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tv   New Day  CNN  October 19, 2017 2:59am-4:00am PDT

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ceo, 37 years with the company, he planned to leave two years ago. he stayed to help. one of america's most prominent ceos and one of the most from maents african-american executives, he leaves just one black deck stiff leading a company. kenneth fraser. >> i need a dr. pepper. that will do it for us. "new day" starts right now. >> some of the things that >> i didn't say what the congresswoman said. didn't say it at all. >> i will believe the family members before i believe president trump. >> what's important is what the president says now. it is important for him to try to move us over. >> i'm asking for a classified briefing about exactly what
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happened in niger. >> there are so many questions that really haven't been answer said. >> this might wind up to be mr. trump's benghazi. >> to equate this to benghazi is a little too soon. >> this is "new day" with chris cuomo and alisyn cammara rcamer. here's our starting line. defense secretary james mattis is demanding answers about the ambush in niger that killed four u.s. soldiers two weeks ago. senator john mccain says the
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trump administration is not being up front about the investigation. cnn has new reporting on what happened and we will share with you. attorney general jeff sessions was in the hot seat, refusing to discuss his private conversations with president trump. there were heated exchanges that we will play for you. and a stunning admission from session back seat russia's election interference. also, this bipartisan plan that seemed to be some traction, progress on health care stuck dead in its tracks by president trump. he initially supported the bill. they're not sure why the bill has now stalled. we will take you through it. let's begin with joe johns live at the white house. joe? >> reporter: good morning, chris. president trump and the family of a fallen soldier intensifying the war of words over the language the president used in that now controversial con condolence call.
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>> i didn't say what that congresswoman said. didn't say it at all. >> reporter: president trump defending his conversation with the widow of u.s. army argument la david johnson. >> we had a very nice conversation with the woman, with the wife who sounded like a lovely woman. >> reporter: insisting democratic congresswoman frederica wilson fabricated her account of what he said and vowed he has proof. >> i did hear him say i'm sure i knew what he was signing up for, but it still hurts. she was crying. she broke down. and she said, he didn't even know his name. >> reporter: wilson standing firm with sergeant johnson's grieving mother backing the story, telling the "washington post" that the president disrespected her son. the white house press secretary admitting the president did not record the call and stopping short of denying the president's words but said chief of staff john kelly was with the president when he called the widow. >> he thought that the president
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did the best job he could under those circumstances to offer condolences on behalf of the country. >> reporter: she said kelly is is disgusted by comments. he used the death of his chief of staff son to try to bolster the argument. >> mr. trump has his own way of on dealing with things that i see as inconsistent with what some of his predecessors have done, how they have treated it. >> reporter: multiple white house officials tell cnn kelly did tell mr. trump president obama never called him after his son died. kelly was caught off guard by the president using that information publicly. the controversy growing after mr. trump insisting he called all the families killed during his presidency. >> my policy is i've called every one of them. >> reporter: but the widow of army sergeant hunter said she
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never received the call. >> i never received the call. my husband died for our country and i don't want that to be in vain. >> he was again very genuine, generally thankful for my son and service. i didn't feel like it was force or scripted or something like to do. incident was just like talking to a friend. >> reporter: the "washington post" reports president trump offered $25,000 to baldridge's father but it never came. it mailed the check on wednesday only after the story was published. the white house offered few real answers about why it took so long for the president to issue a public statement after the deaths of those soldiers in niger. a national security council
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statement was drafted, but the white house decided not to release it, opting instead for the press secretary to make a statement here at the white house. back to you, chris. >> i'll take it, joe. we have that initial statement we will read to everyone. meanwhile, defense secretary mattis is demanding to know what happened in that deadly ambush in niger that killed the four u.s. soldiers. senator john mccain said the trump administration is not being up front about this investigation. barbara starr is live at the pentagon with more. what did you learn, barbara? >> reporter: good morning, alis alisyn. well, what we know right now is this is going to be a tough issue for the pentagon and the president to explain. three things. this was an isis attack. isis. this was an intelligence failure. the intelligence said it was unlikely they would run into trouble. those troops walked into an ambush of 50 isis fighters. when firefight broke out, french
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airplanes flew overhead to try and help. but u.s. officials are telling us in niger, that government did not give permission for offensive air operations. in other words, there was no authority for the aircraft to even drop bombs. so those u.s. troops were on the ground with essentially no kinetic help. no bombs were able to drop to help them. where does it all go from here? we're still learning new details. a private aircraft flew into the battle field after the fighting stopped and helped evacuate the dead and the wounded. this raising the essential question, what happened when they lifted off? why did they not know or did they know they had left a man behind, sergeant la david johnson. he was left behind. he was not evacuated. we do not know if he was alive nor a brief period of time on the ground. his body was found 48 hours later. there are so many questions. but for american military
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families, perhaps the essential question, why was a man left behind? chris, alisyn. >> barbara starr, thank you very much for continue to go dig on this. let's discuss with our panel phillip mudd and diplomatic analyst john kirby. john, let me start with you. we have been on this ever since we found out about it. the point of interest is never how is he dealing with the families. that is part of the moral agency with the president. it has to be done the right way, respectfully and truthfully. this started where we should be focused right now. what happened there? why didn't he talk about it for so long? is and how do you get to the bottom of something like this? what insight do you have right here? >> back to the statements that he didn't talk for 12 days, i think that is abominable. i understand in the day or two after when they were still trying to find sergeant johnson they wanted to be careful about
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what they put out publicly. that makes perfect sense to me. but not to put out a condolence statement is and that is why we got to this bickering between the congresswoman and the president. as to the mission itself, they are investigating this, as they always doment when you have deaths like this as a result of an operation, they will get down to every little detail. clearly it looks like the guys were surprised in some way and they were not prepared for the eventualities that happened in this mission. i can assure you they will look at every little detail. when they're doing the investigation, they will be be transparent about it. they will be accountable for what happened and rye to carry the lessons learned forward. >> we hope so. phil, let us read he to everyone
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that initial statement that it turns out was not complete or a little bit erroneous. here it is. this is the one prepared just a day after that says melania and i are heartbroken at the news that three u.s. service members were killed in niger. obviously, be there was a fourth. they didn't have all the information yet our administration and our entire nation are deeply grateful for their sacrifice, for their service, and for their patriotism. again, it makes sense why that didn't go out. it wasn't complete. but then they did get the information about sergeant zone son. then what should they have done. the press secretary gave condolences. is this breaking the protocol? >> i think it is s. and i think the explanation is pretty straightforward when you get to the bottom of it. there is awe difference between protecting yourself politically. my judgment is the reason they delayed the announcement is they
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are afraid of the painful questions about what happened. they didn't know four people had died, that he thought three had. i think trying to figure out what happened before they put out a statement so they could have some sort of explanation. the problem here is you've got two different issues. number one, regardless of the embarrassment, regardless of the fact that we might not have had everything about the operation in niger, the president has a responsibility when people representing america overseas have died to offer condolences. that is separate from the question of whether sarah sanders has a perfect explanation from the podium and the white house about what happened in the operation. so i think the white house was conflating the two. we're not going to talk until we know what happened because we're afraid we don't have answers for the questions. you have to talk about the families. they lost a person in this fight and it's not a political issue. >> look, and there's no question, john.
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politically it's better -- i know this sounds perverse. but it is is better for the president being engaging in this war of words with the democratic congresswoman about what he said, what he didn't say, who is better to the troops, me or obama. this is better for his base. it is a distraction. the families need to be respected. we know that. it will come down to style were points if nothing else. i keep getting contacted by men and women in the military. they are concerned that people don't understand what -- why we're in niger. you guys put them there in the obama administration, and that number was increased. these types of missions often don't get any attention or get written off as being support and advisers as if our men and women aren't in harm's way. this is their concern we're going to lose blood and treasure and people don't know what we're there or what we're doing. why is this so necessary we had to have our people on the ground in harm's way and they were e taken out by eyes dismiss.
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>> this is a foreign internal tkeud mission, f.i.d. they are partnering with local forces to improve their cape beabilities to defense their own citizens. in this case most likely in a counterterrorism way. whether they knew isis was on the ground or not, that will all come out in the investigation. we knew in the obama administration that al qaeda and isis affiliated organizations were looking for places to go to metastasize their caliphate as they shrink in iraq and syria. that's what the mission was about. you recall, chris, and you and i talked about this, about them expanding inside africa for this very purpose. that's what this is all about. and i agree with the troops and the veterans concerned about which they understand these missions and know where their troops are. that's exact lu right. i think that's why the would you say should have at the
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presidential level issued a report right out of the gate. and i think senator mccain is right when he said we need to get more answers from the senate armed services committee side. what i would expect and what i would hope you would see soon is some briefing to members on the hill even, were even much if it's closed doors, about the purpose of this mission. >> as you point out, there are two separate issues, the etiquette and the protocol of calling families, whether the president has done it as off as he said and why he brought up his predecessor and what happened in this mission. so the pentagon and the white house have not been terribly forth coming with what went wrong with this mission. but cnn does have sources. a defense official has shared some information that i will read. it was a green beret-led mission. they just finished a meeting with local leaders. and the -- our soldiers were walking back to their vehicles when they started taking
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gunfire. and there was some feeling that in fact, some of the locals may have detained them. maybe some of the locals were in on it. maybe it was awe setup. either way they got separated and were extremely vulnerable. why don't we even have that information? the question is like why the secrecy? why isn't the pentagon and the white house forth coming? why is cnn having to go to these unnamed sources? we have invited the white house and the pentagon on to speak about it. but they're not doing so. >> good. i would do the same thing the pentagon and white house are doing. i would force cnn to figure out what happened out there for one simple reason. we saw it in benghaziing, we saw it in las vegas. somebody speaks, whether it's the sheriff in las vegas or about benghazi, the government says we'll give it to you immediately. let's correct it.
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we're half a world away in niger and they're still trying to figure out what's going on. if you're in the pentagon and white house, they are saying we will not talk because we will get eaten alive. i would do the same thing, i wouldn't speak until i know what's going on. >> there is a difference between not speaking until you know what's going on and knowing what's going on and not speaking. >> i don't think they know what's going. >> these basic details. if we're able to find out what's going in in this basic way, they knew too, phil. if we're able to find out, they knew too. how it went wrong, sure, they will have to finesse it over time. they didn't talk bit. that's part of our job. fellows, thank you for your perspective. as we learn more, we will come back to you about it. there were fireworks for attorney general jeff sessions watch this. >> mr. chairman, i don't have to
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attorney general jeff sessions was grilled by senators on capitol hill yesterday. he sparred democratic senator al franken over testimony at his confirmation hearing when sessions said he had not met
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with russian officials during the presidential campaign when in fact, he had. listen to this. >> that's very different not being able to recall what you've discussed with him is very different than saying i have never had communications with the russians. the ambassador from russia is russian. >> i conducted no improper discussions with russians as any time regarding a campaign or any other item facing this country. mr. chairman, i don't have to sit in here and listen to his -- >> you're the one -- >> -- without having a chance to respond. give me a break. >> all right. let's bring in our cnn political analysts. great to see both of you. it seems like jeff sessions didn't want to fully reveal some
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things. and is he obligated to, john? what did we get yesterday? >> so they're invoking executive privilege. the possibility that the president might invoke it, i can't speak. it is the equivalent of taking the fifth if you work for the president. the president has to actually invoke it. >> this is not the first time we have seen somebody preserve the ability of the executive. sometimes it is is noted that the executive said to them, this is going to be sensitive stuff. be careful going forward. it is not the first time we have seen someone do it. >> this being the second meeting the a.g. has had on the hill. the senator saying don't do this again. you are stonewalling by sealing off all communication. and he's a form member of the committee. this is stretching that standard, i think. >> do we know if members of this committee went to the executive, went to the white house and said, are you going to exert privilege on this?
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we want to know before our conversations in. >> we know they wrote a letter to sessions. >> but meanwhile, karoun, he did say something chilling and that was his concern on of russian meddling. not that there is nothing to here. that he is concerned. listen to this moment. >> do you think we're doing enough to prepare for future interference by russia and other foreign adversaries in the space? >> probably not. we're not. and the matter is so complex that for most of us we're not able to fully grasp the technical dangers that are out there. >> what was it about that moment, karoun?
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>> there isn't much political debate on that point. republicans, administration officials, people heading up the investigations in various probes of allegations of russian meddling, everybody agrees that the country has to step up its awareness, potential defenses, at least its ability to be on guard against this happening again especially as with head into the 2018 campaign season. the thing that has proven to be awe problem, though, sometimes it's tossed about as an either/or. focus on what we should be doing for the future of russian meddling, don't focus on these questions for trump. sit both. both have to proceed along at the same time given the allegations that are out there given the probes ongoing and the role that sessions played in this whole puzzle. >> right. what you heard in that exchange was the absence of urgency on the part of sessions. sort of, one, we're probably not doing enough and it's terribly complicated. if it is too complicated for folks in government to get their heads around, maybe they should
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step aside as the internet is not a series of tubes. >> the white house, the president they don't want to put their heads around the meddling. at least in the minds of the president, he doesn't separate what happened with his campaign and what the russians did. he keeps calling the whole things a hoax and putting himself deeper into the same hole of ignoring the obvious. isn't that explanation why we are not ready to combat it as much as we could be? >> yeah. they would hope the president would put the full weight of the oval office behind that effort, especially if you're trying to inspire states to take you initiative on their loan to ownf the primary season is. he is trying to discount all the intelligence community's findings that actually there was meddling in the first place because he is afraid of the political backlash and how it reflects on him. you have seen administration
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official after administration official endorsing findings, separate themselves from trump. it is unique in this case you see sessions do that because he has been such a close ally of trump. it was interesting. but, yeah, it is significant to hear somebody else say it. he had to be pulled into the answer by a direct question in a hearing in which there were several hours of contentious exchanges as they were trying to pin him down and sessions was dodging at the line between what is meant by what he said and where the legal standard breaks from the truth. >> let's talk about what happened last night on cnn. we had a townhall debate with ted cruz, bernie sanders about who would benefit the most from the president's tax cut plan. so listen to this. >> this debate is very, very simple. bernie and the democrats want to raise your taxes. and the republicans want to cut them so that you have more in
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your pocket.
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the president called it. this is a middleclass tax form rebate. it is not really tax reform. nobody wants to talk about reform versus tax cuts. forget about that. we will call it reform even though it isn't. he said he will go after middleclass. that's not how this deal will work. it will be overweighted to the top earners because the republicans will say they pay most of the taxes and that's how you get the best indirect benefit to the middleclass. and that's the big philosophical change. again, the president teed it up as a middleclass tax cut. it isn't that by definition. >> he d. he teed it up with the pitch line that isn't necessarily supported by the facts. now all the surrogates are having to spin it. you have heard many of his board nats say the middleclass doesn't care how big their tax cut is. they won't look how much the tax cut is. basically to have sanders and cruz debating this is a good
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venting of the spleen. good putting all your frustrations out there. it is not consensus. maybe at some point they will be in a room together if they have an extended group of people hashing out some other different plan. but right now they are voicing the two sides of the debate. if they strike a balance in the middle it won't likely be them striking it. you're right. the republican generally do have a messaging problem here. they are trying to get this budget resolution passed so they can is just work out their differences among themselves and not have to get any democratic support to get on board with all of these tax reform proposals which is going to -- last night is an example how that is not going to work very well. >> final word. >> look, if the republicans try to craft a plan consistent with the president's messaging, you might have bipartisan support for middleclass tax cuts. >> that's not what they think is best for the economy. >> they focused on reagan and
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ignored george w. bush, which was simply to balloon the deficit at the end of the day. they can't get rid of that old history and deal with the current. >> the other person is a fake and a fraud. it was a step in the right direction. >> it is progress. >> so isis forces have been driven out, we are told, from their self-proclaimed capital in syria. the citizens of that place, not that they have that much returned to, but they are being warned not to go back to their homes. why? cnn is live inside raqqa for the first time next. we're on a mission to show drip coffee drinkers, it's time to wake up to keurig. wakey! wakey! rise and shine! oh my gosh! how are you? well watch this. i pop that in there. press brew. that's it. so rich. i love it. that's why you should be a keurig man! full-bodied. are you sure you're describing the coffee and not me?
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you can see isis terrorists a paiding through the city center that they declared their headquarters. this is raqqa today. syrian democratic forces are now the ones celebrating. cnn's arwa damon is live with us for a firsthand look inside raqqa, the first time cnn has been able to broadcast from there. arwa, we're so happy to have you on the ground. tell us what you're seeing. >> reporter: well, the square behind me right here, this is the square where we saw the first horrific gruesome images of the beheadings, executions. on the spikes isis would place the heads of its victims as a morbid reminder to anyone walking by what their fate would be if they dare to defy isis's role. the forces are with the syrian democratic forces. that is the u.s.-backed force.
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and a lot of them who are around us right now are actually part of their female fighters. we were speaking to them earlier. they take quite pride in the fact that women played such a big role in liberating a city that was so oppressive to the female population. but then also just take a look at the destruction around us. sometimes you go into the war zones and you can see a semblance of the life that was. you see bits and pieces of what civilians may have left behind. here the destruction, the devastation is so widespread that you can't find anything of the lives that used to exist in this city. >> what is the situation in terms of what they'll be return to, arwa? what are the chances of the people there, especially the children, being able to have any essential plans of sustainable life in raqqa?
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we're hearing told not to go back to their homes in some cases. >> reporter: in fact, they're encouraging not everyone to come back home, chris. there are mines, exclusive, boobytraps, underground tunnels that have yet to be cleared. one of the commanders said this was a multilayered battle field. you have the fighting that took place on the is surface, the bombings that took place on the surface. and then underneath the city you had the isis labyrinth of complexes of various different tunnels that didn't just go from one building to another, they stretched at times for at least a mile we were told. this one commander said it will take at least three months to even begin to have most of the city cleared of those various different explosive devices. then of course this massive reconstruction frt. now, there is a civil council, a raqqa civil council that has been working throughout this
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entire process. they do have representation, a plan in place. but then who he is going to pay for all of this? they have received some pledges from foreign dough norse, from countries. but nothing has actually materialized. what we keep hearing over and of and over again is physically rebuilding the city is actually the easy part. that can be accomplished. what they really have to fight and start to plush is rebuilding the fabric of society here to ensure that an entity like isis is not able to ever again gain a foot hot in raqqa. >> arwa, the leadership, the isis relationship that was dug in there, where do officials think they've gone? where do they think al baghdadi, the leader of isis, is? >> reporter: great question. at this stage we understand when the real fighting for raqqa broke out, a lot of the top
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senior leadership did in fact, leave the city. quite a presence still in where the front line has shifted. alan bar province and iraq is still under isis control. a few isolated pockets here and there. we heard from some of the commanders here that they did kill some of the tops top isis leaders. as we have historically said, because you take off the head of the snake, it doesn't kill the rest of it. osama bin laden was killed. isis continued to thrive. isis has managed to come back. it is not necessarily going after senior leadership but trying to defeat the ideology to prevent this kind of violence, this kind of destruction, this
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kind of wreckage brought upon civilian lives from of happening again. >> we can't tell you how valuable it is is to have you there on the ground for us in raqqa so we can see it all with our own eyes and rely on your great reporting. thank you so much for being there with us. >> once again, the kind of danger that she and the tool have put themselves in to show you the reality. it matters. because the fighting is over, a larger battle has just begun. how do they get back to life there and create opportunity in a way where they don't become awe breeding ground for extremism again. our thanks to arwa. so there are a lot of against about what has been going on in niger. we know four americans lost their lives. we don't know so much else. the president has been focusing on how he dealt with the families of the fallen. but that's about politics. we have a great guest for some perspective. former secretary of state madeline albright joins us.
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always a pleasure, madam. >> nice to be here. >> how do you deal with the fallen matters? this is something you have seen dealt with on the highest echelons of government. what are your concerns about this kwrop going debate about what the president did and win? >> well, i am concerned about the politicization of it. this is a tragic matter for the family. and so that is most sad, i think. we do need to find out what happened. there are american forces in a variety of places for good reason i think in order to try to deal especially in africa as isis has metastasized and gone into a variety of places. but i think we need to know what happened, why it happened, so it doesn't happen again if at all possible. but it is really hard i think to always find out the circumstances. in my case i had to deal with our embassies in kenya and
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tanzania being blown up, trying to figure out what happened, and bring the bodies home and talk to the families. >> so if you want to talk about this situation in niger in terms of what matters, the first thing that matters is why are we there? i get there is geographical relevance because of what is going on in mali, libya and elsewhere. we keep being told the troops are there in an advisory work. we're not fighting the fight for them. then you see green berets out in front in the middle of an ambush. life is lost. why? >> well, i do think we have ava is right of operations in different places to try to push back on terrorists threats in various places that are of concern.
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let's not kind of fudge things. clearly they didn't have enough information to release. it is hard for me to second-guess. >> how do you know they didn't have enough information? >> i don't know. >> they obviously knew. if we're able to find out, yeah, incident was an ambush, they were at a meeting. they got evaced out. it turns out one was left he about hind and that created confusion. if we know all that, they knew that all. but we didn't hear anything for days. did the president have a responsibility to tell the american people this happened. this is who did it. it happened to have been isis. should he have told us, or was it right to stay quiet? >> i think there may have been a reason to stay quiet. we have no explanation of any kind of strategy of what the president, what this
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administration is thinking about in terms of our overall strategy. i try to follow this carefully. in most reasons we do not know what the overall plan is. >> i didn't put him there. you put them there. obama put them there. they're there. we're just getting under way there. these are situation not of our own creation. >> they have been in office nine months. we vice president seen any kind of explanation of national security strategy. it is an obligation of an administration to put out what our national security strategy is generally. i can understand that the problem has become as isis is pushed out of its territory that it is franchised now. and i do think there are ways that we need to help those countries deal with the threat of boko haram.
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we don't know where our troops are, what they are being used for. the president mentioned afghanistan but then didn't explain all of that. there is a general disregard of explaining not of tweeting is and having political arguments but truly trying to explain what the situation is. >> the irony of course, madam secretary, is that they have been hanging their hat on isis, this administration how they beat them back. arwa damon so bravely where their team where they have been vanquished in their capital. does it show a lack of progress in something that is more important? next topic, he's going to asia.
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this is being billed as the most major trip abroad to date. do you think he should go to the dmz in south korea, the demille tearized zone. >> let me just briefly talk about it. the president's travels are an incredible under taking. no question about that. he is going to five countries. and theoretically two multilateral conferences. an awful lot to do. and also there is really not the support in the state department. i have just been looking at the fact that most of the people in the bureaus that deal with those countries have not been named. we don't have ambassadors in a lot of places. he's going to go to japan and south korea, china and vietnam and the philippines. what could possibly go wrong? the bottom line is there are an awful lot on of issues going on and a lot of discussions to be
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had. so my concern is basically what is the support system for this? where has the president gotten his briefings. what is he going to say? they're going to ask him. how is he going to stphopbd. >> do you think he should not go? >> oh, i think he should go. those trips, having been on them myself with the president, take a lot of work. with president clinton, you know, he was always interest the details of things. he wanted to know everything. we had lots of briefings. there was lots of staff. that's what i don't quite know. are they prepared for the trip? there are a lot of real issues with the chinese right after their party congress. >> what is your talk on rex tillerson? we saw this kind of press conference. lucky for you you didn't have during your tenure.
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do you think this is sustainable for him to say how important you believe it is to have him stay as secretary of state? >> let me say again the relationship between the secretary of state and the president, any part, is one of the most important ones. you don't have to talk to each other all the time. but there has to be a level of trust. you have to be able to pick up the phone to talk to the president or vice versa. and you have to feel that you have the confidence. in terms of how they have been relating to each other. the president might say mr. secretary, i'm going to have to say this. understand that this is part of our strategy that i'm going to make it look as though we are not in diplomacy. i have no idea about how this relationship is. i thought it was the most incredible job in the world.
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i don't see secretary tillerson seeing it quite that waugh. >> you weren't walking around dropping f-bombs about the president of the united states. >> definitely not. >> good to know. we'll see what happens with this. please come back as we find out more about the trip, the planning, and the actual trip. >> i always enjoy being with you guys. >> the pleasure is ours. >> i can't imagine secretary albright ever dropping an f-bomb. >> we went once at it on a panel and it can-can can get ugly. >> very good. we have an update for you. one month after hurricane maria, it is desperate daily struggle for millions of americans in puerto rico. bill weir is live with the latest next. and administrative paperwork, your days of drowning people are numbered. same goes for you, budget overruns. and rising costs,
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now an update on puerto rico. this morning millions of americans still without electricity and running water. this is one month after hurricane maria devastated puerto rico.
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today president trump will meet with puerto rico's governor to discuss discovery efforts. bill weir is live in san juan. bill, tell us what the situation is this morning. >> reporter: oh, well, sadly, it is much more of the same, alisyn. yesterday there were communities up in the western mountains. people who grow citrus and coffee up there who had yet to see any help from the outside. we have a plan to go and investigate along the length of the island. i tale of two stories, both federal and private. talk a look. as dawn brings maria's one-month anniversary, we head out of san juan by air and low to the ground. the mudslides, broken bridges, shattered homes. we pass aracib on o.
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one of the biggest telescopes in the word. people have been waiting for help for weeks. we land in the airport. they have turned baggage claim into a bunk house and operation centers. >> i think we are a lot 30,000 meals, 35,000. that is just the small strubgs we have had. >> they came down on their own dime and shake their heads in frustration with fema. if it were up to them, they would bring in the national guard. >> you come down 15,000 at a time to do water purification, engineers. you guys are all coming down. you're not paying them anymore. they are coming from wisconsin. you're wasting your money. all about bringing the security
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contractors to shotgun. i would give you military vets who will do it for free. >> reporter: we soon get a taste of the logistic headaches here. maria obliterated this area. and with little help for road crews, the neighbors are building their own bridge. do you feel like americans in moments like this? do you feel taken care of as citizens? we're not people saying the government must help us, sapt awe going said. we're all part of of humanity. every person does the best they can. what kind of help are you getting from outside? >> we have seen fema. there were five or six people who purified the water. that water, you can drink it from there. >> are these the veterans?
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former soldiers? we met them at the airport. >> oh, yeah. they were beautiful people. >> thanks to juni and his mini monster truck, we get past another mudslide and track down one of fema's top men. >> they come in in two-week rotations. are you begging your bosses for more men? >> no. >> why not? >> we have 4,500 coming in. >> two weeks after the haiti quake, the u.s. had 22,000 troops on the ground in a foreign country. >> i don't know how much more we can bring without impacting the economy of puerto rico. if i keep flooding the place with food and water, when will the locals open their supermarkets. >> fema had a presence in new orleans for seven years. people were living in fema trailers for years. >> we were in new orleans just two years ago. we left 5,000 mobile homes there. >> right. >> we were there seven or eight
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months. we were there for harvey we will be here for as long as it takes. >> for as long as it takes. >> despite what the president says? >> i don't see tv. i don't even pay attention to them. i pay attention to the mission i have which is puerto rico. >> in just a few hours we have been out shooting, an mazing development here at this abandoned airport. the air national guard out of tennessee and kentucky has arrived and are militaryizing this airport. they have 500 guys. more are coming. they have been sitting back home two weeks champing at the bit to come. there are so many layers of bureaucratic red tape, they just couldn't pull the trigger. the good news is they are here now. they've got supplies and they will start pushing into the mountains as soon as they possibly can. it's worth putting awe point on mr. hernandez from fema's comment that he doesn't want to flood the island with more aid
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because they would be afraid people would get used to that and not open their grocery stores. everybody i talked to rolls their eyes. nobody here is becoming addicted to m.r.e.s. they want to get back to normal lives as fast as they can. they are still in the tkaeu-to-day survival mode. good to see the guardsmen and women tennessee and kentucky down here finally. >> is enough being done in the right places. thank you for continue to go show the reality. back here, president trump denies disrespecting the grieving family of a fallen soldier. this has become a political battle for the president between him and a congresswoman. what about the ambush that killed four soldiers in niger. why is there not so much talk about that controversy? we dig deep next.
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people are through with giving him the benefit of the doubt i would like her to make the statement again because i did not say what she said. >> it is bad for


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