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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  April 4, 2017 5:00pm-6:01pm PDT

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his tweet would end up burned at the stake. jeanne mos, cnn, new york. >> look at the robots you can build. thanks for watching us, you can catch up any time, anywhere on cnn go. acc 360 starts now. thank you for joining us, tonight after weeks of seeing one puzzle piece after another emerge about conversations between trump and russia. it now stretches into the indian oce ocean, on a string of islands, the say shells in january and met with a russian confidant of vladimir putin. we don't yet know exactly what it means or if it means anything at all. it has led one house committee member to say this evening that some people in his opinion will end up in jail when all is said
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and done. we talked to the reporter who broke this story about the meeting in the sechels. no surprise that the donald trump administration continues to try to divert attention from the fbi and congressional investigations into contacts between the campaign and russia. we begin covering it all tonight, what's been your reaction on the hill to this news that prince is a big donor and formerly the head of black water, is trying to establish a channel with putin confidants during the trump campaign. >> reporter: officials want to learn more about this, particularly about the timing when this occurred, this occurred in january, right around the time that the obama administration issued new sanctions against russia for its alleged role in trying to sway the election, according to the intelligence community in favor of donald trump. now this meeting occurred right
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around that time when there was a push to perhaps loosen the sanctions, the question is did that come up after any of those discussions? the question is we don't know what occurred during those discussions, the white house batoning down saying there's really nothing there. but the question about these contacts comes as the russian investigation is -- the hill investigation is trying to look largely into these russian contacts with trump officials and this is certainly going to be one of them that they're going to dig into pretty deeply. >> and where do congressional investigations stand? >> reporter: on the house side, things are starting to look a little bit up. they of course have been sometime mstymied over the last several days after devin nunes, that they believe he was too cozy with the white house at a time when they were looking into any of these alleged contacts that occurred
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with the russian officials during the campaign season. now democrats say they're going to participate in this investigation and they have cut a deal with republicans over the exact witnesses they want to bring forward, including trump associates. take a listen to how a couple of key members are talking about the investigation where it stands. >> it's going forward, there's basic agreement on the witness list. >> reporter: so there's an agreement on flynn, carter page, manafort. >> i don't want to be jumping the gun here, if you ask the chair and the ranking member you'll see that there's witnesses on the list and each individual that has been discussed will be called as a witness. >> we don't have dates yet on our witnesses, but we certainly made a lot of progress, the chairman and i have exchanged witness lists, i these we're in agreement on bringing in the witnesses he wants. >> reporter: the chairman didn't answer any questions today about
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his role given the controversy he has faced over the last few days, but the senate intelligence committee really moving forward on its interviews that are happening behind closed doors, the one thing they're trying to learn is what was left out of that january report that said from the intelligence community's perspective, that russian official at the highest levels, including vladimir putin tried to sway the election to help donald trump. the question is when did they bring forward those big witnesses like paul manafort, maybe even mike flynn and carter page. that's something both the committees are looking at, the question is when will they call the witnesses? >> late today, one member of the house committee dropped a bombshell. >> i guess i would say this, that my impression is, i
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wouldn't be surprised after all of this is said and done that some people end up in jail? >> really? and how high does that go in your suspicion, if that's all we can call it right now? >> that's yet to be determined. >> do you think some people are going to wind up in jail, not just one individual, but people plural, is that what you're saying? >> you want to elaborate on that, give us a little bit? because obviously that's a very intriguing statement. >> i wish i could, but i can't at this time. >> but at this point, you're confident that at least some trump associates will wind up in jail? >> if i was betting, i would say yes. >> i asked one of his fellow democrats on the committee, i spoke to him a short time ago. i want to get your reaction to something your colleague said that people will go to jail at the end of the investigation.
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>> right now we're seeing these deep personal, political and financial ties of donald trump's campaign was converging at the time that the conversations took place. i think the most important thing we can do right now is follow the evidence. i don't want to prejudge the result, but we need our house investigation to get back on track. >> in terms of the investigation, is it back on track? >> so today we found out that the majority has agreed to our witness list, and so we have a witness list now, we're going to be interviewing relevant witnesses and i hope that we also have the public hearing, where sally yates and directors clapper and brennan tell congress and the world just exactly what russia was doing and whether any u.s. persons were involved. >> so the second briefing behind closed doors with comey and with rogers, has that been scheduled? >> no, it has not been scheduled, neither has the public hearing and we think both of them should happen but one
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should not happen in lieu of the who are. >> this morning your democrats on the intelligence committee, you were briefed on the intelligence reports which are at the heart of chairman nunes's surveillance claims, i know you can't talk about specific information. but did it answer any questions for you and did it confirm what chairman nunes has been claiming? >> still in is zero evidence that the president was wiretapped or that president obama ordered him be surveilled and also, anderson, i'll just say, the president, president trump, he holds these records, he can declassify them. and i think it's very, very telling that he hasn't and i don't believe he will. >> when will you see the actual documents? >> sooner rather than later, but we're going to continue this investigation, as i said there's witnesses to interview and other evidence to review, whether they put up hurdles or not, we're going to make it to the finish line.
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>> why do you think the president would not declassify the documents that you were briefed on? >> if someone has information that can help them, they will show that information, and right now this is just nothing more than a distraction, i think it's a foolish one, because, again, we're going to get back on track on this investigation, and we're going to continue to learn more about donald trump and his team's ties converging with russia's interference. we're not relenting and this isn't going to stop us. >> do you have confidence that your investigation, the house investigation can go forward with chairman nunes still leading the committee? >> i think it's a compromise investigation right now with him still leading it, but that's why i'm calling for an independent commission and every democrat and one republican has supported that, have been having private conversations with the republicans telling them that this is the most comprehensive way to get to the bottom of this. >> and when it comes to susan rice and the unmasking of trump aides, rice said today her
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actions were absolutely not for any political purposes to spy or anything, she had previously denied any knowledge of unmasking. do you think she crossed any lines either ethically or legally? >> i have seen zero evidence and donald trump can actually declassify if there is evidence and the fact that he has not shows that she did nothing wrong and also any time someone requests an unmasking, it's for their eyes only, it's not a reply all to all the intelligence community. >> do you think susan rice needs to come and speak to your committee? >> again, it would only be a hurdle for us to reach the finish line, but we'll interview any witnesses that the majority brings, but there are much more relevant witnesses like paul manafort like chairman nunes has said will be made available. coming up next, we're going to dig deeper on the key figure
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the president says russia is a ruse. joaquin castro says that it is something that people will go to jail for. the fbi is reportedly looking into this one. as we said at the top of the broadcast, in late january, a united arab emirates ambassador and -- >> i want to just take this kind of piece by piece, can you start by explaining how and why erik prince was then in president-elect trump's orbit? >> for starters, he gave a ton of money, he contributed at least $250,000 to political
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action committees that were supporting donald trump. he is tight with many people in trump's inner circle, including steve bannon, he appeared in numerous interviews on breitbart radio program, breitbart website, often singing trump's praises, often very critical of hillary clinton, he showed up in the trump offices in new york at least once that we know of and we of course know that he has a blood connection, his sister is the education secretary, betsy devos. >> his history at blackwater, his wealth, his family, his sister, betsy devos, but how did this meeting in the seychelles, how did it come about? >> well, so, you know, there's part, there are aspects of this that we still don't understand pleat completely, but what we do know
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is that this was arranged and brokered by the united arab emirates and it was serving as establishing a back channel between the trump campaign and russia. prince has lived in the uae, is very close to the ruling family, has made a lot of money with the ruling family. so it would be ideal for him to be a go-between in this area. >> and the people you talked to believe that erik prince was standing in for people in the trump administration? >> he presented himself in that way. he presented himself as an unusual representative, an unofficial envoy, and this was for a meeting with a confidant of putin and this was set up by the crown prince of abu dhabi, these are important players in the middle east, making these
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arrangements. >> the crown prince of abu dhabi, in terms of motives for him, besides being, according to your reporting, a potential go-between, uae would like moscow to basically separate more from iran and be more in the orbit of saudi arabia and uae? >> absolutely, in that scenario where the uae's interests and the trump administration's interests appear to be aligned. there is just lots of discussion during the trump transition among senior officials about how and whether it was possible to try to drive a wedge between moscow and i ran. both in syria, where russia backs assad, alongside iranian forces and elsewhere in the middle east. a lot of people think that that's a really tough thing to try to pull off, and you would never even be able to get close to getting any kind of that kind of an agreement from moscow
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without major u.s. concessions on issues concerning u.s. canni sanctions. >> you said that erik prince was seen in trump tower prior to this meeting? >> yes, several weeks earlier. and the crown prince was in trump tower, he flew in in a very unusual way here, undisclosed arrival. >> undisclosed to the u.s. government? >> undisclosed to the u.s. government and undisclosed in particular to president obama. they had a commitment that he was not going to be coming into the united states and until president trump was sworn in, flies in, unannounced and they learn of it only because it's flying a flag of manifest of u.s. customs and border prote protecti protection. >> he functions as national is security advisor and also,
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anderson, this is all happening at a time when this is all happening at trump tower, this is all sort of in the same time frame when senator kislayak is meeting with flynn, the national security advisor, he's meeting with jared kushner, the son-in-law and close adviser of president trump, so a lot of people coming in and out, including kislayak, including the crown prince of the uae. >> i mean the obvious question based on your reporting, is there anything to rule out or rule in the possibility that the new york meeting essentially got the ball rolling for the seychelles meeting, because your argument cite s people who are close to the trump administration, who would want to get a green light in advance from both trump and putin if not
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the leaders themselves. >> it's sort of hard to imagine a scenario in which the crown prince would engage in something like this, without seeing that this is a legitimate undertaking with the blessing of people in trump's inner circle. >> greg muller, just fascinating reporting, thank you so much. >> thank you. i want to bring in the panel, ryan lizza, also jeffrey lord, and steve israel. ryan what, do you make of this? it's still a fascinating piece of the puzzle. clearly the crown prince is denying that he had anywhere communications with trump. >> the white house is sort of distancing itself. one of the reasons you would use someone like prince, if this indeed happened, if he was officially given the green light to set up something like this would be exactly so you could plausibly deny it later. there's a long history of presidents and incoming
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presidents using people who are one or two steps removed to test out ideas, that does seem like that's what this was here. it's an awful lot of trouble for erik prince to go through, unless he truly had some idea that he was working on behalf of someone, inner trump or someone around him. >> clearly prince has connections with different governments and things. >> even if you were going to do this, he's a very controversial person to choose to do it with, this is someone who's moved to abu dhabi reportedly because he needs to get out of the united states because there's so many lawsuits, whether they're civil lawsuits or criminal lieutenaaw. you have contractors who are accused of murdering people in afghanistan.
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so somebody who has to move to the uae to basically help run the law probably isn't something you should choosing to be negotiating on behalf of the united states. >> and interesting that he was in the trump tower during the transition time. >> let me try to add another factual dimension to this. there were a number of foreign policy experts brought into the trump transition, who were very disturbed at what they saw with erik prince, that he was meeting with the president-elect. some of these people left the transition effort partly because they saw a line close to what putin was pronouncing, that erik prince and others including flynn were declaiming time and time again. and this is one of the thing that people on the hill investigating are looking at, it's one of the things that the fbi is aware of. so there's another dimension to this on top of what you were just talking to "the washington post" reporter who did that
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terrific story about. but this is part of a larger piece of the puzzle that may or may not be crucial. what is erik prince doing meeting with donald trump and what is this all about? >> the odd thing about the timing of all of this is this did happen before "the washington post" broke the story about flynn and the conversations with the russian ambassador. so it was sort of, just, i think, a week or so before it really became on the front burner that the meeting took place. but it was also just a few days before the inauguration. so as the reporter for "the washington post" is pointing out, it's sort of an odd time to have a meeting when in just a short amount of time, you could have the meeting -- >> sure. this is what you get with an anti-establishment administration candidate and campaign. everything in foggy bottom and everything in washington is supposed to be bad. these are people who brought us
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the iraq war, you want to do something different. but these are people that are basically being brought into trump's home, indisclosed dealings, undisclosed financial ties between the president-elect himself at the time and members of his family and the trump administration and oligarchs who are close to putin and so forth. so it becomes almost impossible to try and put together this puzzle and this is what you get. rather than see what we have seen in the past, rather clear statements about human rights, clear policy, where we're going, who's going to do it, people with actual experiences, you get at best freelancers like erik prince floating around. >> we have a lot to talk about ahead, including susan rice's remarks when she got caught up in the surveillance controversy. and later breaking news, kim jong-un firing another missile and the trump administration fires off a chilling response. working on my feet all day gave me pain here.
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donald trump's wiretapping allegations. in an interview with msnbc, she said she never made public any of the americans' names who turned up in intelligence reports en masse. here's what she said. >> the notion that some people are trying to suggest is that by asking for the identity of an american person that that is the same as leaking it, that is totally false. there's no correlation between unmasking and leaking. >> conservative news outlets have been pointing out, which is comments secretary rice made two weeks ago in an interview with pbs's news hour judy woodruff. >> in the last few hours we have been following a disclosure by the chairman of the house intelligence committee, devin nunes, that in essence, during the final days of the obama
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administration, after president trump had been elected, that he and the people around him were caught up in wiretapping and that their identities may have been disclosed. do you know anything about this? >> i know nothing about this, i was surprised to see reports from chairman nunes on that count. >> and back now with the panel. i mean, jeff, what do you make of the two different statements? >> well, listening to cnn's john king today, will the real susan rice stand up? i mean which one is it. the problem here is, and she parses her words carefully, there is a difference between unmasking and leaking, but to the extent that you let a secret out to 30, 40, however many people it is, you're doing this -- you could be doing it -- >> but there's no evidence about -- the unmasking, the name
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is unmasked to her, there's no evidence that she leaked it? >> somebody did this. i mean i'm all for it at this point an independent commission. carl will just love this. i think we should appoint dick cheney with joe liebermann and get into this, and get to the bottom of everything, get paul manafort and roger stone, all of these guys who promised to testify, susan rice, get it all out there. >> there is a difference between unmasking and spreading that information around, or just unmasking which is legal and can in many cases be appropriate and is done pretty frequently from what i understand, and actually leaking that information to a reporter or to others. >> let's do a little reality check here. donald trump and his administration have proven to be masters of deflection. instead of talking about the
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fundamental issue here, which is an act of espionage against the united states government and the aiding and abetting of that act by people in the administration of donald trump. last week it was evelyn farkas, the assistant secretary of defense. so it's quite amazing, they pull names out of the hat, in order to feed the news narrative to deflect against what counts, what counts is this fbi investigation, whether there was aiding and abetting, and active espionage against the american people. >> i think there's a lesson for many people in the trump administration to learn from susan rice right now, she is a lesson on what happens when you lose your credibility with a large portion of the public. her credibility was shocked after she misled people about the benghazi videos and everything that stemmed from
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that terrorist attack. she has no credibility with about 50% of voters so when they look at her, it's just a feeding frenzy. meanwhile, it's not lost on any republicans that there's an investigation into president trump's former campaign manager, national security advisor and his top most trusted person jared kushner is facing u.s. intelligence. but he's on a plane going to iraq right now. but susan rice does have a problem that people who are illegitimately facing trump right now are very careful. >> you're kind of tracking the various distractions? >> a couple of things, one, this is now the third kind of intelligence collection that's been used to justify that famous tweet from donald trump, first a fisa court order that obama wiretapped his phones, then if everyone members, it was british
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intelligence that was actually doing it. >> judge napolitano sources. >> i know he's back now talking about this and now it's susan rice unmasking and the justification for that. my understanding of the process of unmasking is really important to understand what this is all about, right? say the national security agency that collects foreign intelligence, if they have a conversation where an american is mentioned or just happens to be on the line when they're targeting, legally targeting a foreigner, they make a decision, is it intelligence, is it relevant intelligence to sort of feed up the food chain? if it is, they write a report, if it's not, they purge the information. so they're making a decision that this intelligence is useful and the policymakerings should know about it. and second, susan rice is the second highest person in the
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national security agency. does she need to know the name or not? she can unmask it. that just means that she gets to see it. the nsa has to approve that unmasking, based on two crite a criteria, whether it would help her understand the report more, it's a whole process that gets logged in a computer. the only reason we know about this is that the white house went to the computer and said oh, susan rice was making this request. if this was a big abuse, i happen to believe that if this was abuse of unmasking-- >> i don't think the fact that she logged it means she did anything wrong. the question for a lot of people who are concerned about the behavior of some of the people in our government, in terms of violating privacy in terms of surveillance. eli lake reported that it was
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dozens of requests. why did she have to do this? >> was it politically motivated or not? and i think that's a reasonable thing to ask. and we don't know that it was. >> one of the several people who have seen it all have said two things, one that it's not related to russia and two that it's not illegal that he saw. >> keep our eye on the ball here, and i hate to go to the watergate analogy, but in watergate, what we knew was there had been an attack on the free electoral process in the united states of america. the same question is what looms over all of this. not how did the press or anyone else get the information, that's exactly what happened in watergate when nixon tried to make the conduct of the press and leaks supposedly the issue. we need to stay focused on the real story here. if there is an incidental story, about how certain pieces of information came to be, fine,
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down the line, take a look at it. but let's remember, steve just said it, this is about a foreign power which interfered with our free electoral system. >> we got to take a quick break. up next, a missile launch from the administration of kim jong-un. and the deadly gas attack, one of the worst in years, the white house has pointed the finger of blame on the obama administration, the question is does the trump team also bear responsibility? we'll take a look at that ahead.
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there's breaking news tonight from north korea. kim jong-un ordered his military
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to fire another missile. and the trump administration fires off a quick response. barbara starr joins us from washington. >> reporter: this happened a short time ago, north korea firing a missile off it's eastern coast, it's not so much about the missile, but the program it represents, the missile was mobile launched, that means it's hard for u.s. satellites to track a mobile launcher and know where it's going to fire from. it had solid fuel on board, again, making it very tough for u.s. satellites to see. this is the program that north korea is working on to try and launch these kinds of missiles, keep them outside the eyes of u.s. spy satellites. this missile flew about nine minutes into the ec, also known as the sea of japan. it didn't go very far, but that's not really the point, it's what it represents. and then we had a really
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interesting statement from secretary of state rex tillerson, mr. tillerson saying, and i quote, north korea launched yet another medium ranged ballistic missile, the united states has spoken enough about north korea, we have no further comment. no comment from the state department, it duoes make you wonder if they aren't the least bit worried how kim jong-un may interpret those words. >> there's also a big international story, a bick chemical weapons air strike against syrian civilians, the images are horrific. >> reporter: we do want to caution, the images are horrific, you may want to take young children out of the room. u.s. officials believe it was the assad regime and most likely they attacked using sarin. cnn will not blur out the
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horror. activists say dozens of civilians killed and hundreds injured including children when air strikes hit in northern syria. eyewitnesses say visibilities were short of breath, choking, foaming at the mouth, dying froms a ffrom s a f asphyxiation, from a chemical attack. secretary of state rex tillerson ignoring shouted questions about the attack from reporters, just days of he made clear the trump doctrine is to no longer aim to push syrian president bashar al assad to be removed from power. >> i think the status and the longer term status of president assad will be decided by the syrian people. >> reporter: this may be the new reality. >> there's no plausible way to get rid of him and we're all going to have to hold our collective nose and accept that
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and come up with a strategy that minimizes his ability to hurt syrians in the future. >> reporter: white house press secretary sean spicer also blaming both the assad regime and president obama. >> these heinous actions by the bashar al assad regime -- the 8-year-old syrian girl who tweeted from aleppo during the government siege had a new message for donald trump, this is today in syria, . heart breaking images, president obama came under years of criticism for his years of so-called red line, saying that assad cannot use chemical weapons and the assad regime did and obama didn't do much about
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it. rex tillerson issuing written statements condemning the attacks but no sign that the u.s. is going to do anything about it. >> no signs that mr. trump backed a tough stance on syria when he was a business mogul in 2013. the only reason president obama wants to attack syria is to safe face over his very dumb red line statement, do not attack syria, fix usa. one of several tweets like that he sent at the time. tonight two of our journalists who spent time in syria, our international continues, dawa davis and clarissa ward. the trump administration's response on the one hand saying this can't be ignored by the world. and in the next sentence they blame the obama administration for setting the red line and then not acting on it. but it doesn't seem like there's going to be any action on the
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part of the u.s. this time either. >> that's what's so devastating about this, there's some sort of moral come pass that has been broken because of what's been happening in syria for so long. actually take actions to make it stop. the donald trump administration does have an opportunity right here not to let history repeat itself, many would argue that they have a responsibility to do that as well. >> and again, we just heard from rex tillerson, essentially a change in u.s. policy, essentially where he said that basically it's up to the syrian people whether or not the future of syria and assad. i want to play something john mccain said about that. >> bashar assad and his friends, the russians take note of what americans say, i'm sure they took note of what our secretary of state said just the other day that the syrian people would be determining their own future themselves. one of the more incredible statements i have everyborv eve
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i'm sure they're encouraged that the united states is withdrawing and seeking some kind of new arrangement with the russians and another disgraceful chapter in american history and it was predictable. >> what's impossible to know at this stage is this attack the result of those statements by teller s tillerson basically taking hands off? >> i think the regime of bashar al assad with all the assistance it's had from its proxies, from russia, from hezbollah, has been feeling emboldened to do whatever it wants to to its civilian population for a long time. there's no reason to conclude that this was a detective result of secretary of state rex tillerson's comments. when you think about what that means, it's up to the syrian people to decide?
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do you think the syrian people were asking to have chemical weapons developed on civilian populations and women and children killed? do you think the syrian people were asking for nearly 50% of the people, some 10 million people displaced from their homes, 5 million living in other countries, the syrian people have not had any say for a very long time. in what happens in their country and in their own future. >> does anyone on the ground in syria still have any hope that the u.s. or the international community will intervene in any meaningful way? because early on, clearly there was a lot of hope, but it has been so long and there's been such slaughter. >> i was incidentally speaking not too long ago with a group of syrians about this very issue, how do you still have hope? and they were specifically working on trying to grandchildrbegin to put together a file on humanitarian violations. so i do think people cling to
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this notion because they have nothing else, everything else has been ripped away from them. that somehow the international community, the united states is going to do what it takes to just stop this bloodshed. >> i wonder what you think the reaction to jared kushner visiting iraq is, i mean on the international stage? because on the one hand, it makes a lot of sense that the chairman of the joint chiefs would invite him because clearly kushner has the ear of the president and it's a wise move -- but it's interesting that the secretary of state is not involved in this and there seems to be different centers of power. >> its extraordinary to see how much responsibility is being delegated to someone who may be a very smart midwesteperson, wh experience and very limited experience in the region and generally speaking
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internationally. and i think most iraqis wouldn't even know who jared kushner is, per se. but of course there's an awareness of the fact that for whatever reason, there is a very small quadrey of people who are around president trump, so perhaps it's a sign that iraq is important to him, that he is sending his son-in-law on this trip, but i think to international leaders who are looking at this situation, it's a little alarming because he's going to have to do an enormous amount of learning on the job. just ahead tonight, more breaking news, vice president pence back on capitol hill meeting with key republicans about reviving the gop health care bill. so i asked about tresiba®. ♪ tresiba® ready ♪ tresiba® is a once-daily, long-acting insulin that lasts even longer than 24 hours. i need to shave my a1c.
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including worsening of symptoms. serious allergic reactions can occur. now's your chance at completely clear skin. just ask your doctor about taltz. more breaking news. mike pence is meeting with key chairmen involved in health care. latest evidence of an attempt to revive the republican health bill. it has been 11 days since paul ryan pulled that bill. the blame game began, much of it directed at the conservative freedom caucus. >> there's no plan.
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there's plan a and plan a. >> with no democrat support, we couldn't quite get there. we're just a very small number of votes short. >> democrats are smiling in d.c. that the freedom caucus, with the help of club for growth and heritage. he seems to be putting it on the right wing, the hard line conservatives in your own party. >> the president is 100% correct. >> it's not just about making deals. it's knowing when to walk away. >> i know we're going to make a deal on health care. it's an easy one. i have no doubt that's going to happen very quickly. >> fast forward to the past 24 hours. pence's effort to take a second swing. phil mattingly has details. >> reporter: white house led by vice-president mike pence engaging in a blitz to bring members back to the table. coming to capitol hill monday night to present a new proposal to the house freedom caucus, conservatives that wouldn't back the first effort.
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>> is there going to be a vote on health care? >> reporter: the proposal would attempt it address conservative complaints, that the original bill didn't go far enough to undo obamacare's regulatory infrastructure. it would provide states the options to apply for waivers to opt out of obamacare's ten essential health benefits. the minimum requirements for any insurance plan, and also provide an opt out option for the community ratings regulations, which prevent insurers from racing premiums based on age, gender or health. for the most, the freedom caucus members aren't committing. >> there's no deal in principal. there's a solid idea that was offered. we're certainly encouraged by the progress we seem to be making. >> reporter: senior gop aides point to an underlying problem that remains unchanged. start with a plan that appeals to as many as possible. then move it to the right. that may bring conservatives on
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board. but it also risks bleeding very moderates necessary to reach the 216 votes needed for passage. >> i don't see how that would work. >> reporter: that means leadership cautious behind the scenes sits in a very similar place. with one senior gop aide telling cnn that any talk of a final deal is, quote, premature. the best way to describe the new talks would be very early discussion. with one goal, any compromise must add net votes. >> now we're throwing around concepts to improve the bill. that's occurring right now. that's not to say we are ready to go. because we want to make sure that when we go, we have the votes to pass this bill. we have the consensus we have been looking for. >> phil mattingly joins us. you have combeen staking out a meeting between the president and stakeholders. >> this is the briefing on the policy. this is what was promised when they first unveiled the top line components of this new
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compromise. they have staff in the room. the tables are set up in a rectangular fashion. the members of congress, administration officials, including mike pence, priebus, price, mare trying to hammer ou a way forward. staff are in the room. there's no question about it, going into this meeting you heard from what the speaker had to say. this was a conceptual stage. i can tell you, there's a lot of skepticism they can close the deal. which raises even important question, was this real or was this just trying to be an effort to act like they didn't give up on this? i'm told it's the former than the latter. but it's worth noting. mike pence has put himself out here on this. he has made clear he wants to try and close this deal. if the day is any indication, he is a long way away from that. they're pinning a lot of hopes on this meeting tonight. >> phil, thanks. more ahead tonight. more on the breaking news about
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a new strand in the expanding web of connection between trump associates and russia. why pause a spontaneous moment? cialis for daily use treats ed and the urinary symptoms of bph. tell your doctor about your medicines, and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sex. do not take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, or adempas® for pulmonary hypertension, as this may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. do not drink alcohol in excess. to avoid long-term injury, get medical help right away for an erection lasting more than four hours. if you have a sudden decrease or loss of hearing or vision, or an allergic reaction, stop taking cialis and get medical help right away. ask your doctor about cialis.
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topping our second hour,
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island entry. one more item many what seems to be the almost bottomless story. the latest came to light early today. jim sciutto is looking into it. >> reporter: tonight the timing and proximity of meetings between trump advisers and russian officials during the transition is raising questions among hill investigators. a congressional intelligence source tells cnn. in particular, whether the loosening of u.s. sanctions was discussed. the meetings are one part of an expanding web of contacts between trump advisers and russia during the election and transition. one of the latest revelations, a meeting in january on the island nation of the say shells, hundreds of miles off the east coast of africa a diplomatic source tells cnn, a week before he took office,