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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  August 24, 2017 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT

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by cuteness. jeanne moos, cnn, new york. >> what can't you find on twitter. i'm jim sciutto. "ac 360" starts right now. good evening. the white house showed itself unwilling or unable to admit the president is unable to reverse himself. the promise was about that wall. that big beautiful border wall which wouldn't cost taxpayers a thing because the president insisted mexico would pay for it. >> we will build the wall 100%. i promise, we will build the wall. and who's going to pay for the wall? who's going to pay for the wall? who?
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it will be a great wall. mexico's going to pay for the wall. mexico's going to pay for the wall. mexico will pay for the wall. and mexico's going to pay for the wall, and they understand that. mexico is going to pay for the wall, believe me. 100%. >> 100%, he said. now it's american taxpayers being told to pay for the wall. though the president still claims mexico will pay for it, some day, somehow. in fact, the president wants taxpayers to pay for the wall so badly he's threatening to shut down the government if congress doesn't agree. >> we are building a wall on the southern border which is absolutely necessary. build that wall. now, the obstructionist democrats would like us not to do it, but believe me, we have to close down our government, we're building that wall. >> building a wall, taxpayer
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money, not mexico's government or shut down the government. he may be in negotiating tactic, but lawmakers only have a few weeks before the government runs out of money and hits the debt ceiling, which could affect the stock market or spook consumers. today the white house was repeatedly asked why the president is willing to jeopardize the u.s. economy for something he once promised mexico would pay for. the questions were asked a number of ways by a number of reporters to spokesperson sarah hucka abee sanders, but she swatted them away. >> the president has talked pretty extensively about this. he campaigned on the wall. he won on talking about building a wall. and he's going to make sure that that gets done. we know that the wall and other security measures at the border work. we've seen that take place over the last decade and we're committed to making sure the american people are protected. once again, the president is committed to making sure this happens and we're going to push forward. the efforts haven't been
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abandoned. this is something 9 president's committed to. he's committed to protecting american lives. and doing that for the border wall is a priority and we're moving forward with it. the president is clear this is a priority, protecting american citizens is a priority, something he's committed to. as i've said multiple times today, he's committed to seeing that through. >> will it force a government shutdown to get the wall built? >> i think i've answered the question several times. >> what's interesting about the wall is we have now reporting on how the idea apparently began. it comes from josh green's remarkable book about steve bannon. the power of illegal immigration to manipulate popular sentiment is readily apparent. talking about candidate trump. from a campaign aide sam nunberg telling green, roger stone and i came up with the idea of the wall. we talked to steve about it. he went on to say it was to make sure he talked about
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immigration. green writes candidate trump seemed indifferent but changed his mind when he tried it out in a speech in january of 2015 and the place went nuts. the u.s. economy may hinge now on a throwaway catch phrase that just happened to catch on. more from cnn's sarah mur rich. has the white house offered any more information following the president's threat about shutting down the government? >> aside from what you saw from sarah huckabee sanders today, they haven't really given us an indication of why the president decided this is something he would be willing to shut down the government over. they also didn't offer any real explanation as to how he squares and acts like this with what you showed was a regular campaign promise. a notion that this wall was going to be built and american taxpayers wouldn't be on the hook for. since he became president, the president of mexico has made one thing very clear to president trump. they're not paying for that
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wall. >> the last time the government shut down was 2013. what happened if the administration follows through with this? >> the republicans are urging the president not to move forward with a plan like that. they paid the political price for this in 2013. they led to the government shutdown and the headlines were brutal and they came out every single day, stories about preschools that were closed, kids that couldn't go to preschool, programs that doled out formula for infants for low-income mothers. soldiers were killed in afghanistan who came back to the united states and their families couldn't get death benefits and couldn't get the government to pay for their funeral costs. that's the tiny sample of what happens when you shut down the government. that's the reason they're telling the president, this is not going to go over. >> joining us to talk about the wall, and mexico not paying for it, is jorge ramos. hor ray, for this president who ran on the whole idea that
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mexico was going to pay for the wall, to now be talking -- threatening to shut down the u.s. government, should congress not provide funding for the wall, i mean, that is a huge flip-flop. >> it's a big change. but i think president trump hasn't told the truth to the american people. he has to tell the people that on january 27th, according to the "washington post," he had a conversation with mexican president. president pena nieto told him many times that mexico is not going to pay for the wall. and then president trump said, according to the transcripts, that he preferred that this was not going to be discussed in public. unfortunately for nieto, he didn't agree to that. right from the beginning, mexico said they were not going to pay for the wall. that's where we are right now. and on the other hand, the wall is really a stupid idea. because there's no invasion
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coming from mexico. the undocumented population has remained stable for over a decade. over 45% of undocumented immigrants come by plane or with a visa. even if you have a big, beautiful $20 billion wall, it's going to serve no purpose. >> if is interesting that in that call with the mexican president, that the president had, as you said, leaked to the "washington post," the transcript of it, president trump seemed more concerned about the mexico president just publicly talking about mexico not paying for the wall, saying it would look bad for president trump. he seemed almost more concerned about the optics of it, and sort of the political ramifications for him. >> exactly. it was a matter of perception. and he even threatened president any eta. he said. there will be problems with the trade between mexico and the united states. that's where they are right now. they're negotiating the deal. the fact is that mexico from the
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beginning, everybody knew, i knew, that mexico was not going to pay for the wall. that was done during the campaign. now president trump has to tell the truth. >> the president's supporters will point out that crossings, across the southern border, have dropped dramatically, apprehensions have dropped dramatically since president trump took office. you and i have talked about this before. i think in the past you said fear works in stopping people from coming across. does the president deserve some credit for using the bully pulpit to reduce people crossing over? >> i would say two things. first of all, fear works, yes. i think president trump is incredibly unpopular in america. among some of the most hated people in latin america might be president trump and sheriff arpaio. on the other hand, it was before
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president trump arrived to the white house when we saw a declining in the number of mexicans coming into this country. so much, that right now, more mexicans are leaving the united states than coming to this country. it is not entirely because of donald trump, but yes, i have to admit that the number of immigrants trying to cross illegally from mexico to the united states has been reduced, of course. >> in the president's speech, you mentioned joe arpaio, he spoke about joe arpaio in his speech in phoenix, strongly suggesting that he will pardon sheriff joe arpaio, or the former sheriff, who we should point out, his immigration crackdowns led to a federal conviction for federal contempt of court. if the president does pardon sheriff arpaio, it certainly played well in the crowd in phoenix. i'm wondering what it says to latinos across the united states many who see arpaio as a lightning rod in immigration issues. >> first, sheriff joe arpaio is
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not another fine person. sheriff arpaio violated the constitution. sheriff arpaio discriminated against latinos. sheriff arpaio has been accused and proven guilty of racial profiling. in other words, he's been accused and proven guilty of racist behavior. >> it's also startling to many people he's talking about pardoning joe arpaio just days after drawing a moral equivalence between, you know, neo-nazis and those who were protesting against them. i mean, how much moral capital has he lost, do you think, in the recent days? >> well, a lot. you know, we are not the problem. it is not the -- it is not us that we are making up things. here we have a precedent when the past has made racist, sexist and xen ohphobic remarks. this is a president who equated white supremacists to those protesting racism.
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this is a president who described very fine people, those marching with neo-nazis. so clearly, the problem is not with us, it is with president trump. you know, i've been hearing people saying that he's unfit to be president. and that he shouldn't be in the white house. well, in a democracy like ours, the one who wins the election, stays in the white house, and he won the election. but i'm getting ready for four years with president trump. but this means also that we as journalists, we have the responsibility to call him out if he lies. and he lies a lot according to the "washington post," more than 1,000 times since last january. we have to say he's lying. if he makes racist statements, we have to say he's making racist statements. the deal is this, when in doubt, more journalism. if he attacks us, then more journalism. that's what we should do. >> jorge ramos, appreciate your
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time. thank you. >> thank you. just ahead tonight, call it republican warfare, sism and what it signifies when it comes back. update on the white nationalist when he was armed to the teeth. well, cried a lot when facing the consequences for his hateful acts. with advil, you'll ask what twisted ankle? what muscle strain? advil makes pain a distant memory nothing works faster stronger or longer what pain? advil. ♪ hey, is this our turn? honey...our turn?
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taking another poke at mitch mcconnell today in his ongoing feud with both republican senators from arizona and paul ryan, the white house is also trading shots with bob corker, the republican senator from tennessee, also known as the guy on the very short list to be the president's secretary of state. so it was no small thing when senator corker recently had this to say about president trump, and the head of his own party. >> the president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability, nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful. he also recently has not demonstrated that he understands the character of this nation. >> white house spokesperson sarah huckabee sanders was asked about senator corker's critique. >> i think that's a ridiculous and outrageous claim.
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>> plenty of complaints that the president is alienating some of the people he may need to make his presidency a success. i want to talk to former obama senior adviser and campaign adviser jason miller. jason, sarah huckabee sanders saying corker's statements were ridiculous and outrageous. the comments came from a sitting republican senator in the white house. >> i wish they had picked a bigger fight here today. this really goes to the culture war that i think helps sweep president trump into office, where you have the washington elites on one side and the rest of the country on the other side. look, in washington, if they don't like the way that you talk or act, or you don't sit around all day studying roberts rule handbook of order, they start launching these vicious attacks against you. i'm not saying president trump is immune from criticism, not at all. but they're attacking the
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stability or competence, or comments like fitness, this is making it a personal attack well above and beyond. i think these -- it's important to keep in mind that president trump, not only defeated the democratic establishment in the general election, he also beat the republican establishment in the primary. so this really sets up what's going on here. now, we do have to bring it together because we do have republican majorities in both the house and the senate. and i think this is pivotal as we head into the fall. the folks on the hill need to get with the program and get behind our president. >> van, is this just a problem of washington -- >> no, it's sad to hear him say that. somebody's got to be able to give the president real feedback here. i think the problem you have now is anybody who gives critical feedback automatically becomes a part of the establishment and therefore, you don't have to listen. bob corker is not a part of any establishment that you would be against. he is a -- i'm from tennessee. had eis a strong conservative, but also a no-nonsense
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common-sense kind of conservative which we used to celebrate in america. he's basically trying to give the president some honest feedback. you have somebody trying to give president some feedback and say, listen, you're not meeting the criteria yet. this guy now gets thrown under the bus? if corker is not conservative enough and doesn't have the heartland credentials to critique the president, nobody does. >> bob corker wasn't insulting, going out of his way to insult the president, i don't think. do you think he was? do you think his critique was that harsh? he was essentially saying that -- it was kind of a gentle critique, if anything, saying the president hasn't yet done this. and more in sorrow than in anger, and in grief than attack. jason? >> anderson, i think i viewed it a bit differently and i think a lot of trump supporters did as well. it didn't seem to be, say, a criticism of a specific issue or maybe criticism of particular
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remarks. >> i think it was in the wake of charlottesville, i think that's what the general time frame was. >> but the way that the remarks were delivered seemed to be an overall rebuke of president trump's character. that's the way that it came across to me. if senator corker didn't mean it that way, he should clarify that. that is definitely the way it came across. putting all that aside for a moment, here's the bottom line. for the past eight years or so, ever since president obama came into office, and the democrats were in control and republicans got both chambers back, we've been wanting to pass tax reform. we've been wanting to repeal and replace obamacare. we now have a president in the white house who will sign all of those. so republicans need to pass these bills, they need to get it done, get it to the president so he can sign it. these are all things as republicans we've been running on for years. now we've got to go do what we've been promising to do. >> van, has the president helped that effort to get those things done by going after certain senators? >> what he said makes perfectly good sense. the president has been doing
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everything but focusing on tax reform. he's been tweeting, kind of like apologizing for, you know, weird nazi stuff. the president has not done himself a good service. i think that's what you've got people like corker -- listen, i would vote against corker 12 times a day if i could. i'm no fan of corker. but corker is saying, you are letting us down. his surrogates amplifying that. not doing character assassinations against corker. one more thing to say is simply this. if the president were as focused on this tax stuff as we're talking about, the new cycle would be totally different. and corker would be applauding him. corker would be the main one saying, thank you very much, sir. you just validated corker's concerns. update on america's most famous weeping white nationalist. talking tough in charlottesville right after the melee that
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killed heather heyer. >> i would say it was worth it. we knew we were going to meet a lot of resistance. the fact that nobody on our side died, i'd go ahead and call that points for us. the fact that none of our people killed anybody unjustly i think is a plus for us. and i think that we showed our rivals we won't be cowed. >> well, it's easy to talk tough about not being cowed when you're surrounded by your fellow fans of fascism. not so easy to talk tough when a few days later you're back at your home, wanted on several felony charges, you're scared and you're lonely. that's when christopher cantwell turned on the camera and began sniffling about his fate. >> the whole entire point of this, i'm watching cnn talk about this as violent white nationalist protests. we have done everything in our power to keep this peaceful. you know? what options do we have left.
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if somebody would like to inform me of that, then i will be grateful to you. i really will. >> christopher cantwell turned himself in last night. today was arraigned on two counts of illegal use of tear gas. bond was denied and a preliminary hearing set in mid-october. a lot more ahead tonight. the president also went after james clapper today. in a moment, i'll ask former cia michael hayden what he thinks about this, did clapper go too far or is he spot-on. hurricane harvey heading to the texas gulf coast. the latest on when it may hit, where, and how hard, when we continue. i take pictures of sunrises,
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as we've been discussing, the president did what he thought should be done which is attack on twitter. the president went after james clapper who criticized him for his rast in phoenix on tuesday night.
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this is what clapper said on cnn which got under trump's skin. >> i really question his fitness to be in this office. i worry about, frankly, you know, the access to nuclear codes. >> joining me tonight retired general michael hayden who served as nsa director and as you might expect, knows clapper well. first, i wonder what you make of clapper publicly questioning president trump's fitness after his speech in phoenix. he said the event was downright scary and disturbing. >> i actually saw jim's comments live during your coverage after the speech in phoenix, anderson. i probably wouldn't have gone there, certainly with the language that jim used. but, you know, truth in lending here, i signed a letter about a year ago along with about 50 other people like me questioning the competence and stability of then candidate trump to do the
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kinds of things we expect a president to do. so i understand the concerns that jim raised there. >> as the president has your concern increased, does it remain the same? has it decreased? >> we were concerned going in. and i have to say, anderson, in all honesty, the performance of the first seven months, particularly when the president's a bit on his own, and not relying on the structures of government, really hasn't done much to make me feel better about the decision-making process, the experience, the appreciation for both history and consequences, that you'd expect a president to have. >> as someone who worked in intelligence throughout their entire career, and has studied the unraveling of government, the unraveling of societies, how countries fall apart, how they rebuild, i'm wondering what was going through your mind in the last week and a half or so in the wake of charlottesville?
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i'm not just talking about the president's comments about it, or lack of comments about it, but just about the fact that there is, you know, there was a torch-lit march of hundreds of what appeared to be young american men chanting, jews will not replace us, and other, you know, literally nazi slogans. and the response to it. >> so, most of the countries in the world that we care about also have those fringe elements. so i think they recognize that. more importantly, i think they're looking more broadly at the response of our government and society. intelligence folks, anderson, respond to the priority intelligence requirements of their presidents and prime ministers. and i'm saying this without exaggeration. i can imagine in both adversary and even in some friendly countries now, intelligence chiefs are being given new priorities by their political
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masters. what are your thoughts on the stability of the current administration? who in the american government speaks authoritatively for the american government? what are the possibilities of political violence in the united states? and anderson, those aren't predictions. what i'm simply saying is, is that the range of possible outcomes for these foreign intelligence services, the ones they have to look for, the range of possible outcomes has shifted. and these are now included in them. those are the kinds of questions that other intelligence services are now looking at us to determine answers. >> that's really extraordinary. that's the kind of thing the u.s. intelligence services would look at for, you know, i don't know, moammar gadhafi, or any foreign government that had internal strife and internal issues. that that is now on the table
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that is something that foreign governments would want to examine in the united states, who really speaks for the u.s. government. that's a stunning idea that -- and i understand why it would be a question. because the president says one thing in a tweet, and the secretary of state says something else, then you have general mattis having to travel around and say other things to other countries. >> sure. and anderson, again, i wasn't trying to be predictive here. or even suggesting they were trying to be predictive. but you know, intelligence services are inherently pessimistic. they always look to the dark side, because that's where they get their questions. so i'm telling you, my judgment is, other services are beginning to kind of go through their files and try to draw judgments on those kinds of issues here in the united states. and anderson, we've had this conversation before. the veneer of civilization can be pretty thin from time to time. we are not immune from the kinds of things you suggested we look at in other countries. >> general hayden, i appreciate your time. >> thank you.
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>> thank you. president trump gets his information from watching television or maybe something someone whispered in his ear. we learn how kelly is trying to control that flow to the president. when you're close to the people you love, does psoriasis ever get in the way of a touching moment? if you have moderate to severe psoriasis, you can embrace the chance of completely clear skin with taltz. taltz is proven to give you a chance at completely clear skin. with taltz, up to 90% of patients had a significant improvement of their psoriasis plaques. in fact, 4 out of 10 even achieved completely clear skin. do not use if you are allergic to taltz. before starting you should be checked for tuberculosis.
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white house chief of staff is attempting to control what information gets into the hands of the president. a move designed to eliminate internal competition and help the president make decisions. all according to a new reporting from politico. john kelly instituted a system in which only he and one other staffer must review all memos and reports before they get to the president.
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the president still wants to access his smartphone, twitter feed and news reports. a white house reporter who wrote the story, nancy, is general kelly's new system a way to get the president to conform to tradition or the staff to conform to tradition, or both? >> really, it's both. this idea of having a clear policy-making process is not new. it really dates back to both democratic and republican administrations. the thing is, it's just taken the trump administration seven months to get to this point of setting up a process to get all the ideas to the president, to make all the -- make sure all the stakeholders are heard. and that wasn't something that kelly's predecessor reince priebus was able to do. >> it was something reince priebus tried to do, but didn't have the power. it seems general kelly just commands more respect in the white house. >> i think he's also instituted some things that priebus wasn't able to institute, like access
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to the oval office, who's going to vet the information. and so far, the entire west wing staff, including the president's children, are really listening to him and following his orders. it remains to be seen if this process will stick. it seems like it's much more disciplined right now. some people in the white house, particularly policy experts, are feeling much more optimistic that their ideas will be heard and personality won't necessarily trump these decisions that real policy could filter into the decision-making of the president. >> kelly can't control all information of the president, particularly this president who clearly reads his twitter feed, because he's retweeting random strangers, watches a lot of tv news, a lot of cable news at all hours of the day it seems like. >> you're right. no one can control what the president decides to tweet, what kind of television he watches, which advisers he calls late at night and on the weekends. what kelly can control are the people around the president and that hasn't been done before. if you can control 99% of the white house, that's a victory in
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this particular white house, to have information go through him. at least for him to feel like he's in the loop, and that he's vetted what's reached the president's desk. >> nancy, stay with us. i want to bring in david and paul. paul, you worked in the clinton white house. this is the way most white houses work. >> it came out of the military for eisenhower, chief of staff, military position. process matters a lot. this president seems to have little regard for process. i think what general kelly is doing is very important. the most important square foot of real estate on the planet is this, between the president's ears, what goes into that head. the most important person in the world, most powerful person in the world. the problem you raised, though, even if people and paper are controlled by general kelly, which they must be, and i hope they will be, information coming from twitter, from cable news, from the guys at the locker room
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at the country club, that's still going to be impossible to get your arms around. >> david, all presidents absorb information differently. some like more images, more data, long essays. clearly the way this president seems to absorb information, i mean, a lot of it is from television, is stuff from twitter. so even if the -- if general kelly's controlling the position papers that are going in to the president or what lands on the president's desk, there are all these other things he can't control. >> correct. you have to learn how you learn. and that people either learn by reading or they will learn by essentially talking and watching. president trump is clearly in the latter category. he does not read very much at all. everything is distilled down. i do think whether or not you are for trump, this is an important step forward to get more order in the white house. paul is absolutely right. the white house is still the most powerful office on the
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earth. you want it to be as well organized as possible. will this system work? let's wait and see. it was tested last week, frankly, when this system produced the statement that the president read on monday after charlottesville. and then he broke loose on tuesday. and it destroyed everything he said on monday. i do think that -- if i might say one more thing -- that the system of general kelly, the person he's appointed to run this system is rob porter. rob porter is a first-class guy. i've known him for a long time. i've known his family. just a fascinating father/son story. rob porter now does the domestic and will be doing all the vetting for president trump. his father did the same thing basically for president bush sr. rob porter was a rhodes scholar. his father, roger porter, is a good friend and professor at harvard, rhodes scholar. they're the only two father/son
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duos in history to be rhodes scholars. >> david, can i ask you, can he tell the president no? i think general kelly probably can't. they have to go to him. i remember this, probably before you even joined the clinton white house, in the first couple of months, president clinton wanted to call the deputy assistant secretary. john podesta, awesomely powerful job. he stood face to face with president clinton and said, no, sir, no, you're not allowed to call that guy. we're working through a process and then it will come to you when it's ready. it's not your job to circumvent that process. which was terrific. i hope mr. porter and mr. kelly will do that with this president. >> i do think that general kelly has more leverage than anybody else who's been around. if he walks, it will be so destructive of the trump presidency. everybody knows that. >> nancy, you talked about this a little bit. how is the rest of the white house staff -- i mean, if you know through your reporting -- reacting to the system that
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kelly's put in place? you're say ivanka trump, jared kushner, what, do they make appointments through kelly to see the president? >> i've talked to a bunch of white house officials in the last few weeks about the changes kelly has put in place and the process. the president's children are behind this. there's a sense broadly in the white house, not just with ivanka trump or jared kushner, but broadly throughout the white house with gary cohen, with national security people, with policy experts, that they are honestly a little bit tired of the chaos. and they want to see ideas presented in a more coherent way. they want to feel like their ideas are heard. that they have a chance to make their case as well as other people. and i feel like people are looking for a change. so far they're willing to respect kelly, because they're tired of it, too. >> that was one of the concerns, about having ivanka trump and jared kushner, family members in the white house, in an office setting, if the boss' kids were there. you wonder, are my ideas going
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to be heard because the kids have much more direct access. we'll see how this works out. nancy, thanks very much. coming up, we'll tell you about hurricane harvey bearing down on the coast of texas. people preparing for the worst. which cities could be hid hardest and when. a watchdog group is asking whether a government trip was a cover for something else entirely. ronoh really?g's going on at schwab. thank you clients? well jd power did just rank them highest in investor satisfaction with full service brokerage firms... again. and online equity trades are only $4.95... i mean you can't have low cost and be full service. it's impossible. it's like having your cake and eating it too. ask your broker if they offer award-winning full service and low costs. how am i going to explain this? if you don't like their answer, ask again at schwab.
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start scanning today. when heartburn hits fight back fast with tums chewy bites. fast relief in every bite. crunchy outside. chewy inside. tum tum tum tum tums chewy bites. potentially devastating hurricane is heading toward texas with a possibility of 30 inches of rain along the coast. it could create life-threatening conditions starting tomorrow. people are preparing for the worst, stocking up on water, food and gasoline, mandatory evacuations are starting to be issued for the areas most likely to be hit hardest. president trump has been briefed. so, where is this storm headed and how strong is it going to be? >> anderson, the latest advisory from the national hurricane center that came out at the top of the hour puts it about 270
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miles the winds have remained steady but the pressure is dropping which means it's healthy and getting stronger. our concern is here. if you look at the gusts at 105 miles per hour, this will reach category 3 status which means wind gusts at landfall could be 140, 150 miles per hour. it's well inland from houston and austin and san antonio but this gives authorities a better idea of where ground zero will be. we think into the wee dark hours of saturday morning, just north of corpus christi, a category 3. this will be the first major hurricane to make landfall in the last 12 years. notice we got a little kink here. this is concerning and it has been a concern the last couple of days. all the models are in good agreement and that's great. where do we evacuate people. but we have lost a dominant
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steering current. watch what happens to the computer models. they meander around and the last thing you want is for it to stay stall for days. we may be talking about this tuesday and wednesday. so instead of just going south or north, some models bring it back offshore to regain strength. everything you see here in purple is ten inches and white is 20 to 30. that's significant. >> we're going to be following it very closely, tom. it's not a hurricane, perhaps an eclipse, at the center of this next story. an instagram post is an example of what not to do on social media. also probably better not to then attack a mom from oregon who left a negative comment. all of that free advice holds even if you're not the wife of the secretary of the treasury.
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was that whole trip a rouse to get a good view of the solar eclipse? randi kaye has more. >> reporter: it was billed to a trip to kentucky and on board the government plane, treasury secreta secretary steve mnuchin and his wife. they were joining senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. >> i will be only the third secretary of the treasury that's ever actually gone inside ft. knox. >> reporter: as exciting as that sounds, government plane included, may have been a rouse so the mnuchins could view the eclipse, all compliments of u.s. taxpayers. this was the first eclipse in a contiguous path since 1979. ft. knox had 100% totality. it's being investigated by a watchdog group. they are requesting all records concerning that plane ride.
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the group suggested the government plane was used for a trip that, quote, seems to have been planned around the solar eclipse to enable the secretary to secure a viewpoint in the path of the eclipse's totality. worth noting, this instagram post from mitch mcconnell's press team showing the two men at ft. knox. look closely, notice the pair of special viewing glasses in mcconnell's hand? the watchdog group is digging to find out how often secretary mnuchin has used government planes for travel in lieu of commercial planes and the justification for that use. this marks the second time this week that mnuchin and his wife are taking heat for this very trip. upon landing in kentucky, his wife posted this photo on instagram, flaunting her wealth and tagging a series of luxury designers. that led to an instagram spat with an oregon mom who was offended by linton's post
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writing in response, "glad we could pay for your little getaway. #deplorable." >> just seemed ridiculous, and quite frankly, offended me as someone who paid for part of their trip. >> reporter: instead of letting it go, louise ripped into the mother of three calling her adore blee out of touch, suggesting she go chill out and watch the new game of thrones. >> there's probably a better way for her to spend her money than make me feel bad about my cute, simple life. >> reporter: she once played maria antoinette on this party episode seen on "csi." she's since changed her
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instagram posting to private. she said, "i apologize for my post on social media yesterday as well as my response. it was inappropriate and highly insensitive." >> has the treasury department said anything to defend this trip to kentucky and the eclipse viewing? >> we checked in and the spokesperson for the treasury department said this was official business to discuss tax reform and that later in the day the majority leader, secretary mnuchin, kentucky's governor and a few others visited the gold depository at ft. knox. we're told this is a planned trip previously scheduled for august 2nd but was postponed. there was no statement about this eclipse viewing and the treasury told us that secretary mnuchin is reimbursing the government for his wife's travel, which apparently is a long-standing policy when civilians travel on military aircraft, anderson. >> randi, thank you very much. tonight, the incredible story of elian gonzalez who at the age of 6 was at the center
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of the most famous custody battles. 17-year-old elian is speaking out now. you may be surprised at what he has to say. that's going to be at 10:00 p.m. tonight on cnn. coming up next, the gop infighting. the president firing back at republican leaders on capitol hill. electric light orchestra ] ♪ sailin' away on the crest of a wave, it's like magic ♪ ♪ rollin' and ridin' and slippin' and slidin' ♪ ♪ it's magic introducing the all new volkswagen tiguan.
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top of this hour, fighting within the gop and growing questions about whether president trump is turning into a republican civil war. this morning, the president fired off a string of tweets at the two most republicans in congress. in phoenix, he made a point of not mentioning their names. he's threatening to shut down the government if congress doesn't fund the wall on the mexican border and he's drawing criticism on a number of fronts from his fellow republicans. here's the mitch mcconnell a little more than two weeks ago. >> our new president of course has not been in this line of work before and i think had excessive expectations about how quickly