tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN June 21, 2019 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
arrest and deport. immigration officials are set to launch raids on undocumented families in ten cities. are they rushing ahead with the operation after the president announced plans to deport millions. impeachment politics. president trump is speaking out about the benefits for him. is it a sign that the democrat strategy isn't working? going south. that's what the democratic presidential candidates are doing tonight courting african-american voters in south carolina. how will front-runner joe biden fair as his comments about working with segregationists hang over the race? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." if commander in chief's response to iran's downing of u.s. drone may be shifting again
tonight just hours after he abruptly called off retaliatory strikes. a senior administration official says the president is now refocusing in on substantiation sanctions instead of military action even though there's no evidence that any new sanctions actually are in the works. it's all raising more questions about why mr. trump ordered the strikes in the suddenly pulled back. the president claims he didn't learn about the estimated casualties until the mission was about to be launched deciding 150 deaths were not appropriate, not proportionate for an attack on an unmanned drone. i'll talk to republican congressman who is a member of the foreign affairs committee and our correspondents and analysts are standing by.
the president says u.s. forces were cockeded a eand loaded to e iran and he had second thoughts. >> reporter: that's right. after a full day of meetings he seemed to revert back to his instincts calling off the strike at the 11th hour. now he's saying he thinks ie roon -- iran is acting out because they want to sit down and talk. president trump offering candid details into u.s. war strategy and his own personal thinking after he was minutes away from a military strike against iran. >> we had something to go. >> reporter: worried the death toll would be too high. >> they shot down an unmanned drone, plane, whatever you want to call it and here we are sitting with 150 dead people that would have taken place probably within half an hour after i said go ahead. i didn't like it.
i didn't think it was proportiona proportionate. >> reporter: trump came to the brink only to make a sudden u turn. >> things would have happened to a point where you couldn't turn back or couldn't turn back. said said we're ready to go. we'd like a decision. >> reporter: cnn learning the top aides, including mike pence, mike pompeo and john bolton all argued military action was necessary. iran not backing down warning the trump administration to back off claiming the military chose not to target a second u.s. plane flying in the vicinity of the drone. this one with american personnel on board. as tensions with iran threaten to bubble over, some of the president's critics say the administration is to blame for pulling out of the iran deal in the first place. >> if we cause other nations to impose sanctions on iran then we
shouldn't be all that surprised that iran will lead the deal and go back to enriching or we'll get the increased tensions and likelihood of conflict. >> reporter: president trump saying obama made a desperate and terrible deal with iran gaving them a free path to nuclear weapons. instead of saying thank you, iran yelled death to america. i terminated the deal that was not ratified by congress and imposed strong sanctions. they are a much weakened nation today than at the beginning of my presidency when they were causing may squhjor problems throughout the middle east. now they are bust. >> it's much easier to start one of these fights than to end one. >> reporter: sources say some of trump's allies add vised him against being dragged into war. others are warning it's naive to think iran will come back to the
negotiating table. >> if iran thinks it can democrat to the world that it's able to take advantage of the united states, that it's able to attack and destroy one of our drones without any consequence or the only consequence being we now ask to speak to them, i think that's very dangerous. trump's defense department lacks permanent senior leadership. >> take a look at the chaos that exists within this administration. take a look at the fact the entire leadership of the department of defense is turning over. >> reporter: sources say trump is expected to ferm e pepermane mark esper as defense secretary. we have another major update on immigration. days after president trump
announced his department of homeland security will target the millions of immigrants in this country illegally, we're learning that dhs is planning new raids all across the country beginning on sunday. it's not millions of immigrants. we're talking 2,000 families who have final orders for removal. these raids will be conducted in ten cities across the country. in the past, administration officials have acknowledged that because these raid will be targeting entire families, it could be highly controversial. >> certainly will be. thank you very much. let eesz bri let's bring in barbara starr. what are we learning about how president trump wants to move forward now with iran? >> as you mentioned a couple of minutes ago, looks like the president wants to re-focus on sanctions. kneels that's the fool short of military force that will
pressure iran but so far it hasn't resulted in iran coming to the negotiating table. the president talking about increasing sanctions. no evidence yet that that has actually happened. he has stepped back from military force deciding to not move ahead. deciding the estimates of iranian casualties that might have been manning the three missile battery stations that were on the target list. he didn't feel comfortable with that. the u.s. military, to be blunt, is pretty much taking a deep breath right now that he has not gone to war against iran because it remains the bottom line fact, the u.s. military has said if there were strikes against iran, they just cannot predict what iran's reaction would be. wolf. >> fred, you're there. the iranians are saying they
showed restranint amid the stan off. what are you hearing? >> reporter: it's exactly what they are saying. the iranians today in form of the revolutionary guard aero space commander came out and while they were displaying what they say is the wreckage of the drone that they shot down, all of a sudden said we could have shot down another plane if we wanted to. this time it would have been a p8. the iranians were saying that plane was in the same vicinity as the drone while the iranians were tracking both of them. they're trying to send a clear message to the united states. that the shooting down of the drone was no accident or trigger happy commander. they are saying this is something of them monitoring their air space. nay know who flying there and knew exactly which vessel shay were shooting at. as we have been saying t ining
iranians displaying the wreckage of that drone. they shot it down at 50,000 feet and say the wreckage landed if their territory waters. >> fred, thank you. congressman, thanks so numuch f joining us. you've been critical of the president's decision to pull back but the president says this planned strike would not have been a proportional response. why do you believe the assessment is wrong? >> that's a judgment call that the president has every right to make. i think the president has every right to not strike iran. it's a decision where i think it's unfortunate. at bare minimum you should lose whatever asset you shot down. this $250 million drone. this isn't like what you fly in your backyard. this is is size of an airliner. you should lose that at a bare
minimum and any radar stations feeding into it. i think that's a proportionate response. i respect the president's decision. what has been the problem is not so much he didn't decide to strike, it's the way in which this all played out. the fact it was reported and he admitted there was about a ten minutes between when the strike was going to happen and then found out the number of casualties. there's questions there. i don't think anybody should have a doubt that if iran does something again there will be enough pressure to have a pretty robust retaliation than what has planned this time but how this whole thing played out could invite potential attacks from other areas. ? you know the military. you're an air force reserve officer. do you ploobelieve it's credibl that when lads oid out the mili operation, they didn't plain the potential for casualties. >> that's hard for me to
believe. i also think he may not have fully comprehended that at the moment. i've never had to make a decision like a president of the united states and i don't know what goes through a president's head when making that. it's got to be something that weighs on their shoulders and this issue really pressured the president and got him to a point where he reversed the decision. ting a i think it was an incorrect decision. the problem is how publicly this played out and seemed very whip saw to a lot of people. >> if 150 iranians and say they were members of the iranian revolutionary guard core, say 150 iranian troops died in the u.s. strike, carried out by the u.s. military. wouldn't that have raised the very serious risk of them further iranian escalation against the united states for potential liedsi ileading to a
scale war in. >> it's possible but here is where it's important to have a big robust military option backing a small strike. the president had got an message to the iranian government as the strike was under way. a good message would be there is limbed in pressure as it happens. nip response will be a devastating response. iran then has a decision to make. they are pushing this up to the line where they think they can just come shy of a response and not cross over to that. people arguing that iran wants to us to act don't know what they are talking about. they don't want us to attack. they do want to appear they are equal to the president and pressure us sbointo this deal. >> the president campaigned on keeping the united states out of
wars. was he keeping his promise to avoid a new war? >> i don't know. again, i don't begrudge the president's final decision but he also did pledge to protect the united states of america. we can argue about what does that include. that has to be a forward leaning defensive posture of american troop, american assets and american allies. he's got some people in his ear. i don't know if he's listening to them that. it's a straw men. there's all kinds of different escalating things you can do to keep it both small. your prior guest last hour talking about operation desert
fox that president clinton did. there were escalating strikes that brought hue sissein back te table. it's not an endless 300,000 person. >> that's an important point. the news that federal immigration officials planning to arrest and deport some 2,000 migrant families in ten cities starting this weekend. what do you make of these planned raids? >> i don't know a lot of detail about them. if you have an order to leave the country, you're here illegally, this is what happens. you can't over stay. if the court says you're not allowed to be in the united states of america, you have to expect at some point you'll be removed. it's a sense tifr itive topic. i'm a supporter of comprehension immigration reform. solving the border and the other immigration issues we have. this idea that you can be order
to leave the united states and it will never be enforced that's a few phenom nan. i don't think it's unreasonable. if you have to get an order to leave, you have to expect to leave. >> you would support it. a lot of people would welcome that as well. thanks so much for joining us. >> you bet. just ahead, president trump talks impeachment and what it could mean for him politically. stand by. a house in a neighborhood with a lot of other young couples. then we noticed something...strange. oh, could you, uh, make me a burger? -poof -- you're a burger. [ laughter ] -everyone acts like their parents. -you have a tattoo. -yes. -fun. do you not work? -so, what kind of mower you got, seth? -i don't know. some kid comes over. we pay him to do it. -but it's not all bad. someone even showed us how we can save money by bundling home and auto with progressive. progressive can't protect you from becoming your parents.
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we're following breaking news on president trump's last minute decision to call off retaliatory strikes on iran. let's bring in our congressional correspondent opini correspondent. what are we hearing? >> if democrats were to go down this route, it would help his re-election chances. the presidenancy pe lolosi said believes the president is goading them into impeachment. she does not fwloobelieve that
happen so why go down this route. the president makes it clear that he believes the democrats do this, he could win re-election. >> why do you think nancy pelosi has held off her impeachment caucus? >> because i think she feels i will win much easier. >> do you think impeachment is good politics for you? >> i think i win the election easier. i'm not sure i like having it. >> as more as more democrats continue to call for impeachment inquiry, the chairman of the house judiciary committee who does privately support impeachment is still moving forward with strategies set forward by nancy pelosi. planning to move forward and try to force don mcgahn to testify and provide records of he defied a subpoena under the orders of the white house. jerry nadler said testimony this
week from hope hicks who did not answer questions about her time in the white house, the white house attorney objected 155 full-times through the course. they are able to dramatize to the judge how absurd the efforts to block testimony to capitol hill is going. as you're hearing, not all democrats agree with that approach and saying it's time to open up an impeachment inquiry even if the president believes it will help his chances. >> joining us the former top lawyer over at the fbi during the russia investigation. he's a brand new cnn legal analyst. he worked on many national security issues during his career in government. we'll talk about the democrats investigations in just a moment. gla glad to have you as a member of our team. what are the legal issues the trump administration will have
to weigh as the president considers using force against iran. >> there's range of legal issues intertwined with the facts and mixed in. the essential issue under the law is whether the president's actions or whether military action will be lawful urntnder domestic law and international law. that depends on what facts are on the ground. where this drone was. was it in iranian air space, international waters. that's relevant to the international law determination and what authority is the president relying on under domestic law to engage in this type of activity. is he relying on his power under article two or link iran to al qaeda and link, be relying on the authorization for use of
military force for 2001. we don't know enough to assess the legal basis for a strike. >> let's move on. democrats are now struggling to unite around impeachment, oo possible impeachment procedure and they've had trouble come be -- compelling cooperation as they push forward with the probes into the president. are democrats dealing from a position of weakness? >> well, look, at the end of the day, impeachment is a political decision. it's charged. congress is charged with making that decision to impeach the president and send it over to the senate for a trial. what has happened so far is that the democrats have simply failed to get the public to support what would be a political decision and so that's where we are right now p. tell a story to explain to the american people what happened
and to turn the mueller report into a narrative that can understand. i think through testimony in open session, i'm concerned about the hearings or interviews that are going been behind closed doors because the american people are not getting a real sense of what's happening here. i do think the president and his team are making a judgment that they can fight with congress basically and slow down this process of getting the facts out to the american people through a variety of claims that they are making with respect to executive privilege and these immunity assertions they are using. >> stone wall ing is slowing don the process. good to have you aboard. just revealed text messages between paul manafort and sean hannity. saying he would never quote give up the president for a plea deal with mueller. dear lexus,
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listen to how the president in this nbc news interview explained his decision. >> they said we're ready to go. wooe we'd like a decision. i said how many killed? in this case iranians. i said how many people will be killed. sir, i'd like to get back to you on that. great people, these generals. they said sir, approximately 150. i thaought about it for a secon. i said they shot down an unmanned drone, plane, whatever you want to call it and here we are sitting with 150 dead people that would have taken place probably within a half an hour after i said go ahead. i didn't like it. i didn't think it was proportionate. >> give us your analysis. do you think it's logical that earlier in the day when the president authorized this mission he wasn't told by
representatives of the joints chief of staff the nature of the operation and how many people would be killed? >> that's not laj cogical. that's not kredsabcredible. each option was accompanied by risk and risk mitigation. that's how the plan the missions in terms of what packages you'll put it on as well as the time of day to try to minimize casualties. maybe he didn't pay attention. maybe he didn't ask the right questions. i'm glad he considered it, if he did consider that in his decision to pull back the strike but i can guarantee you that the pentagon was briefing casualties as a possibility from the very beginning. sg wh >> what does this say about the president's decision making process? >> our sources are telling the president was briefed on this earlier in the day but he may not have internalized it until the very last moment, at least for him where he really understood what 150 casualties would mean in this context.
what it tells you is this is still a president who doesn't want go forward with military action. he's not comfortable with it. he thinks this is bad for him politically and also from a practical per speckive, i think that in this case he would much rather have iran at the negotiating table than use force in this context but highlights the degree to which this is a president who is following his gut. at the last minute he might decide to call off an attack that they have been planning for all day. that is highly unusual. he has the power to do it. he has the final say and that's why in that last meeting when they said mr. president, are we ready to go, it was his decision to say no and that's ha what he did. >> the president said when he heard 150 people would be killed, he said i didn't think it was roportionate.
the brass had to go through a legal process to make sure it was authorized and legal. >> the department of defense woubt have provided the president with an option that they didn't believe was lawful. i there are lots of parts of the casualties. these are not plans that the pentagon has drawn up in the last 24 or 48 hours. these have been plans for every possible contingency, every type of engagement for iran has been on the books for months if not years. the idea the president didn't know the numbers is the president isn't telling us the full story or his advisers are not giving him the full context of information that needs in
order to make responsibility decisions as commander in chief. the week it underscores the importance of having a defense secretary. we haven't had a permanent secretary of defense in nearly six months. >> it is true the president campaigned on no more foreign wars. he hated the war in iraq and haf haf afghanistan. he promised the american people he wouldn't couldn't get into this. >> as we get closer to the election, he is keeping his eye on campaign promises. this creates uncertainty not only around the world but here at home. members went to briefings yesterday who came out thinking
that this mission was a go and then were shocked when the president pulled back. while he is keeping his promise, he's creating a lot of concern out there. >> i spoke with one member of congress who was in the white house situation room with the president and they were briefed. this individual told me i emerged convinced the military strike was going forward. there was no doubt and he was pretty shocked when he discovered the president changed his mind. stick around. there's more news. we're following as the 2020 democrats gather in south carolina. will joe biden and cory booker clash about his comments over ability to work with segregationists. behr, ranked #1 in customer satisfaction with interior paints. great paint, new low price. starting at $24.98. exclusively at the home depot.
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the democrat presidential race is heading so an event hosted by the highest ranking african-american member james clyburn of south carolina. it comes on the heels of the controversy of joe biden's remarks working with segregationist senators many decades ago. jeff is joining us now from columbia, south carolina. jeff, biden and cory booker clashed over biden's remarks. do you expect them to cross paths in south carolina this weekend? >> reporter: good evening. they will indeed. they are expected to cross paths three times coming up in the
next hour or so at a dinner this evening and later at congressman's world famous fish fry and storm at statomorrow at democratic convention. they talked about this back and forth. it did not end in an apology but it was respectful. we will see if senator booker decides to continue this argument as he introduces himself to delegates. we caught up with congressman clyburn to ask him about why he's defending joe biden. >> i think it's ludicrous to blame someone for working with people who you don't disagree with. >> cory booker said he shouldn't celebrate racists. do you think-celebrating a racist? >> come on. when you celebrate your ability to work with a racist, you're celebrating a racist? that's like saying -- i enjoy
being able to work with republicans. i'm not a republican. i don't celebrate anybody who is but i work with them. >> joe biden just a short time ago finished a meeting wi ining african-american leaders. the establishment is rallying behind him. the question is what will rank and file voters do. you can hear the music in columbia already getting fired up. >> i'm sure they are. thank you. we have more breaking news coming into "the situation room" involving paul manafort and whether he would ever reveal incriminating information about president trump. our senior justice correspondent is joining us. what are you learning about former trump campaign chairman? >> these were text messages between paul manafort and sean hannity. it appears back in april the judge had a hearing to look at
whether paul and his lawyers violated a gag order that she imposed on them during the case. here is a couple of the messages. manafort writes nothing -- he says they would want me to give up on donald trump or family especially jk which is a reference to jared kushner. i would never do that. hannity says understand there's nothing to give up on dt. what did jk do? this is having to do with jared kushner and manafort responds, nothing. just like i did nothing. they will want me to make up stuff on both. again, this is paul manafort telling sean hannity who is a very friendly voice on fox news towards paul manafort and the president saying that he had no intention to turn against the president, to provide information to the special counsel robert mueller either on the president or jared kushner
or on donald trump's family members. in the end, the judge decided not to do anything about these interactions that were going on between manafort and sean hannity. a lot has to do with hannity asking for an interview with paul manafort. he never gets that enter. >> manafort is now serving a seven and a half year prison sentence. when were the messages exchanged? >> over the period of 2017 through earlier this year. this is during the time when manafort was fighting these charges and so the judge released -- there were a bunch of these text messages. a lot of them having to do with paul manafort saying he had no intent of coop riting against the president and hannity providing support to paul manafort and his family. sfw very interesting. thank you very much. there's more news we're following. more news involving the president pulling the plug on iran strikes at the last minute.
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and if there is it will be obilliot ration like you have never seen before. but i'm not looking to do that. but you can't have a nuclear weapon. you want to talk, good. otherwise you request have bad economy the next three years. >> no preconditions. >> not fares i'm concerned. >> not no preconditions ready to talk to president rouhani. maybe even the isolate la we're jound by dowels brinkley preponderate i want to talk about the new cnn film, apollo levin. but first your response to the president's response to iran. can you recall a time about plans a president chose not to carry out at the last minute. >> lindened johnson during the vietnam war. a greenlight, a big bombing mission on north vietnam. virtually on the pilots on the tar mack calls it off. it happens when a president is not sure of the move he should make. trump abbas we just heard has a
lot of bluster in his foreign policy. he said obilliot ration type of language with north korea and venezuela and others. the question is will the world believe donald trump? but i think we are lucky he didn't move in a rash fashion because 150 deaths that they're predicting could have been a lot more. nobody is ready for a new war in the middle east. >> an important point. the new cnn film apollo 11 debuts this sunday. you've written a new book details john f kennedy as 1961 clalg to land a man on the moon. but richard nixon was in office when the law firm took place in 1969. i want to you and the viewers to watch president nixon's historic phone call to the men on the moon. >> neil and buzz, the the president of the united states is in miss office now and would like to say a few words to you, over. >> that would be an honor. >> all right, go ahead, mr.
president, this is houston, out. >> mellow, neil and buzz, i'm talking to you by telephone from the oval room at the white house. and this certainly has to be the most historic telephone call ever made from the white house. i just can't tell you how proud we all are of what you have done. for every american this has to be the proudest day of our lives. for eem all over the world, because of the what you have done, the heavens have become a part of man's world. and as you talk to us from the sea of tranquility is inspire us to redouble efforts to bring peace and tranquility to earth. dougway strikes you most about that moment in history? >> well when you play richard nixon he was cautious about apollo 11 because neil armstrong told me in an oral history interview i did he had a 50/50 chance the mission being successful. and nixon had william sapphire a
speechwriter write pennsylvania disaster letter. telling the american we are sorry what happened to the astronauts. but once on the moon nixon got into professional mode and wrapped nimz in the apollo mantle. and behaved admiralably. when they returned, admission control in houston they flashed behind them john f. kennedy's pledge of may 25th of 1961 and underneath it wolf it said task accomplished, july 1969. and nasa culture, they were fulfilling jfk's mission. nixon just happened to be president. >> an twamz amazing few years from 1961 to 1969 doug thank you for joining us and to our view iris be sure to tune in the award-winning film apollo 11 airs sunday night 9:00 p.m. eastern here on cnn. much more news right after this.
what would i say to somebody living with hiv? ♪ keep being you. keep loving. keep aspiring. keep striving. and ask your doctor about biktarvy. biktarvy is a complete one-pill, once-a-day treatment used for hiv in certain adults. it's not a cure, but with one small pill, biktarvy fights hiv with three different medicines to help you get to undetectable. that means the amount of virus is so low it can't be measured in lab tests. so keep pushing. keep creating. and keep pouring your soul into everything you do. serious side effects can occur, including kidney problems and kidney failure. rare, life-threatening side effects include a build-up of lactic acid and liver problems. do not take biktarvy if you take dofetilide or rifampin. tell your doctor about all the medicines and supplements you take, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have kidney or liver problems,
including hepatitis. if you have hepatitis b, do not stop taking biktarvy without talking to your doctor. common side effects were diarrhea, nausea, and headache. if you're hiv-positive, keep loving who you are, inside and out. ask your doctor if biktarvy is right for you. ♪ tonight, many air travelers will experience serious problems on the ground before their flights take off. america's airports are aging and many are in very serious need of upgrades and repairs. it's the focus of the final installment of our series on the infrastructure crisis here in america. as cnn's nick watt tells us when it comes to the quality of airports, the united states lags far behind other parts of the world. >> reporter: more than 1 billion
passengers will travel through u.s. airport this is year, a number that's doubled since 2000. they were designed for about half of that. bottom line is we have old airports in this country. >> and on the sky tracks world's top 100 airports list you will not find a u.s. entry until number 32. don't forget this is the birthplace of aviation. >> then i get back on my plane. i land at la guardia with potholes all over it, right? we're becoming third world. >> new york's la guardia now undergoing a face lift is not alone. hundreds of u.s. airports need updated. bag amg and security systems, upgraded runways and taxiways, improved mass transit and crucially more space to accommodate those rapidly rising passenger numbers and new bigger planes. >> lax and other airports across the country have infrastructure that has been needed for the
last 10, 20 years. we are in a position we have to do them because our airports are failing. >> airport operators say they need to spend an a stagger 25.6 billion dollarsive every year for the next five years. this year, the the federal government is kicking in 3.18 billion. only about 12%. >> are those federal funds enough. >> absolutely not. >> in year's federal grants are going to 381 airports, 11.5 million to birmimgham alabama for a fire station. 10.3 million to des moines to reconstruct a runway. 6.7 million to oregon for a new wind cone and other updates. airlines contribute, airport haves to borrow heavily and there is something called the passenger facility charge added to every ticket, capped by congress at $4.50 back in 2001. airport operators want to raise
it by $4. >> for less than a cup of star cups coffee we could modernize the airports. >> airlines oppose it and say it will stifel demand dpl considering the importance of airports to the united statess kme to the united states it's critical for guardian he is to make the decision and help us out. >> lax uped for the 84 olympics in a middle of $14 billion improvement, a new people more to east congestion in and out. term nam updates. more gates. >> i am borrowing for this sorely needed ip credible development program out until 2047. >> and even after the improvements lax still won't have enough gates. and global passenger numbers are set to double again by 2035. then what? nick watt, cnn, los angeles. very serious situation, nick watt thank you very much and that's it for me. thanks for watching. i'm wolf blitz ner the situation
room. you can follow me on twitter and instagram @wolf blitzer. you can 2003 tweet the show @cnn sit room. have a great weekend. he erin burnett outfront starts right now. >> outfront next, breaking news, the president says he is not looking for war with iran but, warning, if there is it's opolite ration. plus a civil rights icon coming to the defense of joe biden and his comments about segregation senators. will that stop the attacks from his 2020 rivals? and profiting off the presidency, how president trump is reportedly getting taxpayers to give his properties a big financial boost. let's go outfront. and good evening, i'm erin burnett outfront on this friday. breaking news, obilliot ration. president trump tonight saying war with iran would end with obilliot ration for iran. but he doesn't want a war. even though he ordered a strike against iran only to brag about then calling it