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tv   CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto  CNN  August 21, 2019 6:00am-7:00am PDT

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a very good wednesday morning to you. i'm jim sciutto in washington. poppy harlow is off today. and we begin this morning with a stunning cancellation. president trump scrapping his upcoming visit to nato ally
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denmark after his prime minister calls his interest in buying greenland, that's right buying part of denmark absurd. a sudden change of heart a shock to one of the u.s.' most loyal allies, the danish royal family calling it, quote, a complete surprise. another official describing it as unfathomable. plus another day passes since the mass shootings in el paso and dayton and president trump runs away from his pledge for stricter background check legislation. sources telling cnn the president called the head of the nra to tell him that universal background checks are now off the table. >> and a new cnn poll out this morning shows a six month low for the president's job approval rating. also slipping, americans confidence in where the economy is heading. going to break down all the new polling numbers, but first let's get to ana stewart, president
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trump has said buying greenland, and again you're hearing me correctly there, buying greenland is not a priority for him but he has canceled a trip to denmark over denmark's refusal. i'm curious how officials are responding there. is it surprise, is it anger? >> i mean, it's been quite a turn around as you say. and this tweet came out overnight. and i think the general feeling is incredulity, shock surprise and lots of people we're speaking to, to the local press say people feel they've been offended, that the government has been offended, that the queen has been offended because this visit from the u.s. president was invited by her majesty the queen the second of denmark. this is an official state visit. looking at the reaction today you can see why the u.s. ambassador to denmark has
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tweeted just in the last few hours at potus values and respects denmark and looks forward to a visit in the future to discuss the many important issues on our strong bilateral relationship. great allies like america and denmark should be able to discuss all issues poepenopenly candidately, she's trying there of course to soften the blow but it is a big one. and local journalists i spoke to say this is big one. there is a general feeling of a sense here, one party leader or a spokesperson said for no reason trump seems that autonomous because it is an autonomous part of the country is the sale and then cancels visits everyone was preparing for. alaska, please show more respect. jim, we expect the prime minister to speak any moment now. tricky position for her. she needs to maintain this
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important relationship with the united states, but listen to the sentiment of the people here in denmark. >> it's a good point there. greenland is semiautonomous part of the country who would have a choice as to whether or not it sold to a foreign power. here at home president trump has once again retreated on universal background checks for gun purchases. this after a phone call with the head of the nra as well as pressure from gop lawmakers. a source tells cnn that the president told the nra's wayne lepiere that background checks are now off the table. let's get to cnn joe johns at the white house for more. and joe, listen, we've seen this movie before after parkland, the president derided republican lawmakers for being afraid of the nra, and he himself backed off background checks. now he's done it again. >> totally right out of the play book when you think about it.
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it's a total pattern with this president. when there is a tragedy he gets behind the idea of new gun control measures. but when the smoke clears and the political realities set in, the president backs off, and so is the case with this current situation, a source telling both myself and cnn's katelyn collins that after a long conversation with the nra's head wayne lepierre, the president told lepierre that universal background checks are off the table. so that's a considerable departure from what the president was saying publicly, not very long ago. and we're also told that the president was told by wayne lepierre there are a lot of members of the national rifle association that essentially helped get the president of the united states last time elected. as we know this election is coming up in november, not too long from now.
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just over a year. >> and that's very much the president's focus. of course polls show the vast majority of americans in general in favor of background checks. thanks very much. the president may be shifting his thinking on gun control legislation as we reported. what about the public? a new cnn poll out this morning gives us a closer look at that, as well as a number of other issues related to how the president is performing including a drop in his approval rating. let's bring in cnn political writer and analyst harry henton. harry, there's a lots to get to here. tell us the headline numbers. >> yeah, i think number one you pointed out the president's overall approval rating at 40% in this poll. and this is right around that low point. it's a bit higher than it was during the shutdown, and that's generally where the president has been between the mid-30s and mid-40s and i should point out this drop is not significant. if you put it in historical context it's note worthy the
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president over and over again seems to have approval ratings lower than all other presidents at this point in their presidency. the only exception is jimmy carter in '79. >> tell us about on the issues. where does trump stand on the key issues as we head to 2020? >> if you look at most of the issues the president is under water with them. take a look at gun policy which has been in the news, 36% race relations. obviously the president made those comments about the four congresswomen of color and knows perhaps the gun policy and race relations have been in the news so much, that may be part of the reason he's getting dragged down. but even in the economy which has generally been a strength for the president, do they think the economic conditions are good, now that's pretty good but it's lower than it's been all this year. >> understood. okay, and specifically on gun control, this is an issue very
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much in the news. the president as we reported just a short time ago after the shootings in el paso and dayton, came out in favor it seemed of background checks, speaks to the nra, turns himself around. >> yeah, he turns himself around and i should point out in poll after poll americans say they want stricter gun control laws. i will opponent out this isn't nearly as high it was after parkland, but you're seeing a vast majority of americans, 60% right now saying they support tighter gun laws. one reason the president doesn't feel they need to act, if you think we did have stricter gun control laws, would it help reduce debt, and it turns out only 49% of americans say yes, and 48% say no, so that's a much closer margin on whether americans want stricter gun control laws. >> joining me now to discuss all of this alex berns, and laura
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lopez, national political reporter for politico. if i could begin with you, laura, this seems to be part of a trend, the president's approval rating coming down not just in the cnn poll, other polling and also the president trailing all the democratic front runners, also the fox news polling, something that upset the president when that came out. what's behind it in your view? what is coming together here to lead to that down tick? >> the fact in the news we've been talking about gun control and the aftermath of the horrific shootings in elo and dayton, ohio, and also the president's repeated attacks on lawmakers of color and comments against them, and those two things combined together. i thought what was interesting in the cnn poll is that among his disapproval on race relations with the american public, that that decline
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happens specifically with white people and specifically with women. and that suggests also a larger trend that we saw in 2018 which is that among white suburban women the president has not been doing well. and that doesn't bode well for republicans heading into 2020 whether it's for the presidency or for down ballot racesmism. >> and we saw that in 2018, white suburban women really helped turn congress back to blue. alex, you cover this administration, you cover the white house. you can see in the president's public comments in his focus on issues even on background checks he's told wayne lepierre he makes a calculation here and speaks of a payroll tax cut possibility. what is the level of concern in the white house these numbers are causing them worry? >> i think there's considerable concern really across the republican party that the president is not speaking to the voters that he needs to win over in order to win a second term.
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he is very focused as he's always been on speaking to his base on the right wing of the republican party, not speaking to independent voters or even more moderate republicans like the women who laura was talking ability. i thought the one really revealing piece of the poll, jim, was that it showed there was considerably more intensity in favor of background checks on the democratic side and in favor of gun control on the democratic side than opposition, and 70% of democrats strongly favor new gun restrictions, 38% of republicans strongly oppose them. republicans in general still against gun control, but it does suggest there would be maneuvering room for the president to do something on guns that might speak to some of those voters in the middle and as we've seen consistently he just doesn't choose to use that maneuvering room. >> it's clearly a base strategy alone. laura, i want to ask you about
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another issue because this is fascinating, you might even say exasperating. it read like an onion headline today where the president cancels a trip, a visit to an ally arb a close ally because that president refused to sell them part of their country. this is the truth. denmark won't sell trump greenland. is there anyone in the white house who is advising the president on something like this, that this is a bad idea, this doesn't make sense? >> well, we've seen time and time again where advisers may tell the president it probably wouldn't be best to tweet about this, it probably wouldn't be best to react in this way on sensitive matters with a strong u.s. ally, and still the president decides to hash this out in public and exact some punishment on an ally because of the fact that what he wanted was not addressedmism and . and so we've seen the reaction also in dep denmark.
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and an eu official even put out a statement in support of the denmark prime minister's response to the president. >> we should remind folks it's a nato ally, denmark. i spent a lot of time in afghanistan. they put their forces in very dangerous places and operations. they lost 43 people there, 43 service members there. it's a close ally. before we go, the president's comments on jewish-americans and questioning their loyalty if they vote for democrats, i'm going to play this sound again because it's caused quite a deal of uproar, and then i want to get your quick thoughts before we go. >> where's the democratic gone? where have they gone where they're defending these two people over the state of israel? and i think any jewish people that vote for a democrat, i think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or a great disloyalty. >> tell me about the impact of
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that comment, alex? >> i think if the president is trying to use votes as a wedge issue he's certainly not talking about it in a way that's likely to appeal to actual jewish voters. speaking about disloyalty, suggesting they're ignorant of their own political cultures, political chulther, this is deeply alienating for a lot of people and it's the language of somebody who's trying to bully people into voting the way he wants them to or shaming them the way he wants them to or to appeal to constituency that isn't jews at all and use it as a way of dividing other people but not to speak to constituency he claims to address. he's talking about really millions of americans there. >> welcome to the show. welcome to cnn. great to have you both on today.
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>> thank you. still to come this hour, overnight a u.s. drone shot down over yemen. why the trump administration plans to call out iran for this incident. plus president trump says that russia should be allowed back into the g-7 group of nations. to make clear, that's news to vladimir putin's ears. why is the president doing this? and a new change in immigration relations should have migrant families pea held in detention facilities even longer. we're going to have a live report coming up. new align whole food probiotic.
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with tough food, your dentures may slip and fall. fixodent ultra-max hold gives you the strongest hold ever to lock your dentures. so now you can eat tough food without worry. fixodent and forget it. >> the story isd developing rigt now. cnn has learned a u.s. drone has been shot down right over yemen. and the missile that was shot down was provided by local rebels there to iran. remember of course iran shot down a u.s. drone, a very expensive one just a few weeks
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ago. cnn correspondent barbara starr has been following the story. how significant would this be. >> reporter: it's not good news any time a u.s. military asset is shot down, but keep in mind it is a drone but there's no pilot onboard, not a risk to american military lives, if you will. this was an mq9 reaper drone the u.s. flies over yemen to target al-qaeda in that country. but now the houthi rebels as you mentioned say they are the ones that shot down this drone. the u.s. very strongly says that iran is the sole provider of weapons to the houthi rebels, but earlier today one of the houthi spokesman issued a statement saying and let me read it to you the missile that targeted the mq-9 drone was developed locally and will soon be unveiled at a press conference. we have the ability to neutralize a large number of hostile aircraft from entry in
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airspace. so the houthis puing their markering down they are developing the weapons themselves to do this, but i think it's fair to say most intelligence experts believe houthi are still very much dependent on iranians for their weapons and that's something you could do. >> barbara starr thanks very much it was just in june that you'll remember iran shot down $110 million u.s. drone. i believe we have pictures of that. called back that military action while the planes were in the air, and the u.s. did not in the end retaliate for the shoot down of that drone. president trump is backing russian president vladimir putin once again on a key issue. this time expressing support for reinstating russia into the g-7 formerly known as the g-8. he's also making false claims that president obama ousted
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russia because putin outsmarted him. >> because putin outsmarted him president obama thought it wasn't a good thing to have russia in, so he wanted russia out. but i think it's much more appropriate to have russia in. >> that's false. russia was kicked out of the g-8 at the time because it invaded an annexed crimea, part of a tavren european country, cnn national security reporter kylie atwood here in d.c., a senior administration official told cnn that senior white house officials believe this was a plow by the french president emmanuel macron to embarrass president trump by making him the face of welcoming russia back into the g hp 7, g-8. what are you learning? >> yeah, what cnn has learned during a phone call yesterday
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with president trump and one of the things that they did discuss was inviting putin to the g-7 next year. as you said, jim, russia was kicked out of the g-7 for illegally annexing crimea, and it was the majority of the countries in the g7 who made that decision. it was france and all of those countries supportive of the move. so of course inviting russia to the g-7 meeting next year would be a remarkable move considering russia has done nothing to pull back what it's done in crimea. it would also send some sort of bizarre signal that eventually just waits it out and you'll be invited back to the table. and so that's the worry of people who have been watching this face for a long time. it's also pretty remarkable that this senior administration official tells me it was macron who made the suggestion and president trump who said it was a good idea. we also expect that president trump is going to bring it up
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this weekend when he's meeting with world leaders in france. >> fred, you're on the ground in moskow. are russians welcoming this news? >> well, they certainly are, jim. it's quite interesting to see because once again the response to all this is absolutely perfectly stage managed here in russia. on the one hand you have official russia, russian politicians, the spokespeople for russian ministries who are saying, look, we haven't received anything about this yet, we have to check this out, whether this is something the u.s. and france really mean. and there are other politicians who are saying the u.s. needs to lift sanctions against russia before russia would be willing come back. but then there is kremlin controlled media which is very close to the power elite here in russia. i was watching the main political talk show here and
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they've already come up with graphics where the g-7 turns into the g-8 in response to what president trump said. they then played president trump's sound bite we just played saying this was all the obama administration's fault, and that obviously was something that did come to great applause there in russian tv as well. they're trying to frame this in a way as though it seems that president trump is somewhat trying to cater to vladimir putin, trying to get vladimir putin to actually come back to the g7 or g8 roorgt than the other way around. i think one of the things they said in that talk show is they said that president trump probably feels back for selling some arms to ukraine and therefore wants to make up for it by bringing russia back into this international format, jim. >> it looks like they're laughing a little bit at all this. frederick pleitgen there on the
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ground. as the latest polls show joe biden continues to dominate. many of the 2020 presidential candidates are keeping the focus on that first voting state iowa today. how can they win over votes in this key caucus state? and we are moments away from the opening bell on wall street. christina alesci following all the news for us. what's it look like, christina? >> stocks are higher this morning for two reasons, jim. one good earnings from retailers that show consumers are still spending and the market is pricing in another quarter percentage cut from the fed that's going to keep the easy money going on wall street. that's after president trump sends contradictory signals about the u.s. economy, but investors looking ahead today to the federal reserve to get a sense of what it sees on what's ahead for the economy. >> christina alesci, thanks so much. we'll be right back.
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hosting 16 candidates throughout the day. there they all are. thereat includes front runners bernie sanders, joe biden and elizabeth warren. their ultimate goal to swing voters in a state president trump won by 10 points in 2016. the chief politics reporter for the des moines register. as they speak to union workers there, what are the key concerns for those workers today in. >> well, a lot of union workers right now are telling us that they feel the democratic party are not really talking to them, not speaking to their issues. they want to hear people talking about trade. they want to hear support for unions to bring back unions in iowa like across the country. unions here have kind of weakened. they account for about 8% of the work force right now, that's down about 15% 30 years ago. so unions are feeling under
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attack. iowa gutted its collective bargaining laws years ago, so they're feeling the prec, not supported. they want a president who's going to come in and talk about worker rights. >> how about the economy because clearly the white house is concerned about the potential softening of economic numbers. and are union workers feeling that? is that a question they're going to be asking the democratic candidates about? >> absolutely they'll be asking those questions. another thing they'll be talking about is support for $15 minimum wage. we've seen some of these candidates come in and not just talk about these things but attend rallies. we saw bernie sanders rallying with mcdonald's workers for higher wages, for the ability to unionize. we're seeing some of these candidates really come in and put their money where the mouth is so to speak. so i think a lot of union workers are looking for them not to say the right things but to indicate in actions and policies what they would do to these workers. >> and spoke to a representative
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of minnesota farmers last week who said definitively in the view of farmers there, the u.s. and president trump are losing the trade war, they feel left out in the cold on this. >> well, you're really of course split along party lines. a lot of farmers here are republican, so when you talk to them they say we want the president to be tougher on china, on trade. we think he's going in the right direction but we can't hold out forever. you know, at a certain point they're losing money. they need to see some real results and it depends. you go and talk to some more progressive farmers who are looking at the plans laid out by people like senator elizabeth warren. so you really do get a lot of variation, but you do hear universally from farmers we want a tougher stance on china, we want better trade deals but we need to see some results.
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>> joe biden increasing his lead in the most recent cnn polling. on monday the former second lady dr. jill biden, of course the former vice president's wife, she told new hampshire voters that they should not vote -- what they should really do is focus on the candidate who can beat donald trump. i want to play her comments and get your reaction. >> she was making the case -- >> of course that's joe biden defending his wife's comments there. but i wonder in iowa, iowa voters you know better than me, there are very issues focused. they know the issues, they demand a lot from the candidates in getting hard answers to hard questions. how is electability playing in this? >> electability is a huge reason right now. they want someone who can defeat the president, we want someone
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who can win in a general election. you get different answers what that means to them, what electability looks like. but joe biden is making the case that i think resonates with a lot of iowa voters right now mybe we align on 89% of the issues and not 100%. but if you think we can win, that matters most because you're not going to get any of the issues you care about if donald trump is re-elected. >> you saw the numbers today showing the president's approval rating is falling down. this is reflective of other polls. in iowa, are you seeing evidence of the same? >> yes and no. our latest polling is a couple of months old here on the ground for his aremovpproval rating. but among republicans he's popular. among his base, among voters who typically support republicans he's doing quite well. but across the state you do run into people who said i voted for donald trump in 2016 and i'm not
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planning to do it again. i'm looking for a new home, i'm looking for someone else i can put my support behind. >> the question is who that is. great to have you on. perspective from iowa. >> thank you. the trump administration wants to increase the amounts of time that it can hold migrant families in detention facilities like this one you're seeing here. those details ahead.
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right now the trump administration is announcing a new regulation that will allow migrant families to be detained longer. currently migrant children cannot be held in federal custody in centers like the one you're seeing here longer than 20 days. the administration says the current rule forces officials to
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either release immigrant families together or to separate them. and one official says migrpt families could exploit that loophole. joining us now cnn national correspondent diane gallagher. as you know this is an administration that has not hesitated to increase restricts along the border with the intention of deterring people from coming. i wonder if you find the administration's explanation of this incredible based on your own reporting? >> let's just be clear about this, jim. this regulation doesn't just close a loophole. it literally blows up the standards the government has abided by for the past 20 years. it potentially could hold families together indefinitely. you guys probably remember hearing something about the flores settlement agreement especially last summer during the separation crisis the trump administration's policy created. it sets the conditions and the limits for the length of time of which the government can detain immigrant children.
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and that time limit has been set at 20 days. this new regulation, it essentially removes any time limit. instead it keeps kids in custody with or without their families for the duration of their immigration proceedings. the regulation does this by giving the government the authority to use either state liceninging or i.c.e. detention standards. immigration customs enforcement standards. now, i.c.e., currently operates three family facilities for undocumented people, and immigration proceedings can take a couple of months or in some cay cases up to five years to be completed. look that's according to the active dhs secretary. it will include provisions for parole and bonding out and a third party audit. dhs officials say they could be released from detention but the government still as to brief the judge who oversees the flores
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agreement. look, jim, this is likely going to be challenged pretty quickly in the court system. advocacy groups, lawmakers speaking out. and this affects children and adults. look, there were thousands and thousands of them this year. wouldn't have an end date where when they would be let out of detention. >> listen, thank you for cutting through the talking points. that's what reporting is. diane gallagher, good to have you on. meanwhile u.s. customs and border protection says it will not give flu vaccines to migrants in border camps. at least three, we should note migrant children have died in u.s. custody just since december after contracting the flu. border officials say they made the decision because of the complexity of vaccination programs and the short amount of time migrants are in cbp custody. cbp can hold migrants for 72 hours or less, but they're often there longer after children without parents leave cbp
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custody they're placed in the care of hhs where flu vaccines are given out. this morning as we learn president trump is backing off plans to expand back grnld checks for gun purchases new information for more than two dozen arrests over the threats to carry out a mass shooting just in recent days. you're turning onto the street when you barely clip a passing car. minor accident -no big deal, right? wrong. your insurance company is gonna raise your rate after the other car got a scratch so small you coulda fixed it with a pen.
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this just in to cnn. we have learned that a 15-year-old girl in california was arrested last week and charged with making a terrorist threat. police say the teen posted a picture of guns online with the caption "don't come to school tomorrow." she's among more than two dozen
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people arrested for making violent threats just in the days following the mass shootings in el paso and dayton. cnn's rosa flores is in daytona beach, florida, with more details on these cases. rosa, i'm curious how seriously authorities have been taking these cases. do they think that deadly violence was averted here? >> reporter: you know, they definitely do, jim. law enforcement around the country sending a very clear message that any threats that are either posted online, on social media, that are tweeted, that are called in to friends or family members will be taken very seriously and also asking people, asking the public to continue to submit those tips to law enforcement because here's what we've seen around the country. law enforcement have been receiving tips, mostly about young men or men posting threats
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online. police are taking these very seriously. they're following those leads, investigating, and once probable cause has been established, they are making arrests. now, these arrests are being captured on body camera video. one of the fascinating things is then parents are caught in this camera video questioning police, saying that perhaps their child is just a kid, that these are just jokes. police officers are telling parents that they have to take these threats seriously, especially after the mass shootings that we have seen lately, especially after el paso, sandy hook, and all these various shootings, jim. so here's the summary for us. cnn has been tallying all of these incidents. 27 arrests since the el paso and dayton shootings. in 26 cases.
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again, law enforcement taking this very seriously. >> you've seen in past case where is threats were not taken seriously and violence followed. rosa, great job on the story. president trump is standing by his controversial comments that jewish-americans who vote for democrats would be disloyal. i'm going to speak to the head of the anti-defamation league about it. that's coming up. mer service, every time. our 18 year old was in an accident. usaa took care of her car rental, and getting her car towed. all i had to take care of was making sure that my daughter was ok. if i met another veteran, and they were with another insurance company, i would tell them, you need to join usaa because they have better rates, and better service. we're the gomez family... we're the rivera family... we're the kirby family, and we are usaa members for life. get your auto insurance quote today. there's brushing and there's oral-b power brushing. oral-b just cleans better. it's the one inspired by dentists...
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this morning, a california school district is reopening an investigation into a group of students accused of giving a nazi salute during an off-campus sports banquet. it comes a day after this disturbing video went viral appearing to show students giving that nazi salute. they were also singing a nazi marching song. this video from november 2018. the garden grove school district says it learned of the incident in march, disciplined the students then. officials would not say what that discipline was, citing privacy laws. now that this video has gone public and gone viral, the district said it has learned new details about the incident and is reopening its investigation. very good morning to you. i'm jim sciutto in washington. poppy harlow is off today. no sale, no visit. president trump says he is
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scrapping a state visit to u.s. ally denmark in two weeks after danish officials rejected his expressed interest in buying greenland, a sovereign part of denmark. the danish royal family calling the cancellation a, quote, complete surprise. it comes as the president changes his mind on another issue, universal background checks for gun purchases here at home. according to a source, a phone call with the head of the nra, combined with pressure from gop lawmakers, has cemented the president's reversal against supporting stricter background checks. the president telling the nra chief, wayne lapierre, that they're now off the table, which is something the nra sought. and is the g7 soon to be back to the g8? president trump says he wants to bring russia back in 2020. according to a senior administration official, so does the french president, emmanuel
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macron. president trump is expected to bring up the topic this weekend at the g7 with other world leaders. of course, we should remind you, russia was kicked out of the g8 for its annexation and invasion of crimea, part of a sovereign european country ukraine. that has not changed. this is all happening as a new cnn poll out this morning gives us a closer look at how the public views all these issues and the president's handling of them. let's bring in cnn's senior political analyst mark preston. a lot of numbers in here, big ones. a lot don't look so great for the president. >> let's break them down for you, jim. good morning to you. yes, if you look at these new approval numbers out this morning regarding president trump, he's now at 40%. this is the lowest approval rating we have seen with the president since february. he's been ticking along around 43%, 42%. where is he historically, though? we look at the historical matchups, when we talk about re-election, he's right about where ronald reagan was in


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