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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  March 16, 2019 12:00am-1:00am PDT

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this is cnn tonight, i'm don lemon. it's already saturday, saturday night in new zealand. a city stunned. the prime minister is saying the nation is united in grief. that's after a gunman killed at least 49 people, targeting innocent worshippers gathered for friday prayers at two mosques. targeting innocent men, women and children simply because they're muslim. the suspect is a 28-year-old man, an australian citizen with no criminal history in either new zealand or australia. so he was apparently not on anybody's radar for his extremist anti-immigrant white nationalist views. in the age of social media the gunman live streamed his acts hoping for a worldwide audience.
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we will not broadcast that video. he posted a long manifesto online shortly before. it's hate filled so we won't quote from it excessively. cnn's alex marqhar has it for you. >> reporter: it's a diatribe filled with hate, anger and vows of revenge. 87 needily formatted pages posted on social media in the minutes before the attack under the name brenton tarrant, the 28-year-old now charged in connection with the mass shooting. the attacker repeatedly calls immigrants invaders and says immigration must be crushed. >> you don't think something like this can happen in new zealand. in christchurch of all places with a small community that's so kind and loving. i don't understand why someone would hurt us like this in such a way, just like an animal.
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>> reporter: the u.s. president is also referenced once calling trump a symbol of renewed white identity though the shooter says he doesn't consider trump to be a leader. the suspect claims to not belong to any organization and decided to carry out the shooting, which he admits is terrorism, on his own. >> these are people who i would describe as having extremist views that have absolutely no place in new zealand and, in fact, have no place in the world. >> reporter: but around the world it is on the rise. like other white nationalists, the new zealand gunman falsely claims there's agen know side of white people underway. it's the kind of toxic message heard in the u.s., in charlottesville. dylan roof gunned down nine african-americans. he was mentioned in the manifesto. here and across europe far right white nationalists feel
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emboldened. in brittain, germany and italy, anti-immigrant vitt tree o anti-immigrant vitreole is on the rise. >> the whole environment, not just simply white nationalist, violent extremists, but the whole violence in the west has become much more sympathetic. >> today in the oval office the president denied that white nationalism is a rising global threat. >> i don't really. i think it's a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, i guess. if you look at what happened in new zealand, perhaps that's the case. i don't know enough about it yet. they're just learning about the person and the people involved, but it's certainly a terrible thing. terrible thing. >> and, don, shortly after president trump made that statement, new zealand's prime minister, who's now leading her nation in mourning, was asked if she agreed with the president, that white supremacy isn't
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rising. her answer? no. don? >> joining me is a panel of three. you were on this show last night when the news broke. you wrote this today. it's titled, don't just condemn the new zealand attacks. politicians and pundants must stop the anti-muslim rhetoric. this is a important conversation. this is important by meti. juliet, i'm going to start with you as our security analyst here. it's almost like this attack was produced to go viral. the manifesto, live streaming, reposting. is social media adding to white supremacy terrorism? >> absolutely. when you think of why is this happening now? there's a certain ideology which really is what i call the zero sum game ideology. this is not your archie bunker racism where you sort of accept the african-americans moving in next door, this is a sense that
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i can't exist if they exist and that sense is then magnified through globalization of social media platforms which are not only sharing the information but then also amplifying the violence so that everyone sort of gets energized by it. the third piece is, of course, the public space. the politicians, the pundants, the people on tv who are at best simply condoning it, at worst doing some dog whistles there. i think it's all three of them combined have led to where we are right now in this global phenomenon. this is not -- this is not lone wolf. you cannot isolate these things. this is a global phenomenon that must be addressed that way. >> so when social media allows person with hateful ideologies a place to connect with like-minded people, does this empower them to act on their hatefulness? >> you know, don, i think there's no doubt. there's a lot of research that points to how social media
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interactions and how those engagements in the virtual space actually influence people's behavior. so when people go out there and they find like groups, they find people who share their ideology and they have conversations among themselves, oftentimes it's very subtle. sometimes it's people just talking about other groups and talking about some of the things that concern them, but ultimately what you have in these cases is you have one person in that group that's triggered by something. and, you know, i know we're probably going to talk about this a little bit tonight, but that trigger isn't always in social media. sometimes that trigger is in things that people in leadership positions are saying around the country. >> do you want to speak to that? >> yeah. first of all, don, i'm glad you said in that intro 49 people being culled in new zealand because they're muslim. a lot of journalists, well-meaning liberals have talked rightly about white nationalism, have talked rightly about hate but let's also name
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what this specific hate was in new zealand. it was islamophobia. we've gone beyond dog whistles. we have the president of the united states, the world's largest islamophobe sits in the white house who uses the same language. >> let me play that for you and discuss it. here it is for you. >> we're on track for a million illegal aliens to rush our borders. people hate the word invasion, but that's what it is. it's an invasion of drugs and criminals and people. >> do you think his rhetoric mainstreams these ugly ideas behind horrible crimes like this? >> been mainstreaming it for years. don, in the last hour of your show you showed a clip from o'reilly as a muslim problem. we know how the nazis referred to the jews as the problem. ours is one of the worst attacks that killed 49 muslims.
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same language, invaders. it's shameful he has no shame. notice how he speaks about these crimes. when it's a muslim crime he calls them scum, loser. when it's a white supremacist, he says nothing. trump said it's a sham. he doesn't say anything about the attacker because the attacker has a lot of sympathy for the movement of donald trump. >> juliet, why do you think president trump couldn't go further than he did today and acknowledge that the threats are growing? >> oh, i -- you know, i don't know what's in the president's heart. i just know what he does and that i can judge from the perspective of someone who worries about radicalization across the board and worries about america's security, and that is simply he will never
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ever go further than he has to. he does not accept his leadership role but instead plays to some base that apparently wants to hear him or does not want to hear him condemn white nationalism or condemn islamophobia. we're two years along now, don. we're not going to change donald trump. i think what we have to remember is that there's other voices out there and to the extent that those voices can either be amplified, right, either in the community or other republicans who no longer can sit idly by because we now know what is happening out there, mayors and governors, community leaders, whoever it is to try to amplify those voices because they may not be able to overwhelm the
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president's platform. it's hard to accept. i don't like it. i wish it weren't true. >> hold that thought. >> which other voices though? i wish there were some other voices. on the right i can't see any voices coming out here. ted cruz? marco rubio who talked about shutting down muslim cafes. senator lindsey graham said monitor a mosque if you have a mosque. when you have that language, are you surprised people are turning up at mosques with guns? i went to a conference in texas last year of muslims. there were people with guns standing outside shouting. that is what is going on in cities in the united states encouraged from the very top. >> go ahead, shawn. >> don, i was going to point out. we talk about this as a threat to national security. i want to be very clear.
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this is a threat to national security but there's something i don't think people realize about that. when we talk about this being a threat to national security, if you are a white american who doesn't have a racist bone in your body but you are indifferent or disengaged from the rise of hate crimes in this country, then there is no threat to your security. these individuals are going after people for -- because of the color of their skin or because of their ethnic background. if you are a brown american who does not have a racist bone in your body, you don't have the luxury of being disengaged or disinterested. there is a continued threat. when we talk about this as a national security threat, this is why the president needs to do more. it is a national security threat. it's a national security threat that doesn't impact everyone and the same way. it needs to come out and say there are people in our population, vulnerable parts of our population that these people who are engaged in hate crimes and awful rhetoric, there are people that every day they're going to feel targeted.
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then there are other people who are going to be allowed to live out their lives. he needs to address that. >> thank you all. i appreciate it. president trump says he doesn't believe white nationalism is a rising threat, but how deep, how deep is it a part in discuss that next. got it? got it. nooooo... nooooo... quick, the quicker picker upper! bounty picks up messes quicker and is 2x more absorbent. bounty, the quicker picker upper.
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president trump is dismissing white nationalism. here's what he said after 49 people were gunned down allegedly by white nationalist. >> do you think white nationalists are a rising threat around the world? >> i don't really. i think it's a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, i guess. >> but the facts show white nationalism is a major threat around the world and right here in the united states. here to discuss, adam and sara.
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how embedded is white supremacy in american culture? >> right now? i think it's been for a long time. we're seeing more instances of it and there are more facets of it when you talk to people who are experts who analyze it, research it. we take look at what's happening on neonazi websites. on one of the most popular neonazi websites, any time there is a story that happens to people who despise, they make a joke about it and basically what's on the front of that page of that website is kwhiet agawh genocide, pray for christchurch. they say, we're joking. the undertones are talking about the other. the undertones are black folks, jewish folks, muslim folks. anyone who is not white or
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arianne or european and white, they basically think are not as smart as they are. if you go online and compare what they are doing and trying to get their message out, not only to the extremes but to the main streams, it's similar to what isis did and al qaeda did. trying to get people to come on board by any means necessary. >> wajahit ali came on and he called it white isis. adam, we've made a lot of progress. we had a black president. we have the most diverse congress in history. it can be confusing to hear how pervasive white supremacy is. how do you explain that disconnect? >> this is really reflective of
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an argument we were having since this country was founded. on one side you have people who say america at its core is a white christian country. without that it isn't really america. on the other side you have the civic nationalism who says anybody can be an american no matter where they come from no matter their faith, color, creed. the entirety of american history is almost an argument between these two opposing camps and i think, you know, what we're seeing today, what we've seen, you know, from barack obama to donald trump is that argument is still very much with us and very much a part of our politics. >> your piece today, it was long but i read it. it's very good, adam. your piece in the atlantic, you argue that white nationalism has deep american roots. here's part of what you write. you said the seed of naziism's ultimate objective, the preservation of a pure white
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race uncontaminated by foreign blood was in fact sown with striking success in the united states. what is judged extremist today was once the consensus of a powerful cadre of the american elite, well-connected men who eagerly seize on race suicide during the immigration scare of the early 20th century. so are you saying america is the birth place of white supremicism? >> i wouldn't say it's necessarily the birth place, but i would say the 1924 immigration law was passed largely because of a group of elites that believed that the original sort of in order dick ranordic race, and jews, and they wanted to shield american genetic purity from these inferior specimens
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from over seas. and i think that while that law was repealed in 1965, but i think that -- i mean, the fact is that this belief that the mere presence of immigrants, of people who are different irrevoke cab bring makes america not something important anymore, it's part of our culture for a long time. today you hear on fox news, you hear it from the president, you hear it from the manifesto of the shooter in new zealand who was motivated by fears of what he calls white genocide which is simply the loss of white political and cultural dominance in countries that he considers to belong to white people. >> sara, you have covered countless hate crimes in this country. we've been on the road sadly for some of the things you've been on the show for.
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what do you think is behind the rise of white supremacy right now? >> i will put it this way. donald trump himself has said so many things that match what white nationalists say. it matches their message. so even though he will come out and say, i'm against this. idea nouns, you know, white supremacy or idea nouns hate, if you look at some of the words he's used, they are very similar if not the same to some of the words that white nationalists use and i'll give an example. in this so-called manifesto, it's not good enough to be a manifesto to be perfectly honest. it is a lot of disparate writing from someone who obviously has a lot of issues, but in that if you count the number of times a version of invade is in there, we did, it's about 67 times. where have we heard that word before, don? from the president of the united states. so this idea of dehumanizing the other and there is a power in that and they know that and they
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try to bring people in. it's about fear and it's about power. i have talked to countless people who are know owe nazis, white supremacists and members of the kkk and one of the things you hear over and over and over again, they are afraid of the, quote, browning of the world or the browning of america, meaning they are afraid the numbers of whites are going to dwindle so that the white folks are the minority in power, in power and that people of color are the majority. one of them said to me, i think what's going to happen is we're going to get tasked just for being white. there is a fear that they are spreading throughout the white population trying to bring people over to their side to understand their issues. >> all of the talking points about economic anxiety. >> yes. >> which put this president in office, every single study shows that it's not that. it's fear of loses power. >> yes. >> which is where the bulk of his support came. thank you. great article in the atlantic. "white nationalism's deep
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american roots" check it out. there it is up on your screen. attorney george conway, husband of kellyanne, not shying away of criticizing his wife's boss. why he says donald trump is a weak president next. i'm alex trebek here to tell you about the colonial penn program. if you're age 50 to 85 and looking to buy life insurance on a fixed budget, remember the three p's. what are the three p's? the three p's of life insurance on a fixed budget are price, price, and price. a price you can afford, a price that can't increase, and a price that fits your budget. i'm 65 and take medications. what's my price? you can get coverage for $9.95 a month. i just turned 80. what's my price? $9.95 a month for you, too. if you're age 50 to 85, call now about the number one most popular whole life insurance plan available through the co
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one of president trump's most outspoken critics happens to be one of his top advisor's -- married to one of his top advisors. talking about george conway, husband of counselor to the president, kellyanne conway. susan glassner interviewed him for "the new yorker" and she joins me now. susan, seriously, this is so good. congratulations on this interview and thank you for coming on. let's talk about it. you spoke to him about why he thinks the president is putting the country at risk of becoming a banana republic. the only thing standing in the way is the checks and balances of the u.s. constitution and conway said this, ultimately you become a powerful president only if you are able to persuade others to go a long with you. his narcissism means he has to
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retreat to others he cannot reach out and persuade like every other president does. his narcissism means he is a weak president. >> i would say he's the first and only guy so far i've heard fuse the kind of armchair psychology of trump watching, which we're all engaging in, with a legal argument, right? essentially he is sort of saying that constitutionally trump is impaired as president because he's unable to work with the other branches of government in a way that the founders envisioned. it's a really interesting and very novel argument. there's no question that it gets more attention because the guy writing this is the guy that president trump termed mr. kellyanne done conway. i think it's a very interesting legal argument or observation that he's making really about president trump and why it is in some ways you can see president
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trump ending up leaving the office with less power than he brought into it. >> on top of calling the president narcissist, he's been tweeting about trump's fitness for office. he's called him a pathological liar. a disorder. conway is married to kellyanne conway, one of the president's top advisors who goes and works with him closely every single day. should we be alarmed about this? >> it's interesting. the same day that i had that interview with him he was, i would say, even more unrestrained on twitter than he was in the conversation with me and he talked about have we ever seen such a level of brazen pathological mendacity and he had a clear view of the answer. i know you didn't think it was a good idea for his wife, kellyanne, to be on cnn yesterday with chris cuomo and, you know, this is one of the things i think we'll all remember from this trump
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presidency is that it's divided the country and there's a couple that couldn't see the world much differently. george conway has a background as a conservative legal activist. i wanted to talk to him about the specific challenges that he sees to the rule of law from president trump and that seems to be what really has gotten him tweeting an speaking out publicly. >> yeah. you mentioned kellyanne conway. this is not about having diss t dissenting voices on. i was saying to have someone on whobfuscates and lies. i'm not sure people get anything out of it, but i digress. >> kellyanne called george's comments disrespectful of her. george said if the president
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were simply mediocre or bad, i have nothing to say. this is much different. what does he know that we don't? >> you know, i would say that in my conversation with him it's clear that he is just deeply offended by the president, in particular his -- what he perceives to be threats to the rule of law in the country and it's very interesting. this just seemed to me like a guy who having started speaking his mind, you know, he can't be quiet about it. it's something that goes to the core of what he believes at this moment in time. it's really a fascinating debate. i didn't get an answer, by the way, definitively to my question why exactly is he doing this or what kind of situation is it, but i think this is something whose views are very deeply held who doesn't want to be quiet.
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after talking i got a flood of text messages on my phone the next day when the emergency declaration vote was happening in the senate. this is a person who's decided very consciously to start speaking out even obviously at some sort of personal cost. >> interesting. susan, fascinating. thank you. i'll see you around. >> thank you. from gop defections on the border wall and the mueller report to leading from behind on airplane safety, it was not a good week for the president. we'll break it down next. since you're heading off to dad... i just got a zerowater. but we've always used brita. it's two stage-filter... doesn't compare to zerowater's 5-stage. this meter shows how much stuff, or dissolved solids, gets left behind. our tap water is 220. brita? 110... seriously? but zerowater- let me guess. zero? yup, that's how i know it is the purest-tasting water.
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the president had a bad week. democrats and even members of his own party rebuking him over his emergency declaration to get his border wall. the house voting that they release the mueller report. then there's what the president said after the new zealand attacks. good evening to both of you. the president offered his condolences then he offered this while signing his veto. >> people hate the word invasion, but that's what it is. it's an invasion of drugs and criminals and people. it's the same language, by the way, that was used by the new zealand suspect. why would he say those words? >> look, he has been talking about the invasion of drugs and sex trafficking and illegal immigrants into this country since he ran for president, so the fact that he used them today is not a surprise. i think more than anything, using the veto power today from
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his standpoint is a sign of strength. if he's ever going to use a veto power and his ability lawfully to do so, it should be on a signature campaign promise. i think this was the right move for him to do. i wish we hadn't gotten to this point. if he was ever going to flex the vote could he muscle, this was the issue to do it. >> i seem to recall that his signature campaign promise was that mexico was going to pay for the wall. did i hear that wrong? >> no, you heard that right. >> okay. >> i have said this until i'm blue in the face as well. yes, mexico was supposed to pay for that wall. no, we shouldn't have to be to the point where we're still having this conversation because all-americans agree we need secure borders and we need to strengthen our immigration process but here we are. at this point he is committed to securing the border, committed to immigration reform and this
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is what he's doing to make that happen. >> we know he's committed to the wall. he vetoed it. this is the washington post. a report in the washington post asked what happens if president trump loses to a person of color in 2020. the author was paul waldman says what happens if trump loses in 2020? what if he loses to a person of color? it's more sale will he ent and important to the subset of white people, which means that a trump defeat would almost certainly intensify feelings of white identity a among the days. they say white nationalism would increase. >> we're seeing a rise in white identity politics for years. we're seeing a rise in white nationalism as well. part of the issue is donald trump ran on this.
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he started his political career with a 5 1/2 year lie about barack obama's birth certificate. he started his campaign with an attack on mexicans saying they were bringing in drugs and crime. he started his political ascendancy on muslims. it's not surprising he continues in as the president of the united states. you're seeing the result of this in place after place after place and the white nationalists being emboldened by the president of the united states. never thought we would see this after barack obama, first african-american president. >> you cited overriding rebuke. >> right. >> the power to fund this wall. even with today's veto, that is a big defeat from inside his own party. you're spinning it as a
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positive, but, still, you know, 12 people, 12 people in his own party went against him. >> well, what it boils down to is many people -- many members of congress looked at this from a constitutional standpoint as opposed to a policy and they were concerned about the precedent this would set if he were to go ahead with declaring a national emergency in a situation and on an issue and in a fashion like this. they were concerned about the precedent it would set in the future, but if you look at the way this is and the language that he used and the reason he's doing this, he is within the legal grounds to do so. a lot of people may not like it, but legally he has the authority to do so. and, look, this is -- >> alex -- >> -- for the past 40 years 60 national emergencies have been declared. he has the legal right to do so. >> 59, 60 national emergencies have been declared. this is the first time congress has ever passed a law that is a
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rebuke and term nated a president's national emergency. that's an incredible statement about how out of line donald trump is with this national emergency, fake national emergency. not to mention congress has rebuked him on yemen. the first time they've ever invoked the war powers act to strike down intervention and a 420 to 0 unanimus vote demanding a clear public release of the mueller report only to be stopped because of senator lindsey graham and a few others. >> i want to talk -- >> i've got to go. i'm in a time crunch. i'm sorry. next time. have a great weekend. >> thanks, don. >> we'll be right back.
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news on the mueller investigation today. we learned the status of two key people cooperating with the investigation, michael flynn and rick gates. that as the president publicly dedlard there should be no mueller report. let's talk about that and the investigation into trump, russia collusion on capitol hill. congresswoman val demming who serves on the house committee. thank you so much for being on. >> don, it's good to be with you. thank you for inviting me. >> i have to start with this terrible news and get your reaction to this terror attack in new zealand. what do you think about the president saying today that he doesn't see white nationalism as a rising global threat? >> don, you know, it's just unbelievable every day that i think he cannot top himself he tops himself. my heart just goes out to new zealand. 49 additional casualties of hate. it's extremely painful for orlando because as i'm sure you
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remember 49 people died in the pulse nightclub yet the president is in total denial, and this is a time where we need to see america's leadership around the world and yet again he's absent. it's just unbelievable. but this is the same person who said there were fine people on both sides at a white national rally so we can't expect any better. >> today was a deadline set by your committee among others for the state department and the white house to provide more details about president trump's meetings with vladimir putin. cnn is reporting that the committee has not received a response. what happens next, congresswoman? >> well, we have not received a response, but chairman nadler nor the rest of us on the committee, we are not surprised. it seems like the only person who's trying his best to hide everything is the president of the united states who has screamed at the top of his voice over the last two years, no collusion, it's a witch hunt.
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well, if that were true, you would think he would be willing to cooperate. we are not going to, of course, going to go away. i'm sure monday morning first thing there will be additional contact with the white house and as chairman nadler has said before, we are going to -- don't want to, but we are certainly prepared if we have to issue subpoenas to get the information that we need. we are not going away and the president should know that. >> i'm sure you know the white house has pushed back on efforts of the white oversight committee to reach out to officials like john kelly. is the white house limiting congress to do its job? >> some of the things we have talked about on judiciary as well as intel is looking at abuse of power, looking at obstruction of justice, looking at conspiracy. look, if the president is as innocent as he would like all of us to believe, as i've said before, he should be the number one person who's cooperating to
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show that he has nothing to hide. i believe standing in the way and trying to be with the committees who are doing what we have to do from being able to interview witnesses certainly could rise to the level of obstruction of justice and so i'm hoping that he'll get that, that his advisors, his attorneys, those around him will help him to understand that we are an equal branch of government. we are here to uphold the constitution and we are a nation of laws and nobody's above it, including him. >> good luck with that. listen, i've got to ask you about felix sater's testimony to your committee. he's a russian born trump business associate who worked with michael cohen on the moscow project. where does he fit into your committee's investigation? >> what i can tell you, don, is we are particularly interested
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played a major role inump terms of his discussions, negotiations, if you will, and communications with michael cohen so we're particularly interested in talking to him about the extent of the president's involvement or those around the president to attempt to make that deal happen that may have certainly provided some grounds or motivation that centered around the 2016 elections. >> earlier today the president tweeted that there should be no mueller report just a day after the house unanimously passed a resolution to support this. why do you think the president wants these findings out of the public eye? why don't you think he wants no one to see it? >> isn't it interesting? this person who says there is no collusion, it's a witch hunt.
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he should be the first person. he should release the report as soon as he receives it and -- >> if it exonerates him, right? >> exactly. you would think that he would be the first person to want the public to know what the truth is and it just amazes me, don, we've seen it a couple of times now, the president does not seem to understand that the legislative branch is an equal branch of government. we're equal to the executive branch and so, look, we voted overwhelmingly that the report is released. it's been a couple of years. the american public deserves to see the report and we're certainly going to do everything in our power to make sure we're already setting the stage right now. we're going to make sure that that report is released. >> congresswoman, thank you so much for your time. i appreciate it. >> thank you. take care. we'll be right back.
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the death of a parent is a trauma that leaves a lifelong impact on children. after losing her dad when she was 14, this week's cnn hero struggled with depression into her late 20s when she finally got help. for nearly two decades now mary robinson has dedicated herself to making sure other children don't lose years of their lives to unresolved grief. >> my name is bella and my dad died. >> kids in grief are kids at risk. time does not heal all wounds. time helps, but it's what you do with that time and what you need to do is mourn. >> when you hear other people's stories, it kind of brings
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comfort. >> so that's why a place like imagine exists, to give children a place to mourn their loss and find out they're not alone. >> to meet some of the families mary's helping and to nominate someone who should be a cnn hero, go to hello to viewers around the world. i'm in choois church. >> we begin the breaking news coverage and the massacre that broke out in two mosques. we are learning more about the main suspect. police raid a home believed to be connected to the attacks in the home where the suspect lived. the suspect appeared in court on saturday. the 28-year-old


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