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tv   At This Hour With Kate Bolduan  CNN  March 22, 2019 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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he is to be succeeded by the office's current counsel. i'm poppy harlow in new york. jim will be back in the chair. i will be off next week. i'll see you soon. at this hour starts now. hello. i'm ryan nobles. reading the tea leaves and watching the clock. will this be the day that special counsel robert mueller turns over his report on the russia investigation? a short time ago president trump said he has no idea when the report will be submitted to his attorney general, but from the west wing to the halls of congress, anticipation is building as are the signs that the investigation is wrapping up after nearly two years. cnn points out that members of mueller's team are bringing family members to the office for visits with some staff members carrying out boxes. also, the top prosecutor is
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leaving for another assignment and the special counsel's grand jury has not been seen in two months. while he waits, president trump is keeping up his attacks. >> there was no collusion. there was no obstruction. everybody knows it. it's all a big hoax. it's the witch hunt. it's all a big hoax. we'll see what happens. i know that the attorney general, highly respected ultimately will make a decision. >> sarah westwood gets us started from the white house. what else did the president have to say? >> reporter: well, president trump started linking that special counsel investigation to the several house democratic probes that are now ongoing into his white house and business. he called those probes a continuation of the same witch hunt, his favorite name for the russia investigation. and he was also asked about allegations that his son-in-law jared kushner has been using
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what's app to communicate with foreign leaders. the president said he knows nothing about that. that's just one of several areas of inquiries for house democrats. elijah cummings said yesterday that his committee had evidence several were using personal messaging services to conduct official business. the white house also indicating yesterday that they would be resisting requests for information about communications between trump and russian president vladimir putin saying that courts have argued that those communications are protected. it hurts the president's ability to conduct foreign diplomacy. the president also down played the prospects for impeachment saying if house democrats were to initiate impeachment proceedings that would only help republicans politically although house democrats have not expressed interest in pursuing impeachment as they expand their several investigations into this white house. >> sarah westwood live from the north lawn of the white house. thank you for that.
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while president trump may be playing them down, house democrats are still demanding answers from the white house on a number of new investigations. sarah just mentioned one of them looking at whether or not jared kushner conducted official government business on their personal e-mail and text. tell us the latest on that investigation. >> reporter: elijah cummings sent a letter to the white house demanding information about the use of personal e-mail at the white house. what he is alleging in his letter is that the attorneys who represents both of them told them in a december meeting that jared kushner has used what's app to communicate with foreign leaders. he also contends that jared kushner's attorney has said that ivanka trump used personal e-mail to conduct personal business and did not forward official e-mails to the government account. this is something that abbe
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lowell pushed back against. he did not dispute that jared kushner used what's app. he said he has been in compliance with federal law by essentially forwarding the messages to his official account. this is something that elijah cummings wants more answers to. he says former white house officials also apparently using some of their personal e-mails to do their government business. of course, all of this comes after the president has relentlessly attacked hillary clinton for her use of a private e-mail system. >> one might say a little ironic. the white house rejecting a request from democrats to obtain documents relating to president trump's communication with vladimir putin. what can you tell us about that? >> reporter: this was a request that several democratic chair men have made because there have been few details about the
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face-to-face interactions between trump and putin. there have been questions about what exactly the american interpreter might know. those chair men demanded information and wanted to interview official whose had knowledge of the meeting. after the white house rejected it made clear that they were prepared to fight this in the long haul. this is what was said in a letter to the chair men yesterday saying the president must be free to engage in discussions with foreign leaders without fear that those communications will be disclosed and use this for political purposes. the democratic chairman elijah cummings as well as adam schiff say they are now weighing their next steps about how to pursue this information. they say this is a troubling
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pattern by the trump administration of rejecting legitimate and necessary congressional oversight with no regard for precedent or the constitution. this is all part of a growing fight between house democrats who sent letters asking for voluntary compliance. now we are about to hit the next phase which is subpoenas. the question is how does the white house respond. >> thank you. plenty to unpack now. we have a great panel to talk about it. cnn political commentator joe lockheart. samantha who served during the obama administration and cnn legal analyst and criminal defense attorney. let's talk about the legal implications so far of the mueller report first with you, paul. if robert mueller doesn't think he can charge the president here or anymore associates, is there really anything we will learn from this report if it ever does become public? >> this will depend on how much
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attorney general barr authorizes the release of because he really has control over how much of mueller's product whatever it is goes public. i suspect there will be a lot of very interesting details in the report that have not been revealed. mueller has been extremely effective in keeping the report confidential, keeping his investigation confidential. i would look for some really important factual items to be revealed. >> i want you to comment on the letter that rod rosenstein sent a few months ago where he kind of offers a road map, if you will, of the mueller report's findings. this was one section of it. he said quote punishing wrong doers through judicial proceedings is only one part of the department's mission. we also have a duty to prevent the disclosure of information that would unfairly tarnish people who are not charged with crimes. one might argue that is what james comey did when he held the
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press conference. could that have an impact on what is delivered in this report and made available to the public? >> absolutely it could. i think it is an important principle. if this were a garden variety prosecutor doing an investigation and coming up with some things that maybe suggested criminality but didn't make the reasonable doubt standard you wouldn't tarnish the person. that gets released when the case is brought into court. of course, the president is a political figure so the standards are going to be different. i think we will see more details. the second thing, if this report is coming out imminently, the grand jury did a lot of the work for mueller. and grand jury proceedings are absolutely secret under federal law. so the biggest problem i think that barr and mueller are going to have in deciding what to put in the report is whether it is grand jury secret material because if they put that in the report and it is released, that's a violation of criminal
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law. so watch for that when the report comes out. >> joe, i want to turn to you because there has obviously been a communication strategy between the white house and the president. he has been effective of boiling down the goal of the report to determine whether or not the issue is collusion. should he be more worried about obstruction of justice? >> i think he should be most worried about collusion. even if the president is right that he didn't personally collude we know his campaign did. we know the russians influenced this election. because we have heard that before doesn't make it less big news. the obstruction thing is really where and in the mueller basket of things he probably should be most concerned about because he did it in plain sight. i'm not talking from a legal point of view, but from a political point of view, he did everything he could to impede this investigation. it's generally not in political ter terms the way innocent people
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act. he can do almost anything, as he says, and his base is not going to leave him. but to the rest of the country, the 65% of the country, i think this is a real problem and they are going to take this with them to the election booth in 2020. >> so, sam, i want to turn to something on twitter last night that got a lot of retweets from one of the most talented social media politicians and that is alexandria ocasio-cortez tweeting a cnn report about jared kushner's use of what's app for foreign correspondence and secretary clinton responding saying tell me about it. this is something you know about, the use of social media, the potential pit falls related to it. would it surprise you to learn that jared kushner is in communication through an app like what's app with foreign leaders? >> jared kushner is following the president's lead. he is using his devices in an
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unauthorized way. it doesn't surprise me in that respect. the use of what's app is really hitting a triple but not for the home u.s. team. every white house staffer that enters the white house is briefed on the presidential edures and counter intelligence risks. by using what's app, jared kushner is knowingly violating the presidential records act. he is using a device and not keeping a record of information that has to do with presidential records. i did not throw out a post it when i was in the white house if it had something to do with the president's business because that is the law and that information belongs to the public. i may have missed something, but what's app is not a classified app. if jared kushner was speaking with a foreign leader and that is normally a classified conversation, he was doing so using an unclassified device. from a counter intelligence perspective, jared kushner's lawyer said he gave screen shots
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to u.s. government officials. we have no way of knowing whether that is true or not. mohammed bin salman may have more information than the u.s. government that gives the saudis a manipulation point over jared kushner yet again. >> do you think this is one of the issues with jared kushner's security clearance? >> i think this probably effects he and ivanka trump in terms of use of personal devices. the presidential records act is very clear that within 20 days of you using a communication device that has an effect on presidential deliberations, it has to be preserved. of course, we have to find out if jared kushner has been preserving and saving these things via screen shot or some other thing. i think this is a very, very serious problem. >> i want to talk about the stone walling of these congressional committees. how long can the white house hold off on giving this information that congressional leaders are looking for? >> my guess is they will stone
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wall them through the election and that their strategy is there is no benefit for them in releasing any of this information because it is incredibly damaging. just take jared kushner. he can't get a security clearance. he is running the middle east peace process. the middle east peace process is falling apart because trump is going outside the channels of his own government. so this would be -- they would much rather take the heat for stone walling than to have the facts come out. now, that's a very difficult campaign to run. but again, for his base, they don't really care. >> if i could just add quickly on the putin transcript, this is president trump's bed. he refused to brief congress when he got back from his trip. he refused to keep them fully informed. now they are trying to get access to information that president trump knowingly withheld from them. he could solve some of this by going to congress, telling them what happened with vladimir
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putin and getting at this that way. >> and the bottom line is there are professionals that do this. right now donald trump and jared kushner, two people who have no experience with foreign policy are running our foreign policy. >> we have to leave it there. excellent conversations. thank you all for being here. we appreciate it. coming up, secretary of state mike pompeo says it's possible god sent president trump to protect the jewish people. what is the state department saying now? and is president trump interfering with israel's election. it was sold as a newer, more efficient jet. new details on how boeing promoted the boeing 737 max. did they give airlines and pilots a misleading impression that minimal training was required? mimini was born extraordinary, with more power for more fun. mini was born to do the only thing we ever wanted to do. drive.
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president trump is reversing more than a half century of u.s. policy in the middle east claiming it's time to recognize israel's sovereignty over the golan heights. that means a foreign policy win for prime minister benjamin netanyahu less than three weeks before his reelection bid. secretary of state mike pompeo is on a middle east tour this week including a visit with netanyahu. listen to what pompeo told christian networking network about what he is doing. >> could it be to help save. >> as a christian kw believe that is possible. to see the remarkable history of the faith in this place and the work that our administration has done to make sure that this democracy in the middle east in
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this jewish state remains, i'm confident that the lord is at work here. >> cnn senior diplomatic correspondent is live in washington. is this being seen as trump interfering with israel's election? >> reporter: by many, yes. just the fact that mike pompeo is there standing along side benjamin netanyahu, making this huge announcement that trump is recognizing israeli sovereignty in the golan heights which is not internationally recognized by any means, that is disputed territory, making this announcement like it's this great gift and it is meant to be, making these comments to christian broadcasting network. how could this not be seen as helping benjamin netanyahu? and so when asked, mike pompeo makes no secret of supporting netanyahu, of course. but it wasn't that long ago when he was asked about the israeli elections that he himself said it wasn't really his role to
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comment on israeli politics and he shouldn't be weighing in there. but now here he is beaming along side netanyahu as they're talking about this trump announcement. this is one more big gift that this administration has given to him and now just as he is facing a difficult election. >> of course, meddling in elections is something that is a topic on many fronts. a little bit odd that the white house would choose to make such a bold statement at this time given where we are with the israeli election. thank you. coming up, a week after launching his presidential campaign, beto o'rourke sprints lightni through his third state. new details on the timing of a possible bid by joe biden. does he run the risk of jumping in too late? alright, i brought in
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joining me now is jeff zeleny and chris alyssa. jeff, let's talk about beto first. he hits the campaign trail and makes a pretty big hire adding a former obama aid to run his campaign. what can you tell us about that? >> beto o'rourke did something somewhat unusual. he got on an airplane last night and flew to south carolina as opposed to driving there. he is hitting south carolina as he stops through all of the early voting states. he will be in south carolina for the next couple of days on to nevada and then the kickoff rally in el paso. he did finally hire a campaign manager. it is one of the unusual unorthodox things about this campaign. he jumped in without a campaign manager. we are told he settled on jen o'malley dylan. she is not a household name to many but inside democratic politics she definitely is.
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she was a deputy campaign manager for the obama reelection campaign in 2012. she is one of the experts inside the party on voter habits. she is seen as a very strong hire, a member of the obama family, if you will, the political family. so she i would suspect bring on others with her. but she is going to be officially named as campaign manager coming up sometime soon. an interesting sign he is trying to put structure on what has been a kind of free flowing road show. >> basically since he announced, beto o'rourke has been on the road literally. does he have somewhat of an advantage here? he is essentially unemployed, does not have a day job. he can put all of his focus on the campaign trail? >> 100%. most of the other candidates that we would consider top tier,
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bernie sanders, elizabeth warren, kamala harris, cory booker, they are all busy most weeks when congress isn't on recess. they are in washington. they have voting. now, the exception to that is joe biden who is also currently largely unemployed. if you are beto o'rourke it is very smart. part of your appeal is you're energetic and youthful. his best attribute is himself. he stands on counters and gives talks. the more of that you can do, it's not only good because you meet more voters. it reinforces the brand that is appealing to voters in texas. this is a guy who ran for the senate in texas who is now in double digits in the latest cnn poll. >> i guess we do have to take about joe biden. we spent this time trying to figure out when he is going to announce. you have new information about the possible timing.
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it could be longer than maybe we originally thought. >> i feel like we are sort of repetitive. initially joe biden was going to sign in january. we are told he may make a decision coming up in the next week or so, perhaps a bit longer. do not look for an announcement perhaps until the end of april. we are told that his team might need three weeks or so to get things in place, to have a big rally to set up fundraisers. joe biden sees no urgency to jump in. the question is will his first day be his best day? after he is in, are his rivals going to start taking shots at him? he does not see a huge urge aepsaep ancy. there will be questions. is he serious about this. we are told he has not made a definite decision to do this. all things are in place to do
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it. we have been talking about potentially picking an early vp. he has not yet given that signal. perhaps around easter, maybe after easter we are told. >> just to quickly add to that point, the knock on biden for his political career is he makes no decisions until a decision is forced upon him. he really struggles to make a decision. by the time he makes one, it is made for him because the time has grown late. i'm with jeff. i get that he doesn't need to be in today because he is the best known candidate. the longer he waits the more his candidacy gets picked apart and the more doubts are raised about is he actually running? >> i feel like the waiting game for joe biden's presidential bid goes back to the fall of 2015. the waiting game continues, how long before people start to get annoyed.
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jeff zeleny, as always great analysis from both of you. coming up, newer, more efficient and low cost rollout. next, new details on how boeing sold airlines on the boeing 737 max before those doomed flights. 8 alice loves the smell of gain so much, she wished it came in a fabric softener too. [throat clears] say hello to your fairy godmother, alice. oh and look they got gain scent beads and dryer sheets too!
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the details raise questions about whether pilots got enough training before they took boeing's new aircraft into the skies. cnn's senior investigate was correspondent drew griffin has been digging on the story. >> the 737 max was promoted as a newer, more efficient version of boeing's popular plane, so similar to the older versions of the 737 that only minimal pilot training was required. boeing's chief test pilot described the training in the interview with flight global saying airlines could take their 737 pilots, give them 2 1/2 hours of ground training on an ipad and they would be good to go. >> he was able to find everything he can just like he can. it is faa approved for 2 1/2 hours of computer-based training.
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>> from the beginning it was all about introducing this new plane but at a tremendous cost saving to boeing which was reconfiguring engines and airlines could assimilate the planes into the 737 fleet. the promotional material talked about the low cost of the rollout. as you build your 737 max fleet millions of dollars will be saved because of its commonality with the next generation 737. pilots, industry unions told cnn the training was all done on an ipad, no air time for practice, not even in a simulator for a 737 max. the u.s.-based pilots we have been talking to say the 2 1/2 hours of ground training, the planes were so similar that an experienced 737 pilot should have had no problem transitioning to the newer model 737. the difference is this system that we are talking about. the airlines and the pilots had
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no idea it was on board. they didn't know what it was until that lion air crash. that's when boeing sent out an emergency bulletin warning pilots that the new 737 max had a system on board meant as a safety feature but being investigated for possibly being involved in the two crashes in which this safety feature may have helped steer the planes into a nose dive. >> how could this system have been on the plane as far as we know and the pilots, even the airlines buying the planes didn't know about it? >> they certainly didn't know about it. i think this gets to the heart of the boeing faa relationship where boeing basically inspects and certifies its own planes and then the faa kind of oversees that. the system was kind of a stop gap measure on this particular plane. it was an easy software fix to try to prevent the plane from diving. u.s. pilots say no matter what
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the system was, we were trained to override it. we can handle it. it's going to be part of this investigation. >> it seems like every day there is a new development to this story. incredible reporting as always. thank you. coming up, as democrats push for president trump's tax returns, some lawmakers say they should be looking at his business filings instead. what could they reveal and what are lawmakers looking for? but first, just a few months ago the top ten cnn heroes of 2018 were honored in new york city for their selfless work helping others those heroes returned to their communities from africa to peru to america's heart land, these heroes continue to make the world a better place. >> just since january 1 we have built and delivered 1,100 bunk beds. we have trained 14 new chapters. we are averaging about 15 every other month. we have partnered up with fema and the red cross and now are
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new this morning, the federal prosecutor in manhattan who led the criminal prosecution of michael cohen will leave his post next month according to a person familiar with the matter. the source says he has not given a reason for his departure from the number two spot in the southern district of new york. a source tells cnn he will be succeeded by the office's current counsel. now democrats apparently want to see more than president trump's tax returns. a new report in politico says there are lawmakers in congress pushing to see trump's business tax filings, as well. those documents could be more telling and vastly more complicated than his personal
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returns. brian, the president's political opponents have been after his personal tax returns. why are democrats so interested in his business returns rsh as well? >> they are getting ready to make the formal request for his returns under this law that they hope to use to seize the returns. they are wrestling with the question of what we are asking for. they want his personal returns but realize that a lot of the details in his business dealings are going to appear on other filings. and the complication there is that his financial disclosure report show he has more than 500 partnerships and other types of businesses and each of those would have its own return. when you are going to look at five or ten years of returns you can see how the number of returns that they will have to -- the amount of information that they will be sorting through quickly, they are worried about a dump truck of
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tax returns being dumped on them. >> even before they get to that point, though, how difficult will it be for them to acquire this information? are there legal maneuvers to put in place to try to prevent that information from coming to the congress? >> they are working under a number of constraints. they have to get the information. the administration has signaled that it will fight this in court. we don't know how long that will last. democrats would like to put something out before next year's election. so that sort of forces you to think about how long do we think the court battle will last? how much time do we have to look at the returns and does that effect what we request? if we request thousands of returns, are we going to have time to go through them and be able to put something out on a timeline that makes sense for them? >> is it not just the
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president's returns? are they interestinged in the first lady's as well? >> it is possible. they own businesses together then you may want her returns, as well. there is other sorts of returns they might want, too. he has trusts that would have their own returns. you might want gift tax returns. he has a foundation that was dissolved that would have its own filings. they are really just waiting through what exactly do we want here and what is doable? some folks think there should be a very broad investigation and they can do this and it's not a big deal if they get 10,000 pages of paper. others are saying maybe they should take a piece meal approach and maybe ask for a so that's sort of the calculations that they're going through now.
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>> all right. interesting report. brian faler from politico, thank you for being here. coming up, do you notice a timeline on twitter that you don't follow? the social media site is actually amplifying extreme political rhetoric. we'll have more on that when we come back. this is a very difficult job. failure is not an option.a. more than half of employees across the country bring financial stress to work. if you're stressed out financially at home, you're going to be too worried to be able to do a good job. i want to be able to offer all of the benefits that keep them satisfied. it is the people that is really the only asset that you have. put your employees on a path to financial wellness with prudential. bring your challenges.
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giving voice to extremism and paranoia whether you like it or not. a new cnn report just published this morning shows how twitter is amplifying extreme political rhetoric and conspiracy theories, and the evidence is as close as your cell phone. cnn senior media reporter oliver darcy has been gathering the facts and he's here to talk about it. oliver, explain how this algorithm impacts what the user sees and how they're amplifying this extreme political rhetoric. >> some very ugly rhetoric. basically the way it works is if i follow you and you follow this crazy conspiracy theorist on line who has a tweet that does really well, twitter might inject that tweet into my feed even if i do not directly follow them, i only follow you. they're trying to show relevant
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context to users that you don't normally see so maybe you'll follow that account, but what it's doing is amplifying a lot of rhetoric on line, conspiracy theories, misinformation and sometimes just flat out lies. i got one in my feed the other day that called hillary clinton, the goddess of isis. there are tweets that have cast out on the legitimacy of the u.s. elections, a whole lot of stuff out there. but it is meant to show relevant content, and it's supposed to be a good feature, and i think sometimes it can be, but there is a down side here. >> partly what the social media networks pride themselves on is a freeflow of information, but this has become an increasing problem, right? how is twitter responding to this? >> twitter says they're trying to improve this situation. in a statement they did say, our efforts should not amplify behavior that is meant to intimidate, harass or threaten others. we will continue to work to improve our efforts here and people will always have the option of turning off our
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curation if they don't want to see content from the people they follow. i'll note, though, while they do have the option of turning this off, it is automatically on for everyone so it's still going to amplify this information even if you or i turn it inflammatory rhetoric, conspiracy theories, and they normally would not see them because they don't follow those accounts. >> you also have some interesting reporting on another topic, misinformation about vaccines and how that continues to flourish on places like facebook and instagram, even though they promised to crack down on it. >> it's another example of misinformation flowing free on the social media platforms. facebook promised to crack down on this over two weeks ago. i just searched on instagram a few moments ago to see if there was vaccine information. still a lot coming up when you search vaccine stuff. i'm not sure what the holdup is on this. it's in plain daylight, but facebook says it's working on
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this. a warning now from the nation's highest ranking marine officer. he said troop readiness is at risk in part because of trump's decision to deploy marines to the southern border and using billions earmarked for the military on his border wall. what do you know about this? >> important to know that he is, even for a marine, one of the plain-spoken generals out there. he has sent a letter to acting defense secretary patrick shanahan warning that these unplanned, unbudgeted expenses that are being put on the marine corps could, in fact, hurt what he calls combat readiness, expressing a lot of concern that money is going out the door and marines will not have the funding they need for exercises, training and even potentially deployment. general miller cites, as you say, ryan, a couple of things. he talks about some of the
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things that are impacting the corps. the deployment of marines to the border to support the president's immigration policy and effort, plus the potential that some projects that the marines were planning to spend money on could even potentially be canceled to help fund the border wall. but he also makes a really interesting point, that the marines have got to spend some money now to repair hurricane damage that they have suffered, especially in places like camp lejeune, and that they need possibly 1 to $2 billion or more to repair some of that hurricane damage. what this is all underscoring is a lot of money going out the door for a lot of unplanned, unexpected projects, and what the commandant of the marine corps is saying is, wait a minute, we still need money to deploy troops where they're needed. ryan? >> how ordinary is it for a
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gentleman like th general like this to speak out like this? >> usually these things are quiet conversations. general miller wrote a memo. it did leak to the news media. this is a guy very plain-spoken, and he is actually expected to retire regularly scheduled retirement in the coming months. that may make it a little easier for him to speak his mind. >> barbara, thank you from the pentagon. thank you for joining us. thank you for joining me all week. "inside politics" with john king starts right now. thank you, ryan, and welcome to "inside politics." i'm john king. thank you for sharing your day with us. it is friday, but is it mueller friday? washington on edge waiting for the special counsel to close the books and to file his report. plus house democrats say the white house is refusing to cooperate with its new investigations which now include an allegation presidential son-in-law jared kushner


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