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tv   CNN Newsroom With John Berman and Poppy Harlow  CNN  April 12, 2017 6:00am-7:01am PDT

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never again russia draws a red line for the united states on syria. the u.s. secretary of state stayed behind closed doors in moscow at this hour a. crucial uncomfortable and unpredictable meeting. >> so what was he talking about anyway? a cnn exclusive, cnn inside theer says they see nothing that the obama white house collected information on trump campaign officials and an ad advisor to the trump campaign investigated as a possible russian agent? a new report says the fbi had their eye on him for months. good morning, everyone, i'm john berman. >> i'm poppy harlow. in a new interview, president vladimir putin spoke about the dire terms back and forth with the united states saying quote the working level of confidence
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in russia-america relations especially at the military level, under the administration of donald trump has not improved, but rather worsened. >> he is saying this as the u.s. secretary of state rex tillerson is behind closed doors right now meeting with his russian counterpart, talk object about their differences, differences right now that seem as big as black and white. michelle kazinski is in moscow for moderating niece talks, michelle, what have you learned? >> reporter: hi, you know this was always going to be an extremely difficult meeting. but what was unusual was to see that tension on full display even before it started. you know, before this meeting, they usually have a photo op. there are pleasantries exchanged or at least cordialitys. but in this case the russian foreign minister sergei lavrov just launched right into it. with his sharp criticism of u.s. strikes on syria, saying they're a violation of international law and can't happen again. he talked about the fact that
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there is not clarity even on the u.s. position on syria. he took that opportunity to slam the state department for not having enough people, there are so many of those high level positions that are not filled and he said that it's been difficult to communicate. here's some of what he said. >> it is important for us to understand your intention and intention of the u.s. and the real intention of this administration, we hope that we can clear up today those things. welcome. >> secretary of state rex tillerson for his part in this kind of pre-meeting display stuck to the cordial. he talked about the relationship. but this is an opportunity to find cooperation as well as go over those differences. but you hear things coming from the russian government, calling the u.s. rhetoric primitive and loudish. but president trump had his own words this morning in an interview for russia.
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listen. >> frankly, putin is backing a person that's truly an evil person and i think it's very bad for russia. i think it's very bad for mankind. it's very bad for this world. but when you drop gas or bombs or barrel bombs that have these massive barrels with dynamite and they drop them right in the middle of a group of people and in all fairness, you see the same kids, no arms, no legs, no face, this is an animal. >> what we have been hearing over the past couple of days from each side makes it very difficult to see what cooperation they can pull out of this. i mean, the u.s. and russia do cooperate on a number of issues, but after this has happened, over syria, we're just going to have to wait and see what comes out of this press conference later. i think everybody will be watching that. it still remains to be seen, whether president putin will sit down with tillerson.
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we've seen a couple of signs that this might happen. but you know just a couple of years ago, it was putin, himself, awarding tillerson with the order of friendship here in russia. what a different message he is sending out right now. >> absolutely. it would break precedent, if he does not meet with the u.s. secretary of state especially on his first trip. >> every secretary of state, that's a long time. >> that is a long time. john berman, thank you, michelle kazins kazinski, thank you. we have a national security analyst here and a former department of homeland security. julia, let me gin with you, worse according to u.s. relations are than before, so much for a re-set? >> reporter: that's exactly right. i would say the stakes are higher for secretary tillerson than the russian team. only because he's new to this.
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he has to be able to show not only is he an appropriate secretary of state but that there is something that we might call the trump doctrine. you and michelle just mentioned syria. and what russia has been saying about our attack in syria, but also, remember, just yesterday, tillerson is, has said sort of casually, but in i would say a very harmful manner, what does it mean for the american taxpayer to defend the ukraine? that is we heard by the russians, as just another sign of a very confused policy, are we going to stand behind europe or are we going to do it, try to do a reset with russia? so some clarity is i think demanded by tillerson by the russians, but also by i think the europeans at this stage. >> you know, we should note these meetings are happening right now. we are getting drips, drips, drips, in the week before and during. let me review one comment from the secretary of state as he was walking in, he said he wants to clarify areas of sharp difference to better understand
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why these differences exist. areas differ. the united states thinks bashar al-assad used chemical weapons against it own people. vladimir putin says that was staged. how do you bridge a gap like that? >> i think the way you granite is you see like this morning when the posturing is done, lau lavrov needs to look him in the eye, get the cameras out of the room, okay, where do the differences lie? what do we see for how we are going to deal with the fact that you failed to get chemical weapons out of syria, because clearly they used them. oh, be i the way, i think secretary tillerson would be wise to present the russians with, here is the everyday, here's what we picked up with intelligence to be able to confirm with absolute certainty that they carried out this attack, where they carried it out from, and how it was conducted. once they have that, okay, we clear the air, let's lay down. what are our priorities?
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where do we have common ground? we still need to continue the fight with isis. we need to clarify we will not tolerate the use of chemical weapons. now we need the physical out, is bashar al-assad going to stay, is russia going to continue want to back him? and what are the consequences going to be for russia if they continue to do that, if he continues with this brutal war against his own people? >> julia, you pointed out something that tillerson said that is confounding to many people when he said why should the american taxpayer be interested in ukraine? why should they care about crimea? it's confusing. but on top of that you have senator lindsey graham, a republican, calming out tillerson and going as far as to call him naive, listen to this. >> when secretary tillerson says he hopes that russia will re-align itself with western democracy and break away from syria and iran with all due respect, i like secretary tillerson, that's pretty naive.
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>> do you agree or deny? >> absolutely. it's not going to happen. this is where tillerson's remarks about the ukraine are so sort of mind-boggling at this stage, because there are differences. they sister to accept that. and tillerson by sort of thinking out loud sort of raises the stakes both for europe and russia. there is no thinking out loud anymore. are you the secretary of state pontificating how do i sell this to the american public is not his job. he needs a make a bright line statement about our commitment to europe and nato as well as a statement to russia. i will say one other thing, with all of this going on, syria, europe, and the relationship between russia and the united states, we have this other thing, right, which is did russia -- or russia's involvement with our elections, which ought to be addressed by tillerson at this stage to ensure in future elections, russia does not do what it did in that last one.
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>> how about that, how closely is russia watching the news today that carter make, there was a fisa warrants on him? >> i think they're watching it. quite frankly, they will be disinterested in it. they waged an information warfare campaign during the election the dre to which we are trying to determine if it had any tree effect on whether or not it helped president trump get elected or not. at the end of the day when you go back to the middle east and look at it. i think julia is absolutely right. he is the secretary of state right now, secretary tillerson, you can't think out loud. what happened in the crimea and eastern ukraine is critical because the europeans do look at. that they look at how the united states reacts to it. how they will engage in the future, what that more tends for nato and -- moportends for the nato and countries. can we expect nato to be backing us? so we need strong statements, you need something between what's thought up here and the filter that goes in before it
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come out here from the secretary of state. >> i think a lot of people are watching these meetings going on right now between the secretary of state and the russian foreign minister. we will keep our eyes on it as well. great to have you with us, thanks so much. with we have a cnn exclusive this morning. congressional insiders telling cnn the documents they have seen may contradict chair devin nunez, both democrats and republicans say they see no everyday that the obama administration did anything wrong, one source says there is absolutely no smoking gun here. >> so in an interview with the taped before this new cnn exclusive reporting, we saw the president double down on his allegations, the former national secured adviser susan rice committed a crime. listen. >> she said she didn't do it for political reasons, susan rice. >> does anybody really believe that? nobody believes that. even the people that try toy protect her in the news media.
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it's such a big story. i am sure it will continue forward. but what they did horrible. >> cnn chief correspondent jim scuitto reporting that story, helping break this news what have you learned? >> well, in short form, republican and democratic lawmakers, frankly not backing up the president's claim, they're casting doubts on claims by devin nunez the obama administration officials improperly collected the names of u.s. individuals that have been redacted in intelligence documents, these lawmakers have seen the very same intelligence documents that nunez reviewed last month and share with the white house. although we learned the white house shared with him. they tell cnn they see no evidence that the obama administration officials he mentioned did anything out of the ordinary or lee. one congressional source describes the request as quote normal and appropriate for senior national security officials in these positions. >> and i know that you and our manu raju have talked to
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multiple sources, people who have seen, hemmed, read through these documents, what do they tell you about their concerns? >> one source telling us that there is absolutely no smoking gun in these reports. in fact, this person in particular, even urging the white house to declassify them to make it clear to the public that there is nothing alarming in them a. lot of questions have been raised in particular, you we heard the president mention there as well about susan rice, whether she acted illegally in requesting the names of trump officials, incidentally collected in intelligence reports, president trump as we said, says he believes she may have broken the law. again, multiple sources, both parties who have reviewed these documents say flatly they don't back up the president's claims, she may have broken the law. these are routine requests. they are ones that might happen as senior intelligence officials look at these reports. they see an american citizen mentioned there. and to understand what's behind the reports, they might then ask the intelligence community for
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that american's identity so they can understand the gravity of those intelligence reports. >> what is that process, jim? what is the process for actually unmasking the identity of someone there a report like this. >> there is how it works. these rules were set by the intelligence community. certain national security officials can make some requests, a limited number. the intelligence agents, particularly nsa, they decide whether to grant them. to be fair, i am told in practice, they requested the most senior officials are rarely denied. if susan rice comes to the intelligence committee and asks for an unmasking, they will not them her no so some of the members of the house and senate committee said despite their judgment, they haven't seen anything untoward in the requests made. they do have legitimate questions how these standards are set. are they too loose. >> should they be tightenned up? should it be harder for administration officials to request unmasking? they have those questions.
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those remain legitimate questions. >> another leg, another bran were of this russia stoerpd and saga is cart -- story and saga is carter page, he builds him as an as advisor to the president when he was running. the presidents certainly distanced himself from. the washington post is reporting this morning the fbi obtained a fisa warrant. for months to monitor his conversations. that's pretty extraordinary. they have to convince a judge there is probable cause, it would be carter page at this point, was working as an agent of a foreign power. >> listen, if confirmed by others, the washington post certainly credible, it's significant story because to this point, we've known the fbi is investigating possible links between russians and trump officials. now we know they took the step of issuing a warrant. because they have probable cause. >> jim scuitto for us in washington. i want to go to washington right
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now, listen to sean spicer, speaking a day after his explosive claims of adolph hitler. >> each person can understand that part of existing is understanding when you do something wrong, you own up to it. you do it. you let people know and i did. so for mesh obviously, there is two take aways. one is it's a very holy week for both the jewish people and the christian people. this is not to make a gaffe and a mistake like this is inexcusable and reprehensible and so of all weeks, this was nost, this compounds that kind of a mistake. but second of all and it's really is painful to myself to know that i did something like that because that obviously was not my intention and to know when you screw up you possibly offended a lot of people i just, so i would ask obviously for
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folks' forgiveness to understand that i should not have tried to make a comparison. there's no comparing atrocities and it is a very solemn time for so many folks, that it's a part of. that so that's obviously a very differently thing personally to deal with. because you know that a lot of people that don't know you wonder why you would do that. so that's first and foremost. secondly, from a professional standpoint, it's obviously disappointing. i think the president's had an unbelievable couple of weeks. he took decisive action in syria. he made tremendous progress with president xi and your job as a spokesperson is to help amplify the president's actions and accomplishments. i think he's had an unbelievable successful couple of weeks. when are you distracting from that message of accomplishment. that's your job is to be the exact opposite on a professional level, it's disappointing. because i think i've left the
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president down and so on both a personal level an a professional level, that would definitely go down as not a very good day in my history. >> did the person say anything to you lasted night? >> i did not talk to him. no, i haven't talked to him this morning. >> any message to anyone else and the president? >> i don't get into private conversations, again, this was my mistake, my bad, that i needed to fix and so i'm not going to get into any additional conversations that i may or may not have. i will say, this is mine to own, mine to apologize for, moo into ask for forgiveness for. >> turn to other issues. you think the press is fair to you or gunning for you? >> i don't think it's monolithic. i think some folks clearly have an agenda. some folks are open mined. some folks probably root for you, but they're sort of a spectrum. >> what's the surprise in the job for you? if we were over at the republican headquarters for a number of years.
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what's the surprise in this job? >> i don't know that there's a time. i think the level of scrutiny is obviously, i wouldn't say it's a surprise, but it's sort of the magnitude to which it exists is fairly unbelievable. no matter what you do, what you wear. it may kind of gets amplified to a degree that you couldn't imagine. and so i think what the priorities are about what gets covered. what doesn't get covered. i think the obsession, i understand, i have been doing this a long time. i understand the process. i understand ups and downs. i think when you look at the issues that our world and our country are dealing with, sometimes the obsession with, you know, who's up, who os down in one week works said what in a meeting versus the substance of what's being taken to improve the live of the american people
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to protect us or deal with world incidents is sort of intriguing. >> do you you have a sense you work for the president the white house or the american people? who do you think you are working for? >> to some degree it's all. >> how do you reconcile that? sometimes are you in a position of advocateing for -- >> at the end of the day, the president won an election by you know that the men people voted in. so i ultimately answer to him. it is his agenda that is being pursued as, you know, that's the case of anyone in office. you are elected by a group of people. you pursue an agenda that you feel that you communicated to those people or are accountable to those people, whether or not you brought it up in a campaign or not. first and foremost, as a president, my job is to go out there and help amplify and discuss what he's doing and why
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he's doing it and the akovp come plishment that he's having. >> how much access under the president? >> plenty. that's not a problem. >> you can talk to him every day, spend time with him every day? >> every day. >> how does your day start? >> i get up around 5:00, 5:15, i start reading e-mail and usually try to do sol kind of exercise and then again we kind of monitor the news of the day, the issues of the day, going over the events, we have meetings in the 7:00 hour. we are basically trying to figure out what we're advancing as well as what the incoming is, if you will, what are the issues that are playing hot. what are the issues we think will overtake the day. what are the events that are happening and how we communicate those. >> in terms of complaints of the media. right? >> one or two. >> what are the complaints you get from the media? >> there's always going to be an issue with access. they want more. >> access to you or the
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president? >> it doesn't matter, to the parking lot, to the front line, trees, i mean, there's nothing that they don't want access to. so that's probably first and foremost what they want and then obviously administration officials, the president. you name it. >> and other complaints in the press. >> i think there has been one or two. >> i'm trying to see how you facilitate the press and the white house? >> it's naturally combative. no matter what the administration is, the party is, the press is always going to want more of what it is, that's the nature of the relationship. but i think that there are some things that to your question, i think ari talked about there a lot. dana has talked about this, the most recent press secretary on
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the advent of the republican side, there is an element of being first and getting things on the ether on social media, et cetera that has changed the dynamic between that room and the relationship exists. >> people would much prefer anonymous sources. much prefer. >> so you are clear, there are people on a policy level implementing. helping to shape policy. because of the nature of what they do. they don't want their names out there. not because they're hiding. they're there to serve the people and the government. it's not they're hiding. i think when the press, you can bring someone into a briefing room. etch can see who they are. that's a much different thing than we'll get a phone call and say we have five backgrounds sources that say you crossed the street. there is no accountability. we don't know who they are. are they inside the white house, outside the white house, do they breathe? there is a lot of -- that is
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difficult to respond to you are shooting at almost a ghost. i think we, we try to minimize the use of and i would say anonymous sources, but background sources to make sure people see the individuals, they're there, reading stuff. i think for a lot of folks in government they're there to work hard to work on a particular issue. they don't necessarily want to have their name and the family particularly exposed to some of the -- >> but i've we heard the complaint coming generically from the white house from people in the white house complaining about the over use of anonymous sources of the media and the media is rolling their eyes, some of the people making stamths wanting to be anonymous. >> again, i think there is a big difference. we get hit with a lot of this there's 18 people that said the following, we won't tell you who any of them are. we have no idea who -- again a lot of time things happening, i know someone who knows someone
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who lives next to two people whose brother jimmy is friends with them on facebook. that itself not really a source. when are you basically defending you know, that's not somebody in the room. i'll get sometimes well have an event in the oval office or in a particular room and there will be four or five people there, six sources, there weren't six people there and so it's hard to imagine. we talk to people who talk to people. we all seen the game of them le phone. if you just do it among children, you will get clearly the reason we access, deep them sometimes the game is to show how a message will vary by the time it gets two or three people deep t. question is how reliable is that source? when you get four or five people that say, we were in a room that didn't happen, yeah i know you have four people actually there willing to go on the record. we have two people who knew two people that followed them on twitter. you have to weigh that difference of who the sources
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are. i don't think that's getting as much of a play as it should. >> is there a two-way street? even the president will tweet things, for instance, he was surveiled by president obama and it's like, we don't get the sources on that. yet we are the rather dramatic assertions. >> well, again, i think there is a question though about how this happens. we ask for investigation through appropriate channels, a lot of that material is at a classified level. >> after the bomb was struck. i mean, essentially after the tweet. the tweet came first from the president. >> i understand that, there is also how classified information gets handled is a whole separate discussion. again, we have seen, you have seen both very bipartisan outrage on this, there is a level to which classified information is being shared to journalists and others i think
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they toil and people want to read the story, there is a reason it's classified. there are sources being protected. i think we shouldn't be abin laudining the leaks of classified information. i think the president is right to call this out as a major concern. i think you have seen people on both sides of the aisle involved in this world to call that out. but it is concerning when we have classified information in sources that are being used to perpetuate a narrative. again if you think about it. it ties your hands when you respond. you can't, just because you claim you know something classified, you call up. you can't then fight back on it. because it is classified. so us engaging in that conversation puts us in a very difficult spot. >> and not to belabor our point. but this is a city where virtually a lot of things get classified that don't mean to be classified. for decades, there has been an
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overclassification in the city. >> that's a whole separate. >> not an insignificant one. >> i think with matters of national security when you are talking about sources and methods and the use of things. the president says he will continue to tweet. >> i think that's the default narrative. i think when you realize that he has an ability to all the channels he has and i think some of the media's frustration is he has this direct line to the american people, where he can communicate accomplishments, thoughts and push back false stories. >> i think does it drop a bomb essentially and in 140 characters or less and leaves.
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there is no sort of follow up or tapes. >> i think for a lot of people especially outside of walk, they have yearned for an authentic voice that hasn't stripped everything perfectly as a lot of president versus done. if you disagree with policy. i think one of the things people given high marks for is keeping his word and being you a then ittic. i think that is something that has been missing a lot of times in walk. >> again if you don't have the give and take you can't do a follow up. >> we do. again, i would argue, if you look at our engagement. the president in terms of myself and him. we are engaging with the media and coalition and individuals, unions, members of congress in an extremely robust way, there is a discussion it's not in a vacuum that itselfthat's occurr.
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>> that's night he gave an interview in which he said the u.s. is not going into syria. did you see that? >> i did. >> one other thing he said is he's not going to telegraph his plans, he has telegraphed to assad and isis he's not going in. how do you reconcile that? >> specifically ground troops. there's two issues, one is that doesn't mean a how we will deal with isis as a whom. so if we have to deal with isis and it moves into syria, that's one thing. going in and occupying syria for the express purpose of regime change, it's something the president has been clear throughout the campaign. i think to sort of exstrap late that. this is something he talked about well into the campaign the use of force and military troops and something like that. that shouldn't be a shocker, that's something he has been talking about for a while. >> so assad should not comment, we're not going into syria to
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mean he will do another airstrike? >> absolutely not. >> 100%. i think the president said that in the same interview, should they continue to use gas, especially against children and babies, that, you know, all options remain on the table. make no mistake about it. i think the president showed last thursday night that he will use decisive justified and proportional action to right wrongs. >> secretary of state tillerson is in russia in moscow. do you know if he's meeting with putin? is that confirmed or not? >> it has not been confirmed. >> do you know if he's meeting with putin. >> it has not been confirmed. >> assuming he were to meet with putin, what would be his mission? what would be the mission? what's the message to putin? >> probably there will be two folds of the agenda, whether or not he will meet with mr.
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lavrov. he will communicate the same message, number one i think there is a shared region that we have a national security concern that should align, with respect to syria in particular, we have all been party to an international agreement on the use of chemical weapons. and that russia should liver up to its obviously grags igation. remember, russia right now is an island. russia, north korea, syria and iran. >> that is not a group of folks you want to be associated with. russia is the only non-failed state. so if you are russia, you are really isolating yourself by aligning yourself with assad and not calling out the actions that both you and he specifically said that you would not engage in. >> what other consequence? suppose that putin. >> i think we had a consequence. >> some confidence. suppose today should this meet og kur, suppose putin says, okay, i guess it.
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no chemical weapons. ly help assad with barrel bombs and everything else there. because i like my base in syria. i will do everything to prop this guy up. assad continues to annihilate civilians and push refugees out of the country. >> i think first and foremost, we have the stability of the region. i think that is something we can talk about. russia is in syria. i think we can all agree that defeating isis should be instability there is important. then i think with respect to regime change, we can't possibly see a stable peaceful syria in the future. so we can have that discussion with them. i will let the secretary of state have that discussion with his counterpart at this point. i think we have projected our interests and concerns to russia very clearly. >> they're steaming towards the coast of north korea.
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kim jong-un has provocative words, they've had five missile tests recently, what's the ends game on there? are we waiting for saturday to see if kim jong-un does something, has another missile launch on the birth date of kim il-sung his grandfather? what's the program? >> i think we need to get the worldp community. we had productive talks in japan and south korea. he met with president xi thursday and friday, this is only like russia with isis, but we have a shared interest with china, making sure we don't have a nuclear north korea. >> we do have a nuclear north korea. they have 20,000 artillery weapons. >> medium term missile. again, i will not get into discussion about their nuclear capability. i will say it's in our shared interest to not have them have
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the nuclear capability to fly and launch rockets with nuclear capability. i think the president had productive talks with president xi last week. i think we need to continue to make sure the world community stands strong with us, which they have. to make sure we all understand the threat that north korea poses. >> i don't pretend to be the answer. that's the same thing from president obama before president trump. president george bush break through, president clinton. nobody has been able to in anyway deter north korea and it keeps inching, inching forward. >> well, what's different now? >> i would say, i'm not, one is i go back to last thursday night. we had six-plus years drawing red lines saying they weren't going to do anything the world communities bipartisan domestic
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group here applauded the president's action. i think with north korea, the president had productive talks with president xi. those, we'll see where those talks landed. >> what can china do? there is not a discussion have you in open setting. i believe the president and a lot of the cabinet had productive talks with china. there are a lot of stuff that can happen to continue to isolate north korea and to undermine their ability to possess and launch the capabilities that threaten us. >> we have historically had very low intelligence of what's going on in this hermetically sealed organization. to go further, if china is the purse for north korea, if china were to cut off money it to, i think and i don't know, it's just a guess. but i think the kim jong-un has had no problem starving his
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people. >> i think china place both an economic and political role of influence in north korea. but we'll see, you know, again, i think this president has clearly shown both the country and the world that there is going to be a change in how the u.s. interests are pursued and we'll have to say how that checks out. >> tax reform, are we going to get it this year? >> i feel i know the president and a lot of members of congress want to do this, on two fronts. >> why aren't they doing this now? why can't that multitask? >> they are multitasking. >> congress? >> respectfully, i don't think that's true. we actually talked about this the last couple weeks the meetings we had, extern ally and internally we met with the ways and finance leadership. it's interesting we're rushing too quick on something. then we talk about the other day on multiple occasions how we're laying out a systematic plan.
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tax reform hasn't happened since 1986. >> i'm not saying it's easy, i'm asking where are we on it. >> i think we have been talking about this. so i literally probably have been asked this multiple times in the briefing. we have internal discussions. we started to engage with members of congress and stake holders. but we've gone 30-plus years without comprehensive tax reform. there is pa lot of people that have ideas on two fronts. one is on the corporate side, we have a big problem maintaining and growing businessings, they are fleeing our countries. i think this president is committed to both tax reform and regulatory reform to create a better business climate that allows businesses to stay here that want to start heard and grow here. you are seeing the progress, especially on the regulatory front. >> those are executive orders, though. >> he has. >> the comprehensive tax reform they have to get this thing up capitol hill to move. >> absolutely. on the regulatory reform that
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gets overlooked a lot. whether it's the automotive sector, the steel sector, the coal and mining sector and a lots of other manufacturing sectors, that we're seeing a lot of progress. companies coming baaing to the united states, talking about investments they will make. because the president iaccomplishments and actions on regulatory reform is creating better business climate for them to be here t. tax piece is going to take some monthss to get this done. >> believe me, i actually am more critical on congress. the president says he's going of it. congress is the engine. >> we're engaging. >> by the ends of the year? >> that is clearly our goal. we have to look at the corporate side and making sure we really get some relief to middle class americans. >> in light of the fact by the end of the year, there is comprehensive tax reform, there will be huge revenue shifts one way or another. do you expect it will be effective as of year 2017 or do you think are we talking
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prospectively? >> that's going to be a part of the discussion. to get ahead of when that reform would go into place, whether it's fiscal year 2017 or '18, that would be probably a part of a lot of discussion. >> president trump also spoke about steve bannon last night and about, it appears there is some sort of feud in the white house, maybe feud is a strong word, something between jared kushner and steve bannon. what's going on there? >> well, i think a couple things. number one, i think a lots of it is overblown what you see in the media. the president has brought toebt successful individuals, business, academic. government and it's frankly the same team in a lot of ways that had a successful campaign i think sometimes you see that spill over into the public. because there is going to be on policy issues a spirited debate.
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i think that's healthy for the president he is not getting a monolithic citigroup offed a 52 is th -- group of advice. he gets a lot of opinions and ideas and policy shifts that help guide his ultimate decision making. that's a healthy thing. i think what we bring together is a lot of really talented individuals. whether nick mulvaney and the congress and his understanding of the budget process of steve's understanding of where the policies the president campaigned on. there is a lot of things being done to recruit the government to help enact policies that both keep us safer and grow the economy. but there's obviously going to be spirited debates. i think that is a healthy way for the president to get guidance and make decisions. >> does the media get in the way of the white house? is this a distraction? >> in what way?
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we reported about the feuds. we ask questions about those things but in many ways there are important people in the white house. we got the president's two top aides seemingly having disagreements. we don't know the extent of it. whether it's just an ordinary course of business, two people, two ideologys or something more. >> i think from a pros sesd standpoint, whether or not someone is getting along or not getting along, it doesn't make anyone's life safer or better. i think to your question i think the more the focus is on what are we doing right or wrong to make it better, sa strengthen it, to make it safer, where i got to see the focus, where are we on tax reform? how is it being done? what are we doing to make your country more competitive. i think whether or not you live in california or connecticut, your focus right now am i doing okay? and am i able to help my family,
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am i able to help my kids? am i saving something for the future? is my job safe? is the business i work for growing? am i going to get a raise? am i about it contribute to my who 1k, are my streets safe? is my country safe? those are the issues most of the americans worry about and playing that concern them. what am i doing about health care premiums? how can i keep up? can i go see a doctor anymore? my guess is that's whether or not you live on the east coast or the west coast, north or south. those are the issues that most americans i think are waking up not whether or not two individuals or three individuals are going back and forth in the white house. so i understand that there is always going to be a little palace intrigue. but i this i the proportion i seen of palace intrigue versus spoils a little out of whack. >> what's your wish list, if you had your wish list about the media, what dooum do you want? what do you want to improve? >> we only have 50 seconds.
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>> i will, look, it doesn't really matter. in all honesty the media has a job to do. we have a very robust media in this country both right leaning conservative, left leaning and so i think as long as we have a healthy and robust media, i'm fine. i wish more people would focus on the policy and get it right but it is what it is, this is the beauty of live income a free country. i think what we all should want is a media that takes their time. gets the stories right. doesn't worry about being first, rather being right. >> how much do you love it? >> i love it. the funny thing, people say, oh, i truly do believe it's an honor to have this job. it is a privilege. if you don't believe it's so, you shouldn't be here. >> we have 52 seconds left. nobody is going.
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the president is not going and members of the white house aren't going. it's us. >> look. i think that it's, you know, we're just, this is not the appropriate year to go. >> why? >> because i think, gee, let's go back to the question before tha that. i think the relationship and the coverage we've gone, i don't believe we should fake it. going to a dinner, you sit around, you pretend everything is hunky dory is probably not an appropriate year to be doing this i think they should go have their dinner. i know they put a lot of time into it. that's great. i don't think they're sitting there, watching a bunch of celebrities walk by is somehow an indication of how much you care about or respect the press or the first amendment. i think they should have their dinner. the same first amendment givers us a right to say it sends a wrong signal, if things get better, maybe we'll attends next year. >> next year go as my guest.
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and nice to see you, sean, thank you very much. sean spicer. >> the white house secretary spicer, spanned over a half an hour, covered a wide range of subjects. i think the headlines is seans continued comments he made yesterday at the white house briefing where he talked about adolph hitler and suggested he didn't use chemical weapons against his own people. he once again says this is mine to apologize for, moo into ask for giveness for and i let the president down. >> that was an amazing headline, he let the president down and talked about what the president said on syria. at the end when she asked what does he want out of the media. i want a media to that take the time to get things right a. little irony considering the president's tweets, he is the one who has to defend the evidence. >> indeed. sean spicer, himself, said something yesterday at the leg turn that was wrong and offensive.
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joining us now, former presidential adviser, market hooverer, cnn politics editor at large reporter making his 9:00 a.m. debut, cnn host of "reliable sources" david gurgen, let me start with you. sean spicer said things yesterday false and offensive, yet, he's done something which all politicians, all humans can learn from, which is to apologize, fully and completely. >> again, good for him. he manned up, a contrite apology, which i thought was sincere. it's so rare from this white house can you remember anybody else in this white house who has actually apologized the way he has? but at the same time chris pointed out. he went through it yesterday. you know, if there is no question, that he's been damaged be i this, it's a part of a series of things.
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i do think in his defense. this is a particularly hard job because every day something comes from somebody in the administration, often tweets. >> that are extremely hard for him to defend. he has to go out and be a propagandaist to get around it. he has donald trump doubling down on susan rice in the face of everyday going totally the other way. he has secretary tillerson in this jaw dropping comment, why should american taxpayers care about ukraine? the president's health, after sauk talking to sean spicer earlier this week equated barrel bombs and chemical weapons and said in either case, we might intervene. he had to walk back from that. in that earlier in the day, here's the president bringing up barrel bombs in the context of chemical weapons as if the two are equated. american policy is just the opposite. sean spicer has to earn his keep every day. often he gets banged around for it. >> brian seltzer, despite jeff vel my's reporting from spicer,
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even though he had this full apology, you know, no busts included. i let the president down a. person close to spicer said quote he will have to wait to see if the president thought it was effective. that's interesting. >> that's the key quote, done? i reporting what everyone in circles. they were talking about, has spicer become too much of a liability, has he become too much of a liable for this president. on the other hand, we have been here before, this press secretary has made so many misstatements so many mistakes, whether accidents or intention am, so many errors from the podium, we see them mocked on a regular basis, obviously, this case is extremely serious, though, it's more significant than most of those past errors and mistakes. i think what he saw on the stage is something i have not seen from sean spicer in the past 180 days, humility, a constraight tone.
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a subdued tone a. very respectful tone. >> that is very different from what we all have seen at the press briefings on a daily basis. clearly, he knows the stakes here. he knows folks at the white house and outside are asking if he's become too much of a liability. >> you know, chris, just to wrap this up, because there are other subjects to talk about, but humility is one thing, honesty is another, the white house press secretary needs to demonstrate a consistent relationship with honesty as does this white house. president trump today saying things that aren't true. he is saying democrats spent in this congressional election, which isn't true. they predicted victory, that's not true. she talking about statements, again, that is a different thing than you milt, chris. >> two things, one, i think there is so much misleading coming outs of the white house and this guess back to the trump campaign. muslims were celebrating on new jersey rooftops after 9/11, ted cruz' father was involved in the assassination of john kennedy. there were three to 5 million
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illegal votes cast. $lot of them. one thing i will say though, john, is i wonder if honest -- in terms of donald trump's assessment of whether sean spicer is doing a good job, i'm not sure strict at heerns to the facts is the number one measure that donald trump is taking. i i think he doesn't like when someone who is a subordinate of his says something. this is the second day this week that sean spicer has done just that. >> you heard greta ask him about that and palace intrigue and the media is more focused on that and it's overblown. when he said overblown i said the post is quoting the president's own words. so let's read them to you about steve bannon and the call that the president gave this phone interview last night. i like steve, but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late. by the way, that is not true.
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i had already beaten all of the senators and governors. i'm my own strategist and it was not like i was going to change my strategies because i was facing crooked hillary. aside from the fact that statement wasn't completely true, margaret, over to you, what does bannon do? there's the president of the united states clearly separating himself from the guy who has an office across from the chief of staff, the two that have the most important offices in the west wing and there are those that think that steve bannon deserves a lot of blame for the president's failure of the first 100 days. he spent cultivating the forces on the right that sunk the health care bill. they gave fuel to the caucus and fuel to the supporters at bright bart news and others that created failure for the president. so he is a liability on the policy issue let alone that he said he would create a home for the alt-right. >> look, i don't read tea leaves
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in the trump white house, i don't know if you do, but this is not a good signal. >> the president doesn't embrace you and he skip arms you, that is a tea read. >> if you want steve bannon as an enemy. senior aides saying, do you really want bannon as an enemy? >> the point is does he deserve a west wing office right next to the west wing office? absolutely not. >> thank you, guys, brian stelter, chris alisa, nice to have you all. >> we'll shift gears and talk about the policy, former governor of new mexico, secretary of energy, a man who has done a great many things, bill richardson joins us right now. governor, i don't know where to begin because there's so much news today, but let's start with syria, if we can because sean spicer just made clear that when the president said we're not going into syria, he was talking about ground troops, but sean made clear that very much on the
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table, the possibility of future air strikes. does that make sense to you? no, i think what we're seeing is a topsy-turvy, unpredictable foreign policy that changes by the day and what needs to happen is coherence in the foreign policy team and in the policy. the president needs to a lose date his end gate in syria and his objective and what came out of these conferences is the secretary of state, i think, is starting to build his stature, but he doesn't talk to the press. he should be making these foreign policy statements on north korea, on syria, on red strikes, on red lines along with the president and not the press secretary. this man, sean spicer, he's got a very difficult job, i acknowledge that, but he's making policy by talking about tax reform, talking about syria
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and talking about north korea. he shouldn't be doing that. the president's economic spokesman secretary, the secretary of state, the secretary of defense. there is a vacuum, and i think the president needs to find a way to get a coherent message from his domestic and foreign policy team. >> you know, it's interesting, governor richardson. you have a particularly unique view of north korea considering you traveled there at least eight times and worked very closely on getting some americans releaseded on north korea and working on one case right now. tillerson came out on north korea and said we're not saying anything. maria bartiromo talked about sending an armada, this as north korea is messaging that they are ready for war. what do you make of all of that and is there something more dangerous about kim jong-un now than before? >> well, the danger is in his unpredictability. the danger is that there is a
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tinderbox in asia with china making geopolitical move and south korea having an election coming up and then the state rests as we have 28,000 american troops in south korea, 50 in japan and north korea about to launch either another missile or nuclear test so we need to develop a new policy toward north korea. it seems that the latest trump initiative is to let china do the dirty work. i think it makes sense to spell out the u.s. objectives and i do think the trump foreign policy is starting to move in the right direction on syria and north korea, perhaps. it's been cautious, but so far so good, but it's so critical that there be a president that alucidates this policy. they don't know if tillerson
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speaks for the u.s. or the ambassador. they want to hear it from donald trump, and i think what's happened with russia is right now this whole conflict with russia helps the administration deflect from some of the investigations in washington. tillerson was awarded an honor from the russians years ago as exxon ceo. it's good for him to be in contentious with russia right now. so, you know, but let's have a coherent policy. right now the syria and russia policy of president trump are the same as president obama's yet he criticizes obama every second. >> you heard greta van susteren, and former ambassador to the united nations, governor of new mexico bill richardson, thank you. a very busy morning, a major meeting between tillerson and lavrov in russia just wrapping
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up. in minutes we could hear from tillerson, the secretary of state and his russian counterpart. we're on it. we'll be right back. hey dad, come meet the new guy. the new guy? what new guy? i hired some help. he really knows his wine. this is the new guy? hello, my name is watson. you know wine, huh? i know that you should check vineyard block 12.
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i'm john berman. >> i'm poppy harlow. we're following an extremely busy morning on the world stage. the united nations will vote on the chemical attack on syria and we could hear from rex tillerson and his russian counterpart. they just ended a tense, four-hour meeting in moscow. tillerson's goal, try to find common ground with russia, but russia's foreign minister is at the table to define boundaries over its ally syria and the military strikes there. >> moments ago


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