tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN January 11, 2018 2:00pm-3:00pm PST
here. john avalon and margaret hoover, congressman mike rogers formerly the chair of the house intelligence committee. great to have you on. be sure to follow me on facebook and twitter. that's it for the lead. i turn you over now to woeflf blitzer. i'll be on seth myers tonight if you stay up late. thanks so much. happening now, breaking news, good relationship. president trump drops a new bomb shell, telling the "wall street journal" he probably has a quote, very good relationship with north korea's kim jong-un. that comes just a week after he taunted kim jong-un about his nuclear button. and breaking right now, another bomb shell remark from the president slamming immigrants, certain immigrants. causing chaos. president trump spreads chaos in washington after tweeting his opposition to a key intelligence act that his administration supports. after urging consultation, the president sent out another
contradictory tweet, the white house sees no cause for confusion. encouraging silence. multiple sources now say president trump's allies are strongly urging him not to talk to the special counsel robert mueller, saying he could risk his presidency. meantime, the top house intelligence democrat says he wants to interview the president's daughter, ivanka trump. and a long way to go, a republican senator announces a bipartisan immigration deal covering the young dreamers, but the white house says there's a long way to go. and a key democrat says president trump personally rejected the compromise. i'm wolf blitzer, you're in the situation room. this is cnn breaking news. >> breaking news, in a stunning new interview, president trump claims he has a very good relationship with north korea's kim jong-un who he's previously
called lil rocket man and taunting him over his nuclear button. speaking to the "wall street journal" today, the president wouldn't say if he's actually spoken to the north korean leader. also, president trump sews confusion and chaos with a pair of early morning tweets, but the white house tonight is shrugging it all off. first the president broke completely with his own administration's policy by attacking key intelligence legislation, suggesting it has been used for surveillance against his campaign, that set off a mad scramble up on capitol hill. then, after intervention by the house speaker paul ryan, the president sent out another tweet supporting the foreign intelligence act, or fisa. the house voted to renew the act. the white house press secretary sarah sanders says we don't see any cross-examination. there's more contradiction. a bipartisan group reached a
deal covering so the-called dreamers. there's no agreement with one officials saying quote, there's a long way to go. democratic senators dick durbin says president trump personally rejected the bipartisan deal. and cnn is now learning from multiple sources that president trump's allies are warning him not to talk to the russia probe's special counsel robert mueller fearing it could put himself and his presidency in jeopardy if he does so. i'll speak with ben cardon, he's the ranking member of the senate foreign relations committee and the correspondent specialist and guest, they're all standing by with full coverage. let's start with that stunning new interview president trump claims a very good relationship with north korean dictator kim jong-un. that's the nuclear armed foe he's called, among many other words, lil rocket man. and now there's an incredible report in the washington post about a very, very incendiary
comment the president reportedly said to lawmakers today. first, let's go to our chief white house correspondent, jim accosta. jim, bring us up to date on all the breaking news. >> reporter: wolf, a lot of whiplash over here at the white house today and of course much of it caused by the president himself, according to participants in a meeting who were with the president earlier today here at the white house talking about this issue of immigration, trying to solve this issue of what to do with the 700,000 dreamers that are still here in the country. apparently the president made some extremely offensive remarks about other countries like haiti and african countries -- countries in africa, sending migrants to the united states. we could put this up on screen and explain this to you. during this exchange that the president had with a group of lawmakers, meeting with him over at the white house, remember, this was behind closed doors, this was not on the white house schedule. the president said, why are we having all of these people from, and i apologize for using this word here, but this is a quote
from the president, why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here? trump said this is in the washington post, according to these people who were in the meeting, referring to african countries and haiti, he then suggested that the united states go about bringing in people from other countries, he said instead bring more people from countries like norway whose prime minister he met with yesterday, wolf, obviously this is going to just i think rock and send shock waves across much of the world as this immigration debate rages on here in washington. apparently behind closed doors with a group of lawmakers, bipartisan lawmakers by the way, lindsey graham was apparently at this meeting, senator from south carolina, dick durbin, the senator from illinois whose been very focussed on this dreamer issue. a number of other lawmakers were also in this meeting. this was behind closed doors, this was unlike that remarkable meeting that we saw with the white house a couple of days ago, in which the president was
right there behind closed doored -- excuse me, in front of the cameras i should say, meeting with lawmakers and talking about just trying to figure out a way to protect those dreamers from deportation. this meeting behind closed doored in which the president referred to countries like haiti and countries in africa as a shithole. that is not the kind of language you would expect to have come out of president of the united states and it's obviously going to cause a lot of damage to this immigration debate as there are many, many people concerned whether or not white house and members of congress actually can come together to some kind of deal to protect those dreamers from deportation. we should note, wolf, in reference to those countries like haiti and so on, it's a slightly different matter than the dreamer issue in recent months, when it comes to haiti, when it comes to el salvador, the trump administration has been removing the temporary protection status for migrants coming from various countries,
people have been coming from haiti as a result of natural disasters in that country over the last several years and also from el salvador, the administration removed that tps, that status from the countries. that came up in the context of that conversation and apparently, according to to the washington post, that is when the president made that remark. and so, obviously, you know, that kind of language is just going to cause damage over here at the white house with an issue that is already been one that has been very difficult for this president. we should also note, wolf, we have gone back to the white house. we have asked the white house whether or not the president actually made these remarks. they have not commented. they have not gotten back to us that the point, yet. >> really stunning with stunning indeed, and the wall street journal interview stunning as well. in which the president of the united states says he probably has a good relationship with the north korean leader kim jong-un.
what is the president talking about in this interview? >> it is hard to figure out, wolf. again, the president causing more confusion here, this time in an interview with the wall street journal. he said during this interview, and it's difficult to ascertain exactly what the president means here, but we can put this up on screen, the president talking about the north korean dictator kim jong-un. he says i probably have a very good relationship with kim jong-un, the president told the wall street journal, i have relationships with people i think you people are surprised. he went on to say, i don't want to comment on it when asked whether he had actually spoken with kim jong-un. i don't to want comment on it. i'm not saying i have or have not, i just don't want to comment. wolf, obviously this is going to be an ongoing question next time the president is in front of the cameras or the white house press secretary is in front of the cameras, they are going to be asked whether or not he's actually spoken with kim jong-un
because that is something that we have just not been made aware of that the point. we just don't know whether the president has had those kinds of conversations, of course, for months and months and months he's been ratcheting up the rhetoric with north korea referring to kim jong-un as rocket man and so on. according to this interview in the wall street journal, the president is making it clear that he seems to have some kind of relationship with kim jong-un. and it is just a mystery that the point as to what the president means by that. >> definitely need some clarification on that. jim acosta, we'll get back to you. i want to bring in our political and legal specialist to discuss all of this. chris, let me start with you, this washington post story, the president of the united states uses that word, i won't say it, to describe these immigrants from countries like katie, el salvador, and african countries. and then he suggests, then he met with the prime minister of norway yesterday in contrast to those countries, he wants more immigrants from countries like norway. >> yeah.
i mean, it doesn't take a lot of line connecting to suggest what folks from el salvador look like versus what folks from norway look like. one are white. one are not white. it seems that quite clear what the president is suggesting here. and i would remind people who roll their eyes at this report. the "new york times" reported months ago that trump when informed about who was coming into the country made comments about people in haiti saying that -- i'll read directly, i don't want to screw it up, they quote all have aids he grumbled to the "new york times," and when asked about nigeria, he said they would never quote go back to their huts, end quote, in africa. so this is -- and again, this is not -- these are not tabloid reporting. this is the "new york times" and the "washington post." whatever you think of them,
these are major, big media organizations. i work for the "washington post," i know how they get vetted. this is not just something to get eyeballs. this is not a one-off with this president until his views expressed in private. how can you not be concerned that the most powerful person in the country holds views like this? >> in this, jim sciutto, in these words that he told these bipartisan members of congress, senators and house members earlier today, they were meeting on immigration, why are we having all of these people from -- you get the point. s-hole countries or bleep-hole countries come here. and he was referring to people from african countries and haiti. it's going to cause a huge uproar. >> it should frankly. to chris's point, this is not out of character. it's very in-character with the
way president trump has both before his election and since his election characterized people of color. people from other countries. remember, that famous speech about mexico -- they're sending us their drug dealers, their rapists, et cetera, just yesterday in that cabinet meeting that he allowed the cameras into, he made a comment about the visa lottery as well. and saying that countries intentionally send their bad people. again -- >> not true. >> which is just -- as if there's some grand prize, it's not true. i spent years overseas, the people who use the visa lottery are looking for a chance to get to the u.s. working people, family members there's no grand conspiracy here from these countries to send nasty bad ombres one might say to the country using those programs. visit nigeria today. it's a modern country with business people and educated people doing a lot of great
business. same to be said for haiti. same to be said for these countries. they're not the u.s., no, but they're very different from the way the president characterized them. >> we're getting some response from the white house, i want to go back to jim acosta over at the white house. i take it they have a statement, reacting to the washington post story. >> reporter: they have, wolf, they put out a statement reacting to the washington post story, this is from raj shaw, the principle press secretary over here. it's a lengthy statement. it says certain washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but president trump will always fight for the american people. the president will only accept an immigration deal that adequately addresses the visa lottery program and chain migration to programs that hurt our economy and allow terrorists into our country like other nations that have merit-based immigration, president trump is fighting for permanent solutions that make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society, grow our economy, and assimilate into our great nation. he will always reject temporary, weak, and dangerous stopgap
measures that threaten the lives of americans and undercut those who seek through a legal pathway. wolf, as you can tell from that statement, there is no denial as to what the president said. they're not denying that the president said this, in this statement, and so, we're just going to have to press the white house further on this. but just to echo what you were saying there a few moments ago with your panel, the president has said repeatedly that the visa lottery program sends over the worst of the worst, they draw names out of a hat or a bowl and so on, obviously that is not true. that is false. he's mischaracterizing that program. but as jim sciutto was saying with the president talking about immigrants coming from mexico being rapists and criminals, and now this comment, the president referring to haiti and countries in africa as being -- and i noticed wolf, you hesitated to use that word, i hesitate to use it myself, as an s-hole or shithole is the word that the washington post is quoting the president saying.
i think wolf what we have to come to grips with, i almost have to think back to the day when we were at trump tower when the president was commenting on carolinas and saying there were fine people on both sides, among the white supremacists and the naz nazis, the president of the united states seems to have a problem here wolf, in this area. and we can tiptoe around it, we can dance around it and not really put our finger on it, but the president seems to harbor racist feelings about people of color. from other parts of the world. and it's just a terrible thing to have come out of your mouth as a white house correspondent, or as a journalist, but if these comments are accurate, wolf, i think it just is going to cause more damage, more grave damage to this presidency because it cuts to the very core of who he is. you just shouldn't be referring to countries like that around the world in this manner. united states as we've been talking about many, many times over the last several months, we bring in people from all parts of the world.
and obviously there are good, wonderful people who come from haiti and africa and so on, but that the point, wolf, it does not appear that the white house is directly responding to what the president apparently said quoted by the washington post. >> lengthy statement that clearly did not deny that he used that word in describing these immigrants from countries like haiti and el salvador and african countries. all right jim, thanks very much. jackie, i want to get your reaction. let me read the first two sentences of this bomb shell washington post report. and then we'll discuss. president trump grew frustrated with lawmakers thursday. that's today, in the oval office, when they floated restoring protections for immigrants from haiti, el salvador, and african countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal according to two people briefed on the meeting. quote, why are we having all of these people from blank hole countries come here. trump said according to these people referring to african countries and haiti. he then suggested that the
united states should instead bring more people from countries like norway whose prime minister he met yesterday. now this is going to cause a lot, a lot of concern out there. >> so the fact that he uses that language in talking about those countries is disturbing and disappointing, but i think the most, the worst part of this is we're seeing it reflected in white house policy. that's real. that's not just words. we're seeing these programs ended. we're seeing him trying to keep people out of this country, and whether it's based on his personal, his personal feelings about them, we're seeing it reflected in really affect people's lives which brings it way beyond these unfortunate words. >> you know, and if this were not enough, there's a bomb shell interview in the wall street journal that's just been published as well, michael vender is with us, you were there, you did that interview with the president, you were in the oval office for the interview. >> uh-huh. >> and i'll read what the
president of the united states said about the north korean leader kim jong-un. i probably have a very good relationship with kim jong-un, i have relationships with people i think you people are surprised. you must have been stunned when you heard the president, who used to refer to kim jong-un as lil rocket man and a whole lot worse than that as saying i probably have a very good relationship with kim jong-un. >> yeah, say what you want about president trump, he's very, he's very good at reading the room and he read the room very accurately when he described himself as probably having a good relationship with kim jong-un. that was a word that he suggested. i wouldn't have even thought to ask him about a relationship with the north korean leader. he was talking about the context there was he was talking about his relationships with world leaders. as he normally does, hefz tremping his relationship with president xi in china, he was trumpeting his relationship with abe in japan, and then just
offhandedly mentioned, suggested a relationship with kim jong-un as well. we immediately followed up, clarified if there is a relationship there, if they've actually talked, and he -- >> let me read the quote from your article in the wall street journal, you were there, you were among the wall street journal reporters who interviewed the
president, asked if he had spoken with kim jong-un, the president replied, quote, i don't to want comment on it, i'm not saying i have or haven't, i just don't want to comment. which leaves open the possibility that, yes, they have spoken. >> right, which would be an absolutely stunning development. the north korea and the united states have not had an official diplomatic channel in a very long time. there have been in our story online right now, we provide some back story here in that there have been unofficial talks between the two countries going
on for a while. nothing that has risen to the level that would include president trump and kim jong-un for a number of reasons. like you mentioned, just the sort of combative tweets and comments that trump has made about the north korean leader, but whether or not they've talked and i don't know the answer to that, jim acosta mentioned that this is going to be an open question for the white house now. we realize that coming out of the interview, you know, talked to the communications staff at the white house saying you're going to get more questions about this, and they provided no back story or -- >> over the weekend at camp david at that news conference he had, he was asked about would he be willing to talk to kim jong-un on the phone. he said absolutely, yes, he would be willing, but there was no indication that they had spoken. and in your article you point out, he's referred to kim jong-un as a maniac, a bad dude, short and fat, repeatedly calls him lil rocket man, kim jong-un calls the president mentally
deranged, a u.s. dotard with fire, and then all of the sudden, according to to the president of the united states, they have a very good relationship. >> probably have a very good relationship. and we mentioned those tweets to him and he acknowledged it and said, said this is what i do. you know, you could come with -- i can come up with a list of 20 people i've done this to. you could come up with 30 more, and it's, and eventually we'd become friends. maybe that's what's happening here. i think the broader story here is what is absolutely true is trump signaling his openness to diplomatic relations here which is a big story. >> i want to bring jeffrey tuben into this conversation as well. and first your reaction, jeffrey, to what the president of the united states said about kim jong-un, i probably have a very good relationship with kim jong-un and then what he said about imgranmigrants from haiti african countries that these are -- you get the point. you know what he said. >> well, i can -- kim jong-un, the whole thing just beats the hell out of me.
i have no idea what it means or doesn't mean. so i can move on quickly to the other comment. which i think is actually highly significant. because it just shows that, you know, the president has racist views. i mean, you know, how long do we have to dance around that issue? i mean, whether it's, you know, rapist coming from mexico, whether it's saying the first president of the -- african american president of the united states was not born in the united states, i mean, he has racist views, and the worst thing is, that's part of his appeal. we talk about that as if oh, this is so terrible. you know what, it's a feature, not a bug. there are a lot of people who like this. i mean, when are we going acknowledge that this is not -- that like it's not some mistake that he has to take back. this is who he is. and this is in part why he won. that, frankly to me, more troubling than the underlying problem. >> to jeffrey's point, voters
knew what they were getting. his first speech ever was one jim referenced that had to do with what he said about mexicans. he said things like this, maybe not to this level in the past. so this shouldn't really be al surprise, but it doesn't make it any less troubling. >> nfl players, lonzo ball, i mean, there's so -- the charlottesville thing that jim mentioned, i mean, to jeff's point, you can't really look at the breath of donald trump 2015 to donald trump today given what he has said, and draw any conclusion other than he has views that we would have to describe as racist views. you can't say why are we getting all these people from these crappy countries, hope my children aren't watching, and not more from norway? what other possible conclusion could any reasonable person
think? what could he be driving at there? what is the fundamental difference between people from norway and people from el salvador or haiti? there's no other thing that you could -- i'd be interested to hear a defense of it, not based on race because i don't know where you would go. >> and this is going to have an enormous impact around the world, jim, and you covered a lot of these countries. >> and it should. what is the american message to the world? everybody's sitting around the table with a product of immigrants, the problem is it one, two, three generations back. many of us, various different backgrounds, that's the nature of america. and you know, words have impact. they do. i speak not just to foreigners in these countries, but foreign diplomats in these countries, and it goes to america's message, america's identity, and respect for america and the leader of america. words have impact, and these, again, as chris has said, as jackie we've been saying here
and jeff, these are not taken in isolation, right, this is a pattern over months and years from this president. and that's, it's hard to say it's anything but damaging. >> michael, you met with the president of the united states today. you were in the oval office, you had a 45 minute interview. take us inside the oval office, what was he like today? >> well, he was relaxed. you know, he was calm, there's a little bit of -- we covered sort of the the world on issues. so we didn't get down into the a lot of the details on immigration, we did bring it up. and not to confuse the issue or defend these comments in the washington post, but he spent a lot of time talking about his interests in finding some solution for daca and his quote to us that was he was doing it from the standpoint of heart. he's doing it from the standpoint of common sense that he wanted -- that he wanted to inject more jobs into the country. it's a complex issue and he has a lot of complex contradictory
views on this, but this sort of language is more reflective of things we heard from jeb bush on the campaign trail and his description of immigration reform rather than, you know, racist-infused, you know, commentary that we've heard and other places in the republican party. so, there is some complexity here. not exactly sure how to sort it out, but, you know, he was -- he was urging his own party to have flexibility and heart on daca. >> just context -- mike's exactly right, but context matters. this is not the first time he's even, he's made a number of comments that are, if not walking the line of racist, over the line, but he made comments that the "new york times" reported, the white house denied at the time about haitians, about africans, in this exact same context. so it is clearly not a one off
that he just -- well, he was angry or mike says no, but he was angry or frustrated, this is a belief that he possesses, and let's not lose sight of the fact that the white house released a rather extensive statement that you read, wolf, that doesn't deny in any way, shape, or form that he said it, which means, breaking news, he said it. >> by the way, cnn has now confirmed from our own sources that that the meeting with republican and democratic lawmakers this afternoon at the white house, he did in fact describe these immigrants from those countries, haiti, african countries, el salvador as blank hole countries. >> just stop for a second and think, sit with that. the president of the united states described people trying to come here from places like haiti and el salvador and others -- >> and african countries -- >> as coming from s-hole countries. the president of the united states who is the elected leader of all of us said that.
>> the first line of the white house, in addition to not denying those comments, it basically levels a justification to some degree. and i'm just paraphrasing, but the president stands up for -- >> certain washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, president trump will always fight for the american people. >> in effect he's accusing the politicians and were alarmed by it by being upset that the president described those countries as s-hole countries. that's less than a non -- it's more than a non-denial, it seems to be a defense. >> as if you have a story like this, a lead in the washington post, that's a bomb shell. and the white house issues a statement not denying it, they're confirming for all practice kl purposes, jeffrey tuben, they're confirming it. >> yeah, i don't think there's any doubt that he said it. and, you know, the non -- the fact that they didn't deny it, but also it's in character. i mean, that's the thing.
it was not -- i mean, like so much that has happened in the past year, it's shocking, but not surprising. you know, i mean, it's shocking that he would actually use, you know, use that word, but it's not, i mean, does that seem out of character? not at all. and this is, and people -- there are a lot of people who like it. i mean, we're sitting here, you know, we all have the vapors, oh, it's so terrible, you know, just like when he said john mccain is a prisoner of war, we thought oh, so terrible, you know what, a lot of people like the fact that he's racist. and that's the thing that we need to acknowledge. that this part of his country is not something that is a gaffe that he will be punished for, he will be rewarded for it, like he was rewarded by being elected president of the united states. >> i don't think we have the vapors, i think it's definitely worth pointing out -- because what's the other alternative? not talking about it? not calling it out for what it
is? i don't think that's the right decision either, so i don't think any of us are smelling salts or fainting couches that the point, but this is a very serious matter and it's worthy of discussion. >> you know, i'm looking at the list, there were seven lawmakers at this meeting in the oval office with the president, senator durbin, senator perdue of georgia, representative kevin mccarthy, majority leader in the house, represent the chairman of the judiciary committee, mario balart, the republican rt florida, tom kothen to, lindsey graham of south carolina, i can only imagine how they reacted when they heard the president say that. >> josh, the washington post reporter reported this first says that they were taken aback which is probably the understatement of the century. again, context though wolf, why were all of those people there? because there was talk of a potential gang of six deal on immigration, which, donald trump less than 48 hours ago said in a
55-minute open public conversation, i'll sign it. send it to me, i'll sign it. >> i'll take the heat. >> he presented himself as this bipartisan -- much more along the linings in his interview where trump is saying we need to out of love and compassion. yet the comment comes in that context in a meeting in which it said this is the rough outlines of a deal, can we do this? i mean, it's literally -- good people can be rendered, i'm rarely rendered speechless, you can be rendered speechless by the president of the united states even though jeff is right, it is not out of character. he would do so in this setting, is, to me, mind boggling. >> jeffrey. >> well, it just -- remember also, just to turn this conversation a little bit back towards policy, there are these 800,000 dreamers, these kids who are now -- now some are young adults who have never known any other country by the united states, and their position remains in limbo. i mean, you know, we've had all,
you know, all of this conversation and the president talks about love and the president talks about how he is sympathetic to them and several months ago he had this meeting with pelosi and schumer where it looked like there was going to be a deal, there is no deal. and at least as far as i can tell, there doesn't look like they're very close to a deal. so these 800,000 people and their families and the people who love them, they are still in tremendous limbo. and that's, and that's a scary thought. >> all right. quickly. >> wonder for democrats looking to sign on to a deal, do they want to sign on a deal with a president who just described the countries that they might want to be advocating for or relatives of those countries in these terms? it makes it difficult. >> yeah, everybody stand by. we're following these two bomb shell reports. the interview in the wall street journal in which the president of the united states says he thinks he has probably has a very positive, very good relationship with kim jong-un of north korea and how he described
we helped with his llc, contracts, and some other stuff that's part of running a business. so frank can focus on the beat. you hear that? this is frank's record shop. and this is where life meets legal. (crying, screaming) today is your day. crush it. angie's boom chicka pop whole grain popcorn. boom! we're following the breaking news, two bomb shell reports, one cnn has now confirmed what the washington post was reporting during a meeting with legislators. democrats and republicans in the oval office earlier this afternoon. the president described immigrants who want to come to the united states from haiti, el salvador, african countries, the president said, quote, why do we want all of these people from, i won't use the word, s-hole countries coming here.
a bomb shell from the president of the united states. also in a separate interview with the wall street journal, the president of the united states said i probably have a very good relationship with kim jong-un, the north korean leader. ben cardin is with us, the ranking member of the senate foreign relations committee. your reaction on this description for people who to want come to the united states from countries like haiti, el salvador, african countries to the united states, these are s-hole countries. i won't say the word. he did say why can't there be more people who come to the united states from countries like norway. he did meet with the prime minister of norway yesterday. >> well, america's strength is in our values and we stand for how we represent to the global community democratic principles, inclusion, et cetera, the president's comments damaged us greatly. now i think our responsibility to say that his comments do not represent america. we've got stand up and say that we won't tolerate that type of
characterization as to who we want here in america, that's not what we stand for as a country. the president's comments are very damaging to our reputation. >> were you stunned? give us your reaction. i can only imagine what your colleagues who were in the oval office, seven lawmakers were there, how they reacted when they heard the president describe these immigrants from these countries the way he did. >> wolf, it's been now almost a year under president trump. i can't say that anything that will stun me anymore because he does things that i never thought i would see come from the president of the united states, but this is extremely damaging. and it is a very, very hurtful. and what was said in the earlier panel, the fact that there are americans who support this type of comments is also one that we have to really examine closely. >> the white house did issue a statement reacting to the washington post story which cnn has now confirmed our white house correspondent abby phillip confirmed that from her sources, the president used those ugly
words. a statement, lengthy statement from the white house said certain washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries but president trump will always fight for the american people. the president will only accept an immigration deal that adequately addresses the visa lottery system and chain migration. two programs that hurt our economy and allows terrorists into our country that others who have merit-based immigration, president trump is fighting for permanent solution that make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation. he will always reject temporary, meek, and dangerous stopgap measures that threaten the lives of hard working americans and undercut immigrants who seek a better life in the united states through a legal pathway. a lengthy statement, not denying that the president described these immigrants, these immigrants, the way he did. hold on for one moment, our white house reporter caitlin collins is getting more reaction
to the president's comments, the white house reaction, what are you hearing from your sources? >> well, wolf, this comment has really dominated washington since the washington post first reported about this just a short while ago. but inside the white house this comment is being received much differently by staffers because they actually believe that this isn't going to cause a problem with the president's base because they believe the comment that he made will actually resinate with his voters like in middle america and what not, instead of turning them off or alienating them in some kind of way, much like his attacks on those nfl players who protested by kneeling during the national anthem did. so the white house isn't in a flurry about this as you saw in that statement, from the deputy press secretary raj shaw, they did not deny that the president said that this and they actually in a way defended what he said and the white house staffers, the people inside the white house believe that this is not going to be a big problem for them. >> very interesting. let me get senator cardins
reaction because they think it won't hurt him with his base. >> the president says what he believes, and that's unfortunate. he appealed to a base that i have a hard time believing will really accept that type of kaukt. he -- conduct, he's talking about that in in regards to a compromise that he created the problem when he said the six month deadline on the dreamers. they're now eight days away from the government shutdown. republicans control both the house and the senate and the white house. this statements are going to drive us apart, it's more difficult for us to come to an agreement. what is he talking about? appealing to a base? we got -- he's got to operate the government. he's going to come together with a plan to keep government open, and he's talking about appealing to his base on a racist comment? >> this is a bomb shell. this interview in the wall street journal in which he stuns everyone by saying, quote, i probably have a very good relationship with kim jong-un. i have relationships with people, i think you people,
referring to the reporters who were interviewing him in the oval office are surprised. he was asked if he's spoken with kim jong-un, he said i don't to want comment on it, i'm not saying i have or haven't, i just don't want to comment. you're the top democrat, the ranking member on the senate foreign relation committee, you've been briefed on all sorts of sensitive diplomatic overtures. do you know if the president of the united states has spoken with kim jong-un? >> i do not know whether he has spoken to kim jong-un. i'd be very surprised if in fact he has. my best analysis is he has not. and his comments about having a very good relationship is hard to understand. we know that kim jong-un is a difficult individual, so this is just difficult -- i think it's -- president trump just trying to tell the american people his style is accepted by everyone, and it's not accepted by everyone. >> at one point in the interview, they came back and they said, you used to call him
a maniac, little rock man, he called you mentally derange the and all of the sudden you say, i probably have a very good relationship with kim jong-un, and he framed his comments this way, he said, you'll see that a lot with me. he said of his combative tweets, then all of the sudden, somebody's my best friend. i could give you 20 examples. you could give me 30. i'm a very flexible person. have you seen that in the president that he can go from really slurring the north korean leader to all of the sudden probably having a very good relationship? >> north korea's a very dangerous situation, wolf. very dangerous. we're worried that you could have an escalation that is unintended or a miscalculation and all the sudden bombs are dropping. we know the risk factors that are here. so, again, this is an extremely serious situation that the president of the united states must pay attention to ease the tension rather than accelerate it to make a statement like this
which is really without credibility, does not add to the stability of our positions. >> senator ben cardin, thanks for coming in. what a day it has been, it's not over with yet. coming up, much more on the breaking news. cnn has now confirmed that president trump in a crucial white house meeting characterized immigrants from africa and haiti as coming from a, quote, and i won't use the word, s-hole country. stay with us. you're in the situation room. life happens.
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we have much more to come on the president's truly shocking comments about immigrants. stand by for that. there's more breaking news. the chaos and confusion caused by the president's tweets about a key piece of intelligence legislation. let's bring in our chief national security correspondent jim sciutto. jim, the white house is shrugging this off but it caused a lot of heartburn earlier in the day. >> the president of the united states contradicted his own administration's policy on the foreign intelligence act and then contradicted the contradiction and then the white house said there's no reason to be confused. for weeks, the trump administration's support for renewing the new surveillance act -- >> we could not do what we do without the funding that you all
help us secure and the investigative tools and authorities, including, as you noted, mr. chairman, section 702 of the foreign intelligence surveillance act. >> reporter: from the director of the cia. >> it's an important component of national security. it allows us, the cia, to observe communications from nonu.s. citizenno non-u.s. citizens that are central to our mission. >> reporter: and from the white house itself. sarah sanders saying that the house should preserve the useful role that fisa plays in protecting american lives. clear and consistent, that is, until this morning when fox news commentator, former judge andrew nap politan know, delivered this critique of this law. >> i don't understand why donald trump is in favor of this. his woes began with unlawful
foreign surveillance and united states constitutional domestic intelligence of him. >> reporter: 46 minutes later, trump tweeted his own blistering criticism directly quoting a fox news graphic. house votes on controversial fisa act today. here's that tweet. house votes on controversial fisa act today. it may have been used with the help of the discredited and phony dossier to abuse the trump campaign by the previous administration and others. that tweet prompted a conversation to paul ryan and soon after came a swift clarification from the president which read, in pafrt, this is about foreign bad guys on for len land. we need it. get used to it. >> this is about foreign terrorists on foreign soil.
that's what this is about. so let's clear up some of the confusion here. >> reporter: so what happened? the president and janet napolitano appeared confused about what the house was voting on. for run, section 702 relates only to monitoring a foreign nationals on foreign soils, not americans. including any trump campaign officials. the justice department and the fbi have denied that they surveilled trump's own communications. but they did obtain a warrant to monitor campaign chairman paul manafort before joining the campaign for his business dealings in ukraine. and after he left to investigate ties between trump campaign associates and suspected russian operatives and obtained a warrant on carter page prior to his joining the campaign. still, at the end of the day, the white house claimed that it all made sense. >> we don't think that there was a conflict at all.
the president fully supports the 702 and was happy to see that it passed the house today but he does have some overall concern with the fisa program more generally. >> to be clear, carter page obtained it under a different part of the fisa program title 1 that is not up for renewal and, again, to obtain a warrant like that via the fisa courts, you have to make a justification that there's evidence that those people may be acting as an act for a foreign government. the criticism, which you've heard from both republicans and democrats, is that the fisa court virtually approves all of those successes. >> a fisa surveillance program overseas has saved american lives. >> that's the other thing. paul ryan mentioned that today, for instance, the isis -- one of the isis leaders was discovered through a fisa foreign program and, again, it appears that the
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cnn confirms tonight president trump slammed immigrants from africa and katie as being from, quote, s-hole countries. talking to kim? president trump is offly cagey suggesting he has a good relationship with a man who says his entire nuclear arsenal is targeting the united states. stand by for more on mr. trump's surprising new interview. likely or not? cnn has learned that trump allies are urging him not to talk to special counsel robert mueller. we have new information on the russia investigation, including a new call for testimony from ivanka trumpb. and confusing the issue. just hours before a critical house vote. did the commander in chief simply tweet what