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tv   CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield  CNN  April 27, 2019 9:00am-10:01am PDT

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and president trump, which is long standing, based on the fact the primary objective is ensuring that the united states does not get more influence on the korean peninsula, which is close to nar borders. >> they are looking out for the interest of their nations as well. samantha, good to see you. >> thank you. hello, thanks for joining me. i'm martin savidge in for fredricka whitfield. a shake up at one of the most powerful lobbying groups, i'm talking the national rifle association. oliver north is leaving as the organizations president after serving less than a year. north was locked in a power struggle with the long-time ceo wayne lapierre. polo, what more have we heard on this? >> reporter: this speaks to a high level of tension and levels
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of the most powerful gun lobbying groups in the united states, referred to the nra. reporting that came out a few moments ago, oliver north informed he will not be renominated to serve as president of the nra. that announcement made as one of his letters was read out loud at the group's annual convention in indianapolis this morning. this comes as the leadership has been embroiled in controversy and a dispute here, particularly oliver north and wayne lapierre, the chief executive of the nra here. lapierre telling the nra's board he had been pressured to resign by oliver north here, just not too long ago, according to reporting from "the wall street journal." according to that reporting, lapierre wrote that north demanded he resign or claims would be brought to light
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against him, including devastating accounts of the finances of the nra as well as sexual harassment charges against a staff member. again, this would be brought to light if wayne lapierre did not step down. north, in a letter of his own explaining to the board that he felt he was acting, essentially in the group's best interest and promise to put together a crisis committee to look into the allegations. obviously, we know that will not happen now that he is stepping out of the picture here. a quick background on what has led to this, according to more of the reporting from the journal here. this dispute between these two high ranking nra executives or officials here stems from a lawsuit between the nra and one of the most influential vendors that works with the nra. according to the lawsuit, nra claims that firm did not justify
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various expenses here and various business records and those are allegations that that firm says are frivolous and, quote, inaccurate, according to "the wall street journal." again, this goes to the ongoing turmoil and conflict at the high levels of the nra. we can confirm now that oliver will be stepping down or at least should not be seeking a second term as nra president. wayne lapierre will remain at his post for now. >> oliver north fought a lot of battles in his day, clearly, this is one he did not win. polo sandoval, thank you very much. polls are showing how the american public views president trump following the mueller report. "the washington post"/abc news poll shows 47% of americans believe the president tried to interfere in the investigation and obstructed justice.
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in the same poll, they don't believe congress should start impeachment. the president is golfing with the prime minister of japan. this, as the president is, once again, defending himself against criticism of his charlottesville remarks. >> if you look at what i said, you will see that question was answered perfectly and i was talking about people that went because they felt very strongly about the monument to robert e. lee, a great general, whether you like it or not. >> joining us now cnn analyst, boris sanchez with more on the poll numbers and what the president has planned for the remainder of the day. boris? >> reporter: hey, martin. president trump hitting the links with prime minister shinzo abe. the president should be heading back to the white house shortly. unclear if he will give remarks
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to reporters, but we will hear from the president later tonight. for the third year in a row, the president is skipping the white house correspondent dinner. he will have counter programming at a rally in green bay, wisconsin. we'll hear the president talk about the economy and, as you noted, great economy numbers. the gdp for the united states growing at 3.2% in the first quarter over the last year, something the president touted over twitter. despite those strong numbers, the president's approval rating continues to hover over the same place in the mid-30s to the low 40s. according to a recent number, it's now 39% and "the washington post" poll that you mentioned previously, the president not really making headway into convincing the majority of americans that he is a great president, apparently. we will likely hear the president mention the mueller report at this rally and the same poll, 58% of those asked
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believe the president lied about the mueller probe and we will potentially hear the president talk about some of his 2020 rivals. he mentioned joe biden there. yesterday, he remarked to reporters, despite joe biden being four years his senior, the former vice president makes the president feel like a vibrant young man. martin? >> i do remember those comments. boris sanchez, thanks so much. good to see you. with me now is a congressional reporter for "the washington post" and a cnn political analyst. also, a historian. julian, let me start with you and the poll numbers. most americans don't believe the president should be impeached. the president hasn't seen a jump in approval ratings since the mueller report. why haven't they given the president's approval ratings a boost as many expected?
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>> there's two things to remember. first, overall, the consequences of the report are negative. i think the fallout is not that the president was exonerated, but just the opposite. there isn't political support for impeachment. that said, in march of 1974, a few months before nixon resigned, support for impeachment was 37% or 38%. these numbers are, in some ways, exactly what you might expect. >> all right. the president, as you know, is going to hold a rally in green bay tonight. he's got good economic news and can tout how the gdp exceeded expectations. is it his opportunity to focus on good things, the economy or look back on the mueller investigation? >> the president had opportunities, countless opportunities to focus on good economic numbers, the economy,
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things that many advisers wish he would focus on. every single time, he takes the opportunity to pivot and start talking about things nobody is quite sure why he wants to talk, whether it's the russia probe or political opponents or issues that have to do. immigration and things like that that play well to his base and leave everybody else gripping their hands and wondering why he is going down paths that are not certain in terms of what the political outcome is. the president wants a fight and talk about things that rally more around him. there's plenty of stuff out there, whether charlottesville, virginia or the russia probe, plenty to distract the president and make him go off on tangents he seems to so typically choose to go down. >> he seems to enjoy it greatly. julian, the president is, once again, defending his charlottesville remarks.
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charlottesville should never be forgotten. i thought the president's words had been. how the president handled that and now joe biden used that as part of his kick off to his campaign here. what is president trump now saying about his comments in charlottesville? do you think he's clarified what were atrocious remarks at the time? >> he's clarified many why thought they were atrocious. he doubled down on what he said. he's defending himself. he's making the argument this is all about robert lee statues rather than a rally organized by white nationalists. as he responds, he brings back the memory biden's video invoked. it's the reason the economic news is not enough to overwhelm the rest of his record. >> why do you think biden brought that up? he talked about many things. it's interesting, that specific point. what was he intended to show?
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>> a defining moment in the presidency. everyone who watched this, the place where president trump fell after that rally really captured a lot of how he sees the country and where he decides to define what the nation is about. so, it was smart for biden to do that. and he defined himself that way as the anti-trump candidate, which is probably his best argument, given he carries a lot of other baggage. >> you know what, let's listen to that while we are here. >> if you look at what i said, you will see that question was answered perfectly. i was talking about people that went because they felt very strongly about the monument to robert e. lee, a great general, whether you like it or not, he was one of the great generals. i have spoken to many generals here, right at the white house and many people thought of the generals, he was maybe their
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favorite general. people were there protesting the taking down of the monument of robert e. lee. everybody knows that. >> now the president is saying this is only about the monument of robert e. lee. does this explanation settle the dust? >> no, we have all seen the videos that day. they were not chanting about keep the statue up, it was chanting about jews. it's neonazi things. to say it was about robert e. lee statues is ignoring what we have all seen. it's interesting, the president does not like to apologize for his comments even when they offend a lot of people. he's doubling down saying you are not understanding what i meant and saying something else that others find offensive is not that surprising. he's given discomfort in crediting and editing his remarks.
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again, there have been several instances where the president had opportunities to distance himself because they seem like dog whistles to certain parts of the country that may or may not be part of the base. the fact he is doing this now and doubling down is giving biden a gift. it's not surprising given where the president has been but reraising what is a dark chapter for him to correct right now. he's not going to. that's a sign for, you know, how trump is going to head into the rest of this pre-election season. you know what trump is what he has been and is going to keep being that. as many people that criticize him from the other side of the aisle, he is not going to change based on the criticism. one thing that biden did that others have not is he made trump respond to what he said. it's usually trump doing the name calling and people have to respond to him. the fact that biden could do that is significant. it's significant that trump said it's what i'm going to say over
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and over again. >> could be what is to come. thanks very much. >> thank you. >> thank you. still ahead, the driver of a car that plowed into a group of people in california could be charged with a hate crime. why police say he targeted those pedestrians. then, later, deputy attorney general, rod rosenstein taking jabs at his former boss. why he believes the obama administration should be blamed for russia's influence in the 2016 election. low battery sound.
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we continue to follow another story that is developing out of northern california. police say the man who plowed his car into a group of people did it because he thought they were muslims. the scene unfolded earlier in the town of sunny veil. now, a 34-year-old man, he is in jail. he's charged with eight counts of attempted murder. cnn national correspondent sara sidner joins us now. what are we learning about the suspect and motives here? apparently sara can't hear me. we'll get back to her as soon as we make that fix. coming up next, new reporting on rob rosenstein, how he scrambled to protect the mueller report and his job and how he tried to
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just before the break, we
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were talking about the story of the car that ran into a crowd in california earlier in the week. authorities are saying it was no accident. sara sidner joins me with more on that. what are we learning abdomen the suspect in custody? >> reporter: we heard from police the suspect, isaiah peoples intentionally ran into a gripe of people in california, ten miles from san jose, california. he did so, believing they were muslims. in other words, he was trying to attack muslims, attack people because of their religion and race. that is why he ended up doing this act where he is now charged with eight counts of attempted murder. that is new information coming from police who have evidence that points to that very detail. we have also heard from his attorney, peoples was arraigned friday in court. he did not enter a plea. his attorney said it was not intentional and he says his client did this because he
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suffered from a mental disorder. he also says his client has been saying he was praying for the victims. we hear, on the scene, there was a witness who said after this happened and all the people were struck bay vehicle, one a 13-year-old girl who is in very bad condition has an injury to her brain said that when the suspect came out of the car, he was saying, thank you jesus, thank you, jesus. that is one bit of detail the police have. they have more evidence that indicates he did this in an attempt to hurt or kill people of the muslim faith. we have also heard from the police chief who said in the court, he said peoples was simply not remorseful in any way, shape or form. we heard from people's attorney who has a different side of the story. indeed, he is remorseful with a mental disorder. he heard from his mother by
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reporting from the newspapers there like the san jose mercury news. they said she says he is, indeed, a veteran. he was in the iraq war and he suffers from ptsd. he was in the army at the time and she pointed to that as a potential reason for what happened here. what we do know is he is charged with eight counts of murder and will have more court dates, of course. the entire city of sunnyvale has come together to make sure the victims know they are supported and they absolutely decry anything like this, number one, an intention act of hurting anyone and two, they support everyone in the community, including, of course, the muslim members of their community. martin? >> it is a disturbing development. sara sidner, thank you for bringing it to us. new developments out of sri lanka where ten civilians, including six children are dead after a police raid and shootout
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on a suspected terrorist hideout. police are searching for two possible terrorists on the run. police took down a safehouse on friday that may be connected to the easter suicide bombings. kyle is in sri lanka with the latest for us. >> reporter: this has been a dramatic 24 hours in the continuing operations to try to round up all of those extra terrorist elements that the sri lankan fear. in the last 18 hours, a raid on a weapons factory and storage facility with an ast nom cal amount of gel ignite. 100,000 ball bearings to make the bombs that much more lethal. information from that by community, muslim community,
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coming to the police and saying they identified a suspicious group, led to a raid on a house. that raid resulted in short gun battling, which one terrorist was killed and three large explosions destroyed that house, burning to death inside it, five other alleged terrorists, nine civilians, three women and six children. cnn has spoken recently to the sister of the spiritual leader of the terrorist group who, himself, died as a suicide bomber on sunday. she feared seven members, young members of her family, extended family were missing. martin, seven members of the alleged terrorist family are missing. six children were killed in the building and one escaped alive with severe burns. >> the terror is not over there. sam, thank you very much. we'll be right back.
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chose not to publicize the full story about russian hackers and social media trolls and how they relate to undermine america. the fbi disclosed classified information to lawmakers and staffers. someone selectively leaked information to the news media. >> with me now is susan, a former attorney in the office of general council and the national security agency during the obama administration. thanks. >> thanks for having me. >> should the obama white house have done more? >> there's fair criticism about their response, but one thing that is clear is, if there is a single individual who has the blame for not warning the american public, it really is mitch mcconnell durring the 2016 election, the obama team reached out, understood they couldn't tell the american people what was going on without bipartisan
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buy-in and look like an attempt to hurt trump. they went to mcconnell and asked him to present it. mitch mcconnell outright refused. he made it clear it would be a political attack and that is what inhibits the obama administration from responding. the other thing to keep in mind is the mueller report makes clear the then candidate, now president trump was largely aware of the russian efforts if not the particulars, they were engaged to interfere with the election and doing so to help him. rather than himself warning the american people, he sought to capitalize on that assistant, welcomed it and brazenly lied to the public about it. >> despite mitch mcconnell not blunting that, the report clarifies the hacking by russia
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and the deputy attorney general says it's just a tip of the iceberg. i'm wondering is this warning heeded by the national security community? >> this is the concern, not just what happened in the past, but what we are going to see in the future. one reason why it is alarming to not see more focus by the administration at the most senior levels. the president convened a single security meeting on the topic and reportedly lasted for a brief period of time. former dhs secretary kristjen neilson was warned not to bring it up with the president, even though she is the cabinet member responsible for protecting election systems. this is a case where the president's team is preferences his ego, his fragile ego on this subject with security considerations. >> the mueller report sort of defines the russians hacked one county in florida. that was ahead of the 2016
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election. they didn't name that county. here is what a senior elections official told me. >> if you look at the actual wording in the mueller report, of course i haven't see the report it's based on, but it says they, the authors of the mueller report understand that the fbi believes that a county government was accessed, which is slightly different, in my opinion, than being hacked and penetrated. >> i just want to question you, is he splitting hairs about how an attack might have taken place? >> this goes to the really, really delicate line that the government tho government has to walk and talk. the goal here is not necessarily to change votes, but instead to undermine broader confidence in the election integrity on the part of the american public. when officials are talking about this, they have to be candid and transparent about the risk,
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which is real, without helping russia and others goals by creating confusion or concern in the american public about whether or not the votes had been changed. there's no evidence of that having happened, but this is a real risk and we need to be concerned about moving forward. >> susan, thanks very much for the break down. we appreciate it. still ahead, a suspected domestic terrorist accused of having a hit list and stockpiling guns is set to go free. why a judge is allowing the coast guard lieutenant to walk out of jail. that's next. are we there yet? you don't always use your smartphone for directions. hey guys! up there! or, to laugh out loud. you're in the middle. but when it matters most, you count on tracfone to keep you connected, for less. ♪ our smartphone plan gives you talk text and data
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a coast guard lieutenant accused of plotting a domestic terror attack is set to be released from detention. christopher was indicted. a federal judge says because of that, he has no choice but to order him released.
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jessica schneider has more. >> reporter: fbi director christopher rey casting doubt on a judge's plan to release coast guard lieutenant from detention who intends to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country. >> we had an individual coast guard lieutenant who wanted to commit an attack right here. i hope the judge does the right thing. >> reporter: federal judge told prosecutors despite his concerns, his hands are tied since the government only charged him with weapons charges rk it doesn't meet the charge. he has grave concerns but emphasized the upcoming release will be accompanied by strict restrictions. somebody who has eyes and ears on him like nobody's business. the coast guard lieutenant is alleged to be a white supremacist who named several
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prominent democratic politicians, journalists from cnn and msnbc in an email, he wrote, i am dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth. he searched for the home addresses of two unnamed supreme court justices and sought out the best gun to kill african-americans. investigators took photos of the 15 firearms inside his silver spring, maryland apartment where they found more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition. his public defender says the charges are overblown, disputing he had a hit list and saying the democratic and media targets looks like the sort of list that our commander and chief might have compiled watching fox news. adding the racial slurs are part of the national vocabulary. donald trump uses similar ep language in tweets. this is combat year. there's no reason to have this.
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the defendant intended to take his weapons and go. with no more than plans on a page and stockpile of weapons, prosecutors are stuck. there are no domestic terrorism statutes in the u.s. hate crimes or weapons charges to stop people that appear to be only in the planning stages of plotting domestic attacks. the fbi has called on congress to pass a specific domestic terrorism bill. because no federal statute exists his release isn't surprising. last week, a florida man was arrested for contacting members of congress and threatening to kill them. he had a gun when officers showed up to arrest him. he was released three days later with a litany of restrictions on travel despite the charge of interstate transmission of threats. jessica schneider, cnn, washington. the 2020 election is 18
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months away. is russia already trying to affect it? is the u.s. doing anything to try to prevent it? how should the white house respond? all of that coming up, next. first, join us for "united shades of america" tomorrow night at 10:00 eastern. here is a sneak peek. >> your christianity. >> why not have some kind of influence that is righteous. >> his ability to protest. >> never ending process. >> does it have to be never ending? >> afraid so. >> her voice to the voice list. >> whoever voice i have to be, i'll be that voice. they tell you not to be angry. we better be angry. >> my mission. this son on "united shades of america" it comes down to us. >> get off my ass and do something. >> you don't look like a nazi fighter. >> you so funny.
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fbi director christopher rey
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thinks russia is a counterterrorism threat. rey responded saying although everybody has their own adjectives, the threat is serious. >> i think russia poses a significant counter intelligence threat, certainly in the cyber arena, certainly what we call the foreign influence territory. in a lot of ways, yeah. >> a former secret service agent under president obama joins me now. thanks for being here. >> thank you. >> based on your experience, what is the national security when the president and senior advisers fail to address the risk of foreign interference? >> right there in the question,
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we fail to elevate this and have a conversation around election security as being a fundamental key risk. you know, in the wake of the mueller report, you know, some of the things and criticism back to the obama administration was the failure to recognize this threat in advance of the 2016, 2016 election. we are almost in the same situation here. the white house, the oval office is not taking this as a serious threat. they are unable to govern correctly across all resources of the governments about to respond to the threat. >> i think everybody knows that russia did this in 2016 and, clearly, they are likely to do it again in 2020. >> right. >> the lack of attention by the white house, how does that impact getting ready for the potential influence? >> listen, we already know they have attacked us once. the problem is, they are not going to follow the exact same
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pathway and methodology. right now, the risk to, you know, the government right now is that we are not developing a near term and long term strategy on how to mitigate this threat. listen, we know it's coming. you know, 500 plus days afwway from the 2020 election. we need to dig in and develop a comprehensive strategy to address election interference whether from cyber attack or disinformation campaign that we saw in the run up to the 2016 election. >> so, that said, if the white house chooses to sort of overlook this, can the intelligence community work independent of the white house to protect us? >> yes. thankfully they are. if you look at statements made by the fbi director a moment ago and the statements that have been made by dan coates the director of national intelligence, they are worried about this.
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this is a significant threat coming from china, russia. they have identified there is a significant risk to election interference. however, they only have a certain bandwidth to mitigate this. we need a strategy that is coming out of the white house, out of the national security council that is comprehensive that looks beyond the intelligence community that we are able to take resources across the entire spectrum to mitigate this threat. >> i think the classic view that many americans might have is the russians try to get into the computer systems the state is voting and change. that's not what they would do, right? >> listen, russia is going to take the path of least resistance. without a national strategy that is going to mitigate future vulnerabilities to the electoral system, the ownous is on a state by state strategy. all of a sudden, states bear the
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responsibility of protecting the electoral process but they only have a limited resource to protect states. all of a sudden, 50 plans to mitigate a threat? that is the browrong strategy t put forth. we need to rely on the white house to set the proper strategy to protect our electorate. >> thank you for coming on the show. >> thanks a lot, martin. coming up. how about this, using drones to deliver items. not that new, we have heard of it. now, drones could be used to save lives, delivering organs for transplant operations. the first of its kinds flight coming up next. hello to the best part of the day. and to the best night ever. these are the primo moments. and they call for italian quality pizza. dough made from scratch daily. sauce...from the original giammarco recipe.
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many of us may think of drones as an annoyance. actually, they can be a lifesaver. see that drone taking off? for the first time ever, it's delivering a human organ for transplant. sounds incredible, right? it delivered a kidney to a 44-year-old who spent eight years on dialysis. joining me now is dr. joseph, he performed the transplant. how did this flight come about? >> hi, martin, first of all, thank you for having me. it's an incredibly exciting day and exciting month.
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it came about after really three years of in-depth research. nutting like this happens overnight. my team has been working with partners in baltimore city, the university of maryland undergraduates to build devices, test devices and implement technology to save lives. i would say about three years. >> why is it needed? you could have transported it on the ground or put it in a helicopter. why the drone? >> you have to forgive me if i become impassioned here. there's major problems in transportation. transportation is a hot topic. right now, organ shipment is, in addition to being fairly unsafe, it's expensive. every minute that goes by, every hour that goes by, the organ
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detier yd deteriorates. oftentimes, a donor is a thousand miles afwra the recipient. we move the organ as quickly as we can to get it implanted to the recipient. there's a challenge. drone technology is an evolution for on demand organ shipment to decrease cost and save lives. >> how fast does this drone go? >> this drone went ten meters a second. a lot of drones in this category, vert tall take off and landing go 40-50 miles an hour maximum speeds. we need to partner with groups around the country to build bigger, faster, stronger drones that can go 100 or 200 miles per hour. >> again, because speed is critical to the viability of the organ and, i guess for the survival rate of the patient receiving it, right? >> you nailed it. that's right. you want to get the organ out
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and in as fast as possible. and as safely as possible. time is really of the essence. >> how do you avoid the risk? what if it goes off track or crashes? >> it's a common question. we face the risks every day, without getting into all the details, in 2007, we lost an organ recovery team. we lost transplant nurses who were part of a small aircraft. there are risks of transportation with traditional aircraft as well. there will be risks here, too, but we are just moving the organ. we are not losing provider lives, you know, if there's risk to the drone itself. you know, we have perceived those risks as less than what is available with traditional aircraft. >> how is the patient doing, by the way? >> wonderful, thank you for asking. her measurement of kidney function has come down day by
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day and not required dialysis since it. she's recovering, she had an organ transplant, but we are pleased with her recovery so far. >> great to hear. thank you for coming on the show. >> thank you very much, we appreciate it. >> hello. thanks for joining me. i'm martin savidge in for fredricka whitfield. following breaking news, a major shake up at one of the most powerful lobbying groups. lieutenant colonel oliver north will not be renominated the organizations president. north was reportedly locked in a power struggle with the long time ceo, wayne lapierre. polo sandoval has been following developments from new york. what exactly is oliver north saying this


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