tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN June 25, 2019 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
iran provoking president trump in a very trumpy an way. "the lead" starts right now. insults and the edge of war. president trump threatening iran with obliteration after the president said the white house has a quote, mental disability. how serious should iran be taking president trump's threat? the crisis on the border now dividing democrats. the battle over emergency funding as migrant children go without toothbrushes and soap and sleep. plus one candidate is watching trump, one is watching himself and one is apparently working on his guns. how the 2020 democrats are training for the most visible moment of the race so far. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. welcome to "the lead," i'm
jake tapper. we begin with breaking news in the world lead, moments ago president trump told reporters he believes iran takes his threats seriously and he does not need an exit strategy from the escalating confrontation. this is after the president delivered an unmistakable threat to the leadership tweeting any attack on the u.s. will be met with great and overwhelming force and in some areas could result in obliteration. the comments a direct response to the iran president saying the mixed messages coming from the white house suggest a, quote, mental disability. as cnn's boris sanchez reports, neither side is showing any signs of backing down. >> reporter: after zee employing a round of threats on twitter, president trump insisting iran takes the threats seriously. >> i think everybody does. i think you do too. >> reporter: the maximum pressure campaign on iran now getting personal. one day after he slapped iran with new sanctions, iran's
president hassan rouhani taunting the white house. questioning how trump could simultaneously ask for talks with the regime. >> they do strange things that no sane person in the history of world politics has done for at least i don't remember. this is because of the total confusion. white house is suffering from mental disability. >> reporter: trump firing back with a string of
tweets, promising war if iran targeting any u.s. interest. quote, iran's very ignorant and insulting statement put out today only shows they do not understand reality. any attack by iran on anything american will be met with great and overwhelming force. and some areas overwhelming will mean obliteration. the new threat coming as sources confirm the u.s. military launched a major cyber attack on an iranian proxy group last week. trump today repeated a claim that he has many iranian friends and he wants the regime to get rid of the hostility.
the president also boasted that if the u.s. went to war with iran, there would be no need for an exit plan. >> do you have any exit strategy for iran if war does break out. >> you don't need an exit strategy. i don't need exit strategies. >> reporter: jake, president trump making clear in an interview with hill tv that he may consult with members of congress if he decides to have an armed conflict with iran but that he does not need their approval. that may not sit well with lawmakers, including kentucky congressman rand paul who believes that any president has to act on foreign policy with congress's approval. jake. >> boris sanchez. thank you. joining me now is republican congressman adam kinzinger of illinois from the house and he flew missions as an air force pilot in iraq and afghanistan. congressman, thank you for joining us. you just heard president trump say that he doesn't need an exit strategy when it comes to iran. what is your reaction to that? >> i don't look too much into that. i'm not a big fan of foreign
policy by twitter but i think the president in this case is right to actually be pretty tough in his talk. the reality is iran better not think that they can do what they did, for instance to the drone last time, i thought the president should have struck in areas of iran with what they used and hit them back. but the bottom line is looking at this, you have to say being tough in talk i think could keep him from doing the next thing. and all you have to do is look at 40 years of history of how iran talks and you know that all he's doing is matching their rhetoric. >> you said that you also heard president trump say that he thinks that iran believes his threats. you just said that you think he should have done -- a proportionate strike back, i assume you agree with that, the proportionate. what do you think the president should have done given that you oppose his pulling back? >> so, i don't take as much issue with the fact that he didn't strike. i would have and i think they certainly deserved at least a
you use it, you lose it kind of thing, if you use equipment against our state you'll lose that. but i think when it comes down to itali to it -- it at the bottom line, the president should be ready to do what he needs to do. so when i see that, i'm like, rhetoric, whatever that is, putting the troops in and wlafr that is and the strikes have got to be ready. >> i want to double down on the exit strategy because you don't judge -- he didn't say that on twitter. he said it in person and one of the things that the american people left and right can agree, is that too often our leaders, whether they are in the pentagon or the white house, from both parties or no party, take our fighting men and women like you and put you into harm's way and there isn't an exit strategy. >> yeah, i think if we get to a point where there is an armed conflict then there needs to be an exit strategy and conditions for what a victory looks like and targets taken out or
whatever that final thing is. but when it comes down into it in this case is making it clear to iran if they threaten american interests like for 40 years and continue to attack american troops, frankly like they've targeted in iraq, there is a response that is going to be at the level of what it deserves to be. i don't think -- and everybody that jumps to this 300,000 troops in iran is the next step. i don't think it is. i think there is a sliding scale of military response where the cost to iran would exceed any damage they could do to us. and that in and of itself can keep iran from doing that. because they know there is no gain for them in it. >> when you talk about the sliding scale, you would have advised -- you use it you lose it strategy and iran fires on our drone and we fire on their missile base or wherever it was that took out our drone. are you concerned at all that any military strike would escalate the conflict ultimately leading to loss of life, both innocent iranians and innocent americans and innocent people in the region. >> absolutely.
it is always a concern. i think that is why the messaging to iran has to be that proportional, if you use it you lose it because they know if they react disproportionately or react when they initiated the action, the back and forth, that we have bigger options sitting behind that we can use that we're not. so this is where basically that patience, that being clear about what our reaction will be could be deescalatory and i think prevent iran from making the kind of mistake they made last time. keep in mind, shooting down the drone, it is not like the uncles drone in the backyard it is the size of an airline and the equivalent of destroying eight f-16s. so this is a issue. it was the president's determination not to strike and that is fine but it needs to be clear to iran there will be consequences. >> iran said they have no interest in obtaining nuclear weapons. listen to what national security adviser john bolton said regarding a desire to bring iran to the negotiating table.
>> the president has held the door open to real negotiations to completely and verifiably eliminate iran's nuclear weapons program, all that iran needs to do is to walk through that open door. >> iran said they have never left the negotiating table. they're still in the iran deal. it is the u.s. that left. >> yeah, but i think the point on this is very clear. so after iran entered the deal, i wasn't a big fan of the deal. after they entered the deal, you could strain to an extent a nuclear weapon program for a finite amount of time but what we saw after that was a massive cash infusion into the expeditions around the middle east, in syria, yemen and lebanon and elsewhere and so what the president in his prerogative came in and said, is we're fine with the nuclear deal and it has to last longer. we're half way through when parts start expiring. but then on top of that we have to ensure you won't take any benefit and use it on the forays and attack american interest or allies, friends, et cetera. >> republican congressman adam
kinzinger. thank you. >> see yeah. why the government is now returning dozens of childrens to a border detention facility a day after they were removed. then a sitting congressman accused to use campaign funds for women who are decidedly not his wife. stay with us. biopharmaceutical researchers. pursuing life-changing cures in a country that fosters innovation here, they find breakthroughs... like a way to fight cancer by arming a patient's own t-cells... because it's not just about the next breakthrough... it's all the ones after that.
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policies. speaker pelosi is telling democrats the money is quote, for the children, funding diapers and food and blankets and other necessity. nick valencia is in clint, texas, outside of a border housing facility criticized by human rights lawyers for being neither safe nor san tarry. let's start with sunland. it was described by one member as tense, where do things stand now. >> reporter: things up here on capitol hill have been very fluid all day but a deal between democratic leadership and house progressives had been very unhappy with this bill, it does seem to be emerging now at this late hour. sources tell season that leadership in the house they believe they have everyone within the caucus on the same page and working for a considerable amount of the day to bring everyone in to make changes and make last tweaks to the final legislative text.
to try to appease progressives unhappy earlier in the day. they wanted additional guardrails to be added as one member described a short time ago to ensure that migrant children are protected and a very good sign for leadership just in the last few hours, congresswoman jayapal from the progressive caucus is happy with the changes that leadership has made and including new language outlining the minimum conditions for care which she said could not be waived. democratic leaders, jake, are still pushing to hold a vote on this later today in the house and they are projecting confidence when it hits the floor, they believe it will pass. >> sunlan, thanks. now to clint, texas, to the border facility where nick valencia is. and president trump said this afternoon he's concerned about the conditions at the places. nick, nearly 250 children were moved from the facility behind you after the horrific conditions were revealed but you're learning some of them are now being moved back to the same
facility? >> reporter: yeah, estimated 100 migrants are being moved back -- child migrants are moving back and the concern is they're going right back into the very conditions that they were removed from and called legal -- legal monitors called unconscionable. according to customs and border protection there was no longer concern about overcrowding but the details from the independent monitors who visited last week are heartbreaking. children sleeping on the floor, some with no mattress and teenagers going up to three weeks without having a shower. children essentially left to fend for themselves and on a phone call with customs and border they use the time to highlight progress saying they're stretched thin by the resources that they have currently and the influx of migrants. here in el paso, dealing with triple the amount of migrants at the same time last year. this much is clear, there is a lot of politics being played while the lives of thousands of children hang in the balance. jake. >> nick valencia in clint,
texas. thanks. let's chew over this with our experts. lara, let me start with you. the suspicion among progressives from the house is the money will be enabling the trump administration. but the acting department of homeland security secretary kevin mcaleenan has been warning for months this crisis would happen and he needed this money, most of 3-billion dollars of it for facilities for kids. >> but the progressives are worried now that the acting cbp director is stepping down that they -- these are agencies that are chaos, they don't know where the money is going. and so what they want is some kind of enforcement mechanism that if they money isn't directed to go to dhs and cbp they have some kind of, quote, hammer as mark pokan of wisconsin put it, another leader of the progressive caucus, they want a mechanism, stronger language and they did get a few concessions last night to make
them happier and they are making sure there are standards for hygiene at the facilities. >> and for want of a better term, say that the secretary mcaleenan is pragmatic and then others in the administration are hardlineser for simplicity sake. his now outgoing replacement at cbp is resigning. what does that mean? does that mean that a hard liner will be put in there necessarily? >> that seems to be what the administration has done in the past. but i don't think we know yet. to lara's point, these are agencies in chaos. there isn't a lot of clarity about who is actually driving the car. other than the president himself. and we also have an administration that doesn't like to put permanent people in these positions. and so that in and of itself creates instability. and you could see how things aren't being followed through. independent monitors are the ones that had to whistle blow
about the facilities. and it is really -- you could understand where there is mistrust among members of congress with this administration because there isn't anyone driving the train. >> and we're learning right now that the acting chief of i.c.e., mark morgan, considered a hardliner, is expected to take over as acting commissioner of customs and border protection, according to an official. take a listen to what morgan said back in january about some of the detained minors. >> i've been to the detention facilities where i've walked up to the individuals that are so-called minors, 17 or under and looked at them and their eyes, tucker, and i said, that is a soon to be ms-13 gang member. it is unequivocal. >> he's now overseeing the situation, paul. >> what an idiot. i'm sorry. is he the amazing -- to look into the eyes of a child and decide whether he's going to become a gang member and he is running this. what we're doing to the children is inhumane. the democrats now that they have
power, they have to govern, not just oppose. and the progressive caucus needs to be for progress, it sounds like they are and nancy pelosi pulled her people together and she's doing her job as speaker which is to make progress and try to help the children even if the money goes to things they don't support. that is practical progress. that is good. for this man to say something that hateful, that racist about children is really shocking. >> it does seem to me that while this might appeal to the president's base, this is a horrible issue for republicans at large going into an election season. >> yeah, and i agree with you. it is like an audience of one there in the clip that we saw. ultimately that what happens is the command and control structure when it collapses like this, people's belief that the government can get and solve crisis problems like this, it begins to wayne. and when that happens you have people that start to worry about how this plays politically. so i think what republicans really like is the contrast that
you're seeing up on capitol hill which is getting the fight over, who is to blame and who is politicizing it more often. but one of the big problems is you're in charge and you're job is to run an effective government and the government doesn't look effective, i think that becomes a problem for the administration as this goes on. >> take a listen, lara, to tim ryan, the congressman from ohio running for president in the democratic primary, he had some words for president trump over this border -- border crisis. >> he wants this to be a political issue. this is what he wants. every single day he's in the news about being tough on migrants. will go fix the damn problem. he's not a leader. he's not a leader at all. he is a tv host. he's running "the apprentice" out of the white house and kids are suffering. >> and so the issue for democrats is presenting an alternative because they know that trump is going to be talking this the way he did in 2016, all threw 2020. releasing more hardline
proposals and so that is why pelosi wants this bill passed. she told members in a caucus meeting this morning, if you vote against this bill it is a vote for trump and we don't want to show that weakness when we're about to put this on the floor. >> and take a listen to michael burgees outside of dallas talking about the detention facilities for children. >> you know what, there is not a lock on the door. any schield is free to leave at any time. but they don't. you know why? because they're well taken care of. >> he's the chairman of the house sub-committee on health. you know why they don't leave? because they are six years old. >> i believeef was talking about a different facility and not in clint. so that -- that is not what republicans want to put out there. and you're going to be hearing democrats contrast this in the debate tomorrow night. and it really is. it is a shocking thing to say. but these are little kids. these are toddlers that were in this associated press report that we all read the other day. >> stick around.
think of it as a round of speed debating during mock debates and watching republicans these are the way 2020 democrats are getting ready for tomorrow night, the big debate. stay with us. pnc bank has technology to help make banking easier, like... a business borrowing solution to help get a little more space with a lot less mom. or home insight, to search for a new house within your budget. because, they really need their space. pnc - make today the day.
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biden that means studying his own record and preparing for rivals to attack him on it. senator bernie sanders is skipping mock debates instead looking for ways to contrast his views with those of his opponents. senator amy klobuchar with watching the 2016 republican debates to figure out how to stand out in a crowded stage. i want to break down the strategies with my panel of experts. jackie, what is the most important thing candidates should be doing today in preparation for the debates? >> in addition to the contrast you mentioned, i think just keeping answers short. we forget how a group of ten people, how short their answers have to be and how little they can stand out. so it is keeping their policies condensed and particularly someone like elizabeth warren and keeping it short and snappy so people remember it. >> you worked for the bill clinton campaign in 1992 and in '96 also. so that is a guy who needs to be told to keep it quick. but especially on a stage. what would you be telling these candidates? >> i would tell them that i know the questions. i know the first question for
sure. and the second and the third and the 18th. can you beat trump. that is the question democrats want. so, jake tapper may ask, what is your position on taxes or trade or iran? the real sub text for the voters is are you the one that can deliver me from donald trump. they have to keep that in mind. fine to have policy positions and unwise to chase illogical purity and they just want to beat trump. >> kamala harris campaign as a prosecutor and one campaign source telling cnn that they're warning the candidates not to confront each other because all you're doing necessarily is -- well jen palmieri said if you attack someone, you end up helping the third person, not yourself. so how much is the prosecution of another candidate on stage hurt you? >> well, i think you have to remember that the biggest name that is on stage is not physically there. and that is donald trump.
you have to prosecute the case against donald trump. and let the contrast emerge. paul is right. most important thing to remember in campaigns, and particularly in debates, is the aggressor always wins the debates in the minds of the audience. so be very aggressive in prosecuting that case against trump. and the other thing, too, the audience will decide who won this debate in the first 30 minutes. you have to have a very big moment from the get live g-- fr get-go. and you cannot bide your time during the debate. >> i think there are democrats out there and tell me what you think, laura, talking to voters, that are very comfortable with democrats attacking each other. but it is kind of necessary at least in some way to do that to contrast yourself if you are julien castro on a stage and trying to contrast with joe biden or elizabeth warren or bernie sanders. >> yeah and if you're kamala harris or pete buttigieg, you kind of need a moment in these debates because buttigieg is faltering in the polls, harris hasn't -- we haven't seen her
surge at all. but to your point, i mean, a lot of these democrats, the voters are tired because of what happened in 2016. they don't want what happened last time, this brutal primary of slugging it out and then feeling as though they couldn't unite behind clinton in the end. they don't want that to happen again. because as paul said, so many of the voters are concerned about who will beat trump. >> but there is a sub text about joe biden saying i'm going to go after these voters, these people who voted for trump who could be brought back into the democratic party and other candidates on the left, bernie sanders, elizabeth warren, who say, you don't need to do that, we just need to motivate our base and get out african-american voters and young and latino voters and that is a sub text for all of this. >> it is. and that is an interesting strategic debate and i do think voters, democrats are more strategic than they have been in the past. in the past i think democrats are ideological and they want to
fall in love and democrats want to fall in line. i think the democrats want to fall in line. but the right answer to that question is both. barack obama carried dozens of counties that donald trump carried. he carried states that donald trump carried. we don't have to choose. we have to motivate our base and reach out to the swing voters and the cool thing is there are collection of issues particularly around health care and middle class economics that appeal to both. you need web issues, not wedge issues. >> one of the things that about that, jackie, is there are progressives out there disappointed with eight years of barack obama and thought he campaigned as a centrist. >> they are all on twitter. >> every last one of them. >> every single one of them. and they aren't looking at joe biden. they're looking at who seems to be -- at least on the stump is running more of a general election campaign than a primary election campaign. so they're going to be looking at bernie sanders, at elizabeth warren, at some of the more progressive candidates that are trying to go further to the left. now whether that will work
long-term, we don't know. but you're certainly seeing someone like a kamala harris trying to court voters as well. and again, it is an exciting night. >> what do you do if your joe biden in terms of attacks? i think it is a certainty that bernie sanders will criticize joe biden, not on hunter biden or but on the position on the war in iraq or medicare for all. what do you do if you are joe biden? do you ignore it. >> i don't think you ignore it. but you biff di-- you pivot to and the wrong decisions made related to that policy. the one thing you can't do is just think you could get into a one-on-one with bernie sanders alone. because that is going to drag down bernie sanders -- drag you down to where bernie sanders wants you one-on-one with a front-runner and then you lose your focus on the larger things motivating democratic voters which is the idea which of the
candidates can go out there and represent the democratic party core beliefs but also can go toe-to-toe and head-to-head with trump in general election. a congressman is accused of using campaign funds to live a lavish lifestyle with his wife and now new details involving not just one or two or even three alleged extra marital girlfriends, the bizarre twist in the duncan hunter affair. that is next. since andrew dusted off his dancing shoes. luckily denture breath will be the least of his worries. because he uses polident 4 in 1 cleaning system to kill 99.99% of odor causing bacteria. polident. clean. fresh. and confident. of odor causing bacteria. another wireless ad. great. so many of them are full of this complicated, tricky language about their network and offers and blah blah blah. look. sprint's going to do things differently. and let you decide for yourself. they're offering a new 100% total satisfaction guarantee. try it out and see the savings. if you don't love it, get your money back. see? simple.
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alleging that he used campaign cash to pursue extramarital relationships with five different women. including lobbyists and congressional staffers as part of the case that hunter and his wife misused campaign money to fund a lavish lifestyle, prosecutors are now saying that, quote, hunter spent thousands of dollars treating women to meals and traveling to and from homes and women who are not his wife. as tom foreman reports, the new allegations come at a time that hunter's wife has agreed to cooperate with investigators. >> reporter: through five affairs with five different women, the court documents allege republican congressman duncan hunter spent thousands of dollars embezzled from campaign funds for hotel rooms, golf, a concert, meals and much more. the married lawmaker has always insisted he's done nothing wrong. >> let's go to court and have a trial and everybody will see everything. >> reporter: last year he and his wife were first accused of using campaign cash to live a
lavish lifestyle. his wife recently agreed to cooperate with prosecutors after hunter blamed her for misusing the funds. the new details, if proven, are damning. for example, the papers describe a trip to heavenly mountain resort in california in 2010 where the congressman and a female lobbyist spent the weekend skiing, ordering room service and enjoying the amenities using his campaign credit card to cover the thousand dollar tab and more campaign cash for travel. other trips with the same woman, a double date to virginia beach where prosecutors say he dropped $900, a concert at which he spent $112 in campaign funds on beer, nachos and wings. and a golf outing with greens fees for two, ten beers and a shirt and a visor all paid for, prosecutors contend, with campaign money. at republican convention in tampa in 2012, the papers say he took up with a woman who worked
for republican house leadership member, using campaign funds to cover dinners, cocktails and uber rides to her home. a similar pattern allegedly occurred with another woman from his own office in early 2015. where the papers say the two occasionally spent nights together. then again with another lobbyist that fall and yet again with another lobbyist the next year. hunter, who was one of the earliest congressional backers of donald trump,in sifteds this, too, is a witch hunt. telling politico, you have criminally political prosecutors in this case on a personal smear campaign. no direct response to cnn from hunter today. for now the congressman striped of his committee assignments is hold gs on to his office but worth noting the papers wink at more undisclosed salacious behavior also allegedly paid for with campaign cash. and i guess we'll find out this
fall if this goes to trial as expected. >> tom foreman, thank you. in our 2020 lead, elizabeth warren and bernie sanders will not share the same stage this week in the crucial first back to back democratic debates but warren and sanders will push the same type of proposals and as cnn jeff zeleny reports, there is a battle between the two candidates brewing since sanders last presidential run. [ crowd chanting ] >> reporter: -- never mind joe biden. the in the democratic primary it is between elizabeth warren and bernie sanders. it is a battle promising warren's big ideas. >> this is our chance in 2020. our chance to dream big, to fight hard and to win. >> reporter: in sanders pledge for a revolution. >> >> so in 2016 with your help we began the political
revolution and now in 2019 we're going to complete what we began. >> reporter: as they prepare for the first democratic debate this weekend in miami, they're broader policy ideas are similar. with calls to implement medicare for all and to fight income inequality. but there are differences. like the respective plans to relieve student debt. sanders would wipe out all outstanding student debt in the country but warren is proposing to forgive up to $50,000 for anybody in house holds making less than six figures a year. it is a subtle but key distinction. beginning to frame the dualing candidacy. they insist it is a friendly fight. >> i think bernie is terrific. we were friended before i got involved in politics. >> elizabeth is a friend of mine and she's running a good campaign. >> reporter: but beneath the surface, tensions are rising. some sanders supporters have never forgiven warren.
>> i'm here today because i'm with her. >> reporter: for endorsing hillary clinton in 2016 before sanders dropped out and sanders is making clear he feels footsteps. suddenly painting warren as an establishment candidate after third way said they prefer her candidacy to his. >> they prefer senator warren to you. >> i don't care who they prefer. that is not what i'm talking about. i'm talking about a democratic party that represents the working families of this country. >> reporter: many warren admirers like regina like sanders but believe she's the fresh face of the left and can win and favor her softer touch. >> she's not so -- not as upsetting to other people. >> reporter: but sanders' loyalists say only he can bring sweeping change. >> so people have to decide, do they want the original or copies. >> so he's the original. >> he's the original. >> reporter: so bernie sanders
may be the other nall but -- the original but is elizabeth warren the 2.0 of the campaign. now senator warren is rising in popularity and working harder than any other candidate in terms of number of events, questions taken, et cetera. she'll be doing a town hall meeting here on the campus of florida international university on the eve of her debate. they are not going to be competing standing side-by-side. but, jake, there is no question they're occupying the same space, progressive groups now are torn between warren and sanders. >> jeff zeleny in miami. thank you. coming up, a new white house press secretary announced by the first lady. that story is next. sonoma? i want wine with lunch... it's 11am, cindy. thanks, captain obvious. don't hate-like their trip, book yours with hotels.com and get rewarded basically everywhere. hotels.com. be there. do that. get rewarded. cancer is the ugliest disease mankind has ever faced.
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in the politics lead, one of the longest serving members of trump administration is now officially becoming the public face. >> -- has been with me from the beginning. >> that is stephanie that he's referring to is stephanie grisham. a trump white house original and now assuming duties as the white house communication director and press secretary in addition to keeping her old job as communications director for first lady melania trump. kevin, you know her. you worked with her on the romney campaign in 2012. that is a lot of responsibility, three jobs, three white house jobs presumably not three white house salaries for one person, no matter how gifted. >> she's very focused on the job at hand and very focused on three jobs at hand in this case but also very loyal to the team collectively. that is very important to this president. and then let's be realistic, there is really no press
secretary in this sfrags administration, the president is his own spokesperson before the media and that is the way it will always be. >> she is known as melania trump's enforcer, really very strongly protecting the image of the first lady. >> she's very loyal and so a lot of the press corp thinks that she could end up being an attack dog, but they also do expect her to maybe maintain this no-briefing streak because she has been behind the scenes from the campaign on through her tenure as melania trump's press secretary and so she's not necessarily that comfortable yet in front of the cameras. >> and i have to say, white house press briefings do have an important role and it is an opportunity for people to hold an administration, any administration, accountable for things going on in front of the world. >> absolutely. and i'm sure that the white house press association will push her to bring back the briefing. but i think laura is right, if her role with melania trump is
any guide, she certainly is someone who speaks to the press and she is certainly who will call you back. but in terms of actually taking on the role as it has been in the past, that really remains to be seen and probably is doubtful. >> remind us of what press secretaries used to do. >> they used to have this really interesting hybrid role. they work for the government of the united states. the people of the united states. the president of the united states. but unique in the white house, the press secretary ought to be an advocate for the press and she is betwixt the two worlds and sarah sanders was not good at that and as was spicer. but the truth is it is not spicer or sarah sanders's fault and i'm sure it will work out great for stephanie but it is not her fault either. when i was a white house aide, focus on the organ grinder and not the monkey. we're just monkeys and we come and go. it is the organ donor.
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during a deadly fire fight with insurgents in fallujah, iraq. and barbara starr reports on his extraordinary acts of bravery which took place on his birthday. >> reporter: stef sergeant david bellavia is the first living veteran of the iraq war to receive the medal of honor. >> david today we honor your extraordinary courage -- >> reporter: in 2004, fallujah in western iraq was violently slipping out of control. >> get back. get back. >> reporter: he was leading a squad of soldiers to clear a block of buildings where insurgents had taken cover. >> we knew exactly what type of urban fight it would be and it turned out to be everything we expected. >> reporter: according to the army, he entered a house multiple times, killing or wounding multiple insurgents on two floors. one of the insurgents even loading a rocket-propelled
grenade launcher before being killed by him. >> he put himself in the line of the fire and laid down a base of fire, overwhelming the enemy long enough for me to get myself and the members of my squad out. >> reporter: eventually more troops arrive, which only added to the chaos. >> everybody in that building was bleeding. everyone had glass, metal, ricochets. friendly fire, enemy fire. and you're stuck in the middle of it. there aren't a whole lot of options. any hesitation would cost lives and my entire unit did the job they were trained to do. >> reporter: he said the honor is not all about him. >> this is the iraq war medal of honor as far as i'm concerned. i share this with everyone. >> reporter: now none of the americans thankfully in this battle were killed. and it has been a 15-year journey for david bellavia from fallujah to the white house to
be fully recognized for his efforts to save his buddies. jake. >> barbara starr at the pentagon. and of course our thanks to staff sergeant david bellavia and his family for his service and their sacrifice. you can follow me on facebook and twitter at jake tapper and tweet at "the lead" and our coverage on cnn continues right now. thanks for watching. happening now, breaking news, deplorable conditions as 100 migrant children are returned to an overcrowded border facility where conditions have been described as unconscionable, reacting ahead customs of border protection resigns and the president is very concerned. >> trading insults. president warns iran that attacks on anything american will lead to an overwhelming response and even obliteration but the iran leader said the white house is suffering from mental disability. duncan cheater. prosecutor as lentil congressman duncan hunte