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tv   Fareed Zakaria GPS  CNN  March 31, 2019 7:00am-8:00am PDT

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biden in public life. there are slide shows of his inappropriately touching women in public. every woman knows what it's like. look how he treated senator heitkamp. >> i'm afraid that's all the time we have. this is gps the global public square. welcome to all of you in the united states and around the world. i'm fareed za car ya. -- zakaria. we begin with venezuela. that troubled nation may be the stage for a great standoff. two russian planes landed nelas weekend.
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attorney general barr's bombshell letter about the mueller report. >> the collusion delusion is over. >> what is the russian reaction? i'll talk to one of moscow's top foreign policy aids. and the legacy of monarch. do we have new norms for presidential power? will the next president not have to release tax returns? be able to fire people investigating the white house, and more. we'll have a debate. but, first, here is my take. president trump faces a crucial test of his foreign policy and his resolve over venezuela. his administration has made absolutely clear the u.s. no longer considers nicholas maduro to be president. a far stronger declaration than the red line barack obama drew around syria's assad. so far, trump's pressure hasn't
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worked. maduro dug in and the military hasn't abandoned his support for him. venezuela is a complicated, divided country and maduro is the heir to the legacy of hugo chavez has some support in rural areas. but far more significant, it has been russia's open and substantial support. moscow now admits it sent military personnel to venezuela. two planes arrived last weekend carrying about a hundred troops. it's the latest a series of moves by moscow to shore up maduro. over the last few years, russia has provided wheat, arms, credit, and cash to the flailing government. estimates of russia's total investment vary from $20 to $25 billion. the venezuela camp that appears to be significant for vladimir putin. in recent years, as the venezuelan government tanked and
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political stability has grown, even most russian companies have abandoned the country viewing it as too risky. as v russian state controlled giant which has close ties to putin has persisted and ramped up the support for maduro. in other words, putin is always in with his support for maduro. he's doing this to prompt up an old ally and adds to russia's clouded oil markets. above all, it furthers putin's federal foreign policy objective. the formation of a anti-american coalition of companies. putin's efforts seem designed to taunt the united states which announced the monroe doctrine in 1883. the big question for washington is, will it allow moscow to make a mockery of another american
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right lan red line. as with syria, there's a danger that if washington does not back its words with deeds, a year from now, we'll be watching the consolidation of the maduro regime supported by russian arms and money. the administration has been tough on russian involvement in venezuela. trump himself declared russia has to get out. but that's an unusual sentiment from trump who has almost never criticized vladimir putin and often sided with russia on matters big and small. as former ambassador to moscow has written, trump has a remarkably consistent banter of supporting putin's goals. trump has threaten to withdraw from nato and announced the removal of troops from syria. he publicly disagreed from his own republican party. >> president putin said it's not
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russia. i don't see any reason it would be. >> i have never alleged collusion or conspiracy between russia and trump writing we should wait to see what evidence mueller presented. but the real puzzle remains, why has trump been unwilling to confront putin in any way on any issue? and will venezuela finally be the moment when trump ends his a appeasement. go to and read my "washington post" column. let's get started. let's keep this conversation going about venezuela. joining me now from the state department is elliot abrams, president trump's special envoy for venezuela. welcome, elliot. first, tell us, what is the situation on the ground in venezuela? a few weeks ago, it seemed
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things were moving in a direction that the maduro regime was going to collapse. that has not happened. how do you read the situation? >> well, the situation for the people of venezuela gets worse and worse. last week we had blackouts, the week before that more blackouts. the humanitarian situation gets worse. the political situation also gets worse. we saw about a week or ten days ago the arrests of the chief of staff to juan guido. the situation is terrible and every indication is the people of venezuela want a change, which is what we and 53 other countries want. restoration of democracy in venezuela. >> but so far, it appears as though the sanctions have not been widely joined by other
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countries. the russians support continues to be strong. is it possible that we will end up in a situation much like the assad regime where people said this is unviable, untenable, he has to go but somehow, because of sheer oppression and force and external support, russian port, in that case, again, he endured. could i be talking to you a year from now and maduro is in office. >> i'm extremely doubtful that's the case. i would say one thing we have to worry about this the case of syria, but we don't have to worry about in the case of venezuela is thousands of foreign fighters. you have thousands of iranian and hezbollah troops on the ground in syria. so that's something you're not going to see in venezuela. you also have, i think, an amazing international and latin coalition against the regime in venezuela. so, really, i don't think the
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situation is comparable and i'm very much doubt we'll be having this conversation a year from now. >> so, tell me about the russians. why are they doing what they're doing and what can you do about it? >> i would say the russians have dmom demonstrated their loyalty to the regime and here i think you can draw a connection to syria that is symbolic. they're trying to show they're good allies for dictators around the world. we have a big options list being reviewed by secretary pompeo in ways in which we should respond directly to russia for their continued support and now a little bit of military support for the regime. and he will make those decisions. >> is it fair to say, though, given the extraordinary russia intrusion violation of the monroe doctrine and doubling
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down on the regime the trump administration has not really taken russia to task and president trump personally, other than one statement about russian troops has never really fully confronted vladimir putin on what is an act of aggression in the western hemisphere. >> i think the russians are doing, first of all, will have its on impact on russia in separating them and other supporters of maduro from latin america. but i would not accept what you've said. i think we've made clear our views. secretary pompeo spoke to mr. lavrov almost a week ago. as i said, there's some things we're going to be doing. we don't do these things by rushing into them without consideration. so we've drawn up the options and the secretary will review them and the russians will pay a price for this.
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>> how you think it ends, elliot. as i said, there hasn't been much military defection or military support for the regime, the sanctions have only caused the regime to hunker down and, you know, in a seize mentality. how does this end? >> well, first, i would say, you know, we applied sanctions about two months ago and some of them were suspended for 90 days or 180 days. so we are in this at a an early point. i have been cautioning people in the diplomatic community and the press it was never our view this was a four-week phenomenal and maduro would be gone. it's a struggle against a dictator who is a vicious dictator and has outside support from russia and cuba. so we did not think this would happen quickly. how does it end? it ends when the pressures have mounted to a sufficient degree. to convince maduro and his
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colleague their time is up. or convince the venezuela military they have to force maduro. it's people power, it's military, it's people in the movement who realize maduro is destroying the movement they thought they were a part of. we're not there yet, obviously. we'll get there. >> and are you confident that maduro's chief external supporter and one could argue the reason he's still in power, russia will pay a price and from the highest levels of the administration. >> that's my clear understanding. everyone knows the russians and the cubans are the main support of this regime and i see no hesitation on the part of anyone at the top levels of this administration of making them pay a price for it. >> a pleasure to have you on.
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>> thank you. good to be on. next on "gps." one of russia and top foreign policy thinkers will join me to talk about venezuela and the russian reaction to what we know so far about the mueller report. don't go away. thanksmrs. murphy. unitedhealthcare, hi, i need help getting an appointment with my podiatrist. how's wednesday at 2? i can't. dog agility. tuesday at 11? nope. robot cage match. how about the 28th at 3? done. with unitedhealthcare medicare advantage plans, including the only plans with the aarp name, there's so much to take advantage of. from scheduling appointments to finding specialists, it's easier to get the care you need when you need it. stimulant laxatives forcefully stimulate i switched to miralax for my constipation. the nerves in your colon. miralax works with the water in your body to unblock your system naturally. and it doesn't cause bloating, cramping, gas, or sudden urgency. miralax. look for the pink cap.
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the investigation did not establish that members of the trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the russian government in its election interference activities. those 23 words from the mueller report surely brought millions of smiles to donald trump and his associates. the president followed up those words with attacks on the democrats and the media but what was the reaction in russia? the director general of the russian international affairs counsel is speaking with us. a pleasure to have you on, andré. what was the reaction in moscow
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to the mueller report? >> i don't think russians were surprised to get the report. most of russians did not believe that there could have been a conspiracy between trump and putin. i think if they were surprised, they were surprised by the fact that the commission dared to come up with the conclusions because the perception in moscow, whether it is right or wrong, it's not up to us to judge. the perception of moscow is the commission has been working under political pressure. it was surprising that the commission publicized the outcomes in such a blunt way as it did. >> what do you think, andré, it means for u.s./russian relations? because in some ways, they have been a little paralyzed by this issue. do you think it provides an opportunity for a new start? >> well, i think that we should not over estimate the impact on
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the relationship because there are many problems in this relationship that are beyond the so-called russian interference into american elections. however, i think it's important that moved out from the political struggle in the united states. it might no longer be one of the major factors in the domestic politics in america. if it happens, it will definitely open some opportunities for very limited collaboration. >> is there kind of disappointment in russia about the trump administration and trump himself. i've always held that donald trump is reduck lant to say anything bad about putin or administration his administration has, many ways been as tough on russia as the obama administration.
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the sanctions are still on. you know, the cooperation with the ukrainians in the polls continues. you know, venezuela the administration is pursuing and pushing back against russia. we saw the scenes of celebration when donald trump was elected. have they been disappointed? >> i think that there is a disappointment because expectations were too high and to some extent, donald trump, when he, you know, was running for election created this expectations. he mentioned that the united states could change its position on crimea. that he could agree with putin on many issues. and, of course, right now we see that unfortunately for russia many things turned out to be purely rhetorical. indeed, we arguably have more problems with the united states
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today than we had under obama. we have this problem in syria and venezuela to supply leathful weapons to ukraine but it's not an easy partner. however, i have to tell you that intrigued with donald trump. he's different. there's a kind, if not sympathy at least an interest to the u.s. president. you misunderstood putin. he's not aggressive. he's trying to shore up and stabilize russia has gone through a difficult period. so he's concerned about places like georgia or maukraine which part of russia's sphere of
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influence. if that's the case, why this enormous russian effort and investment in venezuela, which is literally as far away from russia as you can get on a map. what explains russia's enormous commitment to venezuela, which is, you know, in the western hemisphere has been part for 150 years? >> well, of course, you can look for economic explanation of this. venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world. russia cannot miss a opportunity to get a piece of the cake in venezuela. i can imagine there are some geopolitical considerations, as well. basically the logic might be that if you mess in our backyard, you should keep in mind that we can mess in your backyard, as well.
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>> do you think there is a kind of hostility between russia and the united states or do you think there's a possibility for a kind of breakthrough and a different kind of relationship? because on both sides, seems as though there's a certain fatalism that russia has become the leader of the kind of anti-american coalition and my sense is in russia there's a fatalism that says, you know, we are now -- the united states and the western general are just opposed to russia. i don't think russians are anti-american. i don't think they hate americans or believe americans are evil. however, if you take the political level, i think that no
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matter what we do now, we're not going to change the situation where the relationship is likely to get visceral, at least for some time. the name of the game is not to shift it from competitive relationship to cooperative. the two countries can feel stable and the rest of the world can sleep at night. >> it's a sobering and realistic prospect to end on. andré, pleasure to have you on. >> thank you. next on "gps" in the wake of the mueller report, are trump's action in office legitimate presidential behavior? not releasing tax returns, firing law enforcement officials who are investigating the white house. is this the new normal for future presidents?
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the "new york times" peter baker published a provocative piece this week about the mueller report saying it has rewritten the rules of presidential power. baker writes after watergate, it was unthinkable that a president would fire an fbi director who was investigating him or his associates. or force out an attorney general for failing to protect him from a investigation or dangle pardons against potential witnesses against him. i want to chat about this with legal experts. he was the author of the so-called memos of the george w.
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bush administration and susan block is a professor at georgetown law and scholar of constitutional law. how would you answer peter baker's question? is it now kind of explicitly clear the president can, in fact, fire people who are investigating him? i would add to that release his tax returns. all the norms that had built up over the last 40 years by defying them and be cleared has he changed the standards? >> well, i think it's premature to conclude that. i think that barr may believe that, but barr has always summarized what is draft fairly extensive report by mueller. i don't believe that mueller meant for barr to answer the question. the special counsel should be independent and why exactly mueller left the question open, i don't know. i don't believe bar is the proper person to be answering
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it. it should not be answer bade political appointee. the absent party is congress. the constitution clearly made congress the check on presidential powers. tinge shows the shakiness of the experiment. we've been trying for the last 40 years to try to use prosecutors and the criminal law as a constraint on the president. i think mueller, by my view, doing a pretty good job going through the evidence and finding no conspiracy but by leaving the door open, obstruction, he's bringing it back around to what i think the constitution intended, which is congress is the one who is supposed to constrain a president. a president's conduct makes him unfit or shows him unfit for office, that's what the framers wanted impeachment to be for.
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they thought there would be a broader impeachment power. mueller left the door open for a significant congressional inquiry that could become impeachment proceedings to determine even if president trump did not commit obstruction of justice, it could meet a different standard namely high crimes and misdemeanors. >> you know congress doesn't do this. congress is trying to hide behind the skirts of a special counsel or they want somebody else to do the dirty and controversial work of uncovering all this. >> you're right. congress doesn't want to do the job. they would rather someone else handle the dirty work and take political credit but the constitution isn't built that way. if people want to get rid of a president who they feel is unfit for office and abused their powers, they have to come home to the constitution and the impeachment clause. if congress won't do it, they should held politically
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responsible. is there a role for some kind of legal process here? >> i think it might be a little early to judge. how do we deal with potential wrong doing by the president and the special counsel regulations that were now operating under are still to be judged. but i think that mueller left it open for congress and i think there's a god chance congress may take the ball and run with it. not so much to impeach but to just look at whether there was obstruction and how to deal with it, if there were. i think it's a little early to give congress a failing grade. >> finally, john, do you look at all this, though, and do you end up feeling president the president surely has powers the
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founders didn't intend. the extraordinary power he has under the commander in chief clause with a huge military thing is where we might disagree. i think a lot of people think the president has too much power beyond what the framers intended. i think they left that part. the presidency was allowed to expand because the country grew, our national security and foreign policy needs grew and that had the effect and aggregating power to the presidency. i think the mick take was to get part of the branch to investigate itself. you can see the problems with
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mueller trying to investigate trump and trump refusing to sit down for an interview and people refusing to show up it's difficult to get a branch to check itself. so instead what you should have, i would think, would be a much broader and enhanced congressional power investigation and more regular use of congressional impeachment. they tried. you can say it's the ultimate version of the administrative state. they try to create an independent body to handle a political problem. i think it doesn't work. congress should increase its own measures and powers against the presidency. >> fascinating conversation. this is the deeper issues of the mueller report brings up. thank you very much. >> thank you. next on "gps" in the wake of the new zealand massacre, i'll take you to a country where anti-muslim sentiment is running wild on the internet and making some wonder whether the government is looking away or encouraging it.
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now for what in the world segment. in the aftermath of the horrific attack on two mosques in new zealand this month, there were expressions of sympathy and support for muslims worldwide. but there was also a spike in anti-muslim hate online and from a strange place. i'm not referring to reddit or the websites we've come to associate with the western alt-right. i'm talking about we chat. two of china's two most popular online platforms. chinese social media sites are increasingly home to a islam phobia. right after the new zealand attacks, the people's daily posted a new story about them on china's twitter. the top comment on that story at the time liked by hundreds of users called muslims cancer
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cells. on we chat, an article written by an enormous user describes the attack says heroic revenge and it hit 100,000 views. that's the maximum number we chat will display. this isn't the sudden spike of either activity. they note that anti-muslim bigotry has been rising online in china for the past several years. online spaces are distortions and the most controversial uses are amplified but the rise coincided with a official crack down on muslim minorities in china. there are more than 20 million muslims in china. many of them from the ethnic uighur community. by contrast, overwhelming majority of the country is chinese. the chinese government has in the past two years locked up anywhere from 800,000 to 2 million uighur muslims in internment camps there.
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the chinese government are denies any involvement of ill treatment. they indicate some degree of public approval for the anti-muslim policies. we're witnessing a rise in chinese nationalism and the endorsement by the communist party. tensions between china's majority and the uighurs are a community with a history of resistance to beijing's authority have risen in recent years. in 2009, there were riots in the capit capital and 200 people were killed. in 2014, 29 people were killed in a stabbing at a train station in southwest china.
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the hostility among the uighurs and all this fed the online mob. one reason the china's over active sensors are not cracking down on against muslims online could be these online attitudes justify official policy in shenzen said a chinese journalist and media scholar at the university of pennsylvania. and as james palmer, foreign policy notes, expression of nationalism remain attractive as one of the few remaining forms of tolerated public political speech. as noted, nationalism always requires an enemy of some kind. an official endorsement of intolerance in china may be emboldening a popular attitude all with grim results. up next, president trump gave a gift to prime minister netanyahu this week when he signed a
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proclamation. we'll have the debate about the legality of that gift and a chat about how much it will help in the upcoming israeli elections. thanksmrs. murphy. unitedhealthcare, hi, i need help getting an appointment with my podiatrist. how's wednesday at 2? i can't. dog agility.
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somewhat lost in the mueller report hysteria at the beginning of the week was a trump action that overturned many decades of american foreign policy. on monday, donald trump signed a proclamation that recognized the golan heights as part of israel. the area forms a border between israel and syria and captured by israel some 52 years ago during the six-day war. now trump may say it is now part of israel. does it make it so? the u.n., for one, said no.
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let us bring in two folks to discuss. a author and intellectual joins us. peter barnhart joins us, too. peter, let me start with you. what are the stakes here? why does it matter that trump recognized the golan heights? it matters because of the precedent it sets in two ways. nobody thinks that israel is going to give back the golan heights. it's a process sufficient negotiation that took place in the 1990s. the notion if you take territory by force, you can keep it, which the russians are already saying is a precedent for what they've done in crimea. the second is the precedent that israel might apply this to the west bank. to a parts of the west bank. most of the people in
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netanyahu's party already support this and the israeli government is talking about this as a precedent for an annexation that would kill the two-state solution. >> anna, does that strike you as dangerous precedent? or is it fine? >> precisely the opposite. first of all, the only precedent that was set was that syria and other arab actors were allowed to operate for decades with zero consequences for aggression. syria could invade israel, refuse to recognize israel, refuse to set an international order, use the plateau of the golan heights in order to shell down on israeli civilians, host terrorist organizations that were responsible for some of the worst attacks. it could do all that, lose a war of progression against israel, and still get in the international arena to say whoops we got to do a redo.
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it didn't work out so we're going bet again and again and again. every time the international community is going to allow us to do a redo. >> israel responds to every one of those provocations and retaliates against them. it fights back against hezbollah whatever organization lobs missiles at it. how does a formal annexation help israel in that sense? >> in the diplomatic arena, there was always a sense that syria can continue betting and would always get a redo. there were no diplomatic consequences to the aggressive actions. now this is saying that the era of no consequences for arab aggression is over >>well, what do you think? >> it doesn't make any sense. no one was suggesting israel would give back the golan heights while syria was in a state of beledge rans. it was about the idea that israel would give back, probably not all but part of it in return
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for peace. the principle how in camp david makes it legitimate. it's factually the opposite. you're making that impossible. there's one other point i want to make which is important. there are people who live on the golan heights. the 20,000 mostly original members of the golan heights should be consulted as part of this process. they don't -- they actually generally have rejected israeli citizenship and would have considered themselves syrians. we're completely ignoring their perspective in this conversation. >> let me move quickly because i don't have time. i want to get your perspective on whether it helps or hurts netanyahu in his quest for the prime ministership and whether you think generally speaking the corruption charges against him helped. what is, in your view, does it
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look like he's damaged goods or could he still be the next prime minister? >> he's both. he's both damaged goods and could be the next prime minister. he still standing. he's still a formidable opponent. the golan heights itself doesn't seem to play or make a big difference either way. i'm going to vote for the opposition and i think it's an important step and good for the united states and allows a low cost win in syria. netanyahu continues to be a formidable opponent. >> peter, maybe the next prime minister? >> you know, it's interesting. we've been talking about russian interference in our elections. this was a blatant american interference in the israeli elections by giving netanyahu a huge gift.
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if we want people to stay out of our elections, we should stay out of theirs. >> thank you very much. we'll be back. you wouldn't accept an incomplete job from any one else. so why accept it from your allergy pills? most pills don't finish the job because they don't relieve nasal congestion. flonase allergy relief is different. flonase relieves sneezing, itchy, watery eyes and a runny nose, plus nasal congestion, which pills don't. flonase helps block 6 key inflammatory substances. most pills only block one. and 6 is greater than 1. start your day with flonase for more complete allergy relief. flonase. this changes everything.
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last month an em battled leader declared a state of emergency. yeah, you've likely heard of one but he was not alone. it brings me to my question, in which of the following countries did the leader declare a state of emergency in february? sri lanka, argentina, ukraine, or sudan? stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer. my book of the week is "melting
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pot or civil war." with the heated talk about the war, refugees, and immigrants. here is a remarkably, calm, sensible, and intelligent look at immigration. he writes from his head and heart, which makes for a potent combination. the answer to the gps challenge is d. in february, sudan's president declared a state of emergency giving the country's security forces latitude to quell a barrage of protests. they poured on to the streets in december over skyrocketing food and fuel prices are calling for the resignation of bashar who rule the the country since leading a coupe in 1989. through a combination of religious populism and the crafting of a security apparatus loyal to him, he weathered crisis after crisis in his 30 years in power. most notedly the uprise of again
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side in darfur. he has been indicted by the international criminal court for his role in fermenting the conflict but he denies the charges. bashar has presided over economic turmoil and or rattic protests. those economic strulgs, of course, were heightened when the oil-rich soil succeeded in 2011 cutting off much of sudan's revenue. despite it, bashar held on to power winning election after election. most of which, of course, are rigged. with the most recent state of emergency, the 75-year-old leader has paused his efforts to run again in a 2020 election. now some demanding freedom called to mind the arab spring. that memory might be why the
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government responded so quickly with tear gas and live ammunition. thank you to all of you for being part of my program this week. i'll see you next week. aye brian stelter. time for "reliable sources." a look at the story behind the story. how the news gets made, and how all of us can help make it better. a lot ahead this hour. looking a the post mueller media landscape. right wing outlets are warning and the border. left wing outlets are worried about health care. we'll talk about that coming up. plus, a fresh face on the campaign trail with mayor pete