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tv   Wolf  CNN  February 9, 2017 10:00am-11:01am PST

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judge gorsuch making the point to senator blumenthal yesterday that what the president tweeted, what the president said about the judiciary in judge gorsuch's words, this according to senator blumenthal, were the words were demoralizing and disheartening. the president saying that was a distortion of what was said, but it's interesting that the official spokesperson that the white house selected, that the white house had selected for judge gorsuch confirmed that's precisely what the judge said. take a look at this. we've got some live pictures coming in from the white house right now. the white house briefing room. lots of questions coming up for the press secretary sean spicer. he'll be taking questions from reporters later this hour. likely to be asked about gorsuch's comments critical of the president. we'll, of course, have live coverage of that coming up this hour. in the meantime, let's get more on these late-breaking developments. our reporters are standing by.
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our senior white house correspondent jim acosta is with us. our senior congressional reporter manu raju is with us. jim, the president not backing away at all. we just heard him at the end of that photo opportunity, not backing away at all saying that what senator blumenthal was saying was distorting the words of the supreme court nominee neil gorsuch. >> that's right, wolf. you'll notice the president made those comments as he was sitting at the table with some senate democrats there. senator heidi heitkamp, joe tester, joe manchin. these senate democrats are facing tough re-election battles. so the white house had those senators over today to talk about a variety of subjects. the subject of the supreme court pick, neil gorsuch, did come up. as you heard there, he was asked about what senator blumenthal has been saying about what judge gorsuch said. and you heard the president there say, make this accusation
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that senator blumenthal is distorting his comments and he took this shot once again at senator blemmenthal resurrecting this old story from when senator blumenthal was running for election to the senate in the state of connecticut when he falsely claimed he'd served in vietnam. when he had not done that. that was something that the senator apologized for several years ago. but because of this controversy, the president is resurrecting those comments to go right after senator blumenthal. as you just pointed out, neil gorsuch's handler up on capitol hill, via the whourks from the white house, has confirmed to multiple reporters, including here at cnn that judge gorsuch did say that behind closed doors in the private conversation with blumenthal. other senators have come out and said gorsuch said the same thing. senator ben sasse from nebraska made very similar comments on msnbc earlier this morning. so it is very strange and odd
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and just peculiar as to why the president continues down this road. having covered donald trump out on the campaign trail, when a senator comes after him, he tends to go after that one vulnerability he thinks he can exploit. he did that with elizabeth warren out on the campaign trail. and he seems to be taking the same tactic to senator blumenthal, wolf. >> kelly ayotte, the former senator from new hampshire, who has been celebriselected by the house to coordinate his confirmation process through the u.s. senate, she publicly released a statement saying that those words were, in fact, uttered by the supreme court nominee, that the president's tweets and comments about the judiciary were demoralizing and disheartening. so it's surprising to hear the president just now, once again, reject that. the president's new attorney general, he is scheduled to arrive at the justice department shortly. jeff sessions. he will be in place. the legal fight continues over the president's proposed travel
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ban. updatous the latest. >> that's right. attorney general jeff sessions was over here at the white house earlier this morning. he was sworn in. he made some comments about immigration. this is an issue that senator sessions and now attorney general sessions we should call him, talked about frequently up on capitol hill. he was a fierce critic of illegal immigration and he brought it up again earlier this morning after he was sworn in along with the president. here's what he had to say earlier this morning. >> we will defend the laws of this country as passed by congress. we'll defend the lawful orders of the president of the united states with vigor and determination. >> so there you go, wolf. we're going to defend the law with vigor and determination, but it was also during those comments where he talked about this issue of illegal immigration. he said that we need to get back to a system. legal immigration in this country. we've talked about this frequently, wolf. president trump has come into
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office and is fulfilling a lot of his campaign promises he talked about out on the campaign trail. and one of those promises was tracking down on illegal immigration. now he has one of the fiercest critics of illegal immigration at the justice department. we understand that attorney general sessions has arrived at the justice department. so he's now very much in charge over there, wolf. >> certainly is. first day, full day on the job. we'll get back to you. we'll get back to the white house shortly. we're standing by to hear from the white house press secretary, sean spicer. he's going to go into the briefing room and take reporters' questions. and there certainly are a lot of them today. manu, you're up on capitol hill right now. the confirmation battle for the labor secretary nominee andrew puzder is heating up dramatically. listen to what the senate democratic leader, the minority leader chuck schumer said just a little while ago. >> everything in his career is antitheical to the goals of the department of labor. they ought to withdraw puzder's
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nominee before he further embarrasses this administration and further exposes the hypocrisy of president trump in saying one thing to the workers of america and then doing another. >> so manu, how is all this playing out on capitol hill? >> wolf, i can tell you top republicans are telling me they expect this nomination perhaps to be the toughest of any of donald trump's nominees so far. and no small part because a lot of these same republican senators who took a beating from supporting betsy devos as education secretary now have to turn around and do the same thing for andrew puzder. puzder is going through that same committee. he'll have a hearing next week before there are votes in a couple more weeks. republicans are nervous, not just about some of his viewpoints that have energized the left but also some of his own damaging personal issues, including acknowledging earlier this week that he hired an undocumented immigrant for several years as a housekeeper
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and then had to only later pay back taxes. behind the scenes, i am told there's an aggressive campaign under way to figure out how to combat the pressure from the left. efforts by -- from the senate majority leader, mitch mcconnell, to senator lamar alexander talk with conservative outside groups as well to help push back against this furious push from the left. and as well as trying to persuade some of those key republican senators that they should support andrew puzder. one of those key senators, susan collins of maine. she'll sit on that committee. she voted against betsy devos but is undecided about puzder right now. here's she said just moments ago. >> i have not reached a decision. i am always wait until there's a hearing unless i know the individual well. i've had two conversations with mr. puzder, and i think there
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are questions outstanding that will be, i'm sure, delved into at his hearing. but i've reached no decision. >> and, wolf, that just really raises the stakes for next week's confirmation hearings. what's given some republicans some nervousness is that after the hearings, the senate will go on a one-week recess meaning the nomination will hang out there for a week, up to two weeks before there's a vote getting forces on the left chances to mobilize. i'm told that mitch mcconnell views puzder is incredibly important. he's telling folks that puzder is perhaps the most qualified of any nominee for the labor department in history. and also has raised some eyebrows because his wife elaine chao was the labor secretary under george bush for eight years. >> she's now the transportation secretary. about to be the transportation secretary, elaine chao. all right, thanks very much, manu raju up on capitol hill.
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let's bring in our justice correspondent pamela brown and dana bash, our chief political correspondent. dana, the strangest thing that's going on right now. top aides to the supreme court nominee, they are confirming what senator blumenthal said, how he described his reaction to what the president's description of the judiciary as demoralizing and disheartening. the president keeps saying this is not true. >> because the president has a history of wanting his own personal truth to be everybody else's reality. the bottom line is that senator blumenthal reported this. said that he asked judge gorsuch if he could say this. and judge gorsuch said yes. as one of our reporters -- >> he went one step further blumenthal in a tv interview this morning. he said that it was the -- gorsuch himself said to him, go
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ahead and release it. it's okay if you do. and he said sort of, you sure? blah, blah, blah, and it was gorsuch who said release this information that i believe it is demoralizing, disheartening what the president has said about the judiciary. >> and now you have not just somebody from the president's opposing party. also ben sasse who, to be fair, has not been the biggest fan of donald trump, even though he's a fellow republican saying the judge said something similar to him. and more importantly, you have the people who are working for president trump to get his nominee confirmed also saying that this happened. kelly ayotte from new hampshire who is his sherpa. ron bangene who we've all worked with now doing the communications. who has a good deal of credibility on these issues, all supporting what appears to be the truth, which is that the judge wanted this out there. chris kuehnes who you have on
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your program a lot, senator from delaware, not a partisan flame thrower said something this morning. we are really in high school? is this happening? i would go a step further to say, i think kids in high school act more mature and kind of in the realm of reality than what we're seeing here. it's more like, you know, maybe my kindergartner. it's hard to believe that we're talking about the united states government, the president of the united states, the person he wants to be in the supreme court and the -- you have all three branches of government part of this soap opera that is not even made for people who are even remotely adult. >> this is at the very end of the photo op that we just saw with the president. and i want to remind our viewers what the president is doing in a tweet and now on camera. he's turning this around. not only saying the comments senator blumenthal said were distorting what the supreme court nominee had to say. but he's now attacking senator blumenthal for lying about his
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experience in vietnam. listen to this. >> you misrepresented his comments. his comments were misrepresented. >> he goes on to talk about blumenthal. blumenthal did serve six years in the u.s. marine corps rese e reserves but never served in vietnam as he earlier had said in 2010 when running for the senate. he apologized for that. >> i think he chose the word misrepresent which was interesting. misrepresenting the context with those two adjectives were correct? you have all these people in both parties vouching that for senator blumenthal that gorsuch used the same words with senators in the other party. senator sasse said he was emphatic about it. judge gorsuch has no choice. everyone around donald trump knows when he sent that tweet this weekend that he was putting neil gorsuch in a terrible corner. this is a parlor game now. maybe this was intentional and
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designed to make democrats take another look at him, that he's going to be independent and -- >> wow, that's giving a lot of credit. >> the point is judge gorsuch would always have to disavow this. it was a way for donald trump to take an opportunity to remind people that he will always come at you if there's an open door for an attack. he attacks blumenthal and -- sorry, senator blumenthal, and it was a warning to him in the democratic party and the republican conference, i'll come out you. i'll find something you did in the past and i'll do it in front of the cabinets in the oval office. >> we're waiting from the 9th circuit court of appeals on whether the president's travel ban affecting seven majority muslim countries in the middle east will be reinstated or off the books at least for now. >> we expect that decision to happen this week. as though there isn't -- >> could happen today. >> it could happen today. exactly right. so, really, any minute now, we
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could expect this decision. and it could go a number of ways. the 9th circuit could send it back to the district court as you'll recall in the oral hearings. it was brought up this was all moving so fast. in fact, the doj lawyer admitted this is moving very fast, quickly. that's an option. could send it back to the district court. what happens to this temporary stay, this temporary restraining order is still unclear. the 9th circuit could either say, look, we'll grant doj's request for a stay on that temporary restraining order which means the ban would go back into effect. that raises a number of questions. will that lead to the same chaos when the executive order was initially signed when people are flying to the u.s. n then they lapped and are told you have to go back to wherever you came from, or will they maintain this temporary restraining order and send it back to the district court and see what happens? or will it go up to the supreme court on an appeal. a number of different scenarios could play out. we're basically in this waiting game to find out what the 9th
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circuit does. >> we can find out within the course of a few hours later today. we're all anticipating that is clearly possible. everybody stand by. there's a lot more coming up. including the white house press briefing. sean spicer getting ready to answer reporters' questions. lots of questions, including some questions about senior adviser kellyanne conway's apparently breaking some ethics rules by promoting ivanka trump's clothing line while at the white house. we'll take that live. that news conference with sean spicer once it begins. reporters are beginning to gather. also senator john barrasso. we'll discuss the fallout over judge neil gorsuch's comments. the latest on president trump's cabinet nominees. lots to talk about when we come back. where's the car? it'll be here in three...uh, four minutes. are you kidding me? no, looks like he took a wrong turn. don't worry, this guy's got like a four-star rating, we're good. his name is randy.
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take a look at this live pictures from the white house briefing room. the press secretary sean spicer will be walking in fairly soon. he'll be answering reporters questions, and there are many of them today. we'll, of course, have live coverage of the sean spicer briefing. take a look at this. a picture of the justice department here in washington, d.c. soon the newly sworn in attorney general of the united states, jeff sessions, he'll be arriving there. it's his first official day on the job. we'll bring you that when it happens as well. lots of news going on right now. in the meantime, president trump is questioning reports that his u.s. supreme court nominee neil gorsuch privately slammed his attacks on federal judges as, quote, demoralizing and disheartening." the president lashing out, not at his nominee but at the
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democratic senator that gorsuch spoke to and made those comments. talking about senator blumenthal of connecticut. the president saying blumenthal misrepresented the conversation. even though gorsuch's own white house appointed spokesperson confirms that, yes, he uttered those words. here to talk about that, republican senator john barrasso of wyoming. a member of the foreign relations committee. senator, thanks for joining us. >> thanks, wolf. >> pretty extraordinary. i don't know if you know ron bangene. highly respected conservative republican spokesman. the white house asked him to help work with gorsuch to get him confirmed through the senate. kelly ayotte, former republican senator from new hampshire. she lost, but she's the sherpa or the coordinator, helping him get confirmed. both of them, they are both credible, said that gorsuch did describe the president's words as disheartening and demoralizing. and the president is denying that.
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how do you explain that? >> it says to me that everybody ought to vote for neil gorsuch for the supreme court because it shows how independent he is. not only highly qualified and mainstream. he's independent. i briefly visited with him this morning as he was heading to susan collins' office. he's going to be a terrific member of the supreme court. i support him all the way. >> why does the president go against kelly ayotte's word. forget about blumenthal. he's a democratic senator. and he goes after the spokesman. you and i know him for many years. he's very, very credible. >> gained a lot more credibility when he married a woman from wyoming, my home state. that's a big thing. >> why does the president do that? >> i don't speak for the president, but i'll speak for myself. i am so delighted that neil gorsuch has been nominated for the supreme court. he is a guy that understands that the constitution is where we need to be. and that he is somebody that is going to apply the law, not try to rewrite or re-create the law. so i'm with him all the way. >> do you think the president
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was out of the loop on that? it looks like a lot of other white house officials were in the loop when they said, he did say that. and it wasn't just that he said it. judge gorsuch told senator blumenthal, on his initiative, by the way, you can say what i said about the president's comments, disheartening and all of that. you can make that public. i don't have a problem with that. and blumenthal, as a result, after the initiative came from the judge, he decided to do it. >> i can't speak for the president, but what i can say is this. i think increases the crediblity of neil gorsuch. the reason he ought to be on the supreme court. >> a lot of democrats are saying what you're saying and so maybe there was some sort of maneuver, deliberate maneuver to get him to say that. apparently said similar things to senator ben sasse who is a republican, a colleague of yours, and senator schumer as well. the democratic leader, the minority leader in the senate. the president went one step further. he didn't just criticize what blumenthal said. he then went after blumenthal in
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the tweet reminding us back in 2010, blumenthal apologized for having lied about what he said was his service in vietnam. he did serve in the u.s. marine corps reserves for six years. but he never served in vietnam. he apologized for that and went on to get elected as the u.s. senator from connecticut. but the president is calling him -- basically calling him a liar. don't believe him. is that appropriate? >> it's appropriate that the president right now is meeting with bipartisan group of senators. again, i don't speak for the president. we have an incredibly credible nominee to be a member of the supreme court. that's where i'm focused. >> the other issue i want to get to is the attack. this is awkward for you because you don't speak for the president, but the attack on senator john mccain. your republican colleague. the chairman of the senate armed services committee. this is what the president tweeted this morning. senator mccain should not be talking about the success or failure of a mission to the media. only emboldened the enemy. he's been losing so long, he
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doesn't know how to win anymore. just look at the mess our country is in. bogged down in conflict all over the place. our hero, ryan died on a winning mission according to general mattis, not a failure. time for the u.s. to get smart and start winning again. is that appropriate for the president to be attacking senator mccain? he was a war hero. he did serve in vietnam. he was a p.o.w. for six years. he was tortured by the vietcong. he did not reveal information. he could have left vietnam because his father was a highly respected admiral. he said, no, no, no, i'm not leaving unless my fellow troops are leaving as well. and now for the president to be saying that about him, is that appropriate? >> i have nothing but the utmost respect for john mccain. he is a man of courage, of character and credibility. i've traveled the world with him. no matter where i am with him, we've been in iraq, afghanistan, ukraine, no matter where i am, people come up, thank him for
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his service and heroism. people around the world know about the work of john mccain and continue to look to him for leadership. specifically on issues about military and national security. >> highly respected in the military area and well liked by his fellow republicans and democratic colleagues because he's not afraid to speak out. and the other point that a lot of observers are making, high served in the u.s. military. he was in the navy. he was captured in vietnam. spent six horrible years as a p.o.w. say what you will about senator blumenthal. he spent six years in the marine corps, the reserves, serving in the united states, and what they are pointing out, the president got draft deferments. he never served. what they are saying, mr. president, you should be more sensitive going after military vets like senator blumenthal, senator mccain since you didn't serve yourself in the military. you've heard that argument. i just want you to respond. >> my dad was in world war ii, the battle of the bulge.
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my wife's dad in world war ii and the korean war. i have nothing but the most respect for anybody that ever wears the uniform, bears the battle. i have no criticism. >> well, senator, there's a lot more we could discuss. it's a busy news day. i'm grateful to you for joining us. senator john barrasso, republican of wyoming. coming up, president trump reaching across the aisle and inviting democratuc and republican senators for lunch. among the democratic senators, jon tester. once he emerges, he'll join us and we'll get some details. and the white house daily press briefing only moments away. sean spicer once again will go to that lectern there and answer reporters' questions. what makes this simple salad the best simple salad ever? heart healthy california walnuts. the best simple veggie dish ever? heart healthy california walnuts. the best simple dinner ever? heart healthy california walnuts. great tasting, heart healthy california walnuts.
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than anyone else in the country. ♪ here, there, everywhere. united states postal service priority : you we've got some live pictures from the white house briefing room. the press secretary sean spicer, any moment now, he'll go into the briefing room and open with a statement, then answer reporters' questions. we'll have live coverage. we also have some live pictures coming in from the department of justice here in washington. you see it right there. the newly sworn in attorney general of the united states, jeff sessions. he's now arrived over at the justice department. we're going to bring you that. we'll hear what he has to say, if anything, as well. in the meantime, new ethics
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concerns being raised after a top white house adviser used a national tv interview to plug the trump brand, even touting it as free publicity. here's kellyanne conway earlier this morning on fox. >> go by ivanka's stuff. i'm going to get -- i hate shopping. i'm going to get some myself today. it's a wonderful line. i own some of it. i'm going to give a free commercial here. go buy it today, everybody. you can find it online. >> top democrat on the house oversight committee now calling for disciplinary actions saying conway's remarks are textbook violation of government ethics rules. our money correspondent cristina alesci is joining us right now. so are ethics rules or laws for that matter being violated? >> wolf, the law is very clear on this. it's call the use of public office for private gain. it's a section of the u.s. code, and it essentially says, there's a lot of legalese, but the essential part of it is, it says
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public employees cannot endorse brands to benefit or help their friends and family. that is the takeaway. it's very clear. but the experts that i've spoken to all morning long say two things. one, this white house doesn't seem to care whether it is violating these conflicts of interest rules. and, two, enforcement officials will most likely not pursue this. but one thing is very clear, wolf. this will add fuel to the argument that there is no separation between the trump white house and trump org. for months i've been reporting on whether or not there would be this wall, this separation. now it's not even a question of whether there is a separation between the president and his business. it's a question of whether or not the entire -- there could be an entire separation between the entire white house and his business. is it essentially an arm, is the white house essentially an arm of the trump organization? and i think that's what critics
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will argue. in fact, the ethics lawyers and experts that i've spoken to on both sides of the aisle seem to be pressing that notion today. >> how is this different than when president trump tweeted for people to go out and buy l.l. bean back in early january? he wasn't president yet. he had not yet been sworn in. the inauguration had not taken place. so i assume that represents a difference? he was president-elect as opposed to being president? >> that's one difference. the other difference is here, kellyanne conway is making the endorsement, and she is not -- she is subject to conflicts of interest laws, whereas the president is not subject to some of them. he is still subject to some conflicts clause, but the one in question, the one we're talking about right now, he is not subject to. and kellyanne is. n the democrats are now saying, hey, she should be punished for this. the air time that she gets as a public employee should be spent
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on exactly that. public matters, not private matters that could potntially benefit the trump organization, which, by the way, still doesn't have a very clear separation between the trump org and the presidency. and it's going to be -- it's going to continue to come up because the trust that was set up to separate donald trump from his business is still very questionable as to whether or not that is an effective way to separate the presidency from his business and avoid conflicts. >> i was looking at the rules, too. the laws out there, and what is clearly stated, as you correctly point out, a couple things. using public office for their own private gain, for the private gain of friends, relatives or persons with whom they affiliated in a nongovernment capacity. n then it goes on to say, endorsing any product, service or company. those are pretty specific rules, if you will. when you say democrats already
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calling on her to be punished, what kind of punishment are we talking about? >> well, you know, we don't know what that's going to look like, but at the end of the day, they want to draw more attention to this, wolf. and you know, as well as i do, that the democrats that sit on the house oversight committee right now don't have that much power. they need their -- >> christina, we're just getting the tape of the attorney general jeff sessions arriving at his new office at the justice department. let me show it to our viewers. [ applause ]
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>> good to be back at the doj. >> there you see jeff sessions, the new attorney general of the united states arriving at the justice department. employees there, officials greeting him. a nice round of applause for the new attorney general. the former senator from alabama. he was very, very narrowly confirmed in the u.s. senate, 51-50. the vice president, who serves as the president of the senate, had to break a 50-50 tie. he is now, just sworn in a little while ago over at the
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white house. and he is now, of course, the attorney general of the united states. evan perez is our justice correspondent. evan, are we going to be hearing from the new attorney general? >> wolf, we don't expect to hear from him. there were several dozen employees there to greet him warmly as you heard from that applause. there was really a low key, much more low-key entrance than the one eric hold eer had back in 2009, at risk of igniting a crowd size controversy with president trump. i will say i was there in 2009 when eric holder arrived and it was hundreds of people gathered. and eric holder ended up addressing the crowd in the law library there at the justice department. we expect that jeff sessions is going to go into his office on the fifth floor. at this hour, he's going to have a brief, a national security briefing from some members of his team. and then later today, he's going to welcome the heads of the agencies that make up the
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justice department, including the fbi, the atf and dea and u.s. marshals. and the reason for that meeting, wolf is to get some ideas of what contributions they can make for the justice department to tackle what jeff sessions and what president trump says is a crime problem around the country. we know there has been a spike in violent crime in some cities around the country. and we know jeff sessions is one of the top orders of business for him. he wants to make sure the justice department can send some resources to those cities. there's 115,000 employees here at the justice department, wolf, and, you know, it's fair to say that there's some perhaps skeptical of his arrival. but now he is the boss. and he is going to have different points view of on some of the things the justice department has been doing, including on immigration in sanctuary cities. we'll see what he does in the coming weeks and months. he'll have a tremendous amount of influence given the fact he was one of the early supporters
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of president trump. wolf? >> all right. hold on for a moment, evan. i just want to hear if we can hear what he has to say to these justice department officials. >> you said how much you appreciate -- we're so welcome to have you here. >> it's great. >> you'll be a great attorney general. >> thank you. thanks. honor to be with you. >> welcome aboard. >> all right. so he's being received there at the justice department. he was sworn in at the white house just a little while ago. made some comments. and it's interesting, evan, when he spoke at the white house, he made it clear he's going to be one that will enforce all u.s.
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laws passed by congress, signed by a president. one of the first items on his agenda will be the president's proposed travel ban from those six muslim -- seven muslim majority countries. that's going to be a big issue presumably. we're awaiting for the 9th circuit court of appeals decision. that could happen today. it's certainly going to be high on the agenda. >> right, absolutely. he is a strong supporter of this executive order, wolf. and we know that members of -- people who used to be on his staff who are now at the white house were behind writing that order. behind the executive order that temporarily halted travel from those seven muslim majority countries. so we know he is on board with that. his lawyer, his legal team is going to be representing the president and trying to defend those orders. they have already tried -- started to do that. and we know he's going to play a big role in some of the other executive orders that the president has in mind, including the ones that are focused on law
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and order. this is something big on jeff sessions' mind. he was a very big critic of some of the things that the obama justice department was doing, including not enforcing some of the marijuana laws. obviously the legalization of marijuana in some of the states. and other issues that the justice department has been doing. we expect a sharp right turn when he takes office here this afternoon. >> the philosophy, the judicial philosophy, legal law enforcement philosophy of now the attorney general sessions compared to loretta lynch, eric holder, his two immediate predecessors, very, very different. evan, thanks very much. evan is over at the justice department. in coming up, the white house daily briefing now only moments away. we'll go to the white house and hear from sean spicer right after this.
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we're standing by for the white house press briefing. live pictures coming in. set to begin any minute now. the press secretary sean spicer expected to face questions about a growing feud among other issues between the house and republican senator john mccain over last month's u.s. special operations force raid in yemen. the white house says it was a success, but senator mccain says the death of navy s.e.a.l. ryan owens makes it hard to say that. and now spicer, the white house press secretary, is demanding an apology even though he seep eseo echo mccain's sentiments just last week. >> absolutely a success. anyone who would suggest it's not a success does disservice to the life of chief ryan owens. you never want to call anything a success 100% when someone is hurt or killed. and that was the case here. >> let's bring in our chief political correspondent dana
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bash. along with cnn senior political reportery ina mallika henderson and brian stelter, the host of "reliable sources." so it's an awkward position for spicer because he seems to be sending these mixed messages, and now his boss, the president of the united states, is really going after senator mccain in that tweet. >> that's right. the initial white house statement was that it was a success and then, of course, we learned that a navy s.e.a.l. was killed. the president went to dover to be there when the navy s.e.a.l.'s remains came back and that prompted the question, how could it be a success? not just that because civilians were killed in the raid. obviously, that was not part of the plan. so the answer to your question, it's how is he going to explain it? i don't know. i don't know. i think sean spicer is probably sitting in his office right now as he does every day trying to answer that question. how am i going to walk that
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line, that very, very thin line, which is not always easy to do, and he doesn't always do it -- doesn't always stay on that line because it's not always possible to, you know, say what your boss wants you to say while still having credibility with the people who are sitting in that room and credibility and a relationship with what is the truth. >> he's also going to have to explain another awkward moment when the two official spokespeople for the supreme court nominee neil gorsuch say he did, in fact, describe the president's comments about the judiciary as demoralizing and disheartening. but the president is disputing that. and i assume sean spicer is going to be asked, how do you -- who is telling the truth? the president or the official representatives, the official spokespeople for the supreme court nominee selected by the president? >> yeah, from reporting, we know that donald trump watches these briefings. we know that donald trump often
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offers critiques to sean spicer in terms of his performance. in many ways, he has an audience of one, his boss. and i think dana is right. he has to all of this led to the snl spoof even though the message seems to be made up of alternative facts and on alternative reality that trump embraces. >> brian, you have been following the media reaction to all of this so closely. probably closer than anyone. sean spicer, you know, getting a lot of mixed reviews.
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i'm trying to be nice. but vanity fair dubbing him trump's very own baghdad bob, which is a really -- i remember covering that word, baghdad bob. was the official spokesperson for saddam hussein. so explain what's going on over here. >> that's a scathing statement by vanity fair but the magazine is not the first outlet to make the comparison to baghdad bob. it's hard to imagine having a worse week. waking up to the meliss maccarthy impersonation and all week long he's been placed in almost impossible positions by his borks the president having to explain illogical statements or confounding statements. you guys are describing some of them involving yemen. earlier it was also a report about how three different times
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on two different days, spicer referenced a terror attack in atlanta that never happened. he now says he was referring to orlando. these are very, very difficult jobs and we've got to have sympathy for whoever is up at that podium. but at the same time he's working for the american people. th in spicer is being treated like a punch line. as we saw a little bit earlier, president trump welcomed a group of u.s. senators to the white house for a working lunch. among them were democrats, including jon tester of montana. heidi heitkamp, no manchin, joe donnelly of indiana. all of them up for re-election in 2018. all of them from states that went for president trump. >> thanks for joining us. >> thanks for having me, wolf. thanks for joining us. tell us how it went.
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what was it like inside i actually took a message back from montanans. there were some difficulty that montanans have had with medicare and getting communication out of medicare. he assured me he'd go to work on that and make sure the problem was solved. i also talked about the hiring freeze as it applied to veterans' benefits. also congratulating him on his presidential order of the lobbyist ban. i thought that was heading in the right direction and told hum i would be more than happy to work with him in congress. just a number of issues, too, wolf. >> i want to continue this conversation but sean spice, the white house press secretary just walked up to the lectern. we'll continue our conversation.
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>> under attorney general sessions, the department of justice will uphold the rule of law to ensure that justice is administered and enforce fairly and impartially for all americans. attorney general sessions -- come on in. i'm sorry. it's a trump briefing. attorney general sessions is a world class legal mind and experienced prosecutor and the president is pleased to have him finally in place as our nation's top law enforcement officer. after the in place as dedicated to stantding behind the police officers who stand behind us every day. the first executive order directs the attorney general for developing -- who commit violence against law enforcement. we must better protect those who protect us, our women and men in
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blue need to know we are with them. unfortunately this has not always been the case, law enforcement officials have been vocal about the lack of support. it demoralized many officers and in some cases led to discouraging engagement with local communities. it is imperative that federal, state and local law enforcement agencies share information across jurisdiction to better serve an protect our communities. this order will start the important work of doing just that, instituting a wholistic approach involving the government. also to work with other federal agencies to come up with ways to reduce -- a hard look at how other agencies use law enforcement grant as. the second order establishes a task force, to reduce crime and restore public safety in communities across america. together the members are going
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to come up with specific recommendations, how to change existing federal law to better prevent crime an improve public safety and develop stronger working relationships with our state and locating partners. the president is confident this will help further protect american people. over the last eight years we have experienced deliniclining s on law and order. crime reduction will be a prior to for this white house. it's important to emphasize we cannot reduce crime in the united states without additionally addressing illegal immigration and illegal drugs, the president instructs a des h decisive approach to destroy those drug cartels, they present
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a clear an present danger to our nation. they have fueled addiction and overdose deaths and can no longer be allowed to operate in our country or hemisphere. this pulls together the resources and federal agencies to work toward upgrading information about the organizations and cartels. without accurate information about these threats and willingness to share this -- if you had called the department of justice for the statistics they never kept them. number two, improving the speed and efficiency of removing criminal aliens, cartel members an people who help cartels from our nation. these criminals are finally going to go home.
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shift three, shift whatever resources we can to prevent them from disrupting our society any further. this morning the president held a breakfast and session with key stake holders in the airline industry. the president thanked the attend e attende attendees. and for the economy they contribute -- thanked them for t-- well payins for america. they were unanimous in asking for the president to offer relief from the duplicative and burdensome job stifling, which
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he affirmed he would do. forging public private partnerships that will rebuild america's infrastructure. he pledged to modernize the technology system that keep our nation's airports running. it's the president's goal to make sure the united states has the most advanced airline in the world and this meeting was an important first step in achieving that. a of the the executive order signing the president spoke with the president of afghanistan. my understanding we should have readouts shortly on both calls. just concluding, the president held a supreme court and legislative listening session in lunch with democrat and republican senators in attendance, senator grassley, senator hide camp, senator tester, senator mansion, sen se
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senator bennett of colorado. the president expressed his hope that the senators and colleagues will give judge gorsuch a fair vote. it's critical to have an open dialogue and work toward bipartisan agreement. later today the president will speak to the prime minister of iraq, we will provide readouts at the conclusion of them. and secretary -- the president was glad to see the