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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  March 14, 2019 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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happening now, breaking news. forcing a veto. the senate issues a bipartisan rejection of president trump's national emergency declaration with a dozen republicans breaking ranks to rebuke the president who is vowing a veto. backing bob mueller. the house passes a resolution calling for the special counsel's final report on his russia investigation to be made public. despite overwhelmingly bipartisan support, the measure gets blocked in the senate. summer's time. an appeals court rules a defamation lawsuit against president trump by a former "apprentice" participant could move forward. beto luck this time. beto o'rourke joins the crowd looking to take on donald trump with a bid for the white house. can the former congressman capitalize on his strong showing in his senate race to pull ahead
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of the pack? 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. >> the breaking news tonight, president trump poised to issue the first veto of his presidency, following a humiliating defection by 12 senate republicans. they voted with democrats to pass a resolution blocking the president's declaration of a national emergency to pay for a border wall. i will talk about the breaking news and more with senator richard blumenthal of the judiciary and armed services committees. our correspondents and special i haves are standing by. first, jim acosta. a major rebuke of the president by a dozen members of his own party. >> reporter: it sure was. the president appears poised to
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use his veto pen after a big chunk of republican senators voted to support a resolution to block mr. trump's plan to divert taxpayer funds. the president will veto that measure. we're getting new information as to when that might take place. for a president who has successfully kept his party in line, this was a surprising defection. it was the latest sign of cracks in the president's wall. >> the joint resolution has passed. >> reporter: after a dozen gop senators joined forces with democrats to block mr. trump's national emergency declaration to redirect appropriated money for his border barrier. the president is gearing up for his first veto tweeting as only he can in all caps, veto. mr. trump sounds as if he were warming up the veto pen earlier in the day. >> i will probably have to veto. it's not going to be overturned. we're going to have -- it's very important. it's really a border security vote. it's pure and simple. it's a vote for border security.
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it's a vote for no crime. >> reporter: even though there aren't enough votes to override a veto, officials have been lobbying republicans for days with the president tweeting, a big national emergency vote today by the united states senate on border security and the wall.border is a nightmare. it can be fixed. aides to the president posted this sinister looking and sounding video of migrant crossings on the official white house twitter account. it wasn't enough for republican senators like mitt romney who insisted the president was trying to pull a fast one by going around congress to get what he wants. >> he would rather have me vote in a different direction. i let him know that this for me is a matter of defending the constitution and the balance of powers that is core to our constitution. i believe he respects that. >> reporter: lindsey graham let a small group of senators to the white house barging in on a trump family dinner wednesday night in a failed attempt to broker a compromise. >> i don't expect you to give up
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power as president that you think is necessary. but if you could find a way to sit down and bridge the gap here prospectively, it would be in everybody's interest. >> reporter: democrats suggest republicans are worried about defying the president out of fear of retaliation. >> he has been vindictive, con testimony contemt contemtuos. >> reporter: the president has a new faux, beto o'rourke. >> i think he has a lot of hand movement. i have never seen so much hand movement. i said, is he crazy or is that just the way he acts? i have never seen hand movement. i watched him a little this morning doing i assume it was some kind of a news conference. i have actually never seen anything like it. study it. i'm sure you will agree. >> reporter: that's despite the president's history of using
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exaggerated hand gestures of his own. >> we're talking about the southern border. >> reporter: mr. trump declined to tip his hand on who would be the stronger candidate, o'rourke or biden. >> i think it's tough for somebody. you know what? whoever it is, it makes no difference to me. >> reporter: getting back to this fight over the wall. administration officials say plans are forwunderway to veto resolution rejecting the national emergency declaration. aides are hashing out a plan for t the president to use his veto pen. it would be surprising if the president did not veto this measure at some public event. this could happen in front of the cameras tomorrow. the president using that veto pen for first time. >> we will watch. jim acosta, thank you. let's get more right now. phil mattingly is on capitol hill for us. the president has been unequivocal, saying he will veto the resolution.
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you heard jim acosta say it could come as early as tomorrow. there's a push in the house of representatives to already try to override a presidential veto. what's the latest? >> reporter: that's right. the president wasted no time tweeting shortly after the vote that he lost that he would veto the resolution that is heading to the white house right now. democrats are wasting no time making sure they will return serve. the first day they are back in washington, march 26, a democratic aide tells me they will hold a vote to override the veto. they have a lot of work to do. people i'm talking to on both sides of the aisle say it's likely the president's veto will be sustained. democrats are seizing on the 12 republicans who split from the president today, split from the party today, and hoping to use that as some momentum to flip republicans in the house as well. even if that doesn't happen, i'm told this issue isn't going away. chuck schumer noted earlier today that every six months, you
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can have another vote on a resolution of disapproval, a resolution to terminate this national emergency. senate democrats have made clear they will do exactly that, whether or not the override happens. >> this was a very significant rebuke of the president from members of his own party. tell us why these republicans chose to break from mr. trump. >> reporter: not everybody had the same reason. when you think of the numbers, 12, which we were told probably between 7 and 15 were legitimately considering voting against the president on this. the fact that they got 12 i think was still surprising to everybody. there were two threads there. there were concerns about executive overreach which we heard. there have been several closed door meetings of gop senators where there's been debate over the direction the president decided to go. there's a lack of information, at least according to the senators, from the administration about the actual plans, the combination of those two things really led a lot of senators to the point they ended up. this wasn't the only vote senate republicans broke with the president on this week. seven republicans yesterday
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broke against the president's veto threat on a resolution to end u.s. military support for saudi arabia in yemen. put those two things together, the threads are similar. concerns about executive overreach and lack of information from the white house to the senators having to make the decision. there's a lot of question about whether this is going to be something we continue to see going forward, or if this is a one off. the reality remains, senate republicans who for years have almost refused to break with the president on anything have now decided to do it twice in the same week and one of those votes was on the signature campaign issue of the president, the animating feature of this president's administration and the most decisive action he has taken. still, 12 republican senators were willing to vote against him. >> significant development. phil mattingly, thank you. we're following new developments in special counsel robert mueller's russia investigation. sara murray is joining us. roger stone, he was back in
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court today. we learned a few things in the process. update us. >> reporter: that's right. ahead of today's hearing, roger stone's attorneys were worried the judge was going to throw him behind bars for violating her gag order. she did not do that. he is still out on bail and preparing for a trial coming this fall. wearing his now signature round sunglasses and a gray suit, roger stone, a friend and former advi adviser to president trump found out when he is going to trial. amy berman jackson set a november 5 trial date for stone, who is accused of lying about his attempts to secretly contact wikileaks in the leadup to the 2016 election. the judge said she's reviewing whether stone violated his gag order. after he recently released a book slamming the special counsel's investigation. in the courtroom today, a prominent member of the special counsel's team who will be departing. he is expected to leave the department of justice soon to
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take a teaching job at new york university, a source tells cnn. he served as the lead prosecutor for the virginia trial against manafort where he was convicted of eight felonies and sentenced to nearly four years in departun that mueller is wrapping up. tomorrow we could get another indication for just how close mueller is to bringing this thing to a close. that's a status update on rick gates. he was paul manafort's deputy. he has been cooperating with investigators. we are going to hear from his team and prosecutors about everyone is ready to set a sentencing date or whether he is still cooperating. if he is still working with them, that's significant. we know paul manafort has been sentenced in both d.c. and virginia. there's nothing more on that. we will see tomorrow night, midnight deadline. >> we will watch together with you. thank you, sara murray. richard blumenthal of connecticut is joining us.
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he is a member of the judiciary and armed services committees. thanks for coming in. >> thank you. >> what message are these 12 republican colleagues of yours in the u.s. senate sending to president trump with this vote against his national emergency declaration? >> there are two ways to view it. number one, the president has certainly lost some of his sway. he made this vote intensely personal. it was about him. he pushed, pulled, bullied in every way he could. the second more hopeful note that i think is important is republicans are beginning to stand up and speak out. as phil mattingly said, this stunning rebuke comes a day after the vote on aide by this country to the saudis in their absolutely vicious and inhumane bombing and famine campaign in saudi arabia. we have no business being complicit and the republicans stood up to him. >> the president tweeted, a vote for today's resolution is a vote
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for nancy pelosi, crime and the open border democrats. yet 12 republicans decided to vote against him. clearly you don't have 67 votes in the senate. there's not a two-thirds majority in the house to override this presidential veto that could come as early as tomorrow. >> not today for sure. all of us are going back to our states for a break. we will be hearing a lot from our constituents who intensely dislike this wall. the numbers are off the charts. we will be hearing from our con city constituents to show backbone against this imperial presidency, executive overreach. they want checks and balances. in a theoretical sense, as a lawyer, i can argue the constitutional point. people understand in their gut that this president is usurping the power of congress, the power of the purse, which is at the core of our constitution.
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>> earlier in the day, he tweeted that maybe down the road he would be willing to support congressional legislation to update the current national emergency law on emergency declarations. do you believe him? >> i think there may be a workable solution, a compromise among us in congress. i have trouble believing that the president is going to surrender any of his autocratic view of the presidency. >> the president suffered another sort of rebuke today in the house of representatives. 420 members, 0 against, 420 voted in favor of a resolution calling for the new attorney general once he get robert mueller's report to make it public to congress. almost everybody voted to make it public. what's your reaction some. >> my reaction is that again, my
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colleagues are hearing from their constituents who overwhelmingly support transparency. i have a measure. it's a bill, not a resolution, in the united states senate which is supported on a bipartisan basis. senator grassley and senator kennedy have both supported it. that would require public disclosure which the american people need and deserve. they paid for this report. they deserve to see all the findings and evidence. i think the house vote reflects that the republic's right to know say core issue. anybody who votes against it is complicit in a potential -- >> in the house, nobody voted again it. 420 members voted in favor of it. it was immediately blocked in the senate. lindsey graham said there's got to be other attachments. as a result, it's not coming up for a vote. >> i think we can speak to each other in the united states senate. there may be a basis for us to work together. the principle of transparency is
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one that i think is bipartisan. let's face it, the present attorney general said that he at least now adheres to the department of justice policy that the president cannot be indicted. if there's no indictment and there is no report made available, there is in effect a coverup. my colleagues will be judged harshly by history if they are cl complicit in it. >> what does it tell you that a key prosecutor is now leaving the special counsel's office? >> it tells me there are more tea leaves that the investigation is coming to a close. remember, on the other side of the ledger, roger stone still has a trial in november. >> november 5. >> the grand jury is ongoing. it was extended. there is still evidence from roger stone's home that has to be examined and analyzed.
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there is still ongoing coordination between the special counsel and other investigations, like the southern district of new york and new york state authorities. i think we will be guessing only really mueller knows when it will come to a close. one day we will be right in guessing that it's that day. >> if there's a trial november 5 involving roger stone, doesn't that suggest that the special counsel's office has to keep on working? potentially, he could change his mind and plead guilty and avoid a trial, hope to get a reduced sentence. that doesn't look like it's going to happen. >> no indication that he is going to plead. the likelihood is there will be a trial. your point is very well taken. that trial is likely to be rev l revelatory. there's evidence introduced
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that's unanticipated. i would expect the roger stone will be that way. >> an athe connecticut supreme t ruled the families of the sandy hook victims, they could sue the manufacturer of the gun. what's your reaction to that? >> profoundly important legal moment. it's a wow moment in american legal history. for first time, gun manufacturers will have to defend themselves in court, the victims and survivors from sandy hook will have their day in court to hold accountable those gun manufacturers for their marketing practice s as well as potentially other illegalities. as you know, wolf, until now, the gun manufacturers have enjoyed absolute, complete immunity, unlike almost any other industry. i have a bill in the congress that will extend that protection now going to connecticut citizens to all americans so that it would repeal this
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absolute immunity. >> you have worked closely with all those families. let's see what happens on the legal front. as you point out, foepotentiall significant legal development. there's more breaking news we're following. with more than a dozen republican senators defecting, voting to rebuke president trump's national emergency declaration, we're getting new reaction. stay with us. w we'll be right back. ecies avoidn and struggle. we actually... seek it out. other species do difficult things because they have to. we do difficult things. because we like to. we think it's... fun. introducing the all-new 2019 ford ranger built for the strangest of all creatures.
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key developments in the special counsel robert mueller's russia investigation. let's talk about them with our senior legal analyst preet bharara. as you heard, one of mueller's key prosecutors, he is leaving the special counsel's office. the roger stone trial won't even begin until november. what does that tell you about where the investigation now stands? >> it's unclear. i have been one of the people who has been saying that i'm not certain that the reports about the imminent filing of the report by robert mueller with the attorney general was happening. there's a lot of work to be done. the roger stone trial is months away. that constitutes real work. on the other hand, andrew weissman has been the second most powerful person in the special counsel's office, having his hand in a lot of different things and speaking in court from time to time. it would seem odd that someone like andrew would leave before they are close to wrapping up
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what they think is the investigative portion of their work. i should add, there are times -- it happened in my office -- when someone who is centrally important as a supervisor to an ongoing litigation or criminal investigation for various reasons decides to leave, personal or otherwise. that happens. it's happening in other places as we speak right now. still overall, i think it indicates that a large portion of the more complicated investigative aspect of the work i'm prepared to believe is drawing to a close. >> the first indictments we saw from the mueller team, they were paul manafort and rick gates, his deputy. now we have seen judge ellis in virginia, judge jackson here in washington, sentence manafort to a total of 7 1/2 years in prison. how does that reflect on mueller investigation and on manafort's crimes? >> reflects as follows. they have found serious wrongdoing on the parts of lots of people. the slogan that it's a witch hunt and the slogan that they're
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not finding anything is untrue. you have somebody who has sentenced in a way that i among other people think was below what was appropriate in the case. 7 1/2 years overall is low given what the guidelines are, the seriousness of the crime, the period of time for the crime, how privileged paul manafort was and how much he should have known better. that said, it's a significant sentence. i was reading that it's the most significant sentence almost by a serious margin say for one in connection with any special counsel investigation going back or independent counsel investigation going back a number of years. it shows that the investigation has been broad. it shows that they are fining serious criminal activity, even if it doesn't relate directly to interference in the election. when you come across those crimes when you look at something else, those count. those are serious. it means they have been doing a real job. >> tomorrow we will get an update, status report on rick
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gates' cooperation. the southern district of new york, where you served as the top u.s. attorney, has requested e-mails between michael cohen, the president's former lawyer, and the torn robert costello. costello told cohen that he had spoken to the president's lawyer rudy giuliani about some sort of back channel and that cohen could, quote, sleep well tonight because he had, quote, friends in high places. how do you interpret that? >> it's hard to know without knowing what the other evidence is. it's a little peculiar. you have this lawyer who was supposed to be this back channel according to reports, spoke a number of times with rudy giuliani who was representing the president at the time. on the one hand, it sounds nefarious and it was indicating that a pardon was potentially in the offing. this person was, as i understand it, trying to get retained by michael cohen in a high profile case. there may have been puffery going on. i have seen e-mails that have been disclosed. it's not clear what was said.
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it's important to see what the responses were and to get the full set of e-mails that surround this. i think the fact that my former office is asking for the e-mails makes complete sense. you want the fullest picture. at the end of the day, even if they don't think there's specificity and there was a quid pro quo, it never happened and there may not be, a diligent prosecutor office, like i know they are, want all the details and all the facts. it may ultimately in order to the detriment of michael cohen. there's controversy about his testimony where he said he never sought a pardon. part of this may also bear on the credibility of michael cohen as he seeks this post-sentencing cooperation arrangement known as a rule 35 motion. >> preet bharara, thanks for joining us. >> thanks. still ahead, more on trump ally roger stone learning when hes going to trial on charges brought by robert mueller's team.
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put this vote in context. >> a couple things. i think it's one of the first if any times that you have seen a block of republicans join with democrats in the senate to go against the president on something since he took office. secondly, several of the senators were on the appropriations committee. that sends a message, look, we -- this is the article one branch of congress's job. the appropriators of money to the federal government. not the president. i think that is part and parcel of what's going on. two names jump out, senator murkowski, voted against the president on the kavanaugh nomination and this. also, mitt romney, a big name. >> 12 republican senators. you can see we put the pictures up on the screen. the president responded immediately with one word on his tweet, veto. jim acosta our chief white house correspondent said that could happen tomorrow. this would be his first veto as president. >> that's right. which tells you and shows you how easy it was for president
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trump during the first two years of his presidency with republicans in control. they never sent him anything really for the most part that was difficult for him to sign. this is the new reality for president trump that he might have some difficult decisions to make in terms of what bills he is going to sign. it's important to remember, you know, we are talking a lot about the republicans who crossed over to vote with democrats on this. there's still some, like tom tillis who on this legislation said he was going against it, then decided to -- that he was going to support the disapproval. then decided to go against it, support the president's position. it shows that the president still does have clout among these republicans, even those up for re-election. >> you have been doing reporting on the efforts of the president to convince republicans, this is a bad idea. he was tweeting basically, you are going to vote for a border wall and security or for nancy pelosi and open borders.
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>> trump viewed this as a loyalty test. you saw some people who were going to vote for it, they voted against it. tillis is up for re-election. the white house has made that clear that if you vote this way and you vote against the president and you vote to buck him, we are are not going to forget this. this is not a throw away vote. you could face 2020 consequences. there was a lot of drama. there are people in this party who they did not want to vote for this. they do not think the president has the authority to do this. they also don't want to break with the president. that's why you saw that drama behind the scenes last night when three of the republican senators interrupted the president's dinner after aides didn't let them come over earlier in the day trying to convince the president could he limit his power in the future. that's something the president hinted at today but is not concrete by any means. >> see if that veto comes as early as tomorrow. phil, we got word that another top prosecutor working for robert mueller and the special counsel's team is getting ready
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to leave. what does that say to you about the status, where this investigation is now heading? >> a couple things. i have to acknowledge, andrew was down the hall from me. he was a top lieutenant when i was assigned to the fbi. one of the most talented people i saw. you could say someone with that history likely would not be walking away if he anticipated there was a lot more time to go here. there's one other additional piece that's behind the scenes. that's andrew's specialty is complex investigations, often involving money. the roger stone investigation isn't really a money investigation. paul manafort and rick gates were. the manafort investigation obviously has come to a close. some of this might be andrew saying my specialty has been exhausted. the other piece might be, we're almost done anyway. >> there's another legal development that unfolded today, david, the president has been sued in a lawsuit by summer zirvos as she was acontestant
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on "the apprentice." a new york appeals court rejected the president's argument that a state court can't have jurisdiction over the president. he could be called in to testify. >> he could be called in to testify. in addition to all of the other legal proceedings going on, roger stone trial which will be down the road, this is another issue, another scandal potentially that the president is going to have to deal with as we turn into the 2020 election cycle. the argument was rejected i think on the simple common sense grounds that unlike logic that the justice department uses to say we can't indict a sitting president, this is not a criminal trial. indictment is not an issue. they are letting her go forward with a civil case. >> they cited the paula jones lawsuit against bill clinton as one of the reasons why a sitting president can have to testify in
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connection where the law. they claim there was that precedent which is very, very alarming news for the president. >> right. these are sort of a drip, drip, drip of everything going on with the president right now. he can't just focus on one case, one trial, one controversy because there are so many things. the president has batted these things away. as you get into the congress, with the mueller report dropping at some point, it's going to be a challenge for this administration to address all of these issues. >> potentially significant development. rick gates, who was paul m manafo manafort's deputy for a long time, worked in the transition, he has been charged. he is pleading guilty. he has been cooperating. we will get a status report on where all of this stands tomorrow. what are people at white house bracing for? >> we are going to learn a lot. we could learn he is going to be sentenced. he has had his sentencing delayed four times. we know he has been cooperating with the special counsel's
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investigation quietly for over a year now. he is helping with other investigations that we don't know about. we know that the special counsel made that clear in a filing. if he is being sentenced, it will tell us in addition to that prosecutor leaving that this could be wrapping up. that would be a sign, he is the last known cooperating witness that we know about that has not been sentenced yet in the special counsel's investigation. another thing that could be harmful is he was very involved with the inauguration. after paul manafort stopped, rick gates continued on helping with the president's inauguration. he knows about that. we know that prosecutors are looking into that as well. he is someone who knows a lot. if we find out he is being sentenced, it will be a big development. >> an interesting development, this new book on kushner, inc., that came out that's about to come out. we have gotten word that the president accidentally -- a top aide to president trump found out accidentally that the fbi director james comey would be fired when the letter termina
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terminating him was sent to him who was the top economic adviser, he got this letter from the president, a letter from president trump firing comey that then went to gary cohen. cohen had his aide take the document to don mcgahn who said some bad words. he realized that it had been sent to the wrong place. this is awkward. >> let's remember back to when they fired him. the president was under the impression and getting advice from several people that if he fired comey, things would be well and he would be praised not just by republicans but by democrats for that. it shows really the level of secrecy that was around this. as we know, james comey was out of washington. he was actually at an event i believe in california and had to fly back on a government plane even though he was no longer an employee. the level and secrecy behind comey's firing. cnn found out about that because one of our producers spotted the
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president's bodyguard walking into the fbi with this envelope. why was the president's bodyguard at the fbi. that was him delivering james comey's firing letter. >> what do you think? >> the real pathetic piece of this is that last piece about the bodyguard. all the preparation and secrecy that goes into this, conversations between lawyers and the president and the guy who likes to fire people can't have the courtesy to do it in person. >> stick around. there's more breaking news we're following, including new video showing practicing a drone assassination attempt on venezuela's president. it's a cnn exclusive. ♪ ♪ no matter when you retire, your income doesn't have to. see how lincoln can help ensure
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be prepared and keep your family safe, visit pge.com/safety. now a cnn exclusive. new video of the alleged plot to assassinate nichololas maduro ug commercial devices bought online and prepared by venezuelan defectors. nick paton walsh has the story. you had a chance to talk to one of the organizers of the attack. update our viewers on what you learned. >> reporter: extraordinary story, wolf, about how commercial drone technology can be made lethal in certain hands, about how close nicolas maduro came to potentially being killed by one of these devices and maybe other innocent civilians, too, but as well how those who oppose nicolas maduro have long
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before the trump administration started paying attention to them being dedicated and sophisticated in their task. here is what we learned. they thought it was fireworks first. it was a drone bomb. abraciis a brazen assassination bid. it could have killed everyone on the stage. dozens of civilians nearby if it missed. the crowd scattered. what really happened? was it a fake? even now, the opposition leader juan guaido told cnn he condemned the attack. it makes them look like victims. i think this was done by the government. such options are not good. cnn has tracked down one of the organizers of the attack who supplied these videos seen here for the first time to prove his
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role in what he claims was a genuine assassination attempt. why did you plot to kill nicolas maduro? a peaceful row te fuful protest. why did you think assassination was necessary? >> translator: we tried every way to bring an end to this. we have friends who are in custody, tortured. this was a hard decision. >> reporter: were you not worried about killing innocent people flying a drone with that much explosive into a crowd? >> translator: that was the risk we had to take. we cared about that. >> reporter: the drones they say were purchased online in the united states and brought over six months ago to this rented farmhouse in columbia. we aren't showing you details how they say they made the bomb here. they blew one up in a test. in the remote countryside they practiced. flying the drones high enough to not be seen and then down at a
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steep and fast enough angle to hit their target. a garden tent here. they tried at night in case that's when the chance to strike comes. later, they say they dismantled the device to sneak it into venezuela. the videos show it being reassembled and ready hours before the attack. a presentation days after the attack by venezuela's interior minister confirms part of the story, including the path of th prematu prematurely. the u.s. national thought it might be fake. >> the u.s. officials briefed on the intelligence had since concluded the attack was a
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genuine attempt gone wrong and the organizer said he met with u.s. officials three times after the attack. >> after they set up three meetings which i gathered was to study the case but they didn't go after that. >> did it help you to try something like that again or were these meetings to find out something more about you? >> i think both. they wanted to get information and that they wanted things in return. we asked if they would be able to help and they left with their notes and never appeared again. >> cnn could not find proof that these alleged meetings happened. the state department wouldn't comment on the claim but said our policy is to support a peaceful transition to venezuela. it unveiled a blend of lethality and ingenuity that is
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terrifyingly simple to get. there's no suggestion from even the plotter himself he was in contact with u.s. officials afterward. it was afterward he says hthey appeared to take interest in what he had done. we're slowly entering a new phase where plots like this and potential loss of life referred to as collateral damage could be like that. >> thank you so much. we're going to have a lot more news right after this. hey, who are you? oh, hey jeff, i'm a car thief... what?! i'm here to steal your car because, well, that's my job. what? what?? what?! (laughing) what?? what?! what?! [crash] what?! haha, it happens. and if you've got cut-rate car insurance, paying for this could feel like getting robbed twice. so get allstate... and be better protected from mayhem... like me. ♪
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this sunday night at 9:00 p.m. eastern join us for the premiere of a new four-part cnn original series "tricky dick," exploiting richard nixon's come back and political destruction. here's a preview. >> i don't give a goddamn what the story is. >> richard nixon has lied repeatedly. >> no reporter in the "washington post" must ever be in the white house again, do you understand? >> the tougher it gets, the cooler i get. i have what it takes. >> defeimpeach nixon now. >> i've got to say this to the television. people have got know whether their president is a crook. i'm not a crook. >> this crap about watergate. >> let others wallow in
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watergate. we're going to do our job. >> i'm going to kick their ass. >> nobody's going to package me. nobody's going to make me put on an act for television. i'm not going to engage in any gimmicks or any stunts, wear any silly hats. if people looking at me say that's a new nixon, then all that i can say is, well maybe you didn't know the old nixon. >> joining us now, the author of the book "the nixon tapes," douglas brinkley. it's really incredible to hear nixon in his own words. when you listen to all of this archival material, what stands out to you about his character as a person and as a politician? >> what really stands out, wolf, were the clips you just played, that i'm a tough guy, i'm going to get you bastards, i'm going to bottom the bejesus out of them. he wants to usurp power by using
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harsh and forceful language. there's also in the tapes nixon the strategist. there's no doubt about it when he's talking about russia or the cold war day taunt or the 1972 break to china and you think what a stateperson, but the overall impression is he's trying to bully advisers or anyone around him when it's at a private moment. if the boy scouts come in the office, he puts on the smiley nixon, but most of the tapes are unvarnished. >> you wrote about the tapes and they turned out to be the smoking gun. when you look at the scandal that president trump is navigating right now, what precedent have those tapes set? >> you know, it's -- both nixon and trump overthink their executive privilege in my opinion. they constantly want to see how far you can go with executive privilege. neither the nixon white house, the trump white house wants to cooperate, for example, with the house judiciary committee.
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they have really no sense of the limits of their power, hence, the penchant for perhaps abusing power. nixon did abuse it and donald trump might be. it comes across on these tapes. they're -- there's a lawless factor going on. they feel that they're almost a king or a monarch, not answerable to the everyday citizen. >> yeah. this four-part documentary, it's really incredible. i know you've seen it and i know you think it's excellent and our viewers are obviously going to be excited by it as well. our presidential historian douglas brinkly. thank you for joining us. >> thank you. be sure to watch it sunday night at 9:00 p.m. finally there's breaking news again. rene marsh is the proud new mother of blake vince payne. he was born this morning at 5:39 weighing 6 1/2 pounds and 26
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inches tall. blake, rene, new father cedric, they're all doing well. look how cute, how cute that little baby is. congratulations to the entire wonderful family. i'm wolf blitzer. follow me on instagram. tweet the show @cnn. erin burnett out front starts right now. "outfront" next, the pardon problem. do emails between michael cohen and a lawyer linked to team trump proving that trump was dang bling a pardon. the feds want the ooechls. obstruction of justice on the line. plus trump says things could get very bad, that's a quote, if his police and his military get tough on his opponents. is that a threat? and the son of a u.s. citizen detained, allegedly tort tured by saudi arabia speaking out in his first television interview. why is president trump sigh lenl again when it comes to abuses by saudi arabia's crown prince? let's go "outfront."

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