tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN January 31, 2019 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
happening now, breaking news. wall or nothing. president trump is rejecting any deal with democrats unless he gets funding for his wall, even as negotiators are trying to find a compromise. is there any hope of avoiding a second government shutdown? rare rebuke. a vote shows opposition to the president's push to withdraw troops from syria and afghanistan. this as trump is making claims about his differences with his own intelligence chiefs. roger stone is about to return to court. the spsecial counsel lays out te evidence against the indicted ally of the president. tonight, we are learning that calls donald trump junior made around the time of the trump tower meeting were not with his father. still fighting. cnn's new video of isis in action, battling u.s. forces and
undermining president trump's claim that the terror group has been defeated. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you are in "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news. >> the president's disputes with members of his own team on global policy. tonight, he is trying to paint over his disagreements with his intel chiefs claiming they were misquoted during public testimony in which they clearly contradicted him. this as the senate showed overwhelming support for a rebuke of mr. trump's troop withdrawal plans in syria and afghanistan. at the same time, mr. trump is growing more entrenched in his battle with democrats over his border wall, dismissing any compromise that doesn't include wall funding. also breaking, cnn has learned that senate investigators obtained new
information. it shows donald trump junior's mysterious phone calls around the 2016 trump tower meeting were not with his father as many had speculated. i will get reaction from senator richard blumenthal, a member of the judiciary and armed services committees. our correspondents and analysts are standing by. first, let's go to pamela brown. you were in the oval office with the president just a little while ago. what's the latest? >> reporter: that's right. tonight, president trump said to me in the oval office that his intel chiefs were misquoted and taken out of context during their recent congressional testimony that contradicted him on several key issues. i pressed him on that because video shows that testimony. it's unclear how he can say that they were misquoted. he also dodged that and says the fact that they didn't bring up the border during the national security assessment to congress does not undermine that it's a crisis as he says.
>> not bringing it in -- >> reporter: president trump is saying he is back on the same page with his intelligence chiefs, claiming they told him they were misquoted and taken out of context after contradicting the president earlier this week. >> mr. president, did you talk to your intelligence chiefs today about the displeasure you had with their testimony? >> i did. they said they were misquote and they were totally -- it was taken out of context. what i do is i would suggest you call them. they said it was fake news. >> reporter: the intelligence chiefs were not misquoted. their testimony aired publically. >> isis is intent on resurging and still commands thousands of fighters in iraq and syria. we assess that north korea will seek to retain its wmd capabilities and is unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capabilities. >> reporter: president trump taking exception wednesday morning, expressing his
displeasure with what they said, even calling them naive. that rift for now seems pac s p up. >> i'm not saying this as a republican. i'm not saying it as anything other than a fact stater. without a wall, it just doesn't work. >> reporter: calling out nancy pelosi while the negotiations continue. >> if you go to tijuana and you take down that wall, you will have so many people coming into our country that nancy pelosi will be begging for a wall. she will be begging for a wall. >> reporter: trump responding to pelosi's declaration thursday. >> there's not going to be any wall money in the legislation. >> reporter: the powerful pair engaged in a back and forth, both defiant. >> if there's no wall, it doesn't work. she's playing games. if there's no wall, it doesn't work. >> reporter: the president already discounted the negotiations just two days in. white house officials say the president continues to make
preparations for a national emergency order to get the wall built. >> i'm not waiting for this committee. i told a lot of people, i don't expect much coming out of the committee. i don't think they are going to make a deal. i see what's happening. they're all saying, let's do this. we're not giving one dime for the wall. >> reporter: over 3,000 active duty troops will be deployed to the southern border, in addition to the 2,300 troops already there. multiple defense officials tell cnn. some republican leaders are splitting with the president on foreign policy matters. >> the threats that isis and al qaeda pose are global. >> reporter: mitch mcconnell's amendment calling for u.s. troops to stay in syria passed today. an acknowledgement isis continues to pose grave threats to the u.s., despite trump claiming otherwise. the president juggling another potentially grave threat. north korea. hyping the anticipated second summit with kim jong-un. >> for the meetings with north korea, we're going to a certain
location. most of you know where the location is. i don't think it's any secret. we will announce the location and the date. it will be the end of february. >> reporter: the white house has released this picture today of president trump with his intel chiefs. this is a typical scene during the intelligence briefing. of course, what makes this so unique is it comes a day after the president tweeted that those intel chiefs need to go back to school and called them naive. today, he is saying that actually they were in agreement. i have been speaking to intelligence sources today who said, of course they don't like it when the president makes comments about their intel chiefs like he did yesterday. i'm told they are pressing forward. it's not as demoralizing as it was when the president compared the intelligence community to nazi germany a while back. >> stay with us as we turn to breaking news on the russia investigation. we are getting new information about the mysterious phone calls made by donald trump junior
around the time of the now infamous trump tower meeting in new york with russians back in 2016. i want to bring in our cnn seen kror j senior justice correspondent. >> this is a mystery that the investigators have been trying to get to the bottom of, these mysterious phone calls between donald trump and someone with a blocked phone number. we know the senate investigators have obtained information explaining at least some of those phone calls. the phone calls, apparently, were not to donald trump junior's father, to then candidate donald trump. this was something that certainly democratic lawmakers were trying to figure out. they thought that this might explain that donald trump junior might have given his father an indication of what was happening with this trump tower meeting. we will show you the records -- phone records. these are from june 6 of 2016.
there were a couple of phone calls around the time that donald trump junior was talking to the russian pop star who played a role in helping to set up the meetings. there was a third phone call, the day of the meeting. these phone records show these phone calls to be private, to be blocked numbers. the democratic lawmakers that have been trying to get to the bottom of what was happening here were asking the question, who were those phone calls to? were they phone calls to donald trump -- to his father, to donald trump the candidate at the time? according to the information that the investigators have received, we know that it wasn't to the then candidate donald trump. we do not know the identity of who these people were. we are told by sources that these were to donald trump juni junior's business associates at the time. we don't know exactly what was discussed in those phone calls. we don't know whether it has anything to do with the russia investigation. we certainly now know that it
didn't have anything to do with then candidate donald trump. >> we know democrats were focusing a lot of attention on those mysterious phone calls. what are the implications of this? >> this is an important detail to try to figure out. again, they have been trying to figure out -- the investigators have been trying to figure out whether or not there's any proof that donald trump junior or anything who was involved in the june 2016 trump tower meeting told then candidate trump about what was going on. did he know in advance that they were having this meeting with russians to try to get dirt on hillary clinton and try to get dirt for the help of the campaign? this at least puts to rest this one possible explanation. it does not, wolf, fully explain whether or not there was any other way in which people who participated in the meeting were able to get word to donald trump the candidate. we should note donald trump junior's lawyers have declined
to comment on this. we should note the president has always said he didn't know anything about the trump tower meeting at the time it was happening. >> pamela, why is all this coming out right now? clearly, this issue could have been put to rest a long time ago. >> reporter: that's right. that's been one of the questions raised. don junior testified to congress a while ago. what we are told from sources is that it was a senate intel committee that went to the telephone company to try to uncover these numbers, these blocked numbers that were showing up on don junior's call logs. they just received that information from the telephone company just recently. that is why it is just now coming to light. we should note that don junior tweeted about this recently. retweeting my colleague who worked on the story saying, more of the democrats' fake news narrative disappearing. i wonder how many more false leaks will pop to keep their dreams alive. this is a good story for don
junior. it does put some of the speculation to rest. as evan pointed out there are outstanding questions. as he pointed out there are other ways the meeting could have been communicated to donald trump. we still don't know what the substance of those conversations were with those two business associates that have not been identified. >> good reporting. thanks very much. now to another angle of the russia investigation, the indictment of the president's longtime adviser roger stone. he faces another hearing tomorrow here in washington. robert mueller's team is revealing the amount of material collected for its criminal case. let's go to sara murray. the special counsel describes the evidence as, quote, voluminous and complex. how damaging could this extensive cache be? >> reporter: i don't think we know the answer to that. they had a lot of evidence before they brought the indictment. when they were arresting him, when they brought this indictment, they searched his properties in florida as well as an office space there as well as
an apartment in new york. they are saying there is voluminous and complex evidence in this case. they are saying, there is data, apple icloud accounts, e-mail accounts, bank and financial records, computers and phones, hard drives. i think it will be a while before we get a sense of how much evidence the government has in this case. it gives you a sense of what the government as well as roger stone's attorneys are going to spend the next couple of weeks and months pouring over. >> how is mueller's team trying to prevent leaks of all this information? >> reporter: they are moving forward as you would in a case like this, which is to push for a protective order when it comes to sharing this with roger stone's attorneys. this is something both sides are poised to agree to. it's something the judge has to sign off on. it's something you expect. they don't want to be in a position where mueller's team is sharing evidence with stone's attorneys to prepare for a trial and then see that evidence showing up on the news or elsewhere on the internet.
this is what we expect will be something that the judge signs off on and would agree to. roger stone is going to be in court here in washington, d.c. tomorrow afternoon. we will get a better sense of what other issues both the defense and the government are grappling with. >> we will have a lot of coverage of that. thanks very much. joining us now, democratic senator richard blumenthal. he serves on the armed services committee. thanks for coming in. >> thank you. >> what's your reaction to the news that cnn broke that donald trump junior's mysterious phone calls before and after the trump tower meeting were not -- repeat not with his father? >> it deepens the mystery who was called. it's hardly the only occasion that donald trump junior had to communicate the before and after facts with his father. >> we're told the phone calls were to business associates -- two business associates that donald trump junior had. >> the question is, whom did
they tell possibly about the trump tower meeting that was going to occur or after it occurred? it was in trump tower. donald trump the father was in trump tower on that very day at that very time. he may have been told about it some other way. here is the main point. the american public sdedeservese full story. robert mueller will be developing that full story. the report that he is compiling should be made available to the american public. that's the reason that i have submitted legislation along with a republican colleague, senator grassley, to make fully public the report that special counsel mueller is doing. >> he testifies, donald trump junior, before your committee. i assume you were there. >> i was in the room when donald trump junior appeared. he could not recall whom he called. he denied that he had told his father about that meeting. but then subsequently, he and
donald trump president compiled a very deceptive and false statement explaining the meeting as dealing only with russian adoption. the communication between father and son here has yet to be fully explained. >> he never said these phone calls were with business associa associates? he said he couldn't remember who he called? >> exactly. >> let's move on to roger stone. special counsel has a ton of new evidence that they have collected. cellphones, computers, e-mails, financial records. what does that tell about you where this investigation is heading? >> what that report tells me is that robert mueller is nowhere near done. this investigation has a ways to go before there is any conclusion. not to mention any report. special counsel mueller is uncovering a lot of evidence from roger stone. there may be more because that locale was only one of the places where roger stone may
have evidence and that may have been recovered. not to mention others who may be indicted. i would predict -- although, i have no inside information, i should emphasize -- that there will be other significant indictments. >> soon? >> i would guess soon. again, the only one who really knows for better or worse and probably for better is robert mueller. >> who do you suspect might be indicted? >> well, i think speculation here is inappropriate. perhaps members of the president's family, other members of his campaign team. >> do you know of others who may have lied to your committee? >> i believe that there are serious questions about donald trump junior's appearance before our committee. i was in that room. i heard his responses to questions. not only on who was called in those blocked conversations but also other questions about what his father knew, when he knew it and similar questions about arranging the trump tower junior
meeting. remember also his conversations with wikileaks, the direct messages in advance of the release of the stolen information by the russians through wick i can leaks. >> are you suggesting donald trump junior lied to your committee under onlath and potentially he could be charged? >> i'm suggesting there are serious questions. he needs to come back. he ought to be subpoenaed to come back. i asked to subpoena him. i think there's a possibility -- he faces exposure for some of the answers he gave our committee. >> do you think robert mueller and his team are thinking, are considering indicting donald trump junior? >> i would not be at all surprised if there is consideration. he is a potential target.
he may have lied before our committee and a number of the other indictments, no secret, pertain to lying to congress, whether it's flynn or cohen or now roger stone. >> mueller would go to a different level with all due respect to manafort and flynn and cohen and roger stone, all of them. you start indicting the president's son and going after the trump organization and his family, that raises the stakes dramatically. >> that's why i'm not suggesting that he is on the verge or that he will, in fact, ever indict donald trump junior. but those responses that he gave to our committee certainly raise questions about his credibility and ultimately robert mueller in his report to the american people -- i want it to be made public -- will have the full story or at least as close to a comprehensive story as we can have. this later report, while
important, simply deepens the mystery. >> very significant statements you are making. we are going to follow-up. let's get to the other news. all of a sudden today, the president says his top intelligence chiefs in his words were totally misquoted by the reporting that emerged when they testified before the senate on global threats worldwide facing the united states and clearly differed with the president on some of the most sensitive issues out there. the president now says they told him, those reports were fake news, even though it's on camera and it's all videotaped. >> it's all there in living color. many of those statements were made reading from a text that, as you well know, had been cleared at multiple levels within the intelligence community. so these were carefully crafted statements made in real time by the very heads of our
intelligence community as part of the annual worldwide threat assessment. a yearly assessment made about the threats to this nation. and they said, isis is a continuing threat. the russians are continuing to meddle. iran is complying with the jcpoa. the other kinds of statements made by the president are subject to serious question. i don't know how they could have said they were misquoted. >> quickly, i want your reaction. the senate today voted 68-23, the republicans were voting in favor of this resolution to not withdraw u.s. troops from syria and afghanistan. a total rebuke of the president's position. your reaction to that? this is dramatic. mitch mcconnell, the republican leader of t eer was leading thi to go against the president's position. >> a stunning rebuke and a bipartisan one.
showing, i think, some cracks in the republican armor that maybe the president is relying on. what they are facing is a chaotic and confused non-policy from the president that changes from day to day and a common apprehension that our alliances and troops may be in danger from this claim that isis is completely defeated. what this resolution asks is that there be a strategy and a plan. it's lacking now. it puts our alliances and allies in danger, particularly the kurds. it undermines our fight against terrorism around the world. that's why it was bipartisan and such an overwhelming and stunning rebuke. >> thanks for coming in. >> thank you. just ahead, the breaking news on donald trump junior's mysterious phone calls. even if he didn't call his father around the trump tower meeting, could the president have known about it anyway? stay with us.
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following a lot of breaking news, including new information about the senate's russia investigation. sources now telling cnn that investigations -- investigators have been told donald trump junior's phone calls around the 2016 trump tower meeting in new york were not -- those phone calls were not with his father. let's bring in gloria borger. how significant is this? >> it's good news for donald trump junior, i would have to say, because those phone calls
were considered very problematic, because the big question is, what did donald trump know about the russia meeting and when did he know it? since those calls came from a blocked number, they were with a blocked number, there was a lot of presumption that it was with the then candidate trump. so the reporting from pamela and manu shows that, in fact, it wasn't. it doesn't mean that he didn't walk upstairs and talk to his father. it didn't mean that they never had any conversations about it. but it does settle this mystery. >> you heard, jeffrey, senator blumenthal suggest it's possible that mueller might, in the end, go ahead and actually indict or charge donald trump junior potentially for lying when he testified before the senate. >> that is possible. one thing that's been certainly very noticeable is that the mueller team has never asked to
interview donald trump junior, which seems like a significant omission. another person that they never sought to interview was roger stone. now we know because he was going to be indicted. one of the customs of the justice department is you don't interview or try to interview targets. that doesn't mean that donald trump junior is going to be indicted. it certainly suggests the possibility. i do think we should emphasize, we talk a lot about incriminating things that went on with the president and with his family. this is a very important exculpatory piece of information that came out today. this is something that a lot of us had suspicion about. isn't this something that donald trump junior reported to his father about, the trump tower meeting on the phone? he had a blocked phone number. this is not what happened. this doesn't settle all the issues. but i think we need to be clear that this is good news for
donald trump junior and this is good news for donald trump. >> exactly. >> you cover the white house for us. what do you think would happen if mueller decided to indict the president's son? how would the president react if donald trump junior were charged? >> i think we have had that hypothetical conversation with white house officials, people close to the president. they said, it would be a red line for the president they think. he has communicated as much. clearly we know the president has been irritated by this probe, frustrated about it. he lashes out at it, sometimes early in the morning. they do -- most people believe if it came close enough to where it affected anyone in his family, including donald trump junior, then it would be kind of like you never know -- it would be hard to predict what the president's reaction would be because people believe it would be so explosive. >> i think it's important to keep -- there's more than one investigation right now. there's the mueller investigation. then there are the southern district of new york
investigations. about, for example, the trump organization. if there are any issues with the children, for example, it might not -- it might be that mueller believes that that's not within his charge and that -- we have seen that he shuttled stuff off to other prosecutors. >> investigations going on, the u.s. attorney in the district of columbia as well. how do you see it, david? >> again, clearly, this is good news from the point of view of donald trump junior. that being said, there was still a meeting in trump tower with him and it was based off an e-mail he got. if it's what i think it is, i love it, that's the quote. you have that. you have the fact that paul manafort and jared kushner were at this meeting, reportedly. you have the fact that we still
don't know exactly what went on on air force 1 with statement that the white house gave in response to this initially. i don't think -- no crime has been proven. i don't think donald trump junior is out of the woods. >> as far as roger stone is concerned, mueller has charged him. he is going to be appearing in a federal courthouse in washington tomorrow. we have been told that there are multiple hard drives, cellphones, e-mails. mueller has information involving roger stone. the president in the interview said stone's crimes are just process crimes. if you don't recall something the president says, a lot of people can understand that. do you think the president is concerned about what's going on with roger stone? >> that's been a tactic the president used before. he believes investigators try to trick people into lying, asking about the weather. that's an example the president uses. they are asking, did you contact this person? as they said and they laid out
in the indictment, they allege roger stone not only lied but mischaracterized things. he said he didn't talk to someone over e-mail. then they had the e-mails. that's an argument the president is making. you can continue to expect the president not only to make that but also we have seen roger stone mount a big defense coming out publically after he was indicted, speaking to the crowd saying as much after the first court peappearance. you can expect that to continue. >> go ahead, jeffrey. >> can i say? this phrase process crimes -- i have been around the criminal justice system my whole career. i never heard this until a month ago. this idea that's just a process crime. what is that? that doesn't make any sense. you know what a process crime is? it's a crime. there are people in prison for it. the idea that these are somehow little baby crimes and they don't count -- it's just ridiculous. >> you have covered roger stone for years, that film, that documentary. you appeared throughout that entire film. you know this guy.
you know him well. when they say they have terabytes of information, is he the type of guy, knowing he is being investigated, he would keep anything all that sensitive? >> you know, one of the things that is true of all people these days is we keep a lot more than we think we keep. the difficulty of getting rid of anything electronic in e-mail, record, backup -- it's very difficult. i don't know. i have pity on the people who are going to have to go through all of that. they have to listen to roger stone's abuse of other people and all the terrible sexist, awful things he says. whether there is actually incriminating stuff there, i really just don't know. they're going to -- it's another example of why this investigation isn't over. think how long it's going to take the fbi to go through that. >> a ton of information. stick around. more breaking news we're following right after this.
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your free decision guide. and the army taught me a lot about commitment. which i apply to my life and my work. at comcast we're commited to delivering the best experience possible, by being on time everytime. and if we are ever late, we'll give you a automatic twenty dollar credit. my name is antonio and i'm a technician at comcast. we're working to make things simple, easy and awesome. we're back with our analysts. the president is trying to paper over his disagreements with his intel chiefs claiming they were misquoted. gloria, i want you to listen to this exchange that pamela brown had in the oval office with the president just a little while
ago. it's jaw dropping. >> mr. president, did you talk to your intelligence chiefs today about the displeasure you had with their testimony? >> i did. they said they were totally misquoted and they were totally -- it was taken out of context. i would suggest you call them. they said it was fake news. >> we just ran exactly what they said 20 congress. >> excuse me. it didn't surprise me at all. we're here to talk right now about china. >> did the fact they didn't bring up the border as the world threat assessment, did that -- >> it didn't undermine anything. we need a wall. if we don't have a wall, we're never going to have security. >> they didn't bring it up. >> next. >> does that undercut -- >> please. >> he cut her off. >> remember, you lie during congressional testimony, that's a crime. >> isis is intent on resurging and still commands thousands of fighters in iraq and syria. north korea will seek to retain its wmd capabilities and is
unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capabilities. not only have the russians continued to do it there 2018, we have seen an indication they are continuing to adapt their model. >> clearly, that's not fake news. that's what they said. >> can you imagine all these people saying that was fake news, first of all, to the president? >> no. >> it's alternative facts. there's no other way to describe it. i will quote that phrase. we watched it. you just watched it on television. isis is not going to give up. it's still a threat. north korea is not going to denuclearize. there is no way to misinterpret those words. they could not have been clearer. the president, who watches a lot of television, may have just watched clips of this and not the entire hearing and he was angry about it. but it's nonsensical to say that
this is fake news and that they were taken out of context. we just watched it. it wasn't out of context. >> when the president heard it, he said these guys, these intelligence chiefs are passive and naive and perhaps these intelligence chiefs should go back to school. now he is saying they were misquoted and it was fake news. >> the president didn't watch their actual testimony in full. he got up the next morning. he was watching coverage that said, intelligence chiefs contradict trump on north korea, iran and isis. they played those clips that you played, not the full context. that gets the message across. dan coats saying north korea is unlikely to completely denuclearize has not changed by anything else he said in his testimony. he said they have halted some of their provocative behavior, but he couched it saying, they are still unlikely to give up weapons. the president is saying that and our reporting showed the president was more irritated with the coverage than the idea
they contradicted him. these are people who brief the president on a daily basis. he knows what dan coats thinks about iran, north korea, isis. >> does he listen? >> the idea there's a headline in "the new york times," "the washington post" that says they contradicted him -- >> i hate to disagree with gloria. she said there's no way to describe this except alternative facts. i think there is another way to describe it. it's just lying. >> right. >> it's lying about what went on yesterday. it's lying about what he was told that day by his subordinates. the idea that these intelligent, respectable people would say that was fake news -- that's gotta be a lie. >> it's nonsensical i called it. >> the president has tried to spin and dissemble so much over time on so many issues that now when he is there with pamela in the oval trying to spin this, it's hard for anyone to take that seriously. there are the specific
disagreements about syria and t iran and north korea. the bigger problem is also that this completely undercuts the president's narrative going all the wait back to 2016 that he was going to fix everything quickly and all his predecessors were stupid and these things were easy to solve. >> the real thing is not just the president, what he said today that they were misquoted. what we saw is what these intelligence chiefs late o s la. clearly, even though they brief the president regularly, this is our intelligence, this is what it shows, the president's mind has not changed. >> these are his people. they didn't fall from somewhere and just get those jobs. he replaced them with the people he -- >> earlier in the day, the president said i disagree with certain things they said. >> you would like to know -- >> hold your thought. there's more news we have to get to. millions of americans are forced indoors as a deadly deep freeze
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center. what are the conditions like now and what can we expect in the hours ahead? >> temperatures are inching closer to that zero mark, getting a little bit warmer. chicago should finally hit zero by 9:00 or 10:00 tonight for first time since tuesday. beyond this, we will continue this rapid warm-up over the next couple of days. in fact, we are going to see possibly more than a 70-degree temperature swing in chicago. chicago feeling like 2 below by 9:30 tonight, even though the actual temperature should be above zero. minneapolis, 20 below is what you will feel like later tonight. still feeling very, very cold. compared to the temperatures we have had over the last couple of days, it will be a bit of an improvement. by tomorrow evening, chicago should feel like 13 degrees. minneapolis finally feeling like temperatures are above zero. cleveland, 13 by saturday morning. look at this warm-up.
chicago, today was 2 below. we have 22 on friday. 42 on saturday. that's a 20-degree warm-up each day. it's going to be extremely rapid. minneapolis was 3 below today. 20 tomorrow. 37 by wednesday's low was 23 below zero. coldest since 1994. we will be at 51 degrees by monday. that is a 74 degree climb in just five days. and so with that not only will it be incredibly refreshing, it will feel like sumner chicago. we could have some problems. ice jam with such a rapid thaw like this and then also if the streets don't warm up and get above freezing and get rain in the next couple of days, that could freeze on the surface. a couple things to look out for, but all in all temperatures are going to be warmer and i think people will be rejoicing. >> they certainly will be. thank you very much. just ahead an exclusive new
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ben wedeman is joining us from neighboring lebanon right now. ben, we have some extraordinary new video of u.s. backed forces battling die hard isis fighters. update our viewers. >> reporter: yes. this is footage we obtained from a cameraman who we've been working with for quite some time. what you see is that the islamic state in the raqqah and syria which one stretched from western syria to the outskirts of baghdad has now been reduced to a tiny spot of land along the river. but this last battle is very difficult as you will see in this footage. but we must warn our viewers that some of the images in this report may be disturbing. they're planning their next move in the final showdown with the last remnants of isis. the commander of the syrian democratic forces is leading his
men on a night operation. their progress lit by flares into the last stronghold of what was the so-called islamic state. now reduced to a remote and ever shrinking sliver of land along the river in eastern syria. coalition aircraft begin to bomb. as troops venture into the town or what's left of it. with the help of artillery, we were able to take control of the base, the soldier tells the cameraman who shot this exclusive video for cnn. the soldier vows within ten days god willing we'll finish. it may take longer than that. isis isn't giving ground easily. they counter attacked.
heavy machine gunfire didn't stop them. the troops had to retreat. by day's end, reinforcements arrived and they were back on the offensive. not, however, without cost. the next day starts with a manafort mortar bombardment. the adjacent town the objective. a soldier carries a baby. the family follows. but the soldiers are weary. these last villages are full of isis's most hard core supporters. everyone is treated with suspicion. they order the young men to take off their shirts to show they're not concealing weapons or explosives. this family's next destination,
one of many camps out in the desert filling up with tens of thousands who have fled the fighting. civilians want to escape to safety says this soldier, but isis threatens them with their weapons to go back so the coalition airplanes will hit them. those who defied isis paid the ultimate price. under these blanket, the soldiers say are eight children and two women killed while trying to escape. the images too gruesome to show. the isis fighters did escape leaving behind weapons and ammunition. yet the battle rages on. isis's last stand, its last battle, its last bastion gl down in a tor rent of fire and blood. and of course this is the last battle, perhaps, but the war
against isis, wolf, is far from over. >> ben wedeman reporting for us. thanks very much. i'm wolf blitzer. follow me on twitter and instagram. tweet the show@cnn sit room. erin burnett out front starts right now. out front next. breaking news, president trump now claiming his intelligence chiefs were misquoted when they contradicted him. the problem is, of course, that they did not and what they said is to tape. a cnn exclusive sent an investigator say the calls donald trump jr. made to a blocked number around the 2016 trump tower meeting were not to his father. that breaking news. and alexandria ocasio-cortez praised for her grit and fighting spirit from somebody who was very near and dear to donald trump. let's go out front. good evening. i'm erin burnett. the tapes don't lie, but the president?