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tv   Wolf  CNN  February 19, 2018 10:00am-11:00am PST

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now you've got gun safety. >> they'll have to grieve as best they can. thanks for joining us at this court hearing in ft. lauderdale right now. right there the killer from the school shooting in parkland. wolf blitzer picks up our coverage right now. hello, i'm wolf blitzer. it's 1:00 p.m. here in washington. from wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks so much for joining us. let's begin with the breaking news. the parkland, florida shooter is back in court. he's making an appearance in a ft. lauderdale courtroom in a procedural hearing right now. you're seeing live pictures coming in. we're also learning today that the shooter was able to obtain at least 10 rifles. because of his age, he was unable to acquire any handguns, you have to be 21 years old to get a handgun, but an ar-15
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style weapon you can get in florida at the age of 18. investigators are still trying to track all the firearm purchases he made. our rosa flores is in parkland for us right now. rosa, first of all, tell us about this hearing. what do we anticipate? >> you know, wolf, if what i'm about to say sounds as clear as mud is because the situation in the courtroom right now is as clear as mud. let me give you the play by play. the defense ordered a hearing, made a motion on friday, and that was added to the docket. since then it's been on and off, so much so that it made the judge very upset at the defense earlier today -- >> hold on for a moment. the hearing is about to begin. i want to hear the judge, judge elizabeth scherer, speaking. >> we're here in the case of the state of florida against nikolas
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cruz. >> here on behalf of the state. >> and the defendant is present, correct? >> mr. cruz is present. i will be here on his behalf. >> let me start off by saying that although i didn't consider any of these matters to be confidential, an order has been entered on friday by judge amuldo. i have reviewed the materials thoroughly and they deal solely with the public defender's office having access to their own client's person while going through this. i don't believe the state has suffered any prejudice by these matters being kept confidential, and i am going to leave everything the way it is with the caveat that in the future of going forward, all the matters in this case are going to be heard by this court, and if there is a motion to keep
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something confidential, the moegts, motion, at the very least, will be heard by this court in the presence of all the lawyers and the defendant. does anybody have any questions? an order has already been entered. again, i believe i made it clear on friday that i didn't feel it should be confidential and set it for today. but what's done is done. again, it deals solely with the defendant's access to their own. i don't think the state would have any manner to object. since the issue is still very limited, as far as i can tell, i'm going to leave it the way it is. just, again, i have a copy of the administrative order from each of you. in the future.
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>> the only issue is the state pursuant to the case laws and the state to all parties as part of this proceeding. i have found some case law that's directly on point that we are not entitled to conduct any type of discovery. they did make a request, which was granted in magistrate court, to have access to their client for purposes of photographing him. the magistrate judge had no problem, but it is the state's position that whatever the court is in possession of in the way of motions should be unsealed. now, if you want the state to file a written motion unsealing it, we can certainly do that, but we are prepared today to argue why it should not be unsealed.
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>> judge: i don't disagree with you. however, i just feel since an order has been released in this court, and because it's a very limited issue, i believe the defense is entitle to do what they were asking for and this court has already ordered that the motions and the order be sealed. >> all right. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> your honor, can you make a new order for the case? >> sure. >> thank you.
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>> so there you see it, a brief procedural hearing before the broward county district court. you saw the judge, elizabeth scherer, ruling on the request by the defense for the unsealing of certain documents. pretty technical hearing. our legal analyst is standing by. richard, we saw the 19-year-old shooter there. he's represented, i want to point out, by broward county assistant public defender melissa mcneal and broward county public defender howard fi finkelstein. the prosecutor is sherry tate. this is just the beginning, but clearly 17 counts of murder await this young man. >> yes. and clearly the judge indicated that she's going to keep control
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over this case and very clearly meant to send a message to both sides to say how she wants to proceed and that they will proceed in accordance with her wishes. and that's quite appropriate. we have seen cases which have a televised aspect to them, such as the o.j. simpson case, rock out of orbit. this will not, in my view, be such a case. the state's attorney, mr. sachs, is a very complicated and experienced man, and i'm sure this judge will also maintain control of the courtroom. >> the state attorney, michael sachs, did say in a statement on saturday. let me read part of it to you. this is certainly the type of case the death penalty was designed for. this was a highly calculated and premeditated murder of 27 people and the attempted murder of
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everyone in that school. clearly they're going for the whole thing, murder and the death penalty. >> well, it would seem as such, but we will await, of course, medical evaluations of mr. cruz, and that will inform both sides in the positions that they will take. >> stand by. we're going to get back to you. there are other legal issues we need to discuss. i want to quickly go back to rosa flores. she is down there in florida for us. what are you learning about the purchase of the firearms? >> my colleague tells evan perez that the suspect purchased 10 firearms. the question is where he purchased all those weapons. where are all those weapons at the moment now. and we know, of course, that the atf and conducting a trace.
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and from interviews both with gma and florida sun sentinel, we've lerarned from his host parents that he did, indeed, have that ar-15 rifle in that home. the parents thought they had the only key to the lock. we know now that did not happen. the big question is, wolf, where are all of those weapons? that's something police are trying to track down. wolf? >> there are other developments unfolding. president trump is urging folks to be reflective after it was his own national security advis adviser.
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. >> very sad that the fbi missed all the many signals sent out by the florida scoot shooter. this is not acceptable. they are spending too much time trying to prove russian collusion with the trump campaign. there is no collusion. get back to the basic and make us all proud, closed quote. some of the people called this disgusting, and now it seems their inaction on gun control could have been an impact. . . what's the positive change in the president's position on guns right now? >> hey there, wolf. yeah, apparently the president is considering a bipartisan bill that was introduced in the sena
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senate. i was saying they spoke on friday about the bipartisan bill. they said, to improve compliance of background legislation, the president is supportive of efforts to improve the federal bank account. but this really wouldn't be the first time. you might recall back in 2000 in a book. that changed. we can also tell you he met with at least half of the weekend meeting with paul ryan. gun legislation came up as a
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partial addition to the agenda moving forward, wolf. >> in his tweet storm over the weekend, saturday and sunday, only 15 or 16 tweets, boris. the president did not criticize russia at all. criticized many others following the indictments on regan speak to what russia did? >> not really. you had press secretary hogan ridley saying they have caused more chaos than the russians in the united states. you haven't seen the president have any kind of condemnation of putin or his cronies for carrying along hacking the elections, a slew of democrats, former president obama, adam
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schiff, and the media as well. he really hasn't gone further saying russia is a bad actor in that statement. . the chairman of the senate judiciary committee actually tweeted. we'll see if that ever does happen, though, wolf. >> the activities continuing but the president remaining silent. critics say the president was. the fbi has mistaken the case with the russia investigation. he tweeted, quote, you are such a psychopath that you have to make even the death of 17 children about you. america will regret the day you were ever born, closed quote. joining us now to talk about that, a political analyst said
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political reporter russian david bayne and david chellian. yes, the fbi made a mistake. but now he's saying -- they made a mistake because they were spending way too much time investigating alleged collusion between his campaign and russia. >> so we should make clear that's just factually untrue. nobody is suggesting that the fbi can't handle both on following up on leerld. what it does show is the president is pretty self-obsessed and definitely did take this opportunity of this tragedy to still press his personal political case against the russia probe, so that is true. but also what we're seeing here, wolf, is a president who is unable to separate out anything out of the russia probe from a
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question of the legitimacy of his election. so in this case he even lets the death of these children play into this in some horrifically twisted way in his mind, that he would use this moment. but when those indictments came down on friday, this wasn't the only tweet about the russian probe. if he sees any news on that front, any developments on that front that bob mueller is making, is a total attack, in his mind, of the legitimacy of him being elected president of the united states. >> when he first heard about these indictments, the doj is coming out to say that the interference from the russians did not affect the russian. so he was like, okay, division over my victory.
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didn't go out and play golf because of the tragedy. he's seeing this and even governor chris christie said he cautioned the white house taking this out of bounds and taking it to far t. there is also a collusion about they are not viewing my vision. >> it's probably not going to result in russians getting extradited to the united states to stand trial for this thing, and it is not being divorced by a lot of people not looking at gates. this could pose a problem for the president if he ends up testifying about manafort. what we know is the president cares a lot about optics. have you perceived russian
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elemen elements? he also seems to care what his reaction has been following that tweet, putting florida in the same pot, i guess, as the russia probe. the backlash has been terrible for him across the board for his kids to public allies saying, this is not okay. now we have reports that he may be discussing actually looking at some gun control measures. i think it's also worth noting, though, as we discuss whether the president is going to back the cornyn murphy role bill. it's not really an expansion of background checks. >> clearly the fbi can do a lot. >> let's say. they probably have their oenl some there is no overlap. this indication that they can't do both is completely untrue.
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i want to bring you. i never said russia did not medal in the election. and like a genius sitting in his bed playing the computer. the russia hoax was that the trump campaign colluded with usual. . what do you think over the course of the campaign and since? >> the entire thing has been a witch hunt and there is no cleegs between certainly myself and my campaign. but i can always speak for. he and russia did not meddle in the election. how many times do toif answer this question? is i know you have to get up and ask a question. russia is a ruse. i have nothing to do with russia. i can just say this, there was
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absolutely no collusion. everybody knows it. the hush story isrussia story i fabrication. >> i don't know how many times he said it's a total fabrication, a witch hunt, a he had a lot of words to discuss this and he never really said what to do to stop it from happening again. >> this goes back to what i was saying about being just incapable, it seems, total lack of interest in separating out whether or not he was legitimately elected versus protecting the country from this happening. his own intelligence community is saying, this is happening in 2018 again, wolf. and the president, the details of exactly how this happens, where is the outrage to make sure he's protecting the very core, the fundamentals of the united states democracy, free and fair elections. where is the outrage from the president of the united states to prevent it from happening again? and yes, he has always said
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there is no collusion, but as you just noted by playing those clips, he often also said the entire russia thing is a witch hunt. >> this is a waste of taxpayer money. >> which it's clearly d tekting our other than. a three-star active duty general sh, he has an international conference in euan i cnich. it was very clear that the russians did this. the president didn't like that. he tweeted, general mcmaster forgot to say that the elections were not changed because of the russians. remember the e-mails and the
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podesta company. it's pretty amazing he humiliates his own national security adviser at a forum like this. >> he's attacking everyone but what his parents want him to know, he's apparently angry rosenstein. he's lashing out at the fbi saying they're too distracted by the russia investigation to do anything about preventing shooters. i mean, democrats, the media, oprah. he's attacking anybody except what republicans want him to crush. >> can general mcmaster, curran, survive this. there have been reports he wants to get out of there to begin with. he's an active duty three-star general, but if you're insulted like you were as the president of the united states. if you're a military adviser,
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you need to change your targets. >> we've talked about jeff sessions, rex tillerson, jay kelly and now and trump lashes out. he doesn't really feel loyalty to those who he expects to be loyal to him. and just to kind of reinforce the point that david was making a minute ago, trump has really never gotten to the point where he said, yes, russia did actually do this. yes, i blame vladimir putin for it. he has tried to correct the record. even though the last few days, in this whole "i never said that," it's about trying to correct the record of what he said, not exactly ruling out the 400-pound jackson to rather the skbrun yors the part that is
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about himself and he's upset wi with. ridicules, embarrasses you like that, you have to draw some conclusions and see if it's time to move on. >> can i get any furt. the danger is having somebody leaving and they come in with a yes man. so what is the balance there? their own efficacy? >> that's one of the reasons a lot of these people are staying, because they think they have to do it for their country, to protect the country from the commander in chief, from the president of the united states. that's a pretty extraordinary statement in and of itself. all right, guys, everybody stand by. there is more news. a former federal fbi official is standing by as well after the president is suggesting the agency missed the tip by the killer because of the fbi
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a reported plea deal by a trump campaign aide is upping the ante in the russia investigation. rick gates has agreed to testify against campaign chairman paul manafort and will plead guilty to fraud-related charges. this will be a flip for gates back in october. he and manafort pleaded not guilty to the charges. we're told the decision comes down to family, the high price of legal costs, among other issues. mueller's investigation, by the way, has already secured guilty pleas and cooperation from former national security adviser michael flynn and george papadopoulos who worked on the trump campaign as a foreign policy adviser. let's discuss this with my next
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guest. he's back with us as a former prosecutor himself during watergate. so let's talk about this flip, this plea deal. how significant is that? >> very significant, and it shows that mr. trump's celebratory tweets about the indictment just handed down were premature. i mean, this investigation continues. quite clearly gates will testify against paul manafort and that will put increasing pressure on manafort who was a campaign chair. all of this will go to the question of the annexation in the ukraine and the sanctions against russia and all of the efforts by the russians to nullify the sanctions and to keep the united states from exercising appropriate actions to curb russian intentions.
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>> usually when there is a flip like this, when there is a plea deal, the defendant in this particular case gets a reduced sentence in exchange for full cooperation. the prosecution, mueller and his team, they get useful information they could use for bigger fish. >> exactly. and mueller's indictment just returned against the russians is something under normal circumstances under which we don't live now congress would have the obligation and opportunity to explain to the american public what the russians did. now we know, in chapter and verse, in very fine detail what the russians did to interfere with the election. that's chapter 1. what else did they do? there's nothing that speaks to the hacking of the dnc e-mails and the exploitation of that information to be used in the election process, and particularly against hillary clinton.
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>> so you think this charge, this indictment, is going to lead to that? >> i believe that this is the st. petersburg, if you could call it that, group of russians. what's very important about it is that quite clearly they were directed at the very top by putin or his closest aides to do what they did. what else did they do at the direction of putin? and that remains to be seen. that will be the subject of further inquiry and perhaps indictments, further conspiracies or in addition to the conspiracy that's already been returned. that conspiracy talks about conspirators known and unknown to the grand jury. >> thank you for coming on, richard ben-veniste. >> thank you. some students think it's
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disgusting that the president mentioned the school shooting happened because the fbi was spending too much time on the russia investigation. we'll talk to one leader constantly grieving families about what they're dealing with five days after the murderous attack. i have type 2 diabetes.
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president trump says fbi agents were so busy with the russia investigation that they missed a tip about the florida school shooter. the bureau is still investigating what went wrong. he expressed the regret for the additional pain this causes to affect those touched by this specific tragedy. chris is here. let me get your reaction to the president's criticism.
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is it accurate that the russian investigation distracted from the fbi agents down in south florida following up on a tip about the school shooter? >> no, it's nonsense. those two things are totally unrelated. he knows better than that. it's just another opportunity to flail at the fbi and try to undermine the fbi and their credibility. having said that, something very bad went wrong at the fbi's tip line. >> clearly, something went wrong and they should investigate to make sure it doesn't happen again and learn from this. but why do you think the president is doing what he's doing right now, saying that the russia probe is wasting too much time, money, energy, and as a result, these failures, the tip line failure, for example, occur? >> this is pure politics. the fbi is in his crosshairs. there is 38,000 men and women in the fbi, and every one of them will tell you that this was a chance for intervention and it
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didn't happen. they're taking the responsibility for it. but the president right now is playing politics with this issue and that's not going to do anything to help sovlve the problem. not a bit. >> what's your reaction to the failure in this tip line to take the appropriate steps that potentially could have prevented in massacre from occurring? >> we know there were a lot of opportunities. you would be hard put to find another case where there were more opportunities to intervene here, and this was just one of a series of them. but i can explain why it happened. i can't justify why it happened. these tips go to a facility in west virginia where a lot of the fbi's criminal records and fingerprint records are kept and processed. it happened in 2012. they centralized all the tip line calls to one place where they have a cadre of analysts who field those calls. they're supposed to triage them and either action them or send them to the field office or the
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police department where they need to be actioned. so the process simply broke down here. we don't know where -- we know where but we don't know why, and that needs to be fixed as soon as possible. >> it certainly does. the mistake by the fbi prompted the florida governor, rick scott, to call for the director of the fbi, christopher wray's resignation. what's your reaction, first of all, to that? >> again, playing politics with something that we should be getting at trying to fix the problem here. chris wray has been the director for six months. he's been drinking from a fire hose ever since he sat down in that chair. this is something that obviously does need to be addressed because it's an important function of the fbi, but chris wray doesn't need to resign over this. now that he's aware that there is an issue here, i guarantee you he'll be in there fixing that. there is an inspection staff camped out in west virginia right now looking at the process, and hopefully we'll come up with a much more efficient process.
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>> i'm sure they will do that exactly. all right, chris, thanks very much, chris swecker, to discuss this latest development. coming up, as president trump prepares to meet with survivors of the school shooting, he's facing criticism about his tweets of the fbi's handling of tips before the shooting. i'll talk to a rabbi who is counseling grieving families in south florida right now and ask how the community is reacting to the president's tweets.
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students from the marge jor stoneham douglas high school in florida are calling on the state legislature later this week, and they have a school walkout and a march plan next month, one student telling lawmakers, quote, you're either with us or
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against us. in washington other students held a protest in front of the white house earlier today. watch this. 17-year-old protestors representing the 17 victims staged a lie-in with solidarity of the florida teaens demanding changes to gun laws. i want to bring in the rabbi of coral springs. rabbi, first tell us the families you're dealing with. i understand four of the students who were killed were jewish. one of the adults was jewish. five of the 17, and you've been counseling their families. how are they doing? >> of course, as can be understood, it's really tough, and as you mentioned, i've been counseling the families as well as my fellow rabbis and all the people here in the community have been just amazing. i know i personally have
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basically been with families, and more particularly with one individual family nonstop since this horrible tragedy has occurred. >> we've heard some of the students criticizing president trump's tweets where he blames the fbi for missing tips over the shooter. they say those tweets are offensive. the grieving families, the folks you've been speaking to, are they reacting to that? what do they say? >> wolf, my position as a clergy, i have to be careful, and my position is to comfort the families, to be there for them, to help them in prayer, and that's really -- and in our community we have grieving people with a lot of different opinions, passionately so, which is fine. i don't want to alienate any of those families. with all my heart, i am there to support and help the families in their time of grief. >> which is understandable. that's your mission as a rabbi.
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you've been in close contact, i understand, rabbi, with one family in particular over these past several days. walk us through how this family has reacted. you don't have to mention any names. >> yeah, i will not due to respect for the family. but from wednesday evening, i got a text message which i will remember -- i use the example like 9/11, it's something that is etched in your mind. i got a text message saying, rabbi, i think they murdered my daughter. that was so horrifying and i just picked up the phone and said, i'm coming right over. which we did and made sure -- by jewish law we wanted to make sure the victim was treated with great respect which was, of course, very comforting and important to the family. following that, the clergy,
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rabbis, organized a vigil which had amazing attendance. i'm standing there and i'm seeing those kids in front of me, those young kids, innocent, pure and so traumatized and brokenhearted. they came face to face with such horrifying evil and they're looking to us for guidance. i really feel to honor the deceased we have a lot of passionate debate going on in this country, and that's very, very healthy and necessary. but please, if we could stop with the hateful discord, that is not an honor for those who have fallen. let's really -- different people have different responses. they're all fantastic responses. we just met with the governor. as clergymen, my response is, as well as my fellow rabbis is, in terms of dealing with gun safety, which is also very important, let's be proactive with a sense of bringing safety
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to our children and also bringing more morality. let's bring a god, let's bring moral value back into the schools in a way that we could all agree upon. in a more specific way we pro poeds to the governor to bring bringa moment of silence before you start the day. one could choose on how they want to use that moment of silence. once people start meditating they'll have questions. they'll bring those questions to their parents or clergy. you deal with these in the early stages. we put up, at the rally in parkland, we put up a wall, three walls of goodness, you know, posts of goodness that people could post. there are thousands of notes there that people have posted. everybody their own choice but that they could express acts of goodness. there is no way of dealing with darkness than by adding and
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channelling it to so much great light. i know, wolf, you know i'm a student and we cannot change the past, we cannot change what happened, but we can change the energy and turn that grief and definitely honor those who have fallen that will change society at its core. that we have students who are better human beings. that's what we have imparted to the governor. he was very intuitive. i'm sorry. he was -- he really listened. i think that would be a tremendous positive direction for us to achieve. >> rabbi friedman, thank you so much for helping the families, 17 families mourning right now. our deepest condolences go out to all of those families. thanks for joining us.
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by the way, join cnn wednesday night for a special town hall with students and parents affected by the parkland school shooting. jake tapper will moderate. starts at 9:00 p.m. eastern only here on cnn. as nuclear tensions rides between the u.s. and north korea, kim jong-un's regime with a new statement emerging and a new warning as the u.s. secretary of state rex tillerson gives a rather blunt assessment of the north korean threat. stand by. we'll be right back. dial your binge-watching up to eleven. join the un-carrier right now, and get four unlimited lines for only thirty-five bucks each. woah. plus, netflix for the whole family. on us. prrrrrrr... so, they get their shows... let's go, girl! you're gonna love this bit! and you get yours. watch however you want. on your phone, tablet, or tv. for a limited time, get 4 lines for just thirty-five bucks per line, with no extra charges. it's showtime! all on america's best unlimited network, t-mobile.
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♪ [vo]it doesn't matter if you're from a small town... [mom] it's time to go watch the race, ok? [vo]a big town... [broadcaster] welcome back to the winter olympics. [vo]a nowhere town... [tv broadcaster] this is jessie diggins on the right! [loud cheering] [vo]we all call the same place home. i love you, afton! [vo]comcast is proud to bring the olympic winter games 2018 home to afton and every other hometown in america. north korea is ready for
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both dialogue and war according to state-run media. the comments made in a blistering editorial less than a week after the sister of kim jong-un met with south korea's president. the state media accused the united states of trying to stifle the warming of relations between the two koreas. in an interview with "60 minutes" secretary of state rex tillerson said the u.s. may be willing to potentially negotiate with the north korean leader. >> that's who we'll have to work with to achieve this diplomatically. what we have to determine now is are we even ready to start? are they ready to start? if they are not, we'll just keep the pressure campaign under way. we'll increase the pressure. we are doing it every month. there are new sanctions rolled out. the world wants north korea to change. we are not using the carrot to convince them to talk. we are using large sticks. that's what they need to understand. this pressure campaign is having its bite on north korea. its revenue streams.
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it's having a bite on its military programs. >> let's go to our cnn international correspondent will ripley joining us from pyeongchang, south korea, right now. will, what else did north korea say and what prompted the latest comments? >> reporter: interesting messaging coming from the north koreans, wolf. on one hand they say they are ready for dialogue. now probably that wouldn't mean direct communication or negotiations with the united states. my diplomatic sources close to north korea say initially any message from the u.s. would be probably passed to the south koreans and the south koreans would deliver the message to the north koreans because the two countries have been talking now. of course the relations seem to be improving after the sister of kim jong-un came for the olympics opening ceremony. we don't know who north korea will send to the closing ceremonies. the north koreans say they are ready for war with the united states. they are looking after the olympics and there are troubling
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things to the north koreans. joint military exercises between the u.s. and south korea. north korea calls it a wild act. the drills are legal under international laws unlike north korea's nuclear program. they say the military exercises are a dress rehearsal for invasion. more troubling to the north koreans are what they view as repeated hints from president trump and members of his administration that if diplomacy didn't work the united states would consider the bloody nose option of a preemptive strike on north korea's nuclear facilities. north korea making it clear if the united states were to conduct military action they would, in their words, inflict resolute and merciless punishment. the message is they are willing to talk. if they feel the united states puts them in a corner or provokes them they'll strike back militarily, threats we have heard before. we also have kim jong-un as the north korean leader with more nuclear weapons than ever before. he displayed them on the eve of the olympics. >> he did.
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any indication when a south korean delegation might be headed to pyongyang, to north korea for a continuation of this dialogue? >> president moon accepted kim jong-un's offer of a summit on principle. but in the last couple of days i met with him, shook his hand. he told a group of reporters in pyeongchang it was too soon to think about when he might be going. what i'm hearing is what might be more likely is north korea extends an invitation for a special envoy from south korea to visit pyongyang perhaps some time in april during the time the joint military exercises are due to take place. if that special envoy went during the joint military drills that could calm the situation or maybe a meeting would happen after the drills. we need to see if the drills will be large in scale or if the u.s. and south korea will reduce the size or image of them to make sure the north koreans don't feel threatened by them.
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>> will ripley reporting for us. thank you very much. we'll stay on top of the story for sure. that's it for me. thank you very much for watching. i'll be back at 5:00 p.m. eastern in "the situation room." for our international viewers, a amanpour is next. for our north american viewers, book baldwin starts now. -- brooke baldwin. >> hi there. thank you very much for being with me on this monday. i'm brooke baldwin. on this presidents' day we are seeing signs of what the president may or may not do about gun violence in this country six days after the florida school shooting that killed 17 people. the white house says, quote, the president is supportive of efforts to improve the federal background check system. as student-led protests continue all around the country today, a source tells cnn that the president has seen the pleas