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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  May 27, 2019 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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they moderate between israel and syria to keep a lid on this and to keep a lid on this quickly. >> we will stay in close contact with you as the story will develop today. oren liebermann in jerusalem. oren, thank you very much. and thank you for being with me on this memorial day monday. i'm brooke baldwin. "the lead" starts right now. once again, president trump takes a foreign dictator at his word. "the lead" starts right now. president trump on the world stage, refuting his hopes of a u.s. ally and his own top adviser all to give north korea's kim jong-un the benefit of the doubt. and it didn't end there. president trump teaming up with the brutal dictator to slam former vice president joe biden. how 2020 democrats are responding. plus, the death toll is growing. 11 people have now died on everest this year, one seeming to foreshadow his own death in his last post to social media. welcome to the special
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memorial day edition of "the lead." i'm erica hill in today for jake. we begin with our world lead. what was supposed to be a show of unity between the u.s. and japan. instead, president trump contradicting his host, prime minister shinzo abe, not to mention his own national security adviser. the president saying he was not personally bothered by north korea's recent missile test. mr. trump also siding with the brutal north korean dictator over a fellow american, former vice president joe biden. cnn white house correspondent, indicacaitlikaitlan collins, is with the president in tokyo. so, kaitlan, prime minister abe said he and president trump were completely on the same page on issues like trade and north korea, but that's not what we saw. >> reporter: yeah, this was a heavily ceremonial trip that was meant to showcase and reinforce the bond between these two leaders, but, erica, when they got on stage and started taking questions from reporters, the cracks in those bonds over key issues became very obvious.
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>> reporter: president trump's trip to tokyo was brimming with pomp and pageantry. >> the first lady and i will never forget this gracious invitation. >> reporter: but no red carpet could hide the sharp divide between the two leaders when it came to north korea. >> you're not bothered at all by the small missiles? >> no, i'm not. i am personally not. >> reporter: putting him squarely at odds with his national security adviser, john bolton, and one of america's closest allies in asia, who both agree that north korea's recent missile test violate u.n. resolutions. >> my people think it could have been a violation, as you know. i view it differently. invi i view it as a man, perhaps he wants to get attention, and perhaps not. who knows? i doesn't matter. >> reporter: but it does matter to japanese prime minister, shinzo abe. >> translator: this is violating the security council resolution. >> reporter: the president is holding out hope kim jong-un will eventually denuclearize north korea.
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>> he is a very smart man. he gets it well. >> reporter: and viewing it all through the lens of a real estate developer. >> it's located between russia and china on one side and south korea on the other. and it's all waterfront property. >> reporter: the president is also refusing to back off his endorsement of kim jong-un's criticism of his potential 2020 opponent, joe biden. >> kim jong-un made a statement that joe biden is a low-iq individual. he probably is, based on his record. i think i agree with him on that. >> reporter: trump brushing off concerns he's siding with a brutal dictator over a former american vice president. >> i can tell you that joe biden was a disaster, his administration with president obama, they were basically a disaster when it came to so many thing things. >> reporter: now, the president flatly disagreed with his national security adviser john bolton during that press conference and his assessment of
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north korea. but when the president was walking out and he was asked, do you still have confidence in john bolton, he said, yes, that he did. but erica, we should note, john bolton was not present at the banquet last night with the emperor. >> kaitlan collins live from tokyo for us. kaitlan, thank you. and now let's take a deeper dive. as we look at this, there is the question of the message, of course, that this sends. you have the president standing next to a leader who is supposed to be an ally, siding with north korea's dictator. what is that message? >> the message is that donald trump, once he likes you as a foreign dictator and once you've flattered him, he will have your back! this is a guy who's always been very loyal to people who flatter him and will throw anyone under the bus the moment they don't. and the saudis and the russians worked that out a while ago. this is how you get to donald trump. and you have donald trump saying these kind of -- you saw just now in that tape, he says, i think he's a very, very smart man, at the same time he accuses the former vice president of the united states being low iq. i know we've played this game
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before, but can you imagine in 2011 that barack obama said, oh, the ayatollah khomeini of iran thinks mitt romney is very low iq and i'm with him. they would be calling him a traitor and demanding execution. >> you're right, we have played that game before, yet here we are. what's fascinating as we listen to each of these in their own words. and i want to play a short part of what president trump said about kim jong-un. take a listen to this. >> i view it as a man, perhaps he wants to get attention, and perhaps not. who knows? kit doesn't matter. >> mary katherine, does it matter? yes. yes, it matters a lot. and to me, this week is trump playing into every argument that 2020 candidates will make against him in the democratic side in the most perfect way. you've got immaturity, and volatility and one that is particularly concerning to me and always has been is the possibility of foreign policy via tweet by someone who is impulsive and doesn't make great
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decisions and often times doesn't have a real tuned moral compass when it comes to dictators. this is a real problem and it's a problem that he and bolton aren't on the same page and he's talking about that in public and overseas. and by the way, the pelosi stuff is stateside political pugilism. and you can say it's out of bounds in certain ways. overseas, on memorial day weekend, it's just wrong, man. >> it is. you can't ignore the timing on it, mary katherine. and you are absolutely right. you did bring up, though, john bolton, and we heard from kaitlan. it was pamela brown who asked, actually, at the press conference if the president still had confidence in bolton. he said yes. ron, though, do you think this relationship is in danger here? >> well, look, they were never on the same page ideologically, to start with. and so, you know, i'm not sure that this really changes that dynamic very much. i mean, to me, what it -- and you know, and everyone kind of runs out their string with trump. there's no one who works for him
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who you know doesn't share the last name, who is kind of like extended tenure. i mean, to me, the real point of this week was to underscore the dynamics of the relationship between trump and the north korean dictator. the president has gone so far out on a limb in insisting that his personal relationship is what can untie the gordian knot that frustrated so many previous presidents and beyond, is he's in a position where he has to make this work. and what the north koreans realize is how fmuch leverage that gives him, because of trump's desire to show that he alone can solve this, is going to bend over backwards, as he demonstrated again this week, to for give almost anything the north koreans do. i think there's no question who is the pursuer and who is the pursued at this point in this negotiation. >> well, you know, ron, to your point, too, that really puts in context what we heard from the president in terms of joe biden. i'll just play it again for folks who may have missed it.
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>> kim jong-un made a statement that joe biden is a low-iq individual. he probably is, based on his record. i think i agree with him on that. >> that's a stunning statement, for a number of reasons. but in some ways, it's not all that shocking that we're hearing it coming from the president. >> i think it still is a stunning statement, because this is kim jong-un we're talking about. i mean, we're not talking about, oh, the french president thinks this of joe biden, and i agree with the french president. this is kim jong-un. but on the other hand, you know, it's not surprising in the sense that president trump doesn't think about the things he's saying as sort of, what does this mean for the presidency, what does this mean broadly for diplomacy? what message am i sending as the president of the united states agreeing with the leader of north korea over, you know, his view of a former vice president. he thinks, ah, great, kim jong-un is on my team. we both agree that joe biden is a low-iq individual. how great to have another person in my corner. and president trump, and this was true when he was a
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candidate, too, doesn't really care who you are or what you believe or what you think or what you've done in the past, as long as you are supporting him and you are vocal in that support. and this is one of these things that has not changed about him. >> and i would say, as an ally, it doesn't -- as an ally of the japanese, it doesn't help them to flaunt the fact that, oh, we're much further away than the north koreans. so i'm not super concerned about it. well, of course japan's concerned about it! they're right there, guys! i mean, not helpful. >> you know, in the flood of daily kind of outrageous and controversies from trump, there are very few that i could imagine making it all the way to 2020, but this -- as mary katherine was saying before, this so encapsulate the arguments that you're going to hear from democrats against them, that i can imagine this being -- especially if biden is the nominee, biden using this to kind of really encapsulate the case against trump. that he is willing to -- you know, that he is so focused on his own interests above the national interests, that he's
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willing to give credibility to a brutal murdering foreign dictator in order to score a temporary political point against an opponent at home. i think this is something that's actually going to last. and we will hear about it in the general election of 2020. >> just on a substantiative point, can we draw for a moment on the idea that kim jong-un and donald trump are the people who are going to decide who has and who doesn't have high iq? >> yeah. >> i'm not going to touch that one. but i do want to bring up, mary katherine, in all seriousness, i want to go back to one point, which is just piggybacking off of what ron was saying and you brought this up in the beginning, at the top of the hour here, in that, look, we're used to president trump ignoring the norms, doing things his own way. that is not surprising anymore. but there is still something to be said for a sitting president who takes the campaign overseas. typically, what we've seen, if a president is going to run for re-election, the campaign stays at home when he's traveling abroad for the country. >> right. and it should and it's not a norm or a line i think he's
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going to start observing, although he should. if you're not observing it on memorial day weekend when you're having a press conference with an ally overseas and talking about kim jong-un, i'm not sure when you're going to observe that. and i do think, look, that is one of the things, like i said, fighting at home is something that we do and that many have died for the great right for us to run our mouths at each other and insult each other on our homeland. but generally when you step foot overseas, you're supposed to keep it within the family. and he's not willing to do that. and it is something that i think that when it comes to more moderate voters, certainly those suburban and exurban women voters that he tends to lose, that's not something that will play great with them. and i agree with iraron, as a l of these things don't have staying power, but this may be something that does. but who knows. >> and he said that we wrote each other letters and fell in love. that itself should have been the moment that everyone went, what?! a u.s. republican president
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saying he's in love with the dictator in north korea? and the crowd just cheered and republican members of congress said nothing. >> yeah, and you can -- right -- and you can very easily imagine how this can be taken from the other -- how democrats can come on from the other side in this. again, basically making the argument that trump has climbed so far out on a limb that he's basically surrendered all -- too much or all of america's leverage over north korea, because they realize, he is so reluctant to in any way allow for the possibility that all of this was for naught. and that gives them a lot of leverage and puts him in a position of excusing a lot of their behavior that another president simply would not. >> speak of democrats, president trump now saying he would be willing to work with house democrats, even while they're investigating him. so the big question, of course, is what changed? our live coverage is next. look. sprint's going to do things differently. and let you decide for yourself. they're offering a new 100% total satisfaction guarantee.
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canada and mexico that everyone wants. i would imagine that nancy pelosi will approve that. i would think it will be very hard not to, but we'll see. but certainly, as things get approved, i would love to sign them. >> president trump reversing course now, as you just heard. he said he's willing to work with house speaker nancy pelosi despite ongoing democratic investigations. the shift comes on the heel of some stinging personal attacks last week, lobbed by both the president and the speaker. cnn's phil mattingly is live. >> one of the most striking things about the sudden legislative freeze declaration last week is what was actually happening behind the scenes. just after the course of a couple of days prior. there have been ongoing bipartisan discussions with the white house that had broken some new ground on a budget agreement. there had been behind sustathe s discussion about speaker pelosi staff's. on the usmca, speaker pelosi had
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just told the trade representative that she was going to designate working groups to work with the administration on their outstanding issue. so there had been work going on and some progress made on a lot of those issues made before the president called for a freeze. i think the complicating factor here is the difficulty with both democrats and republicans on capitol hill, knowing exactly where the president is on these issues. these issues are all complicated, these issues are all difficult, and all of these issues are going to need not just white house buy-in in on the whole, but the president himself to be involved, to be present, and to try to figure out a path for them actually to reach an agreement. usmca is the one that they expect something to happen on if something occurs, but a reminder through the back and forth of last week, speaker pelosi decides whether or not the trade agreement ever comes to the house floor. and therefore the relationship is necessary, no matter how fractured it is. and perhaps that more than anything else is why you saw the president kind of partially walk back what he had declared just a few days prior. >> maybe it's extending a tiny little olive branch, perhaps. >> a little bit. >> good to see you.
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ron, especially as phil laid it out there, there are still a number of questions, but how overall does this rhetoric that we're hearing from the president today, this offer, saying he's willing to work with democrats, how do you think that changes the strategy for democrats? >> i think it changes very little. i think the -- first of all, the first step of all of this is that mitch mcconnell is refusing to consider any of the legislation that house democrats are passing, right? they identified their, you know, top ten issues and they've been moving through them. i think they passed five of them now on the floor. there have been a total of two negative votes among democrats on things like universal background checks, climate change, political reform, equal pay, the equality act on same-sex couples that work and in housing and so forth. and mcconnell is refusing to consider any of them. so, there's very little that has prospects of getting to the president in the first place. and i wonder, i know fill is obviously more plugged in than any of us on the day-to-day, but
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whether democrats who see the primacy of winning back the three states in the rust belt that tipped to trump in 2016, pennsylvania, michigan, and wisconsin, are going to give him a victory on the re-negotiated nafta without exacting some of their own priorities in return, since that is the one thing he really needs to have from congress in exchange dpr from a budget deal. and both the senate republicans and the administration have shown very little interest in advancing any of the priorities that democrats are passing. >> there's a lot the issue of the president himself. we know he is mercurial and he can change focus, change tune very quickly, as we heard in the last few days. in fact, just to remind folks, which is what he had to say just a couple of days ago about nancy pelosi. >> she's a mess. look, let's face it. she doesn't understand it. and they sort of feel she's disintegrating. i've been watching her, and i have been watching her for a long period of time. she's not the same person.
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she's lost it. you think nancy's the same as she was? she's not. maybe we can all say that. >> and listen, as we've pointed out, too, nancy pelosi did hit back a little bit. she was questioning the president's fitness, questioning whether folks around him were paying enough attention, sara. but as we look at this back and forth, there is a very real question of whether the commitment lasts, as phil pointed out, and where they take this. so sara, how do you think that is being weighed today? >> i don't think it was anyone's finest moment last week when the president was calling nancy pelosi crazy and nancy pelosi was saying the president and his family need to have some kind of intervention. so i do think that both sides realize they need to move beyond that point, because it doesn't look good for anyone, frankly, if they just get nothing done and are stuck in a stalemate. democrats are also trying to get the president out of the white house. they want to elect their own candidate. and if they essentially get nothing done and they don't have anything that they can champion as their priority, they have a problem, too, as to what they stand for going into 2020, aside
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from just defeating president trump. that said, the president stands up, well, no one's doing what i want, the investigations are continuing, so i'm not going to play nicely with anyone. that is not a re-election message. you cannot just say, i'm taking my toys and going home when you're the president of the united states. that's not how it works. you still need to run the country even if there's another party that controls the house and that party is investigating you. and that's been true for every other president who has been under investigation. >> in terms of those investigations, the trump team suffered some significant losses in terms of these financial documents. and there's a good chance, let's be honest we're going to see some of that. at this point, how much does the american voter care? >> well, so part of the issue is that this was, to some extent, litigated during the 2016 election and he was elected without giving his tax returns, which i have always said, he should give. but he did not, and voters weighed that. so that is part of it. they are not as interested as many in media thought they were. they may be more interested now, but i'm not sure.
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like, things have -- the game has changed when it comes to what voters consider about this particular person. >> it's a fair point. go ahead. >> i think mary katherine's right about how you weigh things up. and we don't know -- although we know more now than we knew then about his billions of losses, the accusations of, you know, money laundering, the deutsche bank in-house investigator who is flagged certain suspicious activities. things have changed in that sense. but on pelosi and trump, can i say, he's not mercurial, he's unwell and unstable. and this isn't about both sides. yes, nancy pelosi said that there should be an intervention, but most people who have worked for trump have come out and said that after leaving trump or or off the record. but he put out a video saying that pelosi stammers through news conference which still sits on his twitter feed. and everything you played in that video just now was classic trumpian projection.
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he's cra she's crazy. no, he is. she's change over the years, no, he has. and let's talk about this impeachment debate that the democrats are now having internally, finally. the idea that the speaker of the house is calling on mike pence, ben carson and melania trump to save the democrrepublic when ho democrats should be calling more impeachment is absurd. they're all vying for the nomination, so why are several front-runners now coming to the defense of joe biden? we'll explain. plike... zelle. to conveniently makesend money sier, to your babysitter. for overtime. or pinacle, to tap into your organization in the office, on the go, or in the stop-and-go. pnc - make today the day. what! she's zip lining with little jon?
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welcome back to this live special edition of "the lead." our 2020 lead now. we areless th less than a month from the first democratic debate and candidates on this holiday weekend are in full campaign mode, focusing less on attacking each other, and more on attacking president trump. the president may be overseas, but he's still at the center of the 2020 race. >> what a crowd! >> reporter: this memorial day, the 2020 field is spread out across the country. in iowa, new hampshire, and south bend, indiana. president trump keeping his focus on the race, even during his official visit to japan, taking a swipe at democratic front-runner joe biden in a tweet praising north korean dictator, kim jong-un. the tweet drew a swift response
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from senator elizabeth warren -- >> foreign policy by tweet does not work. >> reporter: and beto o'rourke who called on trump to end these love affairs with dictators and strongmen. a biden aid responding to cnn, calling the president's tweet unhinged and erratic, while biden's rivals jumped in to defend him. >> kim jong-un is a murderous dictator and vice president biden served this country honorably. >> reporter: the former vice president was off the trail this weekend, but that isn't stopping another candidate from partaking in a favorite biden treat. senator bernie sanders, cooling off with three ice cream socials in new hampshire on monday after turning up the heat on trump in a vermont rally this weekend. >> we have a president who is a pathological liar. >> in iowa, senator amy klobuchar also taking aim at the president on saturday, recalling a moment with the late senator john mccain at trump's inauguration. >> john mccain kept reciting to
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me names of dictators during that speech, because he knew more than any of us what we were facing as a nation. he understood it. >> reporter: john mccain's daughter, meghan, weighing in today on twitter, asking klobuchar to leave her father's legacy and memory out of presidential politics. and we're here with cory booker in iowa, as he wraps up a four-day swing through the hawkeye state. this week, the candidates will head west for a moveon forum on friday in san francisco and we're only one month away from the first democratic presidential debate. >> rebecca buck in iowa today, thank you. we just heard a little bit there from south bend mayor pete buttigieg, weighing in on the president's comments about joe biden. i want to play a little bit more of what he had to say. take a listen. >> kim jong-un is a murderous dictator and vice president biden served this country honorably. it's one more example of the way this president tries to draw
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attention to himself by saying things that shock the conscience, to distract us from his deep unpopularity and the deep unpopularity of republicans that govern. >> is that how democratic candidates should handle any attacks from president trump? >> definitely. and they have to stick together, because trump will try to single them out. we know that trump and his team are worried about biden, so you see these absurd comments. and democrats recognize there isn't a big pro-kim jong-un constituency in american politics, and therefore it's easy to defend biden against such attacks. the debates a month away. some say they'll have to turn their fire on him. but there's much to attack joe biden for. legitimate stuff. this isn't it. >> you say they have to stick
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together, because at least one democrat not sticking together, going after vice president biden. been to what bill de blasio had to say? >> that crime bill was one of the foundations of mass incarceration in a very painful era in our nation's history. and the vice president and everyone else have to be accountable for every vote they take and what's on their record. and i think that was a huge mistake. >> you know, at some point, the gloves will have to come off for the candidates here, because each one of them wants to win the nomination. but is there a sense of when that moment is, especially as the clock is ticking towards this first debate? >> i think people are starting to inch in that direction. bill de blasio is in a lane of his own, because he needs to punch up in order for anyone to pay any attention to him. most stories you read about bill de blasio are about how new yorkers don't want bill de blasio to be president. so he's in a different situation, but you'll see more candidates like that who are going to punch up. there's a difference in saying,
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i'm going to side with kim jong-un on this than pointing out legitimate sort of policy differences. and i think in the democratic party, to see joe biden come out there and say, the crime bill didn't have anything to do with mass incarceration, that was one of those things where i did a double take and thought, is anybody else in the democratic field paying attention to this. and that is going to come back around and you'll see legitimate policy differences. i think they start on the policy front. >> what trump doesn't want to do, not that he has a strategy, but what he doesn't want to do is act in such a way that gives them a way to easily unify. i mean, 23 candidates, it's hard to unify them, but if you go after biden, a former vice president on foreign soil in such a way, it will give them that way to do that. but eventually, this is going to get a lot uglier. >> ron, go ahead? >> in biden wins the nomination in 2020, it would be 50 years after he was first elected to public office in new castle county delaware in 1970, that
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would be the longest span in american political history between first election and first nomination for your party, whether a democrat or a republican or even a wig. and dple blasio's comments are really indicative of the kind of problems that creates. the crime bill in 1994 occurred in a very different context. in new york city alone, there were over 1,000 murders, as i recall that year. and every leading african-american mayor in the country wrote a letter supporting the bill as the senate was considering it. but aspects of that bill look very different to this democratic party. and i think the changing context is one of the reasons why the most prominent note in the polling about the early democratic race is this unbelievable age gap, where biden is just kind of in the middle of the pack among voters younger than 45, but older than 45, he's usually leading by 4-1 or more in both national and state polls. and ultimately, that seems like
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a divide that could last given the length of his career and be one of the driving factors of this race. >> it's also true that a lot of old people vote. >> 60% of the primary voters in 2016. 60% of the primary voters in 2016 were over 45. >> and we're so far out from even iowa, let alone the general election. and people are making the point, but it is true, the only way he has to go is down. we haven't had the debates. he's notoriously gaffe-prone, and his record is bad on a lot of fronts. not just mass incarceration, it's memorial day weekend, the iraq war, which caused so many problems for hillary clinton. he's the only candidate running in the field that voted for the iraq war. his relationship to big finance, there's so much to go through. and i think that's a real problem for biden once you start going through that track record. i think bill de blasio had every right to point that out. >> so you're all saying we have a long way to go here? >> yeah, we do. >> in all seriousness, we'll have to leave it there. appreciate it, as always. just ahead, it's one of the deadliest climbing seasons ever. and now we're learning another
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american has died on mt. everest. our live coverage continues for you, next. has been excellent. they really appreciate the military family and it really shows. with all that usaa offers why go with anybody else? we know their rates are good, we know that they're always going to take care of us. it was an instant savings and i should have changed a long time ago. it was funny because when we would call another insurance company, hey would say "oh we can't beat usaa" we're the webber family. we're the tenney's we're the hayles, and we're usaa members for life. ♪ get your usaa auto insurance quote today. ♪ ♪ ahhhh! ♪ we're here. ♪ ♪
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breaking news now in our world lead. christopher john coolish is now the 11th person and second american to die on mt. everest this year alone. the 61-year-old died on monday while descending from the 29,000-foot summit. among the dead this year, robin hanes fisher, a british mountaineer who lost his life to altitude sickness on saturday. and that was not long after he raised concerns about fatal overcrowding on everest.
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cnn's arwa damon is in kathmandu, nepal. arwa, what more can you tell us about why this year has been so much worse? >> reporter: erica, expert mountaineers are saying that this year was especially difficult for a number of factors that could be what contributed to all of these deaths. most of them from altitude sickness and most of them not as climbers were on their way up to the summit, but rather, as they were coming down. that dramatic photograph on social media, on instagram, that shows that long line of climbers. that was taken in what is known as the death zone. and there's a reason why it's called that. because when you're at that altitu altitude, every breath you take in only gives you a third of the oxygen that you would get when you're breathing in at sea level. a lot of these climbers succumbing to altitude sickness as they're descending. now, the backlog created perhaps for a number of different factors. some are criticizing the nepally
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government for giving out too many permits. they say that that is an unfounded allegation. others are saying that you have greater numbers of inexperienced climbers trying to do the summit with companies that are cutting too many corners. and thiz inexperienced climbers don't necessarily know how to take these calculated risks, they don't know how to mitigate them, and they also don't know how to listen to their own bodies. and then, erica, you have the weather component. and this year in particular, there weren't that many days where people could summit. so you had this massive rush, especially on a few days in particular, that led to these backlogs of about two to four-hour waits in this death zone. what everyone is saying, though, is that this year is clear that something has to change, erica. >> arwa damon for us in nepal. arwa, thank you. up next, if you think there is nothing funny about the current state of politics in america, you may want to think
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in our politics lead today, as president trump attacks joe biden and 2020 democrats fire back, is there any hope for a happy relationship between the two parties? the new cnn comedy special takes a humorous look at whether we would be better off breaking up. >> i think it's sad breaking up the united states, but we're already broken up. we're already tribal. liberal, conservative, white, black, latino, asian, wall street, main street, the working
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poor, the forgotten middle class, feminists, soccer moms, bernie bro, muffin tops, unib w unibrow, paleo, we're more tribal than 18th century afghanistan. joining me now is collin quinn. >> this started as an off-broadway play in january. now you have the cnn special. yes, it's important to laugh at things. but a lot of this is really serious for a lot of folks and depressing to a lot of people. what made you think that the state of politics today in the u.s. was ripe for some funny. >> funny is based on serious, depressing things. it's not based on things that are already funny. so most comedy is based on something sad or, you know, bad compared to -- you don't take a funny thing and just make it
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funnier. it's just the opposite. >> it also gives you license, sometimes, to talk about things that people have a hard time discussing. but when people turn it into a joke and make fun of it, it makes it more accessible, more approachable. i'm wondering in terms of the reaction you've seen from the audience in your shows, did anything surprise you? >> i'm surprised that people really do feel like this is an option now. you know, i talk about this kind of stuff all the time in my act, but now people are actually agreeing that we need to find some way to, you know, break our country into different parts, because nobody's changing their opinion. and they shouldn't have to. >> wow. that's sort of dire, which makes me want more humor, as to your point. so looking ahead to 2020, do you see anybody, whether it's president trump or any of the, you know, two dozen democratic candidates who you think could be a unifier? >> oh, definitely president trump -- no, i think, well, joe biden says he's going to be a unifier and -- but like i said,
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i don't -- i don't know that this -- i don't know that there's anybody that exists on the planet that can unify the country. only something outside would have to happen for it to be unified. there's no person that could do it. >> maybe it's not a person, but maybe in some ways you can start to at least unify the discussion with your show. listen, we're excited to have you here. we're looking forward to the special tonight. thanks for coming in today, collin. >> thanks, erica. and just a reminder, you can watch collin quinn, "red state, blue state" tonight at 9:00 p.m. only on cnn. on this memorial day, how one group of veterans is helping children cope with the loss of a military parent. it's a story you will not want to miss.
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welcome back to this special te addition of "the lead." each memorial day, we honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. yet as a grateful nation remembers those left behind, the parents, the spouses, the children are reminded of their loss. jake tapper has the story of one veterans organization, though, that is dedicated to bringing smiles to these military families all year round, letting them know they are never alone. >> where do you want to go to college? >> west point. >> reporter: 7-year-old trystan kelly has some big dreams. >> what's the best branch? >> reporter: and he always looks forward to talking about them with his best friend. >> you still want to be in the army? >> yeah. i'm still debating whether i want to be in the military or
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not. >> reporter: after all, former sergeant andrew bell tratrand k a thing or two about service. he's gone to more than ten countries with the marines. >> take a big breath and let it go. >> reporter: and trystan says he's pretty good at playing, too. trystan and andrew have come to this sprawling california dude ranch today for one of many visits throughout the year. >> you know, one of the best things is trystan will call me on face time and share a song he just learned on the piano, and that's just something special that i know he would have shared with his father. >> reporter: you see, trystan's father, heath kelly, isn't able to talk with him about the very dreams that he inspired. >> my dad was in the army, so i feel like i want to be an army officer like he was. >> reporter: heath kelly died shortly after trystan was born. >> my husband always wanted to be a dad, even before we got married, so this is our first baby and, you know, anytime, any spare time he had was really devoted to being with her. you know, and also with him, too, because he was born in july
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and unfortunately, he passed in september. >> reporter: heath kelly spent years overseas on active duty, and then became a major in the national guard, so he could be closer to his wife, tracy and their children. but soon after, a gunman opened fire at a local restaurant, killing kelly and three others while they were eating breakfast. his daughter, cassidy, was only 4 years old at the time. >> he was a really nice person. he always did the right thing. and he was a really fun dad. >> reporter: now, through the nonprofit program active valor, gold star kids can be paired with individual veteran mentors like andrew. >> it almost is the reason why i joined the military in the first place, is a sense of brotherhood and taking care of our own. i'll never be a step-in for his dad, but i will be a brother of his. >> reporter: the program also gives peace of mind to parents such as tracy. >> we want our kids to know that, you know, just because we lost our person, they don't have to go through this journey alone. i think that's kind of the biggest thing no matter what
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you're feeling. like, somebody gets it. >> thank you all so much for coming to our meetup today. >> reporter: former navy s.e.a.l. perry ye founded active valor. >> they get to use their skills and knowledge that they learned over years of military service and now pass it on to kids that would have had access to that type of stuff if their parents were still around. it really just works hand in hand. >> need proof? >> thank you, man. >> reporter: trystan's handmade gift to andrew. >> it's my drawing. >> thank you for being my mentor. i i have lots of fun when i'm with you. i'm grateful you are in my life. this is great, man. thank you. i appreciate you. this is really good. >> reporter: jake tapper, cnn, washington. >> if you want to learn more about the active valor foundation, just log on to acti activevalor.com. thanks for joining me today. you can follow me on twitttwitte
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twittetwitter @ twitter @ericarhill. have a meaningful memorial. please take a moment to remember the reason for this day. our live coverage on cnn continues right now. happening now, siding with the dictator. president trump undermines his own adviser and a key ally and sides with kim jong-un, saying he's not bothered by the dictator's latest missile test, and applauding north korea's attack on democratic front-runner joe biden. not ready to deal. the president warns that u.s. tariffs on china may still rise substantially, saying he's not ready to make a deal with china, but that a trade agreement is likely in the future. who will blink first in the trade war? deadly storms. 25 million americans are at risk for severe weather this memorial day, with 10 million of them facing flood warnings. hardest hit are states where severe weather killed at least a dozen people last week and where the swaituation could

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