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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  April 2, 2018 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT

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mark your calendars. i'll be interviews james comey. you can follow me on facebook and twitter. you can tweet me at "the lead." i actually read them. i actually read them. thanks for watching. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com market effect. stocks plunge as president trump comments on amazon. is the trump effect suddenly a negative for wall street? a secret dinner? the special counsel is probing an e-mail from long time trump confidante roger stone. the "wall street journal" said that he claimed he had dined with wikileaks founder assange. and russia says putin was
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invited to the white house. would the president agree tow host such talks when russia is being blamed for a nerve agent attack? and charm offensive. kim jong-un plays host tow a south korean pop group. is he trying to soften his image just before a proposed but still unscheduled summit with president trump? i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." breaking news, president trump's attacks on amazon and a looming trade war with china helped send the markets into a trade spin. blaming democrats for the death of dreamers program which he moved to cancel. and on the eve of the first sentencing in the russia investigation, the special counsel robert mueller tries to keep his team secrets under wraps.
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i'll speak with joakim castro of the intelligence and campaign committees. and our special. i, our special. is are standing by. blaming democrats for the end of the dreamers program. >> president trump is still venting his frustrations when it comes to the young undocumented immigrants known as the dreamers. he was suddenly silent today when we reminded him he ended daca. >> it was supposed to be very rainy and nasty and cold and windy and look what we have. perfect weather. perfect weather. beautiful weather. >> just before president trump welcomed the guests to the white house for the annual easter egg roll, he was hammering away on immigration. when the democrats failed on extend program that deports
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people known as daca. now everyone wants to get on the to the bandwagon. no longer works. must secure our borders were proper border legislation. we pressed him on it. he neglected to mention one thing, he terminated the daca program. what about the daca kids? should they worry about what happened to them? >> the democrats have really let them down. they had this great opportunity. the democrats have really let them down. it's a shame. now people are taking advantage of daca. >> didn't you kill daca? >> the president didn't respond. >> he launch ad tweet storm over the weekend. the president's tweets weren't limited to immigration. he also defended the sinclair broadcast company which has come under scrutiny for asking its
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various stations to give the same statement. >> the president he tweeted, so funny to watch the fake news networks. mr. trump also continued to harass the "washington post" and its owner jeff bezos who also founded the online retailer amazon. he even took swipe at the department of justice, putting justice in quotes, describing officials as an embarrassment to our country. the president's hard line rhetoric comes as aides are are confirm he is hosting a sitdown meeting with vladimir putin at the white house. >> we had a very good call and i suspect we'll be meeting in the not too distance future. >> another sign of the chaos. the back and forth over whether the president fired his veterans affair secretary david shulkin. he says he was fired. >> you received a phone call
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from chief of staff john kelly who fired you. >> general kelly gave me a heads pup the president would most likely be tweeting out a message in the very near future. i appreciated that message from general kelly. >> so the tweet fired you. >> yes. >> general kelly called secretary shulkin and gave him the opportunity to resign. obviously the key here is that the president has made a decision. >> now, as for daca, the president does not have his facts straight. he keeps saying people are flowing into the u.s. to take advantage of gauk newcomers would not be eligible, in part because the president ended it himself. and democrats and republicans have both offered proposals to save them from deportation. >> thanks very much.
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the eve of the first sentencing. the special counsel robert mueller is looking into long time trump ally roger stone's 2016 claim that he met with the wikileaks founder julian assange. >> they're reporting that in august of 2016, julian assange sent an e-mail to sam nunberg who as we know was his former campaign adviser to the trump campaign. in it, the "wall street journal" says that this e-mail he said that roger stone said, i quote, i dined with julian assange. >> this is from roger stone to nunberg. >> that's correct. the importance is that part of this collusion and interference, the conspiracy the special counsel is looking into to defraud our election process. this will be a significant piece of information. we know at this point, julian
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assange was dealing with perhaps some of the dnc hacked e-mails. we know that certainly based on some of our own reporting, that he is in the cross hairs of robert mueller, the fbi, and the department of justice for a long time have been trying to find ways to bring charges for the various hacks and things that he's been part of. so this could give them a window. the department of justice, the special counsel, to bring charges. and then this is roger stone. and we keep hearing about wlor he met with julian assange. he says it is not true but we keep hearing his name come up time and time again for those who have been before the special counsel, bob mueller, and even sam nunberg said when he testified, he was asked questions about roger stone.
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certainly a significant piece of information. if this was a true e-mail did he dine with julian assange, that would be a pretty significant detail. >> what he says, roger stone, is that yes, he wrote that in an e-mail but he said he was joking. you shouldn't take it seriously and he says he has evidence that he never met with julian assange. >> we don't have that but it might have to do with flight receipts or tickets that he bought or where he was at the time. the fact is, this has been a question about roger stone. was there a doeks julian assa e assange? was never communication with julian assange? all of that has remained a miss terrorism we know from the special counsel until a few weeks ago, these were questions being asked of witnesses who were appearing before the grand jury. >> tomorrow would be the first
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sentencing for some of the suspects who have pled guilty going forward. set the scene for tomorrow's first sentencing. >> so this is the lawyer coming out of the suv here. essentially, he pleaded guilty to lying, to the special counsel. he was doing some work for the, for manafort and for gates, for some ukraine stuff, lobbying work. he had lied to the special counsel about a conversation he had with rick gates, in particular, there was one thing that was just revealed last week. that a russian intelligence official was present during some of these. was in communication with rick gates in october of 2016. and that was revealed in last week's court filing. and then today the special counsel also filed something, the court files, basically asking to protect the privacy, some of the information they have in the case. they're concerned that once van
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der swann who could perhaps face jail time tomorrow corks ask for some of the information to be made public. he knows information about this case that no one else knows. >> in exchange for his guilty pl plea. >> he has not made a recommendation about what the court should do and they're leaving it up to the court. did he come into the special counsel. did he meet with them in a session over two days and during that time is when he lied to them about e-mails and about rick gates. we never really understood what his role was until last week will that court filing came tuesday, late at night. and it revealed that he was he aware that rick gates was
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communicating with a russian intelligence official, right around the time of the election. >> and he was then campaign chairman. a significant role. joining me now, before the "wall street journal" reporting, had you seen this had august 16 twirgs 16 e-mail describing a dinner we had julian assange? >> no. i don't believe didi did. i can tell you what he said. in roger stone's interview with the house intelligence committee, it was quite disturbing. he gave inconsistent answers. i should say conflicting answers about whether he had advance knowledge of the clinton e-mail dump. so i'm not surprised now that he's basically publicly given both a yes is that a no about
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whether he knew ahead of time and whether he may have met with julie yandle assange a. >> is this the type of concern you had when the members of the house intelligence committee, when they decided to end your committee investigation? >> yeah. the fact more information would come out. there's a lot of investigative journalism coming out. it was clear they should not have been closed but the fact the republican majority turned a blind eye by not issuing any spee subpoenas for bank records, what the witnesses were saying in front of the committee were telling us. so this ended up being a take their word for it investigation.
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>> what are you hoping the learn? from the sentencing schedule for tomorrow. >> it will be interesting to see what comes of that and of course, the charges lying to the fbi and the special counsel. what bengals rick gates' role and the others in the campaign with respect to russian operatives. >> what message does this send in your mind for president trump to invite russian president vladimir putin to the white house? >> i think very responsible. he called to congratulate vladimir putin on the election even though vladimir putin would not allow his main point in the country to run for president, even though there was video of what looked like ballot stuff going on by russian campaign
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workers or it. i think it is stoug. but also to do it around the time when vladimir putin also probably issued the order for a nerve agent to be used against a former spy for russia, to invite him to the united states or sit for a meeting is completely irresponsible. >> as you know, the president is often congratulated various international strong men for their elections. we've got a few of them on the screen. the egyptian president, vladimir putin, turkey. >> i want to make one quick point. when you think about human rights around the world and the respect or the disrespect for human rights, the fact you have
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the leader of the most powerful nation on earth embracing somebody like vladimir putin or duterte in the philippines who is engaging in these extra judicial killings, to me it sends a message to the world and to dictatorial leaders that the united states is no longer watching anyone. they can do whatever they want. and you've seen these or the tarean figures step up their campaigns against he peoples. >> let me put this up on the screen. so sad that the department of justice are slow walking or not reacting. an embarrassment to our country. do you believe that? >> no, i don't. i think the fbi and justice department doing their jobs west
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may not always agree the decisions they make or a case they pursue but these are hard working, earnest people who for the most part are doing their jobs honorably and i am quite surprise that had jeff sessions, donald trump's hand picked leader for the department of justice works stick around for that kind of abuse when it is clear the president has very little respect for him. >> quickly turning to the president's are you nurenewed ao daca. he said once again on twitter that democrats are the ones who really let down the dreamers. how do you respond? >> well, that's ridiculous. first the president is the one who terminated the daca program. more than, that every time there's been a legislative bill
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that has come out, he has signaled clearly and strongly that he won't sign it. so tunnel support for the seems to fall apart. it is understandable. if you're thinking of going out a limb and you're worried about it passing. then of course he has done it time and time again. when the drama slows down and he needs on spice things up again, he goes back to beating up on immigrants, mexicans. >> thank you. up next, british investigators believe the nerve agent attack
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agent. top russians are denying responsibility. matthew, what are you learning? >> reporter: well, the british are making no bones who they believe are responsible for this. they're saying the russians had the intent, the ability and the track record of poisoning dissidents. also the fact the substance used was something that is distinctly russian, produced in russia. the brits say that points firmly to the grd this was a russian instigated attack on the streets of salisbury. it was smeared over the door handle of sergei skripal's door. only the top leadership of russia, the kremlin itself, would have been able to give that kind of authority. so the russians are strongly pointing the finger of blame. >> what is the kremlin saying
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about this? >> well, the kremlin are not accepting those allegations. they're categorically denying them and they're doing what they often do with the serious allegations that they violated. to deny again and again that they have anything to do with it. but also to spread conspiracy theories and alternative narratives as to what could have happened. and there are more than a dozen narrative that's have been spread so far by the russian media to give an alternative explanation to what could have happened. the latest one that has come about is being voiced by none other than the russian minister. he is suggesting the british themselves could have orchestrated this in order to distract public attention in britain from the problems associated with the brexit negotiations. so pretty farfetched conspiracy
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theories. but it is common in russia to hear this kind of conspiracy theory. even coming from top officials when they're faced with the serious allegations. >> common but still very disturbing. all right. thank you. coming up, breaking news. a new report says the special counsel is probing an e-mail from long time trump ally roger stone, claiming to have dined with the founder of wikileaks. it's ok that everyone ignores me while i drive. it's fine. because i get a safe driving bonus check every six months i'm accident free. and i don't share it with mom! right, mom? righttt. safe driving bonus checks. only from allstate. switching to allstate is worth it.
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that's more speed than at&t's comparable bundle, for less. call today. we're following breaking news. a new report in the "wall street journal" said robert mueller's investigators are asking questions about an august 2016 e-mail in which trump ally roger stone he wrote, he dined with julian assange. how would this e-mail fit into the bigger picture we've seen emerging between trump campaign and wikileaks if at all? >> well, roger stone has been at the front of this relationship with wikileaks and whether or not there had been a relationship. there is a recurring theme, have you spoken with julian assange
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and wikileaks. again on november 9th, and they were pretty heated. it seemed that roger stone might have been offended at how wikileaks had been treating him or what they may have tweeted about him but this is the first time we're hearing about this earlier communication. and roger stone said this was a joke. i don't know what's so funny about that. he said he has proof, airline tickets. he's not the only one in the trump circle to have communicated with wikileaks. treble report that donald trump jr. had been exchanging dms with wikileaks as well. so all of that this confusing. tomorrow, do you want to make a point? >> just remember, mueller has filed an indictment of 13
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russians in question, the social media attempt to influence campaign. what he has not yet done is file any criminal charges in question, the hacking. the dnc e-mails and the john -- >> podesta. >> podesta. sorry about that. those e-mails, that part of case has not been filed. that's the part of case that roger stone is relative to. so this part of the investigation would be very much alive at this point. this 33-year-old dutch lawyer, alex van der swann, he is about to be sentenced tomorrow. what might we learn in the context of that? >> i have to say probably not much. what is unusual with his guilty
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plea is that there was no cooperation agreement. he didn't agree to cooperate because apparently he had nothing to offer. the special counsel. that's somewhat peculiar because in the sentencing process, the special counsel's office, he did communicate that rick gates was communicating with individuals in russian intelligence. i don't anticipate that he'll get any jail time it his future involvement in the investigation is somewhat mysterious because of this lack of cooperation. >> he is pleading guilty to lying to federal investigators and that's a felony. sabri sabrina, he did have a close relationship for a while with rick gates who was the deputy campaign chirm had a
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relationship with someone the u.s. considers a russian intelligence operative. >> that was one of the key pieces of information we learned from these court filings. and the contakts with this individual. it continued in october 2016. in the weeks leading up to the november election. i think it is significant to note according to the court findings, he not only withheld but poe thing destroyed dpomts the special counsel's office is arguing could be very material to the investigation. that leads back in some ways to paul manafort. this helps special counsel build his case against paul manafort who has resisted thus far. >> we know on march 20th, the president had a call with vladimir putin. he congratulated him. he didn't trays moraise the mos
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serious issues. now the russians are pointing out, the white house is not necessarily denying it. the president, president trump, actually raised the possibility of inviting president putin to the white house. >> yeah. in fact, to add to the white house not denying it. we broached this already. we didn't necessarily invite him to the white house. we said we'll figure out where kit happen. in a vacuum, considering that he wants order that. there's a lot of water tunneled russia bridge at this point. most notably, the poisoning of the russian spy, the election, and donald trump's response to vladimir putin saying, he didn't
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do it. the president said, he said he didn't do it. what do you want me to do? given all that context it is surprising that he didn't do it. >> is it a big deal that putin comes to the office, how big of a deal would that be for the russian leader? >> it would be a huge win for vladimir putin and a huge slap in the face to england, our closest ally, and theresa may. this is not the first time they've come without information. this is probably the second or third time that the kremlin has released information that the
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would have to put this out. you don't who know to believe. the kremlin or the white house. what's also curious is the kremlin was clearly sitting on this information for a few weeks. that conversation was on march 20th. why they decided to release it today is a bit curious to say the least. >> by the way, to add a little meat to that point. sergei kislyak and everything issey he, they bernard about from the russians. not the white house. there's a lot more going on. i want everyone to stick around. the pre dpiks the u.s. will be pulling out of syria.
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today the pentagon revealed the united states and british soils were on a classified mission to kill or capture a known isis member. the explosion happened thursday. that's the same day president trump unspliktd predicted the united states is very close to
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getting out of syria. >> we're knocking the hell out of isis. let the other people take care of syria now. very soon. very soon. we're going to have 100% of the caliphate, as they call it. sometimes referred to as land. we're taking it all back. quickly. quick will. we're coming out of their real soon. >> fred, what's the impact of the president's words over there? >> well, i think it is a huge impact. it certainly martin naturginali they're doing on the ground. specially kurds in syria. they say they thought the americans would take care of them after isis was defeated and a lot of them are pretty angry at the words the president spoke a couple days ago.
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many are speaking to the russians. they don't know what exactly their future will bring. it also puts the russians in the position where now moscow is calling the shots here in syria. you look at the future of this country. right now, the russians are the strongest foreign power involved here in syria. and i can tell from you being on the ground in damascus, right now, the opposition is losing one strong hold after another. there's one really big one outside damascus where opposition fighters are being bused out. the negotiations are being led by moscow as well. you have a conference that will take place tomorrow. it will take place in turkey. the countries they're deciding the future of syria, it will be russia, turkey and iran. the u.s. does not have a place at that table. you have the president speaking out about holding, withholding some funding to syria afterwards. that does not bode well for any sort of american aspirations
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here in syria in the peopmedium near future. >> what are you learning on the ground there? how strong is the bashar al assad government, the regime in the ongoing civil war? >> reporter: it's really gaining strength. it is really interesting to see. i've been here 20 times many syria and it is consistent over the past couple years that the assad government is gaining strength. you can see how the russians are more and more important to that. i mentioned the enclave outside damascus. that had 400,000 people in it. it is almost empty because the civilians had to leave. it is the russians calling the shots there. if you look at the political process, moscow has made it clear they want to keep bashar al assad in power and keep the military here. so they view this as a long term
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strong hold for russia for decades to come. >> i'm sure the russians will be happy to see those troops out of syria very soon. thank you. coming up, north korea's brutal dictator tries to soften his image. what is kim jong-un's charm offensive all about? your paycheck.
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the white house just announced that president trump is hosting japan's prime minister in a little over two weeks. their get-together at the president's florida resort, mar-a-lago in palm beach, where they also met last year, comes as the president prepares to meet with the north korean leader, kim jong-un. cnn's brian todd is joining us right now. brian, looks like the north korean leader has started his own pre-summit charm offensive. >> he has, wolf. so far, kim jong-un has scored some real propaganda victories. but two key questions tonight. will kim end up getting what he wants from these charm offensives and what happens if he doesn't? ♪ a k-pop band called red velvet, wildly popular in south korea and around the world, performs in front of an elite audience in pyongyang. one of their most adoring fans, north korea's supreme leader, kim jong-un, leads the applause. he and his wife, once an
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orchestra singer herself, greet the bands off stage, all part of a full-fledged charm offensive. >> kim jong-un is trying to show his audience that he is the young leader, he's dynamic, that he's actually the younger generation, that he's in touch with pop culture. and i think he's also trying to show that he can compete with the global popularity of k-pop. >> kim's charm offensive on the diplomatic front is every bit as choreographed and calculated. he sent his sister, kim yo-jong to the winter olympics, where the groundwork was laid for a summit between kim and the south korean president this month. kim just made a secret trip to beijing to consult with his closest ally about the summits. last month he made a surprise invitation to president trump for a one-on-one meeting, but neither kim nor his regime have spoken about that since then. a source with knowledge of the situation tells cnn kim was taken by surprise by how quickly trump accepted his invitation. kim hasn't tested a missile in
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over four months, but tonight, human rights monitors warn of his deceptions. what is the reality there during this charm offensive? >> the reality of north korea has not changed. this regime is keen on developing its nuclear weapons, its ballistic missiles. while it is doing that, 30% of north korea's children are malnourished. 120,000 men, women, and children are held as political prisoners. >> reporter: a desperation reflected in this dramatic scene in november. a young north korean staff sergeant scrambled across the border to defect, was shot several times by his comrades, but survived. and kim's regime could get even more desperate. a u.s. intelligence official telling cnn tonight, u.n. sanctions have snatched away key sources of revenue for kim, and they foresee more economic pressure in the months ahead. experts say relief from those sanctions is one of kim's key goals in this charm offensive.
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another goal -- >> well, most certainly, it is to whittle away the u.s./south korea alliance. the longtime gold is to end the korean war and to get the united states, not only to leave the korean peninsula, but essentially to move the united states out of east asia. >> but analysts are warning tonight, what kim jong-un might do if he doesn't get sanctions relief or other things he wants from this diplomatic charm offensive. they say he might go back to testing nuclear warheads and missiles. he probably will. and that would leave the u.s. with few options left for how to stop his weapons buildup, but to at least consider a preemptive first strike on north korea. wolf. >> brian, but for the moment, kim is getting much of what he wants and he's had an effect on those joint military exercises ongoing between the u.s. and south korea, right? >> that's right, wolf. those exercise s have just kickd off, but the exercises were delayed until after the winter olympics and at this time, the
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exercises are only going to last about four weeks, half as long as previous drills. this is all a result of kim jong-un's maneuvering. he has gotten everything he wants so far in this diplomatic shuffle and given up nothing. >> brian, thank you. coming up, there's breaking news. a new report says the special counsel, robert mueller, is looking into longtime trump ally roger stone's 2016 claim that he met with the founder of wikileaks, which published hacked e-mails during the presidential campaign.
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if you'd have told me three years ago... that we'd be downloading in seconds, what used to take... minutes. that guests would compliment our wifi. that we could video conference... and do it like that. (snaps) if you'd have told me that i could afford... a gig-speed. a gig-speed network. it's like 20 times faster than what most people have. i'd of said... i'd of said you're dreaming. dreaming! definitely dreaming. then again, dreaming is how i got this far. now more businesses in more places can afford to dream gig. comcast, building america's largest gig-speed network. happening now, breaking news. wikileaks dinner? new reporting tonight on trump ally, roger stone, under
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scrutiny in the russia investigation for a claim he met with the wikileaks founder, julian assange. mueller's secrets. the special counsel is the trying to keep a lid on potentially crucial details about the trump/russia probe, as he's about to mark a milestone. the first sentencing of a key defendant. hosting mr. putin. new confirmation that president trump spoke with the russian leader about a possible one-on-one meeting at the white house. this as we're told investigators now believe an assassination attempt has putin's fingerprints on it. and getting trump's taxes. a lawsuit alleging the president is violating the u.s. constitution through his business holdings is moving forward. will prosecutors get their hands on mr. trump's elusive tax returns? i'll have an exclusive interview with one of the officials pursuing the case. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."

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