousand people, including teachers earn journalists and jailed tens of thousands of others. today a trump administration official tells cnn the president is aware of all of that. on the other hand turkey is a vital nato ally in the counterterrorism field. if your policy is america first and protecting america there are times when you're going to be picking from some imperfect options. still, zero european leaders joining trump in contacting erdogan. others who congratulated him were hamas, qatar and bahrain. >> the president made a decision to continue to reinforce our
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relationship with turkey given the cirqucumstances of facing is on the ground. >> the president's own state department that sounded the alarm about democracy in a statement. concerns include observed irregularities on voting day and uneven playing field. we look at the government of turkey to protect the fundamental right and freedoms of allity citizens. commitment to the rule of law and diverse and free media. trump though has praised strong man leaders like vladimir putin. critics question whether trump's own business interest in turkey prevent him pushing back against erdogan's tactics. trump admitted in the 2015 interview with steve bannon at breitbart news. >> i have a little conflict of interest because i have a major, major building in istanbul that it is a tremendously successful job. it is called trump towers. they are incredible people. they have a strong leader. >> he congratulated erdogan does not sit well with the turks that did not vote for erdogan and are
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very upset that an election that looks rigged will get a seal of approval from the united states. >> c >> saying that trump was t protecting american interests on the call and working together. it should be said that obama administration also at times struggled with the administration. after the coup attempt, after erdogan was dealing with tens of thousands, they refused to talk about it. it was after several questions that they finally admitted, okay we have concerns. >> let's get back to congressman. it seems to be an implication that speaking out on the shift towards authoritarianism in turkey would hold out in the fight against isis. do you believe this is an either/or situation?
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>> no, not at all. i think the white house is correct that trump is protecting an american interest in istanbul. clearly president trump has a serious conflict of interest in everything tha goes on in turkey and this isn't the first example of where he has weighed in to turkish issues that ultimately come to his benefit and interview with bannon is pretty good example where he admits his own conflict. this speaks to the larger issue of just who and what is trump protecting. now in the larger sense turkey is an extremely important part of the american nato system. also extremely important in the fight against isis. not without serious difficulties in what to do with the kurds who we support. that is the syrian kurds in their effort to go after isis. the turks clearly oppose that and so this conflict has yet to be worked out. one of the reasons that things seem to stall in the attack on
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raqqa is that this issue between turkey, kurds, syrian kurds and united states has not yet been worked out. >> certainly hasn't. so what message do you believe, congressman? president trump's reaction to this referendum sends to other foreign leaders? >> well it sends, don't worry about democracy. you won't get anything from the white house about democracies, civil rights and the rest. take the fill teenphilippines. the president has been quiet about what is going on in the philippines with duterte and duterte sent his personal assist tount the white hou ant to the white house and mr. trump's assistant. is this personal business or the american business? it's not clear in my mind these questions are raised multiple times across the entire world
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and then the ivanka trump issue receiving two additional trade marks after meeting with xi at mara largo. what is that all about? this woman at the time was a white house aide. she was an employee of the u.s. government, of the american people. meeting personally with the president of china? and then getting a little goody on the hands like a trade mark? these are real serious questions about conflict of interest at the highest level of the american government and by the way, happens to be the way in which business is conducted in china. or at least was conducted in china. favoritism to the powerful. we can't have that in america. but we're beginning to see that. in many, many ways with this white house. by the way, we really out tut h the tax returns so we can know exactly what the returns are.
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>> how did the u.s. officials get the location of u.s. warships wrong and did president trump oversell it as a show of force aimed at kim young un? and the president's american message, is it resonating at a time when many americans don't think he is keeping his promises. re close to the people you love, does psoriasis ever get in the way of a touching moment? if you have moderate to severe psoriasis, you can embrace the chance of completely clear skin with taltz. taltz is proven to give you a chance at completely clear skin. with taltz, up to 90% of patients had a significant improvement of their psoriasis plaques. in fact, 4 out of 10 even achieved completely clear skin. do not use if you are allergic to taltz. before starting you should be checked for tuberculosis. taltz may increase your risk of infections and lower your ability to fight them. tell your doctor if you are being treated for an infection or have symptoms.
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physicaling breaki following breaking news. cnn learned there was a dossier of ties trump administration secretly checking on carter page. does this dossier to get the fisa warrant mean that they have -- the fbi has at least confirmed parts of the dossier? >> that's clear. i looked that dossier and i thought it was more than rumors. you cannot go to a federal judge. that the judge that signs off on a fisa warrant with what amount to rumors. if they are using this dossier as backup for a fisa, there has to be either validation of the information in the dossier or additional information for example from intercepts or from human sources who talked about people like carter page it back up. relying on that dossier alone i think would get you thrown out of the fisa court, wolf. >> another story we are
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following, john kirby, whole issue of the carl vinson, battle force strike force as they call it move willing toward the korean peninsula when it was moving in the opposite direction towards australia with the pentagon, white house, president and leaving the impression that that carrier was moving toward the korean peninsula to make a statement towards kim jong-un. now they say a miscommunication. you're a former pentagon spokesman. you're not supposed to do that. >> no, you're not. but i have talked to folks in the military of the pentagon and out west and they acknowledge that from a communications perspective, they could have done a better job being more clear and more concise about movements and where she was going and what she was doing. they did truncate with the australians, shortened the start date to get her and her escorts moving north and now they are. the larger message about what naval forces can bring to bear, that not lost on the north
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koreans. so it was a miscommunication. the military folks owned up to that but the larger thing, larger deterrant operation is still -- >> you know, wolf, you have to wonder and maybe you can answer this question, if we would have known about it, if the new york times hadn't discovered it and you know whether the pentagon would have own had up to this and said oops we made a mistake and misinformed the white house which is what i think occurred or whether this, this would have remained sort of an unknown, and then you know, what we thought was sort after little bit of saber rattling wasn't occurring. >> it wasn't occurring as fast as people thought. they did mick a mistake. >> what does it say, phil, about the credibility of the commander-in-chief if anything? >> i think it says two things. number one on facts, credibility on national security is slipping. 90 days in and chance after four-year turn.
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we went through the susan rice debacle where he accused her of violating a law. she didn't. accusing the former president of bugging trump tower. fbi director today come out and say we didn't. in this case we have, an lie, but quick judgment of fact. and wolf it is on decisiveness. white house want to point to the president to be the man who makes the choices. he did on syria. they are fudgy on his role on big bomb in afghanistan and i doubt his role was central on that and in this wun they move quickly to try to prove the commander-in-chief is making decisions. in the future when they talk about decisive decisions, we ought to question them. >> can the administration afford questions about this, mistake, blunder, miscommunication on such a sensitive situation? >> clearly in this case it worked out fine. they made a mistake. they fessed up. we move on from here. but you know, if the stakes had been higher, if intentions were more intense, who knows what
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could happen and who knows what could happen in the future if we are in similar circumstances or more intense circumstances. words matter in international relation answers diplomacy and certainly when other countries are trying to interpret what the united states is doing, with what our next move will be. what president is saying and what administration is saying, those things matter. so who knows what this could mean in the future. fortunately this time, the consequences were pretty slow. >> i think any, you know, any attempt to communicate before branches of government should go more smoothly than this did. it undermines the public faith in your policy when have you a mistake like this and i don't want to overdraw it but i think it undermines people's faith. then you look at the problems that for example the state department talking about the i regularity in the turkish election and the president
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calling erdogan and c congratulating him. there are two part of the government sending different signals. that confuses people. >> and now we're learning from the pentagon that there was a close encounter, an very good encounter, that russian bombers got very close to the alaska border and that u.s. air force fighter jets today go up and intercept those planes and tell them get out of here. >> i think people are making too much of this one wolf. talking to folks at the pentagon, if there is an intercept, this is the kind you want to see. >> but there shouldn't even be an intercept. russians should know they aren't getting that close. >> i'm not defending russian action here. clearly they are prodding and poking. that's what they've been doing. but we do the same thing. we fly the surveillance and reconnaissance flights off russia too. this was safest professional. in international airspace. nobody got hurt. and you know, no secrets
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national security secret were violated here in any major way. i think again -- >> and with the air force jets to intercept and good out there and tell them to turn around, they learn from these kind of encounters as they used to learn during the cold war. >> sure. but i hate to do this, i have to agree with the military, intel guys hate that. here is the point here. i think in a couple cases recently we have seen coverage of these incidents in this case a russian incident. let's go back to the president authorizing strike on syria and we try to reach so much into tea leaves. i don't think that means this much. it's been going on forever. we fire 59 tea lamps into syria. one serious incident. and that's some huge sea change in the policy and i don't think so.
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i think the president wanted to take a pop because of chemical weapons and now we are trying to make sure he takes a u-turn in syria. i don't think so. >> all right. i know what you think of phil mud. stand by. >> president trump travels to wisconsin to sign a buy american hire american order. could that back fire on american consumers? cnn will ripley tells us about the 11th trip to north korea where kim jong-un's regime put on an extraordinary and ominous display of military might. regardless of age... if a paint could give any surface stunning new life... ...is it still paint? regal select exterior from benjamin moore®. he's a nascar champion who's she's a world-class swimmer who's stared down the best in her sport. but for both of them, the most challenging opponent was... pe blood clots in my lung. it was really scary. a dvt in my leg.
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tonight president trump has taken action in the usa and to promote his agenda as well. he was in wisconsin a state critical to his president recall victory. jeff, the president taking a brief road trip. as that pivotal 100-day mark get closer and closer. >> wolf, a brief road trip indeed. president trump spent about an hour and five ka noesha. he came to implement his hire american, buy american. they have that 100-day mark which comes at the end of next
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week. he came to sign an executive order. an piece of legislation that would turn this into law. president trump trying to rejuvenate and jump-start his agenda. >> i'm thrilled to be back in wisconsin. >> the president signing an executive order to buy american and hire american. turning to a call from the campaign trail to put a priority on u.s. workers. >> a policy of our government is to aggressively promote and use american-made goods. and to ensure that american labor is hired to do the job. >> yet also another reminder he is still signing executive orders, not lengs lags that would turn his campaign pledges into laws. tonight, a new gallup poll fines that 43% of americans think trump is keeping his promises. down 17 point from 62% two months ago. as 100-day mark of the trump presidency approaches, the white house is short on actual
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accomplishments. the president acknowledged the frustration today. given the collapse of his health care plan and the uncertainty facing other priorities like tax reform. >> we have to get the health care taken care of. and as soon as health care takes care of, we will march very equitil quickly. we will surprise you. >> president trump visiting wisconsin for the first time since taking office. touring headquarters of snap on tool company, talking about the core of his winning coalition last year. >> god bless the american worker. >> in november trump carried wisconsin by the slimmest of margins winning on a message of restoring american jobs. >> we are living through the greatest jobs theft in the history of the world. that's what is happening to our country. >> he became the first republican to carry the state since ronald reagan's reelection in 1984.
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>> the best thing about wisconsin is you, our people. >> trump won in large part because of places like here in kenosha county. trump's message has changed since the election. that tough talk on china. >> we can't continue to allow china to rape our country and that's what they're doing. >> gone today as he enlists china with the help of north korea. >> we will do everything in our power to ensure more we're going to make mor product stamped with those wonderful words "made in the usa". >> that was a big difference in the president's message this afternoon versus his visits on the campaign trail. the rhetoric against china, softened now, much more
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diplomatic, if you will. called nafta a total disaster. one thing the president didn't say is what he plans to do about it, what kind of trade agenda he'll have. important to note here in kenosha, wisconsin, it is in speaker paulline ryan's district. he was not here today. he was traveling overseas. >> jeff zelly in wisconsin for us. thank you. just ahead we'll hear from will rippley. he's just back from his 11th trip to north korea where the regime celebrated its fourchders birthday with an ominous display of long-range missiles. [vo] quickbooks introduces jeanette
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. former president george h.w. bush is hospitalized in houston tonight. the spokesman says the 92-year-old was treated for a mild case of pneumonia which has been resolved and he's now being held for observation while he regains his strength. back in january he was hospitalized for two weeks for treatment of pneumonia. we, of course, wish him a very speedy recovery. now back to the very tense situation on the crane peninsulas. kim jong un threatens nuclear tests in defiance of warnings by president trump. will ripley is joining us now live from tokyo. will, you were there when north korea put on that very dramatic parade of its military arsenal. what struck you most on this trip. >> reporter: you know, i was chatting with north korean officials at that parade and looking at the missiles rolling
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by, mockups, obviously, in the parade but seeing more missiles on display than north korea's ever shown before. i was asking the officials don't you think this is leading your country down the path of further hardship and isolation? their response was no. they said that they genuinely believe that these weapons of mass destruction are going to bring their country a better future because they're going to force the united states and the rest of the world to sit down and talk with north korea and figure something out. they believed genuinely -- they've been told their whole lives that the united states could at any time drop a nuclear bomb of them. that's what they've been told. as much as i told them it was unlikely the united states would drop a nuclear weapon on any country, they just don't believe that. they're saying they have faith in kim jong un. political dissent is not aloud,
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keep in mind. >> what changes have you observed over your many visits to north korea, will? >> reporter: it's interesting how much the pyongyang skyline has changed in a few years. this is one of the big pushes by kim jong un not just growing the nuclear arsenal but growing the skyline of pyongyang. he's ordered the construction of all these new js. he cut did ribbon for a 70-story building. they're trying to show that despite economic sanctions they can still create a modern city. some critics would say they're putting all their resources into pyongyang and leaving the rest of the 22 million people to the scraps. kim illustra sung. kim jong un put the monuments up and seems as if kim jong un is
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trying to create some of the more stylish buildings. >> what was it like to see kim jong un in person? >> well, it's always -- i've seen him a few times. it's remarkable just the buildup around him. the fact that there -- the music plays. there's this tune that the military band always plays. we saw him rolling up in his black mercedes limousine and he appears and everybody jumps up and down and goes wild. after he leaves they just stand still waiting for the cue in a it's ok to talk again. he's a pretty low energy kind of -- he's not jumping up and down. he's not trying to rally the troops. she's clapping in small movements, making a not very enthusiastic wave to the crowd. they're trying to show him just how much revolutionary fervor
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they can. >> amazing reporting from our will ripley. just wrapped up his 11th visit to pyongyang, north korea. thank you very much for all your excellent, excellent reporting. that's it for me. erin burnett "out front" starts now. >> up next, the referendum on president trump. foles closing in georgia. will a democrat win for the first time in nearly 40 years? plus more breaking news. new details about a dossier about russian ties to donald trump's campaign. also breaking, bill owe riley, his network not confirming that he'll be back on the air ever. let's go "out front." good evening. i'm erin burnett. most polls closing moments ago in the race the world is watching. voters in g

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