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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  December 23, 2019 1:00pm-2:00pm PST

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erica hill fills in for jake tapper on "the lead." it starts right now. tis the season for a stalemate. "the lead" starts right now. a white house official called it a sensitive request that needsed to be closely held. newly released emails about freezing aid to crane pumping democrats to renew calls for more information. president trump has a plan to reassure evangelicals after a scathing review from a top publication. will it work. and north korea will deliver the u.s. a christmas gift, the president is doing it all wrong a top official says. welcome to "the lead" on this monday, i'm erica hill in for jake. we begin with the politics lead. a push from chuck schumer to get zomt -- to get documents and witnesses for the impeachment trial on the newly released
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emails of how the aid began roughly 90 minutes after the now infamous july 25th phone call. but as manu raju reports, mitch mcconnell doesn't expect a resolution to the stalemate until the new year. >> reporter: a new chapter in the fight over president trump's senate trial. as democrats push for a slew of documents and republicans continue to wait for the articles of impeachment from the house. mitch mcconnell again today pointing the finger at house speaker nancy pelosi. >> look, we're at an impasse. we can't do anything until the speaker sends the papers over. so everybody enjoy the holidays. >> reporter: sources say mcconnell and leader chuck schumer have no plans at the moment to talk. after schumer demanded that the leaders first agree to hear from witnesses blocked by the white house and review scores of documents withheld at the president's request. >> we need documents. >> reporter: in a letter to all senators, schumer detailed the
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wide range of documents senators must see to conduct a fair trial and pelosi needs to see what the senate process is first before naming managers to prosecute the case and before delivering the articles of impeachment to the senate. >> is that the requirement? you need to see a fair process? >> we would hope there would be a fair process just as we hope they would honor the constitution. >> reporter: mcconnell pushing back. >> it is a rather absurd position to say after you've impeached the president you won't send the papers over to the senate for the impeachment trial mandated by the constitution. >> reporter: but democrats have fresh ammunition an a court ruling prompted the release of email showing michael duffey calling for the treason military aid to ukraine just 90 minutes after the july phone call in which trump urged the ukrainian president to investigate former vice president joe biden. schumer demanding duffy's testimony. >> if there was ever an argument that we need mr. duffy to come
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testify, this is that information. this email is explosive. >> reporter: yet republicans remain relukt abts to criticize any part of trump's conduct. >> president's make mistakes and i don't know if this call was a mistake and there have been plenty of mistakes regarding ukraine. >> reporter: when the trial starts the focus is on whether four republicans will break ranks and vote with democrats to compel witness testimony but no one is revealing how they'll vote yet. and even one in a potential tough race johnny ernst didn't want to hear from mick mulvaney or bolton, saying that should be the house's job. >> that is an interesting revelation right there. thank you. appreciate it. as we look at where we stand, john avalon, the emails released do offer some new insight into how the aid was withheld and ultimately released. what do they change? >> well it is a question of whether republicans will
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recognize facts as being something that are important to any decision they make. the news that manu just broke that joni ernst, senator from iowa, doesn't want to hear from witnesses and something the house should have done is stunning considering she has a tough re-election and in what is a swing state and she's saying that she'll be part of the no nothing caucus in the senate. that is stunning and disturbing. but the real question is there any information that could come out that would open or change republicans' minds. that itself in answer seems to be no and that is disturbing just from a reason together on behalf of the republic level. >> and manu reporting that not wanting to hear from mulvaney or bolton and they are quick to jump on the emails look at this in connection of the dots and if you step back for a minute, it doesn't necessarily say x happened and there are redactions and that is what the mindset was and this is what forced it to happen and this is exactly how it played out. >> but i think if you did, to
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john's point, i'm not sure that would change minds. if you've already said the president's going to be acquitted as mitch mcconnell has, if you've already said i don't need to hear from your witnesses as joni ernst said, you've decided that none of this is impeachable and the president is innocent, this is a witch hunt. so i mean i think the idea that this is an impartial neutral exercise really on both sides, i will say, is naive. this is a performance. it is a performance that might have a constitutional moral underpinning behind it, sure. but it is a performance. >> in terms of that. >> and senators both side i want to play what dick durbin had to say about dana bash about how they plan to vote. take a listen. >> i think they've gone too far. how can they hold their hands up and say i swear impartial justice, i would like to sit at the managers table with the president's team. you can't do that. they shouldn't have done that. >> well democrats have done it
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too. >> well, they shouldn't. >> they shouldn't. they shouldn't on both sides. and to dana's point, they have been do it. and now doug jones is saying i need more to connect the dots. >> there is a lot of information that is already out there that we know. and there is more information that may come if there is a fair trial. i think the constitution dictates there should be a fair trial. we don't necessarily want to have a show. i think nancy pelosi is right to wait until she finds out exactly what is the process before she determined who the impeachment managers will be from the house. now in terms of republicans, i think they're in a difficult position because if they go along the lines of whatever trump does, they don't make any reason to -- any reason to think there is anything wrong with it and then they have to defend that forever for the rest of the year and we know there is more trump scandals going to come down the wire -- the way. this is a guy who started off to days before he took office paid
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a $25 million fraud settlement and a few days ago he paid $2 million settlement responsible for $2 million settlement. so he's got corruption on top of corruption on top of corruption that they're going to be accountable for and held accountable for from here on out. >> depending on what happens with everything that we see in the senate, who is to say and you say the president should be held accountable for all of this, if he's not being held accountable at this point, what would change, joey jackson, that all of a sudden some other conduct would then get the support? >> i don't think anything. so let's talk politics and legal. generally speaking in my line of business, facts matter. when you go and present to aer jury, you give them facts. >> what is that like, joey? >> i would say we could all agree in our line work. >> and that iss a problem, right. when you're parading in front of a jury you're asking them to look at facts. there are facts that may be harmful to you that you as an attorney may want to minimize and facts that you want to
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maximize but when you look at this here, we're talking about, it seems, there are facts compelling and we could also get additional facts and if you want to make the argument, it is hearsay and we don't have direct evidence and mr. president you're in a position to provide the direct witnesses and evidence and you're not doing it. even if we hear from mulvaney, the budget level authorities, hear from the secretary and say we hear from the president, i don't think it will move the needle because it goes to the political point and i think people are entrenched in their position. >> as you point out about information, the emails coming to light over the weekend because of the freedom of information request. do you think, joey, in looking at that, did they help to make the case in terms of setting up the case with facts for why it is important to have witnesses and evidence in a senate trial? >> i do. for two reasons. look, if you look at the emails or the essence of what we know about the emails we see there are this connection, this link. 90 minutes after a call there is the indication that we're twoing
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to hold off in aid. if you're looking for a connection, that seems to be a compelling one. second issue, when you are talking about but don't say anything, keep it quiet on the hush, that goes to what we call consciousness of guilt and i'll jump on top of a desk to help my clients, saying, look, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you know what you are doing is wrong and so it is troubling. >> that is what the emails show. very clearly. the fact pattern is good. and when they say -- from the d.o.d. asked what caused the change in policy and the answer is redacted. >> so we don't know what is there. not last to talk about them. president trump meantime focusing his anger on a target in front of a group of young conservatives. then saudi arabia sentencing five people to death for the murder of jamal khashoggi but there are more questions now than answers after the trial. but to businesses, we're a reliable partner. we keep companies ready for what's next.
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president trump announcing a
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rally for evangelical christians in miami next week after a top publication calling for removal from office because of his blackened moral record. some 200 other evangelical leaders are already speaking out in support of the president. >> reporter: president trump hitting the links at his west palm beach golf club on monday and hitting nancy pelosi on twitter, still angry over impeachment. calling the process unfair and suggesting pelosi will lose the house for democrats in 2020. the next election and his support among evangelicals also top of mind for trump. on the heels of a scathing call for his removal from office in christianity today, a central evangelical magazine founded by billy graham, the trump campaign launching the evangelicals for trump coalition scheduling a rally specifically for christian
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supporters next week in miami. as 200 evangelical leaders rush to trump's defense signing a letter bashing the magazine calling their op-ed offensive. one of those leaders, jerry fallwell jr. tweeting a defense of trump writing the impeachment by the democrats was their pearl harbor. i predict that 2020 election will be hiroshima and tagga s-- and nagasaki for the dems. over the weekend, ranting about a frequent but unusual target, windmills. >> i never understand wind, i know windmills very much -- >> falsely claiming they create pollution. >> tremendous fumes, gases, are spewing into the atmosphere. >> reporter: saying they cripple property values without any proof. >> and if you are a house within vision of some of these monsters, your house is worth 50% of the price.
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>> reporter: and that's not all. >> a windmill will kill many bald eagles. it's true. >> reporter: even though there is no proof that is true, the president took his claim even further. >> they're noisy. they kill the birds. you want to see a bird graveyard. just go and take a look. >> reporter: erica, in response to the criticism, christianity today has come out and said they stand by their op-ed. the editor in chief saying they hope this starts a dialogue among evangelicals about president trump's actions in office, erica. >> we'll look to see what that dialogue ultimately is boris, thank you as always. i also want to play a little bit of what senator webb had to say this weekend to dana bash on "state of the union" talking about evangelical support for the president. >> the faith based community is supportive of the president because he is very supportive with them. if you look at the president's actions, if roy blunt looks at
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the president's action, no president in my lifetime has been aggressive in trying to achieve the goals that faith-based voters have set out than this one has. >> and what are some of the goals? s.e., if we look at this and there is much said about this in the last few days as well, his legacy in the courts alone and appointing conservative judges and also when we look at this, does this boil down to a point of conservative judges, and outlawing abortion and does that matter more than the central tennants of someone's faith. >> that is real to that list as well. look, i'm an atheist. i went to catholic school for most of my life and the goal is not to identify policies that you might subscribe to and then put aside your moral issues. that is not what the bible teaches, that is not what christianity teaches. and i'm not going to pretend to know what is in the hearts and
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minds of millions of evangelicals. but it's concerning. and i do home that this op-ed creates a dialogue. because i think it is one that evangelicals should be having. they're not a monolith and they don't all vote the same or based on the same things. and, look, every vote is a complicated vote no matter who you are and what your moral compass is but i would say i think this is an opportunity for a democrat like pete buttigieg, who speaks christianity fluently and the other democratic candidates don't and it is a put-on and you could tell it is a put-on. for someone like pete buttigieg this is a real important part of his life and i think it might be nice to know if you're a democratic voter that there are christians left in the party who could talk the talk and walk the walk. if you might be considering switching your vote from trump to some other candidate. >> go ahead. >> i just don't know why
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evangelical movement has hijacked christianity in america. because african-american evangelicals do not feel the same way about donald trump. they do not feel the same way about the conservative push and the unwillingness to talk about racism in america. i've talked about this before. the white evangelical community supported slavery in america. they supported segregation in america. they support racism in america today. and so i think we have to make a clear distinction between the black gel and the white evangelical community. >> it is too big to say white evangelicals are -- >> i'm not saying -- >> but that is exactly the way they lose evangelical voters. you don't have to go that far. >> i'm not talking about winning voters. i'm talking about saying the truth. the black christian community at large is different from the white christian community at large. and i'm not saying that everybody in those communities is the same because neither one are are monolithic nor is evangelical community honno lithic. but for god sake, republicans
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have been selling the idea they're the moral majority party for 30, 40 years now and it is just not true. democrats should be able to at least say that we believe in some sort of ideas that if you believe in christianity, that christ believed in, what about helping the poor and the needy and people who are sick. all the republicans talk about one issue. abortion. that is not the only issue in the bible and jesus never mentioned abortion. >> you want to jump in. >> a., it is a mistake to consider the evangelicals monolithic. no political party could lay claim to the bible, from james madison is that we don't have a founding religion but it is troubling to see white evangelicals support this president even at numbers exceeding an authentic born again christian george w. bush who pursued many of the same policies and i think it comes down to a deal that is sometimes lost on democrats.
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there is the sense that we have the same enemies. the enemy of my enemy is my friend and he might be a king david and because he is pursuing our agenda and that is a dangerous name to play in the name of christianity. >> and i want to get your take on this, because that is an important conversation we need to keep having. the other thing that i guess we've heard in the last however many hours is we know that the president has long claimed that the fbi and the obama administration spied on his campaign but this is what kevin mccarthy, the top republican in the house, had to say over the weekend. >> well we pause from one moment and you read this i.g. report by horowitz, here is the fbi, they broke into president trump at the time candidate trump's campaign and spied on him and then covered it up. it is a modern day watergate. >> it is a not a modern day watergate. that is a lie. it is completely false. as we know from the justice
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department inspector general. >> see, the problem is that facts matter, but they almost don't. the fact is if you are in one party, there are facts. i guess you want to ignore it. the inspector general essentially said it was no spying, notwithstanding that the president himself continues to push the narrative that it was. now you just showed the slip there suggesting that it was and it is just not true. but that supports a political narrative which you feed to your base which apparently is acceptable and it is just wrong. one other quick point just to pivot back to s.e.'s point, this is an opportunity, the op-eder for the evangelicals for mayor pete, i see it as an opportunity for the republican party. there was someone who had the guts to come out and to stand tall and to say enough. i view what the president's doing as grossly, not my words, their words, immoral. why does it take this particular newspaper, of course the president's casting it as a left-wing newspaper. that is not true either. facts matter. they seem not to matter in this
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era. but someone has to stand up and even it appears now with this impeachment proceeding no one is. it is a perfect call. and everyone says, it's a perfect call. >> we're going to continue to rely on facts. because they do matter. meantime, the fight for witnesses. up next house democrats just responding to the trump administration's attempt to keep a key figure from testifying.
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we're back now with the politics lead. house democrats insisting they still need the testimony of former white house counsel don mcgahn because the investigation into whether president trump
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obstructed justice continues and could, in theory, lead to additional articles of impeachment. that in response to a filing overnight from the justice department. which argues the courts should avoid weighing in on mcgahn while a impeachment trial is pending. i want to bring in evan perez. so doj also saying that since the articles of impeachment do not include obstruction of justice, which they want to hear from don mcgahn about, his testimony is irrelevant at this point. >> that is right, erica. in the articles of impeachment, there is only one cursory sort of reference to the mueller investigation and that is one reason why the justice department said that the courts first of all should stay out of this. that is their argument for some months now that the courts should play no role in a fight that is between congress and the white house. but at the heart of this is the importance of this big question, which is can the president give absolute immunity to his close aides. that is what the president is arguing. that these people don't even have to show up to -- in
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response to a subpoena from congress, in this case don mcgahn who as you know was the former white house counsel and an important witness in the obstruction of justice part of the investigation. >> and the house is arguing it needs mueller grand jury secrets to show in the senate impeachment trial president trump's pattern of soliciting interference and obstruction. >> right, exactly. that is the one reference they make in the articles of impeachment that have been approved but the question is what does this matter for think other parts of what the house democrats are doing. and i think what the courts are struggling with, and certainly what the administration is trying to exploit here, is the fact that the democrats have already voted for these articles of impeachment and the answer is from the house democrats is we could always impeach him again essentially. we could ardmore articles of impeachment in addition to the ones already approved. >> be interesting to see how that would work.
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evan perez, thank you. joey jackson back with me now. so let's start with what we heard from the justice department and arguments filed again overnight. do those arguments hold water? >> this depends who you ask and who you are sitting next to. if i'm department of justice, i would say they do and they carry the day. but i think the court has a place here. why? you can't on the one hand argue that mcgahn is immune and he's not going to congress because i say so and if you don't like that go to the court and then we go to the court and you get a district court president that presidents we elect them and we don't elect kings and he has to testify. but if there are specific issues that you feel are privileged and fall into a legal exception he could cite that at the time of the testimony and now you say, no, it is going to impede upon what we're doing here. i don't think it is a krerd -- a credible argument. we get paid for arguments are
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not what we call frivolous but at the end of the day it is really not a legitimate argument to make that the court has no place. it may impede upon the impeachment proceedings and therefore hold off, hold the phone don't do it. i think that, no, it is not at all. >> do you think it is a stall tactic. >> what else. it is a complete stall. we know that congress has a responsibility and that includes getting information from the executives. >> so to your point, in terms of congress has a responsibility, the house as we just heard is saying, listen, part of the reason we need to hear from don mcgahn is that we are not done investigating. and there could be more articles of impeachment. >> there very well may. it is premature, right. i think they have to get through this. there has been an impeachment and we'll see what happens at senate trial whether there is more evidence and information and facts and will those facts matter. but sure. look, if you do something that is impeachable, the house has a role to ferret out that is and if he has information that he's
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not conveyed because he's held and not to testify, i think the court should make a ruling and they should proceed. >> you think they should make a ruling. quickly, do you think don mcgahn and other important witnesses could be compelled to testify. >> i don't see it. i think they should be but at the rate this is going, are you talking about the senate trial, i think that is completely in the arm of one mitch mcconnell, the senate majority leader and i think he'll call the shots and i think basically they will not be compelled unless he says they're compelled, i don't see that happening. >> might take a camp-- a christ miracle. with one democratic senator saying did the house overplay its hand. we'll ask a democratic member of the house next. i'm tom steyer and i approve this message.
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house democrats did a pushing back on the justice department arguing they still want don mcgahn to testify because they're not done investigating the president. and caution, mcgahn's testimony could result in more articles of impeachment against mr. trump. that is in response, of course, to this late night filing by the doj that argues that the federal
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court should stay out of the matter. and i want to bring in democratic congressman. if don mcgahn were to say something that you feel incriminates the president, would you expect there could be more articles of impeachment in the house? >> certainly. i think it is important to understand the process we just went through. the house is responsible for doing the investigation and the oversight and impeachment isn't recommending removal from office, impeachment is bringing the charges. so we thought there was enough evidence to bring article one which is abuse of power and enough evidence there was article two which is obstruction of congress and debate about a potential article of obstruction of justice. i think that is what is taking place right now. we're still doing the investigation into that potential obstruction of justice and that is where don mcgahn comes in. >> the mcgahn case heads back to federal appeals court next friday. initially democrats wanted to move things along quickly. but would you now support a delay on the senate trial until
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you know whether you would hear from don mcgahn? >> possibly. again, we do have some concerns that mitch mcconnell, who kind of is your foreman of the jury, which is the senate, saying that he's already made a decision to acquit the president. that doesn't suggest a fair trial. and i think the president ought to have a fair trial. they ought to see witnesses and again if there is additional evidence for a potential third charge, maybe you do delay for a bit. but you don't want to delay forever. >> maybe a bit, not forever. you voted in favor of the two articles of impeachment. as we know speaker pelosi is refusing to send the articles over until she learns more about how leader mcconnell plans to conduct the trial. i'm curious, now that you are home in california, what are you hearing from folks in your district about that decision? >> i think folks understand that they'd like to see a fair trial and understand the parameters of the trial. i also think there are a lot of americans that are ready to move beyond the impeachment back and
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forth. and they want to start focusing in on bread and butter issues like prescription drug prices, infrastructure, et cetera. >> so if they want to move beyond, mitch mcconnell said there is not a resolution until the new year. and there has been some pushback on the decision by speaker pelosi. are you concerned that holding out on the articles is starting to negatively affect democrats? >> i would hope everyone goes home for the holidays and comes back with some christmas cheer and were able to come to some consensus. i know leader schumer and mcconnell are having trouble kind of agreeing on what the parameters of a while would look like and it is their responsibility and again i hope they come to a conclusion there is a fair and impartial trial. >> democratic senator doug jones of alabama signaling that he sees some gaps in the evidence that has been put forth. take a listen. >> but if those dots aren't connected and there are other explanations that i think are consistent with innocence,ly go
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that way too. there are gaps. now people could make up their mind with gaps in testimony but i would like to see a full and complete picture. >> he would like to see a full and complete picture. do you agree and are you concerned at all that the impeachment case that has been put out there, what we know thus far from house democrats is not rock solid, especially if there is a chance there may know about the additional witnesses or evidence. >> i think senator jones is correct. again, remember what we do last week was we brought the charges against the president now it is about the trial, presenting the evidence and the case and then those jurors like senator jones will have to make a decision on guilty or not guilty. >> and is there enough there if there is not additional evidence or witnesses that are ultimately presented, if there is not an agreement here, do you think there is enough to truly make a case at this point in the senate? >> yeah. there was enough to bring charges. i think the reason why senator schumer is pushing for witnesses is mick mulvaney was in the
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room. he could either exonerate the president or support and corroborate the evidence that has been presented. mike pompeo was in the room, john bolton was in the room and these folks have direct facts and they ought to be at the trial. so senator jones and all of the senators could hear all of the facts and come to their conclusion. >> let's talk quickly 2020 before we let you go, just days away from the new year and the 2020 race will dominate the headlines and politics. today on cnn your fellow californian tony cardines endorses joe biden for president. which candidate are you endorsing? >> i've endorsed joe biden as well. i think he's the one candidate that could step into office on day one and reassure our allies and the president has been very disruptive in foreign policy and right now we need somebody ready to lead on day one and i think that is joe biden. >> appreciate you joining us and happy holidays. >> thank you. happy holidays.
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as north korea's kim jong-un threatens to send the u.s. an unwelcome christmas gift a top aide is accusing the president of being soft on the rogue regime. (dramatic music) and you're saving money, because you bundled home and auto. sarah, get in the house. we're all here for you. all: all day, all night. (dramatic music) great job speaking calmly and clearly everyone. that's how you put a customer at ease. hey, did anyone else hear weird voices while they were in the corn? no. no. me either. whispering voice: jamie. what? most people think as a reliable phone company. but to businesses, we're a reliable partner. we keep companies ready for what's next. (man) we weave security into their business. (second man) virtualize their operations. (woman) and build ai customer experiences. (second woman) we also keep them ready for the next big opportunity. like 5g. almost all of the fortune 500 partner with us.
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that could include a new missile test. meantime former national security adviser john bolton is accusing president trump of bluffing on north korea. suggesting an all-talk approach is putting u.s. forces at risk. barbara starr has more from the pentagon. >> reporter: former national security adviser john bolton slamming president trump for failing to get north korea to give up its nuclear weapons. tweeting this afternoon there is no real policy. the risk to u.s. forces and our allies is iminnocent and more -- imminent and more effective technology is needed before they threaten the mesh american home larnd. doubling down on critical marks telling axios the idea that we're exerting maximum pressure on north korea is just unfortunately not true. bolton had a much different view last year. >> physically we would be able to dismantle the overwhelm bulk
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of their programs within a year. >> reporter: bolton's comments come as north korea threatens a christmas gift to the u.s. that is left u.s. intelligence and the military looking for signs of what the north koreans are planning. new images show expanded efforts at one plant for production of long range intercontinental ballistic missiles. at the launching station, the u.s. is look for signs of more advanced engine missile tests or launch of a long range missile that could threaten the u.s. there arine worries of an underground nuclear test even though these test tunnels were supposedly destroyed by kim. a source familiar with the north korean leadership current thinking tells cnn kim is expected to take a wait-and-see approach as he assesses trump's political vulnerability. >> he sees trump as being weakened by impeachment. he thinks that the united states
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itself is going through really a political crisis in essence. >> reporter: kim has met with top military leaders and is expected to address a workers party meeting sunday. the u.s. will be looking for any hints of what may be to come. barbara starr, cnn, the pentagon. it was the murder that outraged the world. but now more than a year after the brutal killing of journalist jamal khashoggi, saudi arabia has sentenced five people to death for their roles in his death. while clearing a former top adviser to crown prince mohammed bin salman. a senior trump administration official responding saying this is an important step in holding those responsible for this terrible crime accountable and we encourage saudi arabia to continue with a fair and transparent judicial process. but as nic robertson reports, many are unconvinced justice was done. >> reporter: the verdict including five death penalties,
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eye-catching but not yet convincing. >> first the death sentence for five of the defendants who committed and participated in the murder of the victim, may he rest in peace. second, imprisoning three of the defendants for covering up this murder and violating regulations for a range of sentences that total 24 years. >> reporter: but no names released of the guilty. the only ones named, those found not guilty. significantly two of them close to saudi crown prince mohammed bin salman, mbs, former senior adviser cat annie and ex-deputy intelligence chief siri blameless. apparently distancing the crown prince from cia claims he had a role in "the washington post" columnist jamal khashoggi's killing. the verdicts validating what saudi officials said all along, a rendition gone wrong. >> he was killed in the
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consulate. we don't know in terms of details how. we don't know where the body is. >> reporter: the year-long trial lacked transparency, done behind closed door with no cameras and no international monitors. many questions remain, not least where is khashoggi's body. the verdict failed to meet expectations and falls short on justice and accountability and the britain foreign secretary had a note of caution saying that saudi arabia needed to hold all those responsible to account. amnesty international also calling the verdict a whitewash. a u.n. special reporter tweeting, it's anything but justice. in a long thread laying out the crimes committed. those likely to face the death penalty include intelligence officer abdul matt reb in charge
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of the administration and doctor, aka, the bone saw doctor who allegedly dismembered khashoggi's boggy inside of the saudi consulate. no indication if body double moustafa who dressed in khashoggi's clothes left by the back door led for a trail of a cover-up or more than one of 20 questioned, half of whom were released. other surprises include the acquitting of the consult general who took reporters on a hokie tour of the consulate. nic robertson, cnn, london. the head of boeing is grounded as the airplane giant closes out one of the most turbulent years to date. that's next. ses aren't perfect, we'll fix them. so will we. no we won't. don't forget to use your vision benefits
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in our money lead, the head of the world's largest aerospace company is out. boeing ceo dennis muilenburg forced out with two deadly crashes just months apart, both involving boeing's best-selling commercial jet the 737 max. the ouster comes after the company announced it was suspending production of the plane. joining me now, cnn's business editor-at-large richard plessor. why now? >> because the board was worried over the most recent spat that boeing had with with the regulator, the faa, in which it
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seen that mulenberg was tried to pressure the faa to get the plane back in the sky. now whether he was or wasn't isn't relevant. the point is the faa felt he was and the faa made it clear that the new head of the faa saying repeatedly the plane will only fly when we determine it is safe to fly. and basically it became more of a liability to keep him there than not. remember there was always a case of when he was go, not if. and the board finally decided and somewhat strangely to be frank, two days before christmas, they decided it was time to go. >> they decided it was time, which you bring up to the faa speaks to a larger point of what all of these -- all of this unmasked, the tragedies is glaring revelation that for the most part boeing was policing itself. how much of that has changed at this point? >> it is changing. the whole process is changing. but that is the nub of this
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issue. the boeing loss of trust in boeing but also the loss of trust in the regulator. so now have a regulator that is trying to be as regulatory as it could to prove it could still do it and still has the ability to force and make the rules necessary. but there are both organizations are grappling with the fact they've got to get the max in the air. boeing hasn't provided the necessary data. the faa is determined not to let them get away with anything. and because the faa also has to regain credibility with other global regulators. this is a mess. make no bones about it. and it will be quite a bit longer before it is sorted out. >> it certainly will. you'll stay on top of it. richard, thank you. >> thank you. thanks for joining us today on "the lead." catch me on twitter at erica r hill and tweet the show at the lead cnn.
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our continuation coverage continues right now. happening now, at an impasse. mitch mcconnell slams nancy pelosi for holding on to the articles of impeachment against president trump calling her strategy absurd. but mcconnell isn't ruling out the possibility of calling witnesses once the impeachment trial gets going. 90 minutes later, the top senate democrat ramps up his push for new witnesses and specific documents after emails show a white house official made contact with the pentagon within 90 minutes of the ukraine leader in july. could the author of that email be called to testify. ousted. boeing demands and receives the resignation of the ceo. the dramatic show of no evidence after the grounding of a popular airliner following deadly crashes and an embarrassing failure of boeing's