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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  March 28, 2017 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT

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>> reporter: yeah. they are clapping here and the mood here is quite actually great right now. we're up about 1770 points which is an amazing snap back after a couple of losses. three main reasons why this happened, john. one, any time you have downward pressure on the market for a couple of days, you're going to have bargain hunters coming in and looking for value, driving those prices up. two, we had positive economic news today. consumer confidence was actually up. people think they are going to get paid more. they think business conditions are going to be bert, and number three, the trump administration is going to pivot. it's going to turn to tax reform which is something that wall street really wants to see. the last nine days, i think we have a chart, obviously a very positive day today, but you cannot ignore the last eight days. those were down days, and if it had closed down today, if the dow had closed down today, that would have been the first time since 1978 that it would have done something like that.
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look, those down days signify a shift in investor mentality. they now are starting to question whether or not donald trump can execute on some of the most aggressive policies that he's put forth. the thinking is if donald trump couldn't make repeal and replacement of obamacare happen, then why should wall street be so confident about tax reform possibly happening? so you're going to have those questions. longer term going back a bit further. we're up 13% since election day. a lot of my sources are telling me that is price for perfection, so you're going to have a lot of volatility from here, an that is the story. we're going to have up and down days here on out and that means that donald trump will not be able to tell such a clean story when it comes to the stock market. john? >> the fact the market bounced back and you saw this boost, does this signal some kind of investor confidence, that the tax reform might actually
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happen? >> reporter: as far as tax reform are concerned, most of my sources and investors here on the floor say it's wait and see. we don't know. right now this market is going up because of the high consumer confidence, because you're just going to have that kind of reaction after a couple of days of losses, and in terms of tax reform, treasury secretary mnuchin was saying it will get done by august. you know, what he kind of softened that language just a couple of days ago just last week, so already you see the administration managing expectations on that front, so i don't think any smart investor believes that it's going to happen this year. they think that it's more likely next year. john? >> all right. cristina alesci on the floor of the stock exchange closing up today after eight straight down days. from investors to investigators, our politics lead now just in to cnn. the embattled chairman of the house intelligence committee has invited fbi director james comey back to testify before his committee for a second time.
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this as that chair devin nunes faces criticism over his handling of the committee's probe into any links between associates of president trump and russia. in fact, the more we dig into any potential links, the more we seem to find, from a december meeting between the president's son-in-law jared kushner and the head of a russian bank under u.s. sanctions to allegations now that the white house tried to block the former acting attorney general from testifying. that was supposed to happen just this week. cnn senior white house correspondent jim acosta joins me now and, jim, the administration pretty much is brushing off all questions about russia now. >> reporter: that's right, john, and as you just mentioned the house intelligence committee chairman devin nunes, he has invited director james comey back for another round of testimony. no word yet on when that testimony will happen, but as you said the white house once again back on the defensive of whether it's interfering with the probe into trump campaign contacts and aides to the president are either unwilling or in willing to share what they know about house committee
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chairman devin nunes' mysterious visit to the white house last week. >> stop shaking your head again. >> reporter: defiant in the face of questions on trump campaign contacts with the russians, white house press secretary sean spicer was once again pouring it on. >> if the president puts russian salad dressing on his salad tonight, somehow that's a russian connection. at some point, april, you're going to have to take no for an answer with respect to whether or not there was collusion. >> reporter: pressure is mounting on both the white house and house intelligence committee chairman devin nunes. >> are you going to recuse yourself? >> reporter: who would not tell cnn's manu raju whether he plans to rekues himself in the russian investigation. >> investigation continues. we've had an investigation into russia for more -- for many, many years. >> are you going to rekues yourself from this investigation? >> excuse me. >> is that a no? >> reporter: nunes and the white house still won't answer some big questions such as who cleared the chairman on to the white house grounds last week, one day before revealing new information about the possible incidental collection of
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communications by mr. trump and his associates and who gave nunes access to that piece of intelligence. not only are fellow democrats on the house intelligence committee demanding that nunes step aside -- >> well, look, at this point, there's really one thing that needs to happen to rescue this investigation and that is that chairman nunes needs to rekues himself. >> reporter: even fellow republicans are calling on nunes to start providing answers. >> well, i think there needs to be a lot of explaining to do. i've been around for quite a while, and i've never heard of any such thing, and obviously in a complimenty like an intelligence committee you've got to have bipartisanship. otherwise the committee loses credibility. >> should chairman nunes reveal his source? >> well, absolutely. i can't imagine why not. >> reporter: yet another controversy swirling around the nunes committee investigation emerged just today as "the washington post" obtained a letter regarding former acting attorney general sally yates who was fired by the president and was scheduled to testify before
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the house intelligence panel. the letter from the justice department to yates' lawyer appeared to advise that yates would need to consult with the white house before testifying stating she needs to consult with the white house. show need not obtain separate consent from the department of justice but the white house insisted it would not stand in the way. >> i hope she testifies. i look forward to it. it was never -- let's be honest. the hearing was never -- was actually never notified. if they choose to move forward, great. we have no problem with her testifying, plain and simple. . >> reporter: yates was scheduled to testify before the house intelligence committee along with the former director of national intelligence and former cia director, but that hearing was scrapped by nunes, and there's no word yet as to when yates will be rescheduled to testify and we should point out white house press secretary sean spicer was asked whether he could provide new information about how nunes made his way on to the white house grounds last week. spicer at the briefing yesterday, john, indicated that perhaps he might have that information today, but no such
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luck today. john? >> all right. nothing yet. jim acosta still trying. thanks so much, jim. my next guest says she doesn't want house intel chair devin nun toads rekues himself from the russian investigation, she wants him to step down from his chairmanship all together. that's next. remember here at ally, nothing stops us from doing right by our customers. who's with me? we're like a basketball team here at ally. if a basketball team had over 7... i'm in. 7,000 players. our plays are a little unorthodox. but to beat the big boys, you need smarter ways to save people money. we know what you want from a financial company and we'll stop at... nothing to make sure you get it. one, two... and we mean nothing. ♪ ♪
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welcome back. today the house intelligence committee was supposed to hear new testimony on any possible links between russia and associates or staff of president trump. that hearing was cancelled. in fact, the house intelligence committee as far as we know is not meeting at all this week because of in fighting, but we just learned that the house intelligence chair devin nunes has invited fbi director james comey to testify again before the committee. congresswoman jaky spear, democrat of california, sits on the house intelligence committee, and she joins me now. thanks so much for being on. now, this is confusing, congresswoman, because the fbi director had been invited back, we had been told, to testify in private. now that was scrapped because of apparently, again, the in fighting inside the committee.
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now we just learned that the fbi director has been invited back again to testify. can you tell us anything about this. >> well, i really can't. as you can imagine, john, things are happening here without the benefit of communication between the democrats and the republicans on the committee. you know, that's unprecedented. this committee has always been bipartisan. it's always worked together. this whole set of circumstances occurred because last monday when we did have the hearing director comey released a bombshell, and the bombshell was not only was he investigating the russian intervention in our election, he was also investigating whether or not trump campaign personnel were engaged with the russians in the intervention. once that happened, i think the republicans on the committee, and they are the majority, decided to pull way back, and that's why all of a sudden the hearing that was scheduled for today was cancelled. while there's been a call back for a closed hearing with
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mr. comey and mr. rogers, and i think that right now we're at a standstill because normally these only happen when it's done in conjunction with the democrats and the republicans and -- go ahead. >> would you agree to the fbi director coming back and testifying in private? >> i would agree to that, but i want to make sure that the hearing that was scheduled that both the democrats and the republicans agreed to have with sally yates and with directors brennan and clapper, that needs to be rescheduled. once that's rescheduled, i'm happy to have a closed hearing with director comey. >> let's talk about sally yates, the former deputy attorney general, former acting attorney general. "the washington post" reported that the white house tried to block, had originally tried to block her from coming to testify but your committee. now the white house flat out denies this, 100% denies.
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it says it did not stand in the way of sally yates testifying. have you seen any evidence that the white house got involved? >> well, it depends on whether you call the department of justice part of the white house. i believe the department of justice was trying to silence her. >> well, but -- >> they wrote -- they wrote a left saying that you need to check with the white house essentially to see if the white house is going to invoke executive privilege. the white house didn't do that, so as far as i can tell by reading the letters, i'm not sure that anyone tried to actively stop it. >> well, i believe that there probably was an effort that is not reflected in the letters. i don't know that for a fact, but i -- i believe that there probably was an effort to discourage her from participating, but, you've got to the remember, that this was an agreement made by both the republicans and democrats of the committee to have these three parties come before us today, so it was a cooperative effort, and it only changed, i believe, after the hearing that took
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place last monday. >> so your chair, devin nunes, informed the white house about new information he says he received, he informed them before he briefed the committee last week. he said he would make that information available to you. have you seen it yet? >> no, we have not, and, again, this is supposed to be a collaborative, cooperative group of people, republicans and democrats. he has not divulged who was his source. he's not divulged the documents, and, you know, he has frankly been on all sides of it. it's either masked or unmark offed, not about russia and he has to go tell the president and yet the president had access to this information, and presumably he didn't take a document with him to meet with the president, so the whole set of circumstances over the last few days is very regrettable and really casts a huge cloud over the chairman and frankly the committee. >> the chairman today said he's
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not going to recuse himself from this investigation and he essentially said why would i? what's your response to that? do you still think he should? >> you know, he's created this mess. he's the one who did not coordinate with ranking member on the committee about the fact that he was going to look at this document. normally they would look at it the together. he guess and holds a press conference, doesn't tell the ranking member and has the press conference as he's on his what i to the white house. i mean, the whole process has been very uncollaborative, so putting that aside i think he has really placed a huge question mark in the minds of the americans as to his objectivity, and this is supposed to be an independent, underscored, independent investigation by the intelligence committee on this issue of russian engagement in our election and whether or not trump surrogates in the campaign worked with the russians in trying to sabotage the election.
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>> congresswoman jackie spear, thanks so much for being with us. >> thank you. >> so as democrats push for chairman nunes to step aside, paul ryan, the speaker of the house, is standing by him, so how will that affect the russia investigation? and the senate intelligence committee is ready to grill one of president trump's closest advisers, his son-in-law. the question jared kushner could face about his meeting with the russian banker. ♪ hi, i'm frank. i take movantik for oic, opioid-induced constipation.
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welcome back. more on our politics load as we learn more about a meeting between president trump's son-in-law and a key russian figure after the election. jared kushner will testify about
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his december meeting with sergei goshoff, a banker with close ties to vladimir putin. at the time of the meeting his bank was still under obama-era sanctions imposed after russia's invasion of crimea. cnn's jessica schneider joins me now from washington. what do you know about this meeting? >> reporter: this meeting happened hat the height of president trump's trance irngs but it was also a time when jared kushner was still serving as ceo of his real estate development firm, kirchner development companies. he took the meeting with the chair of the a state-run bank in a move scrutinized by congressional investigators probing the possible links between trump associates and russia. jared kushner met with this russian banker during the transition. sergei goshoff is the chairman of veb bank and has deep tied to the russian government and goshoff was appointed to his job by russian president vladimir putin. the white house disclosed this week that jared kushner met with
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gorkov at the request of sergey kislyak and the white house insists this was all part of kushner's transition duties. nothing of substance was discussed and there was no follow-up, but the bank says its executives met with kushner as part of a road show of business meetings in 2016, disclosing that gorkov met with a number of representatives from the largest banks and business circles in the united states, including the head of kushner companies, jared kushner, so which was it, a transition official's meeting or meeting to discuss private business? the white house not answering a request to clarify. instead insisting all inquiries about the administration's ties to russia are just another distraction. >> if the president puts russian salad dressing on his salad tonight somehow that's a russian connection. >> reporter: but ethics experts say there is cause for concern. veb bank was under u.s. sanctions for three years, generally simply meeting with an entity under sanctions isn't necessarily a problem but doing
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business with it might be. when kushner met with gorkov he was still ceo of kushner companies. at the time the company was true to attract financing for a building project in manhattan. >> jared kushner's position within the trump transition and administration was well known to the people who he was doing some sort of business with, so that's where you get the issue of gray area and lines blurring between what somebody does in his or her private capacity as a business person and what somebody is doing in their public capacity as an official or as an adviser to the most powerful man in the world. >> reporter: veb's bank strategy posted to its website highlights its tight relationship with the russian government stating together with the government we will select the most promising growth areas in the economy. a kremlin spokesman says the russian government was not aware of this meeting between kushner and gorkov. the chairman of the senate intelligence committee tells cnn that jared kushner will likely testify under oat but privately
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to senators. senator susan collins says the committee needs to clarify who kushner was representing but suspects the russian bank might just be trying to drum up more confusion by insisting kushner was acting as a businessman during the meeting. >> this has been a long-standing practice of the russians to spread the disinformation so i was not surprised when they contradicted mr. kushner's explanation of why he had these meetings. >> reporter: the senate intelligence committee begins its open hearings thursday, the first day featuring russian and cyber security experts, but no word yet on when jared kushner might appear before that committee. john? >> jessica schneider, thanks so much. a showdown looming on capitol hill hover the supreme court nominee. democrats warning republicans against changing the rules to get neil gorsuch concerned. will republicans regret this move if they do it?
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welcome back to "the load." turning to politics and a looming showdown over president trump's supreme court nominee. republicans need at least eight democrats to vote in favor of judge neil gorsuch to overcome a filibuster and most democrats are openly oppose the nomination which means the senate republicans might invoke what's called the nuclear option which would allow judge gorsuch to be confirmed with a simple majority vote without any democratic support. joining me now is republican senator mike lee of utah. he serves on the judiciary committee. senator lee, thank you so much for being with us. i know this is actually a subject you've talked about and written about for a long time. would you support changing the senate rules to allow for the nuclear option? >> look, we're going to get judge gorsuch confirmed. this is a good judge, a judge who interprets the law based on what it says rather than what he might wish it might say, and we
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intend to get him confirm. we will get him confirmed one way or another. >> one way or another means yes on the nuclear option if you have to go that way. >> it means we're going to get him confirmed. >> nuclear? >> it means we're going to get him confirmed. >> no matter what it takes. >> there are a number of routes this thing could take, and -- and i -- i believe that he will be confirmed at the end of this. i'm not sure exactly what procedural route, but he's going to be confirmed, and when we talk about the nuclear option we have to remember the democrats nuclear -- went nuclear on the executive calendar. they nuked the executive calendar in november of 2013. as they did that, they purported to carve out this exception for supreme court nominees, but all of the rationale that they used at the time applied with equal force to everyone, whether they were serving in the executive branch or in the judicial branch of government. they nuked the entire thing, and so for them now to say that, well, it shouldn't have extended to that is a little
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disingenuous. three and a half years later to have regrets about the fact that they nuked the nuclear calendar is not a reason to confirm judge gorsuch. >> they regret that they made that move because it didn't allow them to filibuster some cabinet hey pointes but the fact is you're absolutely right. they did it first. the question is now are you willing to go there? it sounds like yes. i'm curious why you're not willing to say that you would support the nuclear option. >> just to be clear. i have an overall policy of not signaling in advance of a particular procedural move in the senate exactly what course i'm going to take in part because it relies on facts not yet in evidence. it relies on things that we don't yet know and whether or not we have to go there, but, again, i want to get back to this other point that i was making before. the democrats in fact nuked the entire executive calendar. that's what they did in november of 2013. whether they acknowledge that or not is a different question. i don't see this as are we willing to take the next step in
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there is no next step. this is the step they created in november of 2013. >> well, look, they say that it did not may ply to supreme court justices. they made that point at the time on the floor, but both you and i know we're talking -- this is not like it's in the constitutional. it's not like the senate rules are written in the constitution. you can make them up as it goes along. it's precedent. the precedent is, at least right now, that, you know, supreme court justices, you know, you can filibuster them right now, but you say -- >> no, no. >> i would push back on that. i push back on that. i want to be very clear. when they did this back then, sure, they might have said we're not necessarily intending this to extend to other situations but in every situation where we've been confirming someone whether to an executive branch position, to an independent board or commission, to a federal district judge vacancy, federal circuit court vacancy, any of those innings, ever since november of 2013 the precedent has been established that the executive calendar having been
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nuked, it takes only 51 votes to close debate on a nominee. that is based on the rationale that they used at the time which extends to the whole of the executive calendar. >> you would be the first one to do it. again, i'm not arguing you shouldn't. what goes around comes around in politics. i mean, the democrats may have made this bed in 2013. i just still don't understand why you won't admit that you're going to do something that hasn't been done before for supreme court justices. >> yeah, okay. so, first of all, one. reasons why i'm not that you canning about exactly what we're going to do, we don't know how much votes we'll have on clowe sure so there may be no reason to have this debate of whether this was something that's been done or whether this was being done for the first time, and like i say, i have a personal policy of not signaling in most circumstances what procedural steps i might take in the senate before we know whether it's going to be necessary anyway. but since you're pushing back, i have to point out, it's not really taking a next step. this is the step they took in november of 2013. every single argument they made
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in support of their decision to nuke the executive calendar extends to the entirety of the executive calendar and not just to the non-supreme court nominees. >> all right. again, democrats would disagree with that, but i think we've run the course on this subject. >> hold on, hang on. >> can i ask you one question. >> i've got to respond to that. >> i don't want to lose you on health care. >> democrats would respond differently but you ask them what they said just a few weeks before the november election, this last year. they were already signaling that they were going to apply this in the context of supreme court nominees, so the fact that democrats may say otherwise is contradictory to their own arguments and their own statements just before this election. >> i understand and, of course, the two words they might say is merrick garland so when you're talking about rules and precedent. again, it's you guys have the power right now. you can do this. >> i have no -- what does merrick garland have to do with the nuclear -- going nuclear. >> i think what democrats would say, you know, republicans would say you shouldn't filibuster supreme court nominee.
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democrats would respond and say, well, you shouldn't block a supreme court nominee from even having hearings on capitol hill. >> fine. >> ail was saying the political environment that has been set up over the last two years because of republicans and democrats. >> gotcha, but, again, the same arguments they used to go nuclear in november of 2013, and the same arguments that they were making just weeks in advance of the november 2016 election lead to exactly the outcome that they are now decrying, they are calling out against and i think it's disingenuous. >> only a time for a yes/no question on health care. house republicans said they think they are closer to a health care agreement today than last friday? >> i think there's something to work with. i'm working with colleagues on both ends the of the capitol on a bicameral action to get health care reform passed. look, we've been campaigning for seven years as republicans on repealing obamacare. we need to do that, and i'm determined to find a way to go forward. >> senator mike lee, great talking to you. always appreciate the back and
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forth, sir. >> thank you very much. today a new executive order as president trump does away with obama era policies. no calls to congress for negotiations on this one, so are executive orders the new norm for moving the needle in washington? ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ sfx: engine revving ♪ (silence) ♪
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e welcome back to "the lead." i'm john berman in for jake today. the trump administration taking major steps to the approach to fighting climate change. critics would say they are changing the fighting part. the new executive order ends a moratorium on coal mining on federal land and eases restrictions on coal-fired power plants. more now and the white house looks at this really as a job growth opportunity. >> reporter: that's right, they do, john. they say this as president trump making good on a campaign promise to bring back jobs to the hard hit coal industry, but how many jobs and at what cost to the environment? those remain something of an open question. >> my administration is putting an end to the war on coal. >> reporter: president trump
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taking major steps to strip down obama-owe are a regulations to combat climate change. >> i am taking historic steps to lift the restrictions on american energy, to reverse government intrusion and to cancel job-killing regulations. >> reporter: signing an executive order at the environmental protection agency that undoes the clean power plan. the initiative, to curb carbon emissions at coal-fired power plant but that 2015 has been tangled up in legal challenges and hasn't gone into effect yet and it calls on lyfting the three-year moratorium on coal plants and ended regulations regulating carbon emissions including one that says climate change poses a growing threat to national security and another instructing the federal government to prepare for the impact of climate change.
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>> the actions that president trump has taken today represent the largest attack on climate action in our country's history. >> reporter: and still tbd in all of this, the paris climate change accord which this doesn't touch, but these new changes will make it harder to meet the benchmarks of the agreement. >> we're going to bring the coal industry back, folks. >> reporter: the white house touting this is a campaign promise kept with the goal of job creation, a move that the white house claims the mining industry is embracing. >> the miners and the owners are very, very bullish on this. >> reporter: but some top cool executives warn jobs may not return due to the rise of natural gas use and more automation in coal mine. the ceo of the largest u.s. private coal mine told cnn money he suggested to mr. trump that he temper his expectations. democrats and environmentalists see little benefit and a lot of harm. >> the coal industry has been
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losing jobs for year after year after year. the coal jobs are not going to be coming back in any kind of large giants whatsoever. >> reporter: and former vice president al gore who met with trump during the transition saying these moves by the trump administration are discouraging and calls this a misguided step away from a sustainable carbon-free future for ourselves and generations to come. john. >> all right. thanks so much. just one of the many things going on in washington to discuss with our panel. bill kristol, editor at large of "the weekly standard." i want to start with russia and climate change, don't want to diminish its importance but you wrote this morning don't lose sight of the forest through the trees. this is fundamentally a white house scandal, not a nunes scandal meaning devin nunes, the chairman of the house intelligence committee. what do you mean? >> nunes may have been unwise i think he was to go to the white house and look at documents on a white house computer, but let's look at the flip side of that. some white house staffer cleared
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difficultin nuns and logged on to his classified computer to show him classified documents which you're not snowed to do. just because you have clearances you get to see everything. there's protocols and distribution lists. anyway, what about that white house staffer? did he tell his superiors he was showing these materials to -- highly classified materials to the chairman of the house intelligence committee? was he ordered to do this by someone above him? did donald trump know about this? devin nunes says it's a rogue staffer. we don't know that. we need to know who the staffer is. >> you work in an administration. you say white house staffer. could it not have been someone from the intelligence committee assigned to the nsc which would make them a white house staffer but we wouldn't them a political appointee? >> they report to someone. i was merely a vice presidential chief of staff. if a chairman of the house committee comes and sees a staffer that would be reported up to his boss and ultimately to me. i don't actually believe -- i almost think it's impossible
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that this wasn't reported up, you know what i mean, and certainly in therps of the classified protocols there are issues there and, again, we know who is cleared into the white house, and just like getting into this building downstairs. your staff calls down, clears me in. there's a computer record of the clearing in and i showed up and i got. in that can be found out in 30 seconds. >> in the white house would release logs. >> what is so secret about that? >> they say they are looking no it and it will happen soon. marc lamont hill you are nodding in agreement with bill kristol. >> we do that once a year. >> marc, tell me why. >> it is a white house issue. the white house has to be responsible. someone needs to be held accountable for how this happens. however, it is also had a nunes scandal. the house intelligence committee, all committees are partisan but this is one of the least partisan committee, people who are supposed to be above the fray and people who are supposed to be really committed to investigating this issue and the fact he went around the committee and refused to reveal sources even now speaks not to the white house but to him. this is a bizarre set of events
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that everyone, even john mccain is saying, hey, wait a minute, he has some explaining to do. in this case it's both and and not either/or. >> a new car on the bizarre train and that's former deputy attorney general, former acting attorney general sally yates who was supposed to testify today before the house intelligence committee. that cancelled. "the washington post" reported today that it was cancelled after white house pressure. the white house vehemently denies that, but talk to me about the significance of this story. >> there was a lot of vehemence out of the briefing room and the denial didn't seem to match up with the facts which was co-written by somebody i used to work with and have a lot of faith in his reporting and the basic facts as i understand it from "the washington post" story she was essentially going to testify. the justice department sent her letters saying that a lot of your communications are covered under presidential privilege and, therefore, you can't talk about it. she expressed an interest in testifying anyway and when she
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said that the hearing was cancelled. this is not a great look in the middle of this nunes issue where you have the appearance of some kind of -- it's not coordination, but to bill's point. nunes didn't get on the white house grounds by climbing over a fence or by sneaking in which is very difficult to do. you have to be cleared in any kind of official way, and so there's a question as to how that happened. look, people do get told information that is not approved. that does happen, but the white house has also not made any show of trying to learn how that happened, how he got his information and nunes then went and made a display of briefing the president, so the way the white house has handled this has raised its own questions. when you couple that with the sally yates issue, this is not a great look in terms of the integrity of the investigation coming out of house. >> my understanding is that the justice department said is if you want to testify you actually have to get clearance for the privilege. >> that's right. >> if the white house is going to execute executive privilege. the white house never responded
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to the letter from sally yates' attorney so i'm not sure we know that the white house intervened. >> there's the simple question. did he talk to the white house about whether sally yates should testify or not? >> do you feel confident you'll get an honest answer? >> i like devin nunes. in the past i've respected him. >> this has put a shadow on all of this. >> is this an authentic investigation by an independent branch of government or is devin nunes in constant touch with a lot of people in the white house and adjusting the investigation accordingly? >> is it possible to have an independent investigation if you're on the transition team and going around the committee having back door conversations and you're at the white house so you can have a secret location to talk to this source if he's woodward and bernstein as opposed to an elections official. if all of of this is happening it gives the appearance of impropriety and an appearance there's no way to have an impartial investigation. >> can i ask you a big question about health care. stlt happening, is it not happening? you, of course, talk to the president directly about this. now the house republican
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leadership seemed to open the door that maybe they are working on something but the white house isn't sure about how much how fast. >> well, i've spoken to people at the white house and so have my colleague jeremy peters and we've heard there's interest from some quarters, there's different wings of this white house in trying to get something done, but, again, the practicality of that is not clear to me. the uniformity of that in the house in terms of where people are in the two different groups of moderates and then the house freedom caucus working together is also not clear to me. this is still a reallying really heavy lift. what we do know is that the president is very frustrated with what has happened as you know well, as everybody on this panel knows, the president, when something does not go well tends to sort of stew and he thinks about it a lot and this i think what is a tough weekend for him. >> we know he talked to paul ryan twice today so that means at least like four or five times in the last couple of days which is pretty remarkable. thanks so much. >> next, how is the pentagon investigating claims that a u.s.
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we're back now with our world lead. the u.s.-led coalition is being accused of causing significant civilian casualties in mosul. a senior iraqi official tells cnn at least 112 bod, including most of women and children, have been pulled from the site of an air strike, this as amnesty international claim the coalition forces are setting an alarming pattern by destroying whole houses with entire families and civilians inside. the u.n. also says the march 17th air strike targeted a house full of civilians. we're taking a closer look into these allegations and the ongoing battle for mosul. cnn's arwa damon is 50 miles away from irbil but first we want to cnn pentagon correspondent barbara starr. the top u.s. commander in this fight talked to the press.
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what's his response to the allegations of civilian deaths? >> reporter: well, lieutenant general steven townsend, a very candid discussion and words that may be hard for some to hear, he is adamant that the u.s. is not targeting civilians, but he went on to say there seems to be very little question that the u.s. indeed was there when this happened. have a listen. >> there's a fair chance that we did it. our initial assessment is -- shows that we did strike in that area. there were multiple strikes in that area, so is it possible that we did that? yes, i think it is possible. i think that's what i meant there's a fair chance. >> reporter: well, general townsend also going on to say some of the series that they are looking at is the house where these people were. what is it booby-trapped with explosives was an air strike which they say they now believe there was, could the
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booby trapping resulting explosions have brought that house down? that is what they are looking at. what caused all of of this to happen, but at the end of the day, 100 souls or more brought out of that wreckage, and these are men, women and children who are simply trying to survive. john? >> quickly, barbara, where do you think this investigation is going now? >> reporter: they are going to try to come to a definite conclusion about what happened and look for any so-called, as we know, lessons learned. is the there anything they could have done differently? is there anything they should do differently as they continue to prosecute the campaign? john? >> barbara starr for us in the pentagon. thanks so much, barbara. a shocking claim by amnesty international that many civilians killed in the coalition air strike were repeatedly told by the iraqi government to remain in their homes instead of fleeing mosul. this as cnn crews on the ground in mosul are learning many of those left behind are desperately trying to stay alive. cnn's arwa damon reports. >> well, john, we were down in
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western mosul earlier today in one of the neighborhoods that's not far from where the incidences that are being investigated by both the u.s. and the iraqi militaries took place and even tlk you really see the extent of the devastation. a lot more vast and widespread than what we've seen in eastern mosul and that's for had a number of reasons. the area is very densely packed. there are narrow alleyways that make it very difficult for vehicles to go down, if not completely impossible, and this is where isis had really entrenched itself. we saw one large crater quite possibly caused by an air strike. spoke to a handful of civilians. one woman has said she was waiting to see if her husband came back home. he was left and was taken by isis the day before this particular area was liberated. people, of course, talking about the intensity of the battle. now, when it comes to the incidences in question that are being investigated, a number of them, but the top u.s. military
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commander in iraq did say that there was a fair chance that a u.s. air strike did cost civilian casualties. we do also know that isis does hold, has held and continues to hold the civilian population as human shields and also at this stage the u.n. high commissioner for human rights has said that in between the dates of 17 to 22nd march, more than 300 civilians they believe have been killed. john? >> cnn's arwa damon in irbil. arwa has been doing terrific reporting. be sure to follow me on facebook and twitter @johnberman. that's all for us this afternoon. john berman in for jake tap ter and i now turn you over to wolf blitz blitzer in "the situation room." >> the white house denies it tried to block testimony by the former acting attorney general
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and the ties between russia and trump campaign officials. why the were hearings suddenly canceled. recusal refusal. amid claims he's secretly working with the white house the republican chairman of the house intelligence committee rejects calls he step aside. is he actually obstructing the investigation? climate changes. saying he wants to put coal miners back to work, president trump moves to roll back obama-era regulations aimed at curbing carbon emissions and global warming. does he still believe climate change is a hoax? and thwarted attack. police say they foiled a potential massacre planned by a student who allegedly gathered weapons to target her high school 90 minutes north of washington, d.c. new details on her father's excruciating decision. i'm wolf blither. you're in "the situation room."