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tv   At This Hour With Kate Bolduan  CNN  February 28, 2018 9:00am-10:00am PST

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thank you and welcome to "inside politics." i'm john king. thank you for sharing your day with us. the special counsel is asking about precampaign trump organization dealings in russia. the president lashing out at attorney general jeff sessions. disgraceful is the new insult. plus, honoring america's pastor. a farewell tribute to billy graham at the united states capitol. and back to school at marjory stoneman douglas high school. students confront their fears, and some, their frustration. >> the thing that makes me the most mad is even after two weeks, even after two weeks of all of this, not a single bill has been passed at the state or federal level. none of our glass is being replaced with bullet proof glass. none of our locks that are being replaced are able to be locked from the inside. no legislative action has been taken. all we have now is more guns and more chances for things to go
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wrong. our politicians are cowards, and they won't gather the strength to stand up to the nra, like marco rubio, rick scott, or donald trump. they won't stand up to the nra and say, you don't own me anymore, and rip off their shock collar. >> back to that story, that dramatic day in just a moment. we begin with a truth that is now beyond self-evident. when the russia probe is making the president uncomfortable, he lashes out. more often than not, attorney general of the united states is the presidential pinata. this tweet sent 9:34 a.m. eastern this morning. why is a.g. jeff sessions asking the inspector general to investigate potentially massive fisa abuse? will take forever. has no prosecutorial power and already late with reports on comey, et cetera. isn't the ig an obama guy? why not use justice department lawyers? disgraceful. disgraceful, that's the new trump label for the nation's top prosecutor to be. that's today. weak and beleaguered are insults already lobbed at jeff sessions
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on the record. the other day he complained about you know who, and it was kri crystal clear he meant sessions. it wasn't clear why. consider this banner from cnn last night. sour sources tell cnn mueller's team is asking about trump organization/russia dealings, including efforts to build a trump tower in moscow and the decision to bring the 2013 miss universe pageant to russia. simone, bob mueller just checking a box, or is this a serious line of inquiry? >> certainly we shouldn't discount anything bob mueller and the fbi investigators that are working on that team are doing. this certainly could be that he's checking the box, but there's a reason why he's asking that question. keep in mind that there's still an ongoing counterintelligence investigation into what influence the russians had on the president before he was the president on trump, the organization, on some of his
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business dealings. so all of this is potentially part of that. as to whether anyone faces charges here in the u.s. as a result of that, we have no indication of it. but this is an important line of inquiry as the mueller investigators try to really put together a case, perhaps, of what were the russians exactly doing, what were other countries exactly doing to try and exploit, to try and influence some of the people around the president. >> and a line of inquiry we know the president doesn't like. another big issue, the former trump campaign chairman paul manafort back in court today. he now has a trial date in september. he pled not guilty to some new charges, money laundering and bank fraud. his legal team has talked about getting their date in court. is that hard and fast? have they ruled out a potential plea deal? >> they haven't ruled out anything. certainly manafort has put out a statement indicating he intends to fight and he's done nothing wrong. the gates' plea puts a lot of pressure on manafort because gates is providing information not only about manafort but
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other things he may 2340e frkno the campaign, from his time he spent with manafort before the campaign. they've been friends, business partners for quite some time. this no doubt will put pressure on manafort. they have even a stronger case against manafort with gates cooperating. the prosecutor has several cases against manafort. when you read those indictments, the level of detail they have of information is stunning. so yeah, certainly this gates thing puts a lot of pressure on manafort. >> we will track that, whether there are negotiations in the weeks ahead, if there is a september trial. not long before the midterm elections. shimon, appreciate the reporting. with me in studio to share their reporting and insights, cnn's nia malika henderson, cnn's jeff zeleny, and mary katherine ham. for all the president's talk of being so unpredictable and how his unpredictability helps him, he's so predictable when there are bad headlines. or, as i like to say, he knows more than we know. he's being warming up to the
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today's disgraceful for a couple days. and he lashes out at the attorney general, who of course recused himself, getting bob mueller and the special investigation. what else do we know about the president's, let's call it, frustration? i think it's more than that. >> i think it is more than frustration. maybe another "f" word, i'm not sure we can say it on television. he's very furious at the attorney general. he makes that point clear. if you're the attorney general, you wondier why you endure this humiliation. i talked to someone who is friendly and supportive of jeff sessions. he actually believes in the work he's doing at the justice department, the conservative work he's done as attorney general. he's essentially, you know, t trying to ignore this as much as he can. if jeff sessions was not the attorney general f the attorney general had not recused himself from this investigation, he would be overseeing the mueller probe here. he's not. and the frustration for the president is it would be virtually impossible or very difficult to confirm a new attorney general. so that means he's just going to
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keep stug aewing and boiling ov this. the question is, is there anything jeff sessions could do short of resigning to make the president happy? i don't think so. >> that's the president's fault, not jeff session's fault. the president gave him the job. a good lawyer could have told him, this is where we're going to head. help me with this one. we have to be care informal ofu business, but if you watch the president's mood and behavior, then you see the cnn reporting we think the white house won't like. we don't know where it ends. he lashes out. his attorneys have been negotiating for weeks now about a possible interview with bob mooule mueller. they know what moouler ueller i asking. is that where this anger comes from? >> i would say it ebbs and flows. he does lash out at the attorney general, but it never actually changes the fundamentals of the game. he's still in his job. the probe is still going on. so that may be one of the reasons that sessions just stays
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there, because he's been through this. practice makes perfect. so he's doing that. but as far as what the president knows, look, i do think he's certainly probably getting some wind of what is in the cards here, and it's bothering him. he's also, as has been note on this show before, he's better in a deposition than he is on twitter. so that's something to keep in mind as well, if he ends up going into that room. >> we do know this is an area, bob mueller getting into the miss universe pageant, plans that never panned out, but negotiations about maybe building a trump tower in moscow, other dealings back and forth. the president said he's never taken russia money. we know bob mueller has financial investigators on his staff. let's listen to the president. this is last july when "the new york times" got wind this was born of the things mueller was beginning to get interested in. the president said, no, that's a lie. >> mueller was looking at your fans, your family's finances unrelated to russia. is that a red line? >> would that be a breach -- >> i would say yes.
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>> that was the president saying that would be a line. here's what we know about business deals. november 2013, miss universe pageant that moscow. just after that, the president tweeted out trump tower, moscow is next. trump signed a letter of intent in october 2015 for that. the deal collapsed, and according to the president's personal attorney, by january 2016, the team cut off negotiations and said never mind, we're not going to do that. the president says don't do this. bob mueller is obviously doing this. rob widen, democratic senator, is saying the senate intelligence committee should do this as well. the republican chairman, you're up there all the time, they've shown no interest in going there. but this is -- bob mueller is now -- it started with russia meddling, possible russia collusion, possible obstruction of justice, now trump organization writ large? >> yes, look, bob mueller does not have to listen when trump says don't go there. he doesn't have to say, okay, sorry. he's running this probe. when you're talking about the foundations for what may have been the allegations leading to collusion, i mean, those can't
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spring out of absolutely nowhere. so if the trump organization, the trump business side builds these relationships over time, whether or not they actually result in profits or in actual constructions of trump towers in moscow, it's people that you know. as we know, politics is a lot based on, you know, personal relationships and international diplomacy is based on personal relationships. that is what we have to get into when we're talking about, you know, did he capitalize on relationships that he had once he was actually in a campaign situation, once there was d-- yu know, he was president. and did others that he met while in russia see something in him because they already had those relationships. it's background for a person. if you're investigating everything that goes into this person and what that person did, it's potentially legitimate to look at what he did before he actually filed his paperwork to become president. >> it's important to note that as allies of the president r -- is bob mueller on a fishing expedition, that bob mueller can't do anything without
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checking in with rod rosenstein, appointed by donald trump, the deputy attorney general. ken starr faced a lot of criticism when he got from whitewater to monica lewinsky, saying bob mueller might be going outside his original mandate, but he has checks. >> i think bob moouler ueller i finding out information that is leading him back to the attorney general. he's an officer of the justice department. under the regulation, rod rosenstein is a man of great honor and just absolutely impeccable integrity, and can say don't go there. >> that's what drives the president nuts. for all the talk of this, you know, deep state or mueller running rogue, these are trump appointees who have to check everything bob mueller does. >> and will they, right. i think the president there oftentimes has liked what ken starr said. i don't know how much comfort he'll find in the fact it's up to rod rosenstein to put the
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brakes on the mueller investigation and how big the purview is and whether it goes beyond this red line that the president has talked about. again, there's chatter always in washington about the fate of not only jeff sessions but rod rosenstein too. does the president move to do something with him, to remove him from his post. so you know, we'll see where this goes. the president clearly upset and stug over all of this. >> this is a well-practiced dance. everybody kind of knows the role they're going to play. for anybody to actually say, oh, for rosenstein or sessions to change the playbook completely and say they're just going to be loyal to trump would be very surprising. for trump to rip up their employment contracts and ask them to go would also be surprising. >> it seems important for the actual fundamentals of the game that he does lash out at sessions repeatedly and not rosenstein, who is the guy who would be the one who would make the difference and change the game. >> what do we make, quickly, of the hope hicks testimony yesterday? she would not answer questions,
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the substantive questions about her work in the administration, which is what they want to ask about. you were the middleman in this air force one meeting. she won't answer those questions. she's claiming a privilege without asserting a privilege. she also acknowledged, according to sources, sometimes she tells, quote, white lies, on behalf of the president. but she says she hasn't lined about anything substantive. look, we should give grace to anybody who works for donald trump because he veers from the truth so often, they have to choice often but to say things that are not true because he takes them there. are republicans going to regret this? if there's a democratic administration and that administration is under investigation and the administration decides it can assert a privilege without asserting a privilege, just saying, don't ask the questions because we don't want to answer them without actually coming forward and making a legal argtd that you have the right to do so? >> i think they could regret it. the story here and now is something that hope hicks -- you know, she was in there for a very long time yesterday. >> nine hours. >> sounds like she did fairly
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well. the white lie thing, she's the communications director of the white house. white lie, what does that mean? is that in her -- >> forgive me for putting you on the spot, but -- >> to me, it's a major question. >> there's nobody in that communications job that has not told at least a white lie in this administration. >> or any administration. >> true. >> i think the critical thing for republicans on the hill is they have this moment of truth with steve bannon. a they will pay for that down the line. the executive does not like oversight from congress. it's not a happy sort of comfortable thing. the line that they could draw between bannon and hicks is that hicks did show some willingness in the second half of that interview to talk about the transition period. what they want to know from her is if she helped draft that statement about the donald trump
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jr. meeting. if they're going to draw the line of you can't invoke executive privilege when you weren't in the white house, at least that's a clean line where republicans can draw it. then the question is, will they actually issue this contempt citation for bannon or just say, oops, no, and maybe lose some credibility for subpoenas in the future. >> give an inch, the lawyers will take a mile. we'll take a quick break. before we go to break, some blunt advice. this is a former top u.s. cybersecurity official talking to the trump administration a day after admiral mike rodgers says he's not been ordered by the president to counter, to fight back against russia's meddling. >> it's highly unusual that after all the facts that we now know that the white house is doing nothing. first thing i would do is thake that internet research agency in st. petersburg and knock it offline. i would fry every computer in the building just to make a point. and we can do that. we can do that and it wouldn't be difficult to do.
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by finding them affordable coverage by impartially shopping highly rated insurers offering over 70 policies. dad, don't be late. you promise? you promise? you promise? you promise? i promise. you promise? want us to do about what woulthis president?fathers i'm tom steyer, and when those patriots wrote the constitution here in philadelphia, they had just repelled an invading foreign power. so they created the commander in chief to protect us from enemy attack. the justice department just indicted 13 russians for sabotaging our elections. an electronic attack on america that the chief investigator called "warfare". so what did this president do? nothing. and is he doing anything to prevent a future attack?
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the head of the fbi says no. this president has failed his most important responsibility- protecting our country. the first question is: why? what is in his and his family's business dealings with russia that he is so determined to hide, that he'd betray our country? and the second question is: why is he still president? join us today. we have to do something. deyou were persecuted,, and forced to flee the country of your birth. but you started a new life in a brand new world. when i built my ancestry family tree, i found your story... then, my dna test helped me reclaim the portuguese citizenship you lost. i'm joshua berry, and this is my ancestry story. combine ancestry's dna test and historical records to discover your story. get started for free at ancestry.com if you have moderate to severe plaque psoriasis,
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welcome back. a quick update on something we just talked about. the attorney general of the united states, the subject of a presidential attack tweet today, our ted barrett on capitol hill just caught up to jeff sessions and asked him if he wanted to comment on that tweet. he said, quote, not commenting. ted asked him if he talked to the president about it. the attorney general said thank you and moved on. so we'll move on. jared kushner is not having a good week. and it's only wednesday. the president's son-in-law and senior adviser now roaming the halls of the white house without his top-secret security clearance. his access was downgraded last week by chief of staff john kelly. kushner is having trouble getting a permanent security clearance, and new reporting in "the washington post" today exposes one of the reasons. u.s. intelligence services tracked officials in at least four countries discussing whether it might be possible to influence kushner's official work because of his family business arrangements and financial woes. those countries include mexico, israel, and the united arab emirates and china.
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the white house line, family first. >> he has full confidence in jared kushner's ability to do his job, to address the issues of israel-palestinian peace, to also address the issue of u.s.-mexico relations. he's doing a great job on behalf of the president, and he's going to continue in his role. >> it is remarkable, and let's be fair to mr. kushner, there is zero evidence on the table that he's done anything wrong. but that officials in other countries are getting caught in captured conversations and other intelligence gathering saying, wait a minute, this guy's family business has a problem. is there some way, as we do business with him, we can leverage that? that's the idea? >> yeah, the concern is vulnerability. the concern isn't actually, oh, you did something wrong that you should have been dragged into court for years ago and the fbi just happens to find it. you don't get the clearance if there are reasons you might be compromised. several countries have varying relationships with the united states see kushner as a
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potential -- a potential point of leverage. that's a problem. the other fact of this is i can see the white house is clearly defending him, but if he has a downgraded security clearance, it's difficult to solve middle east peace if you're not privy to intelligence that might be relevant to actually working those diplomatic negotiations. so this is the latest difficult spot for the president because he brought his children into this administration. it's very difficult for him to let those children go. the but the children are bringing him serious problems. >> to that point, i want to get back to the substance of jared kushner's job in a minute. this is a recurring drama that they said when reince priebus left. maybe it would end then. it never ends. jared, ivanka, and kelly are locked in a death match. two enter, only one survives. i'm sorry. whatever side you're on, even if you believe it's just fiction and a soap opera, it's not productive to any workplace environment where this happens every day, if not by the hour.
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>> it does, indeed. i think that's a bit hyperbolic there. i'm told that, a, this did not come as a surprise to jared kushner. he's known about this since friday. it was news yesterday, but he's settled into the idea he's going to have a slightly trimmed back portfolio, if you will. he was on capitol hill yesterday when this story broke. he was working on prison reform. he is going to, in the words of someone who supports him and is friendly to him, who told me this morning he's going to stay on and do his job. if he would leave now, he would prove his critics right. i'm told he's going to stay in his position. look, one of his positions has not changed. that is the president's son-in-law. so we can talk all day long about his security clearance, which is very important, no question, but he is still a person who has the most access to the president of virtually anyone else in that building. so it's up to the president to see sort of what his future is here. i think as we are seeing some visits from some middle east officials and envoys coming up
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in march, what role will jared kushner play in that directly. he's not out of this by any means. >> and on the specifics of the middle east, i would say, yes, he probably would help him if there were negotiations, to have access to the most sensitive intelligence. there's no process. there's zero process. there was no process when trump came into power. it's not jared kushner's fault now. he was certainly part of it. some of that is overblown in the sense that if you can get the palestinians and israelis at the table, it would become an issue. >> this seems more clearly sort of a kelly assertion of power than almost anything we've seen. kushner seems willing to take this down. if you can't get a security clearance, you shouldn't get it and you shouldn't be working on that. the president can sort of make calls on what is classify and what is not. on one hand, i don't want being an international businessman or woman to keep you from being able to work in high levels of government. on the other hand, this is the price that the trump family
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pays, and the kushner family, for not having a clear ethical line about what is business and what is government. if you make that line very, very, very clear when you start this process, then there's less chance that you're vulnerable to these things. >> and it's certainly embarrassing, right, for kushner. in some ways embarrassing for ivanka trump too. here they have these very highfaluting roles in the white house, and here they're getting this massive pushback. essentially, i think if you're just an average joe looking at this, one of the readings is that jared kushner can't necessarily be trusted. that's essentially what the takeaway is. here is the president putting him in this role. we'll see in practice what this actually means. it seems to be hard to actually police in the goings on of this white house, which is very chaotic. if the president wants him in these meet wrgs they'ings where discussing highly sensitive information, hard to see him getting kicked out or not invited in. for jared kushner and ivanka
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trump, very much in tune to their brand and burr nichinishir brand. >> bob mueller is looking into these. it's not so much the actions of people around trump. it's are they somehow susceptible to people trying to influence them. it works both ways. we focus often d they do anything. there's another side of it. are they open to being coerced or influenced. we'll see where this one goes. up next, we shift gears to something very important. msd strong. those were the words inside the hallways of marjory stoneman douglas high school as classes resumed today. students made an emotional return. ♪ no, please, please, oh! ♪ (shrieks in terror) (heavy breathing and snorting) no, no. the running of the bulldogs? surprising.
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walk in with my daughter. i just saw them all before and hugged them, and they're walking in without her. >> i don't want anyone ever to have to go through what i have to go through every day. i wake up and hear her in my head. >> emotional words there from the fathers of jamie guttenberg and meadow. today, students and teachers who survived that massacre two weeks ago returning to class. had is what this is what it looked like inside the school. you can see a sign that reads "msd strong." students gathered together in the hallways. kaylee, an emotional day. take us inside the mood there. >> reporter: john, today it was a roller coaster. as one teacher just described it to me, emotional for sure, cathartic for many. some students quieter than others, but there was a shared moment of silence as the school day began. 17 seconds of silence, one for each victim.
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that moment followed by the singing of the student's alma mater. as one student told me, he doesn't think anyone really knows the words to that song, but today he heard it sang louder than ever. the pride these students have for being an eagle, tremendous. the building where the attack occurred still stands, and students have to walk by tit. that building will eventually come down. also, empty desks that those 14 students whose lives were lost, once sat in. as one student, a tenth grader, described to me, they're not trying to ignore what happened here. >> my english teacher, she was grazed by a bullet. she showed us her wound. she talked about what happened. i think it's important that we all talk about it. it's really painful to talk about, but the more we talk about it and the more we get our message out there, the more impact it's going to have. >> reporter: tanzil went on to tell me tomorrow won't be any easier, but so many of these
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students continue to channel their grief into their passion, demanding change. a meeting this afternoon for students to discuss that march on washington, john. >> kaylee hartung in parkland. appreciate the reporting. tough day. back here in washington, the big conversation is will the student survivors get what they want, which is not just in florida but national action on gun control. the president meets later this afternoon with lawmakers to talk about this again. the administration has been all over the map about what it wants. sometimes they're for this, sometimes they're for that. what are we expecting? i'll start with you, jeff, since you covered the white house. the president said initially let's raise the age limit. he met with the nra over the weekend. he specifically asked them, please don't do that, sir. even the white house says he's still for it, he hasn't mentioned it in a long time. most sources say they're getting no pressure from the white house. >> he habsn't mentioned it. either he's doing a quiet legislative strategy and allowing it to be worked on behind the scenes, or he's dropped it. he's going to have to be the
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first example of something he said the other day, don't be afraid to stand up to the nra. if he wants the age limit to be raised, he'll have to lead the way. we saw an example in the business community. the ceo of dick's sporting goods saying we are going to raise the age limit and stop selling some of these assault weapons. we'll see what the president does. he's hearing from a lot of advisers on all sides of this. it's sort of the typical lines of advice, but it's up to him what he decides to do here. but there's not a lot of sense that he's pushing congress at this point. but keep an eye on that meeting this afternoon around 3:00 or so to see what he does. >> when you mentioned dick's sporting goods, i want to show a map. after sandy hook, they stopped selling most of these weapons in suburban areas, in blue-state areas. field and stream is owned by dick's sports. if you look at these store where is they're going to do this now, this is a more quote/unquote risky business decision, if you will. you're talking about georgia, alabama, north carolina, south carolina, west virginia, kentucky, ohio, virginia, illinois, pennsylvania, louisiana, michigan, iowa, texas, new york, and oregon.
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even in oregon, upstate new york, you're talking about gun rights areas. what is it that is driving the business community to say, we want out of this? >> i mean, i think it's the contentiousness of this debate. you heard from the ceo there who said he didn't want any of the guns he sold to someone to end up in a headline, end up in a headline like we got from florida. i think one of the interesting things to watch from this president, if this is something he wants to do, change the age limit, he could invite the ceo of dick's sporting goods to the white house. he could praise him and say, this is something that maybe other private businesses should do. we've seen him kind of wade into private businesses before and kind of congratulate them or urge them to do something or rebuke them. that's one way he can do it. it looks like there's probably not going to be any movement on the legislative side. i think if the president really wants to stand up to the nra, there are ways he can do it. it doesn't seem like this is something he really wants to do. the most time i think he spent on is talking about arming
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teachers. this is something that the nra is for. it really, i think, advances some of their big causes, which is expanding concealed weapons, concealed carry and also possibly expanding gun ownership among women. most of the teachers in the school systems are women. so he really, i think, is living up to this idea of what he said, is he's a really big fan of the nra. he's really using their playbook. >> are these conversations helpful? just so people can air out their ideas. or are they cynical in the sense there's zero indication, especially on capitol hill, that anything beyond maybe a tinkering with the background check system is going to move in this election year? are you fooling the student survivors by saying, oh, there's the president meeting with lawmakers, and then they don't do anything. >> i think a lot of this is cynical on both sides, frankly. a lot of people are bel being sold a bill of goods, that there's going to be some giant national change.
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there may be changes. i think the bump stock legislative fix as opposed to regulatory is something the nra is not super fond of but most people in congress would be a-okay with. dick's sporting goods is getting a lot of credit for something it basically did after sandy hook. it's the same decision basically announced again with 35 more stores, i think. and one of the reasons that flies is because people who are in favor of gun control don't follow these things as closely as people who are in favor of gun rights. so people who are in favor of gun rights knew that dick's sporting goods did this a long time ago. many of them stopped shopping there as a result. so they were not allowed to make that fly with them. but that intensity problem is the problem that gun control advocates face every time. it may be evening up for the moment. the question is whether that is sustainable. >> dick's sporting goods store is a huge suburban thing. it's not just assault weapons. >> and not to give congress a pass on anything, but i think the difference this time is
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everybody knew the second that tragedy happened that congress probably wasn't going to do anything. what you had that was difference is a whole bunch of kid victims come out, because they're older than 6 years old, which was a terrible tragedy at sandy hook, and say, look, we're almost voting age. we want you to do these specific things on gun control. we're in the discussion of divestment campaigns that are on social media right now for various companies. delta is getting flak in georgia about it. there's other pushes. >> we've also had 24/7 coverage of these students who asked for those things and not nearly as much for those who have other thoughts. >> certainly, but the point is nobody is sitting back and waiting for congress this time, period. whatever side of the debate they're on. that's why, yeah, you can say it's not very much, but the point is it's faster to have the not very much happening outside of capitol hill than usually the way it goes. >> it will be interesting, both in the business sphere and especially in the political sphere. up next, shift back to the special counsel probe.
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when do you believe this investigation will reach its conclusion? >> there's no reason for it not to conclude soon. >> what is soon? >> well, soon to me would be within the next, you know, four to six weeks. >> that prediction from one of the president's private lawyers made exactly six weeks ago today. sorry, mr. cobb, that one didn't hold up. in fact, it seems there are daily developments suggesting the end is nowhere in sight, including this from cnn last night. robert mueller's team has
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started asking questions about the president's business interests in russia, dating back before the election. joining me now, the former number two to the independent counsel ken starr. i want to start with your former boss on cnn this morning. some democrat bhs who remember clinton days will find this a little rich. here's ken starr. >> i think it's beyond his mandate. the mandate is what happened during the 2016 election in terms of collusion, that's the key idea. so here's what i think is happening. the american people, i think, want to know was there collusion. let's get that answered, would be my sense if i were at the justice department. my sense would be, but i don't have all the facts, bob, i love you, but let's just stay focused on what the issue is. that's collusion in the campaign. >> do you agree that bob mueller's gone too far? i added the rich part because you remember all too well a lot
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of democrats rolled their eyes saying you guys started in the whitewater real estate transaction in western arkansas and ended up at monica lewinsky. >> here i don't think bob mueller is doing anything that he doesn't have authorization for. now, judge starr is certainly correct that his mandate does not specifically include -- mueller's mandate does not specifically include looking at, for example, the finances of manafort and gates or of president trump. but there is that provision that says any crimes that they find directly arising from their investigation can be looked at. now, how is that mechanism operated? according to rod rosenstein's testimony several months ago, if mueller feels he has something that is directly arisen from the
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investigation, he goes to rod and he gets authority from rod. so we can assume that rod rosenstein has already authorized anything that bob mueller is doing. so yes, it's technically not written into the mandate, but we can assume he has that authorization and that he crossed president trump's red line quite some time ago. >> so take us inside the room when that's playing out. again, you started with whitewater. as information comes in, you do an investigation. other things come up, you say, wow, this is important, this could be a crime, this could be something wrong. your choice is, we should look into this, add it to our portfolio, or hand it off to somebody else. take me inside the room when you're sitting around the room and saying we need to go to janet reno, we need to go to the panel because this is a big deal. how do you weigh the sensitivity of all that? >> well, i think you try to find -- when you say it arises from, that can either be a wholly unrelated crime that you stumble across, which could still directly arise from the investigation, right.
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you're looking at a particular person. and when you're looking at him, somebody tells you, oh, here's a completely separate crime that he committed three or four years ago. the second example would be something that you can tie more directly or that you think may tie directly to the core items you're looking at. you would say, look, rod, we want to look at this because clearly this could be a crime, and it may lead us to something. an example would be if you had information -- and i'm just taking this out of thin air -- if there was information developed about some potential blackmail the russian government might have on president trump and you find it during your investigation. that may be something you want to look at because it may relate to the collusion issue. it may relate to the election aid, if any, that the russians gave to trump's people. >> what impact does it have inside a sensitive investigation like this where the president of the united states is among those involved? when you have, in this case -- this isn't exactly how it played
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out in the clinton administration. this in the twitter age, the president of the united states attacking his attorney general. sometimes attacking his deputy attorney general. often attacking the fbi, often attacking the whole witch hunt, the whole thing is a hoax. how does it impact the work not only of those of you at the top, judge starr, yourself, the top two or three guys involved, but the worker bees doing the daily work? what do you have to do to put the blinders on and keep going? >> i don't think it affects the worker bees that much at all. the typical line, u.s. assistant attorney, has a lot on their plate. a number of people don't even follow the daily tweet storms. they're not looking at cnn and the other networks. to the extent that they are, they've got work to do. it's not affecting them. they don't like it when their attorney general is attacked. even if they didn't particularly support this administration or this attorney general. i can guarantee you they don't like it when the deputy a.g.,
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who's a lifetime professional, is attacked. i think it's something more that affects the people at the higher levels. it's got to be very demoralizing. now, if you're on mueller's team, you already -- you've already been attacked so much that you ought to be being very careful about every decision you make. you want to make sure you can justify it, and it appears they're operating that way now. >> always appreciate your important insights. we'll bring you back as this story continues to develop weeks, if not more ahead. appreciate it. up next, a personal good-bye to america's pastor from the president of the united states. >> my father said to me, come on, son, and by the way, he said, come on, mom, let's go see billy graham at yankee stadium. and it was something very special. you wouldn't accept an incomplete job from any one else. why accept it from your allergy pills? flonase relieves your worst symptoms including nasal congestion, which most pills don't. flonase helps block 6 key inflammatory substances.
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we can only imagine the number of lives touched by the preacher and the prayers of billy graham. the hearts he changed, the sorrows he eased, and the joy he brought to so many. >> president trump there paying tribute about an hour ago to the rem reverend billy graham, whose casket will be on december play until 8:00 this evening. just the fourth private citizen in united states history to lie in honor inside the rotunda. graham will be laid to rest friday at his library in charlotte, north carolina. time to check some other stories. new polls suggest most americans are getting frustrated with the president's handling of immigration. 60% disapproval in that category. the president, however, is celebrating a judge's ruling that could help his plans for a border wall. his tweet, however, failed to mention the judge was gonza
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gonzalo curial. john mccain's wife and daughter responding to the president's latest attack on the senator. last week at cpac, you might remember the crowd booed senator mccain after the president teased him for that vote that saved obamacare. on abc's "the view," megan mckrairn sam mccain said after a recent phone call, she thought the feud was over. >> it's still incredibly hurtful, especially after i had this conversation with him on the phone, to have this moment of booing at cpac, which is supposed to be the mothership of conservatism and the republican party and to sort of see booing at this specific moment in time is incredibly hurtful. >> you know, we have much bigger things to worry about right now than to worry about what the president says. but more importantly, from my own feeling, we need more compassion. we need more empathy. we need more togetherness in terms of working together. we don't need more bullying.
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and i'm tired of it. >> bullying. that's a reference to the president of the united states. >> it's a direct reference, and from someone we don't hear talking all that much. i think those words will resonate, at least with some. not perhaps with the president's base, who of course are no fan of john mccain. >> that's the thing. if after a talk with the family he couldn't hold his promise to not do these kinds of things, it's unlikely that he'll stop doing this. it's almost like he can't help himself. it goes back to the empathy thing. he seems to lack an empathy gene. john mccain is battling cancer. he's very ill. the president just can't help but kind of tease him and criticize him in front of a crowd. >> he did cast a vote the president didn't like. policy is fair game. was it the idea he shouldn't in a public crowd just because he should have the empathy to know? is that the line? >> well, i think he likes a crowd, and he probably knew what he was going to get. some of that is on the crowd as
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well. yeah, look, if you start with criticizing someone over their p.o.w. time, then the chances it's getting better are not great. >> excellent point. we'll close there. than thanks for joining us. wolf starts after a quick break. how do you chase what you love with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis? do what i did. ask your doctor about humira. it's proven to help relieve pain and protect joints from further irreversible damage in many adults. humira works by targeting and helping to block a specific source of inflammation that contributes to ra symptoms. humira has been clinically studied for over 20 years. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened; as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure. before treatment, get tested for tb. tell your doctor if you've been to areas where certain fungal infections are common,
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hello. i'm womlf blitzer. it's 1:00 p.m. here in washington. thanks for joining us. a set of bombshells rocking the white house. in just the past 24 hour, the president's son-in-law stripped from seeing america's top secrets as other countries look to exploit him. the president's communication director admitting to congress, meanwhile, that she, quote, tells white lies for the president. plus, the president's former campaign chairman in court facing new charges. and the president himself and his business dealings before the campaign now under new scrutiny by the special counsel robert

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