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tv   CNN Right Now With Brianna Keilar  CNN  December 23, 2019 10:00am-11:00am PST

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it will be interesting to see if he starts tweeting about that and putting more demands on mcconnell to reconsider. >> lots to see in the new year. thanks for joining us on "inside politics." brianna keilar starts right now. i'm brianna keilar live from cnn's washington headquarters. underway right now, a political stalemate, mitch mcconnell and nancy pelosi digging in their heels on where the impeachment fight goes next, as the white house considers a new talking point that the president wasn't actually impeached. an emboldened kim jong-un is ready to take denuclearization off the table as his security adviser says the security policy is a failure. and he lost some subscribers
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but gained many after taking a stand against the president last week. is the president's evangelical support about to crack? they reached a verdict in the murder of jamal khashoggi. but they are still debating on what to do with the man who ordered the murder. the house has started impeachment against president trump but has not sent the articles of impeachment. on the senate side, mitch mcconnell doesn't seem in a hurry to give in to demands on the senate trial structure. this morning he said this. >> the papers have to be physically brought over to the senate, and we can't go forward until the speaker does that. she's apparently trying to tell us how to run the trial.
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you know, i'm not anxious to have this trial, so if she wants to hold onto the papers, go right ahead. i can't imagine what purpose it serves by her hold ing onto the papers, so sooner or later, i assume she'll send them over. it seems to be an absurd position after impeaching a president you won't send the papers over to the senate for the impeachment trial mandated by the constitution. >> lauren fox is following this on capitol hill. lauren, tell us what you're hearing there about this standoff. >> reporter: well, democrats think they have leverage by hold be onto the articles of impeachment. you heard the majority leader saying that's not the case. the republicans are not excited to have this senate trial. they will have one and they're prepared to do so, but it is only a waiting game at this point as everyone is waiting to see what nancy pelosi will do next. mcconnell said earlier today he suspects this won't be resolved until after the holiday so lawmakers can enjoy their two-week recess and they will come back together in january
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and potentially figure this out. we stand right now with democrats hoping, brianna, to have witnesses as part of the senate trial. and republicans arguing they are not in a position to negotiate which witnesses they want to have just yet. basically, mcconnell's argument has been, what we want to do is we want to have the house managers present their case, the white house present their case, then we will make a decision about if and when and who the witnesses would be in this case, brianna. that's where things stand today. not a lot of movement expected over the next week and a half. >> on these holidays, lauren fox, thank you so much for that report. there is a new argument filed overnight in the justice case of don mcgahn. a federal appeals court is figuring out whether don mcgahn will have to testify or whether the white house's assertion of actual immunity is a thing. we have evan perez.
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evan, take us through the argument here. >> reporter: this is an argument the administration has been making all along, which is the courts should stay out of this fight which is between congress and the white house. the president says he can grant absolute immunity to some of his closest aides, and don mcgahn who was a former white house counsel, he was an important witness in the mueller investigation, especially on the issue of obstruction of justice. the question is should the courts continue to look at this case, to hear these arguments at a time when the house has already impeached the president and the senate is considering whether or not there will be a trial. just as you and lauren were just talking about, that's kind of being held in abeyance right now. for now the appeals court is scheduled to hear some arguments in january, but they're wondering whether or not this is actually something that is moot now, given the fact that the house has already voted to impeach the president. i suspect that the courts are going to want to hear more about this, and despite the arguments
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from the administration that the courts should stay out, we know that a district judge has already said the president cannot give absolute immunity, that people have to show up if they've been subpoenaed by the house. so we'll see whether this argument that the administration is making gains any currency with the appeals court. you know, it should be mentioned that at the district court level, that has failed so far. >> that is very important to mention. thank you very much, evan, evan perez. newly released emails now show that the trump administration froze military aid to ukraine roughly 90 minutes after president trump hung up the phone with president zelensky. 91 minutes to be exact there between the end of the, quote, perfect call and the hold of nearly $4 million. matt lewis is with us.
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he's senior columnist for the daily beast and dana bash, our political correspondent here at cnn. that timing. how do you argue these two things weren't connected. 91 minutes. >> it's hard not to argue that. the problem is the same as so many of the -- maybe the pieces of circumstantial evidence or witnesses who heard from other witnesses who actually have firsthand knowledge is that those people, those four people, have been forbidden by the president to talk, and unlike some of the witnesses who did come forth and spoke in deposition testimony in the house, they have said, no, we're not going to talk. will this, you know, convince some republicans, perhaps, if they get in a senate trial to the stage where there are individual witnesses called by the democratic managers and they have to have votes for which you only need 51 votes, which would
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mean if all democrats voted yes, four republicans would have to vote with them? perhaps, but even that doesn't guarantee that they would feel comfortable coming forward given what the trump administration edict is, which is no. >> what do you think, matt, when you look at that. it seems a bit more than coincidental. >> it seems awfully coincidental. i think it had already been very clearly established that donald trump, of course, tried to coerce the leader of ukraine to announce an investigation of joe biden. that's obviously an abuse of power, it's obviously impeachable, and this just reinforces that. it's one more piece of evidence that demonstrates that that happened, that they were using military aid as leverage. and yet i don't think it matters at all in terms of when it goes to the senate. if republican senators don't already realize that this is blatantly obvious, i'm not sure one more piece of evidence, as
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much as it accumulates, i don't know that it will actually matter. >> unless you have, and this is a big if, duffey testifying saying, yeah, i got a call that the president just hung up the phone with the leader of ukraine and he said, hold the aid until we get the investigation. >> and mcconnell says no witnesses. >> you have a democratic senator, chris van holland in maryland, who is looking at that holdup because you have democrats and republicans who know that the aid was held up, but they're not finding agreement on whether or not it was okay, right? then holland wanted to look into whether this is actually illegal. here's what he said on cnn. >> what we're saying is, look, even if you took them at their word, this trumped-up idea that this was a policy review, they're still in violation of the empowerment control act. they're still committing illegal acts. >> sophia, what do you think? >> he's absolutely right on the merits of whether or not they did this for whatever reason they did this.
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what van holland is saying is tell me if they did this and if it violates the law. tragically, we're in a constitutional crisis. i don't say that to be dramatic. this is real. we have a real situation where the president of the united states did things that were impeachable. again, you're seeing a group of very different people agree on those set of facts. i think the problem is the republicans made a decision to not be impartial jurors, and there is the problem there, because if they're not going to -- look at the way mitch mcconnell is talking. if their goal is just to get this in and dismiss it and get rid of it, that's the problem we have. we're not engaged in a search for the truth. we're not engaged for -- at a trial, by the way, the house indicts america, the senate gets a trial. would you want to be indicted and then hear one of the jurors stand up and say i'm not impartial? i wouldn't. nancy pelosi, brilliant and
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crazy like a fox, i think she's smart because public opinion watching these facts come out little by little might have some sway. they might. >> the holdup here on sending the articles of impeachment over to the senate, let's talk about that. because right now they're at this impasse and mcconnell has said, basically, oh, wait, you're not going to send me the articles for a trial i'm not really keen on having? okay, whatever. he is coordinating with the white house, he's made that clear. you actually talked to republican senator roy blunt on "state of the union." he said this. >> i frankly don't think the speaker has the right to do this or the power to do this. the speaker has a lot of power. but once the house has spoken, the speaker doesn't get the decision as to whether or not she transmits that decision to the senate, in my view. i think we'll have this all handled by the time we get back in january. >> what do you think the end game is here? and when are we going to see
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this all happen? do you expect it will happen in the senate? >> you just heard roy blunt, who is a member of the republican leadership and chairman of the rules committee which generally helps to set this, although this very much is a sort of mcconnell-schumer thing at this point. he's been around a long time, as you know, and he thinks it's going to be done. they had hoped to start the trial the second week in january. what i asked him and his response was was about whether or not it is possible for the senate to just start without technically getting the articles of impeachment, because that was one of the sort of things floating around, and he said, he doesn't think it's going to come to that, basically. >> so one of the talking points that the white house is considering, this is according to reporting from cbs news, is that this idea that because articles haven't been sent over -- we heard this from
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norman if he woufeldman, one of constitutional experts who actually testified at the behest of democrats, and this idea that he's not technically impeached. what do you think about that? >> that's ridiculous. of course he's impeached. the house took a vote. he's impeached. whether or not you walk the articles of impeachment over for a trial -- if i'm indicted, i'm indicted. whether or not you have the trial a year later, i'm still indicted for a crime. constitutionally, i think the courts have to weigh in. as someone who was admitted to the bar of the supreme court, i'd like to hear from him on this what happens here when you've got article 1 and article 2 in a fist fight and how do we settle it? somehow the supremes have to get involved here. >> i want to talk about alabama, senator doug jones, surprise, because he's a democrat from alabama, right, when he came into the senate. he's making headlines because he's talked about how there are gaps in the case the democrats have made. a lot of democrats would say, what are you talking about,
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there aren't gaps. so the fact he's saying there are gaps, and i was talking to him last week, and he said he was looking for a fair trial and he wants to see all the evidence now. what do you think, matt? what does it mean for what the vote might be? >> i wonder if he thinks he has a chance for reelection or if he wants to be left at home with the trump lovers or this is the way he's talking now and he'll ultimately vote with democrats. as much as i think nancy pelosi is very shrewd and very smart, i think the real question was should democrats have held open the house impeachment? because then you could have tried to compel people like bolton or pompeo to testify, and then doug jones really would have no argument at that point. i get why democrats -- >> doug jones might not be in the senate by that time. >> he must be fighting reelection right now. that would be shooting the moon. >> just because it's a different
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dynamic than, say, the kavanaugh nomination, there are similarities in that one of the calculus -- calculi? >> calculations. >> it's monday. >> it's monday of a holiday week. >> that the moderate democrats and the moderate republicans have to make going into this if they're going to put the politics in the mix of their decision is if i vote against my party, am i going to anger my base so much that even if i get some republicans and independents, it won't make up for it. that's true for doug jones. if he doesn't vote against the president for the articles of impeachment, there are democrats, there is a democratic base in alabama, and if they stay home, he's in trouble. >> thank you so much, all of you, sophia, matt, dana, appreciate it. that special relationship that the president has touted with kim jong-un, it appears to be over. north korea is set to adopt a newhard line policy with t-- ne
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policy that appears to take denuclearization off the table. and saudi arabia hands down death sentences in the death of jamal khashoggi. but are those involved in this brutal murder just getting a pass? ...much better. my psoriasis, clearer... cosentyx works on all of this. four years and counting. so watch out. i got this! watch me. real people with active psoriatic arthritis are feeling real relief with cosentyx. cosentyx is a different kind of targeted biologic. it treats the multiple symptoms of psoriatic arthritis to help you look and feel better. it even helps stop further joint damage. don't use if you're allergic to cosentyx. before starting, get checked for tuberculosis. an increased risk of infections and lowered ability... fight them may occur. tell your doctor about an infection or symptoms,
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now, millions of americans can have access to 5g on t-mobile. and this is just the beginning. t-mobile, the first and only nationwide 5g network. president trump's former national security adviser john bolton is delivering the harshest criticism of president trump yet, saying he's failing in his deal with north korea, saying he's bluffing for the
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denuclearization ambitions. quote, the idea that we're exerting maximum pressure on north korea is just unfortunately not true. this comes as north korea is preparing to send the u.s., quote, a christmas gift, which means they're considering taking denuclearization off the negotiating table or possibly even testing a missile that's capable of reaching all the way to the u.s. with me here now is samantha vinograd. she's a former security adviser in the obama administration. sam, thank you for joining us. john bolton, obviously, he's known as someone who is pre-hawkish on a lot of things including north korea and iran. how much of this is just him stoking the flames on his former boss and how much of this is simply his opinion? >> john bolton is spending time i could be spending talking to congress. john bolton has been at odds with north korea even when he
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was national security adviser. but with respect to the specific claim that president trump is bluffing, the proof is in the pudding, brianna. we have seen north korea's test missiles since president trump and kim jong-un began their special relationship. we have seen president trump fail to take action when north korea has tested missiles. let's remember, short-range missiles which north korea has resumed testing, directly threatened americans. hundreds of thousands of americans live in range of these missiles. so north korea has little reason to think that president trump will do anything concrete if they implement another test. >> so when did this fall apart or was it ever really something that was happening in the first place? >> the premise was wrong. the north koreans have now said denuclearization is off the table. this is the most honest they've been.
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remember, they said that the kim regime would not refodo this. reality bites for the president in this scenario because it's not where he wants it to be, and whether he will acknowledge that north korea is not going to denuclearize and in some way try to figure out if, instead, he can try to get the next best option, which is a freeze on the current program. >> this issue has -- you said reality bites for president trump. reality has bitten for so many presidents now in a row here when it comes to north korea. so the best-case scenario, then, would be a freeze. but long-term, what is the reality that the u.s. is going to be confronting when it comes to north korea and nuclearization? >> brianna, i'm glad you raised that because the north korea nut has been tough to crack for lots of presidents, not just president trump. the difference with this president is he's tied his
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personal campaign, his political needs, with success with north korea. so north korea has improved its arsenal, it's gotten more advanced technology and it's started to get more revenues from sanction busting. it's in a better place when president trump resumed these negotiations, so whoever is in the oval office after the 2020 election is going to confront a stronger north korea. >> sam vinograd, thank you so much. >> thanks, brianna. one publication sparking a religious divide. why an op-ed about the president has nearly 200 faith leaders up in arms plus the fight for votes in the 2020 race. >> i don't think that donald trump has some kind of monopoly on votes in rural america or in suburban america, not for a second. >> cnn takes a closer look at the straight ate of amy klobuch presidential campaign.
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a letter to the magazine's president, at least 200 church leaders said this, we are, nafrnafrin fact, not far right evangelicals
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as characterized by the author. rather, we are bible-believing christians and patriotic americans. your editorial offensively questioned the spiritual integrity and the christian witness of tens of millions of believers who take seriously their civic and moral obligations. sara, you wrote recently a "new york times" op-ed titled that the christianity today editorial won't change anything. tell us why. >> christianity today is a flagship for evangelicals founded by billy graham years ago. but since then, evangelicals have changed a lot. there have been a lot of submovements within evangelicalism that we now see rallying around president trump. new political organizations, new kinds of media.
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so a magazine like "christianity today" doesn't have the singular resonance it might have had back in the '60s and '70s. so when you see these 200 evangelical leaders pushing back on "christianity today," that is the evangelical america that supports donald trump. it is the mainstream of evangelicalism, 80% of white evangelicals opposed impeaching president trump, and the evangelicals that wrote that letter are the strongest supporters of president trump and they represent those voters. >> and, father beck, the head of "v "christianity today" says they did lose some subscribers. that's important to note. but he said they ended up gaining three times as many new subscriptions regarding trump's removal. what do you make of that and what do you make of whether this is just something that is some
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kind of blip on the radar or that more people could actually be affected by an op-ed like this. >> brianna, first of all, "christianity today" is a centrist magazine, not on the far left like the president says it is. i take what she said as correct, but even evangelicals are bible-believing christians. if you take the bible as a whole, you are hard-pressed, i think, evangelicals, some of them are saying now, especially younger ones, to continue to support this president. so i think what we are seeing are cracks in that support. because issues like immigration and the treatment of migrants, the environment, these count, especially to young evangelicals. the ten commandments, even hard, fast evangelicals, what about the eighth commandment, bearing false witness, which is lying? the president has been shown to have lied a lot. so do those who believe in the
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bible or the seventh commandment against adultery, do they simply toss all of that out because of a few issues that they think are more important, like abortion or the appointment of supreme court judges? i don't think so. i think what we're going to see is a further erosion, because while 80% of white evangelicals may have voted for this president, now this president has been in office for quite some time and have done things that voters who voted for him no longer agree with and would not support again. >> sara, i know you say, yeah, there is a crack, but it was there all along. there is a group of evangelicals who don't agree with the president and yet it's a very small slice of the overall evangelical pie. when you hear father beck sort of outlining some of the issues that are confronting all voters, and i think, look, a lot of voters are full of contradictions, right? it's hard to fully understand -- they believe in one thing but their actions say another thing.
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how do you make sense of where evangelicals are on reconciling what they think is important morally and then supporting someone who very clearly goes against a lot of the things that they say they believe in? >> well, for the white evangelicals who are supporting president trump and supporting him through every scandal and controversy of his presidency, this is really more about their power than it is about morality. they say it's about morality, and they say it's about their religious freedom or opposing abortion or saying that lgbt rights infringes on their religious liberty, but they have gained a lot of political power during trump's presidency. it's not just the judges that he's appointed, it's not just the policies that he's created, it's that he's let them create the policies. he's appointed conservative evangelicals to be cabinet secretaries, he's appointed them to important political
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appointments in agencies like the department of health and human services and the department of justice that are making key policy. and what's very important to them is that they are the drivers of this policy, of these policies. and they have power in this presidency. so they're willing to overlook any wrongdoing by the president because they believe he was chosen by god to save america at this time, and that he's giving them the power to do it by giving them the tools of government by which to do these policies. >> father beck? >> and yet they follow a jesus that opposes the abuse and misuse of political power. so i think you're hard-pressed to say that is a christian following. also i think if you look at what the teaching of jesus is, say, what is salvation? who gets saved? that's only in matthew 25 in the
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christian scriptures. in the criteria, did you feed the hungry, did you clothe the naked, did you visit the imprisoned? it's all about the outcast, the poor. how do christians say this doesn't matter -- this is what jesus says is most important about getting into the kingdom. how do you say that doesn't matter as a christian? i don't think you can simply focus on power and say this is good enough. what about the powerlessness that jesus teaches? i think these are key issues to keep in mind when we're looking at this pre didicament. amy klobuchar in iowa. she tells us what that state is all about. and the khashoggi murder
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fresh off the heels of a debate performance, amy klobuchar is criss-crossing iowa
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with the hope of visiting all of iowa's 96 counties before february 3rd. keung min sum is joining us from iowa. how do you think she feels after the debate last week? >> reporter: she thinks she cracked it after the debate last week and here she's seeing many crowds, people who are willing to give her another look but not quite sold yet. >> the midwest is not flyover country to me. i live here. i hope you saw the debate. >> reporter: senator amy klobuchar believes now is her upswing. the minnesota moderate criss-crossing 27 counties in iowa. >> hurry up. get on the bus. >> reporter: from rural to suburban venues.
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>> we have 47 days left, we have this incredibly important impeachment hearing, i don't know when i can come back. >> the senate looms and the clock ticks. >> thank you, everybody! this will be our 79th county. >> reporter: inside the klobuchar campaign, their come-from-behind strategy is to meet iowans face to face. >> it's one of the counties obama won and then trump won. >> reporter: and chip away at the more moderate candidates polling higher. >> when people in those rooms say, why should i when i have a new person like pete buttigieg or someone who is tested like joe biden, why should i consider someone like you? >> i think i'm the right package. i like to vote that 59 is the new 37 to mayor pete, that i'm someone that's in between the ages. i am a new generation of leader. >> reporter: an argument of her midwest experience sharpened from the debate to the stump.
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she's won in trump districts, urban, suburban and rural. so one day heckle? >> how will you pay for it? >> reporter: she'll t ii nrk ti convince them. >> i have outlined how i will pay for everything i proposed. >> i don't think president trump has the votes in suburban america or rural america. you'll see a lot of suburban voters that voted for women, they voted for democrats, independents and moderates. >> reporter: the hard part, getting iowans to decide. >> i like pete and i like amy. they've always been my top two. >> reporter: what is going to push you to decide? >> i get to meet amy tonight. >> reporter: after he's listened to her? >> i probably went from 50-50
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and now i'm 70 or 80. >> reporter: we did find a number of voters pledging to caucus for klobuchar, including judy anderson won over just this week. >> her sense of humor and relating to people directly was a wonderful experience. >> reporter: and did the debate have anything to do with it? >> oh, lord, yes. >> reporter: but overwhelmingly, many were like jan norris. >> how many have i received? one, two, three, four, five, six -- 17. >> reporter: there are so many to choose from, she says. >> 17 candidates. >> amy is definitely in the running. >> reporter: do you feel like you're running out of time in making a decision? >> oh, no. february 2nd, maybe february 3rd. >> reporter: that's when you'll make a decision. so for a candidate working on the upset, the slow grind continues. so 42 days left before the iowa caucuses, but those numbers, those number of days actually
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less for senator klobuchar, because, brianna, she has to pull off the campaign trail to take part in any sort of senate impeachment trial. brianna? >> indeed. keung, thank you so much for taking us on the campaign trail with you. keung min in council bluffs, iowa. and now five men are sentenced to death in connection with jamal khashoggi's murder. why many are calling these a sham, next. 're gone. now in-network with vsp. visionworks. see the difference.
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people to death for the murder of journalist jamal khashoggi. he was killed and allegedly dismembered inside the consulate in turkey last year after speaking out against the saudi crown prince. saudi officials released ten defendants due to lack of evidence. several of them had close ties -- have close ties to the saudi royal family including a former top adviser to the crown prince. joining me now to discuss this is aaron david miller. he has spent more than two decades serving as a middle east negotiator and he was a friend of jamal khashoggi. as you watch this, aaron, and let's talk first about your view on -- i'm curious about how saudis are receiving this. but what is your view on whether this is a sham trial as many people especially those close to jamal say it is. >> identify the word you want. cover-up, whitewash, sham, saudi justice. there's so many things wrong
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with this verdict beginning with the fact that three of the key participants in this premeditated murder were either found acquitted or weren't even charged. then there's the issue of the narrative that the saudi government is still putting out including the chief prosecutor. this, in fact, was an accidental killing. it wasn't premeditated. that's contradicted on the report this summer which documents fairly authoritatively it would seem exactly what the saudis wanted to do. and our own cia's assessment with medium to high confidence the crown prince either had foreign knowledge or ordered the killing. >> that's the assessment from the cia. when you put it that way, the saudi government is sentencing to death five individuals who are at least partially responsible for a killing that the saudi government appears to have had knowledge or even ordered. how is this being received by
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people over there? do saudis see it like this? >> i don't think there's a public opinion poll that would reveal honestly what the vast majority of young saudis think. i think mohammed bin salman bamboozled through his own charisma. very popular among saudi middle class and saudi youth. so i'm sure no country wants to see its ruler attacked by foreign media, particularly, or by the chattering classes in washington. so there's a rally around the crown prince. and i think by and large he's got a lock on saudi public opinion. so i think they bought pretty comprehensively the story on this. >> and let's talk about his family. because they were at the trials. there have been reports that some of them have been receiving hefty pavements from the royals. then a short time ago, his sons tweeted out that the sentence was, quote, fair to us. what did you make of that? >> look, i can't judge these kids. i lost my own father this year
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to natural causes. i mean, they're grieving. at the same time the saudi government, "new york times" has reported has paid thousands in monthly subsidies as well as very expensive homes in saudi arabia. they've been not critical of the saudi government. there may be discord among them, what i'm told. but i think by and large they're accepting the realities fatalistically. however angry may may be about what the saudis have done. that, in fact, athis is what ha occurred. i feel horribly for all of them including his fiance. >> what is the u.s. role in all of this? how has the u.s. affected the situation? >> participated in forming advising on policy toward u.s./saudi relationship for a long time. we've acquiescacquiesced, flatt before. but what this administration has done goes beyond anything that would be considered even
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moderate. we validated saudi behavior. we've created enough margin for error and political space for the crown prince essentially to do more or less anything that he wants. should have been an fbi investigation. congress wanted the global act imposed which would have forced the administration to at least region a judgment as to how high the culpability went for this. and the agency concluded there was credible evidence that this was not a rogue operation, was not an accident. it was a cold, brutal, premeditated killing by the saudi government and probably authorized by them. >> thank you for coming in to discuss this. still ahead, boeing fires its ceo as the company continues to grapple with safety concerns following the two deadly 737 max crashes. don't miss out on a chance to help protect your family-
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a big shakeup at boeing. ceo dennis muilenburg has been fired after the company faced a series of setbacks this year with its 737 max airplane including two fatal crashes that killed 346 people. in a statement, boeing explained this decision saying, quote, the board of directors decided a change in leadership was necessary to restore confidence in the company moving forward. news of the ousting comes just one week after boeing announced
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it would suspend production of its 737 max starting next month. and that is it for me. jessica dean continues our coverage right now. hi, everyone. i'm jessica dean in for brooke baldwin. you're watching cnn. we're so glad to have you with us this afternoon. 90 minutes. that's how quickly the trump administration moved to freeze military aid to ukraine following president trump's july 25th call with his ukrainian counterpart president zelensky. new emails show the white house budget office directed the pentagon to hold off on releasing that money pending a review. but there was also this instruction. quote, given the sensitive nature of that request, i appreciate your keeping that information closely held to those who need to know to execute direction. the man behind that


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