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tv   Special Report With Bret Baier  FOX News  February 19, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PST

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never miss an episode of "the five." "special report" is up next. john roberts is in for bret. >> quiz, what else is harry truman famous for? >> greg: he had a secret tunnel? >> john: the bowling alley in the executive office building. >> juan: way to go, john. >> john: president trump backs efforts to improve federal background checks as florida shooting survivors challenge washington to do something about guns. the kremlin says indictments over russian election interference proves nothing and politicians and one u.s. state want to improve election security by going back to the past. this is "special report" ." good evening. welcome to washington. i am john roberts in for
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bret baier. there are signs of movement tonight on gun control in the blistering reaction to last week's school shooting in florida. president trump is indicating he would be in favor of efforts to improve federal background checks for gun purchases. this comes at some of the survivors are making plans to go to the state capital this week in march on washington next month, as they demand change. correspondent steve carrigan start us off tonight parkland, florida, . good evening, steve. >> good evening. we got our first look at the accused shooter in court today. the 130 pounder was in a red jumpsuit reserve for the most violent offenders. appearing in court for a motions hearing, 19-year-old suspect nikolas cruz kept his head down and said nothing. his public defender says cruz will plead guilty to 17 counts of first-degree murder in an effort to avoid the death
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penalty. for antigun rallies held in major cities across the country. young people in washington late in front of the white house demanding lawmakers intervene to stop gun violence. in florida, they have announced plans for a national gun control march and washington. >> our elected officials need to get together, overcome political differences come and get things done. they need to save the future of the country. >> president trump has scheduled a listening session on wednesday. some survivors criticized trump's weekend twitter attack on the fbi. "very sad that the fbi missed all of the many signals sent out by the florida school shooter. this is not acceptable. they are spending too much time trying to prove russian collusion with the trump campaign. as the white house signals trump would back congressional efforts.
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marco rubio urged state legislators to consider red flag laws. enabling family members or law enforcement to have guns taken away from someone deemed to be a threat. the family nikolas cruz lived with after the death of his mother told abc's "good morning america" they say -- saw no warning signs. >> everything everybody seems to know, we didn't know. we had rules and the followed every rule. >> the number of warnings about cruz that were missed continues to grow. information that a social worker visited cruz at home after he posted pictures of himself on social media cutting his arms and say he wanted a gun. the social worker concluded cruz was a "low risk to harm himself or others." some students here are still struggling to understand what happened. >> i was talking to meadow right before the gunman started shooting. it's very sad.
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i know she's in a safer place now and the angels will be with her. >> the school is expected to open at the end of the week for teachers. it is still not clear when the students will return. >> john: steve harrigan in fort lauderdale, florida. thanks. let's talk about the gun-control portion with her this time things might be actually be different. senior political brit hume is with us. we've had turning points in the past. we had the sandy hook elementary school shooting in connecticut. the pulse nightclub shooting in orlando, the las vegas shooting pain in the wake of all of those, there were calls for more gun control or at least in the wake of las vegas, a ban on those so-called bone stock. you had over 100 pieces of gun-control legislation legislation have gone nowhere. will anything change this time around? >> it feels as if something might. partly it's because the accusation of these incidents in the public's reaction to them. partly i think it's that these
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young students who have come forward. you saw them yesterday on the sunday shows they are planning a march next month, they've been quite effective. there is as tense coupled with the fact that the president is now talking about doing something to strengthen the background check system and make it work a little better. we might get something this time around. i think it's fair to add that in this case, we have a real culprit in the sense of the fbi and the local authorities in florida doing such a poor job of responding to the clear warnings they had that this young man, this very young man who was identified to them by name was a danger. the fbi dropped the ball and so did local authorities. it's possible something could be done to encourage a better response but it looks like that will take some of the focus off
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more gun control. >> john: the president has told people at mar-a-lago over the weekend that he would come out in favor of strengthening background checks, the bill being floated by senators john cornyn and chris murphy. all of this would do would improve the application of current law. with that really anything? >> well, it might. we don't know that. you are right it's all about current law and it's about the failure of current law to do the job, just as in this particular case we saw the failure of authorities to do their job. what might come out of this would be a resolve in that area. whether anything -- first of all, you have this problem, we always have this one we have these episodes where some weapon is used or some circumstances encountered and it turns out what's being proposed to address it wouldn't have addressed the case in particular.
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this was not a band weapon, this semiautomatic weapon was not. efforts to ban those in the past have gone nowhere. people talking about legislating don't seem to understand how they work or whatever. we'll see if this is different but you are right to be skeptical. >> john: you mentioned the fbi dropping the ball on a tip they got in january that the mayor may not have prevented this but at least they would've known about it. the president tweeted about that over the weekend, saying "very sad that the fbi missed all of the many signals sent out by the florida school shooter. this is not acceptable." goes on to say: "they are spending too much time trying to prove russian collusion with the trump campaign. there is no collusion. get back to the basics and make us all proud!" the president was widely criticized for that tweet. did he help himself? >> i'm sure it fired up his
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supporters. a lot of them seem to like that. but those are people who are already with him and will be with him. it does nothing to expand his support, and his comments about the fbi's performance on this case are perfectly valid. but the fbi is a great big institution with thousands of agents dispersed all over the country. whether a failure in the miami field office or whatever office was responsible had anything whatever to do with the extent of the russian investigation, i think that's doubtful. so i think the president was probably not standing on very solid factual ground there in the criticism seems perhaps justified. >> john: always good to get your thoughts. thanks for joining us. one of the contract drivers for the presidential press corps was detained by the secret service this morning for having a gun on the job. the weapon was discovered during a security screening outside of the mar-a-lago resort.
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the services the man lawfully possessed a gun that was prohibited in its jurisdiction. the man says he meant to leave the handgun in his car before joining the motorcade but forgot to do that. the president is on his way back to washington after spending the holiday weekend at his florida resort about an hour from the parkland shooting scene. he's been busy on twitter, posting about many topics from oprah winfrey to the russian indictments. the kremlin is weighing in now on the charges as well, dismissing them as proving nothing about russian government involvement. correspondent kevin corke is outside the president's florida compound. good evening, kevin. >> good evening, my friend. what a difference a day makes. one tweet about russia today from the president, one of two tweets all told and that's a dramatic departure from what we saw the weekend when he was virtually tweeting nonstop about the russian investigation. it was a digital day lose, president trump's tweet storm ran the gamut of topics.
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the russian investigation was front and center. it was the goal of russia to create discord, disruption, chaos within the u.s., they have six succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. the president's foray into twitter was the his latest attempt to draw contrast 'tween his refrain of no russia collusion with the ongoing russia probe which despite the recent indictments of more than a dozen russian nationals in the ongoing. predictably today the kremlin reject the notion that they were interfering with americans elections. >> translator: looks like accusations have been made but no evidence presented. american saint russia did not acknowledge obvious facts. for us, these aren't obvious and aren't facts. >> a member of the president's cabinet wasn't spared from the wave of criticism. this comment from the national security advisor at a security summit in germany. >> with the fbi indictments, the evidence is now incontrovertible
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and available in the public domain. >> the president chided mcmaster writing: "forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the russians." the fact that the indictment suggests the russians have been targeting the u.s. "obama was president up to, and beyond, the 2016 election. so why didn't he do something about russian meddling?" exactly what they knew about
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russian meddling before the 2016 election calls into question who could have or should have done something to stop it. >> obama was in a very difficult position. he didn't want to make it appear he was favoring hillary clinton. maybe he should have done more. >> mr. trump asserts the indictments mean he is in the clear, some warn that may not be the case. >> congressmen, you've seen the intelligence. do you think this indictment suggests it's a case closed, no collusion? >> of course not. this is the president to claim his vindication someone sneezes. >> speaking of the obama administration, former vice president joe biden said they were walking the constant tight rope about how much or how little to say with what they knew about russian meddling. there are been a number of critics in the trump administration have argued they said decidedly too little too late. >> john: kevin corke wrapping up his weekend with the president in florida. thanks so much. president's top different map pushing back against concerns the trump administration is dismantling the state departmen state department. dozens of embassies still have not confirmed ambassadors. correspondent rich edson is at foggy bottom tonight. >> good evening. state department has significant vacancies for the trump administration has no official nominees for dozens of senior
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positions. there are about 40 vacant ambassadorships and the administration has failed to nominate anyone for more than half of those posts. many of these aren't places where the administration has significant foreign policy challenges and negotiations like in qatar and saudi arabia, germany, cuba. while the united states these an international campaign to isolate north korea, it has no ambassador to south korea. >> somebody has to be identifie identified, and then they have to be vetted and they have to be nominated and that can be sometimes a lengthy process. >> the administration says capable career diplomats are managing the relationship. south korea has hosted high-profile visits from secretary of state rex tillerson, vice president mike pence, and defense secretary james mattis. here at the state department, there are still several vacant senior positions. of the eight deputy or under secretary positions, only three are filled, one of them under tom shannon is retiring.
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democrat saint the administration is cutting career officials out of major decisions. they point to the state department hiring freeze and the administration's budget request for the state department and usaid. calling for a one-third reduction in funding. congress has resisted those deep cuts, though the administration's critics say the president has little interest in diplomacy, and that's an example of it. secretary of state rex tillerson says the state department budget of $50 billion is unsustainable. he acknowledges the confirmation process can be excruciatingly long for many and says he's offended by the idea that the administration and the state department are not functioning. he emphasized that again last night night in an interview with 60 minutes in which he denied he's dismantling the state department. john. >> john: rich edson at the state department. thanks so much. there's plenty of daylight between the main candidates running for mexico's presidency in the summer's election. not when it comes to president trump.
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our national correspondent william la jeunesse tells us from los angeles the american leader is one thing most mexicans can surely agree on. >> the race for mexico's next president features three very different candidates, the ruling party, the reformer and x radical. the bernie sanders of mexico. known for his firebrand style. his initials, obrador placed secretary in the last two elections but refused to concede. he promises to break up monopolies and use the united nations to stop the border wall. >> they want somebody who will stand up and represent mexico more independently. his main challenger is ricardo anaya. he is running with support from the left and right. he supports a universal basic
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income paid for by eliminating welfare. he would lead mexico's first coalition government. >> i think there's an appetite in mexico for going for new people. >> from the establishment comes was a antonio meade. he is experienced but carries the burden of the institutional revolutionary party. >> he is not a game-changer in being able to represent a new current inside the pri. >> according to the latest poll, obrador. he is the favorite. >> he isn't hampered by their reputations of corruption. >> john: william la jeunesse, thanks. nuclear blackmail. how's north korea could use its
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weapons as leverage against united states. here's what some of our fox affiliates run the country are covering tonight. fox 25 in boston. the cochairman of the state legislators joint committee on marijuana policy says the cannabis control commission disregarded key aspects of state law when drafting regulations for marijuana businesses. "the boston herald" reports there are concerns regulations go around the law when it comes to allowing minors inside businesses as well as getting town approval before allowing pot delivery services. massachusetts voters legalize recreational marijuana in the 2016 election. fox 29 in philadelphia. a fast-moving fired destroys a building in new jersey. all four buildings inside the american legion ambulance association contained mobile oxygen units that contributed to explosions and added to the intensity of the fire. the business employs 47 people and it's been around for 60
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years. this is a live look at dallas from fox 4, 1 of the big stories there tonight, a shooting kills a u.s. postal worker. it happened early this morning at the interchange called the mixmaster. police found the worker dead inside the cab of a truck. officials closed the highway to investigate, unload the truck and tow it. tonight's a live look outside the beltway from "special report." we'll be right back. but before you decide, you should know that chevy silverado's are the most dependable, longest lasting full-size pickups on the road. which means that ford f-150s are not. (laughs) which truck would you pick? the chevy. the chevy. the chevy. there you go. boom. that was obvious. plus it looks cooler. no doubt about it. now they know what to get me. (laughs)
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♪ >> john: south korea's president is not saying what needs to happen before he will accept north korean dictator
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kim jong un's invitation for summit. concern over what north korea might do if it continues its development of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems is perhaps greater now than ever. correspondent gillian turner looks at the alarming possibilities. >> for months, the trump of administration has maintained a laser-like focus on north korea's nuclear program. tracking every threat from kim jong un's rogue regime and every provocation by air land and sea. fox news has learned the president and his national security team are increasingly worried about one threat in particular: nuclear blackmail. stick with the regime has pursued nuclear weapons with the deluded hope it could blackmail its way to the ultimate objective. in that objective we are not going to let it have prayed >> the administration is developing strategies to counter pyongyang's nuclear development but contingency plans are ready. officials privately worry once north korea has a nuclear
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warhead and a missile that can reach u.s. airspace, pyongyang may try to prime billions of dollars in concessions. >> you have arranged north korea could demand. enormous financial payoffs. north korea feels it's entitled to reparations for everything from the losses it suffered during the korean war through the sanctions that have been imposed on north korea since 1953. >> should the regime attempt nuclear blackmail, one of obama's senior security advisor says the u.s. has more options today than it did in years past. >> in the obama administration, pressure sanctions and isolation were a key part of our approach but we were limited because the chinese weren't willing to do as much as they are today and even the south korean and japanese weren't willing to do as much as they are today. >> commander harry harris warns
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congress north korea is pursuing regional reunification under communist government rule. he is refuting the notion that kim jong un wants these nuclear weapons merely for survival and insists something far more sinister is afoot. >> john: gillian turner watching north korea for us. thanks so much. there was a physical confrontation over president terms nuclear football during his visit to china last november. axios reports chinese security officials tried to block the entry of the u.s. military aid carrying the case which is supposed to be at the president side at all times. the report says there was physical contact between chief of staff john kelly in one of the chinese guards. also says a secret service agent tackled the chinese guard but the secret service says that is not true. a source tells fox news there was a bit of pushing and shoving but the incident did eventually calm down. isis is claiming responsibility for an ambush of iraq shiite led
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paramilitary fighters that left at least 27 dead. correspondent benjamin hall has the details. >> two months ago, baghdad declared total victory against isis but the terror group continues to attack. on sunday, isis militants launched a complex ambush which left 27 27 iraqi militiamen de. the terrorists set off a fake checkpoint. the hunter becoming the hunted. the clashes southwest of kirkuk lasted two hours and many believe this attack is a sign of things to come. >> they will continue to conduct terrorist operations to undermine the iraqi government. >> since losing their territory, isis has morphed into an insurgency. eradicating the groom now will not be easy. >> counterinsurgency operations
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against an enemy that does not want to be found, that hides in and among the people. >> sources tell fox news there are approximately 50,000 isis fighters at large between syria and iraq. thousands have been arrested but the iraqi government is struggling to deal with them. some are sentenced to death. others simply released. it's telling that iranian backed militias were the ones leading the hunt against isis. these forces have become the most powerful military force in iraq and have long been a serious point of contention for the u.s. government. no doubt great progress has been made against the fight against isis but the ideology lives on. although battles have been won, the war against radical islam continues and as long as there are proxy wars across the region, it will remain a fertile recruiting ground for isis. >> john: benjamin hall in london. thanks. up next, protecting u.s. elections from the russians and anyone else who might try to
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interfere. first, beyond our borders tonight. search and rescue teams have reached the site of an iranian plane crash that authorities say killed all 65 people on board. it happened sunday in foggy weather in a remote area of southern iran. state run tv says the teams reached the site before dawn. a volcano is sending billowing columns of ash more than 3 miles into the air above indonesia. it's the third volcano erupting right now in the country. some 30,000 people up and forced to leave their homes are on the mountain in the past few years. no one was hurt in today's spectacular eruption. at least 17 people are dead in mozambique as heavy rains triggered the partial collapse of a huge mound of garbage. authorities believe more bodies may be buried. the garbage had risen to the height of a three-story building before coming down on top of houses with many families inside. some of the others stories beyond our borders tonight. we'll be right back.
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>> john: pennsylvania's supreme court has issued a map for this year's elections. the map could boost the democratic party's quest to capture control of the u.s. house and dramatically change pennsylvania's predominantly republican all-male delegation. g.o.p. lawmakers are expected to quickly challenge the map in federal court, arguing legislatures and governors, not the courts to have a constitutional responsibility to draw congressional maps. last week's indictments against more than a dozen russian individuals and organizations are increasing concerns about the safety and integrity of this fall's midterm elections. tonight correspondent peter doocy looks at some of the biggest vulnerabilities and what is being done about them. >> to figure out how to stop moscow for meddling in the midterms, dozens of secretaries of state spent the long weekend
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in washington for meetings that started with a peek at putin's playbook. >> and million dollar a month operation. that gives me an idea of the resources that we are working against. >> most of that money went towards propaganda. >> the biggest threat seems to be from the american public believing the many false stories that were told out there during the last election. >> voting systems are vulnerable too. 21 states targeted by russian hackers in 2016 and many networks are still flawed. >> for security and most of those electoral systems is outdated and it can't match up to the modern-day weaponry being graded by the russians cyber adversaries. >> during the 2016 cycle, the fbi felt the system was safe because it's so spread out. speak at the beauty of the american voting system is that it's dispersed among the 50 stad it's clunky. it's not exactly a swift part of the internet of things. >> things have changed now that more precincts have wi-fi. >> as the states have evolved
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with their use of technology to facilitate voting and improve the process of voting, they have expanded the attack surface that can be penetrated by foreign adversaries. >> briefings were held for officials from every state. the office of the director of national intelligence says sessions were about "increasing awareness of foreign adversary intent and capabilities against the states election infrastructure as well as the discussion of threat mitigation efforts." dhs official tells fox news that 32 states and 31 local governments are receiving remotely operated cyber hygiene scans for vulnerability in 14 states have requested on-site risk and vulnerability assessments which won't be done until mid-april. the dhs secretary kirstjen nielsen is telling state officials is ultimately up to them to keep election secure. >> she has no desire or no intention to take over elections and run elections from the federal level to the state
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level. that's the thing we were most enthusiastic about. stick with the first primaries of the 2018 cycle are two weeks from tomorrow. there's a great sense of urgency to beef up cyber defenses even though there still no publicly available evidence to show russia or anybody ever hacked a polling place in 2016. >> john: they've got a big task ahead of them. no question. one state wants to turn back the clock in order to secure its elections. jonathan serrie reports from atlanta on big changes being talked about. >> voter fraud is very, very common. >> it was a problem long before the 2016 presidential race. now a unique effort underway in georgia to safeguard elections by taking voting machines back to the future. >> the most secure elections in the world are conducted with a piece of paper and pencil. >> state representative scott turner has introduced a bill to replace the touchscreen voting
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machines with pencil marked paper ballots that would be tabulated like a standardized test using optical scan machines. >> it allows you to continue into the future to verify the result. >> george's secretary of state says the electronic voting systems are accurate and efficient. replacing them with paper would be a step backward. >> the fraud we say in georgia is with paper ballots. i would be careful going back to the old days of the hanging chad. >> a reference to card ballots and sort of the put the outcome of the 2000 race in limbo for 36 days propped and calls for upgrades in voting technology. georgia went to direct recording electronic voting machines, one of only six states using them exclusively. the rest of the nation uses a patchwork of systems that varies from state to state and sometimes county to county. >> i don't know there needs to
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be one specific way to cast a ballot and record a vote but there are a number of best practices. >> former homeland security secretary jay johnson's jeh jos what's important is uniformity. >> this cyber threat is going to get worse before it gets better. >> dhs declared the election systems critical infrastructure underscoring the importance of the way we conduct our democracy. solutions are likely to vary. experts say diversity is part of the protection. in atlanta, jonathan serrie. fox news. >> john: paper. the new silicon. president trump says he would support tougher background checks for guns. we will talk about gun control in the wake of the florida shooting with the panel coming up next.
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>> we have to make it harder for people to be able to purchase weapons. we have people know on terrorist watch lists who can purchase a weapon. >> i have no issue with more extensive background checks, no issue with slowing down purchases for people who show the warning signs. >> we are going to make school safety the top priority. we're going to work with congress and leaders around the country. to more effectively give law enforcement tools to deal with people suffering with dangerous mental illness. >> political leaders one union in the wake of 17 students gunned down in florida, one of the worst school shootings we've seen. let's bring in the panel. tom bevan, real clear politics. anne gearan. mollie hemingway, senior editor at "the federalist." we have republicans saying something needs to change. we need to do something in the
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wake of this. we heard similar language after the las vegas shooting in which republicans seem to support the idea of banning bomb stocks. arming getting close to critical mass, that something will happen? or will be talked about and like we have seen they will fade away. >> history suggests there will be a moment here like there was with bomb stocks and then it will go away. that said, i think this really does feel like there is a different current in the water. i think we see evidence president trump feels there is something different about this time too. the main difference to me i think is the kids. it is really hard to look away and really hard to ignore 17, 18-year-olds blaming adults, blaming the president, blaming the political system, blaming both parties for not doing enough. if that level of action and political engagement continues,
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it's going to be hard for everyone to look away. >> john: tom, can these students go up against the entrenched beliefs on both sides of the aisle in washington? >> they can. they are effective communicators for their cause. the problem is with these instants, we see in hindsight what we should've seen in foresight. interesting fact. the last three mass shootings in florida, omar martin, pulse nightclub. fort lauderdale airport shooting, january 2017 and this one. all three perpetrators were on the radar of the fbi. in fact, the one who shot up the fort worth airport went to the fbi office and said he was being mind controlled by the cia. said these crazy things and still manage to get a gun, going do this. the fbi i think really did drop the ball not just in this incident but others. we have the dots. they are there but we are not
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able to connect them. >> john: mollie, one of the big questions is where does president trump come down all this and where is the appropriate role? let's hear what john kasich said. >> we need leadership out of the executive. this is a great opportunity for common sense steps that can be taken. in the area of background checks. of course the president can lead on this and should lead on this. >> john: the president supports enhanced background checks but really what he is supporting is to enforce the laws already on the books to make sure the federal government and states report to this and ics criminal background check database. they are not doing now. how much leadership are we going to see? >> people want government action and if they care about government action, there is these. this is the third shooting where there was government failure.
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charleston church shooting. failure to put people on the list. here you had multiple people giving specific, credible assessments this guy was going to do what he did. rather than put new laws on the books, a great thing would be to make sure the laws on the books is faithfully executed rather than have another thing not followed. >> john: seems like a simple thing. here's what the law stipulated. let's get together and make sure we are faithfully adhering to the laws and sharing the information. seems like a no-brainer. >> the system has a soft spot which is states are not compelled to turn over the information. what the bill would do is add incentives and encouragement to states so you would have a better collection of informatio information. in this particular instance, if
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the fbi had followed up, if a number of other potential fail-safes which are not a law had been in place, this guy might've been stopped but there's one law that would have prevented at least him doing exactly what he ended up carrying out, an assault weapon ban. he was able to legally buy an ar-15 which would not have been the case 15 years ago. that is a high hurdle for congress to consider taking up the assault weapons ban again but you're going to hear calls for it. >> john: the fbi is being called out for missing a big warning signal, failing to connect the dots. ohio governor john kasich said people should be held accountable for that. what should happen in your estimation if the fbi is told there is a credible threat against a school in florida and never passes that information
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along. >> somebody should be suspended or lose their job. >> john: should that be the fbi director? >> oh, i don't know what has to be the fbi director but certainly the people who fielded that information and failed to pass it on. they did not follow fbi protocol. there should be consequences. the fbi could undertake a broader investigation about the cases i mentioned and others. why they are not able to connect the dots. they have people who have all these red flags and warning signs. omar mateen was on a terrorist watch list for two years. the fbi can do a lot of internal investigations and perhaps come up with some ways of doing things better in the future to try to prevent these things from happening. >> john: a lot more to talk about. next up, the russia indictments suggest how vulnerable are these midterm elections to
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interference. we'll be right back. that's why there's otezla. otezla is not an injection or a cream. it's a pill that treats psoriasis differently. with otezla, 75% clearer skin is achievable after just 4 months, ... with reduced redness, thickness, and scaliness of plaques. and the otezla prescribing information has no requirement for routine lab monitoring. don't use if you're allergic to otezla. otezla may cause severe diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. tell your doctor if these occur. otezla is associated with an increased risk of depression. tell your doctor if you have a history of depression or suicidal thoughts, or if these feelings develop. some people taking otezla reported weight loss. your doctor should monitor your weight and may stop treatment. other side effects include upper respiratory tract infection and headache. tell your doctor about all the medicines you take and if you're pregnant or planning to be. ♪ otezla. show more of you.
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♪ >> allegedly conducted what they called information warfare against the united states. >> you can see with the fbi indictment the evidence is incontrovertible. >> this is the president to claims vindication any time someone sneezes >> there are no accusations anyone in the campaign was colluding. >> 13 russians indicted on charges of meddling in the u.s. election in 2016. we are back with our panel. mollie, we've had the weekend to digest the indictments. what do you think they mean for the president?
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>> the russia story has been big for a year. because people have been pushing this idea there was collusion between the trump campaign and russia. with the mueller indictment, this are indictments related to his investigation mission. 13 internet trolls who have been indicted, not to think they will be held. nothing related to collusion with russia which is the standard people who've been pushing the story have to meet. we are starting to see they are losing hope they're going to find it. >> john: my next point, when he was giving his press conference, rod rosenstein said there is no allegation in this indictment that any american had any knowledge. also went on to say there was no allegation in the indictment of any effect on the outcome of the election. both statements contained a key
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phrase. "in this indictment." do you think there is more to come? >> i think he is telling us there is -- this is not the final word. is the mueller investigation headed toward proving cause and effect or not? his mandate could cover that but his mandate certainly covers what we saw friday and i think it's a pretty good road map to the way the investigation is being conducted. how did russia, in a mechanical sense, actually carry this off? what does that mean? to answer your question earlier, what does it mean for the president, it isn't good news for him in the larger sense but it is in the smaller and specific sense that this set of indictments and the backup material that goes with it does
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not establish that there was a knowing exchange of information. >> john: do you take this as vindication for the president? >> it has been a year of slow vindication. the claim was there was collusion between the trump campaign in russia. we have not seen anything that comes close to that and people are waiting and losing patience for that evidence. does it show russia metals? yes. people know they do. people should be concerned about other countries meddling at least as much as they are concerned about russia. >> john: between friday and sunday, he seemed to claim vindication. he thought this was great and as he sat at mar-a-lago because he didn't want to go out and play golf with the memory of the 17 dead in parkland so fresh in his mind, he's out there watching television and watch the coverage. clearly became more and more upset because he went on a twitter tirade against everybody from his national security advisor, h.r. mcmaster, to adam
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schiff, ranking member on the intelligence committee and wound up slamming oprah. what do you think was going to his mind? >> trump would have been better served to say he agreed with the findings of the intelligence committee that russia had in fact meddled. he didn't do that. he hedged and said it could be china, could be a 400-pound guy in his basement. that allowed the media to portray this as, and certainly democrats, to conflate the issue between the collusion story in this sort of did offer some vindication, at least more damning proof that there was collusion, any idea that russians meddled in the election which everybody now takes as fact. the other interesting part is trump has really got this -- he has this insecurity i think about people suggesting his victory was illegitimate. the idea he's always been
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defensive and struggled against that. there is no indication -- anyone who says this shows the russians somehow tilted the election in trump's favor, i think is misguided because there's no evidence of that whatsoever. >> it's not just insecurity. that has been the story line. even on friday with the indictment, he saw headlines saying this puts the entire election legitimacy in doubt. that is deranged. that is conspiracy theory. it's not him being his typical defensive self but it's about a media that has played fast and loose with the facts of the story and has played into russia's hands by continuing this idea people shouldn't have confidence in their elections or civic institutions. >> don't you think it's also true the president isn't able to separate those two things. it's entirely possible russia meddled with widespread effectiveness and that he won fair and square.
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>> it's nice for the media to finally say that. >> john: i have to call the buzzer here. thanks. we will see you tomorrow. when we come back, more national anthem controversy at a sporting event. stay with us. symptoms than alka seltzer plus maximum strength liquid gels.
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>> john: finally tonight on this presidents' day, oh say can she sing? we are not sure what the mb expected when it chose fergie to belt out the national anthem. that was at last nights all-star game, but it sure was red-hot and bluesy. the go ♪ >> john: the players seem to like it. fergie's rendition was widely panned on social media. where i originally hailed from,
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this is the way they sing the anthem. listen here. ♪ o canada close >> john: that's it for "special report." "the story with martha maccallum" is up next. >> martha: thank you very much. breaking tonight on "the story." president trump tonight wanted to know what was going on in. from an administration when russia supposedly began to metal way back in 2014, tweeting "obama was president up to and o why did he do something about russian meddling? what about those in charge who are now sure that the russian plot worked. they sounded very different back then." james clapper was a director of national intelligence from 2010 2010-2017, charged with bringing together all of

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