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tv   CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin  CNN  December 13, 2018 12:00pm-1:00pm PST

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he tiror ierror iesized an african-american youngster with a needle and said it's hard to find a vein because they're black. now he says it was all fiction and he's the victim of character assassination. these are the words man whose job it is to save or help people in their most vulnerable times when they are sick or injured or god foregbid on their death beds if they are not even human beings. an anonymous complaint was made against him just last month. and now he's under investigation as an emt at jeb stewart volunteer rescue squad in patrick county, virginia.
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>> has his employer said anything more than you're on unpaid leave? >> the attorney said this is not the kind of language that anyone should be using. the county using that particular private volunteer rescue squad, they are looking into it as well. a lot of people are wondering are his stories true? he says they're a work of fiction but also on the podcast he insist as couple of times that the stories are true. so what is true and what is fiction? does it matter when you have someone in this position dealing with very vulnerable people, does it matter whether or not he's joking and thinking of people as subhuman or whether or not he's doing this, which could be a criminal offense if he is literally terrorizing people on purpose that, is all being investigated at this point, brooke. >> follow the investigation for us. sara sidner, thank you.
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>> you are watching cnn. i'm brooke boldual baldwin. the president is calling michael cohen a liar. a short time ago he appeared on fox news. >> i never directed him to do anything wrong. whatever he did, he did on his own. he's a lawyer. a lawyer who represents a client is supposed to do the right thing. that's why you pay them a lot of money, et cetera, et cetera. he is a lawyer. he represents a client. i never directed him to do anything incorrect or wrong, and he understands that. >> that goes against what is in this prosecutor's filing. they say cohen did indeed make the payments, quote unquote, at the direction of donald trump. the president went on to say, even if he did, it doesn't
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matter. >> number one, it's not a campaign finance violation. it's not even under campaign finance. if it was, it's not even a violation. number three, it's a civil matter. >> again, the facts, whether this is civil or criminal is not in doubt. you cannot plead guilty in court to criminal charges that are not criminal. here is trump's response when asked about the separate deal prosecutors cut with the parent company of the "national enquirer," admitting that they paid karen mcdougal to silence her about her alleged affair with trump. >> i don't think they paid any money to that tabloid. i don't think we made a payment to that tabloid. i don't think we made a payment. >> again, that does not square with the court documents where ami states plainly that it paid $150,000 in concert with and at the request of the trump
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campaign. with me now cnn chief political analyst gloria borger and sarah coynes. trump seems like he's trying to confuse people. will it work? >> it hasn't worked with federal prosecutors and hasn't altered the substance of what they've charged so i don't think it's going to confuse the courts. remember on air force i on that famous moment when donald trump said he knew nothing about the payment of stormy daniels. he's moved a lot. i think what he's trying to do
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is obfuscate all of this. but it's not going to work. >> what do you think? >> brooke, i think a lot of people have been trying to compare this to john edwards' pruce a prosecution and it's very different -- >> he didn't want his wife to know about it versus the american people. >> and the jury only acquitted on the weakest charge opinion. n on the other five charges it was hung. they had concerns they didn't have proof of direct payment. you have cohen saying it, ami saying it, pecker saying it, howard saying it and a tape that reflects discussion about this payment. that's a lot of immunity given and a lot of evidence that's very different from the edwards case. >> solomon last hour was making this point about talking civil versus criminal.
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with regard to cohen criminal, with regard to trump criminal but it goes to intent, whether he knew he was committing this crime by paying these women off. we've heard the audio of michael cohen and donald trump speaking together. would that be enough? >> you have to prove that the president did something that he knew that the law forbid, right, that he acted willfully. so typically unless you can get into somebody's mind, that's done through cooperators testimony, other people that had conversations about what the purpose of the payment is. in the edwards case there were very few of those. here we seem to have a lot of people who are willing to say something. i want to stress, prosecutors hate to give out immunity. they hate letting someone get away with something and jurors don't like to give a pass for criminal behavior. >> i have one question here, if
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there's nothing wrong, why try and hide it? >> took the words right out of my mouth. exactly. >> so write a check, consult with your counsel if there's any question and don't forget don mcgahn who worked for him at the time during the campaign was a federal election lawyer. think of the timing of this. it was october before the election. but if you're convinced there's nothing wrong here and you're having this conversation with michael cohen, why are you talking about cash and how you're going to manage this? just say okay, let's just write this check because we're paying a bill. of course that is not what occurred. it's clear that both of them knew -- at least to me it seems clear that both of them knew what they were doing was trying to hide something they shouldn't have been doing. >> the other piece of this, you think about how he speaks about a michael cohen and how he spoke about his former national security adviser michael flynn, who is this great guy and he was pressured to make up a story for
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investigators. here's that clip. >> that's all it is. it's a terrible system we have. it's going on right now with general flynn. the fbi said he didn't lie. >> i saw your tweet on that. >> but mueller said he did lie. so they took a man who's a general and a respected person and a nice man and i don't even know what he said about me because maybe they scared him enough they don't make up a story but i have a feeling that he didn't, he's a tougher kind of a guy than cohen but they took a general that they said didn't lie and they convinced him he did lie and he made some kind of a deal and now they're recommending no time. you know why? because they're embarrassed they got caught. >> he was making this point a moment ago when he was in the white house. need we remind the president why he fired michael flynn. because he lied to mike pence. >> maybe. i mean, that's the story we got. >> story we got.
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>> i can't even -- i can't even parse that, what the president was saying there. i mean, michael flynn admitted he lied. the special counsel said he started cooperating almost immediately. and then they recommended no sentence for him because he was -- he was so important to them in their investigation. and the president it seems to me is spinning this story about, well, they pressured him and they convinced him that maybe he had done something wrong or convinced him to lie. that is not at all what the documents show. and of course donald trump does not know, as he pointed out, what michael cohen has said about him and don't forget he's the one who asked comey or at least according to comey, to go easy on flynn. so this story still has to unfold itself a little bit. but i think the president is trying to make up a story here that fits his narrative rather
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than the one that the special counsel outlined. >> sure. so we've made the point about if you have nothing to hide, why lie about it. what is the next shoe to drop? what are you watching for? >> i think you're going to see probably some interesting things happen at the flynn sentencing. more will get said on his behalf by both sides. there's obviously a lot that's been developed on the russia aspect and i think that's all going to come out. >> good to see you. gloria, thank you as always. coming up next, an alleged russian spy pleading guilty today to conspire against the u.s. what maria butina's case tells us about the widespread efforts to infiltrate u.s. politics. and the first lady's poll numbers are taking a huge hit according to this new cnn poll. why is that? let's discuss. (music throughout)
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conspiracy against the united states. that is the charge that alleged russian spy maria butina pleaded guilty to today in a federal court. she's accused of trying to infiltrate political circles back in 2015 saying she acted under the direction of a retired russian bank official named alexander torsion. she faces five years in prison and is willing to hand over evidence of any crime as well as testify at grand juries in exchange for a lighter sentence. with me now senior cnn security analyst lisa monaco. thank you to coming straight to us from the train. we appreciate it. i know you worked as a u.s. attorney in the office that prosecuted this case and that you were head of the justice department division that approved it.
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so explain how your former colleagues would have arrived at this butina deal. >> if you look at the plea documents that were filed today to which maria butina pled guilty, it's clear this is part of a long-running investigation, back in 2015. >> before anything with the election. >> before special counsel mueller and his team were appointed. this goes back a long ways and it's part of, frankly, a long-running effort by the russians to try and influence us to try and seed operatives in here. this is separate from the mueller investigation but i think is very consistent with what counterintelligence investigations focusing on russian operatives here have been focusing on for a long time. >> sure, sure. the fact of how much contact she would have had with intel services, something prosecutors would want to know. >> absolutely. absolutely. she signed up to be a
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cooperator. she's pled guilty and she's looking for consideration from the government by cooperating with them. and she's going to be interviewed and debriefed. she has already as evidenced by the fact that now she's pleading guilty. she's signing up to be very forthcoming and clear about everything she's been involved in. so she signed up to and pled guilty to acting as an agent of the russian federation and at the direction of -- this is interesting, in the plea documents, if you look at them, at the direction of at least within russian government official, i think that is torsion. >> what does that tell you? >> query what comes next, right? it says she conspired with another u.s. person and acting at the direction of at least one russian government official. it looks like there may be more to give here. so the plea documents were in the factual proffer that she gave, which is what they call it
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when she signs up to plead guilty was relatively spare, certainly sufficient to make out the facts to which she pled guilty but there may be more here. i think one of the most significant things here is she's the first russian national to have been convicted and plead guilty to trying to influence the u.s. government through this kind of unofficial channel that she was trying to establish. but what this shows is just how multi-facetted and aggressive the russians have been. what do we know? we know the russians conducted cyber operations against state election systems. we also know from special counsel mueller that they developed troll farms to conduct influence operations on social media, facebook and others here. and now we're looking at this human vector, if you will, by using an operative like ms. b butina. >> okay.
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i want to turn your attention to china, the chinese executive arrested in canada, threatened extradition to the u.s. for violatio violations. president trump said he may intervene in the case if it helps trade relations with china. what are your thoughts? >> it sets a dangerous precedent. we have a treaty with canada where we can make these types of extradition requests. law enforcement officers here and prosecutors here clearly made the request for them to detain her in relation to that prosecution. the president could direct the justice department to back down from that prosecution. i think it would be very, very dangerous. it would be outside any acceptable norm in terms of the kind of getting politics into this criminal investigation. and the reason it would be dangerous is because it frankly would be open season on our
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executives who travel over to china. >> wouldn't you be nervous if you were a u.s. diplomat right now, some tech company exec going over there? >> as we've seen, the chinese have now detained at least two canadians. so two things, one, it's open season on u.s. citizens and u.s. tech executives potentially for retaliatory actions by the chinese. two, it sends a very bad message to our allies and frnds wiends act on extradition requests, like the canadians. it politicize as law enforcement matter. >> crossing this red line, which is what you hear everyone talking about today and setting this dangerous precedent. the push back is what is the difference between this and obama and his administration swapping prisoners for the iran deal. >> i understand why people are making this comparison, but i think it's very different in self respects. >> why? >> first in the iran context, the cases where the justice
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department decided to drop the extradition request in relation to the agreement around the iran deal, those were in instances where the prosecutors and justice department determined they were very unlikely to get ahold of defendants anyway. they were not likely to travel, not a prominent tech executive here like we have here in the huawei case. as we can see, she clearly is able to come into u.s. grasps because she's traveled and has been detained at our request. second, the iran issue and the foreign policy issue around that was quite unique. it was a multi-lateral, international agreement designed to get iran to stop its nuclear program and so it was very distinct from a bilatral trade
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dispute. it's very different than getting into a tit for tat. >> thank you very much. ahead on cnn the first lady's approval rating dropping. this is happening as melania trump said the hardest part of role is the opportunists trying to use her name to get ahead. we'll talk about that and why her numbers are down. stay here. [woman 3] ...and clearer skin. [man 3] proof that i can fight psoriatic arthritis... [woman 4] ...with humira. [woman 5] humira targets and blocks a specific source of inflammation that contributes to both joint and skin symptoms. it's proven to help relieve pain, stop further irreversible joint damage, and clear skin in many adults. humira is the number one prescribed biologic for psoriatic arthritis. [avo] humira can lower your ability to fight infections. serious and sometimes fatal infections, including
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just in to cnn, e-mail it's there have been received at dozens of locations around the u.s. and canada just this afternoon. paulo sandoval is with me now. what kinds of institutions and what kinds of threat? >> a long list, schools, government facilities and in some cases some businesses as well. for the most cases some of these e-mails therereaten explosions currency isn't paid through bit coin. important to point out here that the fbi has come forward here saying that they are aware of all of these threats that have come in all over the country, and so far there is no evidence to leads them to believe it is credible. they're using words -- or at least other law enforcement
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agencies at the state, local and federal level using words like hoax, no credible threat to describe the situation right now. an interesting question that we're trying to answer here is what is the source of these? is it perhaps one source where all of these e-mails were sent out of? at this point again what we should stress here is that there are dozens of threats here across the country that have been received via e-mail, however, authorities say none of those threats are credible. however, it certainly has led to some tense moments in some of these facilities because it has forced authorities to sweep buildings, evacuate buildings. >> follow up and let us know if this is in fact a hoax. that he can you very much. meantime on the senate floor, senators have just voted to restrict u.s. military support for the saudi-led war in yemen. it's a move aimed at ending that
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war and expressing anger at the trump administration's handling of saudi arabia. here is bernie sanders moments ago. >> i want to thank all of the senators who in a very bipartisan way have come together to say that the united states will no longer participate in the saudi-led -- in the saudi-led intervention in yemen, which has caused the worst humanitarian crisis on earth with 85,000 children already starving to death. and today we tell the despotic regime in saudi arabia that we will not be part of their military adventurism. >> cnn congressional correspondent manu raju is on the hill. this is such a rebuke from the
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senate on how the white house feels about saudi arabia. >> reporter: a double whammy. it's all leading to this major rebuke of the trump administration's handling of that fallout and relations with saudi arabia by a 56-41 vote. just moments ago the senate voted to pull back u.s. support for the saudi-led war in yemen. immediately after also taking a significant action formally placing the blame on the murder of jamal khashoggi on the saudi crown prince, mohammed bin salman. that was adopted by voice vote. it was supported by leaders of both parties including senate majority leader mitch mcconnell, who is the co-sponsor of that measure. it was approved with no opposition. that is a significant measure because it will also go to the house. if the house were to act on that, were to pass this measure
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condemning the crown prince, it will be sent to the president's desk. and he will have to make a decision, does he sign it and side with the congress or veto it and side with the saudis, as he did in the aftermath of the khashoggi murder. the speaker's office just told me moments ago that the house is out until wednesday of next week and they told me when we have a decision to make, we'll let you know about the schedule. they are being noncommittal, paul ryan is being noncommittal about taking this up and the house republicans leaders have blocked moving forward on that yemen resolution. at the moment the senate overwhelmingly taking steps to express their displeasure about the president's handling of the saudi arabia situation, what's going on in yemen and the decision by the trump administration to align itself
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with kingdom in the aftermath of the murder of that journalist. >> speaking of yemen, any sort of peace in yemen will come too late for people living the nightmare and the horrors there. the story you're about to see is difficult to watch but needs to be seen. an entire family from a one-month-old party to a 64-year-old grandfather is either dead, dying or injured. any sort of promised cease-fire a distant dream. we're about to show you the scenes that may be graphic and disturbing to some young viewers. the footage by a houthi-backed rebel group, this is at the epicenter of the war. our cnn correspondent tells this
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family story. >> reporter: an ambulance screeches up to one of the few remaining hospitals. what we're about to show you is incredibly difficult to watch. in the jumble of bodies, a boy in yellow searching for his mother. she's dead. little bodies are carried in draped in blood-soaked cloths. everywhere shock and blood and death. this man searching for his wife. he finds instead the body of his 3-year-old sister. it's too much to take in. my wife, he asks? in surgery. the baby is fine. a glimmer of hope but all too quickly lost. my mother, she's dead.
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even as the peace talks continued in sweden between yemen's warring parties, the u.s.-backed coalition and iran-backed houthi levels, so, too, was the violence on the ground. eyewitnesses tell cnn the members of this family were killed during an artillery strike under coalition air cover, a charge the coalition denies saying the houthis continue to target civilians. this is a glimpse into what it's like almost every night in this besieged city. despite u.s. government promises in october to deliver a cease-fire in 30 days, that month has long since passed. much of what was filmed here so graphic, we're not going to show it in full. outside to lifeless bodies side by side, waiting for loved ones
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to claim them. this man lists a litany of loss. his daughter and her son, his other daughter and her husband. it's too much. inside the boy in yellow finally finds his sister. as he comforts her. other children are carried out. there's just no more room at this hospital. outside his grandmother begins to wail hand he teemattempts to comfort her. it's all too much. >> in the aftermath of the attack, has the coalition responded? >> it has. i just want to be clear that we verified what you saw in that report with eyewitnesses on the ground and we made that clear to the coalition. they told us, though, that they
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deny any -- they deny any involvement with the attack that you saw the aftermath of there. they say it is widely recognized that houthi militias are using artillery and other weapons in cities around yemen, brook. >> the port city that you featured is considered this lifeline where 70% of foreign humanitarian aid comes into the country. how crucial is this fragile cease-fire that was just agreed to? >> incredibly, incredibly. it is a glimmer of hope. but we shouldn't presume that now people's lives have changed. people's reality on the ground has not changed and will not change for weeks. that's how long it's going to take for the withdrawal. and the cease-fire is limited to very specific cities. there is no block on aerial bombardment that has killed many of the 60,000 yemenis that have
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died since 2016. so many of the people that we're speaking to on the ground, brooke, say their hope is still with the senate, with u.s. lawmakers. they believe it is u.s. pressure and international pressure but specifically u.s. pressure that has brought the saudi-led coalition and the governor that it supports to this place and they're hoping, that are desperate that that pressure should continue. >> keep shouedding light on the stories, please. thanks very much for sharing this one. >> we have more on our other big story today. the president of the united states changing his story again on hush money payments and lashing out on his former fixer who was just sentenced to three years behind bars. and we're asking can a sitting president be indicted? a top democrat said the department of justice should reexamine that in the wake of what's happening. we'll be right back.
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we're getting some break being news out of france where the suspected gunman who killed three people at that christmas market in strasbourg tuesday. ben, what do you know?
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>> we know the gunman who killed at least three people at this market in strasbourg has been killed. initially they were saying he was neutralized. now they're being more specific, saying he's killed in the neighborhood near neudorf, the neighborhood where he grew up in. this ends what was a massive manhunt involving security forces in france, switzerland and germany as well. brooke? >> ben wedeman, thank you for the update there in france. still ahead here, after months and months of high marks, the first lady's favorability dropping dramatically. why is that? we'll discuss. and melania trump reveals what she says is the hardest part of being first lady. in the world is now an information superhighway. (phone ringing) and the car has become an accessory to the smartphone.
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new today, the first lady's favorable ratings plummeted by double digits. you can see the numbers for yourself. a new cnn poll finding her favorability rating dipping to 43%. today she did make a stop at the children's national hospital in washington, d.c., continuing a tradition of every first lady of bess truman more than 60 years ago. kate bennett is with me now. so the favorability numbers are down. why? >> significantly. it's interesting, brooke, the fast few weeks, since really
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from october, since her return from the africa trip, she's been more vocal, more defense of and fighting back more and has been more supportive of her husband. i think quite frankly what this poll shows is her relative silence, her privacy, her not speaking to certain events led people to write their own narrative about her and some of them leading to her being trapped, free melania and what they're learning of is his true politics, which is a lot like her husband. ear seei we're seeing women, younger women, women who lean left, democrats, those are the numbers
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that have really when stormy daniels was in the headlines and when america was learning more about what her husband did or didn't do and they felt sympathetic to her and now she's standing strong by her husband. i want to get this clip. she was on fox. she did this interview where show was asked, you know, what's the hardest part of your -- of your job as first lady, and this was her response. >> the opportunists who are using my name or my family name to advance themselves, from comedians to -- to journalists. >> does it hurt? >> it doesn't hurt. the problem is they are writing the history, and it's not correct. they like to focus on the gossip, and would i like that they focus on the substance and
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what we do, not just about nonsense. >> the opportunists, and she talks about her name, and i can already hear the melania trump critics saying, u msg, think about who you married and his name. what did you make of her response? >> i mean, listen, i think it's interesting. i think at the same time, however, it comes with the turf. she says, you know, she once said she thought she was the most bullied person in the world and now she's, you know, upset about comedians and others who take advantage or make jokes. this is what being first lady, a very public first lady is married to, a very bombastic sort of, you know, insult-driven president sometimes to get things done, and i think she's very defensive of her family, and i understand that, and she doesn't like when people have the facts wrong. that's typically when melania trump will sort of strike back herself, but it is an interesting thing, and do i find some irony there.
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but at the same time, brooke, you know, she spent yesterday making three different stops, military stops. she was the first played it toe fly in an off spray. she went to an aircraft carrier, so she certainly visited thousands of troops in one day and does good deeds, but i do have to say that answer yesterday was, you know, a bit questionable considering the trump brand itself is what made her husband in the sort of pop culture climate, and now he's president and now she's first lady, and there are side effects there. >> kate bennett, thank you. >> thank you. coming up next, a florida state commission has just recommended arming teachers as a response to the mass shooting in parkland, but it says nothing about gun control. this as a new report those gun deaths in the united states hit a record high last year. details on what's driving the spike.
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teachers in florida at stoneman douglas high school should be trained to carry guns in school. that is one of the many recommendations in this draft report just released by a public safety commission. this panel was sustained in the wake of february's school massacre that left 17 people dead. it was tasked with identifying failures and missteps made during the emergency response and how to fix them. teachers would volunteer into a selection process that includes training and background checks, but it first requires approval from the state legislature. other recommendations from this panel include added better trained safety officers and more funding for campus security. that report comes in and it's something that i really wanted
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to talk about today. this is the report that shows the level of gun violence in this country is skyrocketing. an analysis from the cdc and data conducted by cnn reveals gun deaths in the u.s. have reached its highest level in nearly 40 years. cnn's jessica dean is here with me, and i know these numbers came out of what happened in 2017 specifically. what is going on? >> reporter: well, brooke, we did a cnn analysis building off these numbers that were crunched by the educational fund to stop gun violence, a nonprofit gun policy advocacy group. here's what the analysis found. let's start first with firearm suicides and men. suicide deaths by white men, if you look there, far and away account for the majority of gun-related suicides, and if you look at that number, 18,759, it's astounding considering the total number of gun-related deaths for all of 2017 is just
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under 40,000. the amount of white men dying by firearm suicide has continued to rise since 2006. from there we took a look at firearm homicide deaths, and, man, you're going to see while white men are more likely to die of firearm suicide, black or african-american men are more likely to die in a murder involving a guy. get this. a new study in the british medical journal shows that guns are killing black americans at much younger ages than white americans. sometimes in their teens, their 20s and the lost years are driving down life expectancy for black americans, and then finally we took a look at the numbers by gender, and you'll see that the numbers for women all across that spectrum are lower, but the highest number for women being death by firearms suicide, and when you look at that specifically, the number of white women dying from firearm suicides accounts for ten times the number of all the other races combined. the brooke? >> that is the highest we've seen going back to i think it
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was the late '70s so 40 years. i thought it was staggering. >> it is. >> and i wanted to make sure that people are aware. the next thing is what do we do about it? jessica dean, thank you very much and thank you very much for being with me. i'm brooke baldwin. "the lead" with jake tapper starts right now. >> reporter: president trump now says michael cohen was just his pr guy. bang-up job there, by the way. "the lead" starts right now. defense and denial. president trump giving his first tv interview after his former fixer michae cohen was sentenced to three years in the big house. is it possible the president just managed to dig the hole deeper for himself? also breaking today, a russian woman who was once face-to-face with candidate trump admits tock an agent of the russian government and gives us one of the most revealing looks yet at one of moscow's operations to infiltrate american politics. plus, did you read it before you posted it?