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tv   CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin  CNN  October 19, 2017 11:00am-12:00pm PDT

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remember, all medicare supplement insurance plans help cover what medicare doesn't pay. and could save you in out-of-pocket medical costs. call now to request your free decision guide. and learn more about the kinds of plans that will be here for you now - and down the road. i have a lifetime of experience. so i know how important that is. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. >> we begin with breaking news about the deadly ambush in the african nation of niger. four american soldiers dead, one body left behind in the fog of war. 15 days later there are still so many unanswered questions, even the defense secretary himself is growing frustrated and demanding answers. but a timeline is emerging. a unit of 12 u.s. soldiers had
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finished a meeting with local leaders. they were near the niger border when their pickup trucks came under fire. the troops fighting back. four of those men losing their lives before french military assets came to their rescue. at some point during the firefight sergeant johnson got separated from his comrades. his body was found 48 hours later by niger een troupes and t known how he got there. how long he was alive. why he was left behind. joining me now as we sort out these details is our cnn senior diplomatic correspondent. michelle, it appears the pentagon chief doesn't have the full story here. >> the lack of detailed information on how this happened, why the outcome, dismaying cnn is told by three officials even to the secretary of defense. he wants those answers.
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but there is an investigation going on. doesn't seem like he's trying to rush the investigation. this is being handled by africa command. they are trying to establish a more detailed timeline, minutely minute if not more detailed of why and how this was so unexpected. the u.s. intel sources who are in contact with these service members, they felt it was their assessment that it would be unlikely that they would be met with enemy fire. why was that assessment as it was on that night? and we also know the investigation is going to incorporate all branches of the military, u.s. intelligence is involved too. they want this to be very comprehensive to try to get some of those answers. and the lack of detail has been surprising as well as how this went down on the ground. among the biggest questions are the intel situation, what exactly happened to sergeant la
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david johnson. was he alive when he was left behind. why and how did that happen? >> all right. very good questions that we don't have the answers to. michelle, thank you so much. senator john mccain says he may get a subpoena to learn the details of what happened in niger. listen to what he said. >> i did have a good conversation with general mcmaster. we have a long friendship and we will hopefully get all the detail details. >> will you wait for the department of defense to carry out what's on the ground? >> that's not how the system works. we are coequal branches. we should be informed at all times. >> cnn's caitlin collins is at the white house.
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senator mccain com deadlitpresident has experience. how has the white house been responding to this? is. >> no response. they have not responded to our request for comment in response to what the senator said just there. it's likely sarah sanders will be asked about this in the next hour and she's going to be asked about the pattern of information and what the white house knew and when they knew it overall regarding this ambush. we have learned thanks to a report in politico that a national security official drafted a condolence statement from the president in hours after this ambush happened but the statement was never published. the white house had sarah sanders tell reporters on october 5th the administration giving their thoughts and prayers on behalf of the families of the fallen soldiers
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and weren't releasing names until the next of kin was notified. and sarah sanders was asked about after sergeant johnson's body had been found. it was a 12 day period we did not hear from the president on this and he was very uncharacteristly silent. we hear from the president what's on his mind, whether in tweets or comments to reporters and the president did not comment until my colleague sara murray asked him about it in the rose garden and the president said he had written letters to the families of these soldiers and we heard from the white house once again during the press briefing on this just yesterday. they were asked if the president is satisfied with the level of information he knows about how this situation went so wrong and the press secretary sarah sanders said while she couldn't get into specifics, the president was never satisfied there was a loss of life but
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without a doubt the white house is going to be pressed on this issue here in the next hour. >> we'll be watching with you. caitlin collins at the white house. joining me now michael weiss, coauthor of "isis inside the army of terror" and steve warren, spokesman for secretary of defense james mattis. you have heard colonel that senator john mccain is not happy and feels like he's not getting the information he needs. when you look at that, how do you think the administration is handling this? >> well, they have moved too slowly simply. there's enough information out there on day one that they can say something. now, there's often reasons that they will want to stay quiet for the first 24 or 48 hours. perhaps it was because they knew that sergeant johnson was missing and they were searching for him, didn't know his status. i could understand staying dark during that window.
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but once they had recovered sergeant johnson then it's time to explain what's going on. three types of explanations lacking, why do we have forces in africa in the first place? operationally the second level, did these forces have the support they needed? did they have the medevac, the intelligence, the logistics, et cetera? and the tactical questions which are what happened on the ground that fateful day? it may be longer until that information comes out. there's massive confusion in the case of a firefight. unlike anything else in human experience. >> you know general mattis well. he is dismayed by the information he feels he is not getting. what do you make of that? >> well, general mattis has been in plenty of firefights himself and understands these are difficult situations but also understands that information needs to move rapidly and directly to him so he could make any adjustments that need to be
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made. >> michael when you are not getting answers for a long period of time, the general public says what does that mean? what aren't they telling us? the they start to fill in the gaps themselves or wonder if there's a reason, maybe because it looks bad that information is kept from the public. what's your take as someone who is very much involved in analyzing what's going on with isis and the u.s. battle against it? >> october was supposed to be the month we declare victory in a sense and isis has now lost raqqah, the de facto capital of its ka la fit. the president has said he's done more than barack obama had done to smash the terror organization although the media coverage hasn't been so kind. you have the disaster in niger and the calamity in northern iraq where baghdad is pitted against our ally and u.s. backed forces facing off in what could be a civil war. so it's not quite the mission
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accomplished banner headline he hoped for. if it turns out to have been a coordinated and plans isis assault -- look these guys are driven out of iraq and syria but setting up shop everywhere else. afghanistan, yemen. when boca haram pledged allegiance to isis they didn't have the control that al-baghdadi's forces did at the time and this is going back several years but isis gained about 20,000 miles of territory in west africa with that pledge of allegiance. if guys are repairing to africa or to elsewhere in the middle east and frankly around the world, that's going to be a major concern for the united states because this is a sort of -- isis refers to it as immigration. we're losing our state but our forces are around the globe and
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we're still a powerful insurgency to be reckoned with. that's not headline news the u.s. government wants to embrace at the moment. >> so michael, when you understand that they walked into a totally unexpected ambush, 50 heavily armed isis fighters, how did they not know? how was the intel they were getting so far off base? what do you think? >> frankly i don't know the answer to that question. i mean it's not the first time that america has had poor or insufficient intelligence with respect to a jihadist organization. let's not forget isis was the jv team and america was caught sleeping at the wheel in the summer of 2014. i really don't know. there's questions that i have such as where the local authorities and local government on the ground infiltrated? we have seen this before in egypt in the sinai peninsula
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where egyptians security officials were bribed by isis affiliates there and led to terrorist attacks and assaults on military check points. these are the questions i would like to see answered. this is a two week period in which we have no answers, not even a kind of, you know, proforma public relations attempt at damage control, just the naming of the dead and then this pr disaster the president saying he knew what he signed up for. >> colonel, you referenced this but i want you to make the final point on this, when this happened i think a lot of americans said oh, there's american forces in niger but the truth is there are special forces in well over half of the countries around the globe. and this sort of reveals just how expansive -- this is a pretty secretive war against isis is. >> the forces are trained and
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equipped for this type of mission, this build building up of partner capacity, security assistance we call it and it's to help the nations often fragile governments in charge of large spaces, help them to professionalize their military, it happens quietly, out of common sight. but it is happening. it's helping keep america safe. it is. >> not without risk. that's what we are learning. and that's what americans are realizes. thank you so much so both of you. we have breaking news out of gainesville, florida, thousands of protesters and counterprotesters are converging at the university of florida because a white sue premise mist richard spencer is delivering a speech and moments ago president trump asked how he would rate the u.s. response in puerto rico. >> i give ourselves a ten. the in-laws have moved in with us.
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just a short time ago president trump met in the office with the governor of puerto rico when he was asked to rate his recovery response to the hurricane there on a scale of 1 to 10 and here's how he answered that question. >> between 1 and 10 how would you grade the u.s. response? >> i would say it's a 10. it was probably the most difficult when you talk about relief, when you talk about search, when you talk about all of the different levels, and even when you talk about lives saved, it hit right through the middle of the island. right through the middle of puerto rico. there's never been anything like that. i give ourselves a 10. i think that locally -- i really think locally they have in this
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gentleman great leadership. it's a tough job, but we have provided so much so fast. >> well the president also said that puerto rico faced add situation worse than katrina. that's a quote. joining me is cnn correspondent polo sandival. that was the opposite of what he said when he was in puerto rico, when you think about how the people of puerto rico would respond to the president's assessment what do you think they would say overall? >> reporter: i think you may see a number perhaps not as optimistic as we saw earlier today. this perfect 10 out of 10 coming from president trump. there certainly is a level of frustration when you leave puerto rico and go into the more rural areas where still people who are in the dark. you're looking at only 22% of
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the residents in puerto rico that have no leg tris 'tis. when you look at the map you will find those are sobering statistics. the more other numbers that tell more of the story here. there is though promise, yes, we have seen improvements for example, 78% of gas stations are open and full commercial air traffic has been restoried but when you go into those rural communities it certainly is not a perfect 10 situation. particularly when they're dealing with trying to get supplies. you heard president trump talk about issues at the local level. saying that that is where they're facing several issues with the local municipalities and government that is are not able to get help to some of the residents. we have seen a little bit of both. we have seen local officials, mayors who get in vehicles and drive around with water and supplies but you have also seen some other local governments
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that are a bit more scaled back in their response which is interesting to see because there are many of the residents that are still in the dark, still needing food and water. but when you get into the more incorporated areas, yes, we certainly have seen improvements every day. that is something that seems to be getting better but the other areas, that is certainly not the case. the storm basically just blew through here. many people a month after are still dealing with the same struggle they did when the storm swept through. >> it's amazing. 1 in 5 people only have power one month after this happened in puerto rico. thank you, sir. next former president speaking out both george w. bush and barack obama made separate public appearances today. bush, 43 taking a not so thinly vaileded swipe. what he says the nation has to do to move forward.
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bam, family time. so how is everyone? find your awesome with xfinity xfi and change the way you wifi. two of president trump's predecessors are making a rare return to the spotlight. in the next hour president obama is attending a campaign rally on behalf of the democratic gub nah toirl candidate in new jersey and president george w. bush speaking out against blass facility my against america, bigotry and white supremacy. here's more from the 33rd president. >> it is not determined by geography or ethnicity. by soil or blood. we become the heirs of martin
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luther king jr. by recognizing one another not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. this means that people of every race, religion, ethnicity can be fully and equally american. it means that bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphomy against the american creed. provides permission for cruelty and bigotry and compromises the moral education of children. the only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them. ten years ago i attended a conference of democracdemocracy. the goal was to put human rights and freedom in the center of the relationship and the crisis of confidence would be developing
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within the core democraciedemoc >> joining me now is ana navarro and ken. ana you're friends with the bush family. maybe this doesn't come as a surprise to you, this speech. is it possible to see it as anything other than a rebuke of president trump? >> of course it's not. i think it was where he went unnamed but we know who he was referring to and made it clear who he was referring to. for me, frankly, you know, as a republican, as an american, as a hispanic, an immigrant, it felt like aloe on a burn. it was refreshing to hear that kind of unity, that kind of statesmanship coming from somebody that's got a national platform. we have heard it twice this week. earlier from john mccain. and we heard it from george w. bush who has been very quiet. there's unspoken pact among
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former presidents to not criticize their success ares but enough is enough. a lot of people are heartbroken, sad and that want to -- it's time to speak up and act up and have a position. >> ken, what did you think? >> certainly he sounded presidential. he was speaking in broad themes and he went on to also lament the lack of civility and the conspiracy theory type of reporting that goes on in discourse that goes on now and that's been rising over the years. i think you can read this more broadly than what president bush as a attack by president bush on president trump for sure. he was addressing more than that. i don't think he has any problem laying a land mine here or there for president trump. he's made that clear in the past as well. he was very indirect about it if that's what he was doing here today.
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as you noted, there is this pact among presidents where they tend to leave quietly and president bush certainly did that. he was not much in evidence in terms of policy discussions in the obama era. and of course some people appreciate that and some people don't appreciate that. but it has kept a continual tradition of ex-presidents. >> you felt like he was under the radar in his criticism? >> since he's been president he stayed under the radar when president obama was president. >> i thought you meant with this speech though of president trump you -- did you feel -- >> yeah. i don't -- the speech wasn't set up and designed to undermine president trump. he certainly touched on themes that have been discussed as raw nerves since president trump became president. i also think some of that -- he had complaints about institutions as well and some of that certainly rings true. you just look at
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charlottesville, when we think of that, we think of the august display of violence and bigotry and so forth and hatred and repressive of speech and everything else going on there. the month before a lot of the same people got together, the kkk got together in charlottesville the month before and without all that pushing, there were 50 people there, 5-0. not 1,000. i feel like some of his complaints about institutions are that in the media side of things we're giving err to the ill voices in our society. i don't know if that serves well as a society by doing that. >> he also said and this is close to verbatim, he said bullying and prejudice in public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, compromises moral education of children and he
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said the only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them. i mean, it seems that would be -- maybe he is speaking generally but seems he is also speaking specifically. >> look, let's not play dumb here. of course, he's speaking about donald trump. the same way that john mccain was speaking about donald trump without naming him earlier in the week. i think what you're seeing president george w. bush do is say look i know what it's like to be president and held the office and we have a moral duty to be an example of a american unity. you have a platform as a president that you can use for good or division and hostility. please use it for good. he is reminding i think donald trump and the people who support donald trump that there's consequences to the words that a president uses. that there's consequences to the tweets, there's consequences to
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the actions, consequences to the tone and we are seeing it affect the national fiber and it is setting a national tone. ask school teachers about children repeating the bullying tones and words donald trump uses. you know, it is affecting our national psyche and how we behave. i think what george w. bush today was doing was, you know, i don't think it was an attack. i think it was a warning. i think it was a plea. i think it was advice. >> ana i so sorry to interrupt you but we need to listen to h.r. mcmaster, the president's national security adviser speaking live right now. >> i got to defer to the department of defense and they will give you definitive answers to all these questions. when something like this happens obviously the report does come to us and it's as we say in the military, you know, the first report is always wrong. so there's a period of time
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there's always ambiguity as to what's going on halfway around the world. so on the mission there, it is a mission will be -- the defense department will describe the circumstances of that action and the deaths of those soldiers and all that will come out. what happens in these instances, anything that happens like this is there's a full investigation and the investigation really has a couple of -- >> was this something that could have been prevented? >> let me talk about it in a little more broadly and narrow it down. first of all, our condolences to the families of the soldiers we lost. i just say we honor our troops, every one of them, every life is critical. these young people have passed
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the hot political rhetoric and signed up volunteering for the armed forces as part of the 1% willing to do so in our country. these young men and women. we have been engaged with the french and african forces for some time supporting the french led and african troops. in the campaign to throw isis and the terrorist, the radicals those who ferment instability and murder and mayhem, the french maintain over 4,000 troops down there where we maintain a little over 1,000 in support. mostly we're providing refueling support, intelligence support, surveillance support but we have troops on the ground. their job is to help the people in the region learn how to defend themselves. we call it foreign internal defense and we actually do these
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kind of missions by with and through our allies and the loss of our troops is under investigation. we and the department of defense like to know what we're talking about before we talk and so we do not have all the information yet. we will release it as rapidly as we get it because we are very proud of our troops. as you know, we investigate any time we have our troops killed whether it be a training accident or combat. i don't care if it's in the a car accident, we investigate the circumstances surrounding and see how we can address the questions you brought up about what can we do in the future. at the same time, war is war and these terrorists are conducting war on innocent people. of all religions. conducting war on innocent people who have no way to defend themselves. i would just tell you that in
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this specific case contact is considered unlikely. but there's a reason we have u.s. army soldiers there and not the peace corp because we carry guns and so it's a reality, part of the danger that our troops face in these counter terrorist campaigns but remember, we do these kinds of missions by, with and through allies. it is often dangerous, we recognize that. we have been unapologetic about standing by our allies and certainly the french with 4,000 troops have been engaged down there for years and have lost many, many more troops. this is an example of how seriously we take this mission. that we put our troops in that position. any time we commit our troops anywhere, it's based on answering a simple first question and that is the well-being of the american people sufficiently enhanced by putting our troops there that we put our troops in a position to
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die. that is the number one question when i make the recommendation to the president. one point i would make having seen some of the news reports, the u.s. military does not leave its trooping behind and i would just ask you not question the action to the troops who were caught in the fire-fight and question whether or not they did everything they could in order to bring everyone out at once and i would also ask you don't confuse your need for accurate information with our ability to provide it immediately in a situation like this. the french response included armed fighter aircraft, armed gunship. medevac that lifted out our wounded. we had a contact aircraft that lifted out our -- excuse me. sergeant johnson was found later by local nationals and they
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would then endeavor to get the body back to us which shows the relationship we have in this area. but a full investigation is under way. this sort of investigation we always conduct and certainly update you as we have accurate information not speculation. i just close by saying we need to stand together united in this country when these heart-wrenching times are here. thank you. >> given that it is possible that it was a pocket of isis there or isis affiliate is the department considering changing its footprint or adding additional protections? and then more broadly, you yourself have comforted families of the fallen. in the last week or so gold star families have been brought into this larger fray. does that anger you to see them dragged out into this?
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>> as far as the stance we take the efforts we take and the force protection efforts and the capabilities, i don't telegraph that and i don't want to tell the enemy what we're doing. i prefer not to answer that. we honor or fallen in america and that's all the more i'll say about the gold star families. thank you very much ladies and gentlemen. >> i want to bring in barbara starr at the pentagon as we look at what we heard from the defense secretary. there was some news in there barba barbara. >> indeed. he knew these questions were coming and you can tell he was well prepared and had thought out what he wanted to say about all of this. i think looking at my notes what strikes me the most is the circumstances regarding sergeant la david johnson, the young man whose body was not found for 48 hours. he made the point that the u.s. military does not leave its
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people behind on the battlefield. he is very strong on that point. but we do know that la david johnson's body was not found until 48 hours later. in fact, by local african forces. the secretary went on to say something interesting, he said that he didn't want people to come to some judgment basically about what the troops on the ground tried to do to get everybody out all at once, all at the same time. that really goes to the big unanswered question here. i don't think anybody has really questioned the devotion of the troops to getting everybody out, to trying to get everybody out. but there's not a public answer yet about why that did not happen. the questions are there to be answered. was he simply -- was there a miscount and they thought they had everybody but did not. nobody is questioning the tro s
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troops' devotion to getting everyone out. it looks like he was separated from the rest of the group. how did that happen? how far away was he found? why couldn't they find his body right away? remember, in the that first 48 hours, in fact, there was a secret plan for a possible rescue. they had some feeling, some intelligence that did not pan out obviously that it was always possible he was still alive out there somewhere behind enemy lines. the president had been briefed, navy s.e.a.l.s had moved into place and the news media was keeping quiet because we were told there was a possibility that an american soldier was still out there alive. so that first 48 hours was very difficult. we know very little about it but the niger forces kept looking and did find his body and made sure it was returned to the u.s. i would say the real point from
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secretary mattis is saying don't jump to any conclusions the troops didn't try. i don't think we are. i think the problem is right now we don't yet know the answer. >> barbara, stay with us. i'll bring in admiral john kirby along with colonel warren. if nobody is questioning the dedication of the troops and trying to locate the body of sergeant la david johnson, why is the defense secretary likely character rising that as such and warning people not to question do you think? >> it sounds to me and steve might have a different view he's a little per turned about some of the media coverage. >> that it might be misconstrued? >> i think he thinks that the media coverage is leaving the american people with the notion that we turned our back on this young man and left. that's obviously not what happened. that's not in our culture to do that and the circumstances were
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so unique in this case that there were little -- just not no choice. >> colonel, it strikes me one of the ways the defense secretary had to begin talking about these four dead soldiers in niger, he had to explain why they were there. because a lot of americans don't know why they are there. as he said it, foreign internal defense training but still boots on the ground and a lot of people don't understand there is this presence. there are 1,000 u.s. forces he said. >> that's right. this foreign internal defense training is american forces partnering with those host nation forces, whatever nation it may be. it could be africa, latin america. our forces are conducting these internal defense operations around the world. on these forces left behind, i think some of the reason the secretary may be unhappy with some of the reporting, it's our
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choice of words. we have been saying left behind. he wasn't left, he was separated from his unit and that unit never stopped looking for him. >> and that is certainly your impression as well. >> yeah. i think he was per tur bed by some of the terminology and strikes to the heart of who we are as a military. we don't leave anybody behind. >> what do you want to know? you want to know the la david johnson was still alive when they were separated? obviously, the condition of his remains when they were found. what are the outstanding questions for you that could give you a idea of what happened? >> how did he come to be separated? then what was the chain of event that is led them to finally finding him and how long did it take for that information in context to become known? i think that's really important. i do think the family has a right to want to know the answers of those questions, too. i think those certainly will be
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curious. >> what is next in your investigation? >> the full investigation will take time but secretary mattis wants answers and knows the american people want to know what happened to these men out in the field. the next step is what needs to be changed. okay. they were out there. they were helping, advise, assist local forces but didn't have any overhead protection, the planes that came in are not allowed to drop weapons. they were lightly armed, not in armored vehicles. that was the standard procedure. do things need to be changed? if u.s. special operations are going to go out in these areas and face a agree grogrowing isi in africa what needs to be changed to make sure they are appropriately protected? always danger but troops should be out there with appropriate levels of protection and how can the u.s. improve the intelligence? if isis is beginning to develop
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these cells and pockets across africa, the u.s. needs to know a lot more about where they are and how they are operating. >> admiral, what do you think? >> she's spot on. interestingly enough, in the 2017 posture statement before congress general waldhouser said he's only get 20% to 30% of isr. and this is a real resource problem in africa. it has been for a long, long time. i know for a fact that the bill that's in conference between the senate and the house has a provision in there to enforce the dod to provide more feasibility studies to them about the resource allocation in the command specifically. >> and the resource allocation questions are difficult. there is only so many resources available to the department. what we call what's happening in africa, we call that an economy of force operation. in other words, we deliberately put more resources in areas where we think are higher priority, in this case the
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middle east. >> as someone who knows general mattis well, when you heard him respond to this -- the gold star families who have been thrust into the spotlight initially by president trump's comments and repeated comments and the back and forth with the congresswoman and the family of la david johnson, all he said in response was weour fallen in america. what did you think him answering that question? >> he can say a lot with very few words and he just made it clear to me and anyone paying attention is that this is not the right way to honor our fallen. this public back and forth, this little feud that's happening in the public eye, it doesn't serve the family. it doesn't serve the fallen. it's time for everyone to focus on this mission and let the fallen rest. >> i want to get your opinion on something because we just have learned that h.r. mcmaster, the president's national security
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adviser says that senator john mccain's comments, it was easier to get information from former defense chief ash carter in the obama administration that in this administration it quote, hurt his feelings. i think is what we are understanding. this is just in so i'm just reading off the teleprompter. what's your reaction colonel? >> well, h.r. mcmaster's feelings, it's hard to hurt his feelings. but his point being that i believe the professional soldiers, the professional security operators in this administration are doing everything they can to try and get information to move and it's tough. >> i will tell you that some people, not everybody on the hill feels the same way about this. i talked to some today on the house side and they'll tell you we are willing to wait, would rather have complete context from the defense department. they're willing to wait for a
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bit for secretary mattis to get them a more fuller picture. >> we heard him say the first story you get is incorrect, that's a saying he knows and knows to be true. thank you so much gentlemen, appreciate your expertise. the white house press briefing moments away. defense secretary james mattis saying they do not have all the accurate information that they need. we're going to bring you the briefing live. the number 1 rated ego power plus blower. blasting 530 cubic feet of air per minute. powered by the industry's most advanced lithium ion battery technology. and now, introducing the new ego backpack blower.
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unitedhealthcare about our plans, like aarp medicarecomplete. let's get you on the right path. call unitedhealthcare or go online to enroll. sfx: mnemonic unusual move. president trump has personally interviewed candidates for several u.s. attorney positions coming to light during a jude area committee hearing. trump interviewed u.s. candidates for two positions in new york and one in washington. cnn senior legal analyst who was fired by trump is a top federal
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prosecutor in h new york spoke with wolf blitzer. >> i understand he personally interviewed the potential applicants for u.s. attorney in manhattan, brooklyn and washington, d.c. which happened to be places where donald trump has property and assets and companies and not interviewed personally u.s. attorneys for other positions and i think that reasonably raises a number of questions. >> former federal prosecutor michael moore joining me now. you served in the middle district of georgia, fired acting attorney general sally yates was a colleague of yours. why do you think trump is interviewing u.s. attorneys and how weird is this? >> it really is a strike thing. i think your prosecutors are the gatekeepers or goaltenders of the justice department and the only assumption you can make is that he's hoping to capitalize on some relationship maybe he's trying to develop with these particular individuals. i just left a conference with
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former u.s. attorneys from all over the country. le these are fine people and good public servants and beyond this type of silliness. and it's been selective silliness by the president. it's so close where he's only talking to attorneys from districts, either dealing with himself, his family or business. >> you don't think they would be swayed by this and yet, he is doing this thing that shows such a conflict of interest? >> i don't think they would. i can tell you from the folks i just left, these are great folks. but i think he's done this in his professional life, too, where he's trying to capitalize over relationships and trying to build this sense of loyalty by making people think he's their friend or has something he can give them or some reason they need to feel a certain way toward him and probably he's grasping at any hook he can get in these particular districts. i don't think they would be swayed. >> he does have a number of
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lawsuits against him. dozen of them. attorney general jeff sessions was asked about this and made the point that the president quote, has the right to interview u.s. attorneys and sessions said i assume everybody would understand that. >> right. >> well everybody clearly doesn't understand that right? >> well, the president makes the appointment. the typical process is not to go to the president. again, the donald trump of justice is an independent investigative agency just like the fbi. i think that really the attorney general is sort of fayneded ignorance about what is going on yesterday at the oversight hearing. while the president may have a right to make an appointment. when you have a president who we're already talking about russia investigations, corruption and collusion it starts to smell fishy when he's interviewing people that might be in charge of those
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investigations in those districts or at least aspects or prongs of an investigation. >> even if the he was not particularly pleased with his development, maybe would not be unusual for jeff sessions to conceal that in a hearing too, right? >> it's unusual. i mean i will tell you that. we just don't do that. i was pleased to be appointed by president obama but i can tell you he didn't interview me prior to the process. >> michael moore, thank you so much. appreciate it. next, the white house press briefing. how are they going to respond to former president george w. bush with some criticism for president trump. what about congress demanding answers on the niger ambush. we'll bring that to you live.
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we are waiting for the white house press briefing to begin as more questions asked about that deadly ambush in the african nation of niger that led to the deaths of four american soldiers. 15 days later there's so many unanswered questions, even the defense secretary himself is growing frustrated and demanding answers but a timeline is emerging. we know that a unit of 12 u.s. soldiers was leaving a meeting with local leaders in a convoy of pickup trucks when they were ambushed near the border. the troops fired back but four lost their lives before french military asets came to their rescue. at some point during the fire-fight sergeant la david johnson got separated from his comrades. his body was found 48 hours later by