tv CNN Right Now With Brianna Keilar CNN April 8, 2019 10:00am-11:00am PDT
and how big this pool is. we don't know what this pool looks like. >> we don't know. we'll learn as we go. thanks for joining us today on "inside politics." see you back here tomorrow. brianna keilar starts right now. see you tomorrow. have a great day. ♪ thanks, john. i'm brianna keilar live from cnn's washington headquarters. under way right now, survivor white house claims yet another name and steven miller wants to vote even more officials off the island. plus, as an administration source says the support growing more unhinged, we're now learning that he's been pushing to reinstate family separations. the white house says democrats will never see the president's tax returns, but i'll speak with one new york lawmakerer who says he's figured out a way to get them and on the eve of israel's election, one 2020 contender calls netanyahu a racist as the prime minister makes a big threat. and we start with president
trump increasingly upset and his one senior administration official put, it quote, unhinged over the immigration situation. now that led to the sunday surprise. the forced resignation of homestand security secretary kirstjen nielsen. she had become the public face of the president's border bashing but apparently couldn't carry out what a senior administration source calls the president's unreasonable and impossible requests. she owes going to be replaced now by kevin mcaleenan who was the commissioner of customs and border protection, and, remember, he's the one who last month declared that the southern border was at the breaking point. two days later the president threatened to close the border. kaitlan collins is at the white house. tell us about these developments. what happened here, kaitlan? >> well, brianna, secretary nielsen was not intending on resign when she came to the white house yesterday, but during that face-to-face with president trump he was intent on demanding her resignation, and that's why she's now leaving. now this comes as the president has been increasingly frustrated
with immigration in recent days, blaming nielsen for the spike in border crossings and also as you noted reviving the idea of reinstating that family separation policy, that policy that the president ended last year with an executive order, and debating bringing that back. now steven miller, a key economic or excuse me immigration adviser to the president in the west bank, certainly played a critical role in nielsen's ouster. he wasn't the only person against her. so was john bolton, the national security adviser and she butted heads with nick mulvaney, the chief of staff and he played a critical role in pushing her out and we're told by sources he wants to get rid of several other people currently at the department of homeland security. right now one big question is who is going to be leading that department because you noted that president trump says he wants the cvb commissioner to take over for nielsen when she officially steps down but there's someone standing in the way that have and that's claire grady who is right now the
acting deputy secretary and technically she's in line to take over. sources i spoke to this morning says she has no intention of resigning in the coming days so essentially she will be force the administration to fire her so that kevin mcaleenan can take over on wednesday. brianna, that hasn't happened yet, but we're keeping our years to the ground to wait to see what's happening next and who it is that's going to be in charge of dhs. >> reporter: kaitlan collins on the north lawn there, thank you so much. this depart you're homeland security secretary kirstjen nielsen highlights the concern about the large number of vacancies that are in the trump administration. by the end of the week, there's actually going to be seven high-level positions with acting officials in charge, and that includes the defense department, the interior department, u.s. ambassador to the united nations, white house chief of staff and now you have the department of homeland security director. the president considers this a potential benefit actually
rather than a problem. >> i sort of like acting, gives me more flexibility, do you like that? i like acting. >> i like acting. all right. senior white house correspondent program brown is here with us. he likes acting. >> yeah. >> but there's a lot of people with concerns about there being so many actings. >> one source within dhs said that, look, it's exasperating. there are now at least three positions in the department offal homeland security now of high-level positions where officials are in an acting capacity, and what i think that does is lead to a sort of a sense of less stability inside and less stability, not knowing what's next. even in this situation as kaitlan pointed out, you have an acting deputy secretary who is supposed to be next in line but instead the cvb chief is going to be put there as the acting secretary, so there's just a lot of confusion, brianna. the president clearly likes it
because it gives him flexibility, and as we all know he likes flexibility, but within these agencies, particularly dhs, which is important to focus on because dhs is, of course, overseeing the president's priority on immigration, there are so many roles within dhs that haven't been filled and now with keelsen gone, resigning, this judgment -- this makes the problem even worth, brianna. >> and the reason that you have these actings is in part because there's so much turnover. how is that affecting things? basically there's a cascading effect because turnover is historically high, sort of like a game of "survivor." think you pointed it out. you look across the administration. just the white house communications director. there have been five, and i do think that this gives a sense of chaos within the administration within these different agencies but at the same time that's not something that the president is bothered by clearly. one after another we're seeing
people resigning, being fired, being pushed out, nominations withdrawn as we saw with the i.c.e. director last week, and, you know, i think what we're -- we're going to see moral of the same. jake tapper, my colleague, is reporting that steven miller is taking more of a leading role at the white house and wants even more firings on dhs on the immigration front. looks like there's more to come, brianna. >> we'll talk about it when there is. thanks so much for the report. the white house has defined -- is defying requests to see the president's tax returns and mick mulvaney said voters knew the president would never release them and said it will never happen. listen to this. >> keep in mind, they knew they are not going to get these taxis. they know what the law is. they know that one of the fundamental principles of the irs is to protect the confidentiality of you and me and everybody else who files taxes. >> to be clear, you believe democrats will never see the
president's tax returns? >> oh, no, never, nor should they. that is not going to happen and they know it. this is a political stunt. >> so actually trump said repeatedly he would release his taxes. listen. >> if i decide to run for office i'll produce my tax returns, absolutely. >> i'm release when we're finished with the audit. >> i will release my tax returns against my lawyer's risches. when she released her 33,000 e-mails. i'll release them when the you had a sit completed. as soon as that is finished, whenever that make, and hopefully it will be before the election. i'm fine with it. >> well, my next guest is hoping to have the final say on trump's taxes, at least his state taxes. we have a new york state senator brad hillman here with us. thanks for coming on. >> thanks for having me. >> you've introduced a bill that would require all politicians would need to make their tax
returns public. how would that make in making the president's tax returns public? >> well, i think -- i've introduced legislation that would require those returns to be released to the public. new york state has that authority to do so. i've also introduced legislation that would require those returns be released only to the congressional investigating committee making such a request. >> being o.but a lot of people would say it could very easily become public if it goes toss a congressional investigating committee. what would you say to that? >> well, i think there are certainly protections in place in our u.s. congress to keep that information private, and what's more important is that we stand by the important principle that congress is a co-equal branch of government and has that important oversight
responsibility. new york state is in a unique position to assist congress in that regard. >> so how does this work then? does this work retroactively? would you have to wait until the president files for re-election? how would this work? >> no. here's the thing. if we pass this legislation that would enable the state department of taxation and finance to release those taxes to the house ways and means committee, that could happen as soon as the bill was passed. it's so important that chairman neal has made that request to federal authorities, but now as you understand and as all of the american public knows they are being rebuffed at every turn by trump administration officials. we could officially effectively rather avoid a constitutional showdown by new york providing those returns to the congressional house and ways committee. >> do you worry about the
politicization of the tax process here even at the state level in new york? >> well, let's be clear. the state department of taxation and finance in new york has cooperated with other states, with the federal government and other governmental entities in providing the tax returns of new yorkers for decades, so this in one respect is nothing new. what is new is that we would be working with congressional investigative committees to provide those tax returns to them. >> what are you looking for, the president's actual net worth, where his money comes from, if he's paid the proper amount of taxes? what would you be interested in? >> well, i think, you know, we're all taxpayers so we all want to know that the man who holds the highest office in the land is not benefiting personally from his business operations nor is his family.
that's an important principle that has been in place for decades, and now this president has essentially thumbed his nose at a long held tradition that so many americans look to to make certain that the president is operating within the confines of the law. >> all right. brad hoylman, thank you so much. really appreciate you being with us. >> thanks. now it's a waiting game over the mueller report. attorney general bill barr tells congress he's well along in making redactions to the report before releasing it the middle of the month, if not sooner is what he said. democrats are demanding a full unredacted version, and in the meantime current and former trump administration officials who cooperated with the special counsel are increasingly anxious about what will be revealed. we have chief national correspondent john king with us.
he's, of course, the anchor of "inside politics." what are these mueller witnesses worried about? >> first, they are waiting to see exactly what happens. will the whole mueller report go to congress? what will be redaktd, and will the democrats get what think demanding, the working snaps it's that that the current and former officials are more worried about the working papers. remember, have you high-profile people like reince priebus and don mcgahn, reince priebus a former chief of staff and john kelly, a lot of past and present officials whose names people don't know who cooperated with the special counsel. they were told to tell the true. a lot of them who said they fiercely defended the president did talk about his work habits did, talk about his foul language did, talk about the way he said let's get rid of comey and sessions and rod rosenstein, why can't we fire bob mueller and they are worried if the interview transcripts make their way up to capitol hill or they cited, he'll read the good things, things he thinks are bad and in the words of one person
who has talked to a number of people, i talked to a couple over the weekend, a person i talked to has talked to a bunch more there's worries that some will have gone bonkers. >> and with the questions they were asked this,y might not have a chance if they are answering honestly, then they don't choose the questions, right? >> they don't choose the questions and they say among things they were asked about, what was the president's intention? again, a lot of them said he was blowing off steam or that he didn't understand the rules, that he used foul language and said very derogatory things about people involved in this investigation whether it's comey or mueller himself. >> this is a house panel on tuesday, senate committee on wednesday and the focus is really supposed be to the budget need of the justice department. >> good luck. >> i just don't know if that's what it's going to be. >> look, there are legitimate questions about a lot of things. >> sure. >> and democrats want to talk about voting rights.
republicans wants to talk ben forcement of a whole lot of things but guess, what he eel get pressed and pushed, where are you on this process? you've been reading the entour mueller report and you're trying to agree on redactions and a public product and the democrats have the continue to push on the questions and haven't gotten full answers, answers that they understand on the work product. it will wander away from that. won't just be democrats but democrats as well but the democrats will push hard on the transparency and one 2020 hopeful, tim ryan, trying have a breakthrough moment and just getting into the race. >> these hearings have been for those breakthrough members as we've seen. >> haven't seen much of him on capitol hill so it would be interesting if he took the job. >> john thank you, thanks so much. more on the forced resignation
as the president recently mushed for more movement. and the president escalated the standoff with iran as it named the elite military force a terror organization. liberty mutual customizes your car insurance, so you only pay for what you need. nice. but, uh... what's up with your... partner? oh. well, we just spend all day telling everyone how we customize car insurance, because no two people are alike, so... limu gets a little confused when he sees another bird that looks exactly like him. [ loud crash ] yeah. he'll figure it out. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty, liberty, liberty, liberty ♪
was o'rourke's response. >> the u.s.-israel relationship is one of the most important relationships that we have on the planet, and it must be able to transcend a prime minister who is racist as he warns about arabs coming to the polls, who wants to defy any prospect for peace as he threatens to annex the right party and has sided with a racist white wing party to remain his hold on party. >> we have tony blinken with husband, deputy national security adviser in the obama administration, and when you -- when you hear beto o'rouke speaking like that, it's -- it's not what someone -- some would say is a nuanced approach to this. what was your reaction? >> there's a very big lane between on the one hand opposing the policies that prime minister netanyahu adheres to and going for did i investment, sanctions, name-calling. i think what prime minister
netanyahu is really an opportunist, because this is the eve of an election and this is a desperate play. >> a hail mary to you. >> might use that term hail mary to get his base behind him and to get enough votes so that likud finishes number one and he has the right to norm the next government. he's done these 11th, 12th hour messages to sway the election. >> when you hear how democrats are talking about these issues on the campaign trail, using strong language like beto o'rouke used, are do you worry that that plays into republicans who are trying to tag democrats even -- there is some criticism of israel to be sure within the party, but republicans are trying to tag them as anti-semitic, trying to conflate some of the criticism of israel and some would argue they are effectively doing this with, for instance, ilhan owe marks the congresswoman whole had tweets that trafficked in anti-semitic
trop tropes. when you see someone like beto o'rouke do you see that playing into it? >> what we've seen, unfortunately, is republicans trying to turn it into a partisan issue.n return you have to go forward with annexation of the west bank. >> the white house is officially announcing that the u.s. is going to designate iran's revolutionary guard as a foreign terrorist organization and the first time they have ever named as -- >> successive administrations have digsnated iran a state sponsor of terrorism and they have gone after companies that the irgc has been familiar with but they have stopped short of
sanctioning the irgc which as you rightly say is the iranian government and there's a reason for that. most previous administrations, including military and intelligence officials, the gain is not what we would risk if we went forward and did that. >> what's the risk? >> the risk is that the iranians have the ability to retaliate against our forces in iraq and syria. they have mill is that. they could take accepts in the straights of hormuz and when they look at the irgc itself it's adding a label, not adding new sanctions so it doesn't get you much, but what it does get you potentially is provoking a retaliation from the iranians and we included -- previous administrations conclude it wasn't worth it. what's really going on is i think the administration is trying to provoke the iranians to renege on the nuclear agreements which they have adhered to and they want to pressure and provoke them to get out of the deal. if that happens though we're in a terrible place because then we're faced with a really bad
choice between allowing iran to get the bomb or actually taking action against them and maybe starting a war. >> that's a terrible choice. >> not a good place to be. >> tony blinken, thank you. president trump is looking to force another vacancy hand this time he wants the director of the secret service out. we have our kaitlan collins at the white house. let's go back to her. she's there on the north lawn. this breaking just now. tell us about -- about this, that the secret service director is going to be -- is being removed from his position according to multiple sources. >> that's right, brianna. one day after the homestand security secretary was forced to resign from her position, we're now learning that the secret service director randolph "text" alice is being removed from his position. mick mulvaney has been instructed to fire alice and he still remains in this position. while still there, he's on the way out, brianna, and they have asked him to leave the secret service. now, an official told cnn, quote, there is as near systematic purge happening at
the nation's second largest national security agency because, of course, you can't ignore that this is coming -- the news of this is coming one day after kirstjen nielsen walked into the white house yesterday, sat down with president trump for half an hour and he demanded her resignation as he's grown from us interest rate trace with immigration numbers in recent days. this also comes as we're being told by other sources that steven miller, who is chief and critical in pushing out nielsen also wants several other dhs officials to leave dhs as well. of course, brianna, you know secret service falls under dhs so this is, of course, under nielsen's perview as she's still there leading the agency until wednesday, but we are being told that now the secret service direct zor going to be removed from his position. >> and we don't know at this point exactly what has prompted this firing, kaitlan, but if -- if you can check in with your sources, i want to bring in for analysis cnn law enforcement analyst who is joining me by
phone. what do you make of this? this is someone who has does report to the ousted homeland security secretary but what does this mean to you that the director of the secret service is being kicked out? >> well, what this is it's actually following a pattern here. i mean, everyone who is associated with the staff, general kell, including the outgoing dhs secretary and now director hale, there's a pattern, cleaning house, anyone associated with general kell the at that point in time. for the strategy of the secret service for to happen now, probably in terms of timing, the best time it could happen. just prior to kick off the 2020 campaign, presidential campaign, so having a new fresh look at, you know, leading the secret service in terms of timing, this is probably the best timing
possible. the director is then in position for just about two years, but he's actually failed to move the needle in terms of a lot of the reputational issues that the service had in the past, a lot of managerial issues, so this is -- this is i think an appropriate call by the president to make at this time. >> and there's also this issue of someone illegally entering mar-a-lago, right? they didn't get through obviously sort of to the inner ring of security, but this was a woman who was carrying chinese passports, phones. she had a flash drive that contained malware. do you see that playing into any of this or no? >> you know, i think it's -- it's tangential to the overall issue that's plagued the secret service for a long time which, you know, the appropriate level of governance and oversight that came from the senior leadership that's pushed down into, you know, the operational execution for the service. again, listen, the secret service has some long-standing problems around people, process and technology.
they have failed to, you know, have a solid strategy on how to address the very dynamic threat environment that the president faces by executing and encouraging, you know, the budget, the expansion, the expansion of technology. how do they keep pace with these growing, you know, global threats, so i think, that you know, the director was the first outside leadership choice for the service in its well over is 50-year leg circumstances and there was a lot of hope that was built around a new fresh set of thinking would be brought in and management for the secret service, and obviously, you know, we haven't seen the needle move at all during his tenure, and i think that this was an appropriate time as the direction is changing at dhs, you know, changing the direction of some of the components, you know, just falls in line with that. >> thank you so much so much, and speaking of security concerns, we're just getting
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prokupecz and cnn political director david chalian. shimon, first to you. tell us what you know. >> she is appearing right now. you'll remember she was arrested, brought here to court last week after the secret service found her. she was on the property at mar-a-lago and when they interviewed her they say she lied so she's been charged with lying to the secret service. we're learning a lot more information today about her from the prosecutor who is just talking in court. he describes her as being essentially a liar, that at every point during this investigation when she's been questioned she's lied, and here's what they found in her hotel room. she was staying at the colony hotel here in palm beach. they say they found over $7,500 in $100 bills in u.s. currency. they then say they found nine usb drives, five sim cards. they also say that they found a signal detector in her hotel room which the prosecutor said
is used to detect hidden cameras. unclear obviously why she would need any of this, but this is all getting even more bizarre and more puzzling as prosecutors and the phone now also involved in this case are trying to figure out exactly what she was doing here, what she went to mar-a-lago for. remember, they also found on her a usb drive that prosecutors say had malware on it. they found four cell phones, a laptop, but then when they started doing search warrants, when they went to her hotel room, they found even more stuff, so obviously this is still ongoing, and the purpose of today's hearing is that prosecutors want her detained. they say she had a visa, a tourist visa to come to the u.s. from china. she flew through newark. she flew into newark airport and then she came to florida. that visa, they say, the state department has revoked that visa so there is an immigration detainer on her so even if she was to be let out today she would not be released. however, there's still a lot
more going on in this investigation, and we could see new charges against her before the end of the week, prosecutors say. right now on the stand is a secret service agent who spoke to her, who saw her at mar-a-lago. he's being questioned by defense attorneys about their interaction, exactly what she said to them, but essentially what we have here at this point is that prosecutors say she has lied about everything. she's lied as to why she's here. she has lied to investigators, and in really it's all about now trying to figure out exactly why she was here and certainly when you hear about all the different items that she had, these computers, sim card, credit cards, all the cash that she had with her, a signal detector to determine hidden cameras this, becomes a lot more puzzling and certainly, certainly interesting as we move forward here and real for the fbi who now are also involved in this investigation. brianna? >> so it begs the question is she a foreign operative? is she a chinese spy, and where
is the answer to that question at this point? >> reporter: right. at this point we don't have an answer, but you're right, brianna. it does paint a picture of someone who would be here for suspicious reason, right, and it could be that she came here as a spry. prosecutors are not saying that. they will not go into specific details about her ties to china. they say she has absolutely no connection to the united states. she does not have any family here. she has no friends here. she's here on her own. she was staying in palm beach at the colony hotel, and certainly very suspicious, because what they are saying is they found even more items that would indicate that perhaps she was on some kind of a spy mission. when you think about a signal detector, they say, to detect hidden cameras, nine usb drives that they found in her hotel room, five sim cards for phones. already had four cell phones on her so shooes these are additional sim dhards could be used in this phone. the fact that she flew here from
china and went to newark airport. she did get a tourist waitza, so that's going to be certainly questions that are going to be asked of the state department as to how did they issue this visa to her, but all the items, when you think about everything that they have found in her hotel room, what they found on her and how she has what they say, prosecutors say has lied to investigators time and time again when they have questioned her certainly begs the question is she a spishs and was she sent her by someone to perhaps -- i mean marx the concern has been this malware that they found on her had they intercepted her at the hotel. what was she going to do with that malware? was it to be delivered into the system of the hotel, into their wi-fi system, into their computer system? it's very unclear, but when you think about everything, it certainly does betting question was she a spy? >> sure does. shimon prokupecz, thanks so much for bring us those very new important details. let's talk to new hampshire
senator maggie hasan, a democrat on the homeland security committee. i want to talk to you first about the secret service director who reports to the homeland security secretary who is now out. what's your reaction of the president getting rid of the secret service director? >> well, higher hi, brianna. it's good to be with you. look, as your reporting just made clear, we face serious national security threats, and it is very concerning now with this reporting that the director of secret service is leaving. it indicates even more turnover and turmoil at an agency that absolutely needs to be running at full speed as we deal with threats from international and domestic terrorism to cyber security to drug trafficking, and so i'm very concerned about this news. >> the president just forced nielsen out the door as i mentioned so as he did that a source is telling cnn that the president wanted to reinstate the controversial family separation program which was something that nielsen had
pushed back on. what's your reaction to the president wanting to reinstate this separation of families at the border that's been so controversial? >> well, first of all, let's be clear that kirstjen nielsen will be remembered now as the person who implemented this outrageous and inhumane policy of separating children from their families at our border. we do have serious challenges at the border to be sure, but we also have broader challenges on the homeland security front, ones that i mentioned just a minute ago, international and domestic terrific, cyber security, drug traffic and we're seeing an ancreation need for fema to respond to more severe and larger natural disasters, so at a time when we need to be foegeusing on those challenges, again, we see turnovers at the top, and we see the president reportedly reconsidering doing something that is totally
inhumane and really undermines american values, separating children from their families at the border of the i've been to the border. i was just there last year talking with our front line personnel. what they tell us they need is more personnel, more immigration judges, more roads, enhances fencing and technology in certain places, those are the things that we should be focusing on, and we need a new secretary of homeland security who will stand up to the president when necessary to uphold the rule of law and the american values that have made us so strong >> you mentioned all of the priorities besides bothered security that fall under the purview of the department of homeland security, but it's the customs and border protection commissioner kevin mcaleenan who is the new acting secretary. moving someone from border sghurt that ro
patrol. what are your concerns with that? >> i'm concerned about the turnover. in the first 15 years under presidents bush and obama there were only four homeland security secretaries and in two years we've see two permanent secretaries depart and we're on our second acting security. that's not good for the hard working men and women at the front lines, whether at the border or at our airports, whether it's in so many of the other areas where we need to be using smart and effective tools to keep our country safe, and so i just -- i'm looking forward to and expecting to meet with and question the president's eventual nominee to be secretary of homeland security, and i want to hear from them how they will address these priorities if they have the experience and the character, not only to address these priorities but, again, to stand up to this president and some of thinks advisers who seem
so focused on programs and policies that really undermine who we are as americans. i come back to the separation of children from their families. we can keep our country strong. we can address our homeland security challenges without hurting children. >> senator, when you look -- the families separation policy has been so extensive in its execution because the people at the border largely are families with children, and as you know, everyone knows, it used to trend more towards single adult males. that's what the detention centers there are really geared towards, not geared towards family but listening to how the president is characterizing the problem and how his customs and border protection deputy director is characterizing the problem. >> some of the roughest people you've ever seen, people that look like they should be fighting for the ufc. >> the majority of the theme are coming are family units.
more than half are family units, and what that has systemically done. >> 65%, right? >> 65%. >> what's the effect of the president misrepresenting what's going on at the border, the crisis at the border? >> well, it's very concerning to me that the president seems to be sole focused on mischaracterizing things. we just had a hearing in the committee on homeland security in the senate just last week, and we heard from a number of experts who were very careful to say that there are -- certainly there are families coming with children, but there are other people who do in fact have legitimate claims as some of these families do for asylum, and it really gets to a couple of things, first of all, it's important for your viewers to know that even today after the administration supposedly ended the policy of separating children, there are potentially thousand of children who haven't been reunited with their families, and the administration has said it could take years to
reunite them which is totally unacceptable. secondly, it's real important to understand that we have to get to the root causes. why are people fleeing the central american countries like el salvador and honduras and guatemala that they are coming from, and one of the things that we heard from experts last week was that some of the president's rhetoric and policies are actually exacerbating the problem because people from those countries aren't sure whether the border is going to remain open for asylum claims so they are accelerating their plans to make these difficult journeys, so i would hope that the administration returns to fact-based decision-making, listens to the people on the front lines, makes sure that we have policies that will keep us and honor our american values, but more than anything also continue to provide the kind of aid to those countries that
helps them build strong economic infrastructure, strong law enforcement, really gets at the root causes that are causing people to flee those countries. we have to do that as well as secure our borders. i'm very concerned that the president and his advisers aren't focusing on those things and that they seem to be very focused on campaign promises rather than policies that will actually work. >> senator, thank you for being with us. >> thank you for having me. >> senator maggie hassan from new hampshire. the president removing the head of the secret service, firing him. this is yet another ouster inside the administration. since my dvt blood clot i was thinking... could there be another around the corner? or could it turn out differently? i wanted to help protect myself.
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get published now, call for your free publisher kit today! we have more now on our breaking news. first on cnn president trump has essentially fired the secret service director. this is coming hours after the forced resignation of the homeland security secretary kirstjen nielsen who the secret service director reports to. listen to what the president said about the secret service director just last week. >> secret service is fantastic. these are fantastic people. i would say i could not be happier with secret service. secret service has done a fantastic job from day one. very happy with them. >> i want to bring in cnn justice reporter evan perez. gloria borger and political director david chalian. this is part of a larger thing
going on with the ousters and potentially other ones that are coming. what do you make of this? >> well, i think that around these immigration and security issues, the president is clearly indicating to us this is what he sees as his path to reelection in 2020. that's what we're seeing. steven miller, you have evan and teams reporting this is all part of this near systemic purge in the department of homeland security. there's reporting that steven miller has more things he'd like to accomplish as the chief domestic policy adviser and this is the area of his focus. i read clearly donald trump thinks t these issues that gived him to the white house and he plans on utilizing these issues and setting up a team that he thinks is not soft on these issues going forward to try to get reelected. >> kirstjen nielsen executed the family separation plan and having troops on the southern border. how is this someone who is soft on this issue for the president?
because that is how she is going to be remembered for her time as the dhs secretary. >> right. and service jeff sessions' policy, don't forget, that started all of this, and i think it's your reporting, evan, that he was being asked to do things that she thought was illegal, and that she couldn't do them. and there were constitutional issues. and the president, evan can talk more about that, but the president doesn't like to be told no. i mean, i just want to share with you some statistics i was looking at. roughly two out of three of the 18 senior level advisers in this administration are gone. now, this is over two years, a little more. and as for cabinet level jobs, 11 departures. this is not the way governing is really done at the white house. >> kirstjen nielsen went before congress and defended the policy as the -- this is just the administration following the
letter of the law. this is just the way it's been done which she was misrepresenting? >> she was. >> but she was this loyal soldier. >> she was trying to be a good soldier. right? for the president, trying as best she could to see from the same song sheet. increasingly there were clashes and increasingly she was pushing back at the president and in some cases visibly in front of other people. one of the clashes i was told about recently had to do with the president pushing for homeland security department to reinstate the child separation policy. that's the policy you were talking about that kooirstjen nielsen wasn't really behind it. it was the brain child of steven miller and jeff sessions but she had to endorse it and put it into place. this was one of those examples where she finally said look, we can't do that. first, there courts looking at this. there a lot of political damage from it. the president rescinded the
policy, don't forget. i think that's what is going on behind the scenes. i was told that -- by one official the president just fundamentally does not understand the limitations constitutionally, under the law, that not just him but every president has on the border and immigration. >> politically, i can't stress enough about this policy. you remember last june when this was front pages everywhere. the images were across. i could not find a republican operative working on 2018 races that didn't say to me of all the noise, of all the stuff that the press covers about donald trump, this is the thing that bottomed us out. more so than the helsinki press conference with putin or the comparison to john mccain and his death. this policy was something that totally resonated with the american public in a way that led to 41 seats being flipped to democrats and the democrats winning control. when you say there are political cross currents, it's so much say his own daughter, ivanka trump, was critical about getting him
to sign the rescinding of it. and now he's looking to implement something that every republican thought was touching just a toxic thing in american politics. >> add to that his health care position which he has since changed but republicans freaked out about the idea that hey, we're going to get rid of obama care through the courts and come up with another plan. those things together which seem to have a blind spot to which republicans need electorally, what does that tell you? >> it tells you that he's thinking about himself and not the republican party, but i just got off the phone with somebody who has known trump for decades. what this source said to me is all of this, and it's sort of interesting given what we're talking about now, has to do with his level of entertainment of himself. that means he's doing the opposite of what everyone suggests and then showing, i was right. so this is -- the source says and who has known trump for some time says this is what's going
on through his own mind. you tell him he can't do something and he'll say to you yes, i can, and don't worry about the legality of it. don't worry about the norms. don't worry about the republican party. i'm telling you, this is going to work. >> i will say our last poll, last month, had the president's approval rating on immigration at 39%. one of the lower issues that we tested for him, but among republicans, again, like we see with the overall approval rating, 87% approval rating. >> we'll have more on this plus new details on the breach at mar-a-lago. . or joints. but do you take something for your brain. with an ingredient originally discovered in jellyfish, prevagen has been shown in clinical trials to improve short-term memory. prevagen. healthier brain. better life.
hello. you're watching cnn. thanks for being with us. we begin with breaking news in washington where the trump administration once again appears to be cleaning house. multiple officials telling cnn the secret service director is now being removed from his position. he reports directly to the secretary of homeland security, kirstjen nielsen who was forced to resign less than 24 hours ago. nielsen was the face of an