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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  October 20, 2017 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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thanks so much for watching 360. time now to hand it over to don lemon. cnn tonight starts right now. this is cnn tonight. i'm don lemon. it has been a week that has felt like a year. you know what? lies will do that to you. the trump administration again engulfed in a controversy entirely of its own making, and once again, lying about it. swhau turning a call to a gold star family into an ongoing spat with that family and a congresswoman. the president's chief of staff laid down a blistering attack of that congresswoman yesterday. it sounded really good to a lot of people, and that was the whole point. too bad we learned today with video proof, it was all false. facts matter, and the fact is general kelly took the podium at yesterday's press briefing and told this story about the
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dedication of the fbi field office in miami two years ago. >> i went to the dedication of the new fbi field office in miami and it was dedicated to two men who were killed in a fire fight in miami against drug traffickers in 1986. broeg an and duke. broeg an almost retired, 53 years old. duke less than a year on the job. any ways, they got in a gunfight and they were killed. >> so his facts were flat out wrong, even down to the names of the fbi agents killed in the fire fight and who killed them. they were killed by two bank robbers, not drug traffickers. and the agent's names were benjamin growing an and jerry dove, not duke. it wasn't to honor them but to attack congresswoman wilson.
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>> the congresswoman stood up and in the long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise, stood up there in all of that and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building and how she took care of her constituents because she got the money and she just called up president obama and on that phone call he gave the money, the $20 million to build the building and she sat down. and we were stunned. stunned that she had done it. even for someone that is that empty a barrel, we were stunned. >> so facts again matter. problem for kelly is that there is videotape, and videotape doesn't lie. but i want you to watch it for yourself and ask if general kelly did. let's roll the tape. date line miami florida 2015. >> i went to the speaker, speaker boehner and i said mr. speaker, i need your help.
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the fbi needs your help. and our country needs your help. and we have no time to waste. he went into attack mode and in two days pulled it out of committee, brought it to the floor for a vote. representative and i presented it. we all voted, and i dashed it over to the senate and put our senators on notice. put it on your radar, senator nelson and senator rubio, who i believe have representatives here today, they hot lined it to the senate floor in just two days. and guess what? the president signed the bill into law this past tuesday, april 7th, 2015 with a bang, bang, bang. >> she says absolutely nothing about funding. in fact, the building was funded even before she took office.
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she says nothing about $20 million. nothing about calling then president obama. what she's talking about is getting the building named after the two fallen agents. specifically giving credit to then speaker of the house john boehner, a republican. senator bill nelson, a democrat and senator marco rubio, a republican. for their quick action. bipartisanship. how often does that happen? and there is more. you heard general kelly slam the congresswoman as, quote, an empty barrel, accusing her of taking credit for herself and implying she dishonored the men and women of law enforcement. general kelly, that is just not true, because again, there is videotape which shows the congresswoman saying the real reason why she and others worked so hard to get that building named for those heroes. >> most men and women in law enforcement leave their homes knowing there is a possibility they may not return.
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benjamin b. growing an and jerry l. dove who died valiantly on friday, april 11th in what is still considered the bloodiest gun battle in the storied history of the fbi. most men and women in law enforcement leave their homes for work knowing that there is a possibility they may not return. if i may, will all men and women and first responders who work in law enforcement stand up, stand up now so that we can applaud you and what you do. [applause] >> stand up. we are proud of you. we're proud of your courage. thank you. [applause] >> so you would think that general kelly and the white house would do the right thing, the honorable thing and apologize to the congresswoman and even to the widow who was offended by the president's
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comments. and you would be wrong, wrong because press secretary sarah sanders picks up right where trump and kelly left off. >> does general kelly still stand i the statement that he made yesterday that he felt that she was grandstanding and that she was taking credit for -- >> absolutely. general kelly said he was stunned that representative wilson made comments at a building dedication honoring slain fbi agents about her own actions in congress, including lobbying former president obama on legislation. as general kelly pointed out, if you're able to make a sacred act like honoring american heroes all about yourself, you're an empty barrel. >> she wasn't done with that. she went on to add this doozy. >> if you want to get into a debate with a four star marine general, i think that that's something highly inappropriate. >> with all due respect, it is absolutely appropriate to
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question anyone when their facts are wrong and when they refuse to admit it. that goes for a general turned chief of staff, a press secretary and a president of the united states. sadly, the truth is that lately it seems no one who stands at that podium is able to admit that. to admit that facts do matter. so why lie? i want to bring in ma leaka henderson, april ryan and major general james spieder marks. and here we are at the end of the week, everyone, and what a week it was. thank you all for joining us. i want to be clear that general kelly lied multiple times about the congresswoman wilson. the question is why? why did he lie and falsely attack this woman's credibility? >> well, you know, the person who started attacking representative wilson's credibility was donald trump, right. he was out of the gate basically calling her a liar, saying that she had fabricated this whole story about his exchange with
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mrs. johnson. so i think this was a concerted effort. starting with the white house. you saw sarah gets out there and other republicans basically attacking the congresswoman as well. you saw sarah huckabee sanders do it the day before general kelly did. and then so general kelly comes out to use his credibility to attack the representative's credibility. and i think he has not done himself any good because most of what he says was just plain wrong. he in his statement and in some ways he seemed to be relishing these attacks on the congresswoman. essentially was saying he was stunned about something that never happened, right. he was stunned that she stood up and said things, but none of that ever really happened. he also seemed to miss the enact that she was given a standing ovation after she finished speaking. you saw the white house today say well, he wasn't really
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talking about necessarily that speech. he was talking about other things she had done where she appeared to be grandstanding. but again, if you look at what he said from the podium of the white house, he was talking about that speech. so, i mean, it's really puzzling, i mean, that he miss remembered this entire event, you know, and you had sanders there saying well, you can't really question what he said there. i think the white house should have questioned before he went out there. he should have gone back and fact checked his own memory there. everything. he was wrong. >> i was surprised. and then duld down on attacking the congresswoman of the all hat and no cattle. it has been -- she and talked about -- what if someone had said all make up and no substance about her? i wonder how she would feel about that, attacking a woman in that way? april, you cover the trump white house, and unfortunately, that means dealing with countless lies, but the thing is we know that president trump lies.
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it's well documented. it has come to be something that we expect. general kelly, though, was supposed to be the grown up the in west wing and was supposed to add credibility. so in a sense is one kelly lie worse than a dozen trump lies? >> yes, because we -- at this point i want to wait and see how this all plays out. kneea is right about the information. i want to find out now where did he get this information from? and they're still standing behind this. if you still continue to believe that she said this, show us the receipts, as some people like to say. show us the proof because that is now -- everything he said is now in question. for general kelly to be this four star general, this man who has given the ultimate sacrifice for his son to have laid down his life, you know, in combat, and for him to go to that podium and to discredit this congresswoman, who has tried to
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help bring back the girls in nigeria, who has done so many different things and who is a member of the congressional black caucus. and the congressional black caucus, i talked to marsha fudge of cleveland, ohio, she says we're not going to take this laying down. they're going to fight this. they're not happy with how this white house is trying to discredit a credible member of congress. yes, she may wear hats, but, you know, if you start pointing one finger at one person and like you said -- >> it doesn't matter what her outfits are. riechlt look at the president's hair. people talk about that. is she supposed to bring a gun out like roadway moore? there are lots of colorful people in politics including the person who is now the commander in chief. so let's cut it out with the hat. there are people on the right who wear cowboy hats. it's nothing to do with substance. that phone call that congressman wilson heard. take a listen.
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>> he was so offended because he was in the room when i made the call, and so were other people, and the call was a very nice call. he was so offended that a woman would be -- that somebody would be listening to that call. he was -- he actually couldn't believe it. actually, he said to me, sir, this is not acceptable. this is really not -- i was so nice. look, i've called many people. and i would think that every one of them appreciated it. i was very surprised to see this, to be honest with you. >> i've got to ask you, i mean, honestly here, how can general kelly be offended someone would be listening to that call. we've seen people on speaker phones. we played one last night of the president on speaker phone talking to family when he was also limping to the call as well and other people in the administration. does this sound like the general kelly you know? >> well, general kelly that i know is an incredibly honorable guy and immensely talented. the fact that the phone was on
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speaker, the fact that other people overheard the conversation from my view of the world is not the significant issue. the significant issue is that at that very moment when this grieving widow gets this incredible message, there are other people around. and what you would want to have is those folks that are around her at that moment to fill in the gaps that would allow her to remain erect, allow her to grieve, allow her not to collapse emotionally and intellectually but to take a moment, breathe through your nose and try to get around it. and i think that's what john kelly was saying. i can't put words into john kelly's mouth, but i would say, look, the conversation got out, but i think that's the exact moment when you try to act with a level of understanding for the individual who had to receive this message. the congresswoman didn't receive the message. the message was intended for
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this bride at this incredible moment of grieving. and so that's when you want to have people around you to embrace you and say let's try to get through this thing together. we're here for you. end of conversation and then let the grieving start. >> yes. so i want you guys to stick around. the question for you before we go to break is you know this president likes gold. does everything he touch turn to gold or does it die on the vine? we'll have the answer when we come back. y olive leave-in conditioner. enhanced with olive oil & olive leaf extracts. to detangle, work a dollop through damp or dry hair. and infuse it with softness. garnier whole blends legendary olive. ♪ ♪ you nervous? ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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secretary sarah sanders says it is highly inappropriate to question john kelly, a four star general, but facts are facts. and here is one. in this country it is entirely appropriate to question our leaders. remember, they're civil servants. they work for us of the and here is another. what general kelly said about congresswoman wilson was wrong of the so let's discuss now. thank you all for joining us. anna, you first. we now know that the chief of staff john kelly seriously mischaracterized the congresswoman's 2015 speech. i want your perspective because you have a unique one. you are friends with both general kelly and congresswoman wilson. what do you make of all this, anna? >> i think it's crazy. i think it's absurd. i think it's a fabricated controversy that was fabricated by donald trump, who did not have a good answer when he was first asked about this five days ago. we've now been in this back and
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forth for five days. he did not have an answer as to the circumstances of the death of the four foreign soldiers in niger. he did not have an answer as to why he had not called them. he politicized it by comparing himself to other presidents and saying that they had not called fallen troops, which we then learned was mostly false. and it has led to this avalanche of crazy. we have now been in five days of crazy. instead of talking about sergeant black, staff sergeant wright, staff sergeant johnson and la david johnson, who is right now being viewed by his friends and family and loved ones in miami and is getting laid to rest tomorrow, we are talking about what frederica said to each other. this is personal for her. la david johnson went through her mentoring program. she went to elementary school with his relatives. she knows his parents. she knows the entire family.
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that's why she was in that car listening to that call, because she is a source of emotional support. she's not just a congressman. she wasn't exploiting this for political purposes. i also know that i have sat in john and karen kelly's living room in miami and heard them talk about their fallen son, and i know that that for them is sacred and fallen soldiers for them is sacred. so i am asking both my friends right now that i know, i am telling them i know that it is the fallen soldiers that is the priority for them. they have got to be the adults. they have got to be bigger than themselves. they've got to stop this. we need answers as to what happened to those four soldiers. >> yep. that's right. >> i actually think john kelly should tell donald trump tomorrow pick up your twitter, pick up your phone and tweet out at 11:00 when sergeant johnson is being laid to rest in miami, may he rest in peace. he is a hero. we respect him and our thoughts and support is with his family
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and end this insanity and focus on getting the answers as to what happened to those american heroes. >> absolutely. jason, i want to bring you into the conversation now. because you say everyone in the white house is on their own. i mean, i have to ask you, how much of president trump's approach to the truth is contagious? do people around him say, hey, he doesn't care about the truth, so why should we care about the truth? >> well, i think everyone in the white house tries to get things right every single time. nobody bats a thousand, that goes whether it be this administration or previous administrations. it goes for political pundits and, heck, it goes for people in the media as well. except for you, don. i mean, we know you get it right every time. but i actually have to say that i largely agree with anna here and her previous comments. and it's really making me angry that this issue has become such a political football this week. even hearing the words rock star being brought up in the conversation with congresswoman wilson for all the new attention that she's getting and seeing
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the way that i think the media is chasing after these gold star families and the whole back and forth, i think this is really taking the attention away from the fact that these are heroes. these are grieving families, and the back and forth this week i think is just completely taking this in a wrong direction. and i think if i were advising the white house, i'd tell them just ignore the political attacks at this point. i'd say to the opponents on the political left to quit trying use this to score political points and increase your note right and i would say to the media, you need to be very respectful with this and let's put some more attention on the fact that these men and women are heroes and that their families are really suffering right now. >> so, rick, the president -- shouldn't the president set the example here? with all due respect to the congresswoman, who -- she's done some great work. the president is the commander
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in chief and the leader of the free world, and if he wants it to end, couldn't he just end it? >> i think donald trump could have taken a valuable lesson yesterday from barak obama and george w. bush when they talked a little bit about restoring some of the dignity and some of the stature to leadership in this country and the best thing donald trump could have done was not sent out that utterly inflammatory tweet where he extended the fight. he kept the conversation going. if you were a mature white house and a white house with people who had good judgment in it and a mature president, nothing would have been said further. whatever freed reka wilson said, sarah huckabee sanders wouldn't have gone out and kept digging the hole. we feel deeply for the loss of the four families. we hope they find peace and solace in the prayers of the american people. we will not comment further on
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this matter. that's where they should have gone with this. the person with the bully pulpit, the ultimate bully pulpit isn't donald trump's twitter feed. it should be the oval office and the president's position as a national moral leader. he abandoned that. and it's a tragedy, again. i agree with both anna and jason tonight. this is something where we have to have -- everybody needs to back off of this, let these families grieve. let's get to the bottom of the story. and we need to find a way in this country where we bring folks together on these moments where they stop being, you know, part of the donald trump twitter show and part of the -- and the counter actions back and forth of the white house always pufrmgds back. sometimes people grieve and they say things that are sharp and hard and the white house may not like them. and they need to learn occasional let that happen. let that out there. there was a story that nicole wallace told the other day of a woman at walter reed who just lost it with george w. bush
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because her son had passed, and he took it. he took it. he didn't make a big issue out of it. he understood that as the commander in chief you have this terrible, awesome, solemn responsibility, and it's important, i pray that somebody in the white house can reach donald trump on this because it's tearing the country apart. >> there's lots to talk about. keith, i will give you your due on the other side. i've got to get to the break. it's an important conversation. we'll be back with more. and i also want to know why does rick wilson say that everything donald trump tuchts dies on the vine? i want to talk about that with our panel when we come back. so this one says ...
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general john kelly put his reputation on the line for this president when he attacked congresswoman frederica wilson with multiple entirely false statements and now the white house is doubling down. keith, i want to bring you in. listen, i'm wondering, has this changed your opinion or anything you thought about general kelly at all this week? >> well, general kelly was perceived to be one of the adults in the room, you know,
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along with general mattis and rex tillerson, the three people who i think james -- who senator corker said were keeping us away from chaos in this administration. and the fact that general kelly would put his reputation on the line in defense of a lie to support president trump i think is very disturbing. it suggests the way that donald trump krupts all those around him. i mean, you think about all the people who are around him, people like rex tillerson and others, they've also been ensnared in some sort of controversy because of trump. tillerson and the whole controversy about whether he called trump a moron, the attorney general jeff sessions being berated by donald trump. and even mike pence being mocked by donald trump about his religion. and so it just goes to show you, the reason why we're having this conversation, with all due respect to all the other guests here is because of one person, donald trump. he failed to address this issue, the death of the four soldiers in niger for 12 days.
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many people were asking questions about it. i was asking about this just last week when i was on your show, don. and no one was providing answers about it. and then when he is finally asked about a question he turns it into a competition about himself and previous presidents. it's just unbecoming of the office of the presidency, and we would expect more from our commander in chief. >> rick, you said that general kelly began his role as chee of staff with the best intentions but today he has become another prop in the trump show. you said that. but i'm wondering if this is kind of the reason you say everything the president touches dies, and you cite a list of people that includes john kelly, sean spicer, scaramucci, et cetera. >> sure. well, i mean, we started working on a documentary about this and the list keeps getting longer and longer. and everyone that's around donald trump ends up in some position where they either are compromised by his behavior or their behavior changes to sort of match the sort of things donald trump does.
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and it's also about policy things. look, this is a guy -- the big old trophy wall of legislative accomplishments at the white house is bare right now because every legislative priority he's put his hands on has fallen apart. he tried initially with trumpcare it fell apart. the tax reform plan is falling apart. donald trump doesn't have things he can really go out and say -- gorsuch is a great single accomplishment, but that was mitch mcconnell's pick and the federal society's pick. but everything else he does falls apart. this is a guy with very far accomplishments. and executive orders are very ephemeral. they can be wiemd away with a stroke of a pen. and so right now the president is relying on the stock market rising to sustain his public approval numbers, but everything else he touches dies. like i said, we started working on this documentary and we thought we'll make a 90 minute piece. there's enough material now for a trilogy practically.
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it never stops. everyone in the white house falls victim to this curse. >> in his speech yesterday the former president george w. bush offered a point by point take down of trump ichls the the the white house says the comments had nothing to do with president trump. watch this. >> our understanding is that those comments were not directed towards the president. and in fact, when these two individuals both past presidents have criticized their president they've done so by name and very rarely do it without being pretty direct as both of them tend to be. so we'll take them at their word that these actions and comments weren't directed towards the president. >> i mean, come on. jason. >> that is what you call slam dunk. >> jason, did you have any doubt -- go ahead. >> if that is not understanding, then she has no understanding. >> did you have any doubt -- >> don, i would have given a little bit of a different answer. i would have said well, thank
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you president bush and president obama for giving us $20 trillion in debt and leaving a whole big mess for president trump to come in ask cleanup. but, look, i think seeing as both president obama and president bush criticized president trump this week really kind of reminds people that the president, not only did he defeat the democratic establishment last year in the general election, but he also defeated the republican establishment in the primaries. and taking on washington is always going to be a challenge -- >> their critique of him wasn't electoral or political. their critique was about american values. their critique was about the sort of things that has surrounded the trump administration from are the very beginning and the kinds of things sh the conspiracy theories, the bigotry, the disgusting rhetoric, the hostility towards people that, you know, aren't fellow billionaires like donald trump. their critique of him was about the tone and character of this administration. it wasn't about an ideological thing or rhetorical thing. this was about the way donald
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trump governs as a man, as a human. and those things, i believe -- george w. bush and president obama are a billion miles apartheidologicalel, but i think they were on the same sheet of music about the sort of soul of american public life, and donald trump falls very short of that test. and you can -- look, i was tough on brum every day he was president, and i praised george w. bush very frequently even when it was tough as a republican. they hit a ground here that's above politics. it's different from what we've expected from expresidents where they were sending a very clear signal that this guy is a moral vacuum around him that is not good -- >> no. no. i mean, look, changing washington is going to be hard. and so of course you're going to get the folks from both parties are going to go and start taking shots at you. but good for president trump to go and bring truth to power and not being afraid -- >> jason. jason -- >> let me say this. the last thing george w. bush would want to do is take shots
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at any president. that is just not something that he has done in the past. >> correct. >> he has been very good at adhering to that unspoken pact of not credit seesing your success ors. he has been good at that. what is doing now is expressing the frustration and saying you know what? enough is enough and i've got to use this platform. i can no longer afford the luxury of remaining silent because american values are under attack. what this white house and this president are doing are affecting the national tone and there has got to be somebody using the bully pulpit -- >> jason -- >> let me tell you -- >> let me say this, it is not a coincidence that john mccain this week came out and did contactel the same thing and bob corker is doing it, that jeff flake is doing it. that george -- >> exactly. all the washington -- >> reminding republicans about republican values, american values. >> going back to the election
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people don't vote retroactively. this is what has happened after the election. >> just because -- >> one person, jason. one person can't always be against every single other person. >> people in washington -- >> jason, i get that -- >> jason -- >> addressing the moral question of donald trump's behavior is difficult. >> if it were -- >> i get it. i get how hard it is for you. i can feel the burden you're carrying. >> you guys don't like president trump. i totally get that. >> jason -- >> i don't like his behavior. >> oh, god. jason, if it was just democrats, i could understand how you could say it was a partisan attack. it's people in his own staff, cabinet attacking him. at what point do you finally acknowledge that the man is not a popular president. he's not well liked except among his base and he has to be the president of the entire country. >> hold on. hold on.
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everybody -- everybody, i want you hear this point. it is important. two former two-term presidents, both on different sides of the political aisle, one republican, one democrat saying the exact same thing about the sitting president. that is not partisan, jason. >> don, all i've got to say is good for president trump for not backing down of the he's going to continue to fight for people and do what he thinks is right and -- >> hold on. hold on. backing down to what? backing down for someone saying that bigotry is wrong? what do you want to say, it's right? backing down to saying that we are so partisan that we shouldn't be? we should talk to each other, not talking to each other is right? backing down from what? what are you talking about backing down from? >> backing down from his change agenda. he wants to go get rid of these terrible trade deals. >> they didn't talk about trade deals. no one is talking about trade deals here. no one mentioned a trade deal. they talked about bigotry, about
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hyper partisan ship. about bringing the country together, that this president is not doing. no one said anything about trade deals. no one said anything about the budget. no one said anything about that. so what is the opposite of what they mentioned that donald trump is doing? >> and, don, his policies are popular. i mean, these are -- >> they didn't mention his policies. they weren't talking about his policies. they weren't criticizing his policies. >> hang on. i got this. go ahead. i got it this, keith. >> they want to go out and make personal attacks, you know, fine. that's their prerogative. >> you're admitting it was about the president and even though sarah huckabee sanders is saying it wasn't? >> oh, i'm saying -- look, it probably was an attack on president trump. i mean, that's what seems like president obama and president bush wanted to do. >> jason, it wasn't -- >> that's fine. >> it wasn't an attack on president trump. it was a call for the leader of the free world ostensiblyel leader of the free world to try to conform his behavior to some of the traditional values that
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this country has embraced, and those are things like not engaging in ramp ant bigotry, not embracing conspiracy theories, not acting like someone who feels free and willing to insult veterans and to insult the handicapped. they were calling him back to a better sort of presidency. and i'm sorry, if the change agenda is against that, bad agenda. >> keith, i've got to quickly -- keith, i cut keith off. go ahead. get the last word. i'm sorry, jason. >> just one quick point, jason. you said that donald trump is speaking truth to power. i appreciate that, but now donald trump is power. and what i would like to see is for you and other trump supporters to speak truth to him, to tell him when he does do something wrong, that he needs to be called out on it. it's time for this attitude of letting trump go by and do whatever he wants without any responsibility and accountability to end. >> and you're so blinded by your hatred you can't see anything good that president trump does. >> donald trump -- >> add u lags, neither can you,
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jason. >> this is not -- this is george w. bush saying this. >> i'm going to go long. i guess you realize that. jason, is there anything that this president would do that you wouldn't criticize? would you come on here and reflex civil support this president about anything? because that seems to be the case. no one on this panel reflex civil supported by of their candidates, and i've been here the entire time, for -- i was here at cnn for bush. i was here for obama. and now i'm here for trump. and i've never seen any pundits come on tv and reflex civil support the person who is in office as often as i have seen you and trump supporters. why do you feel the need to do that? because everything he does is not going to be correct, as we can see. stevie wonder can see that. he took a knee for it. come on. >> don,don, in the first segment that you had on us, i clearly said that i think the white house should leave this alone. they shouldn't engage in any
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further of the back and forth. >> but you didn't say that they were wrong. you didn't say that the president started it. you didn't say that kelly lied. you didn't say that the president lied. you didn't speak the truth. you came on and you spun it in donald trump's favor and then you did a shiny object when you talk about a rock star. you pointed to something else. you didn't say, look, i can't support the white house on this one. they were flat out wrong and if sarah huckabee sanders stands up there and says it, she should not have said it and they're wrong. >> i can disagree with them and i did. i said they should leave this alone. that doesn't mean i should necessarily have to go and attack them. don, i know you're not disagreeing with me on the point about the rock star. there's no way that you can think that -- >> the price of admission -- two wrongs don't make a right. that's all i'm saying. i've got to go. i'm in trouble now. i'm sure the advertisers are
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going to be mad if we don't get these breaks in. what happened, nicholas kristof is going to join me to discuss. whoooo. i enjoy the fresher things in life. fresh towels. fresh soaps. and of course, tripadvisor's freshest, lowest... ...prices. so if you're anything like me... ...you'll want to check tripadvisor. we now instantly compare prices... ...from over 200 booking sites... ...to find you the lowest price... ...on the hotel you want. go on, try something fresh. tripadvisor. the latest reviews. the lowest prices.
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the white house press secretary sarah sanders was asked today if the chief of staff, kelly, stands by his remarks about congresswoman wilson even though he was factually incorrect. her reply, absolutely. so he stands by his statements even though they're wrong. here to discuss nicholas kristof, columnist nor "the new york times." good evening. he was supposed to be the grown up in the room that keeps the white house and the president under control. should he hand in his grown up card this week, general kelly? like what happened? >> i don't know. i have a lot of respect for general kelly. i think a lot of people did. everybody else uses their term lie. i think you used the term lie about it. i don't know that i would call it a lie that involves intention. i don't know what he intended. but he certainly said something that was flag rantel untrue. it was kind of defamatory and, you know, he fell into the muck. he ventured into politics.
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he fell into the muck in ways that certainly damaged his reputation and further undermined that of the white house. and then when the white house comes in and says who are you going to believe, this video or general kelly? you've got to go with general kelly. i mean, that just -- it just leaves a bad taste. >> well, general kelly and every one says they have the utmost respect. he is a gold star family. he lost his son in afghanistan and everyone feels for him. but now he is in the political realm, and he is not on the battlefield. he's not, you know, leading -- heading troops or operations. he's in the white house. therefore, he is a political operative and he can be questioned even though sarah huckabee sanders says i wouldn't question hum. if you want to get into a debate or go after a four star general of the what does that mean? >> the whole bit about how empty barrels dishonor troops and turn it on themselves. i mean, this whole week has been about president trump unnecessarily taking something that was about honoring troops and making it all about himself.
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and, you know, i think it all in a sense distracts us from a larger point, which is that the real way a president dishonors troops is by recklessly or unnecessarily putting them in harm's way. and i think that that may be the greater legacy of what president trump is doing. >> down south, empty barrel, that means you're stupid and that's essentially what he was saying about the congresswoman. the whole controversy started about the death of four servicemen in niger and today senator lindsey graham told americans things there may just be getting started. watch this. >> the war is morphing. you're going to see more actions in africa and not less. you're going to see more aggression by the united states toward our enemies, not less. you're going to have decision being made not in the white house but out in the field. and i support that entire construct. >> do you agree? >> i think senator graham is a
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few years behind the time. there certainly is a lot of instability in west africa, but that has been true for years now. in mali you had the government collapse in 2012. it was the french government that rescued it in 2013. northeastern nigeria was a complete mess. it's in somewhat better shape now. niger and mali are still teetering and we may well indeed have a greater presence there. but we have to understand what went wrong. i mean, after four americans died in benghazi you had seven investigations. we know nothing about what happened with the four americans who died. what will happen if north korea launches an attack? or a strike? what will the u.s. do? we have reporting after the break. das, i expect a lifetime guarantee. and so should you. on struts, brakes, shocks. does he turn everything to gold?
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back now with christophe. if they strike, how will we respond in. >> my understanding is that the u.s. has said that if it has decided that if north korea tests a missile. that the u.s. will try to shoot it down. one of our concerns has been that we might try to shoot it down and we might miss. there's been -- we missed about half the time. that would be deeply embarrassing for our missile defense systems to miss. but it may be that if we attempt to shoot it down and miss that nobody will know. but we will -- what i understand is that we will try to shoot it down.
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our best guess is that north korea will not respond militarily. but we also understand we might be wrong and they -- there's concern that indeed they might lash out at that point. in all the war gaming, if there's some incident, it very quickly escalates. to a nuclear phase. >> you were here one each, i said, see you soon, i'm off to north korea. you went to north korea. >> you know who -- they said they see me on your show. in north korea, they're watching. >> they are nervous. the people there are nervous about the situation. right? people here are nervous about the situation. a new poll shows almost nine in ten americans say north cokorea poses a threat and the majority disapprove of the way the press president is handling the situation. they say he has been more
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reckless. is he being reckless? >> i think he is. i think he is being cou counterproducti counterproductive. it's a gift to the north korean leadership. they are playing it. everyone in north korea knows what president trump says about threatening to destroy it. it fits into their model about how they need nuclear weapons to defend themselves. this year they have had i think 15 missile tests, three times as many as all last year. they have been accelerating their program in the face of this. everybody is on hair trigger. the former cia chief john brennan estimated there's a chance we will be at war with north korea. >> it's amazing. >> this is not just another iraq war or even another vietnam war. this is a nuclear -- a war in which one study says a million people die on first day. >> when you were there, did you think you got a sense of things in spite of traveling around
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with a chaperon? >> yes. look, you are being manipulated. >> government chaperon. >> two government shopp chapero protect us from other agencies partly. you do get something. you do see the preparations for war, the underground bunkers. the way people are being mobilized for war. this cocky overconfidence and expectation that they cannot only survive a nuclear war but even win. and this tendency on both sides to escalate, which doesn't work very well in kindergarten and less well when you have two powers with nuclear weapons pointed at each other. >> thank you, nick. have a great weekend. you have heard about the president's cl presidents club. we will have more on that live in our next hour.
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this is cnn tonight. i'm don lemon. just a little before 11:00. we're live with new developments on the deadly ambush in niger. what we are learning raises questions about the u.s. mission there. administration officials tell cnn the body of la david johnson was killed and was found nearly a mile away from the ambush. want to bring in ambassador, director of the central intelligence agency. the director of the fbi in new york. good each. happy to have you on. james, i want to start with you. i want to ask you what happened in niger. the details are murky. cnn is reporting that sergeant johnson found nearly a mile away, 48 hours after he was discovered to be missing, how could that happen? >> good question. the deployment and

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