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tv   CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield  CNN  April 15, 2018 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT

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because the petition ties are too long, not because he thinks he wears goggles on the tanning bed, because he got fired. >> i think we're going to see an unsealed indictment against mr. cohen for a host of very serious offenses. >> "cnn newsroom" starts now. hello again, everyone. thanks so much for ng with me. i'm fredricka whitfield in washington, d.c. this just in to cnn, we're learning new details about the medical condition of former first lady barbara bush. special correspondent jamie gangel joining me on the phone. what more do you know about the health condition of the former first lady? >> we unfortunately have some sad news to report, that 92-year-old former first lady barbara bush is in failing health according to sources close to the bush family. they've actually now put out a statement saying that she has
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decided not to seek additional medical treatment and will instead focus on comfort care. she is at home, at their home in houston. her husband, former george h.w. bush is with her as are her children, three of her children, dora, marvin and neil, also her son, former president george w. bush, and former governor jeb bush has been in and out visiting this past week. so just to give you some perspective of what, i think, a lot of people have known, that her husband, who suffers from parkinson's, has had a lot of health problems. what i think people were not so aware of is that a couple of years ago, she was diagnosed with copd, and she's been battling that and congestive
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heart failure. she's been in and out of the hospital multiple times over the past year. she was in just last week. but barbara bush is very private, and she does not like it when people make a fuss, and i know that the family has been trying to respect her wishes. that said, on good friday, she was admitted to houston methodist hospital with shortness of breath. she was in the hospital for about a week. she was doing better. she was able to go home, but i'm told she started to fail again in the last numbfew days. this is not an easy time for the family. former president bush and barbara bush have been married for 73 years. i am told that he is by her side
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but that he is understandably very upset. they are 92 and 93, but there's never enough time. and so i think that this is very difficult for the whole family, fred. >> very difficult for the entire family, aunderstandably. you mentioned her congestive heart failure, chronic obstruction pulmonary disease, copd. in her recent hospital visit, primarily doctors were addressing those things, and she's now at this juncture where, according to that statement from the former president, it is her choice to be at home with family and to no longer receive the same kind of medical attention? >> right. i think what happens with copd,
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as we know, is you don't recover from it. with congestive heart failure and being 92, this has gotten worse and worse over the last year. if you see her in public, you might notice that she's been on oxygen for some time around the clock. and what happened was on good friday she was suffering from shortness of breath. and they took her in to the hospital. she was not put in the icu, i'm told, and she was getting oxygen and medication to help deal with the shortness of breath. she was -- she was in a fragile state, but i'm told she turned around and she was doing better. and so they were able to release her this past week on tuesday. but then the cycle started
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again, and i am told -- barbara bush and her family, her children called her the enforcer. she is very tough and very strong, and she said, i am not going back into the hospital. she just made that determination, that she opted to be at home now. so they are now taking care of her at home, but her health is failing, fred. >> they're respecting her wishes. jamie gangel, thank you so much. keep us posted. of course, all of our prayers are going out to barbara bush and the bush family. quite a change now. another major headline that we're watching today. president trump unleashing on his former fbi director. he's waging a rhetorical war against james comey on twitter. this ahead of comey's highly publicized book tour which essentially starts tonight with the start of a television
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interview, perhaps to upstage comey's accounts? in one tweet the president suggests comey should be in jail, writing, the big questions in comey's badly reviewed book aren't answered, like how come he gave up classified information -- jail? why did he lie to congress -- jail? why did the dnc refuse to give server to the fbi? why didn't they take it, why the phony memos, mccabe's $700,000 and more? they see questions were asked a few hours ago. >> is the justice department being asked to investigate james comey? >> i'm not aware of anything asked of the justice department, but if they feel there's any wrongdoing, they should look into that just as they do a number of other topics. >> boris sanchez is at the white house. the president does seem like he is trying to get ahead of that comey interview airing tonight, but the likelihood the president will be watching the interview is what?
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>> we don't really know what. we don't often get confirmation from the white house about whether or not the president closely watches these interviews. for example, when anderson cooper interviewed stormy daniels on "60 minutes," we never really got firm confirmation whether he watched that or not. but just by looking at his tweets this sunday morning, you can tell the president is on the defensive and that he has been listening to some of the things that james comey has been saying about him as he begins this media blitz promoting his book, one in which he says that the president is not tethered to the truth. the president taking exception specifically to one portion of comey's account this morning. he writes about comey's mindset right before the 2016 election when he talks about what was in his thoughts as he revealed to the world that he was reopening the investigation into hillary clinton's e-mails. the president writing in part in one tweet, and i quote, that comey was making decisions based on the fact that he thought she
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was going to win and he wanted a job. he then goes on to call the former fbi director a slimeball. there are a couple questionable aspects to this tweet, but i want you to listen to the press secretary sarah sanders sort of defending this point of view before we get into that. listen to this. >> look, it's been very clear that james comey is a self-admitted leaker. he lied to congress, he's been inconsistent constantly. >> what did he lie to congress about? >> look, he said he opened the hillary clinton investigation on its merits. now we're finding out certainly that it had something to do with the political landscape. i find it outrageously unbelievable that kjim comey, te man who takes copious notes and recollects details of every conversation he had can't remember why he would have specifically opened an investigation into a presidential candidate, particularly somebody he thought would become the president. >> now, comey has made clear
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that that investigation was reopened, because in october of 2016, there were previously undisclosed e-mails that the fbi discovered that were sent by hillary clinton, and so he felt that he needed to make that announcement. it's something clinton has acknowledged hurt her chances of winning the presidency, but yet the president and the press secretary here are charging that comey did it for other reasons, but he can't remember the reasons he did it. in fact, comey says he cannot remember whether he consciously thought about clinton's poll numbers and her chances of winning when he ultimately made that decision. on a completely separate note, fred, i have reached out to white house officials to ask whether they are monitoring the news about former first lady barbara bush. i have yet to get a response. >> boris sanchez, bring us that when you have it. thank you very much is. still ahead -- >> what do you think will happen with cohen? do you think he might even be indicted? >> jake, i do.
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i strongly believe in the next 90 days we're going to see an unsealing of an indictment against mr. cohen for a host of very serious offenses, and i believe, jake, that is going to be a significant domino that's going to fall in connection with this. >> a bombshell prediction from stormy daniels' lawyer. more of that interview next. how do you win at business? stay at laquinta. where we're changing with contemporary make-overs. then, use the ultimate power handshake, the upper hander with a double palm grab. who has the upper hand now? start winning today. book now at
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...and pretty. always discreet boutique. president trump's personal attorney michael cohen will be in court tomorrow trying to block federal prosecutors from using evidence taken in raids last week. we learned that stormy daniels will be attending cohen's
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hearing. cohen and daniels are arguing over a nondisclosure agreement that they had from an affair in 2006. >> michael cohen is now under criminal investigation from the southern district of new york. what do you think is going to happen with cohen? do you think he might even be indicted? >> jake, i do. i strongly believe that within the next 90 days, we're going to see an unsealing of an indictment against mr. cohen for a host of very serious offenses, and i believe, jake, that is going to be a significant domino that's going to fall in connection with this. >> do you have any specific examples of things mr. cohen has done that you or the u.s. attorney's office believe to be criminal? >> well, i think there's a number of possibilities, jake. i think he could be indicted for bank fraud, wire fraud, campaign
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finance violations. i think there is a whole host of potential criminal conduct that could be charged. you know, according to his attorneys, the fbi seized thousands, if not millions, of pages of documents in connection with the raids going back some 30 years. this guy is radioactive right now, and this is not going to end well, jake. >> earlier today on the show, senator angus king independent of the senate intelligence committee said cohen keeps popping up whether it's on the stormy daniels hush money payment or the russia investigation. do you know anything that might link the two or anything michael cohen might have done involving russia? >> i'm not at liberty to get into a lot of those details, jake, but suffice it to say on friday when we were all in court trying to deal with this tro and the judge was asking questions of the counsel and the counsel
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didn't have answers to these simple questions, and the judge was not happy about it, michael cohen was videotaped and photographed sitting with a number of men on the upper east side, i believe it was, and we believe a number of those actually have russian ties, as crazy as that sounds. so this story just gets more and more strange and more strange by the day. you couldn't make this up if you wanted to. >> can you shed any light on what you just said? i saw a picture of someone he was sitting with and he has ties to one particular russian, wealthy individual. what else are you talking about? >> well, again, i don't want to say too much this morning. but you can't make this stuff up. i mean, i don't understand what he's doing, what michael cohen is doing with each passing day. this is getting worse and worse for him, and it's going to get worse and worse for the president. >> president trump's lawyers and cohen, as you noted, went to court on friday to try to prevent any of the material seized by investigators from being read, claiming attorney-client privilege. the u.s. attorney's office responded by saying that cohen,
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quote, has exceedingly few clients and a low volume of potentially privileged communications, end quote. does michael cohen have some sort of standing to make this claim of attorney-client privilege? >> he has standing to make the claim, but if it's shown these communications were not in furtherance of providing true legal advice or true services as a lawyer, they're going to blow a hole through the privilege big enough to drive a mack truck through, jake. the fact he's been called to court on 2:00 on monday is also a problem. as i stated on friday right after the judge made that order, we could see michael cohen plead the fifth amendment in open court on friday depending on what questions are posed to him. i'm going to be there at 2:00. i can announce that we got comfortable with a security plan last night for my client. she's going to attend at 2:00 on monday. i think monday afternoon could prove to be very interesting. >> stormy daniels is going to be in court on monday with michael
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cohen? is that what kwlyou're saying? >> yeah, she will attend at 2:00 on monday in new york. >> is that intended to provoke him, to get into his head? >> not at all. it is intended to send the message that this is a very, very serious matter for her, and she wants to make sure the american people know she's behind efforts to bring to light as much information and documents as possible. she also wants to ensure that she is heard and that she's represented at the hearing. it has nothing to do with getting in his head at all. >> all right, michael avenatti, the attorney for stormy daniels. appreciate it. maria is a strategist and doug is a strategist and former publications director for the rnc.
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reportedly, doug, the president is far more concerned about this investigation than he is the russia probe. understandable given the relationship between he and michael cohen for many years. >> yeah, absolutely. when your lawyer has their office raided, that is as close to -- not to use the term we use in syria, but that's as close to a red line as you can get. he's not only concerned about the broader investigation but his own lawyer had his office raided. civilians that aren't necessarily donald trump fans not to know if there was something to worry about whetbe they worried about it. when your lawyer's office gets raided, that's a big deal. that's your lawyer where attorney-client privilege is a sacred thing. >> but to that point, i think that is why the people that were involved in this got -- we've read about how many people had to approve this, how many people
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had to really look into the details because it is about a personal lawyer and attorney-client privilege and because it is held so sacrosanct. but also i believe they did a whole other level and layer of approvals because it was the lawyer of the president of the united states. >> and partially provoked by the president on air force i, saying -- >> exactly, saying, i don't know, ask michael cohen. so he kind of threw not only michael cohen under the bus, but put a whole question into attorney-client privilege and whether they could invoke it or not. >> unknown whether the president will be watching the james comey interview, but no comment coming from the white house so far. michael avenatti kept reminding everybody, 2:00 tomorrow in new york. what might the president and his legal team be listening for,
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cautioning themselves about this hearing? >> it's not just the president listen. everybody in the rnc communications department will be watching and working and sen sending out opposition sheets to what we see tonight, obviously tomorrow as well. there is a legal track we still don't know a whole lot about, and there's the pr track in which stormy daniels' team has been incredibly effective on. if you look at michael avenatti's interview, as you just said, he doesn't just say they've got something you should tune in on. it's monday, 2:00 p.m. >> donald trump that we saw on the campaign trail would dangle, watch at 2:00 p.m. >> i think it's important to note, and jake asked this question of michael avenatti, does one thing have to do with another, in terms of the whole stormy daniels issue and the russia investigation?
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avenatti focused on, look at michael cohen, look who he is surrounding himself with. there are other things, i do think, that connect them. let's not forget that the day that the "access hollywood" tape came out, and we know that was a big issue in the raid in terms of the things the prosecutors were looking for, it came out and then an hour later, it came out in the news that the dnc was hacked and then john podesta's e-mails started getting leaked by wikileaks. >> the correlation, coincidence, timing. >> but there's one other thing. we've also heard that part of what mueller is looking into is this whole issue whether michael cohen went to prague or not. and he has denied it before. he showed a page of his passport which doesn't prove anything, and now they're looking into that. and i think those are really big issues that connect both of them, and that is why the stench
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of bother and desperation from this white house is palpable, and it's overwhelming. >> the president today has spent a lot of time tweeting, really, about the james comey interview tonight, the tell-all book that will be out on tuesday but already excerpts and helped promote this book is already a best-seller before its official release. the president in his tweets also talked about -- or are making the inference that james comey should have gone to jail. is this kind of a sign posting from the president that he's going to encourage the department of justice to open up an investigation about his behavior as the fbi director, some of the admissions he makes of mistakes made and some of his influences by the political landscape as to why he made certain things public? >> i don't think there's any question about that, but we know that donald trump is going to be as aggressive on this as possible. as his own campaign team made during the campaign, he's a
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counter-puncher. these are the most significant questions he's facing. there are certainly questions about what michael cohen has written, what his actions are. he said the timing here is iffy at best, and his own political connections with the fbi take his contacts away. this is what trump excels at. the question is what is there that they may want to hide, if anything. >> and james comey wants to put protections in place to at least protect robert mueller, maybe something from rod rosenstein? do you see there could be protections from james comey listening to the president's inferences from jail? >> those are good questions, because on the mueller piece, i think if they do it, and i think they all should, democrats clearly want to put these protection into law, republicans should, too, because as we come into midterm elections, there are questions about the
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president h republicans have not put this president into account at all. we hear that the vice president thinks this is a president of integrity, but if this goes into law -- >> who is going to sign it? >> the president isn't going to sign it. but the second one is i don't know that this could easily pass protection for rosenstein because he serves over the president because he is a political appointee. it's important to remember he is a republican.appointee, so for the president to say this is a witch hunt on all scores, that's just not credible. >> and that person will be asked whether they're going to adhere to the letter of the law, protect the law, or whether their allegiance would be to the president. >> there have been a lot of questions about whether scott pruitt would leave the epa and how hard that confrontation
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would be. that would be nothing compared to who would potentially replace rod rosenstein or jeff sessions as well. >> i believe, and i know a lot of democrats believe this, and i think some republicans, too, that if he does make the step of firing rod rosenstein, that will be as significant and as dire as if he were to fire mueller, and it would cause a constitutional crisis. >> we'll leave it right there. buckle your seat belts for another interesting week. all right, still ahead, syrian president bashar al-assad meeting with russian lawmakers today. there are reports he's in a good mood and even celebrating victory over rebels in the very town where the u.s. airstrikes town where the u.s. airstrikes took place.
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welcome back. i'm fredricka whitfield in washington, d.c. this just in. barbara bush, the wife of former president george h.w. bush, is in ill health and will not seek further medical treatment. at 92 years old, mrs. bush has been hospitalized multiple times within the last year. she's suffering from chronic obstruct active pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure. the statement says she will seek comfort care at home, adding, it will come as no surprise to those who know her that barbara bush has been a rock in the face of failing health, worrying not for herself -- thanks to her abiding faith -- but for others.
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she is surrounded by a family she adores and appreciates the many kind messages and especially the prayers she is receiving. we'll have another live update at the top of the hour. our prayers are going out to barbara bush. another big headline we're following this hour, syrian leader bashar al-assad appearing defiant today while meeting with russian lawmakers in damascus there. according to one report, the russian lawmakers described assad as being in a good mood. missile strikes led by the united states, france and the united kingdom in response to a suspected chemical attack on civilians last week. meanwhile, u.s. am boss dobassa the united nations nikki haley speaking when she was asked if she thought the president would strike with missiles again. >> i can't tell you what he'll do, but i can tell you the
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president is watching and i know the national security team is ready. he now dictates his life and he dictates what happens between the united states, our allies and his regime. >> i want to bring in cnn global affairs correspondent elise l lavin. the trump team says it is preparing russian strikes as early as this week. so how is nikki haley handling all this? >> perhaps export arms or helicopters to syria. you saw one of those oligarchs last week. one of those companies was supplying those s-400 weapons to sitter ya the syrians. i think what nikki haley is saying is this attack, while it didn't completely degrade assad's chemical weapons arsenal, it did make a dent. we're talking about a production facility, a research facility and an airfield, and it does set
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the program back. but she said, listen, we made clear the u.s. is not going to war, the u.s. is not trying to get assad out of power. this wasn't about regime change, this wasn't about trying to overturn the civil war, and i think that's the message they sent to the russians all along, and i think that's why you saw there wasn't a big escalation. that was really in the minds of the u.s. and haley said, look, if assad does this again, the u.s. is ready to act on a problem. that kind of gives him a long list of other weapons he can use to brutalize his people. >> if this leads to a coalition-led strike, a unilateral strike, there will be the campaign war, the pr war. we heard nikki haley saying unlocked and loaded, and now we see bashar al-assad who looks really confident, he looks cool, he's with russian lawmakers. then yesterday we saw him
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walking casually through the palace with a briefcase. so this campaign, this pr campaign, is it likely to escalate? >> i don't think so. president trump will probably see a couple of tweets, maybe, about that briefcase or the russian meetings, but bashar al-assad has every reason to be happy. he is winning the war. this was not an effort at regime change, as we said, and he just really took the area that he launched those chemical weapons against. i think what you're going to see is this continue to drag on, and that's why there's going to be a concerted effort at a political transition, a real genuine effort to have a political solution here. the russians are really going to be the one in the driver's seat pushing assad to the table, and that's why i think you heard this morning from members of congress on the sunday talk shows. everyone wants to see a strategy for syria. okay, you made your point with the attack on the chemical weapons use, but what is the u.s. strategy for syria?
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just last week we know president trump was talking about getting out of syria. now bashar al-assad is proving stronger than ever, so what is the plan? i think that's what you'll want to hear from president bush over the next week -- i mean, president trump. >> i know, we're all thinking of barbara bush. and maybe just knowing there is a strategy will reassure those critics. >> absolutely. coming up, the president's personal lawyer and the adult film star he paid off face to face in federal court. we will talk about what could happen as both president trump and stormy daniels attend a key hearing. child: bye, grandpa! and if you have heart failure, entrusting your heart to entresto may help. entresto is a heart failure medicine
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at crowne plaza, we know business travel isn't just business. there's this. a bit of this. why not? your hotel should make it easy to do all the things you do. which is what we do. crowne plaza. we're all business, mostly. welcome back. tomorrow the president's lawyer and the porn star he allegedly had an affair with, stormy daniels, will be in the same courtroom tomorrow. cohen has been under a criminal investigation for months now in new york over his business dealings. stormy daniels, who is suing cohen for defamation, is choosing to attend tomorrow's hearing, according to her attorney, though her lawyer says
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it's not to rattle cohen's cage. here with me now, larry noble, general counsel for a legal watchdog group and a former lawyer for the federal election commission. all right, larry, good to see you. what is in store tomorrow? what is this about? is this suppressing information that was collected from the raid? is it making sure it doesn't go public? what? >> it's about all these things. what trump actually is involved with is what michael cohen did, to file a motion to try to suppress the motion. they also want to review what the fbi has before any of it is given over. cohen's team wants to review it claiming attorney-client privilege. they called for an extension on friday and they got one today, because trump's new lawyer on this was not hired, i think, until wednesday. so now the judge will decide tomorrow what can be released,
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what the rights of trump and cohen are in this particular case. >> interesting. so the legal representation might also be challenged in terms of -- to the extent michael cohen is the attorney for the president? >> right. there are certain attorney-client privileges. one of the main principles is you have to be the attorney for the person asserting it. so if michael cohen was not acting as president trump's attorney in these situations, then they can't assert attorney-client privilege. and even beyond that, just the assertion of attorney-client privilege is not a hand over documents free card. >> so this is information from a raid conducted by the fbi. there was approval of this raid from the department of justice. but now the department of justice can also play a role
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here in helping to argue or even protect that some of this information would be s submissible. >> what can happen in a situation like this is a separate team can be assigned to review the documents, to decide which documents are -- >> a separate doj team. >> a separate doj team. and they can also decide who should see certain documents. one of the fears, if there is attorney-client privilege, is you don't want it to taint other cases. it may be valid to look at for this particular case, but say the case of cohen and the porn star, it may not be valid to look at documents in other cases. likewise, if there is no attorney-client privilege and nobody should be looking at it, they'll make sure nobody gets to see it. >> so he says he's rather
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concerned and nervous about this investigation, concerned and nervous about this probe. might the president just pick up the phone and say to the attorney general, doj, these are my concerns. make sure xyz does or doesn't happen? >> if i was advising the president, which i'm not, i would say stay very far away from this because you're already looking at possible obstruction of justice charges. he does not want to be seen in any way at this point as far as what's dictated from this point on. who may do it? who knows. he's already let it be known that he thinks the attorney-client privilege applies in all these situations, but so far the department of justice has not been following what he's asked, and keep in mind this is different from the mueller probe. this is out of the southern district of new york. it was referred by mueller but this probe is not actually one that mueller is conducting. >> all right. larry noble, thank you so much. i appreciate it. >> my pleasure. we'll be right back.
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all right tonight on cnn the final episode of our six part original series, "american dynasties: the kennedys." >> jack and jackies daughter caroline became the ambassador to japan. >> i'm also proud to carry forward my father's legacy of public service. >> and you have h-- patrick ken townsend was the governor of
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massachusetts. and senator kennedy launching his political career in illinois. >> it would not be possible to write a complete history of modern america without talking about the kennedys and the contribution they have made. >> joining us right now, eileen mcnamara, she's the author of the new book, eunice, the kennedy who changed the world. good to see you. as we see in this final episode of "the kennedys," bobby kennedy's death was a tragic loss for both the family and the country. was this a case that it changed the dynamics of the family? >> well, you're right that it certainly changed the diynamics of the country in the 1968 presidential race. i think the dynamics of that family were always set by the boys and by the emphasis on the
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boys. the reason i wrote this book is because it's too easy to write women out of history and his sister eunice, who was the ambassador to france for the united states came back on the occasion of his assassination. but she was a huge part of that feel. and she doesn't play a very big role in your series. i counted one sentence. >> and, you know, the role of eunice kennedy, i mean of so many women, many had a very dynamic role in this family, taking real leadership, you know, and directing the family, whether it be with service, whether it be faith, or whether it was holding the family together. how do you see that as being a really fantastic attribute of this family? >> well, i think most of the women had an ornamental role in that family, frankly.
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yes, they had great faith and great fortitude. but eunice kennedy shriver was a political activist in her own rite. president kennedy had no record when he was in the united states senator in the house on the issues that defined that family in many ways. the support for children with intellectual disabilities. there was no federal support for those children before the kennedy administration. and it didn't happen because of jack's commitment, it happened because of eunice's commitment. >> and what an incredible commitment and legacy. and what an incredible footprint she would leave on public service, particularly as it pertains to the special olympics and, you know, paying attention to and taking considerations for people and young people with such challenges. eileen mcnamara -- >> we do remember her for that, we remember her for special
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olympics rnls but her legacy is actually much deeper and broader than that. a child with intellectual disabilities was not guaranteed a seat in a public school classroom until 1975. that's incredible to think about today, it wouldn't have happened without eunice who lobbied to take that happen. those children were still defines to institutions until eunice convinced jack kennedy to put this on the top of his national agener generagendagend. appreciate it. be sure to watch "american dynasties, the kennedys" on cnn tonight at 9:00 p.m. i never thought i'd say this, but i found bladder leak
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