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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  February 17, 2017 2:00pm-3:01pm PST

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ccsuess yet. certainly not with confirmation battle, but the democrats are deepening connection was their voters in the same way the president does. jim? >> thanks, brian stelter. that's for "the lead." i'm jim sciutto. i turn you over to brian a keeler in for wolf britser in "the situation room." >> happening now, boot and rally for another frustrating and contentious week including the firing of one of his top aides, president trump gets out of washington for a long weekend of campaign style visits and speeches touting jobs and america first. national security chaos, a top candidate to replace michael flynn takes himself out of consideration. reportedly put off by the chaos at the white house. who is willing to take the job and take on some of the president's most trusted aides? dispatching his deputies, the vice-president and the secretaries of state and defense hit the road for important visits with u.s. allies and
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adversaries. what message are they bringing about the new president and how he is changing u.s. policy? and what's in a name? after a decade-long fight, beijing finally allows the trump organization to put its name on construction projects in china. what is behind the sudden switch and will it cause ethics problems for the trump brand? wolf blitzer is on assignment. i'm breyona keeler. you're in the situation room. tonight president trump is in campaign mode. his visit to the boeing aircraft plant in south carolina had the look and feel of a political rally. the president bragged jobs in the country have surged since his election. also avoided all the contentious questions and issues that he left behind at the white house, still the president seems to be having trouble with one job in particular, and that is replacing his fired national security advisor michael flynn. cnn is told a top candidate took himself out of the running because the atmosphere at the
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white house seems chaotic. we're also following the growing fear and anxiety over immigration raids that rounded up hundreds of people illegally living in the u.s. are more raids ahead? is the trump administration follows through on promises to crack down on illegal immigration? and we're following new ethics questions now that china after a ten year fight finally changed its position on allowing the trump organization to put its name on construction projects there. we're going to speak tonight with texas congressman and intelligence committee member walk even castro. he was briefed by immigration officials this week and we have our correspondents, analysts and guests with full coverage of the day's top stories. let's begin with cnn's jim accosta and president trump's switch back into campaign mode. what's the thinking there at the white house, jim? >> reporter: breyona, now four week into had i administration, president trump is trying to get back on track so the president is returning to what worked during the campaign, hitting the road and getting in touch with
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voters. but it's just a short break from the controversies waiting for him right here in washington. president trump is hitting the reset button big league. >> we are going to fight for every last american job. >> reporter: the president tried to steer his administration back on message talking jobs at a boeing jet factory in south carolina. all part of a concerted effort in the coming days to put a turbulent first month in office behind him. >> god bless you. may god bless the united states of america, and god bless boeing. [cheering and applauding] >> reporter: noticeably absent from the speech at the boeing plant -- >> it's all fake news, all fake news. russia is fake news. this is fake news put out by the media. the news is fake because so much of the news is fake. i'm changing it from fake news, though. very fake news. >> reporter: his attacks on the
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>> not a good deal. >> reporter: but the president who will be down in florida once again won't be able to escape his nagging problems at the white house where he's still in search for a national security advisor. one candidate offered the job bob harward turned down the position sources say because of the chaos in the administration. calling the offer an splitive sandwich. a senior administration official said there was zero truth to that pointing to harward's position he was passing through family considerations. he is very much in play to stay on permanently, the president tweeted. >> we are talking to a lot of people, but there's also general kellogg who is there.
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three-star, he's talented, been on the team, also been the chief of staff of the nsc. so, he's also very much in contention. but he's doing the job right now. just to be clear, it's not vacant. kellogg is doing the job and he's an extraordinary man. >> reporter: the white house is also looking to clamp down on its messaging hiring veteran gop mike dub key to become -- sean spicer is trying to do both jobs at once. top republicans on capitol hill say they are looking forward to more discipline from the other end of pennsylvania avenue. >> i'm not a great fan of daily tweets. i've not been a fan of the extra discussion that he like to engage in. but we're going to soldier on. we like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can. >> reporter: and as for the president not referring to the fake news media during that speech in south carolina,
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breyona, i guess the president just could not resist, let's put this up on screen, in the last hour the president posted this tweet, the top one. he actually deleted in a few minutes, but then reposted it again. he says the fake news media is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the american people. sick. the first one there is the one he deleted. the second one is the one he just reposted a few moments ago. the only real difference there is he added a few more news outlets. i suppose he felt, breyona, that he left some out. fact check here, we are not the enemy. that goes without saying. meanwhile, the other part of the president's reset attempt this weekend will take place tomorrow when he holds a campaign rally in florida. advisories for that event, breyona, are coming from the president's campaign website giving the impression that he's already thinking about four more years. when many people in this town are wondering can he last four more week. breyona? >> we should point out no sick in all caps in the second tweet. you don't have room for that, of
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course, when you add other twitter handles. >> i'm feeling well. that part's true. >> very good. jim accosta at the white house for us. let's get more on the fired national skpurt counsel michael flynn. barbara starr is looking into why this job is so hard to fill. what are you hearing, barbara? >> hi, breyona. all indications are that president trump will take a look at some of the leading candidates during his weekend stay in mar-a-lago in florida. but his challenge now is finding a marquee name to fill the job. the firing of michael flynn as national security advisor has thrown the white house into an urgent and so far unsuccessful search to fill one of the most important jobs in the barely month-old administration. >> this administration is running like a fine-tuned machine. >> reporter: president trump thought he had the problem solved at his white house press
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conference. >> i have somebody that i think will be outstanding for the position. >> but just hours later in a stunning thanks but no thanks retired vice admiral robert harwood, a highly respected former navy seal turned down the job. publicly harwood said financial and family considerations governed this turn down. but senior military officers rarely turn down a president. a friend of harward said he was reluck at any time to take the job because the white house seems chaotic. senator john mccain also highly critical of the white house. >> i think there is significant dysfunction in the national security apparatus of the trump administration. >> a republican official told cnn that harward wanted assurances he could have his own white house team. the presence of steve bannon, trump's chief strategist who now has a permanent seat on the national security council will be a challenge for whoever takes
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the job. the white house says there was never a formal offer to harward and is considering other candidates including retired general keith kellogg who is filling the job temporarily. president trump tweeting, general keith kellogg who i've known for a long time, is very much in play for nsa as are three others. retired general david petraeus also said to still be in the running. but with the potential for a crisis from north korea, iran, or russia at any time, the urgency to put an advisor into place is only growing. >> i'm very concerned that we still have a hole in this position in the national security council staff has not been organized. >> reporter: perhaps the most dire assessment from general tony thomas who runs special operations, saying earlier this week, our government continues to be in unbelievable turmoil. i'm concerned our government be
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as stable as possible. and tonight, some additional names emerging as possible contenders. senator ted cruz of texas is pushing john bolton, at one time acting u.n. ambassador, but mr. bolton and mr. trump had very different views about the war in iraq. another name emerging very interesting, army three-star general hr mcmasters, very respected, knows his business, very competent by all accounts, someone very well known in military and intelligence circles, and because he's active duty, he's a general who would not be allowed to say no to the president. breyona? >> very interesting. barbara starr at the pentagon, thank you so much. with us now to discuss all of this more is texas democrat, i want to start on intelligence, congressman, as we are just learning the members of the senate intel committee received a briefing from the fbi director
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from james comey and the subject was russia. is this a briefing that house intel members, committee members like yourself are going to receive or have received? >> i certainly hope so. obviously i don't know what was discussed in that meeting, but both the house and the senate want to have full and fair investigations into the connection between russia and the hacking of the 2016 presidential election. and also, breyona, there is a fundamental question that every american deserves an answer to, which is this. were there any americans who conspired with the russian hackers who interfered with our 2016 presidential election? and if so, those americans should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, no matter how high up the chain it goes. so, i hope that this meeting is getting closer -- getting us closer to figuring that out. >> do you have any sense that there is maybe some new information, possibly even pertaining to what your question is right there? because all of the senators
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walked out of this meeting and obviously this is very sensitive information. but they were extremely reluctant even to talk in general terms with reporters. does that say maybe there is some new information to you? >> it's quite possible. of course, anyone who is on the house or senate intelligence committee is often very careful about what information they divulge. there is a criminal penalty that you can be subject to if you divulge classified information. but i think everybody wants to be sure that we not only have the investigation, but that it moves ahead at a brisk pace. and when you start hearing leaks and media reports about stuff that you've not been briefed on at all, and have no clue about, you start to wonder whether you're receiving all of the information that you should. >> the house intelligence committee seems to be differing when it comes to the senate side about what they're going to be looking at. there is this -- many questions about russia, including russian
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meddling in the election. listening to the republican led senate side it seems like they're more interested in what russia's role has been. chairman burr has dismissed this idea that they're going to look into leaks, which is certainly what president trump wants congress to look into. but then on the house side, on your side, we have conflicting reporting. our manu raju says the chairman of your committee is saying he's not going to be looking into discussions between trump and flynn. he's interested in leaks. and then jason chaffetz, the head of oversight, says actually the house intel committee is going to take the lead on russian intel and oversight is going to look at leaks and flynn issues. do you have an idea of which is which? >> well, you know, myself and many other house democrats advocated and i believe some senate democrats advocated for an independent bipartisan commission to take this out of the hands of both the senate and house committees. neither -- that has not been approved in either chamber at this point. but whether it's done completely
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in oversight, you couldn't do all of it completely in oversight because you have classified stuff, or it's handled in the in tell jensen committee. we have to do everything we can to get to the bottom of the question that i presented. and it should be a full investigation. it should be about the relationship between anybody in the trump campaign and russia, the government, and russian intelligence agencies. i think it's also fair to consider the leaks. but i've got to say this. my fear is that some of this information may be leaked by folks because they fear that the investigation is not moving at the pace at which it should. and, so, there is a danger if people feel like there is no other way for it to get out, then they're going to force it out. >> and you say a look at the leaks may be fair. i also wonder looking at the other side, you seem sympathetic to people who are leaking based on what they're leaking. on the other side of this, if you were to imagine that democrats were in charge of both
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chambers of congress and the president was democratic and there were leaks coming out that were counter to that president, i can just imagine democrats taking this exact same tact with all of this. >> you know, there's no doubt that in politics parties some time will circle the wagons to protect the president, for example. but at some point, when the evidence becomes compelling, you've got to do the right thing and put your country above your political party. and with russia and what happened in the 2016 election, it's time for everybody to do that now. >> all right. we have many more questions with you. as always a, we have new developments coming in. so, congressman castro, stick with us. we'll be back after a quick break. your path to retirement may not always be clear. but at t. rowe price, we can help guide your retirement savings. so wherever your retirement journey takes you,
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and we are back now with texas democratic congressman joaquin castro. we follow reports of anxiety over president trump's immigration reform. federal agents have been busy rounding up hundreds of people who have been living in the u.s. without proper documentation. congressman castro, and we should mention to our viewers you are on the intel committee. you attended a meeting yesterday with officials from immigration and customs enforcement. what did you learn, what can you tell us? >> well, it was a meeting with both republicans and democrats. the hispanic caucus had originally requested a meeting and the i.c.e. director and i.c.e. had agreed to do it. and then that meeting got canceled. and the caucus was told that it had to be a bipartisan meeting
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and that only certain democrats could attend. so, i was able to attend thanks to my friend and ranking member adam schiff who is the char man of the intelligence committee. i was basically his designee in that meeting. but what we learned is this. basically the only people who aren't fair game at this point as far as i could tell after that meeting are daca recipients who have absolutely clean records. so, for example, there have been a few daca recipients that have been picked up in the last few days by i.c.e. those are folks -- >> this is a deferred action for children. so, folk who were brought in -- >> childhood arrivals. >> and they know no other home. >> there are about 700 to 800,000 folks who under the obama administration who took advantage of the daca opportunity so they have essentially a status to be here, permission to be here. and, so, it seemed like the only people they weren't going to go after or had hesitation going after are the daca recipients. it's the daca recipients who basically have a spotless
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record, who don't have some perceived gang affiliation, or any kind of other offense. we look down a list of the folk that were rounded up, what offenses they had committed. on there were things like trespassing, traffic tickets, obviously some major offenses. so, we left there, many of us, with the impression that, you know, they're basically going to target as many people as they can based upon the budget that the congress will give them. the i.c.e. director -- >> secretary kelly says that 75% of the people who had been rounded up are -- that these are serious criminals. and you tweeted yesterday after attending the i.c.e. meeting, it's hard not to conclude that president trump has started his mass deportation plan. why do you think that -- why do you think this is different from president obama who also deported many, many people, more than george w. bush, but with an increased focus on criminals?
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>> well, i.c.e. openly admits that the mandate given to them by our new president, president trump and his executive order a few weeks ago, is broader. in other words, the mandate to deport -- about who to deport is broader than the obama mandate. you're right, the obama mandate was to focus on criminals. there is also a debate over the definition of what constitutes a criminal. i think most of us, when we think of a criminal, we think of somebody who committed a robbery, certainly a murder or rapist. basically under immigration law anybody who is caught in the country and leaves and comes back has a felony on their record so they are now considered a criminal, for example. so, when they say criminal, it doesn't mean people who are necessarily violent or dangerous. it can mean somebody who has had a status violation because of an immigration laud. >> let's talk about senator ted cruz. he's been taunting you a bit over reports you are considering taking him on in his senate
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seat. he said during a radio interview this week, he is welcome to hop in the race. come on in, the water is warm. are you going to jump in there? >> well, you know, i said that i would take about eight more weeks or two months to decide, you know. it's obviously a big undertaking. you're talking about texas, which is a large state. it costs a lot of money to run here. but the people of texas and the people of this country are hungry for change, and texans most of all want a senator who is going to go to work for them every day and not just work for his own political ambitions. and, so, i'm take iguodala a serious look at it. >> all right. we'll talk to you in about eight week. congressman castro, thanks so much for being on. >> thank you. >> coming up, one of the most intriguing possibilities in president trump's hunters point for a national security advisor, could it mean the come back of former cia director david petraeus? ahead, new ethics questions, is china after a decades long fight allowing the trump brand on construction projects?
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president donald trump is in florida for the weekend, but back at the white house, the search still on for a replacement for fired national security advisor michael flynn. and one top possibility for the job took himself out of the running because, we are told by sources, of the chaotic situation at the white house. let's bring in our political and national security experts, phil mudd, to you first. part of the issue as we understand it, and we've heard even from david petraeus, the former cia director who is up now for this gig, that the person coming in should be able
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to have discretion over who the staff is. and right now the white house wants to keep all of these flynn acolites in play. do they need to clean house in order to really attract a top notch national security advisor? >> i don't think so. you can't at this point a month in remove every trogladite who has been put in under the influence of the president. let's look at this carefully. you walk into the president's office and say people who have been loyal to you for some time, i want them to leave and they've only been in office 30 days. >> a key deputy. so, not everybody, it's not a housecleaning. >> yes. >> so, who should they -- >> i agree with you there. they should be able to bring in that first line for a couple of reasons. number one, you cannot have people doing end of rounds every time they want to talk to the president because they were with him on a campaign. number two, the primary responsibility of that national security advisor is to ensure discipline across government and within the white house on issues like iran, china, north korea.
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no way you ensure discipline with the egos running around the white house unless those egos say i'll get crushed if i don't answer to the boss. i would agree, at the top level you have to have an agreement with the president. they're not my people. and if they walk in without my authorization, throw them out. >> what is your read on the names that are being thrown out there, would you like to see more qualified applicants? do you feel like the names out there are good ones? >> i think the names i've seen are quite good. i knew admiral harward. he would have been a great choice. i think general petraeus would have been a great choice. i don't think that list is going to be that long. by the way, i've had a few questions about people saying who should put their names forward. there is a rule of thumb in washington. if you put your name forward, you're disqualified because that means you want the job too much. each one of these jobs is a daily enema. you should never apply for the job. you need to have poise and authority to do this. that's very few people in washington, d.c., and you've got to go toe to toe with the secretary of state, secretary of defense, president and
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vice-president, very heavy hitters. so, short list and they shouldn't be nominating themselves. the white house should be approaching people saying, do you want this? >> the day of phil mudd. we were like what? so, that aside. mark preston, you're watching this go down. such chaos. is this just a data point and a larger graph? >> it's a finally tuned machine. i don't know what you're talking about chaos. this is not chaos. bottom line 50,000 feet, the administration is moving along. i'll preface this by saying it happens in every administration. it just doesn't happen at this level. the fact that you don't have people who don't want to go into the administration. a good thing that will happen is they are getting a communications director who is very well respected, low key kind of behind the scenes guy, officially gets named and this gentleman getsd the job, it is a going to upset some on the right, the alt-right that is because he's considered a mainstream type of person.
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the white house needs some people in there like that. >> it's so much work for sean spicer. i mean, i don't think a lot of people realize he was doing the comes director job and press secretary job. it's incredibly too much work for one person. what do you think when it come to the nationality security advisor of david petraeus as a possibility? >> well, some of the reporting that our white house team had last night on this is that it doesn't seem like everyone inside the west wing is eager to bring somebody who has baggage of his own. so, we heard david petraeus remember when he was being floated second of state, he did a tryout on one of the sunday shows, he tried out some lines about how he was apologize, for his past behavior with paula broad well, during the time of the writing of her book -- >> to be clear, he's still under probation until april because he pled out for sharing classified information. >> and i think one has told our folks the last thing the white house needs somebody on probation. that being said, david petraeus has a lot of good, no doubt
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about that. the guy say world respected expert in this field. i just don't know if he is going to be the right person for this white house at this time. >> and he's widely regarded in a bipartisan way. he's brilliant. but this bag alan is serious and i was talking to a democrat today, jackie spear, who said no way. >> yeah, in the phrase that she used is he shared classified information with his mistress. i mean, that's the thing. even though paula broad well has come out and said listen, he should be given a chance, it seems like given all the controversy that has surrounded this white house and some of the picks so far, and obviously what happened with michael flynn, hard to see them wanting to bring in someone classified information and mistress in the same sentence. it seems really messy. >> michael flynn is gone, but this controversy is not gone. you have congressional committees that are going to be looking at this, but they are led by republicans. are you getting the sense that anything substantive will come out of this or do you expect
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they're going to pull punches? >> well, i think, you know, i think something substantive could certainly come out of it. democrat want more of an independent counsel, something like a select committee. mitch mcconnell seems reluctant to do that, wanting this to go through the senate intelligence committee. some serious folks on there. richard burr is on there, marco rubio, they want to look on this. it's obviously different in-house. they want to look at the leaks rather than the substance of the leaks. i can one of the things that's unknown here is what are we going to get more in term of leaks if there is going to be public pressure on these republicans in term of investigating this. i >> i know you guys were watching donald trump today. we'll talk about it after the break. he's on this permanent campaign that is going to continue this weekend? and senate republicans pushing through another controversial trump nominee, but will his e-mails come back to bite him when they go public next week?
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and we are back now with our experts. so, mark preston, yesterday the president spent more than an hour and a lot of it he was just blasting the media during this news conference that he had. so, then today when he was in -- when he was in north charleston, south carolina and he didn't talk about it it was like, wow, but wait. then there's a tweet, right? okay, here's what he said. the fake news media failing new york times nbc news, abc, cnn, is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the american people. he can't not. >> he can't stop himself.
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night, yesterday, day today, down in south carolina, looked presidential, looked unhinged yesterday, looked like he was a leader of the free world talking about the economy, jobs, what have you. yesterday unhinged, doesn't talk about the media today until he gets down to mar-a-lago. you wonder why is he not on the golf course. why is he out there tweeting. >> what do you make of this? is this damaging for him when he had such a focused message today? >> my question, his obsession with the media, being completely consumed by concern about his media coverage is how is that obsession going to help him enact his agenda? every day, if i were him, i would ask that question. if i send this tweet, if i do this, i get that it riles his supporters. obama repeal and replace, i want to understand from his thinking how he thinks that gets the
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border wall built. i just think he has such big agenda item, he wants to deliver on the promises and he can't get away from being totally consumed by his reviews. >> because your capital, your fuel is finite. he's got this event on saturday in florida. it's paid for by his campaign. so, this is a political event. >> yeah. >> some have said, what's he doing? he's like in permanent campaign mode. is that really so bad? >> i mean, he needs this. kellyanne conway has talked about theage lags of the crowd being his oxygen. he needs the roer of the crowd. his spirit and soul and how he feels about himself, he need to be in that comfortable environment. i think it's one of the reasons he goes down to mar-a-lago so much because people are coming up to him, club members, how are you doing, mr. president, are you doing great, all that stuff. yeah, it's better for him i think to be down there in term of how he feels about himself. maybe he's not reading the papers as much, maybe he's not watching don lemon either at
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night. >> i bet he's watching don at night. come on. >> he's taping it later at least. >> he's better out of town, right? >> he totally is. >> this is part of it. when you're in washington it seems almost universal for presidents. it's kind of worse in a way. you're cooped up. >> sometimes your reporters feel the same way. you want it get out, you want to see different thing. yeah, it's interesting because initially he said he wanted to be in the white house all the time and working. in an interview months ago he talked about being in the white house t' not good for him. he need to be out. melania is not there with him. he's like home alone meets citizen kaine when he's there. the white house -- phil, i want to you weigh in on this. the white house does go with him, right? what do you think of this, observing all of this as he's heading out of town and seems to be doing better? >> i think this is pretty straightforward. making this pretty complicated. this is a guy who look in the mirror and he wants to see adonis and we see shrek.
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it's not that complicated. over time if you look at the value of media, from when i first started watching media, reports from the vietnam war that brought home to america what was happening in that war, to what happened with the media in vietnam, fast forwarding to the free coverage, tens of millions of dollars worth that the media gave him during the campaign, what we have now is very simple. the man can't take a punch and as soon as the punch gets turned on him, he turns on the people who make him look like shrek. i think this is pretty simple. we have a narcissistic president who can't take a punch. it ain't hard. >> but he has a lot of people who have intense fealty for donald trump who really intensely support him and do not feel that way at all. i mean, when he says that, he is correct. >> sure, but look at where we've come in the past year or two. we have a man who owned a brand that is trump hotels, that is great golf courses, that is trump wine, that is trump water. he could own the way he's presented to the world.
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now he gets to the fish bowl of washington, d.c. where power is what's important, not money like new york and he realizes a lot of people, a, don't respect him and, b are damaging the brand not of the company, but the person. i don't think he can take the transition because he can't own the brand any more. >> what do you think? >> that's why i think we're going to see him on the campaign trail. i think the transition has been hard for him. so he's getting back to the thing where he is most comfortable where he had the most success in the last year and a half since he got into politics. yes, i think the adulation is an energy boost for him but i also think it is an opportunity for him to reframe his agenda, get his prescriptive message forward. we saw it today in north charl son. i'm sure we will see some of it this weekend in florida as well. and he seems, from our reporting and other people's reporting, he seems frustrated being restricted inside the white house to just 140 characters. that's why he went out to give the press conference which was a rant. maybe we'll see him campaigning on his agenda again.
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>> i know another guy who was frustrated by being constrained and that was president obama as well. thank you guys so much, nia, mark, david, i keep skipping over you. i did this earlier, too. phil, thank you guys so much. and still ahead, new questions after the swift resolution of a decade-old fight to a lou the trump organization to put its name on construction projects in china. your insurance company won't replace the full value of your totaled new car. the guy says you picked the wrong insurance plan. no, i picked the wrong insurance company.
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. even though president trump separated himself from his company before taking office, we're following some very interesting new very manies involving the use of trump's name on construction projects in
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china. our brian todd is following a trademark fight that could have major repercussions. >> this was a trademark fight that donald trump waged for years, a fight that trump kept losing. just before the election, chinese officials reserved course. ethics watch dogs are warning, watch this case closely because china may want something in return from the president. >> reporter: the trump brand in the united states famous for trump tower, trump buildings, clothing lines, trump wine and at one point trump steaks. >> i understand steaks. it's my favorite food, and these are the best. >> reporter: but in china, donald trump doesn't have exclusive rights to his name. >> there is nobody who knows how to build like me. >> reporter: a case in china where trump tried to win. in 2006 he applied to trademark his name for construction
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services in china, but it was rejected because a chinese businessman had applied for the trump name first in the construction realm. matthew dresden, a trademark attorney, who studded the case said trump kept losing. >> his trademark application kept rejected and he kept appealing. >> reporter: last september just as he was on the brink of winning the presidency the other one was invalidated. trump's trademark was pushed by a review board and this week it was published for registration. why after ten years did chinese authorities suddenly reverse course. >> the chinese organization doesn't make it public. these decisions i think were not made in a vacuum. >> reporter: a spokesperson tells cnn it was handled in
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compliance with law. it looks like it gave trump something and would want something in return. >> china will want something in return. it will be probably a series of efforts to appease him. >> reporter: trump could be in violation of accepting favors from foreign governments. i think it's fair for people to say wait a minute is mr. trump going to be influenced in his decision-making by these kind of gifts. >> reporter: trump's opponents say he's more famous. in chinese approved to sell trump toilets. >> the trump name is key to the trump assets. >> reporter: but the case is just one of many that have raised questions about the trump's ownership of the vast trump empire exposes him to
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breaches. >> do you want to protect your brand or do you want to make the presidency about something that is above that whole process? it's hard to do both. >> reporter: we pressed the white house on the criticism that china might try to leverage president trump after smoothing the trademark case. an attorney for the trump administration told us the company had several trademark cases in china for years, in this case they were trying to protect the trademark from someone who was squatting on it and the allegation that the president will be compromised is quote, completely baseless and shows a disregard for the facts. >> is there any indication, brian, of just how valuable, we're talking money, the trademark case is? >> that's hard to get to. one indication is in a letter that trump wrote to the then secretary of commerce back in 2011 about all of his trademark fights in china.
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he complained that he paid hundreds of thousands of dollars of legal fees to secure his name. if you look at this one fight over this one trademark, he kept fighting it for ten years even when he kept losing. that must have meant something significant to him. >> thank you for that report. coming up a closer look at the chaos in the white house. sources say it's because of this man, steve ban non, a top aide. the kremlin is testing the new administration. how will president trump react to a spy ship off the coast as well as other provocations?
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happening now on the trail.
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the president escapes the turbulence in washington to a place where he feels more comfortable campaigning. a day after his testy news conference, a new attack on journalists, calling us an enemy of the american people. on the road, the vice-president travels on the road to reassure allies who have jitters. are mike pence and other top trump officials sending a different message than the commander in chief? tense environment, scott pruitt wins confirmation just days before the court-ordered release of his e-mails. poisonous prank, a surprise defense for a suspect in the killing of kim jong-un's half-brother. did she attack him because she thought she was taking part in a reality show. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. wolf blitzer is on


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