tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN March 8, 2019 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
happening now, pardon bombshell. president trump claims ex-lawyer michael cohen asked him for a pardon and lied under oath about it. could the president have set himself up for going under oath as a witness? shine down. like five others before him in the trump administration, former fox news executive bill shine is out as white house communications chief. the president had been down on shine for months. a source says he questioned shine's judgment on a number of issues. witch hoax. president trump says he feels badly for paul manafort after his ex-campaign chairman was sentenced to less than four years in prison. the president taking the opportunity to once again slam the mueller investigation. he coined a new phrase calling it a witch hoax.
banana republic. the husband of white house counselor kellyanne conway is no trump fan. he is known for his scathing tweets. today he suggested the u.s. risk becoming a banana republic under president trump. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you are in "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news. >> tonight in a stunning move, president trump is claiming his former lawyer michael cohen directly asked him for a pardon and lied under oath about that when testifying before congress. with today's tweet, the president may have opened himself up to legal scrutiny and potential testimony in any case involving michael cohen. for his part, cohen tweeted back accusing the president of, quote, just another set of lies. tonight, former fox news executive bill shine is out as
white house communications adviser. one source says the president questions his judgment on multiple issues and the president complained shine's presence did not result in better coverage. i will speak with congresswoman katie hill of the oversight committee. we are standing by with full coverage. let's begin with jim acosta. donald trump always said he would surround himself with the best people. one by one, they are ending up in a lot of trouble. >> reporter: it hasn't been the best week for those people. president trump is in florida for the weekend. he toured storm damage in alabama today. before he left the white house, he started a new war of words with michael cohen, which has the potential to drag the president into a possible perjury case against his former personal attorney. today we heard the president start to merge some of his talking points when he referred to the russia investigation as a witch hoax. after shying away from the
subject for days, president trump took aim at his former personal attorney michael cohen, accusing his one-time fixer of lying to congress. >> stone cold lie. le he lied about a lot of things. he knew all about pardons. his lawyer said that they went to my lawyers and asked for pardons. >> reporter: the president is referring to this comment cohen made under oath when he testified he had not sought a pardon from mr. trump even though his own attorneys had done that. >> i have never asked for nor would i accept a pardon from president trump. >> reporter: the president went one step further, alleging cohen sought a pardon personally, tweeting, bad lawyer and fraudster michael cohen said under sworn testimony that he had never asked for a pardon. his lawyers contradicted him. he lied. additionally, he directly asked me for a pardon. i said no. cohen fired back tweeting, just another set of lies by the president. mr. president, let me remind you that today is international women's day. you may want to use today to
apologize for your own lies and dirty deeds to women like karen mcdougal and stefanie licliffor. it could pull mr. trump into a perjury investigation into his former personal attorney's remarks. >> we would love to hear from the president. it does seem like one of these last-minute presidential inventions. >> reporter: contrast mr. trump's war of words with the sympathy expressed for his former campaign chairman paul manafort who is headed to prison but may receive a pardon as he stayed loyal to the president. >> i feel very badly for paul manafort. i think it's been a very, very tough time for him. if you notice, both his lawyer -- a highly respected man and a highly respected judge -- the judge said there was no collusion with russia. this had nothing to do with collusion. there was no collusion. it's a collusion hoax. it's a collusion witch hoax. >> reporter: just before the
president viewed storm damage in alabama, the white house announced its communications director bill shine is resigning. sources tell cnn mr. trump sours on shine questioning his judgment on a number of issues. the president released a statement saying we will miss shine in the white house but look forward to working together on the 2020 presidential campaign where he will be totally involved. shine, a former fox news executive, is the sixth person to take on the communications job, raising questions about the president's commitment to hire the best people. >> we will get the best people in the world. we will use our smartest and our best. we're not using political hacks anymore. >> reporter: the president may need a new communications director to help spin the latest unemployment numbers, showing the economy only added 20,000 jobs last month. still, the president said there's nothing to worry about. >> the economy is very, very strong. if you look at the stock market over the last few months, it's been great. >> reporter: the president is looking to put democrats on the defensive, accusing them of
going soft after the house passed a measure condemning hate speech sparked by the anti-semitic comments. >> the democrats have been an anti-israel party. they have been an anti-jewish party. >> reporter: the president overlooked his own record. >> you had bad people in that group. you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides. >> reporter: as for the departure of the white house communications director, a source said there were concerns about the administration's cozy relationship with fox news where bill shine was a top executive. shine was partly responsible for the dramatic reduction in press briefings with reporters in recent months. instead, we would see top officials routinely on fox news instead of in the briefing room. the source said it's dangerous to have shine so close to the decision making in the west wing. shine is not going far from the president. he will be taking on a position advising the trump campaign. we will see more of bill shine on the campaign trail. >> see what happens next.
jim acosta at the white house, thank you. let's bring in pamela brown. we're also learning the president has been obsessed with his former fixer and lawyer michael cohen, fuming about his constantly. what are you learning? >> that's right. our reporting shows that michael cohen and his testimony and all the fallout surrounding it has really been getting under the president's skin. he has been distracted by it. just minutes after national security meetings, president trump has been bringing up cohen and his testimony, after calling lawmakers, he will bring it up. it seems to be constantly on his mind. not only that, wolf, but our reporting shows that even in hanoi when he was there for the summit around the same time as the testimony, the president was bringing it up there. he was upset a reporter asked him about cohen and on the way home on air force one, once again the president was fixated on cohen, bringing it up. clearly, this got under his skin. cohen is one of the only associates of trump charged by
mueller who has publically gone after him in such a bold way, calling him a con, calling him a racist and making these claims to congress. clearly, that's been upsetting the president. the question is, why a week after the testimony is he just now tweeting out that cohen committed perjury and that he asked for a pardon directly? that really is raising a lot of questions. >> since the president claims, pamela, that cohen personally asked him about a pardon, is the president now potentially a witness in a perjury case? >> that is the big question. i asked rudy giuliani whether he would be willing to be a witness and be interviewed by investigators? he said that the president wouldn't need to be a witness because he thethere are other witnesses. the president is opening himself up for that, saying that cohen directly asked him. basically saying he committed perjury to congress. as we know, cohen and his
attorneys say that's not true. he was talking about after the defense agreement ended. certainly it brought more scrutiny on the president of whether he would be willing to be a witness in any sort of perjury investigation. >> pamela, thank you. pamela brown reporting. joining us now, katie hill of the oversight committee. thanks for joining us. what do you think? is the president opening himself up to becoming a witness if there's some sort of perjury investigation of michael cohen who said that he never asked the president for a pardon? the president said he directly asked him for a pardon. >> it's possible. the chairman -- chairman cummings is deliberate in all of this. he is reviewing with mr. jordan the entire transcript of what exactly was said. they're going through that process. the reality is that -- to me it doesn't really -- we have to focus on whatever was said previously, we need to focus on
what was said in the testimony from the point that he sdiedeci he was going to cooperate with us and no longer covering for the president. that's what really matters. i just think this is yet another attempt by the president and his allies to diminish what we know could be very credible. i think that's really where the -- >> if he did lie before your committee under oath in open session about a possible pardon, that further undermines his credibility. >> it's certainly not ideal. but i also think that we have a -- we're never going to rely entirely on his testimony for whatever ends up happening. we know that's something that can set the context, it can give us clues of where to go next. it's not something that you can rely on in and of itself. >> do you believe cohen or do you believe the president? >> considering cohen was lying previously to protect the president, i'm more inclined to believe cohen.
i can't speak to whether he had different lawyers negotiating on his behalf when he was -- when he was trying to cover up for the president, i would imagine there's probably something that was going on. what he said in the testimony in terms of i have never asked for a pardon, i don't know in terms of parsing words. that's not what i was focused on. at the end of the day, it's -- i'm never going to rely on just his wortd words alone to come t final conclusion. >> the chairman of your committee, congressman cummings, he says president trump is welcome to call him to discuss this. how do you think your committee is going to investigate? this is a serious charge. >> again, chairman cummings is incredibly deliberate about this. he will look into it. he will look at the witnesses, as giuliani mentioned, i suppose there are other witnesses that are possible. that are possibilities around this. >> do you think he will call the president and ask him to
testify? >> i highly doubt the president will take his call. at the same time, we have to continue with the rest of the investigations that are taking place, including important investigations around the high cost of prescription drugs, around the census that's coming up. we can't stop everything that we're doing. there's this tendency on the other side of the aisle. among the president's allies to say this is all that the democrats are doing. that is so far from the case. >> i know your committee is investigating security clearances over at the white house and the decision by the president to grant top secret clearance to jared kushner and his daughter ivanka trump. they are reporting that somebody at the white house leaked sensitive documents backing up the assertion that the president personally ordered the top secret security clearances for his son-in-law and his daughter. have you seen those documents? do you know anything about those documents? >> i haven't. we have had a big day. i haven't seen those yet. i'm sure i will catch up on that
soon. >> do you know that the committee does have these internal white house documents on security clearances? >> i couldn't know what they have. often, they are vetting that stuff before we get ahold of it. they are making sure it's legitimate and that it's protecting whoever the whistle-blowers might be. i think it's a good thing that i haven't seen it. >> you seem to be suggesting there must be something there. >> well, what i know is that there's certainly -- there are whistle-blowers who have provided enough that it is of -- a decent amount of concern to the committee that we need to further investigate. >> you think that's why there hasn't been a subpoena for these documents for these witnesses to show up and explain why the president decided to give top -- he has the right to do so under the law. he can grant security clearances to anyone he wants. why they did it in the extraordinary way along these lines. >> there were requests sent to get these documents. there was enough time -- we provided time for the president -- for the white house
to comply. if the compliance is not happening, then that's when a subpoena -- >> in addition to documents that may have been leaked, you are suggesting there are whistle-blowers who provided additional information? >> yeah. that was in the initial request for documents saying whistle-blowers had come forward. >> plural? >> yes. it was more than one. i don't know how many but there were more than one that had come forward raising serious concerns about how this process had gone forward with providing those security clearances to his family members. >> what happens if they don't cooperate, the white house? what do you do? >> we have to look into the subpoenas. >> that's a real possibility if the president were to cite executive privilege? >> i would say so. you just have to go down that road. again, whenever you see a resistance on the part of the white house to provietd informati provide information, that has to raise concern. there are option flz ters in te
redaction tlr redactions while providing information on the process and the decisions and what kind -- lou we how we ensure protocols were followed. we're not asking for the exact specifics of the people involved. we certainly don't want to disclose that to the public. >> is there could be a court battle. >> it's possible. >> let's talk about paul manafort's sentencing. he got almost four years. the president feels very badly for his former campaign chairman. do you worry that there's a possibility the president might grant paul manafort a pardon? >> i think there's a possibility. you see the difference in someone who has cooperated with the president the entire time versus someone who hasn't. you have cohen who has said he is no longer going to be protecting the president and that he is cooperating with the special prosecutor and with the oversight committee and the
other committees in congress. then you have manafort who blocked that progress at every single turn. of course, the president is sympathetic to one, not sympathetic to the other. i think that certainly, i can absolutely foresee him rewarding the behavior of the person who is trying to protect him. >> he has the right to do so. he can grant pardons. if he does that, grant him a pardon, what happens? >> we don't have any recourse to that. i think it starts to build more and more of this case to the american people of, are we okay with this? is this the america we want to see? is this what we are okay with sitting in our white house? i think it really comes down to the questions we're asking ourselves. is this who we see as reflecting us as the american people? is this the kind of democracy that we want to move forward and to leave to the next generation? >> where do you stand on the house of representatives launching impeachment proceedings? >> i think that impeachment is a political process as much as it is anything else. to me, what we're doing is we
are in a search for the truth. we are uncovering the truth. we are trying to paint the picture of what exactly has happened. for two years, the republicans in congress have tried to shield it, to hide the truth and to make sure it is not exposed in order to protect the president. ultimately, we're going to reveal what we can. it's really up to the american people at that point, through their representatives, through the people's house. i'm going to see what is reflected in my district, each of my colleagues will have to do the same. what i can tell you right now is that my district does not approve of the job that donald trump is doing. they don't believe he is fit for office. they don't believe that he is someone that we can trust. i think that as far as this investigation continues, this process continues to play out, we are going to need to have a fully robust case to be able to move forward on anything like that. we're going to have to make sure the american people are with us. >> because you clearly have the democratic majority in the house
of representatives for the house judiciary committee to launch impeachment hearings, impeachment proceedings. a majority vote there. in the senate, you need two-thirds. if you don't have two-thirds majority, even if he is impeached in the house, like bill clinton, he will be acquitted in the senate. >> exactly. that's why there's -- it's not helpful for us to just launch this impeachment proceeding if we don't have the buy -in of th american people. i think -- again, i think this process needs to play out. we have to make sure all of the facts are uncovered. we have to make sure the mueller report is exposed and that we don't just get this watered down version that's reported as the summary piece. hopefully, that we can get to the bottom of this. we need to show the security risks that are happening. we know that the president's actions in terms of what is happening in the middle east, in terms of pulling out in syria and in afghanistan, there are direct benefits to russia from those actions. does that tie back to potential
influences that he has from vladimir putin and from other foreign interests? where does that tie together in is ? is he making decisions that benefits those actors? that's where it comes together. >> we hope you will stay in touch with us. thanks so much, congresswoman katie hill. just ahill, bill shiead, bi out as white house communications chief. there are ominous signs that north korea may be preparing a new missile launch, after blaming the united states for what it admits was a failed summit. okay, paint a picture for me. uh, well, this will be the kitchen. and we'd like to put a fire pit out there, and a dock with a boat, maybe. why haven't you started building? well, tyler's off to college... and mom's getting older... and eventually we would like to retire. yeah, it's a lot. but td ameritrade can help you build a plan for today and tomorrow. great. can you help us pour the foundation too?
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tonight, president trump accusing his former fixer and lawyer michael cohen of lying to congress. in a tweet, the president claims cohen directly asked him for a pardon, contradicting cohen's sworn testimony to the house oversight committee. cohen claims it's the president who is lying. let's dig deeper with our experts and an analysts. jeffrey toobin, here is what michael cohen -- this is what the president tweeted about michael cohen. bad lawyer and fraudster michael cohen said under sworn testimony he never issed f easked for a p. he lied. he directly asked me for a pardon. i said no. he lied again. if he really knew, the president, that cohen lied under oath, which is perjury, another crime, why are we just hearing about this now? >> well, that's a good question.
another good question is, why isn't he telling this to robert mueller? this is relevant evidence to mueller's investigation. whatever conversations they did have about a pardon or anything else. if robert mueller was still thinking about the possibility of subpoenaing the president, getting a verbal interview with him, this would be further evidence in his arsenal. the other question is, who is telling the truth here? if michael cohen is someone who has admitted he lielied and fac severe consequences if he lies again. donald trump's record on this in particular is particularly bad. i think that's something people can figure in in their calculation. >> you know, if we are believing the president and michael cohen had a personal conversation where michael cohen asked the president for a pardon, it's impossible to know who to believe.
we have to remember both of these men have a tortured relationship with the truth. as it relates to michael cohen in particular, we have to remember that michael cohen gave more than 20 hours of testimony in his two closed and one open sessions in which he talked about the president being engaged in a lot of activities that are at worst unethical and at best illegal. what congress needs to do with regard to michael cohen is they have to read between the lies. we understand michael cohen lied. we know that. we also the president has told lies. because he made so many statements about things the president had done, we can't simply look at what michael cohen said and say he lied about the pardon and -- congress should investigate the pardon with as much vigor as the other things he said. >> it's worth noting that michael cohen made his statement under oath. the president didn't. to the extent we have the contradicting testimony of two liars, one thing the president could do is either make those statements to robert mueller as jeffrey suggested, or say it to congress himself if he wanted to bolster his own credibility.
>> do you think the president might be called at a witness if they begin another round of perjury investigations involving cohen? >> i think it's relatively unlikely. we saw the justice department wasn't willing to push that, even related to the core of the mueller investigation. i think it's pretty unlikely. that said, it's not a great idea for the president to be tweeting out these conversation conversa. the reason why he was in a joint defense agreement was in order to preserve attorney/client privilege related around this stuff. keep in mind, not just the issue here isn't just congressional investigations. michael cohen has sued the president. he sued the trump organization for failing to pay legal bills moving forward. conversations about pardons, conversations between their lawyers, those are the kinds of conversations which michael cohen might want to introduce. i think what we see is the president sort of -- he just can't resist the temptation to talk about this, to tweet about it, to fight it out in public. often, those statements are
contrary to his best interests. >> look at the terrible price donald trump has paid for his style. he got elected president of the united states, behaving exactly this way. why should he change? i just think it's an easy call for him. >> ron, you saw our exclusive reporting earlier that the president seems to be consumed by michael cohen in recent weeks. it's really irritating him and driving his agenda. >> first, i mean, if he is tweeting about this, it opens him up to questioning about all other conversations he has had related to pardons. why is this different? why is he able to comment on this and not on anything else involving everybody else in this sprawling story? i think to the extent the president is obsessed with this -- it kind of reinforces what has been a conviction from the beginning i think of many watching this. he worries about revelations relating to his business more than anything related to the
campaign. michael cohen was involved intimately in many different aspects of trump world. as we have -- as katie hill hill said, put a lot of bread crumbs in front of investigators and new york state investigators. discrediting him is important, not only from the point of view of, quote, collusion or not, but from this -- all the doors that are being opened into the many ways the president may have cut corners at best and at worst veered into illegality throughout his business career. >> the president now publically speaking about private conversations he had with his former lawyer. does that shatter any attorney/client privilege he might want to cite down the road? >> keep in mind, the president is relying on executive privilege and attorney/client privilege to try to prevent this from coming out. if you talk about privileged conversations in public, you risk waiving that privilege. that's whiey ed advisers counse
to not talk about this in public. >> if you don't testify, it doesn't matter what privilege you waive or not. there's no forum where the president is going to be confronted with, will you waive attorney/client privilege. mueller is not interviewing him. he is the only one doing it. i just think the president has a lot more running room in this area than we give him credit for. >> i don't disagree. we do see the president asserting these various legal defenses as a reason for not engaging with these questions publically. suggesting that there's executive privilege, there's attorney/client privilege issues. as ron said, i think by putting this stuff on the table, even if it's ultimately never going to be litigated, he does still do himself a disservice. >> let's talk a little -- >> by the way. i was going to say, the executive privilege is going to be litigated. we have administration officials claiming it in their testimony to congress. certainly the administration is going to be aggressive in using that to try to defeat these
democratic investigations by rejecting even subpoenas down the road, i'm sure. >> ron, let's talk a little bit about somebody else the president has soured on, bill shine, his communications director. he is out as of today. you can see he follows a list of others who worked relatively short number of days. what's your nal sis analysis as white house communications and the president? >> look, when you look in the dictionary under impossible job, i think white house communications director for donald trump will certainly show up at the top of the list. as you see, it's been a revolving door because -- the idea he is going to take direction on communications from anyone is kind of absurd. last saturday, he gave a speech to cpac that went on for over two hours, over 16,000 words. ran it through a word counter. open use of profanity from the microphone, something almost unprecedented for a president.
s sublimating it to, i will protect you. that is what he wants to run on. that's kind of -- of course, all the tweeting with all the questions that it raises. every few months he needs someone, i think, to point to and say, you are the reason why my poll numbers aren't better, my press coverage isn't better. the fact is, he is making a distinct bet with miss style through of mobilizing his base at the expense of alienating voters who have been skeptical and who created this democratic majority in congress that is investigating him. i think for someone like bill shine who does not come with a great pedigree in public affairs or public policy, no matter who is in that job, it's probably short-term. >> jeffrey, you first. >> it's not just the communications department. other than kellyanne conway, who is still there from the beginning? they're all gone.
chief of staff, national security adviser, he's gone through several. the only people that are there are the nepotism hires that his -- his daughter and son-in-law and kellyanne conway. the rule is, he gets sick of people. it's not the exception. >> you know, the president is going to say what he wants to say when he wants to say it and the way he wants to say it. what he expects of his communication no matter what i say, you make sure people view me as someone who is saying something positive. for this -- for anyone who takes this job, they have to understand that the president isn't looking for someone to give advice and counsel. they are looking for someone to do the impossible and make the president look good no matter what he says. >> we saw this -- we saw reports about producers in "the apprentice" having to reedit footage whenever trump did something crazy and ordered to make it look like it made sense.
that's the same job of the white house communications director. the president does something. he does it impulsively, without necessarily thinking it out. they have to after the fact try to recreate a reality that actually lines up with the president's words. >> he is doing it live on television. >> stick around. stand by. we have to take a break. there's a lot of news that's unfolding right now. how the president is mischaracterizing comments about collusion by the federal judge who sentenced paul manafort. e'sg [indistinct conversation] [friend] i've never seen that before. ♪ ♪ i have... ♪ i have... thanksmrs. murphy. unitedhealthcare,
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tonight, president trump is voicing sympathy for his former campaign chairman paul manafort who has sentenced to almost four years in prison for tax and bank fraud. susan, listen to how the president reacted to this earlier today. >> i feel very badly for paul manafort. i think it's been a very, very tough time for him. but if you notice, both his lawyer -- a highly respected man and a very highly respected judge -- the judge said there was no collusion with russia. this had nothing to do with collusion. it's a collusion hoax. it's a collusion witch hoax. i just want to tell you that his lawyer went out of his way, actually, to make a statement last night, no collusion with
russia. there was absolutely none. the judge -- i mean, for whatever reason, i was very honored by it, also made the statement that this had nothing to do with collusion with russia. >> a quick fact check. the judge, he did not say there was no collusion. he did say that the charges manafort was being sentenced for were not related to collusion. it benefits the president to insist no collusion, no collusion, no collusion. >> of course it does. this has been his strategy from the outset. it's true that manafort has not been charged with sort of activity directly related to the russia collusion question. that said, there are still huge questions on precisely this issue related to manafort's conduct, his relationship with kilimnik, hproviding this sensitive polling information,
manafo manafort's involvement in the ukrainian peace plan. none of that was answered by this trial because none of it was at issue in this trial. they didn't find no collusion. they were just looking at a completely different set of issues and questions. i do think the question is whether or not we are going to get those answers in some other forum, namely the mueller report. it's likely mueller has some additional information about what manafort did, even if it's not enough to bring criminal charges. the question is whether or not he is going to include that in some sort of narrative to ultimately hand over to congress. >> he was convicted, manafort, the charges of hiding foreign bank accounts, defrauding the united states taxpayers with millions of dollars, stealing that money. you can see some of the counts right there. his sentence, 47 months in prison. restitution of between 6 and $25 million. $50,000 fine. three years supervised release. the president feels very badly for paul manafort.
which is startling when you think most of that money came from pro russian ukrainians who were doing stuff that was not very good for the united states or good for their own people. >> absolutely. this says the president does not understand or does not care about the seriousness of paul manafort's crimes. the president and paul manafort are both that special breed of businessmen that bend and stretch and flex the rules in order to get what they want. what i see here, when the president makes a statement like that is, i see a person who looks at the world through an u.us versus them lens. he sees an us, he sees someone who engaged in business practices over the years in the same way that he may be familiar with or people he is closely familiar with. he sees this judge looking at paul manafort and saying, look, what you did is -- i gotta slap your hand. it's not so bad. he feels bad for him. i think the president is going to feel differently next week
when paul manafort gets sentenced again. i think he just does not see the seriousness of the crimes. >> remember how astonishing it is the president says, his lawyer went out of his way to say there was no collusion. his lawyer -- manafort's lawyer is smart. he is trying to get him a pardon. he is trying to ingratiate himself and his client with the president. of course he is going to say there's no collusion. the idea that that was some random objective observation of what the facts are is absurd. >> ron, go ahead. >> can i add? manafort's significance politically in the 2020 election may be around corruption, not collusion, as say symbol of corruption. the promise to drain the swamp was an important part of the president's message. i talked to a republican consultant who thought it was as important as any other single strand in the message. and yet, you have all of these questions around so many people around the president, including
the president and companies taking out hotel rooms in his properties and so forth. today we haven't talked about it, but the house unanimously passed hr-1, the most significant political reform bill since the 1960s. you are going to see the democratic presidential candidates in 2020 pound at this question of political reform and corruption in trump's washington. stick around. there's more news we're following. an important programming note. this sunday night, cnn is hosting three presidential town halls, back to back live from the south by southwest and austin texas. former congressman john delaney at 7:00. jake tapper and dana bash will moderate sunday night at 7:00 p.m. eastern right here on cnn. we have breaking news. signs that north korea may be preparing for a new missile launch in the wake of the failed trump-kim summit. on table ten. ♪
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we have breaking news on north korea which is blaming the united states for the failed summit between president trump and kim jong un. we are getting new indications of activity at north korea's rocket and launch sites. let's bring in cnn's will ripley who has been to north korea 19 times including visiting the biggest launch joining us live from beijing. what's the latest, will?
well, wolf what we hear from melissa lewis and another analyst who are studying satellite imagery there is a facility where north korea is known to assemble icbms appear space rockets. based on the images we see for the first time it appears that north korea has assembled something possibly place to do upon a rail car and could be on route to ma launch site in north korea, the likely launch site jeffrey louis tells me would be the so ma facility after had been partially disassembled but in reemt days post hanoi there is a flurry of restoration work according to the intelligence service. the sfie agency sayings the sohae facility is being restored and the u.s. think tank is saying it's fully operational. if you put the pieces together it seems that north korea may
have put together a satellite which uses icbm technology banned by u.n. security council resolutions and analysts are saying that north korea could be preparing to conduct a launch that could happen in the near future, wol zbloof if it's pennsylvania launch and if it's an icbm or something similar long those lines that would be something the president of the united states has said would result in some serious ramifications. >> that's right. and you know, again north korea if they were to launch a satellite as opposed to to an icbm they could make the longstanding argument that the launch is for scientific research. that's what they said when they put a satellite into orbit in 2012. they said it was a peaceful endeavor to try to launch a satellite into space. we know north korea has had a couple of satellites on stand by they haven't launched as they've been in a year long pause in missile and nuclear testing. but the united states doesn't buy that because they say the technology that north korea would use to put a satellite
into orbit is also icbm technology. whether it's a missile or whether a rocket, a highly provocative act if north korean leader kim jong un goes through with it. >> good reporting, will. thank you very much. just ahead, the husband of white house counselor kellyanne conway. known for scathing tweets. george conway stood up publicly and warned that the united states risks becoming a banana republic under president trump. , tax-efficient investing strategies, and a dedicated advisor to help you grow and protect your wealth. fidelity wealth management. you wouldn't accept an incomplete job from any one else. why accept it from your allergy pills? flonase sensimist relieves all your worst symptoms, including nasal congestion, which most pills don't. and all from a gentle mist you can barely feel. flonase sensimist.
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. he is the husband of the white house counselor kellyanne conway but conservative lawyer george conway is no fan of president trump. he routinely makes it clear with blistering tweets but he took the criticism public in a new way. tom foreman is in the situation room and this is about the rule of law. >> as you pointed out, he is a conservative. president president constantly complains about the democrats and liberals coming after him. this is a conservative and today he let it fly. >> now, if people were to get indicted who are not indicted on the basis of whether the president likes them, we wouldn't have a republic we'd have a banana republic. >> he did not use the president's name but in an extremely rare public speaking appearance, george conway torner to into donald trump just the same. >> and the president has suggested that members of his
own justice department should be locked up for investigating the president. >> conway blasted trump over ideas on justice, attacks on freedom of the press. >> that's a problem of a quite different order of magnitude. you can't have a free country with that. >> conway has freely attacked the president for a long time, despite being married to top trump adviser kellyanne conway. just this past week tweeting trump, is a fraud and an embarrassment, an inveterate lie err ar a sociopathic demagogue. refrpg to the president's repeated claims of being a great student. he has been tagged summa kcum liar. even offering of an armchair diagnosis, it's pathologile, it's an illness. the president brushed him off before.
>> you mean mr. kellyanne conway. >> suggesting the barbs are meaningless. >> he is trying to get publicity for himself. >> kellyanne conway clearly squirms when confronted about difference was her husband, at times suggesting such questions are fundamentally sexist. >> first of all i would ask that if you were a man. >> you would not, no, no, no. >> but george conway continues to revel in the role of trump troll in chief. >> i like the fact that you can tweet at rich public officials without fear of -- of retribution in the courts. >> he is not alone in this although the president stands among republicans and support polls remains high, there ises you no he a vocal and very strong minority mo feel in the republican party that if they don't stand up to what in president is doing, particularly with the rule of law, they believe the republican party will pay a long and dear price for it. conway is one of them and speaking up a bit more than he has. >> he is not backing down at
all. >> not a bit. >> tom thank you very much. and to our viewers thanks for watching. follow me on twitter and instagram. you can tweet the show@cnn sit room. erin burnette "outfront" starts right now. outfront next trump's top message man this amid a historically high turn overrate in the administration how does trump spin his way out of this? and the president trashes michael cohen in public obsessing in private. who is the involved in the war of words. >> trump pictured with the ex-owner of the spau linked to the the robert kraft prostitution arrest. let's go outfront. and good evening i'm erin burnette outfront tonight. chaos at the white house. president trump's deputy chief of staff his communications director is out. and the move catching just