tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN May 1, 2017 10:00pm-11:01pm PDT
made daily life a guessing game. will i have pain and bloating today? my doctor recommended ibgard to manage my ibs. take control. ask your doctor about nonprescription ibgard. tonight we have a story that's never been told publicly before, the tail of intrigue breech of national security, terrorism, lies. and it's also involving a wedding. it's the story of an fbi translator who ended up marying the isis agent she'd been assigned to in syria.
>> reporter: he is known by isis as the german, a nutoreious isis fighter and recruit kruter, a former german rapper who intense and disturbing videos called for violent jihad and proudly held the head of a severed victim. he survived a u.s. missile strike in 2015 and is believed it be still alive somewhere in isis controlled syria. what has not been disclosed until now is that an fbi employee with top secret cleaners lied to her bosses, secretly traveled to syria and lied to agents becoming the bride of an isis terrorist. her face obscured for concerns due to her safety.
having violated public trust and endangering our nation's security, she served two years and is now free. the information about her case comes from previously sealed court documents, the records unsealed only after green finished cooperating with authorities. and after prosecutors asked the judge to make them public, unsealing these documents, they write would allow public access to this case. green who was already maeried traveled to syria in 2014 and not only spent time in the company of members of isis but ended up marying an imfms isis terrorist. >> he is calling upon his followers to commit attacks inside europe. he says, quote, europe is the new battleground, and he says go and slaughter them.
take hostages, kill them. >> reporter: daniel green according to people who new here met and married a u.s. army soldier. that husband carried her to south carolina. >> daniella was a very hardworking consciousness student. >> reporter: the professor was allan's advisor, and a few years later the fbi hired her assigning her to the field office. she was entitled individual a in court documents. green was able to track the terrorist using three skype accounts. but it turns out the fbi new of only two. green had sole access to a thud skype aaccount. and in june 2014, green told her supervisor she was making a trip
to germany to visit family. instead she flew through to toronto to istanbul, crossed the syrian bordwer the help of the terrorist and disappeared. there in isis controlled syria reports say dan yal green met up with the terrorist and not only married him but told him she was employed with the fbi and the fbi had an investigation into her activities. professor allen says any it tale of terrorism simply couldn't involve the danielle he knew. >> i would be dumbfounded by that. i don't think there's anything in her background that would suggest to me or any people
working with her here, proclivities in that direction. so, yes i would be surprised. >> reporter: so shortly she had a change of heart sending e-mails. the following day she wrote i'm gone and i can't come back. i'm in syria. i'm in a very harsh inenvironment, and i don't know how long i will last here but it doesn't matter. she went on i will probably go to prison for a long time if i come back, but that is life. on august 6th, 2014, danielle green left isis, left syria where she was immediately arrested. the case would receive no publicity at all, the case quietly hidden, cort documents saled for months. even after her case became
public record, silence. a look on the fbi website says page after page of releases, but this one staid buried until now. >> this is a very wild tale involving terrorism, fbi, matters of national security. and it's hard to imagine there would not be public interest in it. >> reporter: cnn investigator scott covered the documents. >> i think it's a fair assessment to say it's embarrassing when an ploe with national security clearance secretly travels to syria and maerz the terrorist who's the subject of the investigation she's working on. >> reporter: what is even more stunning about this secret receive case is that green cooperated immediately upon her arrest. the government said she skidded a line dangerously close to other more serious charges.
the attorney wrote the nature and circumstances of this offense weren't serious punishment. similar cases have ended in sentences of 8, 10, 15 years in federal prison. green was just sentenced to two. according to reports it was because of her cooperation. she's already out on probation but free. as for dennis custard, the german rapper turned isis agent remains at large is still a especially designated global terrorist. >> true, this is an incredible story. what's the fbi saying about this, about how it all happened. >> really, anderson the fbi isn't saying much of anything about this case. what the bureau did say in a statement, because of what happened here, they're taking steps to identify what they say are vulnerabilities. >> was there explanation of why she was given such a light
sentence the. >> that explanation came from the department of justice where this sentence is in line with some other cases where you have someone lying with someone involved in terrorism and then given information and cooperation in arrest. these people facing these type of charges are getting much more serious charges than this one. >> amazing story. >> more storties to get to this hour. meanwhile president trump is standing by his claim that president obama wiretapped him. that might not even be the most controversial thing he has happened recently. >> reporter: president trump began the week making a series of comments that are raising more than a few eyebrows, the praez drawing criticism in an
interview he gave to the washington economicner when he questioned why did the united states have a civil war. he suggested former president andrewal jackson could have prevented it. >> i mean had andrew jackson been a little bit later, he could have prevented the civil war. she was really angry he saw what was happening with regard to the civil war. >> reporter: but that would have been impossible. why? because andrew jackson died 16 years before the civil war began. and the controversy didn't stop there. he began revisiting debunked wiretap claims. you can take it any way you won't want. frankly, it should be discussed. i think that a very big surveillance of our citizens. i think it's a very big topwreck, and it's topic that should be number one, and we should find out what the hell is
going on. >> i just wanted to find out you're the president on the united states. you said he was sick and bad. >> you can take it any way you want. >> but i'm asking you. you don't want to be fake news. >> you don't have to ask me. >> why not? >> because i have my opinions, you have your opinions. >> but i want to your opinion as the president of the united states. >> that's enough, thank you. >> reporter: this is gop lawmakers second swing at healthcare reform, the first version pulled in march after it became apparent the support was not there. this morning one sounded optimistic about getting the house bill soon. this evening the votes still are not there. cnn's latest koupts show husband as of now there are still too many gop lawmakers either opposed to the new version or
undecided. trump telling cbs the coverage is included in the new version of the bill. >> pre-existing conditions are in the bill. and i just watched another network of the news and they were seeing pre-existing is not covered. pre-existing conditions are in the bill. and i mandated it. i said it has to be. >> reporter: lawmakers who oppose the new bill say states can still seek a waiver that insures those with pre-existing conditions. he won't on capitol hill to meet with lawmakers but would not say if heel managed to drum up more support for the new bill. and anderson, the president trying to cleanup some comments he made about andrew jackson. he freet tweeted the following. president andrew jackson who died 16 years before the civil war stated saw it coming and was
angry. and would never have let it happen. he questioned the difference between the north and south, that underlying difference being slavery. >> yeah, andrew jackson himself 150 or so slaves. where does the count now stand for republicans? >> well, the numbers are looking tough. the gop can only afford 22 votes. at last count 21 said they would still vote against the legislation where it stands at this point. and 18 are still undecided. they still have a ways to go. >> all right, thanks very much. also ahead president trump invites president rog rego duterte whose crack down on drugs have left lots dead. on motorcycle insurance from progressive. yeah? yeah, they have safe rider discounts, and with total loss coverage,
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lawmakers' second attempt at health care reform. right now, there are still too many republicans either opposed to the bill or undecided. here is what charlie dent told me a short time ago. >> there are a few more no votes than 21 at the moment. i don't know what the exact number is. i heard numbers saying it's within two or three votes. as many as ten. so i would suspect it's probably closer to ten than two or three. >> you know some people who are planning to vote no who right now are kind of not being counted? >> pretty much, that's correct. >> with me now our panel. congressman kingston, you heard congressman dent saying there are no votes not being counted. if this fails, what does that mean moving forward? >> i don't think it would fail. if they have five to ten unaccounted for people in terms of where they're going to be, they're not going to -- the speaker can't afford to have
this vote fail officially on the floor. i think what they're going to have do is keep fighting and keep fighting and keep trying to get it done. what i do know is every republican, whether he ran for a dog catcher or school board or president -- >> they ran on it. >> they all ran on repeal and replace. they have to do something. >> do you agree they have to continue on, whether it's piecemeal or trying to do a big change? >> i think for the overall -- like congressman kingston said, because obamacare was a central part of what republicans ran on since 2010, that resulted in huge legislative victories -- i mean huge legislative elections, even on the local level, people are expected that for republicans. here is the problem, you have so many -- the demographics are changing in some of the republican districts. they're more purple districts. you have more of the moderates like charlie dent and others who are saying, this -- people -- this is going to take away medicaid expansion, we could lose our election. this is a difficult spot for
them. everyone remembers politics -- political science 101. every elected official is a single seeker of -- i think that's what you are running into here with the speaker's inability to get the republicans on board because the districts are at stake here. losing an election is at stake. if they risk it there, you might get primaried by a democrat. if they don't do it, then you might get primaried by a more conservative member. it's a quandary. demographics in the districts and the medicaid expansion, people like that. >> there's the issue of pre-existing conditions, whether that's covered. the president says he mandated that is in the bill. people are saying, states can get a waiver to opt out. >> right. that's actually politically speaking, i think that actually might be a -- one of the few things about the bill that makes a little bit of sense. if you are a moderate republican representing a purple state, that state is probably not going to opt out. if you are a republican in new
york state, you can say, look, we're not going to get rid of pre-existing conditions. we're not going to get a waiver to do that. if you are in another state, a deep red state, they may. politically speaking, the fact that they have had this compromise, which allows the states to apply for a waiver to opt out, i'm a little surprised that it's not -- that they're not getting more benefit from that. >> brian, how devastating would this be for republicans if they're not able to get it this time around? >> right now they're experiencing the worst of all worlds. i thought after they had to shelf the bill the first time it caused a lot of the moderate republicans to breathe a sigh of relief. because they weren't going to have to be put on the record and take a vote on an unpopular bill. the trump white house so desperate for an accomplishment and make good on the promise that republicans have been campaigning on, keeps bringing it up, keeping trying to put a new compromise on the republicans. it's creating an issue where it's constantly going to be back
in the news for the next year and a half. democratic challengers running against the moderate vulnerable house republicans are going to have an issue from now to november of 2018. the president has actually made the predicament for the moderate republicans harder with his comments. he is promising the bill will be better on pre-existing conditions. >> that's the problem. president trump continues to not really stay on message. when the democrats passed this with president obama, everybody was on the same page. he was out there as the biggest supporter for a year on the stump selling this -- the obamacare bill. democrats got the democrats on board. republicans are all over the place on this. the president isn't helping the situation. he says one thing one week, promises something another, depending on the audience he is in front of. it's making house republican jobs more difficult because they can't get everybody on the same page. the timing of this is tough. if they don't do this, they will run into the budget reconciliation rules and the senate. whether you need 60 votes or 50
votes to get anything done anyway. it could be symbolic in the hours, because it's dead on arrival in the senate as usual. >> they have to pass a bill. they have made too many promises. there's no -- >> what about the idea that some supporters of people funded by the koch said to do this piece by piece by piece? >> i think that would be smarter. i think there are -- some things they could do through reconciliation, some things by executive order through tom price. other things that they can do legislatively through the appropriations process, such as risk corridors, the insurance company bailout. that was an appropriation measure. i was involved in it. i know you can do things like that to direct the funding. i do think they have to go home and say, here is what we did to address an issue in which we all ran. >> do you think the piecemeal idea, the koch brothers may be supporting of it, it will not sell well to those who have been promised we're going to repeal this and replace it? >> i don't care if it sells well. if you are the republicans, you don't double down on a mistake.
when you are in a hole, stop digging. the fact of the matter is that's not what the public wants. the public would be a lot more in favor of is something that president trump has suggested an openness to, which is taking a one off step to address prescription drug costs. there are democrats in congress that would work with the president on that. it would be an opportunity for him to put points on the board on the health care issue. it would be popular. he would be able to move on and pivot -- we woke up where the president was going to put an infrastructure proposal out there in the next two or three weeks. i said maybe after the bad press, he was going to pivot to an issue where he could find consensus. >> if they did move piecemeal, is that something the president could support? >> yeah. i think it may -- we may end up doing that. it lacks repeal and replace and having this grand trump care -- >> or the flip side is try to fix what both sides can agree is broken.
>> things like -- i can buy almost any product in the world in another state. but i can't as a georgian buy health care from alabama or new jersey. allowing people to buy insurance from across state lines increasing competition therefore decreases premiums. that would be a win. i think that would be -- >> that would seem to be a bill they might be able to pass. >> nobody disagrees with that. you have a president that's uninterested in the details. he is not being a good salesman. he prides himself on a deal maker, but he is uninterested in the details. he wants a cheap win. this is too big to do that. >> the andrew jackson comment, is the president being fairly criticized? he said two things. one, he said if andrew jackson had been around during the civil war. then he seemed to indicate he was opposed to the civil war. he is now saying he would have been opposed to the civil war. >> you know, i think that if you look at history, andrew jackson actually intervened when south carolina tried to --
>> he talked about sending federal troops. yes, and he kept the union. so i think it was an accurate historic reference. >> he was a major slave holder that moved from -- he inherited around ten or so -- >> that doesn't mean he couldn't have prevented a war. >> come on. >> he was there during the -- >> if he was a supporter of slavery to the fact -- >> that doesn't mean you can't work for peace. >> okay. you honestly -- this is a nice try. i've been watching trump supporters try to candy coat this. it was an asinine thing for donald trump to say. i don't know why he was going there with that with andrew jackson. i understand he has a fascination because people compared his campaign to andrew jackson's. let's be honest here. he was trying to project that andrew -- if only andrew jackson could have fixed it. one person maybe if he had been there. like me, i could -- he is saying, i can do it.
i only i can do it. historically, that's just so not true. the american -- our country for 30 years tried to prevent the civil war with all different things that led up to it. i'm talking about from where andrew jackson is going on, from the missouri compromise, that didn't work. kansas nebraska didn't work. all these things. one person could have prevented that? >> i think there's indignation by trump critics who found one more issue -- >> saying that one person who was a slave owner and that slavery wasn't the main reason? >> caesar was alive today or if only george washington was here today -- >> why can't you guys just stop and say that what the president said was stupid? why do you feel the need to just constantly defend everything this man says? it was ridiculous. i mean, i don't get it. >> one second. >> i'm not a big fan of andrew jackson. we should have replaced him instead of hamilton on the $20 bill. i don't agree with what trump
said, actually. but i think that it's an interesting point that he was trying to make. maybe it's better left for dorm room philosophy and sitting around in dorm rooms saying this revision is history. i will say, my son's named -- his middle name is -- great britain was able to stop slavery. they didn't have a civil war over that. it just so happens america is a very different place, a different country. we are -- our history played out the way it did. to sit around -- >> the south was built on the back -- >> slavery. >> a lot of economic interest in keeping slavery going. i would say this, i don't think it's inherently evil. i think trump is factually wrong. but i don't think it's evil to say what he said. >> i want to say in 2017, i think it's surreal the president is stoking a debate what caused
the civil war. he is your crazy uncle at the thanksgiving dinner table. it's not just ignorant. he is stubborn and willful in his ignorance. while he is creating these self-inflicted wounds and needless diversions for him, today he got his lunch eaten by congressional democrats on the spending measure. his agenda is evaporating before ourize on health care, on the spending bill. he issued ultimatum after ultimatum. democrats won on -- >> he did win on -- >> instead of talking about those wins, he make -- >> up next, the surprising meet and greet options on the table for president trump. he would be willing to meet with kim jong-un and duterte. another sign the president likes to do things his own way. to say the least. new roundup for lawns has arrived to put unwelcome lawn weeds to rest. so draw the line.
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to meet with face-to-face. more now from jeff zeleny. >> reporter: with a nuclear threat looming and tensions rising, president trump declaring today that he would be honored to meet with north korean leader kim jung-un. >> if it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, i would absolutely -- i would be honored. >> reporter: the choice of words raising eyebrows. >> at a very young age he was able to assume power. a lot of people i'm sure tried to take that power away, whether it was his uncle or anybody else. he was able to do it. obviously, he is a pretty smart cookie. >> reporter: sean spicer offering an explanation for trump's view. >> he assumed power at a young age when his father passed away. there was a lot of potential threats that could have come his way. he has managed to lead a country forward despite the obvious concerns that we and so many
other people have. he is a young person to be leading a country with nuclear weapons. >> reporter: spicer sought to temper trump's compliment saying the conditions do not exist for the president to hold talks with north korea. >> we have to see their provocative behavior ratcheted down immediately. there's a lot of conditions that would have to happen with respect to the behavior to show signs of good faith. >> reporter: the president stirring controversy after extending his hand to the president of the philippines, rodrigo duterte. he invited him to the white house despite a brutal human rights record. he is accused of killing thousands of his own people in his war on drugs. he once called president obama an expletive. once senior administration official told cnn the white house invitation was neither expected nor planned. it came during a weekend phone call between trump and duterte which the white house described as a very friendly conversation. democrats seized on the call saying an invitation to the
white house amounted to an endorsement of the philippine leader. trump risks giving dee duterte's actions an american stamp of approval. the president defended his decision saying in an interview, you know, he is very popular in the philippines. he has a very high approval rating in the philippines. spicer said improved relations with the philippines were needed because of u.s. interests in the region. >> it is an opportunity for us to work with countries in that region that can help play a role in diplomatically and economically isolating north korea. >> reporter: it's the sign of the president's affinity for strong men. >> it's great to be with the president of egypt. >> reporter: from inviting egypt's president to the white house to praising the leaders of russia and turkey. mr. trump's words for authoritarian leaders drawing fire. >> jeff zeleny joins us from the white house. in the call with the president of the philippines, it wasn't in line with foreign policy. >> that's right, recent foreign
policy. there has been a long relationship between the u.s. -- of course, that changed during the final months of the obama administration, largely because of the expletive that the president referred to mr. obama as. the trump administration trying to reset all of that. they say because of the rising nuclear threat in the region there, they need the philippines on board. certainly, it raised eyebrows here at the white house. as we talked to administration officials, the invitation was not a conveyed to some people in advance. they were indeed surprised by that. we will see when and if that actually happens. the philippino president is not sure if he could schedule this in. he has other trips planned abroad. >> jeff zeleny, thanks very much. the latest on mayday violent protests. arrests have been made.
one of the most dangerous gangs in the country has members in 40 states. president trump spoke out against them. who are they and why do they inspire so much fear? who hugs a friend. who is done with treatments that don't give you clearer skin. be the you who controls your psoriasis with stelara® just 4 doses a year after 2 starter doses. stelara® may lower your ability to fight infections and may increase your risk of infections and cancer. some serious infections require hospitalization. before treatment, get tested for tuberculosis. before starting stelara® tell your doctor if you think you have an infection or have symptoms such as: fever, sweats, chills, muscle aches or cough. always tell your doctor if you have any signs of infection, have had cancer, if you develop any new skin growths or if anyone in your house needs or has recently received a vaccine. alert your doctor of new or worsening problems, including headaches, seizures, confusion and vision problems these may be signs of a rare, potentially fatal brain condition. some serious allergic reactions can occur. do not take stelara® if you are allergic to stelara® or any of its ingredients. most people using stelara® saw 75% clearer skin and the majority were rated as cleared or minimal at 12 weeks. be the you who talks to your dermatologist about stelara®.
mostly peaceful. there have been arrests in portland. set a fire and damage a police car. mike bivens is on the phone. mike, you were there in the middle of all of this. there was a larger protest. then it was canceled or the permit was taken away because of the actions of some of what the police call anarchists. explain what happened. >> okay. there was the annual may day protest which this year they had a march. last year they didn't do a march. this year they decided to get a permit and march. the local anarchists, they decided to schedule their protest at the same time and place as the permitted protest. they didn't get a permit. when the permitted portion started to march, the -- at the front there was rose city. i guess it's a group. they were -- something is going
on here. they pretty much got in with the protesters and then were like throwing stuff at cops, breaking windows. eventually, the police canceled the entire march. encouraged everyone to go home. then the black clad protests kept going, winding through the city, downtown and with police chasing them and throwing those percussion grenades that make like a huge loud boom. people were lighting fires. eventually, the cops swarmed in and tackled them outside of city hall and made a mass arrest. >> we saw some of the so-called anarchists throwing flares, one into a store after they broke through a window. we're seeing that video right now. >> i didn't see that one. >> also into a police vehicle which police put out very quickly. at this stage, has everything
kind of calmed down and dissipated? >> i mean, there isn't as great a number. let me tell you what happened. there was the arrest outside of city hall. they put the protesters into a police van. then they basically drive them around the corner to the central p prosinkt, downtown portland. the protesters, they followed the police through the central precinct. that's where we are at, around the corner from city hall. basically, i witnessed protesters being loaded on to a trimet, the local transit authority, the public transit. they're using these transits, taxpayer funded buses to transport protesters around in. we're waiting here. it's a stalemate. >> mike, i appreciate you covering this with us. thanks so much. president trump's immigration policies motivated some of the protesters who showed up at many protests
across the country. over the weekend, president trump repeated his promise to build a wall along the u.s. and mexico border. >> we will build a wall. don't worry about it. go home. go to sleep. rest assured. that's the final thing. we need it. we need it. if the democrats knew what the hell they were doing, they would approve it so easy. because we want to stop crime in our country. obviously, they don't mind illegals coming in. they don't mind drugs pouring in. they don't mind -- excuse me, ms-13 coming in. >> it's not the first time president trump mentioned ms-13. the reference might be lost on many people. if you don't know what ms-13 from personal experience, consider yourself lucky. it's worth knowing who they are and why they inspire so much fear. >> reporter: these two men smiling and waving at the camera were in court in march this year charged with killing a texas woman in a satanic ritual. it's unclear if they did it. but police believe they are members of one of the most
dangerous gangs in the country, the ms-13 gang. >> the original kids that started ms were mostly stoner kids that were into heavy metal music. the ms-13 gang is an american creation. it was an american born on this soil here in los angeles. >> reporter: the gang began to take shape here in los angeles back in the late 1970s. many of them settled here just outside downtown. called pekoe union. they were mostly teenagers from el salvador who fled the conflict in their country and banded together here on the streets of los angeles forming the gang mainly to protect themselves from other street gangs. alex sanchez is a former ms-13 gang member who now rehabilitates others. why do you think so many like yourself joined this gang? what were they seeking? what were they looking for? >> see, many of us had experienced violence in the home country on the way to school i used to see decapitated bodies.
that's why the gangs became an option. >> reporter: the ms-13 gang has been on the fbi's radar since the early 2000s. they are known for savage beatings using baseball bats and machetes and cutting the fingers off victims. even drug cartels sometimes hire them as their muscle. the justice department believes there are roughly 10,000 ms-13 gang members in the united states. living in more than 40 states. as part of the ms-13 initiation, new members are often asked to commit murder. and are subjected to a brutal beating by fellow gang members that lasts 13 seconds. >> the 13 seconds is just an initiation in which a youth is willing to take the pain of it to be accepted, to be acknowledged, to be able to feel protected. >> reporter: it's all part of the allure of ms-13 that has led to some 30,000 members
worldwide. back in the late '80s and early '90s, the u.s. deported them back to their home countries. many of them had come here to los angeles as kids and didn't know much about their own country or even speak spanish. once back home in places like el salvador and honduras, they gave rise to ms-13 in central america. >> they were embraced. being from l.a. is like being a celebrity. >> reporter: immigration and customs enforcement tells cnn, ms-13 is now involved in cross border crime, too. like human smuggling, extortion and drug smuggling. but according to former member alex sanchez, all the government's talk about how deadly ms-13 is only adds to their appeal. >> it feeds on the ego of the gang, because every gang wants to be number one. every gang wants to be the top ten list. most dangerous gangs. >> in the intro to your piece we
played a bit from president trump saying building a wall would stop them from coming in. is there evidence to support that? >> not at all. in fact, what we found is the opposite. the experts we spoke with say that the wall at the border will do nothing to slow down ms-13. we talked about this cross border criminal activity that ice mentioned ms-13 is involved in. no evidence that that would stop. you have to remember as we mentioned earlier, ms-13 was born on the streets of los angeles. the united states exported those gang members and then it grew in central america. many of them are actually american citizens. this is a gang that grew and got stronger in u.s. neighborhoods and in u.s. prisons. not everyone, every member of the gang is an illegal immigrant. now there are cliques popping up in cities like virginia and new york, not close to the border. one more point is if you listen to the fbi and the department of justice, they can't even put a real number on how many of these gang members are illegal immigrants and how many are american citizens. the border might not even be the
problem after all. >> thanks. the white house says president trump is considering revamping laws to make it easier to sue news organizations. is it talk or could he do that? we will look at that ahead. whoa, this thing is crazy. i just had to push one button to join. it's like i'm in the office with you, even though i'm here. it's almost like the virtual reality of business communications. no, it's reality. intuitive one touch video conferencing is a reality.
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white house chief of staff reince priebus is say president trump is considering revamping laws to make it easier to sue news organizations. >> it's something we've looked at. whether it goes anywhere, that's a different story. >> do you think the president should be able to sue "the new york times" for stories he doesn't like? >> i think newspapers and news agencies need to be more responsible with how they report the news. >> no surprise that sean spicer was asked about those remarks at today's briefing. >> can you tell me who is pursuing that? >> i think the chief of staff made it very clear it's something that's being looked into substantively and both logistically how it would happen. but that's not something new. the president talked about it on the campaign trail. >> that is true. trump did talk about opening up the laws while campaigning. the question is whether it would be doable and what would it mean for the press, whose job it is to hold politicians, including
the president to count? jeffrey gergen and jeffrey lord. it's not enough just to be a public figure and you don't like a story so you sue them. >> that's right. ever since 1964, the supreme court has said that public figures can't sue unless they can show basically intentional falsehoods or reckless disregard for the truth on the part of journalists, which is a difficult standard to reach. what is significant, the supreme court is closely divided on a lot of issues, on abortion, on affirmative action. this is not particularly controversial. there are eight or nine votes for this -- the actual malice standard as it's called. so what the trump administration would have to do to change this would be to amend the constitution. and that's obviously very difficult. >> so it has to be not only is the story not true but there's malice involved. you knew it wasn't true and you did it anyway?
>> exactly. that's difficult to prove mostly because journalists actually don't publish knowing falsehoods very often, not withstanding what a lot of people think. >> david gergen, this white house is not the first white house to consider actions against the media. president nixon certainly looked into the idea or was on tape asking about whether "the new york times" could be prosecuted for the pentagon papers. >> anderson, every president i've known has complained privately about the sullivan case. nobody likes it. but they never complain publicly about it, nor do they recommend or start stirring the pot and say, maybe we ought to do this. "the new york times," bill clinton and his team hated the "new york times." he thought they were so unfair. then along comes george w. bush, they hated the "new york times." thought they were so unfair. along comes obama, you know, at a certain point, that's the way the game is played. that's like getting into the nfl. there's an old saying from harry truman, if you can't stand the heat, don't get in the kitchen.
>> jeffrey lord, as a trump supporter, would you like to see libel laws changed? >> i would want to be very careful about this, anderson. as you know, i'm a first amendment fundamentalist. i think the first amendment is be all and end all of american democracy and free debate. i attended the white house correspondents dinner the other night. they had a big banner up there saying "celebrating the first amendment." but i've since talked to my conservative friends, rush limbaugh, sean hannity, all of whom can recount the fact that their first amendment rights were under challenge, liberals never bothered to defend them, and even were helping and working to bring them down in their individual roles as talk rodeo host or magazine editor, et cetera. i really think the american left has gotten themselves into a serious problem here. they are very intolerant.
the scenes you're showing out of portland tonight is indicative of the thought process here. that in turn feeds the trump situation which -- and i must say -- he spoke to me about this a couple years ago before i ran for president, that he was very concerned about the libel laws. we do have to be very careful here. but boy, i'm for the first amendment, period. >> i think actually this serves donald trump's political interests pretty well. you know, on saturday when he gave that speech opposite the white house correspondents' dinner, a lot of it was about attacking the press. >> right. >> his base really doesn't like the press so saying terrible things about the press is useful to him but in terms of actually doing anything about libel law, it really is impossible. >> is it just a media organization or, for instance the president says that the media is the enemy of the american people. is that something he could be sued for? >> no. it's opinions that are always protected. now, it's sometimes difficult to draw the distinction between fact and fiction.
you can be sued if you say someone is a criminal. but if you say someone is a jerk or a fool, those are always protected. and enemy of the american people, that is in his opinion and clearly protected. >> so you can't say crooked hillary? >> jeff is right, otherwise i'd be a very rich man. >> i think, anderson, the effort to go after the press, talk about the libel is part of the broader effort within the administration that is associated with steve bannon to undermine the institutions of democracy. and to discredit them for a variety of reasons. bannon believes that they are corrupt and all the rest but i think you have to see these attacks on the press in a broader context. >> it's all part of that? >> yes. >> and clearly, anderson, the kind of folks who turned out here in harrisburg the other night for president trump, they really do think the press misrepresents. they totally believe this. >> right. it doesn't mean they're right,
though. >> well, therein lies the next 17 years of your show. >> 17? why 17? >> i'm not sure. >> david, all presidents do chafe under the constraints of the powers. >> absolutely. that's what accountability is all about. it holds you to accountability and transparency. and there is stuff that goes on. if it weren't for the press, it would be a much more corrupt country. if the press weren't in there, when you're out of power, you always want the press to be the bulldog, in there taking a look, making sure things are okay. >> and the thing about being president is you always have access to the public so you can always respond and always get your version of the facts out, which is sort of how the first amendment is supposed to work. >> thanks to everybody. we'll be right back.
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that's it for us. thanks for watching. time to hand things over to don lemon. "cnn tonight" starts right now. this is cnn breaking news. >> the breaking news is president trump will speak by phone with vladimir putin tomorrow afternoon. that's according to a white house official. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. that call coming amidst allegations of russia's interference with our election and what role, if any, trump aides may have played. as the white house faces many questions about the president's attitudes toward other controversial world leaders. let's get right to our senior political analyst mark preston. mark, what can you tell us about this phone call between the president of the united states and the russian president? >> well, don, this is going to be the first time these two presidents have spoken since russia condemned the