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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  August 19, 2019 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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grisly video games that are now commonplace. >> really? you have these groups that are organizing being empowered, being emboldened, attacking more, and you want to talk about the games? lots of places have games. they don't have this problem. now, is this really about the party and that he's copying this playbook, or is it about his party murmuring what they hear from him and deciding we have to go along to get along. all they know is they're clearly on the same page. the playbook makes it plain. the proof is clear of what they want this election to be about and how they want to play it. this election is truly about what we accept and what you decide to reject. what will you allow to win? that's the question. thank you for watching. "cnn tonight" with d. lemon right now. >> and where your priorities are. whether you prioritize the truth, whether you prioritize racism, whether you prioritize the economy, whether you
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prioritize money. it depends on what you prioritize. you can't hide behind something and say, well, you know, that's not important to me, because if you prioritize one thing, that means you're putting another thing in a different category or below that, and so i think everyone should be -- if you're running for office and if you're supporting someone, you should be able to explain that and at least be knowledgeable and aware of that. >> look, now, this is subjective, but to me it gets pretty simple. on a personal level it all grows out of your faith, right? i don't mean that in some pandering, religious way, i'm saying you figure out what you're about and everything grows out of that. i think it's the same thing for voters where these identity questions, what is this country about? who are we about? are we about inclusion or exclusion? that starts it all. everything else grows out of that. our economic values, capitalism and how we want things distributed here in terms of opportunity. all of our politics grow out of our principles and that's what this election is going to be about. very heavy but very important. >> and all of it is identity
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politics. it's identity politics on the left and the right, and especially for trump supporters. it's identity politics. they identify with the president. they identify with the make america great again slogan. they identify with what they say, it was economic anxiety, or i'm this kind of person, i'm that kind of person. it's all identity politics. everything else is just name calling because everyone is doing the same thing. you support who and what you identify with. >> that's true, but role reversal for a change here, this president is the one starting the beat. he is using these issues, he's looking to divide even when he has a better course, he looks to this. and the democrats in that way are being responsive to it in a way that i think could galvanize. i don't think they've gotten there, because to your point, i think they go to their advantage more than what's right. >> i would say i missed you, but i think i saw you more last week than i see you when we're here
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together. i spent almost every day, if not every day, with you. it was kind of weird. >> i had the most uneventful week. when i wasn't with you, i should have been with you. >> actually, i was there. i did not see it, remember. i should have been there. hey, i should have been with you at the moment. but, by the way, you always say i don't pay for anything. you were shocked yesterday. >> i know. i was so traumatized, i thought i couldn't be more shocked about anything going on that would make less sense until d. lemon pulled out his wallet, all this dust and stuff came out of the wallet, and he actually paid for lunch for like ten people. even the waitress was surprised. she was like, oh, i thought you were don lemon. he says, i am don lemon, damn it. >> i made you pay for yours, though. >> i didn't pay for mine, as i mentioned. >> i'll see you tomorrow. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. this president spinning as fast as he can on the economy,
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spinning to save the not so secret weapon he's relying on to win reelection. spinning because he believes americans care more about jobs and money in your pocket than everything he has done to divide us. the president insisting nothing you see here, everything is great. >> we have the strongest economy by far in the world. >> if everything is so great, if everything is so great, why is the president playing the blame game? blaming the fed, blaming democrats, even claiming the news media are trying to cause a recession to hurt his election chances. i've heard this before but i've got to say it again. it's not true. of course it's not true. it's a blatantly observed conspiracy theory. let's not lose sight of the fact, remember, facts first here. one big reason for fears about the economy is the president's own trade war with china which has rattled the stocks, the stock and bond markets, and sent
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out warning signs of a recession. we can see the signs with our own eyes. the signs that set off a roller coaster ride on wall street. now 74% of economists in a recent survey, and they say they think there will be a recession by 2021. >> i don't think we're having a recession. we're doing tremendously well. our consumers are rich. i gave a tremendous tax cut, and they're loaded up with money. >> the president did do a tax cut. a tax cut that lined the pockets of businesses, and according to the congressional research service, has done nothing to increase wages or bonuses. that's a fact. and there are reports today that some members of team trump have been discussing the idea of cutting payroll taxes as a way to jump-start the economy. a white house official telling cnn a payroll tax cut is not under consideration, quote, at this time. of course, it's not exactly unheard of for this president to throw staffers under the bus if he changes his mind.
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that as he continues to wage his war with china. >> we're not paying for the tariffs, china is paying for the tariffs for the 100th time. and i understand tariffs work very well. >> okay, but here's the thing. think about this. be rational and logical. if china was really paying for tariffs, why would the president have backed down last week and delayed his newest tariffs, his administration calling the move a christmas present for american consumers? why would they do that? if the trade war wasn't hitting american farmers hard, if they weren't paying the price for china's tariffs striking back, why would the administration be paying some $14.5 billion to farmers hurt by the trade war? just listen to what one of those farmers said and how top white house aide peter navarro reacted on cnn's state of the union. here it is.
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>> words and twitters and tweets, that doesn't pay the farmers' bills, that doesn't solve the problem we're dealing with. you know, like i said earlier, this one is self-inflicted by our president and we definitely agreed with it at the beginning, but it doesn't appear that there is a plan b. >> people on front lines are saying the trade war is directly hurting them and china is not bearing all the burden of this, they are bearing the burden of this. >> so there's a couple things to say here. first of all, this president has the backs of farmers. all the money we're taking in tariffs, a lot of that is going right to the farmers to keep us whole. make no mistake about it. china is tagging those farmers to buckle our needs. >> and the president? he says this. >> we'll see what happens, but they definitely want to make a deal. >> so for everybody who is keeping score at home, the economy is great, the democrats and the news media want it to be bad, and also it's the feds' fault. >> i think i could be helped out by the fed, but the fed doesn't
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like helping me too much. >> pretty revealing statement. because as i think we all know, it's not the feds' job to help the president, to help him win reelection. it's the feds' job to keep the economy healthy, to set policies to encourage high employment and low inflation. that's what the fed is supposed to do, not help the president. and speaking of the economy, there is this about the man on the $20 bill, president andrew jackson. do you remember his history of harsh anti-naif hianti-native a deaths along the trail of tears? remember trying to replace him on the $20 bill, calling him a terrorist? this president has a portrait of jackson hanging in the oval office. well, today presidential candidate marian williamson had
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something to say about that. >> we can atone. we can make amends. and if and when i'm president of the united states, we will. we will begin by taking that picture of andrew jackson off the wall of the oval office. i assure you i am not a native american woman, but i find it one of the greatest insults. you will not be insulted. you will be more than not insulted. if i am president of the united states. >> in the midst of all this, i guess it should be no surprise that the president is returning to an old favorite obsession, the size of the crowds at his rallies. >> i think they said 17,000 people outside that couldn't get in. the fire martials close it at a certain level. the arena announced, i don't know the people at the arena, that i broke elton john's record. >> the thing is, pretty much
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everybody reported that the president had a big crowd in new hampshire. there was a viral tweet that showed some empty seats. and we know how seriously the president takes his twitter, so maybe that had something to do with it. but cnn confirmed today that president trump broke the attendance record at his rally last week, even beating elton john. by the way, what's with the obsession with elton john? >> i have broken more elton john records. i don't have a musical instrument, a guitar or organ. this is the only instrument, the mouth. and hopefully a brain attached to the mouth. i'm not longer competing with politicians, i'm competing with musical talent. >> rocket man. i love elton john. the president sure likes elton john. like i said, his real obsession is with the size of his crowds. remember, it wasn't quite two
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weeks ago in the middle of a visit to a hospital where victims fortunaof the el paso s were being treated that he said this. >> three months ago we made a speech -- what was the name of the arena? that place was crowded, right? what was the name? >> that was some crowd. we had twice the number outside. and then you had this crazy beto. beto had 400 people. they said his crowd was wonderful. >> who could ever forget this? >> this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period. >> oh, day 1, sean spicer. largest, period. the president is obsessed with the sidesze of his crowds.
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he seems to be obsessing about greenland and how he'll buy denmark. this is what he said today. >> the concept came up and i said certainly, strategically we would be interested, but we'll talk to them a little bit. it's not number one on the burner, i can tell you that. >> that was yesterday. not number one on the burner. you hear that, greenland? you got to take that laying down? are you going to take that laying down, greenland? come on. the president spinning everything from warning signs in the economy to, as i showed you, greenland. lots to discuss. katherine rampel is here, rob estorino, dan. don't look over here, estorino. next. ks] [dog panting]
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only for a limited time. president trump and his top aides launching a campaign to talk about the economy and downplay any fears of a recession in the near future. michael d'antonio. katherine, 74% think we'll see a recession by the end of 2021, but the trump strategy is to deny and blame the media. kellyanne conway right here. check it out. >> it's nice to see the media
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finally cover the trump economy. you seem to cover it only when you can use the "sesame street" word of the day, recession. >> we talk about the economy -- katherine, how often have you been here talking about the economy? >> quite frequenly. >> the president says they're blaming the media, they're blaming the fed chair jerome pyle, they're blaming everybody. >> when obama was president and the economic indicators were good, trump said they were fake. then trump became president. he inherited basically the exact same economic indicators, then they were real. remember, sean spicer went up on that podium and he said, they might have been phony before, but they're very real now. now that the numbers are going south again, of course they're fake. this would be like the most amazing conspiracy, right? this would rival the luminoti if, in fact, these numbers were fake, because it's not just the trade wars causing problem fs f
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the u.s. economy, there are now nine major economies in the world that are either in recession or on the verge of recession. so are all their statisticians part of this conspiracy, too? are they faking the data? when trump sends his white house aides on tv and they pretend these numbers aren't real, they pretend the curve isn't real. when larry kudlow goes on tv and says we shouldn't worry about consumers even though we got a very disappointed consumer number, are they trying to fool the public or trying to fool their boss? >> that leaves it to you, mr. tan suit, by the way. are you okay? >> i think it looks good. >> why would trump -- his chief economic adviser larry kudlow be making calls this week to business leaders, to state and local officials to talk about
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the economy if there wasn't some real fear here? >> they do that all the time. i remember we had a discussion sometime last year when there was a business roundtable in bedminster, and whether or not the pepsico ceo should attend and all this nonsense. they do this all the time. the white house has to do it. the president checks in with key people in banking and all different sectors. and that's important. but to say the economy is tanking or that we're in a really bad economic downturn just around the corner is a talking point from the left. right now we have a very strong economy, all the indicators. >> no one is saying the economy is tanking. >> no, that it's getting close. it's really dangerous. >> this happened before every prior recession. >> but they're saying the recession is on the horizon. >> a recession could always be on the horizon no matter where the economy is. but it is strong right now. it is very strong. and the obama economy was going up, so that's why we're in this
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long period of good economic standing. >> you're giving obama credit? you're going to get a tweet. >> trust me, i get plenty when i get off the air. it's improving but it was minimal. >> gdp growth is exactly where we want it. >> it's doing very well. corporations spent money, they're investing. >> corporate investments fell last quarter. >> last quarter. do you know why? because for two and a half years, they have been investing. you can't invest at a high pace -- >> that was the argument. >> because they did a lot of hiring, so they're not going to continue hiring. they did their hiring. >> it was the low it was when obama left office. before we sent a billion dollars for this tax cut. >> businesses started expanding all over the place. that's why the economy is doing
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well. >> i cover this stuff. i've been covering this stuff for more than a decade. >> do you guys have some popcorn for me? >> this is all untrue. business investment is down 5.5% in the last year. >> you're missing the point. they spent a lot of money when they got this new money from the tax cuts. >> he has not exceeded obama's rate of gdp growth. obama's was 2.9%, the best trump has done is 2.4. he's got to be double the deficit. >> let me ask you this, rob. listen, if you look at the economic indicators, and that's what people are looking at. they're looking at the facts. they're looking at what has indicated every economy, every downturn in history. why is this different under trump? >> they can be interpreted in different ways. even board of governors have said this. yes, they evehave.
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you can look at the numbers which are strong, and one can interpret if a trade war is inevi inevitab inevitable, then this could happen. others say, i don't think we're in a trade war -- >> with china, with the eu, with japan. we were in a trade war with canada and mexico, our two closest borders. rob, do you evhave any concern? >> not right now, no, i don't. consumer confidence is up, consumer spending is up. >> consumer confidence is not up. >> it's down from what? from really high to a little bit less? >> it's at its lowest level this year. >> i understand you're in the middle of your -- >> i think things are going very well. >> the bond market says different. >> the average consumer who is going out and spending is thinking things are going pretty well. that's why the democrats are attacking the economy, because it's a strength.
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it's a smart political move. you always go after your opponent's strength. >> this is such a huge conspiracy. i'm sorry. the bond market has enlisted nine economies. >> all the economists, all of them are democrats. >> no, definitely not. >> but they're all wrong. >> this is the problem, is the data doesn't align with the argument. and people have to look ahead. businesses are looking ahead. that's why they stopped investing. the raises that people were supposed to get never materialized. we have this huge deficit looming on the horizon. he's going to make obama look like the most careful spender in presidential history. he's blown through obama's record. so i think for anyone to not look at this economy and be worried, they have to have their head in the sand. >> right after the election, paul krugman in the "new york
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times," we're going through a recession. >> they weren't looking at economic indicators. they were just talking about his ability to lead an economy. >> not only that, but if he had successfully implemented his economic agenda. it's quite possible he wants back to the gold standard. that's what he ran on. he said he would immediately deploy 11 million immigrants. >> there is a lot of ifs here. >> that's his agenda. so we should praise him for not successfully executing his agenda that would have thrown us into a depression? >> he wants to be at a gold standard, but he ran on it so it didn't matter. let's not get too far afield. white house officials want a payroll tax cut to avoid worsening the economy. the white house is knocking down the idea tonight, saying more tax cuts may be on the horizon right now. president obama had a payroll
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tax cut for a time. should this be done now, do you think? >> when we had a tax cut under barack obama, that was in response to what could have been another great depression. so it was a very different set of economic circumstances. this was part of the recovery act, i believe, was part of that or was a separate piece of legislation. i don't remember the exact economy at the time but it was at a very important part of the business cycle. i'm not against cutting payroll taxes. these are taxes that fall on businesspeople. they're not capital gain taxes, which is another idea this administration has floated. i think if we were talking about tax cuts, this would be better, but if we're looking at what is actually threatening the economy right now in the realm of tax policy, it's tariffs. tariffs are taxes. why not go after those? >> we have a lot of money to spend. >> that's because you're wearing this green suit. >> thank you, dan, thank you,
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michael. you take it every time you come. >> i love it. thank you all. anthony scaramucci said he needs to come up with a primary challenger for trump. i'm going to meet a man who said he will explore doing just that. will he run against president trump? i'm going to ask him, next. billions of mouths. billions of problems. morning breath? garlic breath? stinky breath? there's a therabreath for you. therabreath fresh breath oral rinse instantly fights all types of bad breath and works for 24 hours. so you can... breathe easy. there's therabreath at walmart. it's my special friend, antonio. his luxurious fur calms my nerves when i'm worried about moving into our new apartment. why don't we just ask geico for help with renters insurance?
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i didn't know geico helps with renters insurance. yeah, and we could save a bunch too. antonio! fetch computer! antonio? i'll get it. get to know geico and see how much you could save on renters insurance. he borrowed billions donald trump failed as a businessman. and left a trail of bankruptcy and broken promises. he hasn't changed. i started a tiny investment business, and over 27 years, grew it successfully to 36 billion dollars. i'm tom steyer and i approve this message. i'm running for president because unlike other candidates, i can go head to head with donald trump on the economy, and expose him fo what he is: a fraud and a failure.
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president trump still has strong support with american voters, but some are divided between the parties. joining me now is former
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california governor and u.s. representative, mr. mark sanford. good evening. how you doing? >> i'm good. good to hear your voice. >> good to hear you. good to hear your voice and good to have you on. we have lots to talk about. back in july you said you would be providing a challenge to president trump. what's the status of that? >> i've been running the traps and, you know, you go through this process of talking to a lot of folks here at home, and frankly across the country, on the merits and demerits of doing so. i'm nearing a decision. i basically said by labor day iver got to make this decision wayne or another. >> you have six days before you have to make a decision. what are you going to do? you don't know? >> it's coming up fast. the obvious answer in human terms is there is a bit of fear and trepidation in a project so daunting and impossible, and i don't relish the idea of being a human pinata in front of donald trump. on the other side of the equation are the different
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friends who have enkurncouraged and their point is you've spent a lot of time over the years talking about debt and deficits and the way the government spends, you've talked about things vital to our system, whether republican or democrat, and a lot of things are being challenged on that front right now, and we need to have a serious conversation as republicans about what it means to be republican these days. it's for that reason that i think strongly about it, particularly given its implications in my four young boys' lives going forward. >> when somebody says, we need to talk. you need one of those talks. anthony scaramucci, i think he agrees with what i just said and what you said as well. he said he's looking to build a coalition to take on trump. watch this. >> this is really about the country. this is like step back, be brave, be courageous, look at the entire country. when you're going to bed tonight, close your eyes and say, wait a minute, is this how it's supposed to be in my
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country? the country i love. is america supposed to be like this? i know i'm worried about my 401(k), but what about the fabric of my country? what about the division that's being sewed and the hatred? is this what i want? and i'm hoping a few guys will wake up tomorrow morning, give me a call, very easy to find, and say, hey, let's put this coalition together. >> governor, have you spoken to anthony scaramucci? is that what this is about for you, too? >> no, i mean, i've not spoken with him. i'm certainly familiar with the name. and i have spoken to other folks in that camp that have been wandering around looking for folks that will run against trump. you know, my direction and my hopping into this thing if i do so, it will be based on the conversations i've had with friends here at home that hai'v known over the course of my life and friends across the country,
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and that's sort of it. i wish them well in that endeavor. my view is the more the measureier. i think we need to have a robust conversation on the republican side of the ledger on what it means to be republican and how important it is that we go back to some of our historical lynchpins. traditionally the republican party on some level stood for historical spending. that's gone out the window for me and other republicans. >> you said you'll make a decision whether you're going to challenge trump by labor day, and that's a few days away. his approval is 88% among republicans. how do you overcome that? >> i think what's interesting, because in new hampshire, i was there last week, there was a similar poll, same kind of numbers in terms of overall support for the president. but about half the respondents in that very poll said they would like to see the president challenged. they would like to see a primary challenge. so i think there is some level of cognitive dissonance on it is
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republican si -- the republican side of the equation where they say, i'd like to see what would happen with regard to the economy or with regard to a 401(k) plan, or what comes next with regard to the bordere border or the wall, the same time they do have a sense of unease. is this economy stable? what's going on on that front? is it as a consequence of his sometimes outrageous tweets? is this sustainable? there are a lot of republicans, because i've talked to them over 20 years in politics, that care very much about bread and butter, what are historically republican issues about balancing the budget and things like that. >> if you're not the candidate, if you decide come monday, next week, that you're not going to run, would you vote for trump? >> again, what i've said is, with all due respect to bernie sanders, his political idealogy is even further afield than
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donald trump's for me because i'm a conservative republican. >> there are others besides bernie sanders, though. >> i know, but the last time i checked, the progressive wing of the party seems to be leading the charge, so that's where i am. >> hold on one second. i'm sorry for the delay. bernie sanders is not even leading the polls, it's joe biden at this point, and then elizabeth warren is second. >> i'm aware of that, but last time i checked, there seems to be a nipping on the heels with elizabeth warren and bernie accruing and biden holding, more or less, still, that the movement seems to be on the other side. maybe i'm wrong on that but that's some of what i've seen in some of the polls. the point is you are what you make -- >> so what are you saying? >> i'm saying i am a republican and i'll end up supporting a republican. >> which is the president. yes? that's a yes? >> i know i'm disappointing you right now. >> i want to make this clear. you're not disappointing me, it's just that there is a delay, this cross-talk, i just want to
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make sure what you're saying is coming across to our viewers. that's it. >> sure. sure. thank you, mr. sanford. i appreciate it. >> my pleasure. one of the president's most loyal supporters started 2016 trying to stop him from getting elected. how mike pompeo went from calling trump a con artist to being his right-hand man as secretary of state. that a handle is just a handle. or -- that you can't be both inside and outside. most people haven't driven a lincoln. discover the lincoln approach to craftsmanship at the lincoln summer invitation. right now, get 0% apr on all 2019 lincoln vehicles plus no payments for up to 90 days. only at your lincoln dealer. you only talk about your insurancet, when you complain about it. (garbled)'s so painful. good point! that's why esurance is making the whole experience surprisingly painless. so, you never have to talk about it.
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in the administration known for record staff turnover, secretary of state mike pompeo stands out as a lone survivor of president trump's original national security team. more remarkable is pompeo's. >> translator: -- trans fformatn of being a trump critic to a trump supporter.
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susan glasser is here. she wrote an article in the new yorker. this is mike pompeo who backed senator marco rubio, his presidential bid, attacking trump. watch this. >> donald trump the other day said, quote, if you tell a soldier to commit a war crime, the soldier will just go do it. he said, they'll do as i tell them to do. we spent 7.5 years with an a authori -- authoritarian president who ignored our requests. we don't need four more years of that. we all know that our men and women in uniform don't swear a legion to president trump or any other president. they take an oath to defend our constitution as kansans, as conservatives, as republicans,
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as americans. marco rubio will never allude our soldiers by saying he needs them to do something consistent for our constitution. >> mike pompeo went from that blistering criticism to this. >> i think a fantastic outcome from the day and a half that we all spent there led by the president. the president's discussion with president putin set the conditions where we can find overlapping space. counterterrorism, the russians on the treaties that there are violations of in place, and we can begin to have important dialogues to put that relationship in a place where we reduce the risk to the united states. i'm glad to serve as your cia director. it is an incredible honor to lead our men and women, and i'm not going to say a damn thing in front of the media. >> susan, what happened? what's behind this transformation of mike pompeo?
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>> it's such a breathtaking flip-flop that i think in some ways we forget how monumental it is, because it really is a microcosm of what the republican party did. basically the entire party was against donald trump. what's notable is pompeo as a congressman spoke out in such strident terms. he said he was a threat to the constitution. just a few months later, according to my reporting, he was not only willing to serve donald trump but was actually seeking a job out in the trump administration within days of trump winning the election. he was trying to become cia director or secretary of the army. now he's gone in the exact opposite direction of being perhaps the most obsequious of trump's many advisers, according to people i spoke with. you know, the thing is that i was struck by the fact that, you know, trump has nominated and given people chances they wouldn't have had in any other
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administration, right? mike pompeo has a thinner resume than any modern secretary of state. he has less international experience. he hasn't been vetted in many ways by the public in a way that we've become accustomed to, never mind having the diplomatic experience. trump has given him this opportunity of a lifetime in many ways, and i think that explains at least part of his transformation. >> susan, there is a description in your article by a former ambassador very simply calling pompeo a heat-seeking missile, and this is a quote, for trump's ass. it's gotten a lot of attention. is this how the secretary of state managed to become the lone survivor of trump's original national security team? >> well, don, there are plenty of people who have worked with trump as that ambassador had who believe that that is a key part of his success. needless to say, that is not very diplomatic language, and is
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not the kind of thing i have heard from current or former u.s. ambassadors about american secretaries of state before, and it leapt out at me. i think it's something that's striking and notable, and when we look back on this period of american history, it's one of the things that's going to distinguish this moment. secretary pompeo, at his one-year anniversary, and most cabinet secretaries these days don't even get one year in office, he defined the state department's mission as serving -- the premier agency serving the president of the united states. not the american people, but the president of the united states. >> susan glasser, thank you so much. i appreciate your time. >> thank you, don. the officer accused of fatally choking eric garner was fired today, but the story is far from over. all the details, next. leep numb. can it help us fall asleep faster? yes, by gently warming your feet. but can it help keep us asleep?
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now that's eatin' good in the neighborhood. the new york police officer accused of fatally choking eric garner in the commissioner james o'neill saying this today. >> in this case, the unintended consequence of mr. garner's death must have a consequence of its own. it is clear that daniel pantaleo can no longer effectively serve as a new york city police officer. >> garner, a father of six, was allegedly selling loose cigarettes illegally when police tried to arrest him, although his family disputes that account. his last words, i can't breathe, i can't breathe, became a rallying cry for black lives matter, the black lives matter movement around the country. join being me now to discuss is tom bernie, a former n.y.p.d. detective and cnn contributor, wesley lowery is here as well. gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us. this all coming down today.
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i want to play a little bit more from commissioner o'neal and then we'll talk about it. >> carrying out the court's verdict in this case, i take no pleasure. i know that many will disagree with this decision and that i their right. there are absolutely no victors here today. not the garner family, not the community at large, and certainly not the courageous men and women of the police department. who put their own lives on the line every single day in service to the people of this great city. today is a day of reckoning, but can also be a day of reconciliation. >> so, wess, he says there are no victors. what's your reaction to pantaleo's firing? >> well, certainly this was a decision that there were questions about whether or not this was what was going to happen or not. remember, this has been an extremely long, more than five years long process. first the local grand jury deciding they weren't going to bring criminal charges. then you had a federal investigation begun under the obama administration stretched
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into the trump administration. there was a big fight at the d.o.j. whether or not they were going to charge this officer federally. ultimately they decided not to. and then you had what is the internal administrative process, right, an internal trial where the n.y.p.d. had to decide, did officer pantaleo violate the choke hold policy. no police officer in n.y.p.d. is allowed to use a choke hold. the officer's attorneys argued essentially that he hadn't used the choke hold. it was a different type of hold, a seat belt hold. they argued that eric garner was still out of shape, in such bad shape a bear hug could have killed him. meanwhile the prosecutor said we've all seen the video, we watched it, it appears to be a choke hold. it's surprising to me the officer was fired on the facts of the case. i sat in the courtroom for the six-day trial and i thought the prosecutors made a compelling argument. but then again, it is remarkably rare for police officers to be fired for on-duty work, and we do have to remember that even once an officer a fired, very often they succeed at appealing and getting their job back. so two quick things.
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first, a five-year process, whether the officer, whether you're the garner family, whether you're the city of new york, that is a remarkably slow bureaucracy for justice no matter what. and second, this still probably isn't over. >> yeah. let's get a former member of the n.y.p.d. in, tom bernie. you say that the commissioner was backed into a corner with his decision. why do you say that? >> well, you have to remember that when i first started coming on cnn almost five years ago, we started talking about this case, this right after ferguson. and you have to remember the mayor of new york is currently running for president as ridiculous as that is. that's all we need around the country the way he's running new york city into the ground. so, you know, commissioner o'neal needs to keep his job. so aside from the facts of the case, he has to appease the mayor of the city of new york. and plus they also don't want a city full of riots going on tonight if the decision had gone the other way. so his back was up against the wall. if he keeps him on, he was screwed. if he fires him he's screwed.
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>> do you think -- >> no confidence -- >> do you think there are other commissioners who -- someone like bratten would have backed down from the city? do you think it was wrong? >> amadou diallo was shot 41 times and none of them were fired. the officers took the proper action they were trained to take. wess is correct in that during trial they did talk about the fact that pantaleo used an academy-trained approved seat belt maneuver which during the struggle starts to turn into a choke hold. but he's not choking him to death on purpose certainly we know that. it's unfortunate -- i feel awful for the garner family, i really do. i said that from day one since i stepped in here. i feel awful for them and what they've gone through. but there is some responsibility beared by eric garner not complying with the police. let's also not forget a huge part of this, the mayor of the city of new york put this perfect storm together by ordering the police department
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to crackdown on the sale of loose cigarettes, because the city was losing tax revenue. so the mayor chose tax revenue over eric garner's life. >> go ahead, wesley, what did you want to say? >> i was going to add that was something that came out in the administrative trial that was really interesting, right, that this order -- one of the things about these cases is we very often don't find out all the details until well later on. so when this administrative trial happened, there was testimony that the reason eric garner was stopped that day was because the command staff had called their officers in, had ordered a crackdown on loose cigarettes. that day a lieutenant had called into the precinct and said i see some guys on the corner, go check it out. it speaks to, again, the interaction one way or the other. it speaks to high-level policing decision ands priorities can start to create these on the ground moments. again, someone, a high-ranking officer at n.y.p.d., because of what he had been instructed, called in and said get those guys off the corner and it leads to this fatal interaction. it is a context worth
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considering. >> i have to run. it's important to note the family is looking for a law in eric garner's name. they talked about it in the press conference, they've been talking about it since it happened. we'll continue to follow the story. also he plans to appeal, eric garner -- sorry, pantaleo is going to appeal. appreciate it, gentlemen. we'll be right back. anyone can deliver pizza. only marco's can deliver america's most loved pizza. hot and fresh, and right to your door. dough made from scratch, every day. sauce from the original giammarco recipe. and authentic toppings like crispy, old world pepperoni™. that's italian quality pizza. and it makes the moment... primo. every day at marco's, get two medium, one-topping pizzas for just $6.99 each. hello to the italian way. hello primo. [horn honks] man this is what i feel like when i wear regular shoes, cramped and uncomfortable. we can arrange a little upgrade. which is why i wear skechers... wide fit shoes. they have extra room throughout. they're like a luxury ride for my feet. try skechers wide fit shoes.
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