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tv   CNN Newsroom With John Berman and Poppy Harlow  CNN  May 30, 2017 7:00am-8:01am PDT

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tac -- www.vitac.com good morning, everyone. i'm john berman. >> and i'm poppy harlow. staff changes are coming and they are coming to the west wing. president trump's communication director resigning this morning, citing personal reasons, but a white house insider says don't call this a shake-up, even though sources did say there are more changes on t way. >> we'll have much more on that in just a moment, but first, cnn has new exclusive reporting that russian officials discussed having potentially derogatory information about president trump and his top aides during the campaign. this morning the white house is pushing back, calling it another round of false and unverified claims to, as they put it, smear the president, and all this is happening as the president's son-in-law and senior adviser, jared kushner, faces scrutiny over ties to a banking executive who we think has a direct l lin to vladimir putin. want to bring in jessica
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schneider from washington with cnn's latest reporting on this derogatory information the russians might have. >> reporter: john and poppy, two former congressional officials and a source tell cnn russian officials discussed possibly having derogatory information about then presidential candidate donald trump and some of his top aides in conversations intercepted by u.s. intelligence during the 2016 election. now, one source described the information as financial in nature and said the discussions center and around whether the russians had leverage with trump's inner circle. the source says the intercepted communications suggested to u.s. intelligence that russians believed "they had the ability to influence the administration through the derogatory information." but the source is privy to the descriptions of the communication written by u.s. intelligence. they do caution that the russian claims to each other could have been exaggerated or even made up. now, the details of the communication shed new light on information u.s. intelligence received about russian claims of influence. the contents of the
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conversations, though, made clear to the u.s. officials that russia was considering ways to influence the election, even if their claims turned out to be false. and of course, as cnn first reported, the u.s. intercepted discussions of russian officials bragging about cultivating relationships with trump campaign aides, including trump's first national security adviser, michael flynn, to influence trump. and following cnn's report, "the new york times" said that trump's campaign manager, paul manafort, was also discussed. john and poppy? >> so, outside of the president himself, do we know from our sources who the russians were specifically talking about when they're talking about this dropdrop derogatory information? >> reporter: none of the sources would say which aide was discussed. one of the officials said the intelligence report actually masked the american names, but it was still clear the conversations did revolve around the trump campaign, though no specifics. and another source would not give more specifics, citing the classified nature of all of that information. now, it's important to note that asked for comment, the white
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house is telling cnn the following, saying, "this is yet another round of false and unverified claims made by anonymous sources to smear the president. the reality is, a review of the president's income from the last ten years showed he had virtually no financial ties at all. there appears to be nor limit to which the president's political opponents will go to perpetuate this false narrative, including illegally leaking classified material. all this does is play into the hands of our adversaries and put our country at risk." and the office of the director of national intelligence as well as the fbi bolstered on that comment and the president himself has insisted on multiple occasions that he has no financial dealings with russia. >> so, jess, does this fall under the purview of the special counsel? is this something bob mueller is now investigating? >> reporter: it does. this fbi investigation is wide-ranging. it's into russian meddling during the u.s. election. of course, it was recently taken over by special counsel robert mueller, and it includes this
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seeking answers as to whether there was any coordination between associates of trump and examining the alleged financial dealings of key trump associates. at this point, the fbi is not commenting as to whether any of the claims discussed in those intercepts have been verified. and by the time trump took office, though, some of the questions about his aides' financial dealings with russian entities, those were already under investigation. john and poppy? >> jessica. investigators are getting more and more curious about a meeting between president trump's son-in-law, jared kushner, and a big-name russian banker. they want to know what exactly the two men wanted from one another. let's bring in senior washington krnt joe johns, who is live at the white house. what else are you hear? >> reporter: well, i mean, the significance of this is that banker, sergei gorkov, he works for a bank under sanction by the united states government, and he has ties, certainly, to vladimir putin. the question is, what were they
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talking about? was wha was inside that conversation? of course, this first reported by "the new york times." jared kushner also being looked at for his conversations, communications with sergey kislyak, the russian ambassador to the united states. a lot of focus on the notion that he wanted to set up some type of concealed communications, what's preefs n previously been referred to as a back channel, to moscow. and why he was doing that. meanwhile, jared kushner and his wife, ivanka trump, have been keeping a very low profile here in washington, d.c. kushner has sent the word through his counsel that he's willing to sit down and talk, explain what these communications were about. one possible explanation is the suggestion out there that has been reported by gloria borger of cnn and others that russia may have been the instigator or
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the initiator of the conversation about setting up a back channel, if you will, and that was because russia wanted to have some type of a communication with president trump's national security adviser about issues relating to syria. jared kushner, for his part, one thing for sure, he has sent word today pretty clearly through a source that he's not going anywhere, he's keeping his full portfolio of work here at the white house, which includes the middle east. back to you, poppy and john. >> china, trade. it's a full portfolio, to say the least, as most of the portfolio inside the white house sometimes, it seems. joe johns at the white house, thanks very much. susan hennessey is a cnn national security and legal analyst, steve halsey and retired cia chief of russia operations. susan, first i want to get your take on this reporting from the cnn team, jim sciutto and others, that officials are saying that they heard russians claiming they had derogatory information about then candidate donald trump and his staff. what should be the headlines
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there that jump out? >> all right, so, it's important to keep in mind that just because something was intercepted in signals intelligence, it just means it was said. it doesn't mean that the underlying information is accurate. the russian sources could be wrong, they could be exaggerating, it could be misinformation. what this is an indication of is there are very, very serious russian efforts either to interfere in the election or to confuse the u.s. intelligence community. so, this is further indication that president trump himself should be wanting to take this investigation seriously to get to the bottom of it so he can move forward. >> and exactly to that point, i mean, steve, if this was disinformation, which, you know, the russians use that tablgtic a lot, that's one thing, but there seems to be a real genuine lack of interest from this white house to get to the bottom of anything. they constantly say this is nothing to see here, this is a smear campaign by political foes of this president. do you see this white house as not interested and curious about it in total?
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>> poppy, it really confuses me, because you would think that now this interplay back and forth, where you have leaks from the press about the russians, you know, how truthful they are and what the details of the context are, as you correctly indicate, could be misinformation or disinformation, but the white house's response is always something along the lines of, oh, this is the democratic party trying to get over their loss in the election, this is deep state. you know, they've got all the -- i'm surprised they don't if you a different tact, because it really plays nicely into the russian game plan, i think. the russians are all about disruption, about driving wedges. we saw how successful they were in driving wedges when the president was in europe last week and a lot of our allies now expressing some concerns. but they also like to do that in washington, and it's almost like every one of these leaks that comes out, the white house reacts predictably, and it's sort of a win for the russians. so, you would think that even in their own interests, the administration would change
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tactic and say something along the lines of jared kushner's going to testify tomorrow and he's going to explain all of this, or you know, these are very serious allegations and we hope the investigation gets to the bottom of this sooner rather than later, we stand by to help on that. but they're taking a different tact, which for the russians is a good thing. >> you could say look, there are no financial irregularities here, but boy, we hope the russians weren't spying. it'd be really, really bad if they were saying these things and passing that information. susan, there is another strain of reporting which has to do with jared kushner and meetings he had during the transition, once with the russian ambassador, then with a russian banking official. "the new york times" asked a question today, said investigators want to know why he had that meeting with the russian banking official, what was discussed there. you know, senators john mccain basically says he doesn't like the idea that it happened. listen to the senator. >> my view of it is i don't like it. i just don't, i don't. i know that some administration officials are saying, well, that's standard procedure. i don't think it's standard
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procedure prior to the inauguration of a president of the united states by someone who is not in an appointed position. >> where's the line of justifiability here, susan? you know, on what side of it would jared kushner be totally okay, and then where would he have crossed the line? >> so, certainly during the transition period, president trump's team, including his close advisers, should have been thinking about the future of their relationship with russia and even having some forms of communication. what's a concern here is that what is reported is not that kushner was really seeking a back channel but that he was seeking a covert channel. the only real reason why someone would seek to use russian communications equipment, a very, very significant deviation from sort of ordinary protocol, it raises the specter that they're trying to hide from u.s. intelligence surveillance or from, again, information getting out to the obama administration. so, these are the things that really in very serious national
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security issues, we tend to sort of put the partisanship and the campaign season behind, recognize we're all on the same team, we all need to have information in order to have that really, really critical situational awareness. so, this is really an area in which the white house needs to come out now, open the curtain, give a really fulsome explanation for exactly what their motivations were here, why they thought that was the appropriate method, whether or not they were seeking to evade only surveillance during the transition period or whether or not this is something that they planned potentially for after president trump assumed office. >> so, steve, this meeting that jared kushner did have with sergei gorkov, a big-name russian banker under sanction by the u.s. government, why? what did the two men want from one another? and the timing is critical, right, because this meeting was during the time -- and this is a guy with a direct line, know, to vladimir putin -- during a time
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when president trump was just railing against the intelligence community as a whole. how important is it that investigators get the answer as to why kushner sat down with gorkov and what they wanted from one another? >> it's important, and i actually think it could be more important than this whole brouhaha about saying he wants to go in, kushner wants to go into the russian embassy and use russian communications equipment to talk to moscow. that strikes me as bizarre. however, somebody like kushner, you know, a former, or current, i guess, new york businessman, talking to sergei gorkov, the head of a bank, a guy who does have contacts back to putin, but he's a former intelligence officer. you don't go through the fsb school just like night school. you go in to be an intelligence officer. so, yeah, it is important. and those financial ties, those economic ties are actually the ones that trouble me a bit more than this whole let's talk to the russians via their own equipment. that does indeed need a lot of
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investigation, but again, kushner has said, i'll talk about that. all this could be put to bed tomorrow, as soon as they can schedule a meeting with mr. kushner, say hey, what's going on with this? >> that's a good point. he has from the beginning said i will come forward, i will answer your questions. he's not talking to the press, but he will talk to investigators. susan hennessey, steve hall, thank you both. all right, so today is the deadline for former national security adviser michael flynn to respond to a pair of subpoenas sent by the senate intelligence committee. >> committee leaders say if he does not comply, their next step could be to hold him in contempt of congress. joining us now from washington, cnn's phil mattingly. phil, what are you hearing? >> reporter: well, right now still no response, at least according to committee staffers. haven't heard back from michael flynn's lawyer yet. i think the key issue here is what these two subpoenas actually are. they tried to narrow down the scope, the committee leaders did. instead of targeting kind of an overly broad, kind of group of documents that they did in the initial subpeona, these were very finely tailored towards two specific businesses that they believed they could get the
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documents from, and their point in doing this, guys, which is an important one, is while michael flynn made clear through his lawyers that he would invoke his fifth amendment privilege, business documents, they don't believe, can actually be used -- the fifth amendment can't apply to those documents. so that was the rationale for their scope. again, no response yet. the big question now, and i don't think this is just on the senate intelligence side, this is also on the house intelligence side, what cooperation, if any, will they get from michael flynn particularly now that the special counsel has been appointed? at this moment, it's really a game of wait and see. we do expect the house intelligence committee as soon as this week to also issue subpoenas related to michael flynn. as of yet, they have not, so no shortage of issues for flynn to be dealing with. the big question, is there a need or desire to speak to the committees at all? his lawyers have made very clear, they are uncomfortable with the scope and scale of the investigations that they've been looking at so far. >> phil, on the legislative front, we learned moments ago the president's calling essentially to change the rules to try to get some of those things through. he tweeted this -- can we put it
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up on the screen so i can read it? "the u.s. senate should switch to 51 votes immediately and get health care and tax cuts approved fast and easy. dems would do it, no doubt." he wants to remove the legislative filibuster, phil. >> reporter: yeah, so let me take this swetweet apart. tax reform and health care are being moved on a track that would require 51 votes for coverage, or 50 republicans plus mike pence. that's via reconciliation. so there are a lot of constraints via reconciliation, this procedure that's done in the senate that frustrated a lot of republicans, particularly on health care. a couple points here. this is not a republican versus democrat battle right now, on both tax reform and repeal and replace. this is intraparty. so, the idea of changing the rules of the senate, this key cog on how the senate operates, and mitch mcconnell has made clear is not on the table. more than 45 to 50 republican and democratic senators said there would be no kind of
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nuclear option to this idea, but this proposal, while it's not something republicans are interested in, at least at this moment, wouldn't solve their problems at all. it doesn't matter if it's 50 votes or 60 votes right now on both health care and tax, guys. it's intraparty, republican versus republican. if they can't figure that out, it doesn't matter how many votes they think they need, nothing will get done in the future. >> important points. there aren't 50 points on health care now, so changing the votes would not help. phil mattingly, thank you very much. the president withdrawn, living within himself in a dangerous place. these words, these new details about the president's emotional state from someone who speaks with him. also with one sentence, german chancellor angela merkel sends a jolting message around the world. is america's relationship with europe changed for good? and a scuffle inside of the state capitol. texas lawmakers trade assault allegations ending with threats of gun violence. you cannot make this stuff up. a live report is straight ahead. (dog) mmm. this new beneful grain free is so healthy... oh! farm-raised chicken! that's good chicken. hm!? here come the accents. blueberries and pumpkin.
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new this morning, white house communications director mike dubke is out, change is in. the question is how much and how far? >> we have new information. let's bring in cnn political commentator and republican strategist alison stewart, also former communications director for ted cruz. and christine quinn is here, former new york city council speaker and a democrat. we will debate it now. but first, alice, you have new information, mike dubke is out. what else are you hearing about a shake-up?
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>> sure. his effort was to get the communications really drive a long-term message. my understanding is he offered his resignation for personal reasons, and there's a lot of talk going on as to what else is going on, but many people say that there's not a lot right now going to happen. there may be some waves of some people and some personnel changes, but right now dubke's out for personal reasons and there are some other names. i'm hearing that people are reading a little bit too much into the corey lewandowski and david bossie returning to the white house. they have a lot of considerations to think about. they're making a lot of money outside of the white house, or going back in. they had to make a decision, go in or stay out. so, those are some changes and things that are abuzz in washington. also, sean spicer, you know he'll be on the podium today for the press briefing. my understanding, he's going to stay for a while, so a lot of talk about a big shake-up. my understanding is all talk and not a lot of action at this point. >> christine quinn, i am sure you have criticism for the white house in many fronts, but you know, you've worked in politics
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before. how important is it to get the right person in that communications role and have it be someone that you trust with everything? >> well, it's one of the most important things. i mean, it's one of the most important things because it's basically the person, even in local levels -- forget national -- that is you. they are the personification of you to the press corps and to the public. and if they don't get you, if they don't have your message, if they don't have your back, if you're not totally in sympatico, it's a disaster. in one way, i feel bad for people who have taken press roles for donald trump. in another, i don't, you knew what kind of bed you were getting into it, you made it, you can lie in it. that said, whether you're a fan of the president or not, he is a guy who changes messages, who changes lanes without a blinker. so it is a tough job to be like this with the president. and if you're not, with any elected, it's a recipe for
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disaster. i just want to say, resigned for personal reasons? those are three words that we all know never mean what those three words mean. that means you got fired or you saw the ax coming. in every business, not just politics, but it's absolutely what you say when you're quitting or getting fired, no question. >> alice, "axios" is reporting that the president may hit the road a bit more, may take more questions himself. when i read that, i thought yep, probably a really good idea. i don't know who could message for the president, to be honest. i really don't know who could truly message for this president. >> and he said that. >> so is it a good strategy? mine, you still need a coms director and a white house press secretary, but they could do a lot less. >> surely. i think hitting the road is good for one reason and one reason more than anything, it's because donald trump likes it. he is in his best element when he's out there with the people when he's connecting with the american people, and he's able to -- he gets a lot of energy from that and it keeps him busy and off twitter. not to mention that fact.
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but he enjoys doing that, and it's his way in his mind of communicating directly to the people, again, bypassing the media like he does with twitter, and getting right out there and communicating one on one and not having to rely on the media, and he's in his best element. >> i would agree with alice. >> we have one minute left and i want your take. >> twitter, twitter, twitter, that will be this man's death now, even if he has jesus christ himself as his spokesperson. but corey. >> 30 seconds left, you had some run-ins with him here at cnn. if he's brought back into the fold, what does that mean? >> that they're doubling down on mean nastiness. >> that was less than 30 seconds, but if the president trusts him, could be effective? >> i think corey plays to the president's worst demons. >> the president also trusts him implicitly, even though he fired him at the end, but he's a loyalist to the end, right? >> whatever trust and loyalty means for donald trump, he holes corey in those regards, but again, i think corey will steer
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him down a path that is negative and divisive and not good for the country or the world, as we see with this morning's tweet about germany. >> all right, christine quinn, alice stewart, thank you for being with us. i appreciate it very much. the rift between the united states and europe now growing. a new european union leader piling on that message. stick around. ♪ fun in art class. come close, come close. i like that. [ music stops suddenly ] ah. when your pain reliever stops working, your whole day stops. awww. try this. for minor arthritis pain, only aleve can stop pain for up to 12 straight hours with just one pill. thank you. ♪ come on everybody. you can't quit, neither should your pain reliever.
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all right, new this morning, european leaders joining together to go it alone, agreeing that they will no longer count on u.s. leadership. german chancellor angela merkel really leading the charge with three hard-hitting statements in just the last 48 hours. >> right. here's part of the latest one. she said there are more reasons than ever to "take our fate into our own hands," and just moments ago, italy's prime minister reiterated the same thing to reporters, saying italy and the eu must take its own future into its hands. he went on to say, "we have fundamental objectives which we cannot renounce, such as the environment." joining us is fareed zakaria, host of "fareed zakaria gps" here on cnn. the question becomes how permanent is this, how lasting is this, and how deep a divide is it? i mean, angela merkel and president trump traded barbs throughout the campaign, but they were personal. this seems fundamental based on policy and things like climate change. >> well, i think it could potentially be a very important
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shift. we'll have to see. but it seems as though the europeans are saying, look, we believe in the liberal international order, meaning open, free trade, rule-based, and the united states has created that order, brought us into it after world war ii, has been the upholder, the guarantor, but this administration seems to essentially not only just walk away from that, be indifferent to it, but is actively hostile to us, to nato, to the european union, to many of those institutions. we are going to continue to defend. we are going to continue to uphold it. and if we now need to become the lead players in upholding the liberal international order, we'll step up to the challenge. >> look, there's nothing wrong with being the leading player in your own story, however, it's the hostility when which they're saying is strikes me. the german foreign minister saying the interests stands
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against the european union. it strikes me the flood gates are open. you have leader after leader and foreign minister after foreign minister being directly critical of the united states. it seems that a line has been crossed here. >> i think that there's no question, all of them would much prefer to have the united states as the active leader of the west that it has been. look, it raises enormous complications for europeans. the germans are now taking this active role, as you mentioned. well, germany has traditionally not taken an aggressive geopolitical role in recent decades because it conjures up bad memories for the rest of europe. and so, the germans have always preferred to follow the united states' lead, because once the germans do that, it does raise the, you know, the hackles of the pols and the french, who have been invaded by germany two or three times over the last two or three centuries, so they all preferred the glue that the united states provided. and so, they look at the
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dissolving of this group and they're worried. >> the dissolving of the glue. that's the best way to put it. got to get your take on the meeting between emmanuel macron and putin at versailles yesterday. he stood up to putin in so many ways, whether it was on syria, on ukraine, and then that in the wake of talking about how his handshake with donald trump, that awkward handshake was not innocent. did he prove to be stronger with putin than the american president? >> i think that it's fair to say the position of leader of the western world is currently vacant, and president macron stepped in to fill it. the united states ha has traditionally played that role is unwilling to or actively hostile to some of the institutions of the west. germany has its own historical reasons for not being able to completely fill that role. it does conjure up bad memories for a lot of people in europe. france is the perfect country, and macron is the perfect candidate, because he's tough, he's aggressive, he's young.
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he didn't just criticize putin on policy, he contradicted him on the issue of russia's cyber war, which, you know, he's the first western leader to directly confront russia on what is in effect an act of war, an act of hostility. >> standing beside him. do you have any sense of how vladimir putin responds to this? does he respond better to the in-your-face kind of pressure he got from emmanuel macron, or the, you know, presentation that president trump gave his ambassador and foreign minister in washington? >> everything we know about putin is that he responds to pressure. that is, when you push, he stops, he retreats. if you look at how he has taken advantage of europe, it has always been when he sensed weakness, he moves forward. i suspect that with macron -- and you could see it in that conference room. he was at a loss for words. he started to pretend that, you know, he had actually never favored macron's opponent, marine le pen, which was not
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true. all of a sudden, putin, who always seemed cool, calm, collected, seemed something at a loss for words. >> we're almost out of time, but first, you gave a commencement address that made a lot of headlines. you said, look, in these universities, there is not the space being allowed for important conservative voices. and we just want your take on the mayor of portland, oregon, in the wake of that horrific train attack, is calling for two alt-right groups to cancel these demonstrations that they have planned for the next month, and that is, you know, some would argue on the other side the silencing of those voices. how do you see it as you've been around the country speaking about this? >> you know, each situation is specific, and i do think there's a difference between protests and things like that that are almost designed and could create kind of, you know, create political and social unrest, and a conservative intellectual coming to a college campus which is meant to be dedicated to free and open inquiry. so i don't want to second guess
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the mayor of portland. it might be the right call, it may be the wrong one. i haven't studied it carefully, but i can say that the university of portland or the university of oregon, these places are meant to be centers of free expression and inquiry. that's what universities are for. and for them to be silencing people or even, frankly, turning your back on people -- don't turn your back, look straight at them and argue back. i mean, if they're wrong, explain why. >> fareed zakaria, thank you. nice to have you here. you can, of course, watch fareed every sunday, 10:00 a.m. eastern right here. today the pentagon is testing a new antimissile system after north korea launches its third test in as many weeks. details next. a trip back to the dthe doctor's office, mean just for a shot. but why go back there, when you can stay home...
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all right, a key u.s. military test today, an upgraded system to shoot down a ballistic missile. this comes after north korea fired a new type of ballistic missile. >> our pentagon correspondent, barbara starr, joins us with the latest. how significant is this, barbara? >> reporter: this is big stuff, you guys. you know, the pentagon will tell you it's not about north korea, but who else is out there really working on an intercontinental ballistic missile with a stated intention of trying to attack the u.s.? that's the north koreans. so, later today, it's a long planned test but still significant, the u.s. is going to try and test an upgraded system it's been working on, sometime between 3:00 and 7:00 tonight, east coast time, there will be a missile that takes off from vandenberg air force base in southern california. it will launch. it will fly very high, very fast. at the same time, thousands of miles away in the pacific, a so-called target missile, something that might simulate a north korean missile-take off.
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they will meet high, thousands of miles over the pacific. and think of it as a bullet trying to hit a bullet over the ocean. the target missile flies, the u.s. interceptor flies, and the u.s. interceptor tries to knock that missile out of the sky. if it all works, it will be a significant step forward in reassuring the u.s. that it does have the capability to potentially shoot down a north korean intercontinental ballistic missile. this whole thing has been in the works for years, but it's had a very spotty test record. so today is the first test of the upgraded, improved system, and the pentagon right now is banking on the fact that it all works somewhere in the skies between 3:00 and 7:00 tonight east coast time. >> they want to improve on the success rate, around 50%, if that the l much, in the past. barbara starr at the pentagon, thank you so much. chaos on the texas house floor. protesters, lawmakers in each
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other's faces. it got ugly. this really happened. you'll see it next. i count on my dell small business advisor for tech advice. with one phone call, i get products that suit my needs and i get back to business. ♪ ♪ on a perfect car, then smash it into a tree. 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. liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance. p3 planters nuts, jerky and whaseeds.at? i like a variety in my protein. totally, that's why i have this uh trail mix. wow minty.
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political sparring in the texas statehouse spiraled into actual sparring after a republican representative said he called i.c.e. on protesters rallying against a new ban on sanctuary cities. >> yeah, not just pushing and shoving, either. apparently, including threats of one lawmaker shooting another. ed lavandera following this for us in dallas. what happened here? >> reporter: well, john, grown men in suits turning the texas house floor into a schoolyard shoving match. essentially, what happened, yesterday was the last day of the legislative session here in texas, where lawmakers meet every two years. the last day is supposed to be a ceremonial, kind of quiet day, but there was a number of protesters who had shown up in the house gallery to protest senate bill 4, which is the senate sanctuary city bill that was signed by the governor of texas a few weeks ago. those protesters showed up, essentially shutting things down for a little while, and that's when democratic lawmakers say that a republican lawmaker came
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over to this group of hispanic lawmakers and said "f" them, referring to the protesters, and that he had called i.c.e. immigration officials to have them "all deported." that did not go over well with the group of hispanic lawmakers on the house of the floor. that's when the shoving match ensued, and that's when the threats got really serious. listen to one of the democratic lawmakers speaking with cnn this morning. >> a scuffle broke out and i got in there and when i realized what it was about and what he was doing and saying, you know, i got in his face, i put my hands on the guy. and you know, i asked him, these are things that shouldn't happen on the house floor. it's a break in decorum. we shouldn't be doing that. and so, in that and another exchange, i said you know, we need to take this outside because it shouldn't get resolved here in front of all these people. i kind of walked away from the guy. and i didn't hear him, some of my colleagues heard him say he was going to put a bullet in my brain. >> reporter: a bullet in my brain, words from representative
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matt rinaldi, who is a republican from the dallas-ft. worth area. he said in a statement that representative ramone area meira, one of the other lawmakers "physically assaulted me" and that other democrats were held back by colleagues. during that exchange, poncho, the man you just heard from, "told me that he would get me on the way to my car." he later approached me and reiterated that i had to leave at some point or he would get me. i made it clear that if he f he attempted to get me, i would shoot him in self-defense. so, in response to that statement, poncho called that rinaldi a liar. so, things incredibly heated yesterday on the last day of the legislature here in texas. john and poppy? >> it's pretty remarkable, lawmakers representing the american people, and it dissolves into this. ed lavandera, thank you for the reporting. it is important to note this is not the first time we've seen a political grudge match escalate. in just the last week, a soon-to-be congressman body slammed a reporter.
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>> all right, joining us now is larry sabato, director for the center of politics at the university of virginia. larry, are we at a new place right now? you know, i was watching that video from the texas floor last night, thinking, gosh, are we going to see more of this? is there a new coarseness in american politics? >> i think we are, john. look, i'm not going to deny that american history is dotted with examples of legislators and congressmen getting into fights of one sort or another, but here's the difference, we're in the age of donald trump. what happened over the past two years? donald trump attacked and really brutalized many people, not just the press, john, loads of individuals and groups, including using the issue of immigration to stir up the republican base. as a consequence -- >> but not beat them up. not physically. i don't think donald trump's ever been accused of physically beating anybody up. >> well, no, i am not saying he did it himself, but in those rallies, you remember him doing nothing to stop some of the physical violence. and in fact, urging it on.
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let's not rewrite history here. the man got elected president. he was rewarded for these sorts of activities. politicians pick up on that. a man who will do and say anything got rewarded with the presidency. i think that affects other elected officials. and you combine that with social media, the aminity of social media. there's a mob mentality that spills over into real life and we're going to see more of it, not just on the issue of immigration. >> so larry, to that point, do you think that the american electorate has become more immune to it? i mean, every headline -- you know, show-led, newspaper headlines were this montana candidate, now congressman-elect, who body slammed a reporter and two days later no one's talking about it. >> well, americans haven't become more used to it. this is as partisan as everything else in this
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intensely polarized, partisan country. republicans, it doesn't bother them, as we saw in montana. how many people did you interview there? >> you can't characterize an entire half of this country. >> first of all, it's not half of the country. republicans, democrats and independents. but republicans support it because it's promoted by their side, by their president and by -- >> in texas, though, i would -- >> -- other people associated with the republican party. >> i will say, in texas, though there were democrats laying hands. we had a democratic representative admitting he put his hands on another candidate. the other guy threatened to shoot him. i mean, it's a back and forth, republicans were involved, too. in the democratic party, larry, and not to do point-counterpoint, but the chairman of the democratic party, perez is swearing, purposefully using naughty words to make his point, so democrats see an advantage here, too, don't they? >> look, you're pointing to one example and saying both parties were involved. that's absolutely correct.
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however, this is more of the false equivalency that you all have been correctly criticized for and other news media outlets have been correctly criticized for during the election. things are not equal. you have to look at the breakdown of the population. and they support -- republicans support this because their leaders support it. democrats oppose it because their leaders oppose it and because maybe they're the target sometimes. let's not rewrite history. >> understood. understood. >> we've got to leave it there. i know a lot of republicans -- no republican i know would support this, but we take your point, larry sabato, thank you. >> poppy, you need to get around more out of that studio a little bit more. >> all right, a couple minutes before the hour. poppy does a lot of traveling. appreciate your time, larry. trouble for tiger woods, arrested on suspicion of dui. what he's saying about the incident that landed him in jail. that's next. with my moderate to severe crohn's disease,... ...i kept looking for ways to manage my symptoms.
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pretty ugly scene yesterday as one of baseball's biggest stars went out throwing punches after he got plunged. coy wire has more in this morning's "bleacher report." hey, coy. >> good to see you, john and poppy. this is video still trending on bleacherreport.com, bad blood between slugger bryce harper and giants pitcher hunter strickland. strickland seemingly holding a grudge for three years after harper hit two homers off of him in the playoffs, and then stared him down. so, yesterday was strickland hits harper with this 98-mile-per-hour fastball, harper did more than just stare. he takes the helmet off, throws it at strickland, then throws some blows. big punches landed by both players. the benches clearing in this one, players coming to rally for their teammates. the nationals end up winning this game 3-0, but both teams likely losing both players to hefty suspensions. according to police, tiger woods was found asleep at the
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wheel with the car running before being arrested early monday morning for driving under the influence. police in jupiter, florida, say he was arrested at 3:00 a.m., some ten miles from his home. they say he had to be woken up, his speech was slurred and mumbled. he did pass a breathalyzer test, and police say he was cooperative. he spent several hours in jail before being released without bail. woods apologized to family, friends and fans in a statement, saying "i understand the severity of what i did and i take full responsibility for my actions. i want the public to know that alcohol was not involved. what happened was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications. i didn't realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly." woods adding, he expects more from himself and will do everything in his power to make sure it doesn't happen again. woods is 41 years old. he is due to appear in court for the dui on july 5th. >> all right, coy wire, thank you for the reporting and the
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update. we appreciate it. see you tomorrow. thank you all for joining us. i'mpop ap aepy harlow. >> i'm john berman. "at this hour with kate bolduan" "at this hour with kate bolduan" starts now. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com thank you, john and poppy. hello, everyone, i am kate bolduan. exclusive, new reporting on russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 election. two former intelligence officials and a congressional source are telling cnn that russian government officials discussed having potentially derogatory information about then presidential candidate donald trump and some of his top aides. cnn's jessica schneider's joining me now with much more on all of this. jessica, lay it out for us. >> reporter: well, kate, you know those congressional and intelligence sources are telling cnn that the russian officials discussed having that "derogatory information" about then presidential candidate donald trump and some of his top aides. those were in conversations intercepted by u.s. intelligence during the 2016 election.

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