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tv   Wolf  CNN  April 19, 2017 10:00am-11:01am PDT

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hello, i'm wolf blitzer. it's 1:00 p.m. here in washington. wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us. up first, the white house fields questions about tensions with north korea, the iran nuclear deal and the outcome of a high profile special election in the "uss state of georgia while russian bombers have been spotted off the coast of alaska now for the second time within 24 hours. let's get details from our reporters. our pentagon correspondent barbara starr is joining us, senior white house correspondent jeff zeleny is with us, and ivan watson is joining from us seoul, south korea. barbara, what can you tell us about this latest incident much closer to alaska than the first incident involving these two russian bombers that were
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intercepted by u.s. fighter jets? >> reporter: wolf, the second incident in two days, this time these bear bombers flying within about 36 miles or so of the alaskan coastline. again account u.s. military runs regular air patrols up there where they have long range radars that watch for this sort of thing. they didn't come into u.s. air space but they sent up u.s. aircraft in response and they escorted them out of the area. the second incident? two days and we hadn't seen russian aircraft in that region for some time. they've been flying and being intercepted much further to the south. so the question is, is this the start of a new provocation campaign by the russians or are they just out there flying around essentially trying to ping the system, see what response they get from the u.s. military. u.s. military commanders noting all of this, not unduly
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concerned at had point but the just finding it all very curious and keeping an eye on the russians, wolf. >> i'm sure they are. stand by for a moment. jeff, i want to go to the white house. sean spicer trying to clear up the miscommunication over the "uss carl vinson," the aircraft carrier and the battle group that was directed to the coast of the korean peninsula. what's the latest? what are they saying over there? there clearly was a blornlg miscommunication last week. >> there was indeed. i'm not shooun sure sean spicer clear that up at all. he beak said the fault of this was on reporters and others for not asking specific questions about this. he stood by what the president said that said the aircraft carrier, the carl vinson was headed that direction. indeed, that is true because it is now heading that direction and will be flm position likely next week or so. but at the time, last week, sean
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spicer made very clear this was happening in realtime, that the white house believed that the carl vinson was heading that direction. he said this, wolf. he said that it was when you see a carrier group steaming into an area like that, the forward presence is clearly a sign of a deterrent. well, today, wolf he said we said it was heading there. we didn't say when it was heading there. not exactly clarifying this up. he did not take many questions from some news organizations including cnf. so we were not able to ask him if the president believed at the moment he said that the carl vinson was indeed heading that direction but sean spicer today i'm not sure sort of filled in the blanks or answered the questions that still exist over this fairly extraordinary matter. >> certainly is. stand by. ivan, you're in seoul, south korea. the white house press secretary said china is now taking what he described as positive steps in
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helping deal with the north korean nuclear tensions. what steps is he talking about? where do things stand right now? >> reporter: well, one of the steps was that the china has reduced coal imports and turned away reportedly some coal carrying ships that were coming from north korea to china. and that would theoretically deprive north korea of one of its key sources of foreign exchange which is very much needs. however, we have to parse that a little bit because china published some trade figures in the last weeking that have indicated that the bilateral trade excluding coal between the two countries surged nearly 40% within the first three months of this year. so far okay, coal may be out of the picture, but north korea is still doing a lot of trade through china, and those trade figures do seem to be growing. but that said, yes, the chinese foreign ministry spokesman did
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say that china was concerned about north korea's missile development activities and its nuclear development program, as well. both of which, of course, are banned by numerous united nations security council resolutions. wolf? >> one thing that potentially is significant, i believe, and ivan, you're there in the region, air china in recent days has suspended all of its flights from china to pyongyang, the north korean capital the official airline is the only airline bringing people in and out of north korea. that's a statement china is making suspending flights between china and north korea. >> that's right. a sign some of the levers that china could clearly tighten on north korea and something that u.s. administration, the current one and previous ones have called for and perhaps that's part of why our own will ripley
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and his cameraman and producer were stuck more than 12 hours trying to fly out of pyongyang within the last two days and reportedly it was due to weather problems but it could have been related to some of these new an apparent flight restrictions. but again, it comes back to what washington has been asking for for so long to please put some pressure on north korea and some of these measures are things that china has been reluctant to do. but now we're hearing more compliments coming from not only from sean spicer but also from vice president pence on his tour through the region. he just left japan just landed in indonesia. and he's been repeatedly calling on china to please do more and repeating that threat that has come from the trump administration that hey, if china's not going to do it, then we may be forced to go it alone. but the question of the location of this u.s. aircraft carrier
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strike group does raise some questions. we spent, wolf, more than ten days reporting essentially a false narrative about where that aircraft strike group was. that was a message repeated all throughout the region and was actually repeated also by north korea's ambassador to the united nations within the past 48 hours. a sign of how if there's miscommunication between departments of the government or deliberate kind of misleading of people about this, that that information then gets spread all the way, believe it or not, to the north korean regime which then repetitiouses it. >> raises serious questions about u.s. credibility in a situation, a day, situation like this. ivan watson, barbara starr, jeff zeleny, thanks very much. insight from our panel. cnn military and diplomatic analyst retired admiral john kirby with us, political analyst david gregory and senior political reporter nia-malika henderson. breaking news first to you, admiral kirby.
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for the second day in a row now, russian warplanes have gotten pretty close to alaska and were intercepted by u.s. planes in the process. yesterday, it was about 100 miles off the coast of alaska. today only about 36 nautical miles, much closer to alaska. i know you've been checking into this. what are you hearing. >> well, it's unclear whether they actually intercepted this flight or not. this is the same type of bombers flown yesterday. could be the same two for all we know. it is much closer than it was yesterday. about 36 miles or so off the coast reportedly. so it is difficult to understand intent here. it is not uncommon for the russians to fly bombers or surveillance aircraft off our coasts. in international air space such as this. however, they haven't done it in quite some time and now two in a row. >> that's worth looking into. i didn't get a sense from folks i talked to, this just happened. i didn't get a chance to get much of a sense that there's a great alarm but certainly this
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has got their attention and they're going to be looking more into it today. >> it happens once, all right. if it happens two days in a row, that's a bigger deal. let's get some more. >> potentially. >> that's right. david, the whole issue of the miscommunication involving the "uss carl vinson," the aircraft carrier battle group, it was actually moving towards australia for war games, if you will, for some exercises off the coast of australia. when the whole world thought it was moving towards the korean peninsula. listen to sean spicer just a few moments ago. >> what part is misleading? i'm trying to figure that out. we were asked a question about what signal it sent. we answered the question what signal it sent. i'm not the one who commented on time. >> what's misleading is people thought it was headed there now and now it's going to be there weeks later. >> again. i understand the question, right? but what i'm getting at is, it was announced that it was going. it will be there.
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we were asked simply a question on that. i think all other questions should be asked of the department of defense. >> you spent years as a white house correspondent. what did you think of that? >> well, the last piece of that is so interesting because dod screwed this up. that was where the miscommunication was. and the white house was not in a position to pull it back fast enough. or if they were, they decided not to. this seems to be more miscommunication, more error, but i think what's disconcerting about it is, you've got to be very careful. we're talking about russia. there's a lot of testing going off of the administration of the president's resolve and its military systems. in this regard, the fact that it was said to be headed there as there was a ramping up of the rhetoric against north korea at a time when north korea was potentially testing another missile, that timing becomes important. and so i don't think the administration wants to get into the business of ramping up
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rhetoric creating lines that shouldn't be crossed when they want to you know, use those in the future especially on arab as complicated as north korea. so i don't think you want to saber rattle when you're not doing that. you want to save it for when you mean to have the most effect. that got botched for reasons that aren't totally clear. >> it's a serious problem though because at a time when north korea, south korea, japan, the whole region was effectively for all practical purposes told that carrier strike force was moving towards the korean peninsula was actually moving in the opposite direction. >> that's right. this is something donald trump said and was used as yet another example of the way this white house was approaching difficult international situations. we had the syria strikes obviously and then with this north korea, this notion that this carrier was headed there had, the pentagon has said it was a miscommunication. you don't see the white house willing to take any blame here or to explain it any further.
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which in some ways is characteristic of this white house. but i think a difficult and sort of shifty moment for sean spicer there sort of saying oh, well, the press didn't ask the correct questions and then of course referring it to the dod. >> stop blaming the dod all the time. like that operation in yemen. you've got to take responsibility. this is your rhetoric, your actions. >> here's what the secretary of defense james mat dissaid earlier this morning. the vincent as i've said on the record was operating up and down the western pacific. and we were doing exactly what we said and that is we are shifting her instead of continuing one direction as she pulled out of singapore, she's going to continue part of her cruise down in that region but she was on her way up to korea. so we're doing exactly what we said we were going to do. she will be on her way.
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>> the aircraft carrier battle group is on the way to the korean peninsula now. but what about a week or ten days after we originally thought it would be there. >> this comes down to the issue of expectations and management and you know, she always was when admiral harris ordered her she was after this exercise going to head north. i think there was just not a good job -- >> they should have said, i'm a former pentagon correspondent, you're a former spokesman. they should have said the carl vinson will continue with its exercises near australia and then make a u t.u.r.n. and head towards the korean peninsula. >> if i had a nickel for every time i didn't do something completely thorough in terms of a press release or statement from the podium, i could buy all of us a couple cases of cokes. i mean, so i think this was at the outset, it wasn't very clear in terms of public relations messaging and the press release that was sent out about what she was doing. >> was that deliberate or just a mistake. >> i don't think it was deliberate. >> because it was a very tense
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time on the industry, big industry in north korea. people were bracing for another nuclear test. there was a ballistic missile test and presumably the u.s. wanted to accepted a message to north korea. >> i think it was deliberate they wanted to send a message she was moving into those waters. clearly that was a messaging opportunity. that decision was first made at the xwantent commander level not necessarily the white house level. all the details of it didn't get passed on. there was question about the exercise with taustralians. they had to accelerate it and curtail it. all that detail wasn't fleshed out. >> the case where you could take liberties where you could say you're the spokesman, even the president, you should obviously be accurate but you can see where the miscommunication kind of broke down to create thing that was more of an emergency and had more urgency on it when in fact that was the intention to send that message at a late
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later time. >> it was linger the problem because down the road, the next time there's a tense situation and the u.s. says something, people will say well, let's collect it out. >> it gets to credibility and gets to the competence of this white house. it gets to the sean spicer's i think credibility. we saw last week obviously he slipped up in talking about foreign policy. and so yeah, i think this is a white house experiencing growing pains and unwilling in many ways to admit those growing pains and to admit there was a communication mix-up. >> this is what we call in military a learning opportunity. i don't know that they'll have the same problems next time. >> when you were the pentagon spokesman, did you ever have an incident along these lines? >> no. i can't say that i had something quite similar to this, but look, there were lots of times in my navy service where especially as a pa where we didn't articulate something as clearly as we
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should have and had to provide more context. there were times when we didn't inform the white house accurately or timely in what we were doing and we got slapped back for that and appropriately. >> thanks very much, david kirby. coming up, sean spicer says president trump may get more involved in the upcoming georgia special election to assure a republican win in that state. while a republican senator calls the race a wake-up call. plus, vice president pence tells cnn that a health carrie peel and replace vote is in the works, that he's confident that it will eventually get passed. his exclusive interview with cnn's dana bash. that's come you do all this research on a perfect car, then smash it into a tree. your insurance company raises your rates.
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president trump says no administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days than he has. and just moments ago, the white house press secretary sean spicer said there's more to come. listen. >> number one, we're not done. we've got a little ways before we hit the 100-day mark. i think what you've seen out of this white house is a very robust agenda of activity. i think we're very pleased with what the president's accomplished in as you noted yesterday in wisconsin, the amount that he's done overall
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has been significant. >> the reality though is that the president gets an incomplete on many of his key promises. let's discuss this and more once again joining us our political analyst david gregory and senior political reporter nia-malika henderson nia, you have a piece out now the president has really these first 100 days been unable to get any of his major legislation pass inside the house and senate. >> you look at the activity in the house and senate. there's been no introduction of any major piece of legislation. the president today signed a bill dealing with veterans in terms of being able to count as an achievement in the first 100 days. you look at all the major pieces of legislation that the president talked about on the campaign trail, tax reform, health care reform, ripping up the iran deal, reforming nafta, none of those things. >> infrastructure. >> infrastructure, none of those things have been able to be move
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in any way that looks realistic like they're going to happen. the thing is, it's always the 100-day mark, it's the sort of media invention. it goes back to fdr. it is a useful metric in terms of comparing this president too sorry presidents. obama was at 65% approval rating after the first 100 days. he had the stimulus package, as well. this president i think lacking in terps of those major pieces of legislation. he said yesterday that you know, he's going to surprise us and maybe stuff will get done. time is ticking away tan it doesn't like there's much movement on any pieces of legislation. >> the special election yesterday in the state of georgia, the democrat jon ossoff almost reaching that 50% mark that he needed to avoid a runoff. didn't get there. he'll face a runoff in june with karen handel, the republican candidate. you see the results, 48.1. he needed 50% plus 1% in order
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to avoid the runoff. the president tweets dems failing. great job, karen handel. it is now hollywood versus georgia on june 20th. >> the trump spin so outside the raemt of reality. this was a real warning shot to republicans. you had an upstart democrat in a solidly red district doing a pretty good job. had to spend a lot of money. republicans had to spend a lot of money. what's telling about that tweet, hlds versus whatever he said. there's still -- you see it in trump. the danger for democrats even where they do well and even where the base is excites, they're still vulnerable to being liberals. and there are a lot of republicans out there, even if they're like in that district they tend to be more establishment, well educated republican voters may not be wildly enthusiastic about trump, they are not on board with kind of old line progressives. and i think that's a danger for democrats is they target these
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vulnerable districts in next year. but the upside for them again is what neil was saying. trump is not moving the ball here with an agenda through congress and people will start to hedge their support for trump certainly in congress as a result. >> you know, the republican candidate who is going to face jon ossoff in the final election, the runoff election, karen handel was on cnn's "new day" earlier today. listen to what she said? >> he just called to say congratulations and encourage me and let me know that as we go into june 20th, that you know, it's all hands on deck for republicans. >> do you think that president trump will come to georgia and campaign with you? >> i -- imd hope so. >> she did get a phone call from the president earlier in the day. so is this shaping up as a referendum on president trump? >> absolutely. you can see, jon ossoff on the one hand wanting to say this is all local but this send a
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message to trump, as well. the thing dras have in their favor is he is this blank slate. as much as you see president trump try to tie him to nancy pelosi and tie him to hollywood, call him a super liberal, he has no record. he's 30 years old. he's worked in congress. he's worked also as a documentary filmmaker. but he really when you hear him talk, he's trying to make this a local race about the economy and really appeal to those voters, independence voters and republican kind of chamber of commerce voters. handel has been around awhile. she ran unsuccessfully for governor as well as senator. she's seen i think by some as an establishment republican but she has a pretty conservative record. she was a choice of sarah palin for instance a big endorsement from sarah palin came in one of her races, mitt romney endorsed her. it's going to be competitive even as you hear the white house say that they don't think it will be competitive. >> he did well, the 30-year-old
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jon ossoff yesterday. this is a district that's been republican, a congressional district in the atlanta, georgia, area for almost 40 years or so with tom price now secretary of health and human services, before that newt gingrich. it's a pretty republican area. >> no question about it. and donald trump underperformed in the district compared to other republicans in years past including tom price, mitt romney and ears. the fact that he's going to be willing to be involved shows that he understands that this will, the the referendum on him is going to be built into that. congress needs, as the governing party of washington, to start accomplishing things. the president needs it with very low approval ratings and congress needs all the enthusiasm in the markets was bred ditted on the deaf tax cut, regulatory reform, maybe tax reform as well as infrastructure. as the year goes on and you get closer to being in election mode, it gets harder to achieve
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and they'll be accountable for the results. >> the president has signed a lot of executive orders. he hasn't gotten legislation passed. he's got a majority in the house and senate. that's why there's a lot of frustration more has not been achieved. vice president pence is sounding bup beat about the chances for repealing and replacing obamacare. dana bash is traveling with the vice president overseas and had a chance to speak with pence about the future of obamacare and president's first 100 days. here's part of her interview. >> i'm very confident that in the days ahead we'll see the congress come together and we're going to take that important first step to repeal and replace obama wear can the kind of health care reform that will president trump has envisioned. >> getting the votes is imminent. >> we'll see. but i will tell you, we're very encouraged at the discussions that are taking place among
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members of congress. and the president remains personally and directly engaged in these discussions. >> we are almost at the 100-day mark. 100 days. very soon of the trump administration. obviously, you've got some big accomplishments. neil gorsuch is on the supreme court rolling back some obama regulations. but are you frustrated that you haven't been able to do more like the big promise that you've been making for election after election to repeal obamacare and others? >> i couldn't be more proud to be a part of an administration that hit the ground running on day one. and as we approach that 100-day mark, i think the american people are going to be able to look back and see in the presidency of donald trump a determination and to put into practice all the things that he campaigned on.
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rolling back an avalanche of regulations tha have been not only waging war on american energy but really on american jobs, keeping his promise to appoint a justice to the supreme court in the tradition of the late and great justice antonin scalia, driving forward to repeal and replace obamacare, and putting together a team and a cabinet that i think has inspired and given confidence to people around the country and frankly, around the world. i think at the 100-day marker i think the american people will conclude what i've concluded and that is that president donald trump is off to a great start but the best is yet to come. >> coming up, russian bombers have been spotted off the coast of alaska. now this time the second time in 24 hours. congressman ted lew is a member of the house foreign affairs committee. he's standing by live. we'll discuss this and more when we come back.
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reaction to threats from north korea are still very much a focus for the white house today. last hour, we heard the white house press secretary sean spicer say he was encouraged by china's admission that they are frustrated with north korea right now. and in an interview yesterday, president trump spoke about his own nuclear concerns over flrk and their unpredictable leader. >> how concerned and worried should americans be about a thermonuclear war with north korea? >> look, you always have to be concerned. you don't know exactly who you're dealing with. i had a great, great meeting with the president of china and
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that meeting tells me a lot and you've seen a lot of things happen. they have a pretty good power, not a great power perhaps, but a pretty good power over north korea. we're going to see what happens. >> joining us now from los angeles, congressman ted lieu, a member of the house foreign affairs committee. congressman, thanks for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. >> the president, the vice president they blame the failure of diplomacy with north korea as a justification for a more aggressive u.s. approach. is it time, congressman, to give this emerging trump strategy a chance? >> no, it is not. it's been less than 100 days and our secretary of state has basically said he's going to stop talking about north korea. that shows 0 to me they have not tried very hard nor understood the potentially catastrophic consequences of what a military solution might mean. it could mean north korea wiping out millions of people in south
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korea including our u.s. troops station there had. >> so what do you want the president to do? how would you deal with the provocative acts coming from north korea? >> i do support the president engaging with china to see what china can do with north korea. i would hope our secretary of state does engage more than he has. and it's also important that we don't lie to the american people or to the world. last week, the white house said they're sending this aircraft carrier to north korea. they knew that april 15th was an important date in north korean history. it turned out our aircraft task force was actually going to australia at the time. >> they say that was a miscommunication but you say it was a deliberate lie. why do you say that? >> because the military knows full well where the aircraft carrier task force is going every single minute of the day. there's no way that they would have miscommunicated that. they knew this aircraft carrier task force was going to north
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korea. it was sailing the other direction at the time they made the statement. >> at the time it was heading in the opposite direction towards australia for exercises with the australian navy. since then, it has made that u turn and now head together korean peninsula. we expect it to get there by the end of the month. is that a good step to show u.s. power with that aircraft carrier strike force in the region? >> if it was attached to a strategy. have i been on the foreign affairs committee. we've had different hearings on north korea. and i am deeply troubled that the white house has not set forth what their objectives are, what their strategy is in north korea. i want you to picture this scenario. we send this aircraft carrier task force to north korea as a show of force. north korea ignores it either detonates another nuclear or launches another missile. then it puts the white house in this position where they feel like they have to act or they'll appear weak. that's the danger where you put out only a military solution. >> in addition to trying to get
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china to help out, china clearly has influence over north korea, but there are still some limits, would you go as far as recommending that the u.s. once again establish some sort of direct dialogue with north korean officials and if it's not public, maybe through some diplomatic back channels? >> i would support that because when you stop talking, when have you no diplomacy, then realistically your only choice is either going to be economic sanctions which you're already doing or the use of force. and unlike syria, north korea has nuclear weapons and they have artillery and missiles that are directed at japan, at south korea, all our u.s. military bases. this is a dangerous situation. we should try to de-escalate instead of provoke north korea. >> your thoughts on the other developing story that's happening today. for the second day in a row, there's an incident off the coast of alaska involving two russian bombers getting close towards alaskan coast.
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the u.s. sending up planes to intercept and deter these those bombers from getting any closer. first incident happened about 100 miles off the coast of alaska, the second incident much closer about 36 miles off the coast of alaska. what are the russians up to? >> thank you, wolf, for that question. i had the honor of visiting with our amazing troops at alaska command about a year and a half ago. this is what they train to do. they train to intercept nuclear capable russian bombers from entering u.s. air space. this is something the russians have also done in the past. they did this in the summer of 2015, but this highlights that whatever the president may think, russia is not an ally of the united states. they're opposing us in syria, they are trying to destabilize democracies and testing u.s. resolve by sending their bombers towards the united states and its good that our aircraft intercepted them but we need to make sure our white house has a strategy when dealing with russia.
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that's another place where we want to hear from the president what are his objectives in deal welterweights russians. >> tensions between the u.s. and north korea clearly very powerful but there's also serious tensions with russia right now, as well. congressman ted lieu, thanks for joining us. >> thank you. coming up, live pictures from the white house right now. the new england patriots, the football team, they will be honored by president trump momentarily. but tom brady, the quarterback, several other players won't be there. we'll tell you why. at whole foods market, we believe in food that's naturally beautiful and fresh. delicious and powerful, and full of nutrients. so there are no artificial colors... no artificial flavors... no artificial preservatives... and no artificial sweeteners... any of the food we sell. we believe that the food we eat connects us to the natural world and to each other. we believe in real food™. whole foods market.
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be honored by president trump for their super bowl victory. but some players won't be in attendance including the quarterback tom brady and six other players who are skipping
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the event. cnn's jessica schneider is joining us now from the north lawn of the white house. do we know why these players have decided not to attend. >> reporter: you know, wolf, when it comes to tom brady, is he citing personal family reasons for not being here at the white house for the ceremony at 2:30. reports out of boston do say his mother is fighting cancer and that's why he's decided not to come to the white house today. he'll spend the day with her. in terms of the other players they are citing opposition to president trump as their reason for not celebrating here today. in the months since the patriots won the super bowl, six players have spoken out about why they won't be here. in fact, running back legarrette blount saying specifically he does not feel welcome here at the white house. five other players citing similar concerns for the reason that they are not here today. but we do know there are several other fans of president trump, friends of president trump who be here today including patriots owner bob kraft will be here as well as coach bill belichick and
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one other person we know is here, the player running back -- sorry tight end, ron gronkowski made somewhat of a comedic appearance inside the white house a little while ago. >> we'll see what pans out in the negotiation. but i think there's an opportunity -- >> do you need some help? >> i think i got this, but thank you. maybe. thanks, man. i'll see you in a minute. hold on. all right. that was cool. >> reporter: so gronk offering up a little bit of help to sean spicer there. you heard sean spicer say that was cool. sean spicer a very big new england patriots fan. of course, the super bowl winning patriots are here at the white house. that ceremony set to begin at 2:30 this afternoon when president trump will honor them, but yes, wolf, several members
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of the team deciding to skip out a fusaiing they don't feel welcome at the white house. they're skipping out as part of their opposition to president trump. >> nice to see that gronkowski has a pretty good sense of humor sticking his head into the white house briefing. we'll have coverage of that event coming up 2:30 p.m. eastern a little bit more than half an hour or so from now. jessica, thank you very much. we're following other news just coming into cnn. after a u.s. missile strike in syria, the regime announces they're moving their military aircraft. we'll have details we'll share with you right after this. your insurance company raises your rates. maybe you should've done more research on them. for drivers with accident forgiveness, liberty mutual won't raise your rates due to your first accident. switch and you could save $509 on auto insurance. call for a free quote today.
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the syrian regime of bashar al assad is trying to shield its military aircraft from future attacks by the united states. the syrian government is responding to the tomahawks that hit the airfield due to the chemical attacks caused by the syrian regime. ryan, what are you learning? the syrians want to protect
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their remaining operational military aircraft? what have you learned? >> that's right, wolf. they have observed the syrian operational fixed wing aircraft being relocated to this main base near the main airport in latakia province. it's a large base. it's very well protected by russian anti-aircraft missiles. the latest analysis is that they are moving it there to deter any potential future attacks like the cruise missile strike against shayrat air base, the origin point for the chemical weapons strike. it's a bit of a maneuver. james mattis said that that strike against shayrat took out 20% of assad's operational fixed wing aircraft.
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in order to protect the remainor, it looks like they co-locating the planes along the syrian coast. >> the syrian theory, presumably, ryan, is that if they position the remaining operational aircraft near russian warplanes, the u.s. would be reluctant to launch tomahawk cruise missiles or bombs from fighter jets at that location because it might not just destroy a syrian plane, it could also destroy some russian aircraft? >> absolutely. as we saw in that tomahawk missile strike, the u.s. actually alerted the russians prior to the attack via that channel, that military-to-military channel to prevent any casualties or damage to russian forces. the thinking appears to be in damascus that the closer they can get to the russians perhaps,
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that could prevent a future u.s. strike. >> how good would the defense systems that the russians and syrians, for that matter, have placed around their air bases, how good would they be with incoming u.s. strikes? >> well, there have been reports that the russians have moved into syria from time to time. some of their more sophisticated, you know, missile -- anti-aircraft missile systems that could, in theory, shoot down u.s. aircraft or other u.s. potentially even u.s. missiles. so of course these capabilities have never been fully tested against the u.s. capabilities. so it's hard to say. but some of russia's most sophisticated systems have been moved into that area. >> an apparent intercept of two russian bombers getting very close to the alaskan border the other day. it was about 100 miles off the coast of alaska. two u.s. fighters went up, intercepted and the russians
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went away but now 36 miles away from the alaskan border, a second encounter with russian bombers. what's the latest information that you're getting from your sources at the pentagon? >> we're being told that these russian planes flew close to the alaskan mainland. again, very odd because previously the last kind of similar type of flight by russian aircraft occurred back in 2015. so it is a bit strange to see two in such a short 24-hour window. so again, this doesn't really concern military officials, particularly. they do these probing flights in other parts of the globe, in europe and near japan, for instance. but it is note worthy that occurred so close to the one that occurred earlier in the day. so back to back, something that the military doesn't see very often along the west coast of the united states. >> ryan browne reporting to us
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from the pentagon, thank you. these are live pictures from the white house. president trump will hold a super bowl event for the new england patriots but minus tom brady. he's got family issues he's dealing with. the news continues right after a quick break. you don't let anythg keep you sidelined. that's why you drink ensure. with 9 grams of protein and 26 vitamins and minerals. for the strength and energy to get back to doing... ...what you love. ensure. always be you.
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hey you've gotta see this. cno.n. alright, see you down there. mmm, fine. okay, what do we got? okay, watch this. do the thing we talked about.
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what do we say? it's going to be great. watch. remember what we were just saying? go irish! see that? yes! i'm gonna just go back to doing what i was doing. find your awesome with the xfinity x1 voice remote. here we go. you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. thank you for being with me. let's begin with the white house today pushing back against claims that it misled the american people. press secretary sean spicer a while ago in the daily briefing defending president trump's comments last week when he said he was sending, and i quote, an armada to the korean peninsula when