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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  August 1, 2017 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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agenda nor do i believe that a special agent or task force officer of the dea would mistreat a defendant. i know that you would not, so why do i write? i write to offer a strong reaffirmation of the operating principles that we as law enforcement professionals adhere. i write because we have an obligation to speak out when something is wrong. that's what law enforcers do. i'm brooke baldwin. thanks for being with me. "the lead" with jake tapper starts now. amazing admission from the white house just now. president trump, quote, weighed in on that misleading statement from donald trump jr. about his meeting with the russians. "the lead" starts right now. amid all that, one lawmaker's searing indictment of his own party, speaking his own mind railing against president trump saying his gop colleagues are in denial, but will senator flake's words lead to any action? he will join us at this hour. two potential crises
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overseas. one, a stark warning of war. a grim picture of the dooming options with north korea. and why is putin stockpiling so much military gear in russia? then, is this the ultimate fake news tale? the white house may have helped c concoct a huge news story and smearing a young murdered dnc staffer. but can the details of this lawsuit be believed? welcome to "the lead." we begin in breaking news from our money lead on wall street. let's take a look at the big board where the dow industrial average closed just shy of an all-time high of 22,000. the nasdaq and s&p hit record highs in july despite turmoil in washington and international
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tensions. the president tweeted about the dow this morning, saying, quote, stock market could hit all-time high again, 22,000 today was 18,000 six months ago on election day. mainstream media seldom mentions, exclamation point. in georgia today, president trump would sign into law very soon the tough sanctions the president passed on to russia and delivered at the white house last friday. >> very soon president trump will sign legislation to strentstren strengthen and caudify u.s. sanctions against russia. >> people are concerned that president trump might not sign the sanctions into law, although they have enough votes to override should the president veto the measure, or if the president does nothing at all and just lelts it sit, it will become a law in ten days
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automatically. his ambivalence on the sanctions is intriguing coming alongside a deafening silence after moscow's retaliation of those sanctions. the most aggressive move by the kremlin against washington since the final years of the cold war. since the move by putin, the president has had plenty to say about the news media, about republican senators, about democratic senators and more. but the president has had nothing to say publicly about putin or that move. nor has the president had anything public to say today about a different russia-related story. president trump, quote, personally dictated that initial misleading statement from his son donald trump jr. when first asked about that june 2016 campaign meeting with the russians. we now know that the encounter happened because an associate of donald trump jr. offered to get him a meeting with a russian government lawyer who was
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promising incriminating information about hillary clinton. but that initial statement about the meeting was misleading. it suggested that trump jr. and the lawyer had, quote, primarily discussed a program about the adoption of russian children, unquote. now, that statement did not mention the purpose of the meeting and had to be updated after the "new york times" obtained more evidence about the meeting and offered many more details. "the times" had reported, of course, that president trump personally signed off on that misleading statement which, at the time, one of the president's attorneys told me was not true. the "new york times" also reporting that the president personally signed off on the original statement that donald trump jr. issued on saturday, that one that required a follow-up clarification because it didn't disclose the idea of opposition research. >> that's not true. first of all -- >> the president did not sign off on a statement? >> no, he did not. the statement was issued by donald trump jr. the president was on return from his trip to the g20.
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these are stories out there, people can say whatever they want, but the fact is it's just not true. >> today, however, we found out from the post that the president did more than look at don jr.'s misleading statement, he dictated it against the advice of his advisers who favored a full disclosure about the meetings, suspecting all the information was going to come out, anyway, which it did. asked for comment just a few minutes ago, the white house press secretary acknowledged what the president's lawyer denied, acknowledging that the president did play a role in the drafting of that misleading statement. >> the statement that don jr. issued is true. there is no inaccuracy in the statement. the president weighed in as any father would based on the limited information that he had. >> to be clear, of course, the statement that don jr. issued that was dictated by the president, according to the post, was misleading. it did not even remotely acknowledge the purpose of the meeting, which was donald trump jr. wanting to meet someone
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billed as a russian government lawyer with one specific purpose, to obtain dirt on hillary clinton. a meeting attended, by the way, by jared kushner and campaign chair paul manafort. now you, as a citizen, you should expect a much higher standard of truth than the one that the white house press secretary just enunciated. if a meeting takes place so campaign officials can get dirt on a political rival from the russian government describing that meeting as being about adoption and not mentioning the purpose of the meeting, it's not true. it's inaccurate. it's so misleading as to be a lie. and you as a citizen, you have every right to wonder, why would the president hide the truth and be inaccurate about this? why would he want to hide from you the facts of this meeting which they insist was innocent? and, as always, what does any of this have to do with making america great again? so how does the president's just
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weighing in, as we learned today, square with what we've been told in the past about the formulation of that initial misleading statement? cnn's jim acosta is looking into this evolving story line from the white house. >> reporter: yes, the white house said, the president was involved in the crafting of a misleading statement that initially obscured the true nature of his son, donald trump jr.'s meeting with a russian lawyer during the campaign. >> there is no inaccuracy in the statement. the president weighed in as any father would based on the limited information that he had. >> reporter: the questions came after a "washington post" story reporting that the president dictated the statement released july 8 for trump jr., then inaccurately claimed the meeting was focused on russian adoptions. we primarily discussed a program for adoption of russian children that was popular with american families years ago and was since ended by the russian government. three days after that statement, trump jr. released four pages of his own e-mail showing the russian attorney planned to show information that would, quote,
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incriminate hillary and would be very helpful to your father. talking on air force i the other day, the president was saying they were talking about the adoption stuff which was actually a big thing at the time but nothing happened. a story he was still using at a news conference the following day. >> i guess they talked about -- as i see it, they talked about adoption and some things. adoption wasn't even part of the campaign. but nothing happened from the meeting, zero happened from the meeting. and honestly, i think the press made a very big deal over something that really a lot of people would do. >> reporter: asked about that initial misleading statement from donald trump jr., white house outside counsel jay sekulow insisted the president was not involved. >> by the way, i wasn't involved in the statement drafting at all, nor was the president. i'm assuming that was between mr. donald trump jr., between don jr. and his lawyer. i'm sure his lawyer was vovl involved, that's how you do it. you know that.
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to put this on the president i think is incorrect. >> the involvement of his son is a concern in the russian involvement. >> if it is true, it certainly is a concern, but i don't know that it is. >> if we had the e-mails available to us, you would understand the whole meeting wasn't about adoption. the e-mail chain shows it was about the russian government wanting to help the trump campaign. i don't think the statement helped don jr. i don't know what role the president played, if any. here's what i would suggest. that when you put out a misleading statement, it's going to be hard to convince people to stop looking at other things. >> the other big question lingering here at the white house is whether the president would sign a bill that would limit his ability to ease sanctions on russia today. the white house said the president would sign that legislation. congressional leaders were not concerned the president would veto the bill. the measure has enough support in congress to override the veto. getting back to donald trump jr.'s statement, for all the
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talk about the new chief of staff here bringing order and discipline to the white house, there is another thing in short supply here, and that's honesty. jake? >> let's turn it over to senator flake of arizona whose new book is rattling more than a few cages today. it is entitled "conscience of a conservative, a rejection of destructive politics and a return to principle." senator, thank you for being here. i have a different conscience book at home by barry goldwater, it looks a lot like this one. obviously the content different. congratulations. >> thank you. >> let's get to the news of the "washington post" reporting and the white house confirming that president trump played a role in drafting this initial misleading statement about donald trump jr.'s meeting with the russians. what's your reaction? >> i was surprised to hear that, but i know that the committees of jurisdiction, the senate intelligence committee on a bipartisan basis is looking at this, as they should, and i'm sure bob mueller and others will
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as well. but it was a bit of a surprise. >> what about the fact that you have the president's lawyer going out there and telling people he did not play any role at all in the drafting of the statement, and now we're told that he did, and then also just the issue of the fact that the statement was misleading? they said it was about adoptions, and as we know, what lindsey graham just said, the purpose was to get dirt on hillary clinton. does this meeting have a credibility rap? >> i would agree with lindsey in that regard. it's tough to tell people not to look elsewhere if they don't believe that you're giving the full story. but we'll leave it to the committees of jurisdiction. i'm glad we have a bipartisan committee looking into this, senate intelligence committee, and they're committed to doing it and others are as well. >> sarah huckabee sanders, white house press secretary, was asked today if the credibility gap, the transparency and honesty issues, were hurting the republican agenda.
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take a listen to what she had to say. >> i think what's hurting the legislative agenda is congress' ability to get things passed. >> what do you think? >> that's a pretty fair criticism. first and foremost, it's our responsibility to pass things. we have, i think, reached the limit of what we can do on health care with just our party. we'll be reaching across the aisle and perhaps we should have started that way, but that's where we're going. >> what do you think of the new chief of staff, retired marine general john kelly? >> i'm glad he's there. i think it's a good start and the measures that have been taken so far will give us more confidence that we'll see a little less chaos over there, and that will help. that will help. >> let's turn to your book. you have a comment in here which was really fascinating. there is a lot of criticism about the president and his behavior and how republicans, conservatives, specifically, have dealt with him. at one point you write, quote,
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to carry on in the spring of 2017 as if what was happening was anything approaching normalcy required a determined suspension of critical faculties and tremendous powers of denial. that's a pretty strong thing to say. what do you think republicans, conservatives, americans should be doing? >> well, there are two parts of conservatism. the first i would argue is policy. we've always adhered to limited government, economic freedom, individual responsresponsibilit. barry goldwater felt the party was strained from those issues and that's why he wrote the book he wrote. we're republicans taking up an unfamiliar banner that, you know, is populism. in some cases xenophobia, anti-immigration, protectionism. that's not familiar to us, and i don't think that is a governing
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philosophy. so on the policy side, i think we have an issue, but also being conservative means, particularly in foreign policy, that you're steady and that you're measured in your use of diplomacy and force, and predictable and that we embrace our allies and recognize our enemies. and that, i think, has been lacking and i'm concerned about that. >> i've heard from many republicans on the show and also just talking in the green room who think that, in fact, the president's point of view is embracing our enemies and giving the stiff arm to our allies in a lot of ways. >> for those of us who were raised in the cold war and having the soviet union and now russia adopting some of the same attitudes as the soviet union, that was the existential threat. and now to be seen as, you know, being more friendly or more trusting and to distrust our own institutions of government, our
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intelligence communities, just seems foreign to us. and i think it should seem foreign to us. i think we need -- when we see that, to speak up more often. >> senator, stick around. we're going to take a very quick break. when we come back, we'll talk more about your book. stay with us. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ super-cool notebooks. done. that's mom taking care of business.
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we're back with republican senator of arizona that's drawing a lot of attention this week. the subtitle is a look at subjective politics and principle. you talked about some principles that americans need to get back to. let's talk about destructive politics because you're quite critical in the book, and also you have been critical in real life about some of the things that president trump has said.
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his mockery of a disabled reporter -- i could go on but it's only an hour-long show. what do you think political leaders need to do when he does things that are indecent? >> let me just say this didn't start with president trump. i was in the house from 2001 to 2012 -- '13. during that time we had a republican stand up during president obama's state of the union and yelled "you lie." we've seen things like this and i talk about it in the book. when gabby giffords got shot, a year later she came back during the state of the union, she was going to resign the next day, and i sat with her and she couldn't stand on her own, still, at that time, so i helped her up during president obama's applause lines. i started getting texts and e-mails from republicans saying, why are you standing? the president is speaking! do you agree with the president?
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and just this shirts versus skins attitude that really predates president trump. and so -- but i think we've just gotten coarser and coarser. i talk in the book about things like the birtherism that was put forward. >> by president trump, mainly. >> and sheriff joe pyle sent investigators to hawaii and then had a press conference after he was defeated, still saying it was a forged birth certificate. this was in december of last year. a terrible thing to do and to prolong, and i think that that rejection of destructive politics, we've got to reject that. as a conservative, that's just not what conservatives should do. and i mean, we've got huge problems to solve in this country, the biggest, in my view, is our looming debt and growing deficit. we have $20 trillion in debt.
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we'll be over a trillion dollars a year in deficits coming up soon, and we know that the only way to solve that is for both parties to sit down and share the risk. every decent budget agreement we've had in the past 40 years is when republicans and democrats, you know, reagan and tip o'neal or the grand republicans act or the budget deal of '87, when republicans and democrats say, let's share the risk and do it together. to say you're conservative and say, i'm not going to even deal with entitlement spending, and put that off, we can't do that anymore. you need 60 votes in the senate to do just about anything. if you're not under reconciliation, and we're going to be there soon, and we should keep that. the president is calling for us to get rid of the filibuster. that would be an awful thing. the senate is at its best when we work together on these things.
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>> so your being outspoken doesn't come without a potential price. president trump has reportedly been talking with people about getting challengers, republican challengers, to run against you. politico is reporting that the white house officials have met with at least three possible primary challengers against you. you're running for reelection next year. how worried are you that doubling down on your o outspokenness on these issues with this book might cost you your political career? >> i think some things are more important than a political career. yeah, it would have been probably politically smarter to wait until you're safely reelected to write a book like this, but then it wouldn't mean as much. if you don't have anything to risk politically, it doesn't mean as much. i felt that it was important enough to stand up and write this. so i've done it. >> and there are critics out there on your left who say, talk is cheap, writing this book is one thing, what are you going to do about it?
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what are you going to do? >> like i said, i've reached across the aisle. i've worked on the so-called gang of eight when i first came to the senate. >> on immigration reform. yeah. >> we're going to have to do that. we're going to have to sit down together. i partnered with tim kaine to do a bipartisan amf, authorization of use of military force. to prove that democrats and republicans can get along, i marooned myself on an island with the democratic senator new mexico to show that democrats skprand republicans c get along. i've agreed with president obama on cuban policy, i disagreed with this president. i came to congress in 2001. disagreed with president bush on no child left behind, prescription drug benefit, disagreed with him for eight years on cuban policy, yet eight
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years later he came and did a fundraiser with me. because we agreed on most issues. we have to get away from this attitude that you have to agree with the president and the senator should be a rubber stamp for everything the senator wants at all times. i will agree with this president when i think he's doing conservative things and doing decent things, and i'll oppose him and speak up when i think that he isn't, and i think that's what arizona voters expect me to do. >> the book is c"conscience of conservative" by jeff flake. don't go before you sign my copy. now opposition leaders snatched from their homes in the dead of night. violence in oil-rich venezuela. we're going there live. stay with us. it's time for some straight talk. if you love your phone
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you just heard senator jeff flake, conservative senator from arizona on policy and also human decency. he says conservatism has been complacent in trumpism. >> that's true, but people like jeff flake are reluctant to support trump. he didn't go thosupport his ele he's never been pro-trump. but we're waiting for him to do things like repeal obamacare, tax reform, and now candidates have to figure out how they're going to position themselves for 2018 campaigns. you will see people like flake figuring out how to position themselves and i think you'll see a battle between who is to blame for accomplishments. you saw sarah huckabee sanders at the podium today sort of blaming the republican congress. you saw jeff flake here blaming
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trump. who will win that fight? it will be interesting to see going forward. >> abby, the "washington post" reporting that not only did president trump sign off on that misleading original statement from donald trump jr., he dictated it. and sarah huckabee sanders from the podium took issue with the idea of a dictation but did acknowledge that the president weighed in. it was a misleading statement. but sarah huckabee sanders said it wasn't. here is the president's lawyer, jay sekulow, talking before the story came out about whether or not president trump had a hand in it. >> the president didn't sign off on anything. he's coming back from the g20. the statement that was released on saturday was released by donald trump jr., and i'm sure in consultation with his lawyers. the president wasn't involved in that. i wasn't involved in the statement drafting at all, nor was the president. but i'm assuming that was between mr. donald trump jr., between don jr. and his lawyer. i'm sure his lawyer was involved, that's how you do it. i want to be clear the president
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was not involved in the drafting of the statement and did not issue the statement. >> i mean, obviously jay sekulow was either not telling the truth or, i think more likely, had not been told the truth. >> and i think it's important to note that on some of those occasions, he volunteered that the president wasn't involved in drafting it, which i think reflects how damaging this revelation really is for them. i would suggest that trump was the person who wanted to pull back from full transparency. you know, our reporting basically states that there were other lawyers and advisers involved who knew that more information would come out that would make a less than fullsome statement seem invasive and like an effort to cover something up. so they wanted to put it out there. the president was the one who overruled them. that's the critical decision-making point here. you can call it dictating, you can call it weighing in, you can call it whatever you want. the question is who decided not to say what happened that day and who decided to put out a statement that eventually was
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proven to be categorically false. the meeting was not about russian adoptions. it was about damaging information on hillary clinton and that's the reason that the meeting ended up on don jr.'s calendar. >> paul, you and i are old dogs and we've seen a lot of people come in and out of this town. get it all out, get it all out on your own terms, get it all out as soon as possible. >> and according to the reporting in abby's paper, the president was advised that and it is true. everything comes out, believe me, i've lived this. stuff you never want them to know about comes out. so go ahead and say it if it was benign, that it wasn't about adoption. say it. according to the sources the post has, the president was advised to be completely tran transpare transparent, go ahead and put it all out and he decided not to. it's a huge problem. it's not a crime to lie to the "washington post," it isn't -- >> lying to the public is really what it is. >> it is lying to the public, and that's terrible, but it's
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not obstruction of justice. it is a cover-up. he was clearly directing a k cover-up with that meeting. it was a meeting to seek dirt on hillary clinton. >> it's also problematic to use taxpayer resources to not only protect your son from legal trouble but to protect him from problems that were conducted from a campaign. if he brought staff into that discussion and used resources a aboard air force i to keep his son from getting in trouble, that provides support for the staff as well. >> he did like anybody would. >> i'm not sure it's true in the concept of a criminal investigation. ultimately if we take a step back here, that's what this is about. this is a criminal investigation that involves him and his family, and there were attorneys
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involved who advised him not to do this, and the president did not take that advice. it reflects the idea that a lot of people around him do not believe that he's fully cognizant of how serious this all is at the end of the day. >> amanda, abby, paul, thank you all for being here. president trump tested by foreign powers finding no easy answers as russia flexes its military muscles and north korea pushing the nuclear limits. that story ahead. that's mom taking care of business. but who takes care of mom? office depot/office max. this week, filler paper just one cent with five dollar minimum purchase. ♪taking care of business. when you switch to progressive. as easy as saving $600 winds stirring. too treacherous for a selfie. [ camera shutter clicks ] sure, i've taken discounts to new heights with safe driver and paperless billing. but the prize at the top is worth every last breath. here we go. [ grunts ]
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we're back with our world lead. as they try to stabilize business here in the united states, pyongyang may be gearing up for another type of missile launch just days after firing its second icbm. in response senator lindsey graham of south carolina said this morning that president trump would be willing to use the last resort on kim jong-un's regime. >> there will be a war with north korea over their missile program if they continue to try
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to hit america with an icbm. >> if that weren't frightening enough, russia is threatening eastern europe as it prepares for a large scale military drill along the borders of nato countries, which has some worried that could be a trojan horse. let's bring in barbara starr. barbara, how concerned is the pentagon right now? >> look, jake, both korea and the united states are reaching a breaking point, but what vladimir putin wants is a russian war. the country prepares for a large-scale military exercise on the border of the countries. >> translator: today the leaders carry out not only traditional tasks but meets new challenges. >> reporter: the heads of special operation forces warning of a new threat from the russian military. >> the point of concern for most
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eastern europeans right now is they're about to do an exercise in belarus, russia that will entail thousands of russian troops moving into that country. the great concern is they're not going to leave. that's not paranoia, that's active concern. >> reporter: even the secretary general of nato doesn't believe moscow's claim. it's only sending 13,000 troops. >> we have every reason to believe that it may be substantially more troops participating than the official reported numbers. >> reporter: it's a russian move that can't be ignored, experts say. >> there has to be a strategy. what will we do? what will we put up with? >> reporter: and that's just one crisis for the west wing that new white house chief of staff retired general john kelly is now running. in north korea, the u.s. continues to say it's not looking for regime change. >> we are not your enemy, we're not your threat, but you are presenting an unacceptable
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threat to us. and we have to respond. >> reporter: but after two intercontinental ballistic missile launches and growing north korean submarine operations, u.s. satellite, aircraft and submarines are grabbing every snippet of imagery, electronic intercepts and radar readings. it could all help the u.s. get a vital heads up. military actions in north korea have been ramped up. they are aimed at rapid response if there is an imminent threat of a north korean missile attack or use of a nuclear device. the pentagon is adamant about making diplomacy work. but a key senate republican hawk says he was told by president trump conflict is always a possibility. >> he has told me that, i believe him. i'm saying it's inevitable unless north korea changes. if there is going to be a war to stop him, it will be over there. >> reporter: earlier today, secretary of state rex tillerson
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said the u.s. would be willing to sit down with north korea, but only if it relinquishes its nuclear weapons. jake? >> barbara starr at the pentagon to us today. thank you. turning to another international crisis, in venezuela, democracy is in shambles. politicians who spoke out against current president nicolas maduro were yanked out of their homes in midnight raids as violent protests leave demonstrators injured and killed. this is following what critics call a sham election, calling on maduro to consolidate his power. but will sanctions be enough? let's bring in leyla santiagos in caracas. have you seen any sign that maduro might be deterred? >> all signs show he is not being deterred, emboldened
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taking these opposition leaders in the middle of the night, some still in pajamas. these are the big names, these are the faces you see on t-shirts, on posters, out in the protests. on the question is maduro being deterred at this hour by protests, by sanctions, by military pressure, it seems as if it's actually emboldening him. jake? >> the new sanctions target maduro's assets. could those stop him, potentially? >> reporter: there are a number of sanctions on the table right now. last week president trump sanctioned individuals that are tied to president maduro. now president maduro has been sanctioned and his reaction was, i am not a stray dog. i don't just wag my tail for anything, and i will not give in on venezuela's sovereignty. so these sanctions against president maduro don't seem to
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be stopping him or having him bow down in any way. it's certainly something that could impact him personally when it comes to personal banking and any business he may have or any assets he may have in the united states, which at this point is unclear what that may be. but in terms of his statement that he's making publicly and his move forward with this new assembly that could give him more power, that could essentially get rid of the assembly that his opposition controlled, he is moving forward on those hour by hour. >> and there's talk in the administration right now, in the trump administration, about potentially sanctioning venezuela's oil. that, of course, could be a double-edged sword. >> reporter: right, because -- and we've talked to people on the streets, i even talked to someone from the trump administration who said that very phrase, double-edged sword. because venezuela has the
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largest oil reserve in the world. it was one of the richest countries in latin america because of that oil reserve. if he sanctions the oil and t, e united states buys a lot of oil from venezuela, it may actually hurt the economy and the government as well. this is an economy, jake, as you know, as we reported, it's already suffering. you combine inflation with food and medical shortages, and it's a very, very bad situation for venezuelans on the streets. >> all right, leyla santiago in caracas for us. an explosion shows that the white house weighed in on a fox news smear of a murdered staffer. now the white house is responding to the lawsuit. that's next. there on stage. i wanted to be clear. i wanted it to last. so i kept on fighting. i found something that worked.
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. welcome back to the politics lead. despite the cia director, fbi director, on and on, president trump has refused to accept that russia was responsible for the election interference last year. in fact, some in the conservative media have feverishly been looking forr alternative suspects in the hack of the dnc. one of those bogus suspects was a young man who worked at the dnc named seth rich. they have smeared this young man with no evidence. today an explosive lawsuit was filed against fox news and zimmerman and ed murtowski suggesting the white house worked with fox news to concoct this untethered conspiracy theory. >> seth rich continues to get a
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huge amount of attention. >> reporter: it was an explosive fox news story line built on falsehoods and later retracted. >> it turns out it wasn't the russians, it was this young guy. >> reporter: it was not, but that did not seem to matter. a new lawsuit filed today, however, says the white house and a fox reporter were behind the story, working to craft a story that would help put to bed that president trump colluded with russia, a claim fox news and the white house deny. >> the president had no knowledge of the story and it's completely untrue to hear white house involvement in the story. >> with the totality of everything else i found in this case -- >> the plaintiff is rob wheeler who was hired to investigate the murder of rich by trump supporter ed bertowski. also a fox commentator who paid for it on behalf of the victim's family. he met with white house officials to discuss the story.
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>> in this case it was a particularly ugly instance. >> reporter: wheeler filed the lawsuit this morning claiming fox had falsely contributed quotes about the investigation to him, quote, because that was the way the president wanted the article. bertowski denied the allegations, telling cnn the lawsuit is b.s. but wheeler provides as evidence a litany of text messages and e-mails exchanged with bertowski. >> you must get allegations of misinformed stories all the time. what you don't tend to get is a blow-by-blow story of what occurred. >> i want to note that we have the full attention of the white house on this, and tomorrow let's close this deal. >> reporter: this after allegedly sending a text to wheeler. the president just read the article. he wants the article out immediately. it's now all up to you. when asked about the exchange,
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butowski tells cnn he was joking. enter then white house press secretary sean spicer who was asked for white house reaction after this false story broke, that seth rich may be behind the leaks. >> i'm not aware of -- i generally -- i don't get updates on dnc, former dnc staffers. i'm not aware of that. >> reporter: what spicer didn't mention? the meeting he had with butowski and wheeler a month earlier. the family of seth rich has been tainted by all the smearing. they said, we are hopeful that this brings an end to what has been the most emotionally difficult time in our lives and an end to conspiracy theories surrounding our beloved seth. >> and our thoughts and prayers are with seth and his family. the senate just started voting on president trump's nominee to fire fbi director james comey. we'll bring you that story after the break.
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welcome back. right now on capitol hill the u.s. senate is voting on president trump's nominee to replace fired fbi director james comey. in a rare display of bipartisanship, christopher wray was unanimously voted out of the senate judiciary committee. he is expected to become confirmed. wray, who is now a private lawyer, was once a top department of justice official during the george w. bush administration. during his confirmation hearings, wray pledged his independence. he repeatedly told the senate that he would not be pulling any punches and he would be asked to resign if he was asked to do anything illegal or immoral. be sure to follow me on facebook or twitter @jake ttapp. be sure to join me this evening for a special town hall "al gore
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the climate crisis" at 9:00 p.m. eastern. i now turn you over to wolf blitzer who happens to be next door in "the situation room." thank you for watching. happening now, weighed in. the white house finally confirms president trump took part in crafting his son's misleading statement about meeting with a russian lawyer. the admission that the president, quote, weighed in as any father would comes after weeks of denying the president's involvement, including denials by the president's own personal lawyer. does this new revelation create any legal problems for the trump team? waiting day. vice president pence says president trump will sign the russian sanctions legislation into law soon. vladimir putin is already retaliating. dispelled diplomats are packing up to leave