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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  February 15, 2017 9:00pm-10:01pm PST

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take himself out of consideration, after that comes two days after michael flynn was showing and 3.5 weeks after mired in controversy of all kinds. breaking news on general flynn as well as the larger story surrounding it. the constant contact between advisers and russians after multiple sources. we have the latest on today's departu departure. do we know what was behind puz der's decision to withdraw? >> there was disappointment with the attacks he was facing and the reality is he didn't have the votes. what i'm told from the eastern
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officials is there were as many as four gop senators firmly against them. he could only afford to lose two. there were 12 total who had reservations. the numbers didn't add up. senior officials told the white house it was time to withdraw and that's why he will not be the next labor secretary. >> what are created the opposition with the republicans? >> there were so many. you don't see this often with a nominee, but i talked to multiple and almost every one had a different issue. he at one point he employed an undocumented worker and his views on immigration reform and allegations about domestic abuse from an ex-wife in a 1990 interview on oprah. the video was circulating on capitol hill. senators were watching the issues and there was a blitz by labor groups on the outside and putting a lot of pressure not just on the democrat who is were
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opposed as a block, but runs ads in the republican home states. it created a perfect storm. the idea that a trump nominee would be sunk with 51 republicans needed to support the nominees to move through. it seemed like an impossibility. not the case anymore. the first trump nominee has officially done down. >> michael flynn gets good news from the fbi and takes a hit with the intelligence community. they have suspended his access to classified information and that should point out as standard operating procedure and the aspect of a story that many of you have seen before. for the latest, let's go to pamela brown. for now he is off the hook and they have charges against donald trump's national security adviser. they don't believe he was
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attentionally misleading to the fbi about his phone call with the ambassador regarding sanctions. there is still an ongoing broader fbi review of flynn and now they have campaign aides on the russian-related dealings. during his presidential campaign, high level advisers close to donald trump maintain constant communication with russians known to u.s. intelligence. the sources are current intelligence officials say the frequency of the conversations and proximity to trump raised a red flag to intelligence and law enforcement. the timing as it became clear that russia was seeking to undermine the elections by hacking e-mails of democratic institutions added to the alarm. cnn is told that then president-elect trump and then president barack obama were briefed on concerns about the extensive communications in
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january. trump in january denying any knowledge of contacts with the russians. >> did you or anyone in your campaign have contact with russia leading up to or during the campaign? >> tuesday white house press secretary sean spicer denied there was contact. >> do you say definitively that nobody on the trump campaign, not even general flynn had contact with the russians before the election? >> my understanding is what general flynn expressed is that during the transition period, we were clear during the transition period he did speak with the ambassador. >> i'm talking about during the campaign. >> there is nothing that would conclude me that anything has changed. >> they were intercepted in routine collections targeting russian intelligence. among those who communicated with russian national, then campaign chairman and michael flynn who signed monday night after news reports about a call
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with russia's ambassador regarding russia-u.s. sanctions. he denies that calling the allegations boggling saying it's 100% not true as far as me. i don't remember talking to russian officials ever, especially during the time we are talking about. >> do they know why trump aides were talking to russians. the russians were known to u.s. intelligence. does that mean they were intelligence officers in russia and was that known to the trump people? did the trump people know who they were talking to? >> u.s. officials monitor a lot of foreign officials. we haven't been able to tomorrow and i'm not sure the fbi has been able to determine they were russian officials. what we're learning is they continue to try to determine what the intent was for the
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communications between people close to trump and the russians. they are trying to answer the why. the bottom line reason is inconclusive. one concern they continue to look at is why trump associates were coordinating with russian intelligence over the release of damaging information about the hillary clinton campaign as one source said. if that were the case, again, there is nothing to prove that at this stage in the investigation, but it is ongoing and it is a broad throw. >> we don't know what the nature of these conversations were, whether it was business deals that people in the trump campaign may have had and he had history in the region. it's possible that that's what it was? >> from our sources what they tell us is it could be something beyond that. what we are trying to figure out, anderson, it is content. we have been told about the
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russian to russian conversation and those intercepted conversations talking about access and being able to influence and whether they were inflating that, but in terms of russians and people within the trump orbit, they could be meta data or encrypted communications which makes it more difficult to know the content. this of course is what we are pursuing and trying to figure out. >> appreciate it. thanks very much. more breaking news coming from the office of a vice president who was kept in the dark about it are for weeks. that's new information and vice president pence is focused on getting to the bottom of how he was misled. >> right, anderson. there is another mike in the middle of this. mike pence. we are told by a senior official that the vice president is focused on getting to the bottom of this. specifically the source told us he wants to know how this
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information got to the president on january 26th that the justice department was concerned about the phone call that michael flynn had with the russian ambassador and that information did not get to the vice president and at this point the sources are saying listen, we don't want to pass on any kind of implication here that the president and the vice president had friction between these two. this source said that doesn't exist. keep in mind this is the sort of thing that is going to create impressions out there. the vice president obviously is being kept in the dark and out of the loop. consider what these former spokes women for joe biden just tweeted in the last several minut minutes. if we have, we can put it up. she said had president obama kept joe biden in the dark for two weeks about information related to his credibility,
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nope. that just goes to show you, these are the considerations that go on inside the minds of the people who work inside the vice president's office. when he is kept in the dark, people are not happy. >> just so we are clear, the vice president was not told about this by the president or the white house. he learned about the fact -- >> he learned from the news media. >> after being kept in the dark, he read about it? >> that's right. after the president found out about this on january 26th and that was relayed to him by the white house council that nobody thought it was important enough inside the administration that inform the vice president until february 9th. anderson, that is last thursday. that is when the vice president apparently through his officials heard about this from reporters and the news media.
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we were about to report on all of this. he was clearly kept in the dark. >> you were at the news conference where the president didn't refute details, but he called flynn a wonderful man and said he had been treated terribly by the media making it seem like the media fired him when it was the president himself. >> it was puzzling. it was as if he had not been fired by the president the way he was talking today. he described general flynn as a wonderful man and bestowing his virtues. keep in mind we heard conflicting stories this week. michael flynn stepped down on his own and we heard that no, he had been fired. that was really the only russia-related question that was asked during the news conference with benjamin netanyahu. i tried at the end to shout a question to the president to ask him about whether he had a comment about the constant
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contacts as we have been reporting between his campaign advisers and russian operatives in russia and he appeared to hear the question, but did not respond. he turn and decided not to respond. >> let's bring in the panel. kirstin powers and commentator for the federalist. nice to see you. kirstin, there is obviously a lot of different stuff to talk about. what do you want to take first? >> there is a lot of different things. i think it's fascinating they didn't think it was important enough to get to the vice president. >> to even tell him. >> this seems like it would be top of the mind information to discuss it. this would be something they would be alarmed about. when you look at what donald
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trump said in terms of he was a wonderful man and all of this stuff and it seems like he didn't want to fire him. maybe he didn't want to fire him and the only reason he did is because it went public. >> backing that up, only after "the washington post" broke the story. >> only once it came into the public eye even though they had known about it for sometime. >> at least today, you saw it as well. he did this because it's out in the public. >> whenever he is talking to the next person, he gives them what they want to hear. there is a about the of that, but he said the fake media did this. he was real fired. this is how it went down. i'm old enough to remember a president who didn't hear about
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something medical the media reported it. this was a serious problem and a lot of this you don't know with this white house, why are we hearing this thing and what are the motivations. i want to be careful about it. in this case the principal himself, flynn, walked back his denial. maybe these transcripts showed it's not as salacious. he is still light about it. >> i talked to this analyst last night and the thing i don't understand if what he did was fine and there was no issue with it and it wasn't legal or anything, why lie about it? why lie about sean spicer and others? what we are hearing from the white house, the focus seems to be this story is about leaks coming from various quarters of the u.s. government, possibly the white house or intelligence or wherever. you know a thing or two about
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leaks. when you hear them saying that is the really story, what do you think? >> they are making the conduct of the press and the outgoing intelligence under president obama the issue instead of the conduct of president trump and the men in his campaign and those in his business organization. that's what is under investigation and what is so alarmed the fbi officials looking at this as well as people in congress including republicans as a preliminary indication are these extensive contacts that are inexplicable so far and partly because there is no explanation from the people involved. including those closest to the president of the united states. >> david axelrod, there is a lot of questions right now. we don't know based on the reporting what the contacts were and what conversations were had. there was an easy way to solve
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that by having people in the campaign move forward. this was the person i was talking to. there were people who know who they were talking to and why and very well may be an innocent explanation for it. how do you look at how the white house is handling this? they were making a point that this is going to snowball until answers are provided. >> anderson, in my experience if there are innocent answers they come forward quickly. if they are not innocent, they don't come forward quickly. a few things. one is on the subject of leaks. it seems clear that were the media not pursuing these things, i'm not sure mike pence still would know he was lied to by general flynn. let's set aside the leaks question for a second.
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everybody suggests the bewilderness to why he was fired yesterday. here's a theory. one of the issues is who authorized general flynn to have these conversations with the russian ambassador apparently multiple conversations in which the subject much sanctions came up? did he do it on his own? only two people know the answer to that. mike flynn and the president of the united states. likewise if general flynn was as may be the case having discussions with the russians that related to the campaign during the campaign, did the president-elect and the candidate know about that? mike flynn is the guy who has the answers to that. if the president was kind and embracing of mike flynn, he may have a reason for that. >> interesting. >> just the question of if this happened, if the president knew or didn't know, either way, why
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empower him? why would you tell russia this when the sanctions were for interfering in the u.s. election. why would you suggest that you are going to let up on them for doing something that most people agree is unacceptable. they should be punished for it even if you don't like your political opponent, he is letting them know, it seems like, it's okay what you did. right? >> then you have him not reciprocating on actions. >> it's unprecedented for a government official to do this. >> they pick it up with more breaking news on a new bipartisan effort for a new investigation. details on that and casual remarks for president trump reversing policy in israeli palestinian conflict. they will talk about potential impact they may be having when we continue. first kid
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>> new breaking news about how republican lawmakers plan to look at the michael flynn affair. cnn goes capitol hill and you spoke to lawmakers about the administration's ties to russia. what did they tell you? >> they wanted to look into this deeper. a number of investigations are ongoing. tonight from the senate judiciary committee, the two leaders and the republican and democrat sending a letter. james comey asking for a briefing. more information about exactly what happened. other committees including the senate intelligence looking deeply into the ties between trump campaign and russian officials during the time of the election. i had a chance to talk to another chairman of the committee who is looking into this matter. john mccain of arizona who is very concerned about what he
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views as turmoil in the white house. take a listen. >> do you think there is any evidence of coordination between the trump campaign? >> it's too early, but it raises serious questions and my concern is also with no national security adviser and turmoil within the administration makes it very difficult for us to exercise responsibilities as to defend the nation. there is turmoil as far as national security is concerned within the white house and that needs to be fixed as well. >> there is disagreement between republicans and democrats about who will conduct the investigation. democrats wanting a bipartisan commission to look into this. republicans believe it can be done with the existing committees.
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any of this can become public in a classified setting by the classified intelligence. >> that panel with jonathan and jeffrey lord. he is a trump supporter and came into existence and we should add a few years before the reagan administration. >> shows how old he is. >> i got to mention ronald reagan before. >> i wasn't sure i was going there. >>. >> i had a chance to ask you this, but can you understand why the trump campaign would be in constant contact with russian officials during the campaign? >> i don't know what we are talking about here. were there officials in the campaign who were in touch with them? i don't know the answer to that. >> we don't know the nature of the contacts. >> based on my experience with presidential campaigns, when you get to be the nominee of the party, foreign folks want to get in touch to see who are these people.
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i was listening to pat buchanan who said after richard nixon was elected and before he was sworn in, he was contact and he told dr. kissinger who was going to be the guy that the contact made and he had the meeting and reported on it, etc. there was nothing unusual about that. >> is there anything unusual? the back story is russia is hacking. >> i have been wearing about the connections throughout the election and skeptical, but a lot of times the headlines read like there is constant contact and you say there is not prove that they are colewding. that's a big part of the story. that concerns me and i think the trump white house is in a weird situation where they have to prove the negative. they have to come out with explanations and not all of them are innocent.
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this is all classified information and will happen with the briefings. you end up in the situation where no one knows the truth. that's a tricky situation to be in. the whole time we have been falling on the russian side. >> if we don't know what it says, it's enough to make mike pence think something happened. >> i'm talking about that. >> the flynn thing in itself is damaging. the flynn issue itself. >> why did mike flynn lie about this? >> i don't know about this. i think plenty of other things are more important than dealing with this. let's look into the whole deal. it is a federal crime to be leaking classified information to anybody not entitled to have it. you can go to the slammer for up to 10 years. i would like to find out who is doing the leaking?
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you can't be having that. >> when you hear the white house talk about leaks and focus on leaks and you worked in washington. they had been around a long time. was this anything unusual? >> leaks have been around for a long time and presidents complain being leaks have been around for a long time including the president that i worked for. there are a lot of reasons why this is unusual. there seem to be multiple sources and by the way, some of them may be in the white house itself. it was the white house who was informed by the acting attorney general. about general flynn's conversations with the ambassador and who is to say that there was not a source within the white house who leaked it. that is a discussion that can be had and i'm sure there will be an attempt to pursue that. as i said earlier, it is also true that without the leaks,
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perhaps mike pence, the vice president would never have been informed that he was lied to. perhaps general flynn would be operating in that position even today. one of the things not easy to understand is if you have someone in as sensitive of a position as national security adviser and you know based on what you have been told and presumably they read the transcripts that he was not forth coming and he didn't tell the truth not just to the vice president, but the country, why do you wait for the thing to leak before you take action? it may go back to the point i said before. it may be that the president and general flynn have a relationship and share some experiences that they hope not to be public. >> for does seem to the point that kirstin was making based on the president's comments today criticizing the media for how they treated general flynn and
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speaking about him in glowing terms, it sounded as if he asked for the resignation because this story broke publicly. >> that has been trump's behavior throughout all of this. he has done nothing in a forthright way about anything to do with russia or the hacking of the democrats. every little piece has been pulled out by investigators and by the press. let me try to enlarge the picture a bit here in what we are talking about. one of the things that investigators are looking at and the congress will look at are relationships. relationships in the trump organization of donald trump and his businesses to russians and russian nationals. there is larger playing field here that may or may not relate to what happened during the campaign. we know precious little in the press so far about what has been
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found out what what might be found out. the landscape of this investigation is vast. to find out what happened in the campaign is going to involve and so i'm told looking at the past relationships involving donald trump and involving others, there are business relationships and it's not just russia itself, but the russian federation. it's greater russia and the republics adjacent to the former soviet union and adjacent to russia that are under control and russian intelligence officials. much larger playing field to have a big federal investigation and congressional investigation than we are talking about. >> we'll will have more to continue the conversation in a few minutes. stick around. ave high blood pressure
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senators grassley and feinstein have asked the fbi and
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justice department for the briefings and calls between trump advisers and russians and the calls for investigation s into the matters intensify. the senate minority leader said the guidelines are clear and expects the general to follow them. as you may remember, mr. sessions was on team trump during the campaign. >> i believe nobody runs for president in years who understands how to negotiate more effectively than donald trump. >> donald trump is speaking for the american people against a corrupt international washingtonian establishment. >> thank you for the work you put into the immigration issue. i'm impressed with your plan and i know it will make a difference. >> donald trump is the leader who will bring change. will build the wall. will kill obama trade.
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donald trump will make america great again. >> should he refuse himself from anything around russia? >> i think he should. to be fair, he was close on the line with president obama. he was not campaigning in such a high profile manner. nobody on treatment trump can be trusted to investigate this fairly. even if they investigate on the hill, they will not do a select committee. it's hard to believe they will go after trump in a serious way. they will get the wish list done because trump is president. they have a conflict of interest. they don't want to take him
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down. >> they are all have the scathing committees equal. if it is conducted and it's classified, there won't be a public airing. it seems important at this juncture to give them full visibility on what happened. you want them to have exposure so people have a clear sense. let me make one other point on general flynn that should be part of whatever review and probably is. one of the things that distinguished him was that he and his son were occasionally transmitting through twitter what was known as fake news.
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some of which began overseas. we know from among the mischief it was encouraging this fake news. most aimed at hillary clinton. how did he happen to follow the sites and does that trail lead back to some of these russian actors that the intelligence committee believes was involved. i think this is also an element that needs to be reviewed. >> we know that the republicans are not interested in investigating trump. from the first day donald trump was sworn in, he was violating the constitution and the e moil umts clause. they side stepped that and refused to look into it even though democrats called for an
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investigation. i doubt that they will follow-up with this. >> we are talking about this and me which parts of the constitution. >> it's an arguable point. >> he has not devested himself. >> that's a violation. >> nobody is willing to convene to look at that. >> one of the things that gave people pause yesterday was when jason, the chairman of the house oversight said he thought that the matter was resolved by general flynn's resignation. he announced before that he was prepared and he was going to hold relative to hillary clinton
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if she got elected president and he said they were not relevant anymore. he sees nothing to investigate and when they happen, it does create suspicion about pursuing and getting to the bottom of this. >> breaking news, politicians act like politicians and this will be part of the discussion during the obama administration. >> we have to go. >> because they lost. >> the purpose here is not to go after donald trump. the purpose is to find out what happened in an american election. i'm wary of watergate comparisons, but there is one. the investigation by the senate was about the campaign activities of the president of the united states. we have a similar situation here where we do not know what happened in the presidential campaign and it is essential to our democracy to find out what
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happened in our presidential campaign. thus far, the president of the united states has not been helpful to that process. it's not about going after donald trump, but about finding out what happened and he and his people ought to be cooperating and in terms of the attorney general of the united states, he ought to recuse himself because he was one of the those involved deeply in the campaign itself and he needs to recuse himself. >> president trump seeming to break with his past two predecessors. don't pay hundreds more for taxes and fees on your wireless bill. introducing t-mobile one. now with taxes and fees included. get 4 lines of unlimited lte data for 40 bucks each. all unlimited. all in! switch to t-mobile today. you're gonna love birds eye steamwait for it.bles. in about five minutes you get delicious, premium veggies, steamed to perfection.
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after his first face-to-face meeting with benjamin netanyahu at the white house today, president trump said he would like israel to hold back on settlements for a little bit. he was asked about his vision for mideast peace and if he is ready to give up the notion. >> i'm looking at two-state and one-state and i like the that both parties like. i am very happy with the that
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both parties like. i can live with either one. i thought the two-state looked like it may be the easier of the two, but honestly if bb if the palestinians and israel and the palestinians are happy, i'm happy with the they like the best. >> the special envoy with mideast peace and george mitchell. >> when president trump said he likes the policy whichever one israel and the palestinians like, first of all that's a shift in policy, the idea of not just a two-state solution. when you heard that, what do you think? >> i thought immediately of a speech that president bush made in jerusalem in january of 2008 in which he set forth persuasively the rational for american policy through democratic and republican president in favor of two-state
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solutions on the ground. he argued to the leaders of both sides that they should be vested in the other's interest because that's the only way they could get what they want. i think frankly that there is no viable or feasible one-state solution. difficult enough for anyone in every circumstance, but i think it will circle back eventually to two-state solutions because it has to be a separation. >> words matter a lot in the mideast. people are looking for signals on all sides and to see donald trump talk extemporaneously was interesting. those who say look, u.s. policy has not worked in the region to bring peace. why not try something new? >> that's a fair statement and words that are spoken casually may be spoken casually.
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the reality is to the contrary. what the two of them want and the problem of what they want would be different. that will have to be worked out. the one-state solution assumes that the palestinians will give up their search for a state. in fact, they have no better example and there is no comparable event in history to the jews being forcibly disbursed 2,000 years ago than regrouping and getting the determination and persistence and no reason to believe they are less determined. >> the president seemed to push push back and talk to prime minister netanyahu in the press son frens. >> as with any successful negotiation, both sides will have to make compromises.
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you know that, right? as far as settlements, i would like to see you hold back on settlements for a little bit. we will work something out. i would like to see a deal be made. >> that was a fascinating moment when he turned to the and said that. what do you think is behind president trump's seeming shift on settlements? during the campaign he blasted president obama's white house for abstaining on a vote and the un condemning settlement expansion? >> he is confronted with the realities now. you can promise anything you want on the campaign trail, but when you confront the hard realities in office and you get information that makes it clear that what you said on the campaign is not realistic, you have to modify your views. >> kushner is the that donald trump said will be focusing on the idea of getting a peace agreement between israel and the palestinians. he is said to be looking at an
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outside in strategy looking to other players in the region. to basically bring the palestinians along to get them to the table. is that feetible? >> we tried that. i tried very hard on behalf of president obama to take steps in the direction of normalization based on the issue by king abdullah of saudi arabia. we asked everybody to and we asked everybody to do something, the israelis to do a settlement freeze and the palestinians to take steps to reduce incitement and hatred, and so forth. but everybody wanted the other rule first, so nobody would move at all. now circumstances have changed somewhat. the threat of iran looms larger in the region. the gulf arabs are deeply concerned about iran. they like that part of what president trump is saying, the hostility toward iran, although they don't like the part about the palestinian/israeli issue.
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and so there is a possibility. they do have a common interest. it makes sense to get them going, i applaud that. as far as jared kushner goes, i don't know him. we've had 12 presidents, 20 secretaries of state that haven't been able to get a two-state deal. maybe someone from the outside can do it. i wish him very well. i do think, however, sooner or later, we'll end up back with a two-state solution. just ahead, america uncovered. gary tuchman hears what trump supporters are saying about the white house. hey! you know, progressive
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♪ the sun'll come out for people with heart failure, tomorrow is not a given. but entresto is a medicine that helps make more tomorrows possible. ♪ tomorrow, tomorrow... ♪ i love ya, tomorrow in the largest heart failure study ever. entresto helped more people stay alive and out of the hospital than a leading heart failure medicine. women who are pregnant must not take entresto. it can cause harm or death to an unborn baby. don't take entresto with an ace inhibitor or aliskiren. if you've had angioedema while taking an ace or arb medicine, don't take entresto. the most serious side effects are angioedema, low blood pressure... ...kidney problems, or high potassium in your blood. ♪ tomorrow, tomorrow i love ya, tomorrow.♪
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ask your heart doctor about entresto. and help make tomorrow possible. ♪ you're only a day away ♪ today that he's holding a rally saturday in orlando at the airport. it will cap another tumultuous week in his presidency, from mike flynn to conversations with russian contacts and the withdrawal of puzder. and it's only wednesday. so in tonight's "america uncovered gary tuck mank speaks to supporters in arizona. >> reporter: yuma county,
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arizona is trump country. was before the election, still is. >> he's done fantastic compared to what we had before. >> reporter: do you think's behind all this bad news about donald trump? >> well, i think part of it is the democrats, but i also think a part of it is the media. >> reporter: do you think any part of it is donald trump? is he responsible for any of this? >> at this point in time, i don't have a feeling that he is. >> reporter: many people in yuma county who voted for trump agree, but are far angrier about it. >> there's still people in donald trump's administration that are left over from obama. and i feel they're sabotaging donald trump. >> reporter: but ken manning does believe that general michael flynn had to go for the sake of the boss. >> he stepped away so donald trump can continue with his administration. >> reporter: a similar sentiment
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about general flynn from this man visiting from michigan. >> maybe the guy was in over his head to start off with. he was a good man, a general in the army, had to know what he was doing, but made some political mistakes and paid the price for it. >> reporter: we go inside loot's casino, which is said to have the state's oldest pool hall and has lively opinions about the trump administration and the russian connections. you have no problem with our relationship? >> no. >> reporter: and what may have been done during the campaign? >> no. >> reporter: however, this trump supporter feels a bit differently. do you think they could been talking to russian operatives and does it bother you? >> yes, it does, it does. >> reporter: does it affect the man you voted for? >> there's going to be something wrong with everyone in that office. >> translator: for the -- >> reporter: at for the turmoil at large, many say they have no
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worries at all. >> i'm elated. i love it every day. >> did any of them seem to be less loyal to the president due to the controversies? >> reporter: a few of the trump voters we talked to seem to be less comfortable with trump than when they cast their ballot on november 8. i talked to one woman who said i'm happy with 75% of what he's done, not so happy with 25% of what he's done of but none of these people seem to have any diminishment in loyalty. the gentleman in the story, he said he doesn't know if general flynn did anything wrong but that he became a lightning rod, because he didn't want him to affect donald trump, the man he is loyal to. >> thank you very much. we appreciate all those people participating. vice president pence now demanding answers as to why he was misled over the calls to the russian ambassador, while president trump tries to deflect blame onto the press.
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today, unlimited gets the network it deserves. verizon. (mic thuds) uh, sorry. it's unlimited without compromising reliability, on the largest, most advanced 4g lte network in america. (thud) uh... sorry, last thing. it's just $45 per line. forty... five. (cheering and applause) and that is all the microphones that i have. (vo) not just unlimited. verizon unlimited.
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