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tv   At This Hour With Kate Bolduan  CNN  September 17, 2019 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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thank you for joining us today. i'm poppy harlow. >> and i'm jim sciutto. and coming up kate bouldan with "this hour." >> good morning. there's a high probability the attacks on the saudi soil sites were launched from an iranian base. and right now president trump is offering up really contradictory messages on how he believes the u.s. is planning to respond. you will respond of course the locked and loaded tweet from this weekend. at this point he's declaring
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it's too early to say. >> reporter: have you seen evidence, proof that iran was behind the attack. >> it's looking that way. we'll have some pretty good -- we're having some very strong studies done but it's certainly looking that way at this moment. and we'll let you know. as soon as we find out definitively, we'll let you know but it does look that way. >> reporter: do you want war with iran? >> do i want war? i don't want war with anybody. >> cnn diplomatic editor nic robe robertson is joining us from the capital of riyadh. it's some of your reporting that's bringing out some of these new accusations being leveled. what more are you hearing from your sources tonight? >> reporter: well, what the sources here with knowledge of the investigation are saying is that some of these missile systems, these low-flying cruise missiles with a bolt-on drone technology with them didn't make it to their targets to these oil facilities, that they fell short
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in the desert, they didn't explode fully and that is giving u.s. and saudi investigators access to some relatively undamaged parts of these missile systems. this is what has led the saudis to say that the weapons were made in iran and the investigators, both saudi and u.s. investigators now have a high probability of believing that these weapons systems took off from bases inside iran, close to the border with iraq, flew over iraq and over kuwait and over the desert to these oil facilities. saudis have more protection from the sea. they flew over the desert rather than the sea to get to the targets. about a year and a half ago i was with my cnn team the first journalist to show what the saudis were claiming were
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iranian-manufactured krucruise missiles being filed from yemen. but the point is the saudis showed us these weapons systems, said they were from iran. the u.n. later vettinvestigated concluded, yes, the weapons systems were made in iran. the saudis are examining the circuitry on board these missile systems because they can see where the circuit boards were made, where the components were made and that allows them to draw a very strong conclusion about whether the whole system itself was manufactured. they'll also look at the motor systems on these rockets as well on these cruise missiles and that will also give them insight over how far they could have flown and, therefore, a better determination of who actually fired them. kate? >> and when, if there is such evidence like that, that is going to be crucial in laying out to the public when they make
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a startling -- the important and very serious accusation that it is coming directly from iran, from an iranian base and who is behind what happened. nic, your reporting has been amazing. thank you so much. i really appreciate it. let's go to iran. that's with nick paton walsh is for us. the more evidence, the more information that is coming out from sources, it is all seeming to point the finger more and more at iran. but with that in mind, what has been the reaction there? >> reporter: well, they haven't changed their initial position. when first on early saturday u.s. secretary of state mike pompeo pointed the finger at iran as being behind these attacks without any evidence. iran said it wasn't them. then they said the u.s. pochang from maximum pressure to maximum
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deceit. i should point out at this stage we are hearing increasing details as to what investigators believed happened but they haven't shared or made public the evidence that's caused them to come to those conclusions. u.s. officials have not done that notably over this period of time. iranian officials will be waiting to see what evidence can be publicly put forward, kate. many are asking, whoever you want to blame for the attack, what is the next move, if saudi arabia and the u.s. choose to point the finger at iran, what are they going to do about it? will the saudis or the u.s. retaliate? is there a possible opening for diplomacy? now john bolton, the national security adviser, has been fired. many thought that was the case in previous days but it seems like mike pompeo's comments were very accusatory, donald trump
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talked about how he might like to talk, sort of wavered over the ideas whether he needed preconditions satisfied first. today we have a definitive answer about negotiations from iran, the supreme leader came forward in a long speech today saying very clearly there will not be no negotiation with the united states at any level. he goes on to say sometimes they say negotiations without preconditions, sometimes they say negotiations with 12 conditions. such remarks are either due to their turbulent politics or a trick to confuse others. he even said the government is unanimous in this verdict in case there's any confusion. in tehran he holds out the slightly humiliating idea that he might talk to him but at this stage diplomacy seems closed off, which leads to the question of what comes next. does donald trump really want military action or are the saudis hoping for broad
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international pressure. kate in. >> >> thank you so much. it's really important that you're there. really appreciate it. i want to bring in adviser dennis ross. he's also the author of a new book called "be strong and of good courage, how israel's most important leaders shaped its destiny." ambassador, thank you so much for being here. >> nice to be with you. thank you. >> on what i was just talking about with nic and nick, can you give me just your kind of excerexpert assessment, do you believe it's what we're hearing, these accusations, do you believe it is iran directly involved here? >> i do believe iran was directly involved, and i'm worried about it because it crosses a threshold for them. typically the iranians always work through proxies, they always do things through
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indirection. the supreme leader was very much scarred by the iraq war and has tried to avoid direct conflicts. to have allowed the revolutionary guard to launch missiles from an iranian base is unprecedented in this kind of a context. so i am worried about that. i don't believe we would be hearing some of the worts unless in fact some of the weapons as nick was describing this actually did not explode and the saudis probably have them. they have their own experts looking at it but they have american experts looking at the weapons. it not just who made them. the nature of these weapons and also they can determine where they are came from. so this will be something that i think we will know. i think no doubt this is being shared with the europeans and others. i think the key right now is this being shared as to create a case to politically isolate iran, to get the europeans to do something they haven't been prepared to do before, which is
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to say we, too, will apply sanctions to the iranians unless we get some kind of commitment from the iranians that they will stop further kind of attacks, they will agree to begin to resume negotiations, everything will be put on the table, or is this being done to lay the basis to have some sort of military retaliation, even if it's designed to be a very limited one in terms of targets and duration. >> and you raised something so important. how crucial is it that whatever evidence they have, what they have it, if they have it, that it is made available to the public to see with the situation -- i mean, as you describe in an opinion piece that you wrote this is basically on the cusp of the first foreign policy crisis of the trump administration. >> i think the essence of what you're asking is crucial at this point. if the information that we have
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is not made public, you will have many in this country and internationally highly skeptical of the claims. there's enough about this administration that raises questions and doubts that unless what can be presented is very clear, very tangible, unmistakable, it will be hard to make that case. but if we have in fact what was being described earlier, what nick was reporting on, if there are large fragments or weapons in fact that have been recovered, this will be something that can be presented publicly, the iranians will be exposed for having lied, which should damage their credibility and it certainly will put them on the defensive. if there's one outcome that is good above everything else, what the iranians have sought to do all along is to create this kind of ambiguity. have plausible deniability. this will deny them that.
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that in itself will make it much less likely the starting steps. >> you lay out in your piece for "the washington post," you lay out a few things that the administration should be doing in response to what has occurred in saudi. one of the things that you write, it's putting the islamic be republic in the corner economically but not politically or militarily. >> let's take both parts of that. one of the reasons i think the economic sanctions are not enough is because basically we
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have succeeded in isolating ourselves, not the iranians, politically. if you really want to put maximum pressure on the iranians, they have to see the whole world is lining up against them. we have a track record of seeing when they change their behavior, when they adjust. when they decide that the price as they measure is too high, they adjust their behavior. the economic pressure is hurting them, no question it's hartiurt they will. the political isolation came from us walking away from the nuclear deal, because they're not isolated, they say we will show the americans we will show we can put maximum pressure on them by pressuring their friends and their interests and they bob mueller increasingly embolden. to launch an attack from their own territory, which is really an act of war, shows they're not being deterred from us or by us. that may well be one of the
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reasons you have to think about is political isolation enough? must they not also see that something they highly value can be put at a military strike. the danger is once you launch a military action, does it stop at that point. how do you bring it to an end? do you have a strategy for taking it and turning it into some kind of a political outcome? can you tush it into diplomatic leverage? i come back to what you were asking before, i do think it is essential for us to make a public case that is understood and accept now, whether that's enough, i think you then come whack to the question of does there have to be some kind of military strike. i think the answered should be that, one, you come up with by knowing what's your next step after that, how does it fit into a larger strategy. i think that still is a question
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mark that many have about the administration's approach. >> ambassador, thank you so much for your time. i really appreciate your perspective this morning. >> my pleasure, thank you. >> coming up for us, on capitol hill, gearing up for what could be fireworks. why is corey lewandowski saying he's excited to face questions from congress? and why is mark sanford appearing with a card board cutout of president trump? he's here to explain ahead. imagine a world where
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a book that you're ready to share with the world? get published now, call for your free publisher kit today! . president trump's former campaign manager corey lewandowski is headed for capitol hill and ready for battle. he's expected to appear before the house judiciary committee in a couple of hours in what will be the panel's first high-profile impeachment hearing. heading in this is what lewandowski has to say. "excited b the opportunity to remind the american people today there was no collusion, no obstruction. the end of the tweet offering an important note, lewandowski is considering running for senate in new hampshire in 2020. joining me more is senior
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congressional correspondent manu raju. what do democrats want to get out it have? >> reporter: democrats want to ask about the details in the mueller reports, namely the president talking to lewandowski, asking him to apparently curtail, go to approach jeff sessions and then the attorney general to curtail the mueller probe. according to the report, lewandowski was unsuccessful in delivering that message to jeff sessions but the president tried repeatedly to get jeff sessions to unrecuse himself from the probe. the white house is already taking steps to limit the scope of lewandowski's testimony, saying he cannot talk about any conversations with the president beyond those that were outlined in the mueller report, and democrats are objecting, saying there's no right to block his testimony given that lewandowski
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was never a white house official. but the white house also denying it will from two former white house aides, rick dearborn and rob porter, saying they have immunity from testifying before congress. expect democrats to object to that effort as well, all impeachable by the white house instructing its former aides to n not comply with a white house subpoena. >> there's another big move. house oversight has launched an investigation into transportation secretary elaine chao. what have you heard about that? >> committee members sent a letter to the transportation department yesterday demanding information regarding what media reports suggesting there could be conflicts of interest alleging that she may have used for her official pence company
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owned by her father and and they said they would comply with the requests for the documents and the democrats want information by the end of the month. >> he mentioned democratic congressman raja chrkrish -- wh
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do you hope to get from the committee? >> essentially secretary chao may have used her office to benefit her father's shipping company. that shipping company is based in new york city but it actually has extensive business with the chinese government and has bought numerous ships from chinese-owned government ship yards financed through chinese government loans there are two issues that have come up in media reports one is that she officiated a signing ceremony between that shipping company owned by her father, as well as a company, a japanese-owned company that is within her own oversight. and there are questions swirling around why she was there, why she was present and whether any influence was exerted to make that deal come alive. the second issue is that she also has extensive holdings in a
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company call vulcan materials, a road construction company. she has not liquidated her holdings and, as you know, she has a lot of oversight of roads and bridges and transportation net woshs. that's a problem potentially as well. >> reporter: the investigation is frustrate with political land mines. she also married to mish mcconnem -- mitch mcconnell, the top republican in the senate. >> her response, what do you say to that? >> i think some of those statements are a little d disingenuous. i authored a provision of a law which states very simply within
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the department of transportation that no officer or government official, including the secretary of transportation should use that public office for private gain. that is what this inquiry is about and we're just trying to get to the bottom of it as part of our oversight duties. >> very interested to hear what you get because the secretary's office says they will be complying. i want to ask you about some other news happening. corey lewandowski on the hill today will be before the judiciary committee for its first impeachment hearing, if you will. if he says he's not going to say anything beyond the mueller report, do you think it's worth having him testify? >> yes, i understand that he's potentially running for the senate in 2020 so it will be interesting to see if he makes an announcement at this hearing. but i think there are two issues. one is that even the allegations within the report, namely, that he may have been asked to attempt to obstruct justice by
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president trump, but he refused to carry out the order that mr. trump asked them to do is very interesting. why did he not do that and why did mr. dearborn, the other person he asked to carry out that order not do it either? secondly, there are no privilege issues here. he was never an employee of the president. so i think that any assertions that there's privilege issues is mistak mistaken. >> let us see what happens today. congressman, thanks for coming on. i really appreciate it, all the committees you're involved in. >> just a slow fake news day here, kate. >> thanks very much. coming up, why is the south carolina republican party scrapping a republican presidential primary that he would be part of? mark sanford jones us next.
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my hope is that with all due respect to donald, we won't make this the only debate that takes place between me and the president. and again, more importantly, the only debate that takes place
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within south carolina homes about where we're going next as a party. >> that is correct. your eyes do not deceive you, that is mark sanford debating a card board cutout of president trump. he's making a point but it could be the closest he gets to the real thing. he's one of three republican primary challengers taking on trump, but they won't be on the ballot because the state's republican party has scrapped the primary cycle. arizona, kansas and nevada are doing the same. the former south carolina governor and congressman joins me now. thank you so much for being here. >> my pleasure. >> so beyond the card board cut out, congressman, and i get your point, how far are you going to fight the decision to cancel the primary in south carolina and these other states? >> we're in the process of explore, any and all options. i think it's incredibly important because, one, our first in the south primary
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status has, frankly, given south air ly carolinians disproportional impact and i think it's a mistake to lose that. in regard to my candidacy, this is home. this is where know a lot of folks, built two successful statewide political organizes and denying that to a hometown boy i think is what you see in third war republics, closer to what you see in a lot of places around the world where elections and debates are snuffed out based on raw political mite. >> other than a legal challenge, time is of the essence if you want to get in on this primary before this all happens? >> it is. but the problem with the legal challenge is there can be appeals that can drag that part out, too. i mean, you're left with, you
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know, what i heard when i was at the university of south carolina football game on saturday, which is a lot of people coming up to me and saying this doesn't make sense to us. if in the world of politics you have the chance to stack in a 90% win, which is what he alleges his lead is, you do it all day long. particularly it will have impact in other primaries. somebody is seeing numbers saying his support is a mile wide and an inch deep. >> fair or unfair and you don't get a primary in south carolina, do you think you have any shot of taking on trump? >> well, i'd turn the question around to you. i would ask you that question of donald trump not so many months ago when he run and you'd say not a shot. i think that's the world of politics. up never know quite what's going to come next. i'm going to try and prosecute
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my case as vigorously as i can. >> last night president trump had a campaign rally in new mexico. he said a lot. one reoccurring theme was the economy. let me play this for you. >> we have created 6 million new jobs since election day. unemployment recently reached its lowest rate in over 50 years. more than 7 million americans have been lifted off of food stamps. nearly 600,000 americans came into the labor force last month alone. think of that. we passed the largest package of tax cuts and reforms in american history. >> you've got a lot that you say against the president, but how do you have convince republican voters that tax cuts, low unemployment and deregulation isn't what they want here? >> well, i think they do want
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those things, but the question is at what cost? and what we're doing right now as a society is buying growth. you can do this in the corporate world, you can do it in the world of politics. so, yeah, you get a bit of a sugar high based on the tax cut and a bit of a sugar high based on spending but it comes at great cost. the records he's not talking about is record levels of debt, record levels of deficit spending that are buying and creating those jobs. and the problem is when the economy does turn down, we've left ourselves with no tools in the tool kit to deal with that downturn because we bought these jobs and we bought this economic growth here in the short run, it does not play out well over the long run and it particularly doesn't play out well for our kids and grand kids. a deficit is nothing more than a
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deferred tax. what you're doing is handing the cost of government that he was consumed today to our kids and grand kids, which is the opposite of what the founding fathers talked about when they talked about no taxation without representation. >> mark san frnd who seems to be the lone standing deficit hawk in washington and beyond at this point. independent very interested to hear what move you make when it comes to the south carolina primary and beyond. we'll keep watching it. thank you. >> yes, ma'am. >> coming up, deciding netanyahu's fate. israelis just so thevoted on the months ago. what is going on here and what is at stake? that's next. wide fit shoes. they have extra room throughout. they're like a luxury ride for my feet. try skechers wide fit shoes.
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for the second time in five months, it's election day in israel and benjamin netanyahu is in the fight of his political life. the long-time israeli prime minister is facing off with the former chief of staff to the israeli military bennie gantz. but who is going to win this the polls tell us still too close to call. what's at stake here is much more than just who is going to lead the israeli government.
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what are you hearing today? >> reporter: kate, of course that's the number one, who comes out of this election, if anyone, victorious, prime minister benjamin netanyahu and we are set up at his likud headquarters behind me or his former rival bennie gantz. but it is personal for netanyahu as well. the attorney general intends to indict him on charges of bribery and beach of trust. he is prime minister. if he gets the government he wants, he may be able to legislate immunity from prosecution himself. that's one of the headlines we'll watch for. one of the big questions is voter turnout. net you've and netanyahu and gantz are invoking a panic campaign and it's
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intended to put the fear of losing into either party and try to get them out there to vote. netanyahu was out with a mega phone screaming "what are you doing here? go out and vote, go out and vote." the question now is how is that possible? according to the central election committee, voting is up in april, 1.5 percentage points. you see that as a strategy to energize the voter base and see if anyone comes out victorious. it's possible the same political deadlock remains even after these results. we'll see the exit polls in about three hours from now. we'll have our first projection, our first suggestion of how this might work. >> thanks so much oren, it's great to see you. right now the bankruptcy court is the scene of the latest fight to hold one of america's
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right now, billions of dollars are at stake. the first bankruptcy hearing for the producer of purdue pharma is underway right now. purdue filed for bankruptcy as part of a deal to settle more than 2,000 lawsuits against them, lawsuits brought by local communities across the nation for the company's role in fueling the opioid crisis. so what is going to happen today, and what does this mean for the thousands and thousands of families across the country that are battling against opioid addiction as we speak? joining me right now is one of the lead attorneys representing the thousands of plaintiffs in the federal opioid case, paul ferrell. paul, thank you for joining me. >> no problem. thank you for having me. >> thank you. what are you expecting to happen today? >> well, today is day one. it's the first day, as they call it in the bankruptcy proceedings, so it's gathering of lawyers in white plains, new york. the bankruptcy judge is going to look over the petition and make
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some immediate decisions regarding the operations of the company and then begin developing a plan for the sale of assets for the debts. >> what kind of decisive action are you hoping could happen come today? >> i don't know that anything decisive is going to happen today, but today is the first step in a long series of decisions and choices that not only purdue will have to take but also all of the counties and the cities that we represent. so today is the beginning of the journey of trying to figure out how much money is available in bankruptcy and how we can begin abating the crisis. >> some attorneys general are objecting to the deal that -- the tentative agreement you guys reached, including the attorney general from pennsylvania saying the bankrupt filing is another attempt by the sacklers to run away from responsibility and avoid paying for the opioid epidemic they engineered.
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this family has moovrd all of the value out of purdue fampl a and into their own pockets. what do you say to that? >> it might be true. but it doesn't take away from the fact that purdue, a privately held company, has filed bankruptcy. they've waved the white flag and they will be effectively severed from all the litigation. that doesn't mean the sacklers are off the hook. there is still lawsuits pending against the sacklers and the judge will take all of that into consideration before making a ruling. >> instead of negotiating directly with purdue pharma or the sacklers, this now puts the terms of the settlement into the hands of a bankruptcy judge. how confident are you that the judge is going to approve the plan that you've proposed? >> let's separate the two things. one is purdue pharma, which is a privately held company that will no longer be in existence. secondly is the family that owns purdue pharma. there is two separate analysis
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that goes into that. for the first part, there will be extensive discovery and extensive paperwork to evaluate what purdue pharma is actually worth. and then in addition to that, the sackler family is going to be putting up money from the sale of its assets in europe as well as some other in cash. so, ultimately, it's a hobson's choice. there is not really we can do other than the fact of go through the bankruptcy proceedings and try to evaluate how much money is actually available to begin to solve some of the problems oxycontin caused. >> one step in a very long process, and you're still going to litigation, into court for the other part of this case. you've got a lot ahead of you. thank you so much for coming in. i have many more questions ahead and many more days to cover this. i appreciate your time. >> thank you. coming up for us, the world lost a legendary journalist today. we learned this morning the sad news that cokie roberts has passed.
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we have some sad news to report this morning. abc news has revealed that cokie roberts has passed. she was a titan in our industry, the long-time reporter in washington, won many, many
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awards for her political coverage over her decades-long career. she was also known for just being a wonderfully kind human being. brian stelter is here. saying "legendary" when you talk about cokie roberts is not an understatement. >> not at all. this woman was a trailblazer for journalism who worked for npr and abc. she was fighting breast cancer and she passed away earlier today for complications with breast cancer. former president obama remembers her as a trailblazer and role model for young women. cokie had a storied career over 40 years in television, radio and public broadcasting. she was known for her unwavering support for generations of young men and women who will follow in
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her footsteps. our people we help, our family we nurture, our people in the business that we help, then she has an unending legacy. >> very well put. her husband is a long-time friend of mine, and it's such a sad day. she will always be remembered for her strength, her fierce but fairness, and just what a wonderful woman she was. i hold her husband steve up today. thanks so much for joining me. "inside politics" with john king starts right now. thank you, kate. and welcome to "inside politics." i'm john king. thank you for sharing your day with us. house democrats are about to hold what some call the first impeachment hearing and the white house is defiant. two aides are not showing up and another adviser is not

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