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tv   Wolf  CNN  April 9, 2018 10:00am-11:00am PDT

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be designated in some way from rick scott. >> he's got bad ratings from the nra. he doesn't think that will help him tremendously in southern florida. there is much to watch from now to november. thanks for joining us today. thanks for watching "inside politics." wolf starts right now. have a great day. hello, i'm wolf blitzer. it's 1:00 p.m. here in washington, 8:00 p.m. in damascus, 9:30 in tehran. thank you for watching around the world. let's begin with breaking news. president trump responding to the suspected chemical attack in syria. the president is warning of tough action in the united states and he said a decision on the exact response is is cocomi soon. here's what he said just a little while ago. >> it was an atrocious attack, it was horrible.
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you don't see things like that as bad as the news is around the world, you just don't see those images. we are studying that situation extremely closely. we are meeting with our military and everybody else that will be making some major decisions in the next 24 to 48 hours. >> the president is calling out russian president vladimir putin by name following the gas attack in douma and syria. the president tweeted this. president putin, russia and iran are responsible for backing animal assad. the big price to pay. let's bring in jim acosta. jim, it was a year ago last week that syria launched attacks on the air base along with another
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attack. . it was about a year ago when the president ordered that military strike in syria for response. so the president and his national security team/military advisers are all sort of in the same boat they were in a year ago having to face this very thing. john mccain saying he had plans and thoughts about pulling u.s. forces out of syria. then you have lindsey graham saying if the president is serious about doing something about bashar al-assad, he's going to have to take military action. at the same time we should note that john bolton, the president's new national security adviser, this is his first official day on the job
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officially in the white house. obama was faced with this question back in 2014. now john bolton, as you're seeing him on screen here, is advising the president on what to do here. this might be the most noteworthy thing of the day when the president was talking about this just a and we don't think the president is contemplating military action against russia, but when the president was talking about it moments ago, he said if putin has a responsibility in this, there will be a price, there will abe cost. that suggests perhaps they may be contemplating sanctions and that sort of thing for russia down the road. now, one thing we should point out, one of the arrangements that barack obama made when he was president back a few years ago when he was dealing with this question, instead of taking
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the russians' chemical weapons out of syria, and that's why much of the world is looking to russia to have some responsibility on this. if they were not pulling the chemical weapons out, or helping t t them out. sarah sanders will be briefing on this as well, and i'm sure she will answer a lot of our questions, wolf. the acting u.s. secretary of state john sullivan saying that the chemical attack on the city of douma, quote, brazen attacks by the city of regime. we'll see what actually goes forward at the white house. people so much.
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. images from the suspected gas attack in syria are very, very disturbing and extremely toxic. many have shown exposure to toxic gas. despite all of this, russia is calling the suspected attack a hoax and vowing to retaliate. president trump says the u.s. will figure out who is responsible. >> if we're talking about humanity, and it can't be allowed to happen, so we'll be looking at that barbaric act and studying what's going on. if it's russia, if it's syria, if it's iran, if it's all of them together, we'll figure it out. and we'll know the answers quite soon. >> fred pleitgen joins us from
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damascus, not far from this attack. fred, what are you hearing from russian officials? >> reporter: the russians, wolf, are saying all of this is a hoax. they say there is no evidence of any sort of chemicals used there by the ground. you're absolutely right, it's only about eight miles from where i am now. at the same time, wolf, there are those horrific images that are very tough and very disturbing, and at the same time very quickly. and then, wolf, there is always a response from the syrian government. they came out very quickly once this attack took place. they say they're not behind this. they do announce they were pressing an offensive in that area in douma at the time, but they saw no reason whatsoever to use any sort of chemicals to make that advance faster. there were also some prisons they were holding, so they say
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those prisoners would have been hit by that gas as well. that's why they say they're not responsible examiand they didn' it. we keep seeing those images and how horrible they must have been on the ground, wolf. >> horrible, indeed. russia is accusing israel of launching an airstrike overnight from the syrian air base. let's go to orren lieberman. libya has striked before in. his bullet group in lebanon, any indication that's the case this time around, or is this about conducting an airstrike against the balance shar. those convoys are the most
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common targets that. >> i have to be careful about this this time, perhaps the. this had the chemical weapons that iran admitted that iranians were killed in that strike. the former commander of the israeli air force saying, look, if israel had the reason and the capability to carry out a strike, he said the suspected use of chemical weapons cannot deal without a response, but the real reason is that israel has its red lines that it has reiterated in syria, saying he will not allow work. we try to get them from striking a military base in syria, and that perhaps is the real reason for the strike.
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wolf, it was likely that the suspected use of chemical weapons was the pre text or -- precur precurser for a possible war in syria. >> this comes just days after the president wanted to pull troops from out of the country. here's what he said last tuesday. >> i want to get out. i want to bring our troops back home. i want to start rebuilding our nation. $7 trillion over a 17-year period, we have nothing. nothing except death and destruction. it's a horrible thing. so it's time. it's time. we were very successful against isis, will be successful against anybody militarily. but sometimes it's time to come back home. and we're thinking about that very seriously, okay?
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>> that's what the president said last week. the senate armed services committee is joining us live from capitol hill. senator, thanks for joining us. >> glad to be here. >> the president didn't set a specific timeline from withdrawing from syria last week. he simply said sometime soon. >> i think he's probably rethinking that sdmoul. the president should rely ol many sfmd. and quite a welcome for, so he's got some very talented leadership around him. if i were the president and the president asked me for my advice, i would say listen to the generals, list ten to your p leadership and act accordingly.
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i do believe in syria we should be results-based and not slaves to a timeline. >> some leading republicans, as you know, senator, they say the president's words actually embolden the syrian leader bashar al-assad. listen to how the house armed services committee chairman and senator lindsey graham, a man you know well, listen to how they responded. >> i think the notion that we would leave syria is -- was a mistake, because we haven't finished destroying isis, and because people like iran and russia see a vacuum created when the u.s. leaves into which they will run. >> they see our resolve breaking, they see our determination to stay in syria waning, and it's no reaction
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that they use chemical weapons. >> i didn't hear roger say that syrians are talked into this attack. i think both of them make a valid point. i think we ought to stay until we get the results we need. >> let's talk a little about senator john mccain, while he is the president. the president of the united states' pledge to drop out of syria has only emboldened bashar al-assad to he says the president should make bashar al-assad, quote, pay a price for his brutality. do you agree with senator mckay?
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>> i certainly agree with that. john kelly. i would describe the second p t part, certainly, of mccain's statement. we need to make assad pay a price. there are many options on the table. frankly, to the extent that we can ascertain what role the russians had, i do think sanctions and strong measures are called for with president putin also. i'll tell you, wolf, why the russians are saying this was a hoax. that's for domestic consumption. they know that no one in the u.n. security council believes that this is a hoax.
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this is for contention back in russia, and he can make his main man believe anything because he's the one that gets to bulk the other side of the issue. >> the president said he may have been iranians, maybe putin, and the russians may be al. >> nobody believes that except for pm in balance. you see these horrific, horrific pictures we're seeing, and it's clearly devastating. we're showing some of those video right now, those little kids being poisoned with this gas attack. when he says all options are on the table, the president, what option would you like to see the
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u.s. commit? >> i'm not the commander in chief, and i'm not in that line of decision making. but i think he's correct not to rule anything out. that's been -- that has been a process, that's been a position that presidents down through the decades have taken on both sides of the aisle, and i think the president is correct to not take any action off the table. >> he says there is something that will happen over the next 24 to 48 hours. we shall see. senator wicker, thanks so much for joining us. >> thanks, wolf. it's his first day on the job as the president's national security adviser, to what advice is john bolton giving president trump after years of being known as a war hog. the president references e china with a possible trade war. he doesn't know if that's actually going to happen.
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we're following breaking news. president trump taking the blame off china for the u.s. trade deficit and pointing it right back at the united states and his predecessors as two of the world's biggest economies go head to head with threats of a trade war. listen to what the president said just a little while ago. >> i don't blame china, i blame the people running our country, i blame presidents, i blame representatives, i blame negotiators. we should have been able to do what they did. we didn't do it, they did. and it's the most lopsided set of trade rules, regulations that anybody has ever seen. if during the course of a negotiation, they want to hit the farmers because they think that hits me, i wouldn't say that's nice. but i tell you, our farmers are great patriots. they understand that they're doing this for the country.
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and we'll make it up to them. >> let's bring in our senior political analyst and our chief political analyst gloria borger. what's your reaction, gloria, to these news that it's not really china's fault, it's the previous presidents' and trade negotiators' fault saying they did a bad job for the united states. >> i'm shocked he blamed his predecessors because he blames them for everything else. what was stunning to me was sort of his reaction about the farmers, which is saying, we'll take care of them eventually, they're great patriots, this isn't going to bother them. well, guess what? take one for the team. it is going to bother them. this is their lives. this is their livelihood. the president promised them a tax cut, maybe gave them a tax cut, and this will remove that and more.
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i think that the farmers are not going to be so sangui ne about this. >> he says they'll take a hit on soybeans or wheat or hogs, and we'll make it up to them. how do you make it up to them when they lose a ton of money in the meantime? >> you have to look at the stock market. markets are back up today, in part in anticipation that the chinese leader, xi jinping, is going to give some remarks tomorrow that will kind of calm the waters. what we may be seeing is president trump trying to do his part. the performance of the market is something that he has really been hanging his hat on in recent weeks and months when he talks about those. basically how the tax plan to see things going on in their direction. this may be, to some extent, his effort to slightly hit a reset
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even as he's proceeding with these. >> if we're not in a trade war as you repeatedly and the president repeatedly insisted, what does a trade war look like? >> you tell me, i don't know. this is not from the '30s, trust me. by the way, there are no tariffed enacted. >> it's an imaginary thing. >> that's a real thing. trade wars have happened in history. >> i have no idea because we're not engaged in one. i don't know whether we're going to have tariffs or not. i would take the president's arguments quite seriously. we may. on the other hand, we may be able to settle this with negotiations.
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>> cara, what do you think? what's your reaction to that? clearly he's trying to send a message, don't worry so much, wall street. >> exactly. the novella of the trade war is good for that. they have to deliver two separate messages right now. one is delivered to wall street, one is delivered to north america, and apparently h. so yes, in terms of whether or not the tariffs are actual. that may all mean that you don't actually have people in middle america feeling the impact of this as severely as telling people he'll send one out for the team. but if he's talking about wall street and not voters, that's an interesting choice given where
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the party and the president stands right now, you can't buy an answer to the stock market. >> i think what's so odd, there is so much hawkism here. if the president decides he wants to do it, he's not consulting with anyone else, he's not having major meetings abo about, have to go out there and say, well, there are no tariffs. so there is this sense of unease which is clearly, and i will say that bloomberg news has pointed out that the president's rallies on wall street monday. they're lower that than of ronald reagan and barack obama.
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the president is trying to play both sides but he's frnlt, and the unpredictability is royilin not only the markets but the farmers and our allies. it's something you can do in a private business, maybe, but with the president of the united states, it's a little weird. >> the cacophony is everywhere. it's between our dunts and the fact you don't have one stream line coming out of hur investigati investigation. but the kwechlt, and i would love to calibrate the markets
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and foreign policy. >> expert advisers keep telling me these are negotiating ploys. >> china doesn't want a global recession, either. >> right. you have to take a hard stance to begin with and then -- >> is china serious or not? >> it's not just a controlled vacuum where you can kind of play with china a little bit here. there is a lot of fallout in the meantime. >> this isn't a real estate deal where you're bluffing about the price of the property. it's something completely different. >> all right, guys. thanks very, very much. we'll have more breaking news from president obama. the decision on syria will be coming in the next 24 to 48 hours as he blames his predecessor for failing to react on syria while talking to former security adviser john bolton. how john bolton will advise him
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it's john bolton's first day on the job as president trump's new national security adviser and already he's dealing with a crisis that has erupted over the suspected chemical weapons attack in syria. this morning he led a meeting of key national security officials as president trump weighs his responsive decision as it's expected in the next day or two. tom worked with president obama. the president says all options are on the table and a decision will be made soon. what are the best options right now of dealing with this? >> first of all, the last strike was in april and it was a very limited strike. i think largely because the united states really didn't
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follow up in any serious way with respect to trying to find a solution in syria. it's a complicated situation, it's been going on for seven years. it's as bloody as you can imagine. it's been quite tragic. you had a lot of dynamics. you had the israelis who are alleged to have taken action against an iranian air base in syria because they want iran not to have permanent assets on their border. the russian relationship has been terrible, especially since they came in on assad in 2015. >> so what should be done? >> on an early basis, establish the evidence. it needs to be clear evidence. >> we've seen the video of the children. >> i think the evidence is pretty persuasive at this point, but establish that solidly. we had 500 people who sought medical assistance as a result of this attack. it's consistent with syria's actions to clear out of
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damascus. second, use protective action so the united states doesn't have to act unilaterally. the israelis acted when they had a drone come over israeli territory. they reacted quickly and quite decisively taking out half the syrian air system. i think the united states should look to doing significant damage to the air defense system. >> the fear, though, is that the russians could retaliate if the u.s. were to do that. >> russian behavior has been terrible. you have here war crimes. if you look at the evidence put together by a number of organizations, we haven't been able to act on it because russia blocks t
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blocks all action. i would bring war crimes front and center. you can't get a formal tribunal put together because russia will block it, you can't get a special tribunal together because they'll block it, but you can get a high court. i would do it publicly and aggressively to make the evidence clear with respect to assad's conduct and russia's conduct. >> as you know, president trump blames president obama for this current predicament. he tweeted this on sunday. if president obama hadn't crossed the stated red line in the sand, the syrian disaster would have ended long ago. animal assad would have been history. >> americans did act to eliminate most of the chemical weapons in syria. what would have have happened if
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the war went on in syria and isis had overtaken syria if we hadn't eliminated the chemical weapons. all of them haven't been eliminated, then the u.s. would act. >> you use chemical weapons, you're going to pay a heavy price. they use chemical weapons and then president obama blinked. went to congress, you got past legislation and we know it never happened. >> that's not true it never happened. >> there was an investigation and the russians said they would get rid of it. they didn't. >> but sitter ythe sir yanyrian most of it. >> but not all of it. >> they got rid of most of it which was an important step. they didn't get rid of all of it. i think syria tends to keep
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weapons in their world. >> you had this to say when syria was unfolding. listen. >> i'm not a member of congress, and if i were a member of congress, i would reject an authorization to use force here. i don't think it's in america's interest, i don't think we should in effect take sides in the syrian conflict. >> do you think his views have evolved since then? >> we'll find out. it's important to note, though, mr. bolton is going into a different kind of job than he's ever had. this is a job where, yes, you're an adviser to the president, but you also are an honest broker in developing the right options for the president, having all the inputs, putting together a team so the president can look at a full range of developments, get accurate and timely facts, and make decisions. one of the principal responsibilities is making that process work. that's a challenge mr. bolton will have today is pulling together a team. there's been a lot of difficulty
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in the trump administration. you've had very high levels of turnover. bolton is the highest level supervisor in a number of months. he brings some amount of stability in recent months. i think he would recognize this, you are not a public advocate, you are not a television talking head and you're not presenting your own opinions every day. rather, you are trying to build a team which develops clear and coherent and terrifically effectively implemented policies we have in the united states. it's a very difficult job, and the motto, as we look at that model for the way to go for the national security adviser. >> we'll see if john bolton heeds your advice. thank you very much. mark zuckerberg is on capitol hill telling lawmakers his company made a big mistake. what else is he saying and how is he preparing for two days of
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right now facebook ceo mark zuckerberg is meeting with lawmakers on capitol hill ahead of what could be two days of rather intense testimony before congress on the country's massive data scandal. facebook is facing fearless backlash after cambridge analytica that worked with the 2016 trump campaign obtained information of billions of users. the senator just asked questions of mark zuckerberg. he joins us now on capitol hill. senator, how did your meeting go? >> it was a lengthy meeting, and
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i asked all the staff to step out so it would be just one on one. i think he's trying, but i think if we don't get our arms around this, wolf, none of us are going to have any privacy anymore. >> let me get my arms around this. what do you propose, then, that facebook, other social media giants need to do? >> well, right now, obviously there is a lot of private data that is being utilized that people are willing to give up so if i happen to communicate with a friend on facebook, i want some chocolate, and suddenly an advertisement for chocolate pops up. now, are we willing to give that up? probably that privacy. that's their business in facebook, but then the question is, when people, bad actors like the russians, start using the
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platform to undermine our democratic institutions, then we've got a big problem, and i think we're going to have to have, other than just saying, as zuckerberg did, that we were lied to by cambridge analytica, we've got to have some safeguards in the law to protect against that. >> is zuckerberg going to testify before your congress committee? you're the ranking member. what is the biggest question you want him to answer? >> well, what are the safeguards that you now have in place, which we discussed today, that this will never happen again? and the truth is, wolf, i think they put in some safeguards, but i don't think the protections are there in the future. that's where the threat to our
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privacy is there. oh, by the way, i've asked our co-lead co-leader, let's bring in and they didn't get the names of those 270,000 people who took the test, and that ended up being 87 million people. >> it's a serious problem. let me get to a political question while i have you. florida governor rick scott announced he's running against you for the u.s. senate. he's challenging your seat is. what do you see as the biggest difference for florida voters between you and rick scott? >> i think rick scott will say and do anything to try to get elected, but i've always thought
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that if you just try to do the right thing, the politics is going to take care of itself. >> is there one issue, though, that you clearly see a major difference? >> wolf, there are so many differences between the two of us. you can go to the beach in florida and look out and there are no oil rigs out there. you can go to cape canavaral and you see a space industry that is revived and is thriving, and we're just about to launch americans on american rockets again. you can go and see an elderly population that their medicare and their social security is protected, and then you can see health care that is denied to 800,000 floridians but for rick scott refusing to expand medicaid with the money sitting there on the shelf. and i've just mentioned three
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subjects. >> when you say this, what do you mean? >> recently he gets zinke to come down and say, against rick scott's requests, we're not going to drill in southern florida, when, in fact, that's still in their rule. that's just one example of changing over seven and a half years of him doing something else, being very friendly to the oil industry to drill off of florida. >> it's going to be quite a race. i'm looking forward to those debates the two of you are going to have for the people of florida to make up their mind. we've invited, by the way, governor scott to join us. hopefully he'll be able to join us as early as tomorrow. >> wolf, i hope that you will moderate one of those debates. >> i would love to moderate one of those debates.
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i'm looking forward to it. i'm sure the people of florida would look forward to it as well and get the differences, and i assume some agreements, out of there to the voters coming up in november. senator, as usual, thanks so much for joining us. >> thanks, wolf. coming up, cnn is live way caravan of migrants making their way to the border right now where president trump's guard troops are preparing to meet them. we're going to go inside one of those buses, you see the little kids. they're trying to make their way to the united states. leyla santiago is on that bus. her report coming up live. book yours, only at
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last week. the president gave the directive after learning that a group of migrants from central america, mostly from honduras, were headed through mexico to the u.s. border. that caravan of migrants just arrived in mexico city. leyla santiago has been traveling with them onboard that bus. walk us through what's happening now. >> reporter: wolf, you see all of these buses behind me. they have just arrived. the migrants are getting off the bus. we have about 500 migrants that have just arrived. you see many with the honduran flag, some with signs. and this is something we actually saw quite a bit. we saw people cheering them on on the way here and then once they actually arrived, they were also met with a lot of people cheering for them. again, they have just come from a few hours south of mexico city and, wolf, i want to bring in gabriella. the last time i talked to you
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live we interviewed her. she is a mother of two. she's also pregnant, and she's from honduras. i'm just going to take a moment to sort of just check in with her and see how she's feeling. [ speaking in spanish ] she says she's a little tired because it's been a long journey and with kids it makes it a little more difficult, but she says they have been welcomed here. and so i'm going to ask her what's next. [ speaking in spanish ] she is saying now they will meet with immigration officials and people -- they will meet with people to find out what's the best way to get to the u.s./mexico border, and some of
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them will stay here. [ speaking in spanish ] so that's gabriella, one of many. to tell you more of her story, wolf, she had a domestic violence situation. she left her husband and then the gangs started going after her husband, she says. that's when they told her she had 12 hours before something bad would happen. that's why she wants to get to the united states of america to seek asylum, wolf. >> heartbreaking stories, indeed. leyla, we'll stay in close touch with you, in close touch with all the folks onboard those buses as well. thanks so much for that report. the white house press briefing, by the way, only moments away. our cnn live coverage will continue. ♪ applebee's to go. order online and get $10 off $30. now that's eatin' good in the neighborhood.
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